About Just Thought You Should Know

Who am I and why am I doing this?

I could be resting!

I am an unrepentant college professor. Retired but still twitching at the enormous misinformation in the media. But now that I have a little more time, I am primed to make a difference by sorting and sifting through the information overload for you, for me and for the sake of democracy.

In my career I taught almost 10,000 students who reinforced my belief that at our core, people are good and want to do what is right, healthy, and productive.

Oh, I know there are notable exceptions, and I know that even very good people go astray now and then. But with all our warts and occasional weaknesses, we are a good species, and we can solve our problems with a caring heart, an open mind and reliable information.

My bio? I was 10 months old when Pearl Harbor was bombed. I am the mother of eight great children (six I gave birth to; two I won in a lottery when I married their daddy).

I feel about my country, the way I feel about my children and grandchildren–I love them and would do anything for them. However, I know they are not perfect, and I tell them when they are seriously off track.

I am married to Ron Downie, my childhood friend, my love, my number one encourager, and trusty editor. We were both born and raised in Maine, lived in beautiful southern California for decades, and now that we are retired, we live on two coasts–California in the winter and green and gorgeous Virginia the rest of the year.

Teaching Experience

1991-2006: Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, CA (Student population 20,000+)

1985-1991: College of the Canyons, Valencia, CA

1983-1985: California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA

Courses Taught: Intercultural Communication, Logic and Argumentation, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Group Communication, Gender Communication, Process of Communication, Oral Interpretation of Literature, Organizational Communication, Student Success/Study Skills

Community Involvement:

Top Grassroots Volunteer Award 2011, 7th District Virginia

Virginia Organizing Member, Presenter, Organizer

GLSEN, (Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network) Richmond, VA:

Presenter on Conflict Resolution and Team Building California State University, Northridge and Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA:

Volunteer Lecturer and Visiting Author Oak Grove School, Ojai, CA: Guest Lecturer on Logic and Debate

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, Los Angeles, CA

Monica Ros School, Ventura, CA: Guest Lecturer on Personality and Parenting


Book/Publication: Relationships Inside Out (Co-authored with daughter Nancy Grass Hemmert Ph. D. Book to be published Spring 2014)

Book/Publication: Together: A Relationship Survival Kit, 2008

Book/Kit: EZ Newsletter Kit 1988

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