Author Archive


A Few of My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things

Sometimes I ask people if they are comfortable going places by themselves. In the past year I’ve grown ever more capable of taking myself on solo excursions. I’ve discovered places that are satisfying little idylls, either for singular or plural outings. Here are five I can vouch for in no particular order. 1. Tommy’s Restaurant, [...]

Beginning Again

Beginning Again

“Girls, make your life a dance!” our Orange High School PE teacher, Mrs. Weatherill, would exhort us. She of the black tights, the blacker ponytail, the Kathyrn Crosby demi-curl bang, a big apostrophe resting on the right side of her forehead. Smartly keeping time, Mrs. Weatherill beat a hand-held drum and dispatched us in choreographed [...]

365 Thank Yous for a New Year

365 Thank Yous for a New Year

On New Year’s Eve I waited with several friends to watch Rose Parade floats being towed along Huntington Drive. We were seated in a car parked at San Marino High School plowing through two boxes of See’s candy and dissecting our dinner at Gus’s BBQ. Then one friend mentioned a gathering she had just attended [...]

Hiding from the Holidays in a Korean Day Spa

Hiding from the Holidays in a Korean Day Spa

If you haven’t read Helen of Pasadena, by Lian Dolan, treat yourself to a sweet truffle of a novel. For many reasons it is a delicious local confection; and one such reason is its reference to a Korean day spa, which echoes the Olympic Spa not far from us in Koreatown. I just visited the Olympic [...]

How I Met My Mortgage

How I Met My Mortgage

Where do I start with the saga of my mortgage application? What a lamb I was at the outset; it’s a wonder I am not a lambchop today. Last May I began with what we call the pre-approval phase. Squaring up records and information is one of life’s harder tasks for me. I never feel [...]

NAMI, Union Station and a Pasadena Party

NAMI, Union Station and a Pasadena Party

Last week I had invitations that both relate to homelessness. Not my temporary, seeking-a-house-to-buy homelessness, but the serious kind, often symptomatic of mental illness, poverty, or addiction. Two vaunted organizations, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Union Station, sponsored their annual fundraisers. NAMI hosts an October walkathon in Santa Monica. A dear couple I [...]

A Bus Ride, a Play & a Thank You Note

A Bus Ride, a Play & a Thank You Note

Dateline: Alhambra, 10/5/10 Twenty-seven students and three teachers headed to the Mark Taper Forum to see a Young Audience Program of The Glass Menagerie. Beforehand I must confess I sweated out the roll-taking, the body-counting, and the alphabetical lineup to the bus. But hadn’t the kids signed my homemade Pledge of Conduct, agreeing to sit [...]

Back to School: The Questions

Back to School: The Questions

“Miss, don’t you ever get mad?” “Miss, does a crime record hurt you for college?” “Miss, you’re wearing different shoes! Does that mean you got a place to live?” Every day students ask me the unexpected. Every day I answer as honestly as I can. We’re in our fourth week of school. The familiarity of [...]

Me & Mrs. Jones

Me & Mrs. Jones

“She bore her burden because she did not wish to be a burden.” I’m paraphrasing from an Isaac Bashevis Singer short story, “The Washerwoman.” It’s one of those anthology selections for ninth graders that kids never take to, a story that eventually resounds for those who live long enough to have the stuffing kicked out of us a few times. The titular washwoman is a birdlike Gentile who launders for wealthier Jews in an early 20th century Polish shtetl. Her frail build belies tenacity and pride in her lowly occupation—an occupation both arduous and invisible. I guess I’d call it a story where stature trumps status.

Homeowner Once Removed

Homeowner Once Removed

I’ve lain dormant for the last eight weeks since my Pasadena house sold. More accurately, I’ve laid my head in a number of different homes because I’ve become a housesitter. I didn’t foresee this lifestyle. Somehow it sought me.

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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Camelot and Vine

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