“Music for the Soul,” column for April 22, 2014

For the record, I don’t make it a habit to hang out in bars alone. Not that there’s anything wrong in that. I’m old enough to do as I please, thank you. But I’d probably just spend the whole time watching the door, expecting any minute to see my mother rise from her grave and come haul me out by my ear. [Read more...]

“Waiting for the Son to Shine,” column for April 15, 2014

The message was brief. I read it twice: “Hey, Mom, can I come see you guys this weekend?” I wrote back, “Yippee!” Then I called the boy to get the plan.

He had stuff to do before leaving town, he said, but hoped to make it in time for dinner. I laughed. Dinner would be whenever he could get here. [Read more...]

“Traveling Light on the Road of Life,” column for April 8, 2014

Years ago, I reached a stunning realization that has served me well in all my seasons since. Simply put, it is this: The mark of a good outing is how little stuff you have to drag along.

I believe that to be absolutely true, whether the journey be a quick trip to the park or a rite of passage on the road of life. Unfortunately, unlike you, I don’t always stick to my beliefs. [Read more...]

“Sharing the Pages of Our Lives,” column for April 1, 2014

Call me old-fashioned or just plain old, but one of the things I like about airline travel is being required to shut off cell phones _ no talking, texting, emailing, Facebooking or whatevering for the duration of the flight.

The reason I like it is simple. People who aren’t glued to cell phones are somewhat more likely to turn to the stranger who is wedged in beside them and engage in what was once known as polite conversation. [Read more...]

“Who’s Your Mama?”, column for March 25, 2014

Sometimes life turns in a circle like a beacon to show you something old in a new light. Yesterday I flew from my home in Las Vegas to the Monterey Peninsula in California, where I raised my children. Two of them still live here, teaching school and raising families of their own.

I visit as often as I can. But playing with the little people (ages 3, 2 and 1) doesn’t leave much time to spend with their parents. The parents don’t seem to mind. But I do. I miss them. So I said, on this visit, I’d like some time alone with each of the grownups. That raised a few eyebrows, but nobody balked. [Read more...]

“The Miracle of Reading,” column for March 18, 2014

It was an offer I wouldn’t refuse. My husband is a newspaper editor. For Read Across America Day (March 3), the newspaper where he works signed up to send volunteers to read to school children.

“I signed you up, too,” he told me. “You can go with me.” [Read more...]

“Dyeing for a Change,” column for March 11, 2014

Someday, I swear, I am going to quit. Next month, maybe. Or next year. I’ve done it most of my life and it’s getting old.
Not that it’s hard. I’ve been doing it so long it’s like taking a shower or brushing my teeth or reminding my husband to tie his shoes. I could do it in my sleep. [Read more...]

“Hello?”, column for March 4, 2014

There was a time when I loved to talk on the phone. That time is long past, but I remember it.

The summer I was 7, my sister left home to do whatever big sisters do and I was forced to spend my days chasing cows or teasing my brothers. Brothers and cows have limits. Push them too hard and they get surly.

Imagine my surprise when salvation came calling, so to speak, on the telephone. [Read more...]

From Good Books to Goodnight to Goodbye,” column for Feb. 25, 2014

This is not, as they say, my first rodeo. I know the drill. I’ve done it plenty. But it never gets easier saying “goodbye.” [Read more...]

“Life in Full Bloom,” column for Feb. 18, 2014

On this fine winter day, when much of the country is an icebox, I know I shouldn’t complain. I can sit outside, feel the sun on my face and not get one bit of frostbite.

But I’m just going to say it: I am weary of winter. Depending on where you live, you might be even wearier of it than I am. [Read more...]