“The Taste of Freedom,” Jan. 15, 2019

Have you ever watched a child learning to ride a bike, getting that first taste of freedom?

I thought my tricycle was cool until I was 5, and couldn’t fit my knees under its handlebars. Years later, while my cousin was busy chasing his sister with a BB gun, I borrowed (without asking) his two-wheeler, figured out how to ride it and thought, “Where’s this been all my life?” [Read more…]

“Three Questions for a New Year,” Jan. 8, 2019

At the start of a new year, I like to ask three questions:
1. Who am I?
2. Why am I here?
3. What will I do with this year?

Simple questions, but hard to answer. Let’s start with “who.” [Read more…]

“Joe the Prophet,” Jan. 1, 2019

Who are the prophets in your life, the people who remind you to be true to what you believe and practice what you preach?

Just before Christmas, my brother took a bad fall, hit the floor hard and couldn’t get up.
Joe lives alone, having lost his wife to cancer years ago. Totally blind and severely impaired by cerebral palsy, he wasn’t sure how badly he was hurt. So he tried to stand, and fell again. [Read more…]

“Food for the Soul,” Dec. 26, 2018

(NOTE: I’m taking off this week for the holidays. I hope you take some time off, too! The following is a “replacement” column. It first ran Dec. 20, 2011.)

Did somebody say eat? All I have to do is mention food in a column and I will hear from enough readers to polish off an all-you-can-eat buffet. They’re kind enough to say they like my column, but what they really want is a recipe. [Read more…]

“Christmas Perfection,” Dec. 17, 2018

My mother often told me to be careful what I wished for.

“What you want,” she said, “isn’t always what you need.”

I thought of those words as I watched a stream of water roll across my living room floor.

This is a Christmas story. I’ll start at the beginning. [Read more…]

“Making Music and Memories,” Dec. 11, 2018

Call me lucky. There I was, a sensible woman of a certain age in orthopedic shoes and elastic-waist pants, on a date, of all things, with not one, but two, gorgeous young men.

We had dinner at a restaurant, talking, laughing and listening to live music by a band that featured my favorite bass player, who is also, yes, my husband. [Read more…]

“Words for Christmas,” Dec. 3, 2018

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas. I haven’t decorated a tree or even looked for the boxes of ornaments that we packed when we moved six months ago and haven’t seen since.

My husband stuck a reindeer nose on the statue of a horse on the buffet in our dining room, but that’s his doing, not mine. [Read more…]

“Memories of a Family Gathering,” Nov. 26, 2018

We stood on the curb waving goodbye as they all drove away, carload after carload, pieces of a beautiful puzzle that forms our big, blended family. Picture Noah and his wife, after 40 days and nights afloat in a flood, watching the animals hightail it off the ark. [Read more…]

“Praying for Rain,” Nov. 19, 2018

Maybe, when you read this, it will be raining in California. That is what we’re praying for — a good, soaking rain to put an end to what has been months of death and devastation from fire.

The irony is while Californians are praying for rain, our neighbors in the South and East, who’ve lost homes and loved ones in recent months to hurricanes and flooding, are praying for a dry spell. [Read more…]

“A Feast of Faces,” Nov. 13, 2018


How do you seat 20 guests at a table that holds only eight?

That’s a puzzle I work on every year when Thanksgiving rolls around. You’d think by now I could solve it. But try as I might, the pieces never quite fit.

Sometimes, I use folding tables, snaking them from the dining room through the living room with six to eight guests at each table. That way everybody gets enough elbow room to eat and talk and laugh and breathe. The only problem with it is I can’t see everyone’s face. [Read more…]