Smartphone operator perhaps not so smart

Hot Flashes

In the words of those great philosophers, the Minions, I won’t be impressed with technology until I can download food. Back in the Dippity-Do days, I had a sound system with speakers the size of a Buick. Now my speakers talk to each other, to leaders named Vladimir and to drug lords with Wi-Fi, and they’re operated by my smartphone—or […]

How to keep the weather from raining on your vacation

Flying Squirrel

You can’t help but notice our weather’s been in the news recently. Forget about all those Midwesterners dealing with the Polar Bear Vortex, or whatever it’s called when freezing temperatures turn everything north of Chicago into an ice cube tray. Yes, we’ve had our own significant weather challenges. We’ve had . . . rain. Lots and lots of rain, sometimes […]

Praying along with St. Clare of Assisi

Roots of Faith

“For many of us, prayer is our lifeboat, but we still find ourselves treading water from time to time,” says Jon M. Sweeney in “The St. Clare Prayer Book: Listening for God’s Leading.” St. Clare of Assisi is often overlooked in favor of her more colorful contemporary, St. Francis of Assisi, who traveled and preached across Europe in the 13th […]

Seminole springs up from the ashes

On the Trail

Nothing will ameliorate the shocking loss of 110 of the 215 homes in the community of Seminole Springs in rural Agoura. Some residents have refused to return to view the destruction after their initial glimpse of the ruins of their home. Others, like my friend Jet, have visited repeatedly to comb through the debris. The bulldozers will arrive soon to […]

Family heirloom granted to grateful grandson

Other Side of 50

My nephew Tanner is a pretty accomplished young man. He has a knack for mechanics. During his high school years, he worked for a company that made sensitive equipment parts for the military. On the side, he bought lawnmowers, dirt bikes, jet skis and other small vehicles that needed repair. He fixed them and resold them for a tidy profit. […]

Teen tired of the teacher strike stress

Family Man

Angry mobs yelling and trampling over others, trashcans flying through store windows, tear gas— you might think “riots.” But that’s what comes to mind when I think “strike.” The recent teacher strike in Los Angeles, however, was more like, “Careful, dear, car coming. Move out of the street, please.” And they’d move. With an apology. “I’m so sick of hearing […]

Lost and found at LAX

Flying Squirrel

You’ve just arrived at LAX. You’ve checked your bag and raced to the TSA checkpoint. You see the line’s a bit long (even when the government isn’t shut down). You check your watch, realizing your flight boards any minute. Maybe you should’ve left earlier. Too late now. Maybe next time. You pick what you think is the quickest TSA line. […]

Get prepared now for future emergencies

Other Side of 50

After the recent wildfires ripped through our community, I mentioned to my husband that I didn’t want to let too much time go by before we debriefed on what we did right and wrong when we evacuated. I wanted this natural disaster— the first my husband and I have really experienced since moving to California 25 years ago—to become a […]

Elegy for canyon lost to the flames

On the Trail

How do you say goodbye to a beloved canyon? It’s taken me two months to even manage a drive-by past the entrance to upper Trancas Canyon, a part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area located a short hop from my former home in rural Agoura. In November the Woolsey fire left this area blackened, barren and bleak. By […]

Local volunteer and army widow helps vets

Veterans Connection

Rheva Acevedo watched as her husband, Carlos, put up a wall of silence around his time in the military. His reticence was understandable—the U.S. Army vet had served in the Vietnam War and may have been exposed to Agent Orange. “I (saw) Carlos break down at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., (but) when we went to several veterans […]

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