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Household tries not to fear Christmas

Family Man

They do it every year: My family asks for my Christmas list, and then they don’t get anything from it. Are the things I want not good enough? Each holiday season, I find myself trying to arm my family with exciting gift ideas for me. I suggest things I’d love and stuff I need for the house that I otherwise […]

The joy of Christmas prevails over hardships

Roots of Faith

In Jerry Herman’s musical “Mame,” the title character sings to her family and household staff, “Put up the tree before my spirit falls again . . . We need a little Christmas now.” Mame Dennis has just lost her wealth in the stock market crash, yet she strives to stay happy even in the face of poverty. The calamities of […]

Survival of the fittest put to the test

On the Trail

For wildlife in the Las Virgenes and Conejo valleys, the onslaught of flames early last month brought many hardships. The typically timid mule deer of the Santa Monica Mountains— often the prey of solitary cougars and sometimes coyote packs—appears now to be more vulnerable than ever. There is little place to hide in a landscape stripped of massive oaks and […]

Many local seniors are learning to cope in the aftermath of fires

Other Side of 50

On the heels of the Borderline shooting, Allison, a Senior Concerns case manager, was knocking on doors of the occupants of the senior low-income housing complex where she works. She was concerned the residents were isolated in their apartments watching the 24/7 coverage of the massacre, feeling shocked and frightened. Allison encouraged them to come out of their apartments and […]

The tale of the Seminole sifters

On the Trail

I am standing in the middle of Navaho Drive in the devastated half of Seminole Springs Mobile Home Park in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura. I reel in circles, opening then shutting my eyes, then opening them again. The scene remains the same. It’s as if someone erased all I remember of this street, a road I walked along […]

Flashbacks of happier holidays

Hot Flashes

About 42 years ago, I became a cheerleader. No, not the kind with pom-poms and long, lithe legs. For when it comes to cartwheels, you’d better call 911 first. No, I wasn’t that kind of cheerleader, nor did I realize at the time what I had become. Because marriage and a young stepdaughter vaulted me into a new role that […]

Have beer and a blast at 14 Cannons

Acorn Epicurean

Make your holidays even happier this year at 14 Cannons Brewery and Showroom in Westlake Village’s “Beermuda Triangle,” where all things beer are offered to knowledgeable brew fans as well as members of the Craft Beer for Dummies group, like myself. Just ask anything of 14 Cannons’ head brewer Nic Bortolin, who knows his offerings inside and out. With a […]

Chorale offers uplifting experience

The Los Robles Master Chorale will ring—and sing—in the season with its annual holiday concerts. “We have all been jarred by recent events in our area, and our hearts go out to those personally impacted,” said LRMC board president Kally McMurray-Fisher. “Choral music is a quintessential part of the holidays, and our hope is that people will come together and […]

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes

Hot Flashes

Just weeks before election day, that loveliest time of the year when Americans fling verbal grenades at lightning speed, Mr. Fixit and I escaped the crossfire for a long-awaited trip to Paris. We hauled our sorry old behinds, well-aged like USDA prime, across the pond as fast as our anti-inflammatories would carry us. Days before our departure, we realized a […]

55 years, thousands of patrons, great food

Acorn Epicurean

Chester’s Asia is celebrating its 55th anniversary throughout November—a grand testament to its continued popularity in the community and its staunch commitment to serving fine, authentic Chinese food. Camarillo’s oldest restaurant, Chester’s offers a huge menu of Cantonese, Szechuan and Mandarin dishes that keep people from all over the region coming back time and time again. Co-owner Keith Kwan says […]


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