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Dances with fans and other Conejo curiosities

On the Trail

At Triunfo Community Park one recent early evening, there came a sharp, abrupt “whapping” sound from the vicinity of the aluminum benches near the ball field. No game was in progress. It was a sound reminiscent of ducks or geese being flushed out of hiding by a bird dog—a brief, explosive whapping of wings as the birds bolted skyward. Glancing […]

Gold Coast volunteer happy to help vets

Veterans Connection

Don Irelan, 72, of Newbury Park is a volunteer at Gold Coast Veterans Foundation. While he is not a veteran, he is dedicated to helping them. I asked Irelan what drew him to the Camarillo-based nonprofit. He said his family has a history in the military. His father, Harold, was a Navy veteran in World War II, and his brother […]

Pomegranate flower is no shrinking violet

On the Trail

It probably goes without saying that flowers are a great and instant cheer-up tool. The happy factor is especially keen when some floral wonder comes along that you’ve never encountered or observed closely. So it was with my encounter with a pomegranate. It’s not a particularly melodious name for a plant, and its botanical name— Punica granatum—is even more grating […]

Don’t ignore heart attack symptoms

Other Side of 50

A few weeks ago, as he was walking his dog around his neighborhood, my friend Jerry experienced pain and pressure in his chest. He’d forgotten his cellphone, so he plugged up the hill to his house, stopping four times to catch his breath before arriving home. Once he was inside, the pain subsided and he went about his daily business. […]

To err is human, but to forgive requires divine power

Roots of Faith

In the fourth and final article on the Lord’s Prayer, we cover “Forgive us our trespasses as we forget our trespassers.” It’s the only petition that’s conditional: God’s response to us depends on our actions toward others. Notice the prayer doesn’t say “Forgive us as we seek vengeance on our enemies.” We’re to show the same compassion to others as […]

Jacaranda more than just a pretty face

On the Trail

I saw double as I peered through a sprightly patch of society garlic plants growing in a terraced Thousand Oaks garden. An annoying insect had decided to take a swim in my right eye and was wreaking havoc with my vision. How to fix this? It came to mind that a vigorous sneeze or two might help clear the invader […]

Have a post-vacation assessment celebration

Flying Squirrel

Walking through a store recently, I saw unmistakable proof that we’re nearing the end of the summer: back-to-school sales. While many of us may travel throughout August, those with school-age children are likely seeing this month as the end of the summer vacation season. If you did take a trip this summer, hopefully you had a good time and returned […]

You must remember something to forget it

Family Man

I was just thinking of sharing something about my son, who recently turned 16, and now I forget what it was. I think it was important. Don’t you hate that? You forget something, and because you forgot it, you know it’s something you have to remember like feed the fish or turn off the power before showing your kid how […]

High-flying celebration in Westlake

On the Trail

Nothing too out of the ordinary happens along the greenbelts of the First Neighborhood community in Westlake Village. The lush lawns are meticulously mown, and the many varied trees shed leaves and drop wind-snapped branchlets. Folks walk their dogs, and young parents push baby strollers. Kids ride bikes or scooters or hang upside down from the monkey bars. Adults toting […]

For senior birthdays, the best gift is to give a memory

Other Side of 50

`I recently visited New Hampshire to join my mother in celebrating her 85th birthday. While planning the visit, I asked my mother if she would like to go on a short trip with me—maybe a visit to Cape Cod or to Maine? My mother has temporarily lost her “partner in crime” for outings. My sister is in “grandma mode,” babysitting […]


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