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Cool breeze under cottonwood trees

On the Trail

As summer finally gets real about its true intent—withering heat after a dank gray spring— we are suddenly tasked with locating an immediate place to cool down to avoid meltdown. The recent arrival of climbing temps has the perspiring masses beseeching the weather gods for relief. I’m among the beseechers, only weeks after grousing mightily about the protracted June gloom […]

Seeking physical, spiritual bread in our daily prayer life

Roots of Faith

In the third part of our series on the Lord’s Prayer, we start with the petition “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” What is God’s will? The prophet Micah says, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your god” (Micah 6:8b NIV). When […]

A cheesy burger salute

Hot Flashes

I have tan lines on my feet from flip-flops, my bank account is empty from heating the pool, I reek of sunblock and margaritas, and I’m sleeping in the buff. It must be summer—aka cheeseburger season, baby. Just to clarify, there are five official seasons: fall, winter, spring, summer and now, the holy season of the everlasting cheeseburger. So why […]

Mysterious ‘bird’ takes fanciful full flight from reality

On the Trail

High above the tallest spires of the pines that line Erbes Road heading out toward Sunset Hills in Thousand Oaks, a mysterious bird-like creature sailed. It was so far overhead that detail was indistinct, other than it had a long, thin, curlicue tail, was as tawny-golden as a pheasant and had an unusual shape. Seen from the disadvantage of extreme […]

Longtime friends can offer wise counsel

Other Side of 50

I’ve trained my mom to be a case manager for seniors. Well, not really, but linking our daily conversations along with her 85 years of life experience, my mom can give some pretty good advice when asked. Mom has known her close friend Bernadette since high school. They both married their hometown sweethearts and the two couples moved and bought […]

Is too-good-to-be-true travel ever good?

Flying Squirrel

Your home phone rings. You check the caller ID but you don’t recognize the number. It’s a local area code, so maybe it’s someone you’d want to speak with. You pick up. There’s a pause, after which an overly peppy person shares news that should make your day: “Hello, I’m calling to let you know you’ve won a free trip!” […]

Camping an interim housing option for vets

Veterans Connection

Living at Ventura County campgrounds is a viable option for homeless veterans. This is true especially if the veteran is able to obtain a Distinguished Veteran pass, available through California State Parks, or an Access Pass, available through the National Park Service. I didn’t plan on full-time camping. I was trying to buy a house with a VA loan. This […]

Seeing double: ophthalmologist and I don’t see eye to eye

Family Man

I’d just removed my dog’s poop from the lawn, and my wife had me standing there holding the bag until I answered her question. If I hadn’t said yes, I’d probably still be there while we debated since she stood between the trash can and me. “Fine, I’ll get my eyes checked.” I’m Italian and rely heavily on hand gestures […]

Game of thorns

On the Trail

I’ve always been a handweeder, with help from my uncles— Uncle Pitchfork, Uncle Machete and Uncle Mattock. On a recent stormy Sunday, I and my crew of bad-plant bashers teetered on the weed-smothered slope behind my friend Jet’s fire-incinerated lot at Seminole Springs in rural Agoura. I was trying to remember the exact moment I thought volunteering for weed abatement […]

Take care of things back home while on the road

Flying Squirrel

There’s something about a summer vacation. The annual experience of unwinding from our daily lives, discovering new destinations and leaving our cares behind. Ah, bliss. Wait, back up a minute. Leaving our cares behind? Cares like the house? the pets? the plants? What am I going to do with those? I can’t go on vacation! What was I thinking? OK, […]


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