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Magnificent magnolias

On the Trail

It was a tough, tumultuous winter for plants and gardeners alike. The wind and cold were challenging, and while the rain was a rare gift, too much of it proved to be a nuisance for some plants that began to rot due to lack of proper drainage. There were also large trees softened by moisture and taken down by wind. […]

Paying more attention to details pays off

Other Side of 50

My husband is a finance guy, a CPA with a master’s in taxation. He is, by all accounts, a meticulous, detail-oriented individual. It’s nice to have one of those in a family. At least one of us should be reading the dishwasher manual when it malfunctions, checking a contract’s fine print before signing and making sure the stove is turned […]

The many highs and lows of caregiving

Other Side of 50

Recently my mother returned home to New Hampshire after two wonderful weeks visiting me and my husband here in California. I had lots of goals for the visit, and we accomplished many of them. Two remarkable things happened that I did not plan for. Because we finally had some quality time together, my mother opened up about some of the […]

From state of pure despair to PTSD healing

Veterans Connection

In a drunken stupor at the age of 18, I punched through a window. I have several scars on my arm from that incident almost 30 years ago. Part of the arm is still numb. Because some nerves were damaged it is a wound that never healed. But does it bother me in my day-to-day life? Not at all. I’m […]

When Alexa rules the house

Family Man

The siren-loud noise of indie pop at 5 in the morning on a Saturday was not what I wanted at 5 in the morning on a Saturday. My 15-year-old son tends to sleep through his alarm, which is why he continues to raise the volume from time to time. But why the alarm on a Saturday? “Sometimes Alexa does that, […]

Bucket list includes low water bill when it rains

Hot Flashes

“Can you throw in some big chunks of beef?” Peering over my shoulder as I’m stirring aromatic stuff in a massive soup pot, Mr. Fixit expressed his concern. “Big chunks?” I ask. “What am I, feeding lions at the zoo?” In truth, it’s just a cow-starved husband who could give a rat’s patootie about whole grains or antioxidants. The only […]

Vandals trash community park sapling

On the Trail

Why is it that some people visit parks to find contentment while others choose to commit mayhem? The butchery of a young Palo Verde tree at Wendy Park in Newbury Park made me ponder this painful conundrum. I hail originally from a busy, grimy Northeastern city where the notion of a life in the suburbs was so remote we couldn’t […]

The result of God’s love certainly no mystery to believers

Roots of Faith

Mysteries are stories in which a crime or puzzle is solved. St. Paul referred to the gospel he preached as a “mystery.” Any connection? The dictionary defines “mystery” as “a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot be fully understood.” Theology is how finite human creatures attempt to explain their infinite Creator. How did God create […]

We don’t do winter well in SoCal

Hot Flashes

Holy icicles, Batman! I think Mother Nature subbed Martha Stewart on the frost detail this morning. Our lawn looked like fondant overload, tempting a lick until my fingers froze and my cheeks cracked. A cold snap has kicked our California cool in the derriere, leaving our outdoor kitchens soaked by endless drizzle. In this green valley where flip-flops are perennial […]

Upside of downpour seen in cloud show

On the Trail

There were some colossal and astounding cumulus cloud formations above the Las Virgenes and Conejo valleys following the explosive thunder and lightning show on Jan. 31. Oh yeah, there was rain, too, but the precipitation was overshadowed by the peal of house-shuddering thunder that drowned out the alarm’s 7 a.m. wake-up call and the sudden flashes of brilliant light flooding […]


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