My Summer at the Beach

  My summer was filled with momentous events – a trip to Russia, a keynote speech at the Well Spouse Association in Las Vegas and a visit to Seattle where my book was a finalist for the Nancy Pearl Book Award for Best Memoir. But one of my favorite activities was (and still is) walking

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Carving a New Path

I bought these hiking boots in February in anticipation of my hike on the Camino de Santiago trail in late April. For two months, I wore them every day, to the grocery store, on neighborhood walks and on conditioning hikes at Will Rogers State Park. I experimented with socks with different thicknesses to find the

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My Room With a View

  I spent a week in Tuscany at a writer’s retreat with this lovely view from my bedroom window. I arrived after a whirlwind of travel and sightseeing: hiking the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain, visiting quaint Dutch towns in the Netherlands, and exploring Renaissance art in Florence. I was scattered in thought and feeling

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A Repurposed Yoga Studio

  In 2001, we tore down our freestanding garage and built a new one with a bonus room on the second story. Our boys were teenagers then and our 1,100 square foot home felt too tiny, bursting with books and toys and sports equipment. It took months to find an architect, agree on materials for

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Paying It Forward

I donated one of my husband’s wheelchairs to Bonnie, his teacher at Santa Monica College. She brings used mobility devices to Africa each year and was delighted to receive the lightweight chair with big wheels. “It’s perfect for the gravel surfaces in Africa,” she said. I had many happy memories with that wheelchair. We kept

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Knee Deep in Quilts

  When I was growing up in Salinas, my sisters would spend hours at Beverly Fabrics on Main Street, browsing through Butterick and Simplicity pattern books and choosing fabrics. I walked the few blocks to the public library and immersed myself in the young adult section. I hated the sewing arts. I got a “D” on

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A Bit of Family History

I visited the Holiday Marketplace at Self Help Graphics and Art, a community arts center in East LA, last weekend. A woodblock print of migrant workers boarding a bus caught my eye, especially the sign behind the bus that said, “Monte Mart.” “That’s the name of the store our family owned in Salinas,” I told

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Solitude Double Solitude

It has been six months since my husband died. I am learning to “lie back in the generous comfort of solitude,” as Donald Hall wrote in his essay, “Solitude Double Solitude.” I have never lived alone and am slowly getting used to the benefits of a solitary life. Books and magazines remain on the coffee

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A Heartfelt Thank You

Two hours before my book launch/publication party at Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood, I was nervous and pacing the living room. My book is out there in the world and everyone can read my innermost thoughts and struggles. What if no one shows up for the reading? What if I’m just reading to the toddlers on

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