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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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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Creating Order Out of Disorder

I get an inordinate amount of joy from organizing my closets and drawers. Since retirement, I have gone through almost every inch of the house to declutter and simplify. I don’t hold each item to see if it sparks joy and there is nothing magical about my process. It’s really a diversion to keep me

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Being Present for 1 Minute, 55 Seconds

I was in Nashville for the solar eclipse on August 21 and it was everything I had hoped it would be – there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the spectacular display. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of crowds and visibility so I left my husband at home with the caregiver. Even long-time

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The Allure of the Open Road

I have always loved long road trips and the tingle of excitement at the thought of the open road. When my husband and I graduated from UCSB, we threw all our belongings into his Datsun pickup and drove from Santa Barbara to Chicago to begin our stints as VISTA volunteers. I remember the exhilaration and

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