Value confusion

I’m more accustomed to hearing about values being talked about in a set – I’m thinking mainly of politicians touting “family values” and “American values” – as though there is some established list everyone who is important has agreed to. It also makes me think about times I’ve heard the word used as window dressing […]

Nirvana: Yup, that’s the voice of my generation

I was angry in the early 1990s Los Angeles. My new college degree in business wasn’t helping me find a job in California’s deep recession and weak recovery. I was working two part-time jobs — one doing car insurance quotes on the phone and the other working as a receptionist in a Malibu doctor’s office, […]

Turning sexism upside down

A handful of North American women pastors and church leaders sparked a great Twitter conversation Friday night with a simple technique. They wrote down all the discouraging, sexist things people said to them along their career path. Then they replaced “she” with “he” and “woman” with “man.” A sample: The meme was just too delicious […]

A curious Mom

May 5 is my mother’s birthday — happy birthday, Rosemary Rosick Lipinski! — and when I think of my favorite things about her, I think about her lifelong sense of curiosity. It has been one of her best gifts she’s given me (besides the decades of devotion and financial and emotional support, and the Barbie […]

Pysanky

One of my favorite Easter memories is making pysanky with my parents, sister and friends. We stood at the stove for hours, carefully applying melted candle wax in patterns on hard-boiled eggs, using a straight pin from my mother’s sewing room stuck into the eraser of a wooden pencil as our stylus. In between layers of […]

Spring in SoCal

“I guess it’s spring, I don’t know, it’s always 75 degrees with no melting snow,” Jenny Lewis of Los Angeles’ band Rilo Kiley sings plaintively in one of my favorite songs, Does He Love You? And I know what she means. If it weren’t for the bright floral dresses at the mall and the marshmallow […]

Malacca’s Red Paint Mystery

With 500 years of history as a spice trading town, Malacca, along with sister city Georgetown, was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, and that’s how it popped up on my radar of a good weekend trip from Singapore. Malacca’s sunbaked, salmon red Dutch buildings beamed out of photos like a beacon saying, […]

Echeveria envy

I envy the echeverias in a garden by where I work. They are stunningly beautiful, with red ruffled tips extended from green bases, growing in concentric circles in a dozen unique patterns. Every circular cluster has a different geometry and a different balance. Some reproduce little rosettes in orderly circles, others produce them randomly, unevenly. They […]

Would Buddha have worn noise-canceling headphones?

“Hear what you want to hear,” proclaims one television ad for noise-canceling headphones, showing professional athletes walking through jeering crowds but still at peace thanks to sound-proofing technology. We already focus our eyes on little screens in front of us, so covering our ears is a natural extension of the technology bubble we live in. […]

Eight things that surprised me in 2013

Remember those golden years when you thought you knew everything? This year was not one of them for me. 2013 was full of surprises. Here are eight of them. The Catholic Church is evolving. I’d figured it for a lost cause, a musty, judgmental church darkened by terrible scandals. And then, a Pope resigns! The […]