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 […]

My dad, the feminist

I was born in 1969’s ‘summer of love’ and learned how to walk and throw tantrums while women across the United States read Betty Friedan and fought for equal pay for equal work, the right to practice law or sit on a jury. For little girls like me, doors were being opened that had been […]

Dinosaurs, bottles and cans

No one in North Hollywood collects cans and bottles with more style and whimsy than this man. My Spanglish was good enough to get a shy smile and permission to snap his photo in my apartment building garage, but not enough to get the story behind the diorama featuring Jesus, dinosaurs and ponies on his […]

Slow down and breathe

Two minutes of running as a beginner and I was gasping for air. How did people run for a mile? I couldn’t make it around the block. I asked my fast-footed sister for advice. “You’ve got to slow your breathing down,” she said. I had no idea how to do that, but on my next […]

Communication Breakdown, It’s Always the Same

In my job at ICANN, I have the privilege of traveling around the world for our thrice-yearly meetings, and year-round I get to meet and work with people from every continent. The biggest barrier is typically and unsurprisingly language — my three years of high school Spanish don’t take me very far even in Los […]

Brownies with Greek Yogurt

I’ve been experimenting this week with healthy versions of delicious treats, and these brownies are a knock-out. Vanilla greek yogurt adds protein but no fat, and gives the brownies a dense, rich texture. Ingredients Vegetable spray 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/4 cups wheat flour 2 cups granulated sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1 egg […]

Avoiding that Peaceful, Sleepy Feeling While Driving

In cities with a lot of traffic, road rage gets all the media attention. But I’m more regularly afflicted with a more peaceful, sleepy feeling when stuck on Los Angeles’ great bottleneck, the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. There’s a mile-long stretch that can take 20 minutes or more to lurch your way through […]