Where is the Lean Cuisine aisle?

Wandering through a Beijing supermarket a few days ago, I realized how much I rely on packaged, labelled food to tell me what something is and how to prepare it. And I’m not sure this is a good thing. Fresh fish, meats, noodles, breads, vegetables, mushrooms and fruits arranged in attractive displays, their limited signage […]

Bless You, My Pet

Forget the marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies. In Los Angeles, you can save the calories and feast your eyes on the furry and feathery versions at the city’s Easter tradition, the Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street. Now in its 83rd year, this annual event brings goats, cows, roosters, boa constrictors, iguanas, a brave […]

My Dad’s Four Doors

My father spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling in his last year of life. Parkinson Disease ravaged him from the inside out, shakes giving way to a terrible stiffness in his muscles. It was as though his spine was contracting, drawing the muscles and tendons and ligaments of his neck, arms and […]

Volunteering as Easy as Riding the Bus

The Do Good Bus glided through the wet streets of Inglewood on a January morning, carrying forty volunteers ranging in age from 15 to 65 to a mystery destination. Only the leader, Rebecca Pontius, and the bus driver knew the destination: to Morningside High School and Bennet-Kew Elementary School for a day of tree planting. […]

John Lipinski | June 28, 1936 to December 13, 2012

John Lipinski, 76, died at home of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on December 13, 2012. Born in eastern Pennsylvania, John Lipinski was the youngest child and only son of Peter and Anna Lipinski. Immigrants from Czechoslovakia, his parents came through Ellis Island and his father was a coal miner. John joined the Air Force in […]

Eating an elephant

Years ago, overwhelmed by a divorce, pending move and a stressful job, I was venting to my parents about my crushing workload. When I paused the monologue to take a breath, my dad asked, “Do you know how to eat an elephant?” My teenage years were over, but I still knew how to do a […]

Olympian Goals for the Rest of Us

Grace and power. The Olympic athletes participating in the Summer Olympics in London make the breaststroke and somersaults look effortless, the only giveaway that they’ve pushed their bodies to the extreme is the winner’s heavy breathing in post-event interviews. Two days of watching swimming, gymnastics and synchronized diving and I’m lacing up my running shoes, […]

The Myth of Multitasking

Selective hearing is not just the affliction of teenagers avoiding parental summons. Turns out the human brain is wired to tune in to just one sound at a time, according to UCSF researchers who published their findings in Nature last week.  Some little grey cells right behind our ear actually filter out some sounds in […]

Famous people with dachshunds

Dachshunds always make me smile. If their wiggly walk, big personality and sausage shape don’t draw enough attention, then most doxies will bark loudly to get it. The national dog of Germany, the dachshund (literally “badger dog”) is the smallest dog bred for hunting. They are tenacious and brave, with long ears that usher smells […]