Blog
Personal
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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 …

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Personal

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 …

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Writing

Setting 101 at Sleuthfest 2014

Sleuthfest 2014 in Orlando had some great panels on mystery and thriller writing, but two of my favorites were about creating and describing the perfect setting for your novel. When it comes to writing about locations, fiction writers find themselves in a dialogue with their readers. They are describing streets …

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Personal

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 …

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Personal
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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 …

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Los Angeles

Things to do in NoHo in 2014

New year, new experiences. And my North Hollywood neighborhood has lots of new and stand-out restaurants, shops, theatres and studios to try out this year. Here are ten I’m going to put on my list for 2014.  Bob’s Espresso Bar, 5251 Lankershim Blvd (at Weddington) Cute little coffee house with …

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Personal

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 …

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Personal
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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 …

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Writing

Molasses to honey

My first draft writing comes out like molasses, thick and slow, trying my patience and my will. The second draft flows easier, like honey squeezed out of those plastic, bear-shaped bottles at the grocery store. Will my third draft be maple syrup? I wish for words to flow like water.

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PR

Public relations as aikido

In martial arts, aikido stands out for its emphasis on leveraging opposing forces, not just for defense but also to protect the attacker from harm. Its practice demands flexibility, a calm mind, endurance and compassion. It is the opposite of a stand your ground and shoot someone mentality – it …

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