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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Paying It Forward

I donated one of my husband’s wheelchairs to Bonnie, his teacher at Santa Monica College. She brings used mobility devices to Africa each year and was delighted to receive the lightweight chair with big wheels. “It’s perfect for the gravel surfaces in Africa,” she said. I had many happy memories with that wheelchair. We kept

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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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A New Life for an Old Bookcase

I never seem to have enough shelves for books and am constantly looking for spaces in my house to install another bookcase. Last month, I decided I needed one in my bedroom. I scoured new and used furniture stores to find a solid wood bookcase. None seemed to be the right height and width for

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