One of Life's Pleasures: Reading Aloud

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.

Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. – Joseph Campbell

Sometimes we stumble, and we think we can’t stand up again. The power of stories is that they can help us stand up […]

When Food is Love

Nowruz (literally “new day”) is also known as the Persian New Year. It is the day of the vernal equinox, and marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

It usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day, depending on where it is observed.

The moment the sun crosses the celestial equator and […]

“Foreign Girl” — a story inspired by a moment in my life


I leaned in close, with my nose almost touching the mirror above the sink in the tiny bathroom, and stared at the bemused face looking back at me. I squeezed my eyes closed and then opened them. Same girl.

“Ohayo gozaimasu,” I whispered.

Stepping back from the sink, I gathered the long blonde streak […]

A Letter to the Future

We have managed to get through a kitchen project — refreshing our 1950s/1980s kitchen with new user-friendly cabinets, which allowed for a wider countertop (no longer necessary to place flour and sugar bins on kitchen table while baking) and a larger sink (no more splashing on floor when washing baking dishes). Although it sounds straightforward […]

Unexpected Surprises on a Patio Kitchen


I thought I was going to be writing about something else today, but something magical has occurred on the patio and I want to share it with you. Admittedly, two weeks into our six-week patio kitchen adventure, there are moments that feel inconvenient, but I am surprised to say (at least at this moment) […]

Kitchen Re-do Leads to a Patio Adventure

We are in the midst of refreshing our 1947 kitchen with new cabinets, counter and floor. Although a few updates had been made over the years, we knew we were finally ready to expand our cabinet space (freeing up limited counter space). The new cabinets will allow us to retrieve […]

Art and Detecting Come Together

A recent article in The New York Times caught my eye. It was about Amy E. Herman, an expert in visual perception, who has written a book titled Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life. She teaches medical students, business executives, and those who work in local and federal law enforcement how to use […]

Siddhartha's River and Our River

One of the best things about tutoring an inquisitive ninth grader in the humanities – literature and history, writing and global studies – is that I have the opportunity to revisit stories I have read in the distant past, when I was a different person. Doesn’t the passage of time change us at least […]

Eavesdropping on a Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin

It is good to have an end to journey toward,

but it is the journey that matters in the end.

Photo by Marian Wood Kolisch

On a cold and windy Sunday afternoon, Bill and I settled into our seats in UCLA’s Royce Hall to listen to Ursula Le Guin […]

Whistler's First Lesson: Manage Your Palette

If you cannot manage your palette, how are you going to manage your canvas?

“Harmony in Blue and Violet: Miss Finch” 1885

In Glasgow, Scotland, we visited the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery and discovered a treasure trove: The Whistler Collection. Upon James McNeill Whistler’s death in 1903 (b. 1834), […]