Do You Know Mary Katherine Goddard?

Pamela’s Note: Natalie and I are so lucky to have a delightful student this year, who we tutor in math (Natalie) and humanities (Pamela). Malena is being home schooled during eighth grade, so that she can delve into the pleasure of learning this year (without the stress of peer pressure). We eagerly look forward to […]

Are You Doing Too Much Homework?

“Race to Nowhere” is a powerful documentary that has brought to light the negative and frightening consequences of high-pressure schools, where numerous hours of homework, stringent (and not necessarily illuminating) AP courses, and high GPAs are the ultimate goal. The film continues to be screened around the country stirring up conversation and […]

Our Kitchen Leads to Oatmeal Cookies!


Our kitchen is yellow and orange, warm like the sunlight that streams through the windows at five o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and hits the side of my face as I sit at the table, puzzling over a quadratic equation or flourishing a green highlighter over Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.




Mysterious Gifts

I’ve been thinking about “gifts” lately, and the different kinds of gifts we can give one another. There are of course the tangible gifts we give each other on birthdays and other holidays. It can be fun to select a present for someone special in our lives. But, I’ve also been thinking about intangible gifts […]

Sherlock Holmes Meets the Amazing Mary Russell

I met mystery author Laurie R. King during the production of Mysterious California, my parents’ 2008 documentary.

Laurie and Natalie on set of “Mysterious California”

Now, five years later, I have discovered Ms. King’s wonderful Mary Russell series.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice begins the series with 15-year-old Mary Russell meeting the retired Sherlock Holmes […]

Peeking Inside Windows & Frames

Summer of 1990, New York — Our documentary film budget was tight and so we were staying in a budget hotel. The hotel’s one redeeming feature was a fantastic Italian restaurant on the adjoining corner. After a delicious dinner, we dreaded returning to our tiny room that demonstrated the owner’s utter lack of interest in […]

LISTEN & SILENT Have the Same Letters

I love to listen to my wind chimes

Seth S. Horowitz, an auditory neuroscientist at Brown University wrote an article for the NY Times titled “The Science and Art of Listening (11/11/12), which caught my eye (and ear).

He says, “’You never listen’ is not just the complaint of a problematic relationship.”

In […]

A Surprising Witness to the End of the Civil War

After a trip to Charleston, South Carolina in the spring of my eighth grade year, I wrote about what I had learned about the Civil War both from our trip and reading non-fiction and fiction texts about the tumultuous time. One text was a storybook titled “The Silent Witness: A True Story of the Civil […]

Rembrandt's Diary

Rembrandt at age 63, self-portrait

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Until recently, when I would hear somebody mention Rembrandt, only one thing came to mind, “Oh yes, the artist.” That was all I knew: Rembrandt was an artist in another place at another time. Then I took a class […]

Seeing Something that Hasn't Been Seen for 400 Years

Zhenya Gershman in her studio


Sometimes we only see what we’ve been told to see. What if there is something entirely different to see?

During 7th grade, Natalie and I enrolled in a magnificent class on the artist Rembrandt with Zhenya Gershman, an artist-educator who was teaching at the Getty Center at […]