1 of 200+ Abraham Lincolns


Note from Pamela: Did you know that there are over 200 statues of Abraham Lincoln in the United States? (Only four are on the west coast.) Malena, who I tutor in history and the humanities (literature, philosophy, art) fell in love with Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ statue of Lincoln. So…I suggested she research the story […]

Teatime Keeps the Grumpies Away

Natalie and Malena

This year you will be seeing some Guest Posts by Malena, who Natalie and I tutored in math and humanities last year. She is in ninth grade this year and I have the good fortune to still be her humanities tutor… and to have regular teatimes with her 🙂 Here […]

Older = Wiser?

University of Glasgow’s “Blackstone Chair” — From 1451 until the mid 19th century, students took oral exams seated on the Black Stone, a slab of stone. The stone was embedded in an oak chair in 1775-6. Once the sand flowed through (20 minutes), time was up! The chair is still used for the […]

Skipping Middle School Taught Us...

It’s been six years since our family made the bold decision to “skip middle school” and home school Natalie during her 7th and 8th grade years. At the time, some people questioned our judgement. One mother asked, “What about high school? If you do this, won’t Natalie have a hard time getting into a good […]

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.




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 […]