Keeping Love Alive & Well

According to Sonya Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, there are simple but important things we can do to keep love alive and well, especially if we want to avert “hedonic adaptation,” i.e. the tendency among humans to get so used to things that make us feel good that […]

A Dropped Hammer Becomes a Piano!


Bartolomeo Cristoferi had intended to construct a harpsichord, but when his bag of tools fell into the wooden body of the half-finished instrument he was building, he instead changed the course of musical history. The clamor of tiny hammers striking metal strings was unique — deep and grand. Indeed, the sound struck a […]

Happy People, Countries & Jobs

UCLA Anderson Professor Rakesh Sarin, who has extensively studied the science of happiness, has come to the conclusion that “happiness is a choice.” Moreover, he’s found that describing happiness mathematically can help people understand how the daily choices they make can play an important role in levels of happiness. Professor Sarin has devised a mathematical […]

Balancing Act: Work & Family

The debate about balancing career and family sparks up regularly. It’s good. Change takes time and repeated sparks.

In 1989, I was one of nine female graduate students to be awarded a Congressional Fellowship on Women & Public Policy. I had decided to apply for the Fellowship in my last year at the UCLA […]

“Understanding Life” with Anna Deavere Smith

Last week playwright-actress-professor Anna Deavere Smith learned that she had won the Lillian Gish Prize, which is awarded “to a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” The New York Times’ announcement says Smith “burst onto the theater scene […]

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.




Pamela's Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup sugar (I substitute a generous ½ cup coconut sugar or a shy ½ cup honey)

½ cup organic butter (1 stick pulled out earlier in the day to soften)

1 tablespoon molasses […]

A Refuge in the Middle of Los Angeles

Griffith Park lies in the East Santa Monica Mountains, a 4,200-acre area about five miles from Downtown Los Angeles and fifteen from the Pacific Ocean. The park is not landscaped; rather, Griffith Park preserves the chaparral terrain native to California and provides a refuge from the city. The park is home to Griffith Observatory – […]

A Family's Favorite Books in 2012

We went to a sing-a-long two weeks ago at Disney Hall and Julie Andrews was a special guest. Of course, she sang (and we sang-along) “My Favorite Things.” Afterward, I got to thinking if there was one book I had read in 2012 that I could call “my favorite book.” I asked Natalie and William […]

Give Yourself a 30-Minute Gift of Slowing Down


During this busy time of year, when a lot of fun and maybe not-so-fun things get added to an already busy week, it is both rewarding and therapeutic to find ways to stop and catch your breath. Slowing down, even for 30 minutes each day, is a gift of happiness we can give ourselves, […]