Blog

Thank a Veteran Today

November 11, 2021

Those of us born in the years immediately after World War II grew up surrounded by  Veterans. There was a framed photograph of many a “Dad” in uniform quietly on display in many a living room. More often, though, photos, and medals, service ribbons, and dog tags were tucked away in a desk or dresser…

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Shouldn’t we all be curious?

September 9, 2021

A couple of weeks ago my daughter asked me what book she could read to help her understand what’s going on in The Middle East. Ha! One book? My instant response was to ask her which Middle East she wanted to understand: Israel and the Palestinian conflict? Syria and its civil war? Yemen and its…

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1984 to 2005

August 12, 2021

I’m still peeking into–and tossing away–old calendars. What a difference a decade makes! In 1984, the nest was somewhat empty (A recent college grad camped out on the third floor is not a child who needs driving around or taking care of—and is actually pretty nice to have around.) And I was cutting back on freelance work….

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1984

August 3, 2021

What ever possessed me to lug ten-plus pounds of old planner books along when we moved across the country? In fact, why did I save them from one year to the next? Was it a fantasy that some day someone would want to write my biography—a compulsion freeze time in amber—insurance against lost memories? Did…

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Mrs. Penfire Opens a Time Capsule

July 18, 2021

I recently discovered a time capsule hidden in a box on the back of a closet shelf—Great Grandma’s recipes. When my husband’s grandmother died in 1987, her recipe collection was handed on to me. An ancient My Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (© 1930) so crammed with clippings, handwritten recipes, and various commercial recipe leaflets, that…

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Mrs. Penfire–Ever Persistent

July 12, 2021

It’s not easy trying to save the world. But Mrs. Penfire is persistent, if not entirely successful (as least, not yet). “They’re called trees!” On Earth Day, April 22, the LA Times ran contradictory stories that set her jumping up and down on her keyboard. She was pleasantly surprised when that letter was published three…

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BETTER? OR WORSE?

April 27, 2021

It is disheartening, to say the least, to sit down at the kitchen table with your first cup of coffee, scan the headlines of your morning paper, and see that one of your favorite places—and favorite views—overlooks a toxic waste dump. That was my experience this morning, and I am still trying to wrap my…

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One Year in 150 Words

March 17, 2021

On February 28, the letters editor of the Los Angeles Times requested submissions summarizing readers’ thoughts on the past year of life during the coronavirus pandemic. I was inspired to condense the swirling chaos in my brain to 150 relatively coherent words.   The Times has published many readers’ letters. But not mine. So I…

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Mrs. Penfire Writes a Letter

December 12, 2020

Back in October Mr. Penfire and I were both pretty astounded by a segment on the NBC News entitled “Black Americans in ‘Cancer Alley’ Disproportionately Exposed to Toxic Pollution.”https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/black-americans-in-cancer-alley-disproportionately-exposed-to-toxic-pollution-94107205554  This story is all too familiar: A massive conglomerate is using its power and deep pockets to inflict severe damage on a poor community. The story…

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Diaries

November 30, 2020

I just sent away for another “Day-at-a-Glance” calendar. Don’t ask me why. I always start a new year with the best of intentions. I will keep a diary…of sorts. Why do I continue to entertain the delusion that I can…or should… or will…do this? Faithfully writing down what happened each day and my thoughts (which,…

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