Working It Out - Albert Einstein was once asked how he would spend his time if he were given a problem upon which his life depended and he had only one hour to solve it. He responded by saying he would spend 30 minutes analyzing the problem, 20 minutes planning the solution, and 10 minutes executing the solution. I operate in a completely different …
M (OM) A - When I travel to New York City, which is quite often for someone living in California, I pack the usual necessities along with a few luxuries and a lot of cute clothes for my young grandchildren who live there. Also, it's critical to bring the most stylish but comfortable shoes I have in my closet. This last item being a …
Face Off - I recently visited New York and was so busy there with my super-sized days, I didn’t have a chance to see the recently opened Broadway show, “War Paint.” The production tells the story of the rivalry between the cosmetic magnates, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. It’s on my ever-growing to-do list for the next visit. Nevertheless, reading about the musical …
Landline - I had a funny feeling. Friday, February 22, 1966 didn’t start out right. For one thing, this wasn’t the plan. My mom and I had strategized the after-school itinerary before I left for school in the morning. I had a lot on my mind: my eyeliner, for example, hadn’t gone on smoothly. The hem on my mod, mini pleated black-and-grey …
Posthaste - This might surprise you: I have a Master’s Degree in communicative disorders. That translated on a paystub to speech-and-language therapist, and the disorders I expertly remedied were maladies like lisps in the young, stuttering among the adolescent, and aphasia with stroke patients. Now, however, in my retirement from that field, I’m ironically colliding with more and more communicative roadblocks—which I …
In Left Field - It was a great day for women, I suppose. The news came in 1972 that institutions of higher learning were now legally bound to provide equal athletic opportunities for women as they had been doing for male students since Ben Hur drove his chariot around the track at his homecoming game back in the 1st century. Before the federal law …
Boxed In - “Those damn Shapiro girls,” my father said as he drove my mother and me to one of his sibling’s Oakland homes on a Sunday afternoon. “Why don’t those pushy women let my brothers drive through the tunnel to come see us for a goddamn change?” he asked no one in particular. Sitting side by side by side on the front …
Code Blue - I spent most of third grade in the hospital and the rest of my life, up until now, trying to avoid going back to one. Of course, anyone who has given birth in modern America or sat vigil next to a dying parent or a premature baby or explored the stark and sharply lighted and often overcrowded halls of an …
To My Granddaughter - There are a few differences between us: age, of course, is one. You are adorable; I’m presentable. You are short but average for your 3 years; I’m just a runt. You speak two languages, and I can manage only one. You could be a kindergartner when a woman is president of the United States; I was born when Truman was …
A 1967 Rose By Any Other… - Name. He just asked me for mine. He’s so cute and I’m so not worthy. But here we stand, me pulling on my long red hair with one hand, tugging at my mini skirt’s hem with the other. He is shifting his weight from side to side, hands clasped behind his back, in a futile stab at coolness. He doesn’t …
Muddy Waters - Mostly, we came for the music. Our Southern Music Crawl, how we pre-labeled this recent adventure, took my husband and me on a two-week expedition through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I now have securely cemented in my cortex both the spelling of these 3 states and their locations on the U.S. map. Prior to this adventure, both tasks were equally …
I’ve Been Framed - Can I see a show of hands? Who here has been to an art museum in any city in the world, stood in line for over an hour--maybe longer if you are expecting to see that blockbuster show? I’m talking about that exhibition, you know the one: The A-listed spectacular depicted on the flamboyant screens that are hanging off the …
Driver’s Ed - Walk on By You can take the A train. I, however, prefer to drive. It’s part of the double helix of my DNA…the molecular structure based on growing up in California. That and the fact that except for the sporadic Saturday excursions to the miles-from-home shopping district via the local Greyhound Bus, I knew nothing first hand about public transit. …
Livin’ The Dream - You know how this works. You are 8 years old and have your whole life ahead of you. There is no question whatsoever that you can realize your dreams just by remaining alive and getting through third grade. Career-path fantasies like becoming a fireman or a ballet dancer if you are a boy—an astronaut or a rock star if you …
Pop Up - My mother had a favorite dish she often made for dinner for my dad and me. She was the first to admit that domestic talents eluded and bored her. Ever a good judge of character, I must now concur with her self-assessment. She was, however, a formidable raconteur. And, at our dinner table—or over entrees set on floral-patterned metallic TV …
Reality Check - While I’m getting my nails done, my manicurist, Kim, whom I’ve known for 18 years, tells me that she’s just seen the movie, "The Revenant." I don’t know why I asked her what she thought of it because her movie review will be communicated to me in heavily accented, broken English through a face mask with a background din of …
Window Dressing - I have a love-hate relationship with the 5 train. For those unfamiliar with the New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority, this is the express train that runs from my frequented Brooklyn station to my usual Manhattan destination: 59th Street. Full disclosure to prevent possible eye rolling while reading this: I am a Californian and a frequent visitor to New York. Maybe …
In Other Words - I've been mulling over why so many authors I’ve recently read insert a foreign word into the middle of a sentence when there are plenty of good English ones to choose from. It may speak to my choice of authors, but it seems to be a trend. One that is almost as startling to me as why I’ve decided to …