Reflections on Birth Order in My Big Family

I am the fifth out of six children; technically, the fifth out of seven since my little brother, Robert, died just a few hours after his birth. I was 18 months old at the time of his death. From my perspective, there were two sets of kids in our family: the older kids: Leslie, John…

My Morning at the St. Thomas the Apostle “Breakfast Club.”

We have grandbabies with us this evening for an overnight so my post is going to be short and sweet.  Here is my early morning stint at the St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood, “Breakfast Club.”  These fine volunteers are a lot of fun. Cooking breakfast for the homeless is actually a pleasure when surrounded by…

Honey-Sweetened Pineapple Upside Cake for Liz’s Wedding

I made this cake to take with us to Mexico so that Ray and I can have our own “wedding cake” at Liz’s wedding. Clearly, everyone else will be eating a gorgeous one made of sugar. This is a delicious recipe. You can substitute sugar for the 1 1/3 cups of mild honey, but keep…

More Blessed to Give Than Receive

Sometimes money is not what it’s cracked up to be. I have met some of the poorest rich people and some of the richest poor people. The key seems to be to have an external focus. Self-absorption does not a lovely person make. An example of a poverty-stricken rich man was someone I had the…

Fong and His Family Visited Last Night

Last night, my student, Fong, brought his family all the way from Rosemead to thank me for helping him with his medical school essays.  He said that his parents insisted they make the trek so they could express their gratitude to me for my assistance.  Fong will be entering the first year class of Herbert…

Flash Memoir Repost: Teenage Acne, My Sister and Dr. Lily

In 6th grade, my teacher Mrs. Miller pulled me aside in the hall just before lunch. She peered down at me and said, “What are your parents doing about your skin?” I felt my cheeks grow warm and I knew I was blushing. “I just started going to a dermatologist.” My teacher was referring to…

Grandbabies in the Morning: Off to Ojai

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I will be heading out to Sarah and Gregorio’s house in Pasadena to gather up my grandkids, Luna and Nico, and head to Ojai with my daughter Rachael.  (Ray is dropping me in Pasadena before heading up to Ojai with the dogs.) We are going up for the weekend and…

Scholastic Teacher Award

Today I received my “Teacher” Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for having four students who won awards in the Western region for their personal essays.  I have two students who won Gold Keys, the top award, and two who received Honorable Mentions, which is the equivalent of a bronze medal.  In a…