Last week, I went back to California for the first time since we moved to Maryland in September. The Bay Area south of San Francisco remains unchanged: still beautiful with its sunlight and winter green hills; still frustrating with its traffic and congestion; still costly to live and wine and dine in. Nevertheless, as the…

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My sister and I are sitting on opposite sides of the table in a drafty Vietnamese restaurant, slurping up bowls of Pho, on the afternoon before New Year’s Eve. We are each consulting our disintegrating copies of The Key To Chinese Cooking, authored by Irene Kuo. In the midst of planning what we are calling…

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Recently, I was asked to do a Q & A for another writer’s blog, and one of the questions was very thought-provoking. “If there was one person, dead or alive, that you could spend an afternoon with, who would it be and why?” I considered my answer with care. All of my initial responses seemed…

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To be misunderstood is one of the more difficult experiences we all face. It happens to every one of us at one time or another. How one deals with it speaks to both our self-confidence, and our willingness to take a risk. Will we continue to reach out in a positive way, despite having been…

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Sometimes life sends us curveballs. Just when we are least expecting it, a new situation arises, be it good or bad, and we are left scrambling. Not so long ago, I was talking with a friend whose older sister had died suddenly quite some time ago, and who was having difficulty coming to terms with…

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In 1989, my husband and I moved from the New York suburbs to those in the Bay Area south of San Francisco. For me, thirty-six years of “home” had been on the East Coast–but the lure of a new and lucrative job beckoned him. He was ambitious. I was reluctant. Where would you like to…

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Early spring is here in Northern California. In my last newsletter two weeks ago, the daffodils were nodding their cheery yellow faces at the wind, but now they have gone past and are only little wrinkled heads on the top of long green stalks. However, my neighbor’s magnolia trees hold out boughs on which perch…

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A number of weeks ago I wrote about the four “A”s that fulfill the needs of our hearts: Attention, Affection, Appreciation and Acceptance. My Thanksgiving newsletter, “Turning the Wild Animals Loose,” described the ways in which I have often had trouble accepting the problems that come my way. Since then, I have been working on…

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In September of 2014, Bespotted appeared in the bookstores. My close friends, and both new and old readers, congratulated me on a job well done. To my surprise, Amazon recommended the book as a “Hot New Release,” my publisher took it back for a second printing, dog lovers bought it, and I received a lot…

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