A grown-up holiday manifesto

My two sons are grown and long out on their own. Yesterday the younger one texted me: “Is there anything you and Dad want for Christmas?” My heart sank a little bit. Sure, gift giving is fun, but how did this artificial extravaganza of exchanging stuff get to be...

Damage Control: A Fable about Politics and Dirty Tricks

“Damage Control” – a short satirical play about a fictional senator facing a tough press conference on the eve of a dirty political campaign with grave consequences for civil rights – debuted in 2015, but is particularly relevant in the wake of the 2016...

How to give a loved one permission to die

“You need to give her permission to go,” Maxine, the hospice nurse urged us. We were gathered at my grandmother’s home for a final visit. Coming together for this purpose was sad but it was also more joyful than I could have imagined. We sat with her and shared...

The day my world changed

It was a blistering August day in Los Angeles. I fled the heat with my newborn son for that haven of air conditioned air: The mall. Shopping wasn’t an option — funds were tight for our little family. But the cool air and wide walkways were free (to us) and I could...

The value of not knowing things

In my family, whenever a question arises that we don’t know the answer to, someone will invariably say, mock-wistfully, “If only there was a way to find out!” – usually while everyone is already reaching for their phones, gunslinger style, to see who’s fastest...

OMG! I’m gonna die!

Sitting in the open door of the airplane. Nearly fourteen thousand feet below my dangling toes, the lovely Washington coast is a green and blue abstract. I know I am going to die. And I couldn’t be happier. From the time we first encounter death – usually the...

Turning 60: A letter to my 50-year-old self

I turned 60 today and there are some things I wish I could have told my 50-year-old self. She was so worried. Dear me, Hey there, 50! It’s me, 60. Still alive, as you can see. You spent the whole year leading up to your 50th birthday in a stew of worry: What tortures...

What you should never call an older person

I mean it. Stop it right now. I know you meant it as a compliment, but it’s not. When people call me “young at heart” they mean something like active, adventurous, creative, involved. How remarkable for someone who is, well, (whispered) old! Calling an old person...
Warm Cookies: The World’s Most Powerful Substance

Warm Cookies: The World’s Most Powerful Substance

I play in a band. What does this have to do with warm cookies, you ask? Patience, grasshopper. We’ll get there. It was just three days before an important gig when my amp started acting up — crackling and buzzing instead of nice clean music. I called my local repair...