Up in Smoke

At a birthday campfire on the beach last July, I gazed into the orange flames and beyond, into a whorled orange sunset that melted sky into sea. I was starting to dissolve into the warm flow, to become one with all that oranginess, when the wind suddenly shifted, and I inhaled a cloud of smoke. The South Coast Air Quality Management District calls it PM 2.5s, or wood-smoke particulates, and it has drawn a lot of attention because of health concerns. My perfect moment was clouded with a somber thought: Is the campfire endangered?  

The Silent Network

It surprises me how noisy an outdoor shopping center can get as mall-goers slow to a parade pace in the service of that primal ritual: checking each other out.

Piercing the Gloom

The real estate agent appears on a Monday, prowling around our picket fence. The air is June-gloomy; it muffles the clippity-clip of her high...

Home at Last

In February 2009, the nation’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent and climbing. As an editorial assistant for two boating magazines based in Irvine, I went to work every morning grim, waiting to be let go. When the day finally arrived and I was sent to pack up my desk, one thought kept running through my mind: “I’ve become a statistic.” ¶A month later, my boyfriend Steve also was laid off, from a far more lucrative job in sales. Rather than panic, we came up with a solution, actually more of an exit plan. We leased out our three-bedroom Laguna Hills home for a year, dispersed everything we owned among friends and family, and left the country. 

The One-Stop Wedding

The path to the altar can turn a betrothed maiden into a bridezilla faster than you can say “I do.” Fittings, tastings, and countless...


When I was a little girl, we’d go to the cemetery in springtime to decorate the graves. My grandmother would put on a sweater...

Janet Evans

The Olympic champion, on her decision to compete against swimmers half her age The irresistibly upbeat three-time Olympian and four-time gold medalist talks the way she...

Restoring Order

Sometimes life sends you down to the crossroads. Twenty years ago this month, I steered a white Pontiac into the intersection of Florence and...

Tax Dollars at Work

Laguna Beach City Hall isn’t our first choice for nightlife, but that’s where we ended up one recent evening.  “Watching our tax dollars at work,”...

My Edgy Life

There are days when the U.S. mail just doesn’t make it to the distant frontiers of North County, not if you inhabit a jurisdictional never-never land between worlds, as some of us do.