Thu04242014

Enlightened California: No Shoes, Please

I recently read a newspaper article about the newly adopted sex-education curriculum in the state of Mississippi. In the city of Oxford, the following exercise is included: Students pass around a Peppermint Patty chocolate and observe how spoiled it becomes in the handling. The condition of the candy is purportedly illustrative of how sullied and worthless a girl becomes when she engages in sexual activity.

I thought the drill was appalling, and a basic waste of time. But in a somewhat lazy analysis on my end, I surmised that this is, after all, Mississippi – part of the backward-thinking, conservative South, not known for an outstanding educational system to begin with.

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A time to keep, a time to give away: Haugh About That?

On what’s typically considered to be the most important day in a young woman’s life, I stood in my long white dress, terrified about the vow I was about to take. Then he walked into the room and took my breath away.

Proudly smiling and looking handsome in his new navy-blue suit, the first man I ever loved engulfed me in his usual bear hug, asking, “Honey, are you ready?”

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Birthday greetings

In the third grade, kids called me the “Earth Trumbler.” “Trumbler” is a combination of the words “tremble” and “rumble,” and the claim was that I was so fat, the ground did both when I walked. Although several classmates used the term, the boy who coined it, David, addressed me that way more often and with relish.

That particular year, I was sick on my birthday. However, my mother had already baked cupcakes the night before, so she sent them to school anyway via my older sister.

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The mysterious force in Los Altos: The Rockey Road

Shh ... it’s a secret. No it isn’t! I recently read a story in another paper asking if Google cash were behind the Los Altos downtown makeover and why. My first thought was, “Who cares?” We are an intelligent group in a small town where it is very difficult to keep secrets, and we can do the math.But is it necessary? Don’t we have other things to do?

If someone wants to bring vibrancy to our sleepy town, anonymously, then let them and stop talking about it. I’m tired of reading about this, yet here I am writing about it, but only to point out the ridiculousness of it all. Not long ago, before Passerelle Investment Co. blew into town, residents were complaining because downtown was drab and shutting down before sunset. Our storefronts were dated and we had too few restaurants from which to choose. Lease rates were so high that it was next to impossible for small businesses to pop up a shop and find out if we wanted what they had to offer. Now, it’s difficult to find parking because things are beginning to bustle, and that’s a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

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Living with oneself: Haugh About That?

Clenching my fingers around the opposite wrist, ceasing the flow of blood to my fingertips, I stood stiff, muscles tense, and rolled my eyes in insolent teenage fashion. This was one showdown I was determined to win.

“No, Mom,” I declared. “I don’t want Paula at my slumber party.”

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Excavating a life: A Piece of My Mind

My husband’s mother, known to friends and family as “Dimi,” died at age 102. I went with my husband to help arrange funeral services and reacquaint ourselves with family. We stayed in his boyhood bedroom in his mother’s abandoned house in Pennsylvania.

The house had been rented for a year to a family connection, who had used the first floor. Nearly all Dimi’s belongings had been moved to the second floor. They included a couple of bedrooms’ worth of furniture, a couple of closets full of her clothes, plus boxes and baskets of documents, oddments, gewgaw and bric-a-brac.

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Isabella: The Rockey Road

This has been a tough week for my family. Our sweet dog, Isabella, is dying, and any day now we will be saying goodbye to her forever. She is still mentally alert and seemingly happy, but her agility has long passed and it seems to be tugging at her to follow in its path to nonexistence.

Coming to terms with the impending death of our dog has been forced upon us and, though cruel, it is a reality we must face. Death is part of life and, in Isa’s case, life is part of death. She is a Bernese mountain dog weighing in at 105 pounds. Tall and lean with very long legs, she is a supermodel in the Berner world. Stretched from back paw to front paw, she is nearly as tall as I am and probably as strong. Yet, she never pulled me on our walks, unless you count the time she darted toward her doggy friend next door, dragging me across their lawn with the greatest of ease. This beautiful body of a dog can no longer be supported by those long muscular legs, but her mind, so far, seems unscathed. Isa has, most likely, a spinal tumor and her body seems to have died while her will persists.

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