A Piece of My Mind: Opportunity knocks again

Some decades ago I was a stay-at-home mom, but planning to return to work as soon as my toddlers entered primary school. However, the teaching career I had prepared for was undergoing a slump – the baby boom had become the baby bust, and schools were closing all around. I decided to get re-educated. Fortunately, at that time even a single-income family could afford the $5-per-unit fee for community college.

The local community college offered a special certification as a medical translator, which appealed to me, as it offered a decent work environment and an element of helping people. But the course presumed a knowledge of basic Spanish greater than I had picked up as a kid on the playground. Learning medical vocabulary wasn’t going to be very helpful if I was ignorant of how to fit the words into sentences. Scratch that idea.

No Shoes, Please: Red, white and blue

I was never bothered by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the pre-game playing of the national anthem. I thought he had every right to do it, and I didn’t correlate the gesture to disrespecting our country or the military. Absent his choice of socks, I regarded Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and racial inequality to be peaceful and dignified – in its own way, even subtle.

Many, including our president, disagree and are attempting to force the NFL into a stark choice: Players either stand during the national anthem or face suspension or dismissal. Personally, I don’t think it’s part of President Donald Trump’s purview to inform the league what constitutes a fireable offense. An owner has the right to fire or not to sign Kaepernick. An owner also can allow peaceful dissent on the field if he so chooses. Trump should stay out of the matter entirely – the NFL is not an arm of the federal government after all.

New point of view on the valley

For years, the inscrutable gray monolith had loomed over us from the summit of the forbidden mountain. Now the curse has been lifted, the prohibition ended – how could we not hurry to visit the newly opened summit of Mount Umunhum?

When I moved to the Peninsula, Mount Umunhum was an off-limits Air Force base, directing the surveillance of the wasp-tailed submarine chasers flying out of Moffett Field. With the end of the Cold War, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District purchased the summit and its surroundings, but it was still off-limits, poisoned by toxic waste left from its radar and other installations. The Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 damaged the radar tower, making the location still more hazardous.

Haugh About That?: Not my problem

As my younger brother Tim frantically searched the house for his high school history paper due the following day, I rolled my eyes in disgust. This wasn’t the first time the dog ate his homework. It was a habitual occurrence, and, being his older sister who fixed all of life’s mishaps, he tried to make it my issue, too.

“Jackie, have you seen it?” he hollered, rummaging through the papers strewn all over his bed and on the floor. “I need your help!”

No Shoes, Please: A thousand cranes

Rei Kubokawa, fashion designer and founder of Comme des Garcons, is known for her avant-garde designs and taciturn demeanor. She has been described as intense, deep and serious; she refers to her annual runway collections as “an exercise in suffering.” When asked how she would like to be remembered, Kubokawa’s response was, “I want to be forgotten.”

She is so Japanese.

The Villaj Idiut: Starting over after Hurricane Irma

I met Stacy and Shay Mulcare more than 30 years ago in Baltimore. They were my older sister’s “cool” friends from Towson State University.

Stacy was pretty, bubbly and vibrant. Shay had long hair in a ponytail and a thin mustache – the ’90s version of Capt. Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp’s character in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Haugh About That?: My world of imagination

On a recent trip to Stanford Shopping Center, I found myself in a terrible traffic jam. No, not the frustrating kind on today’s freeways where we grit our teeth to hold back building road rage, but unnerving just the same. I was hungry and on a mission to get some Pinkberry frozen yogurt before perusing the stores when I found myself stuck behind a crowd of people moving at a snail’s pace.

“What is going on?” I grumbled, wondering if there were a demonstration of sorts up ahead. “I don’t have time for this.”

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