Local parks offer plenty for tots

We just got back from a trip to Boston, the city that I grew up in. It was the first time Addison visited “mama’s home” as she quickly started calling it. She had a wonderful time park hopping with her Grandmarie. The heart of Boston is the Public Garden, home of the swan boats and Mr. & Mrs. Mallard and their eight... Read more →

Community Profiles

Vet keeps the ball rolling

THIRD STREET — While the rest of the world is focused on the nail-biting intensity of World Cup soccer matches, 82 year-old Melanie Downing is gearing up for another competition; The Veteran’s Wheelchair Games. Now, one may wonder, how can she possibly compete in a sports competition at her age? Well, Melanie Downing is no... Read more →


Performing at a high level takes the right fuel

During a recent visit to Pennsylvania, my home state, I told a friend that I was living in Santa Monica. Her response was, “Wow! That’s like the Mecca of beach volleyball.” She lives for volleyball. I don’t know if Santa Monica actually is the Mecca of beach volleyball, but there certainly are a lot of volleyball nets... Read more →


Busting through the wall

Twenty pounds, everyone. Twenty fabulous pounds! Two weeks ago I was lamenting that I’d hit a wall in my weight loss program. I’m happy to report I slammed through that wall like the Karate Kid on crack and am now officially halfway to my goal weight. So how did I do it? Well, it was easier than I thought thanks to a few simple... Read more →


‘In the Heights’ will leave you on a high

Nestled at the foot of the George Washington Bridge, way past all the trendy restaurants and the streets of neatly gentrified brownstones, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is the neighborhood called Washington Heights. When I lived there as a child the community was made up, mostly, of middle-class German Jewish immigrants. But that was... Read more →


Shakespeare in the woods

By Taylor Van Arsdale Special to the Daily Press A rustic wooden stage set in the midst of bucolic Topanga Canyon and a clear night under the stars is the perfect setting in which to see any of Shakespeare’s plays. Now is no different as the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, a 299-seat outdoor amphitheater carved into the Topanga... Read more →


Traveling a long way for love

Dear New Shrink, My boyfriend of two years recently got a job offer on the east coast. While I would consider our relationship strong, I am concerned about whether we can handle long distance or whether I can afford to quit my job to follow him across the country. Do you have any advice for evaluating job prospects for moving to a new... Read more →


Living large in Big Sky Country

BY CAROLE ORLIN Special to the Daily Press I just returned from another outstanding adventure in Big Sky Country. The sirens were once again singing their songs about the grandeur that is Montana. The smells of the sage, the pine trees and the memories of the star-filled skies once again assailed my senses. Fortunately, The Ranch at Rock... Read more →


Remaining hungry, not thirsty

We’ve all experienced it. It’s that dreaded part of the weight loss program called the “plateau.” It comes when you’ve lost 10 or 15 pounds, you’re working out, you’re eating right, but you’re just not losing any more weight. That’s about where I am right now. While I should be feeling... Read more →


I’m so lonely I could die

Dear New Shrink, I have been feeling terrible. I think I might be depressed but my doctor doesn’t think so and when I read up on depression, I don’t have the symptoms. I just feel sad and often hopeless and I have been feeling this way since I lost my husband. He was my best friend and I just can’t seem to replace him. I... Read more →


The only game in town

I guess almost everyone goes to Westwood Village from time to time. Years ago, we went to the Hamburger Hamlet, after its demise, we switched to its successor, the Hamlet Gardens. And now that it’s also closed, we’ve switched yet again, this time to the Napa Valley Grille, one of the last upscale restaurants in Westwood (there is... Read more →


Is grad school the solution for a rough job market?

Dear New Shrink, Like many others, the current job climate in California has put a damper on my own career prospects. My organization has implemented several cost cutting measures including downsizing salaried staff and reducing our take-home pay by forcing mandatory closures. I have been considering going back to school as a result of the... Read more →

Mommie Brain

Sleep deprivation is just a part of being a good parent

I have been sleeping a lot. Being pregnant, it is part of the deal. My main symptom in my pregnancies has never been morning sickness, but extreme fatigue. And so, I sleep. My husband gets up with our 3-year-old son so I can sleep in. He takes him to the park so I can nap. He’s a doll. But in addition to actually sleeping, I have been... Read more →


Family fun crafts on the cheap

Several stores around town offer free craft sessions for kids in hopes that parents will do a little shopping. We hammered, glued, and glittered so we could report on the activities, and picked up some light bulbs and magnetic letters at the same time. Home Depot ( offers a new wooden craft project the first Saturday of the... Read more →

Book Review

‘The Case for Books: Past, Present, And Future’

Ever since man has known to write he has put his knowledge in some form to preserve it. The cave men chiseled out the story on rocks. Writing may have begun, according to Wikipedia, as a consequence of political expansion in ancient cultures. Early writing done on clay tablets were pictographs, a picture used to symbolize a word or a phrase.... Read more →