Mommie Brain

Fostering a strong work ethic

I am sitting in a bustling Coffee Bean in Montecito, Calif. My husband, son, mother-in-law and step father-in-law have all gone exploring Santa Barbara. But I am here alone, writing. And I love it. I have never been able to write where it is quiet. I need sound and other people’s energy. Perhaps it is a by-product of the school I went... Read more →


Ephrons’ collaboration more than just for the ladies

Five women sit in a row onstage and talk about being women. Their subjects range from buying a bra to their obsession with boots to the enduring chic of the color black. They talk about marriage and divorce and the death of a child. And most of all, they talk about their mothers. It’s a hilarious, poignant, and passionate exposition of... Read more →


What to do when a friend cuts you off

Dear New Shrink, I am not sure where to start. I have (or had) this friend for the last five years or so. When we met, she had few to no friends, seemed very shy and was definitely without social skills. But something about her made me care about her. She has a good heart and a lot of class, in that she is well mannered and treats people... Read more →


Wiping away the fat

“I like to think of it like a windshield wiper, wiping away the grime.” That’s the analogy my trainer Keith Sims uses to describe how I’m able to see muscle peeking through layers of fat. “We’re changing your body composition,” says Sims. “As you strengthen and condition and lose fat, the... Read more →


A life of volunteerism

MID-CITY — Usually plaques mounted on hospital walls are reserved for those who donate lots of cash. Jette Simmons was honored with a bronze plaque at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center for giving something arguably more valuable — her time. Simmons, who friends and colleagues remember as a “feisty Brit” who was... Read more →


Jesse and Richie and Elvis, oh my!

Take a boy whose mother died when he was 12 and whose father abandoned them even before that, have him fixated on his own machismo, his seething anger, and Elvis Presley, and you have a roaring bully and an egocentric Presley-impersonator who claims he has a “spiritual connection” with the iconic singer. Add to that his enabling... Read more →


Starting the future off right

Dear New Shrink, I will be graduating from college in a few weeks. I am confident about my career choice but want to be sure that I start off strong. Do you have any suggestions for what I can do to ensure that I have a successful career ahead of me? Thank you, Need to Succeed Dear Succeed, Congratulations! Completing college is a very... Read more →


There’s a new chef in town

OCEAN AVE — Saying that Chef Keith Roberts has a difficult job to do is quite the understatement. Not only is he responsible for running a $10 million culinary operation for Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, catering to the sophisticated business traveler as well as the demanding bride to be, but he also has to please picky, pre-teen... Read more →


‘Holy Ghost’ turns tables

There is hardly any ethnic or religious group that is not maligned in “Holy Ghost,” Jon Tuttle’s World War II-era drama now having its West Coast premiere at Theatre of Note in Hollywood. Even the Amish, for God’s sake! But what can you expect at a prisoner of war camp in South Carolina where the German prisoners are... Read more →


Akbar, where the sauce is the boss

GENERAL COMMENT: On a cold winter night Indian food hits the spot. Many years ago, when we sailed together as a family, we would come back to Marina del Rey cold and tired, clean up the boat, and head over to the Akbar restaurant on Washington Boulevard. Mr. Kapoor, the owner, a gentleman from the “old school,” always offered... Read more →


Introducing the ‘Queen of Squats’

I’ve heard it said that getting yourself to the gym is the hardest part of your workout. Whoever said it is a big, fat liar. The hardest part of working out … is working out. My trainer Keith Sims starts me on a two-day a week weight routine, and a six-day a week cardio regime. I’m so heinously out of shape I want to... Read more →


Something doesn’t smell right

It’s one of those questions that are on many people’s minds but they may be too embarrassed to ask: Why does one’s urine smell funny after eating asparagus? According to popular asparagus pee research, up to 76 percent of the population makes stinky asparagus pee, but some of them are simply not able to smell it while others... Read more →


A modern Rashomon?

The first act begins in medieval Japan. A married woman and her lover, both in kimonos and lots of hair, are making love “for the last time” and singing to each other at the top of their lungs. This sets up a fast forward to the next scene, which is set in New York in 1951. A married couple have just seen “Rashomon,”... Read more →