Thankful? Oh, Really?

Ann:  It’s been a fairly dreadful year, personally and nationally, and giving thanks is going to be a stretch.  But even when I was a kid, I was thankless.  When my grandfather said grace at Sunday dinners — “Bless, oh Lord, this food to our use and us to thy service” — I thought the […]

A Tale of Two Fish

I am taking care of two fish this weekend. One is a nice, respectable goldfish. It’s orange and black, it lives alone in a bubbling tank with some seaweed and a little fake wooden log to swim through. It eats a few pellets of food every few days. The other has three eyes, and it […]

Pablo, Pablo and me

I’ve always had mixed feelings about tracking animals with satellite tags. It’s so cool that we can now see where creatures go, sometimes moment-by-moment, but I wonder about losing a bit of the mystery that surrounds some of their lives. (In the animal uprising, privacy issues may be high on their long list of injustices.) […]

Road Trip

Several times in the last few weeks, I’ve found myself driving Highway 101 from Santa Barbara to Berkeley, a 320-mile route. The trip starts out along the ocean, then dips in and out of oak-dotted hills. Later, the road slices through the Salinas Valley and then into Silicon Valley. The last part is my least favorite—the […]

Small

We came back from vacation earlier this month to find that someone else had moved in. I didn’t realize it at first—the house seemed just as we had left it, and we were busy emptying the car and starting the laundry and repopulating the house with the things we’d taken with us. It was later, […]

Snark Week: The Tallest Terror

  I did not know this when I moved here, but Santa Barbara is the giraffe equivalent of a rabbit nest. In the last four years, five giraffes have been born at the small zoo here. One more is due this summer. At one point, I thought this was adorable. I rallied my children to […]

Rescue Us

I love that graduation speeches are now posted on the internet. Listening to them, the good ones, I can’t help but feel a little bit of that helium of opportunity and promise that I once had, in early summer, when I was the one who got to walk across the stage. One of my favorite […]

In Their Own Words

Inspired by guest Veronique Greenwood‘s three-part series (part 1, part 2, part 3) about learning a foreign language, some of the contributors to LWON volunteered for a week’s worth of essays about their own encounters with the challenges of linguistics.   This week, we’ve been looking at what it’s like to learn a new language as an adult. Kids seem to pick up […]