Window Seat

At 3 a.m., a quiet settles like fog around the neighborhood, freckled by a few bursts of sound. Sometimes there’s the whistle of an incoming train. An acoustical trick might carry sea lion barks from distant buoys, the deep buzz of fishing boats, even a wave pummeling the rocks. Occasionally, a single too-loud bird call […]

The Last Word

September 8 – 12, 2014 The week began with a greatest hit from Cameron, a 2011 post that proved to be one of LWON’s most-visited—an ode to an astronomy professor who changed her mother’s life, Then came a new and no less viral post from Erik questioning the professional ethics of another academic, Henry Walton Jones, Jr., a professor of […]

Redux: Auditing Astronomy Class

This was first published in Dec 6, 2011 — it was originally a guest post, Cameron wasn’t yet an LWONer — and was honorable-mentioned for the American Institute of Physics’ 2012 science writing prize in the New Media category. Her mom sounds like a doll. I’m not sure exactly where this story begins, but maybe it’s […]

Things that Smell

My nose has been extra-sensitive lately. I can catch dog food at a hundred paces, both the kitchen and my still-diaper-wearing kids’ bedroom feel like odor minefields, and I have to walk along the lineup of barbecues at the nearby park with my shirt over my face. It’s a good thing I’m not an astronaut.

In Warm Water

Right now the ocean is glorious. In the evenings, even if the day hasn’t been too hot, you can throw yourself into the saltwater and float between the waves for a while without your teeth chattering. This is not normal.

Days Are Numbered

Around here, we do some things by the numbers. On odd days, the older boy sits on the prime outside seat of the kitchen island and has bedtime stories from his dad; on even days, his younger brother gets these things. On even days, no one has to wash his hair. But then we run […]

Strikeout

Last weekend there was an unseasonal lightning storm on the coast. Not here (thank goodness, for our dog’s sake), but farther south. More than 1,400 strikes touched down across the region, with 13 people reporting injuries in Los Angeles County alone. A golfer was hit on Catalina Island, 22 miles from Los Angeles. One young […]

Dog Days

These are the dog days. Hot as a dog, lazy as a dog, wanting to curl up and take naps like a dog. Please, let us lie, sleeping like them, on these summer afternoons. But the phrase didn’t originate from the habits of our earthly canine companions. Instead, it came from Sirius, the dog star. […]