The Importance for Being Punctual

“There’s a reason a set time is given for most everything,” my mother said, staring at her 12-year-old daughter with narrow, “Miss Manners” eyes. “Turning up late is just plain rude.”

I could understand the importance of being punctual for a birthday celebration, but school was a different matter. It was bad enough I had to go, let alone arrive on the dot.

“What about being fashionably late?” I quizzed. “People do it all the time.”

“Being fashionably late is just being selfish. What if everyone thought […]

My Graduation from One Phase to Another

Looking into the sweet blue eyes of 10-year-old innocence, I wasn’t sure how to answer the question Kaitlyn Ecklund asked.

“Jackie,” she began. “I still don’t understand why you have to retire. You can easily teach a few more years. I’m not ready for you to quit.” And then, with complete certainty in her tone, she added, “you’re not THAT old!”

On so many levels, she was right. I’ve heard it said time and time again, “you’re only as old as your mind says.” Despite the […]

100% Irish and Proud of It

I walked into The Cover Story Boutique on Main Street in Los Altos and was instantly swept back in time. Proudly looking at all the adorable decorations for St. Patrick’s Day, I saw smiling leprechauns, green shamrock encrusted plates and napkins, beer mugs sporting sayings like, “Kiss me I’m Irish.”

As a child, knowing that I was Irish made me feel like I was one of the chosen ones. My father, born to Irish Catholic immigrants in 1916, instilled that heritage into his daughter’s heart […]

My Inheritance

On the rocky beach of the Russian River in 1987, my four-year-old, Jenni tip-toed over hot, sun-drenched pebbles and darted towards me. Freckles intensified in the brilliant afternoon rays, her moon-shaped face beamed with childish excitement.

“Mommy,” she began, breathlessly. “When you die, can I have that bathing suit?”

Stunned, I studied my second child while tanning my body in a lime green bikini.

How could she be thinking of such things? I wondered. At thirty-four, do I look like I’m close to death?

But peering into her […]

My Moral Compass

Recently, my girlfriend Mondana and I were shopping at Chico’s in downtown Los Altos. After I had squeezed myself into a sleek pair of straight-legged jeans, I asked her the proverbial question all women query whenever they are in a fashion dilemma: “Does this make me look fat?” The Christmas holiday had come and gone and once again my bloated waistline was pushing against a zipper that refused to budge.

“Ah, they’re a little snug,” she said, eyeing me up and down. “I don’t really […]

The Strength of Life

The giant steel door cracked open and began to press on my back. A pungent smell, vastly resembling death, wafted overhead while cold, damp air seeped from the dark cavern within. As my rail thin body was forced to lunge forward, I saw my life flash through my mind. For a brief second, I thought this is it. This is the end. I was sure I was going to die.

It was a hot and muggy day in June 2002. I was in Los Angeles […]