A Country-Time Graduation

“Hm, mmm,” said the kinda-country folk who were sitting way up front attending the first college graduation ceremony in their family.Yup, they were there to witness this momentous occasion. The relatives had come into the city from what seemed like every small hamlet in America.. “That Magna Cum Laude family done…

The Ability To Breath is Not Promised

Asthma kills,” said the doctor with a slow, deliberate, steadfast and extremely serious gaze in his eyes that were staring directly into mine. He never blinked. Brandi said she had a sore throat. “Is it asthma?” I asked, like I so often do. “No,” she declared with a large dose…

Mother’s Day is Here

Nope, I’m not going out for brunch or dinner at a favorite restaurant. I’m also going to pass on getting dressed and taking in a theatrical performance. The cast of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” playing at the Mark Taper won’t even know I was invited to be there. Mother’s…

Jodi Arias Trial Raises Parenting Questions

  • April 27, 2013
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Thanks to Jodi Arias — the confessed murderer who is on trial for the brutal killing of her ex-boyfriend — Pasadena is known for one more thing. Granted, the idea that Arias filled up a few gas cans at a local Arco station doesn’t measure up to the city’s world-renowned…

Roll Your Eyes if You Want To

  • April 20, 2013
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I don’t mind being the bad guy.  In fact, I even relish being placed in this perilous category that most parents spend a lifetime working to avoid.“I’m an only child and my mother raised me so we could be best friends,” announced the twenty-something participant in one of my parenting…

Am I Who My Kids Are?

  • April 15, 2013
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I’ve got some highfalutin’ friends — pretentious wannabees — who think their kids are too high and mighty to attend Pasadena City College. Uh, no, these darlings weren’t accepted at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford or any of the other top universities in the country. In fact, they didn’t bother to…

Parenting is a Different Ballgame

  • March 22, 2013
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A closely-held secret month of celebration is March which has, in some states, been declared Parenting Awareness Month.If you live in Texas, you might well be in the dark about this yearly focus, but if either Michigan or California is your home state, activities have been a-poppin.’There tends to be a…

Uh, Wal-Mart?

  • March 17, 2013
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The strawberries, in the regular plastic box with a lid, were 99 cents for the one-pound container. Ah, yes, they were fresh with bright green tops and they cost me half the price  I would have paid had I bought them down the street at the other store where people…

You Wanna Take This Outside?

  • March 9, 2013
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A perfect story for this March, which has been designated “National Parenting Awareness Month,” is the South Central Los Angeles mom who, with her two daughters, assaulted the younger daughter’s teacher on the campus of John Muir Middle School. Kiki Fowler, the 33-year-old mom, is reported to have led the…

Being Tough Gets The Job Done

  • March 2, 2013
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Juan Martinez, the prosecutor in the Jodi Arias murder trial, ought to be seen as a role model for every home in America where parents are raising children. “He don’t take no stuff,” remarked the young adult in my household as the man paced back and forth while hammering away…

Parenting Horror Stories

  • February 23, 2013
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Some years ago, an audience participant on our Talk About Parenting with Shirlee Smith Cable TV show proclaimed, “ You need a driver’s license to drive. You need a license to own a dog. . . “ Of course she went on to wonder why society doesn’t have some similiar regulation…

Black History Marches Through Your Town

  • February 9, 2013
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It’s not real smart for today’s black parents to rely on February as the month their children get to find out who they are, and, most likely, the scant amount of information the kids get exposed to isn’t coming from their homes. It doesn’t matter how many marching bands wearing colorful…

Ask Your Preacher Man About The New Jim Crow

  • February 2, 2013
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Some years ago, during the late 1960s, my younger sister, who at the time was attending UCLA’s law school, was part of a project that took her to one of California’s state prisons for men.She said she saw why she and other black women her age had trouble finding men…

Birds Do It, Why Don’t We?

  • January 26, 2013
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It’s referred to as the “Empty Nest Syndrome” –  the kids leave home and the parents, well, let’s get real, here, Mom doesn’t know what to do with herself.Those mothers who still have the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom get a little bit of sympathy from me, but those…

Black History Meets Art Linkletter

  • January 21, 2013
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’Twas Art Linkletter who  let it be known that “kids say the darndest things.” On this Martin Luther King Jr.. holiday weekend, Linkletter’s classification brings me to think about a darndest and how it evolved into an Oprah Winfrey “aha” moment. Just what would we do if it weren’t for the celebrities helping…