Nicky, After You Pick Up the Kids, Can You Sort the Mail?

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by Amy Ephron

ImageThere are so many things wrong with Meg Whitman’s story that it’s difficult to know where to start. Meg Whitman was paying Nicky Diaz Santillan, her housekeeper, $23.00 an hour for 15 hours a week. Who pays their housekeeper $23.00 an hour. Answer (and I’ve researched this): Nobody. But wait, Nicky was, also her nanny. Assuming it was Monday to Friday, who has a nanny three hours a day?!! Answer: Nobody. Add into that, in addition to being a housekeeper/nanny, (i.e. domestic hyphenate), it was, also, part of Nicky’s job to sort the mail which clearly implies, she showed up, at least, five days a week.

Was the “fifteen hours” a way to avoid paying withholding tax, social security tax, unemployment tax, and, additionally, maintaining a worker’s compensation policy? Was it a ploy to pretend that Diaz Santillan was an independent contractor who “set her own hours”? A nanny doesn’t get to set their own hours and it’s very unusual that a housekeeper could do the same. But we don’t know. The facts aren’t out yet as to whether Ms. Whitman reported on a 1099 form or a W4 for Diaz Santillan. Although Meg Whitman has stated in many subsequent interviews, that she had a 1099 on file for Diaz Santillan (leading me to believe that my conjecture may be right.)

It doesn’t bother me that Meg Whitman hired a woman who had a problem with her immigration status. It bothers me that Meg Whitman didn’t do anything to help her. The same way it bothers me that Meg Whitman didn’t bother to even register to vote until she decided to run for office.

Urban Hike

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by Anna Harari

ImageLos Angeles is a contradiction: a paradox of urbanites that crave the outdoors and yuppies that eat vegan. Fancy jeans, successful lunatics, poor rich people, and other oxymorons splattered across Sunset Boulevard, a street with beaches on one end and mini skyscrapers rising up on the other end. I love LA. It satisfies my needs for culture and nature simultaneously.

So when I got an email blast from the Architecture and Design Museum about an Urban Hike through downtown LA, it seemed right up my alley.

It started with a rap. Mike Sonksen, aka Mike the PoeT, begins and ends each tour prosthelytizing about Los Angeles. Along with being a 3rd generation LA native, he is a historian and museum tour guide and has recently teamed with the A + D Museum to lead these tours every other Sunday.

Winter Silence

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by Brenda Athanus

ImageEveryone wants to move to Maine these days...It wasn't like that when we were growing up. In fact, very few people that lived here wanted to stay here, but they couldn't afford to move. No one knew where Maine was, they would stare blankly at you like it was a foreign country.

My neighbors are still the neighbors that I have had for the last fifty years or so. They watch out for you in a non-cloying way just as you watch out for them. That is just what you do in a small town. I always am thankful that my nearest neighbor is over a half mile away except for my sister's house a mere 100 feet away.

It is heavenly to be in a dense oak tree forest on a bucolic lake watching the snow storms make their way across the frozen lake. It has been peaceful and people-less for the last 35 years. Neighbors in seasonal cottages that stayed a month or two but never more than that – until now.

My First Cookbook

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by Laura Johnson

ImageThere were no more than 300 students in grades 1-12 at Baker Academy and I graduated with pretty much the same 17 people I started 1st grade with. Needless to say, I knew these people quite well and knew exactly what I wanted their mother's to make when I came to visit. Lisa's mother, Ms. Martha made an 'apricot nectar cake', Susan's mom "Ms. Betty" made a 'peach pie' and the list goes on. My mother has many of these recipes saved in a nice little recipe box after her Baker Academy cookbook was reduced to shreds.

The "Baker" cookbook was the first one I ever used. It's a compilation of the best recipes from all the families I grew up with. I wish we would have been more gentle with it as was typed on plane paper and bound with spiral plastic; no doubt a project a group of mother's took on, probably 'assembly-line' style in the school lunchroom. 

Several years ago, when my grandmother died, guess what we found? An old Baker Academy cookbook. The cover is missing but it's in pretty good shape. I'm thinking about making copies of it and giving them to all my friends, who ask me for the same recipes that I always ask my mom for that come from the Baker Academy cookbook.

OK. Just One More, But That's It

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by Matt Armendariz

ImageThis is a true story. Today as I walked into my office I was immediately confronted.

“Hey Matt, my mother-in-law taught my daughter Courtney to make homemade cream puffs! I brought some in today, would you like to try them?” she asked.

Why, certainly!

“Hey Matt, you’ve really gotta try this Almond Toffee Bark I made last night,” said another coworker.

Well, ok, I responded.

“Hey Big Boy, there are Krispy Kremes in the conference room,” teased another.

Not anymore,
I thought.

“Oh! I forgot! She also taught her how to make homemade donuts! They took forever and they look funny but they’re really good! Have one!” screeched coworker #1.

And I did.

Do you want to know what’s worse then everyone being clever and crafty and baking and frying during the holidays? It’s being born without one ounce of self control.



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