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August 5, 2012

During the summer, an 8-year-old goes to work with his dad in a grimy used auto parts store in East Los Angeles.  His dad’s business is mostly online these days, so dad sits in the back office, posting parts for sale on e-Bay.  Out front in the store that almost no one...

November 13, 2011

Sumitra is tall and model-thin with waist-length black hair and large, almond eyes.  She’s 16, a beautiful, studious girl who speaks Nepali and English fluently.  She loves biology and discusses it at length with Chris, bringing schoolbooks to him on the family’s balco...

February 21, 2010


I came home one day last October to find Chris in the front yard, leaning on our rake, hunched down and looking through the window of a car, talking with two ladies inside.  The driver, Colleen, was the daughter-in-law of her 90-something passenger, Phyllis Doxey McAf...

November 1, 2009

I am not a cat lady.  I want to make that clear.

Chris and I do have two cats and we think they’re swell.  Their primary responsibility is to provide a calm, loungy aesthetic to counteract our dogs’ bouncy, crazy energy.  They do this well.

But gradually over th...

September 13, 2009


I held my young friends in my heart as I listened to President Obama’s speech to students the other day.  I absorbed his message on their behalf and vowed to watch for opportunities to help kids who have trouble finding their way.

I really liked the speech.  Not beca...

March 22, 2009

I never meant to join Facebook.  From time to time people invited me to sign up for the Internet social-networking site so I could become their “Facebook friend.”  I always thought, “Good grief, I’m already your friend; why should I join some cockamamie Internet thingy...

January 18, 2009

“The Other Inaugural,” a poster in our living room, is a memento from my time in Washington, DC.  It's a print by Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, dated Jan. 21, 1985.

It was already 6 years old in 1991 when I paid a dollar for it at a church rummage sale near wh...

August 26, 2007


I am married.  The thought comes to me in the charcoal black of my bedroom as I realize I’m awake.  My thumb is curled around Chris’s, our sleeping hands holding fast.  Two inches from my eye, a gold glint.  It’s the wedding band he agreed to try and keep on for a wee...

July 8, 2007

Next year on Independence Day we'll still picnic, we’ll still watch fireworks, we'll still fight wildfires and George Bush will be president of the United States.  Still.

It's hard to celebrate the birth of our nation when the guy who has done more to tear it apart th...

June 10, 2007

This year on Memorial Day, Gold Star mother and activist Cindy Sheehan resigned from the peace movement.

In an open letter to the anti-war community and to the public at large, Sheehan said, "I am going to take whatever I have left and go home.  I am going to go home...

April 8, 2007

Milestones are funny things.  They're all about the present, but without the past, they'd be meaningless.

Living with the same human being - one you chose for this purpose - for 20 entire years is a big milestone.  There are bigger ones, but still.

One only child, an...

January 1, 2007

I was hunkered down at the world's largest outdoor rodeo, feeling like the lima bean at the church supper after it fell into the frog eye salad, if you know what I mean, when I heard about Drinking Liberally.

In that moment of utter alienation, a fellow lima bean, my...

July 31, 2006


After an especially eye-popping bill at the store, I hit upon an idea.  While signing my name on the credit card receipt, I added a little statement:  "Signatory cancels the above debt; will not pay."

Then I did the same at the gas station.  Later, when signing...

June 19, 2006

Every year on my birthday, my mom gave me a brand new outfit and took my picture in the backyard.  It's the kind of thing a kid dreads.

We went to live on Morningside Circle when I was 7.  The new backyard had a semi-wild rose bush that was blooming on my birthday.  T...

May 22, 2006

My husband, Chris, and I are just back from a trip to southern Indiana.  His mom and dad, in their mid- and late-80s, still live in the house on 100 acres of land where they raised their four kids.  In fact, Chris's bedroom is still a shrine to his childhood, as are hi...

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All of Barb Guy's columns appear here. There are 159 of them, beginning in 2003 and ending in 2013. The newest one is on top and you can work your way backwards if you like.