In Judge Harbin-Forte’s Courtroom — Where Jury Duty Is an Exercise in Mindfulness

A long line of people waiting to enter the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, Hayward Hall of Justice, 24405 Amador Street, Hayward, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

A long line of people, many of them prospective jurors, waited to enter the Superior Court of California building in Hayward at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Tired of multitasking? Want to get away from Facebook, your cell phone, your boss, and that squeaky faucet that needs fixing? Get yourself called up for jury duty. [Read more...]

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The Summer Solstice, Arriving Right Now in a Sky Near You

Yellow, orange and lavender sky at sunset on the eve of the summer solstice 2014 in California. Photo by BF Newhall

Last night, on the eve of the summer solstice, the sun traveled way north on our horizon and set on the far side of our neighbor’s monterey pine tree. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, June 21, 2014, 3:51 a.m.

It’s midsummer. Right now. Today. [Read more...]

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At the Breast Cancer Center — Where Everyone Is Super Nice to You

Two pear-shaped floral skin markers with metal beads for marking nipples during mammogram. Photo by BF Newhall

Even the dime-sized stickers with metal beads used to mark the location of your nipples during a mammogram are upbeat at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

A smiling receptionist is there to greet you as you enter the lobby of the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center in San Francisco’s East Bay. She directs you to the registration desk, where there’s no wait. A nice woman politely finishes up a conversation and is ready to help. [Read more...]

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Actor Robert Morse – Sweaty at 36, Sublime at 83

A scene from Mad Men TV series where Robert Morse playing Bert Cooper sings and dances surrounded by dancing secretaries for Don Draper.

Robert Morse: Song-and-dance man. AMC photo.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The last time I saw Robert Morse there were beads of sweat on his forehead. It was 1967 and he was working the crowd on the set of a local TV comedy show. [Read more...]

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I Brake for Floor Plans — I Like to See How Those Other People Live

Floor plan of condo on East 86 Street, Manhattan, with three bedrooms and 3.5 baths.

Floor plan of a condo on East 86 Street with juliet balcony, walk-in closets and a huge kitchen — by Manhattan standards.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

It’s Sunday morning. I pull the New York Times Magazine from the fat stack of newspapers on the breakfast table, fully intending to read the informative, thought-provoking articles inside. But I get no farther than page two, because that’s where the real estate ads are – the ones with the floor plans.

They are floor plans for glorious multi-million-dollar condominiums in Manhattan, [Read more...]

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