Recent(ish) Clips

Snap Judgments: Three Stages of Amazement

It was funny to get this assignment so soon after reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, which is something of a torture-fest. Edgardian's book covers much of the same ground but with none of the Franzen scenery-chewing. It's a hard call: I'm still thinking about Freedom but I haven't thought about Amazement since I wrote this review. Which is, I suppose, what makes Franzen Franzen, whether we like him or not.

San Francisco Magazine
March 2011  


Is Slow Art the Next San Francisco Movement?

I seem to be on a food-writing streak, or perhaps a streak of writing about dinner events that aren't really about dinner. I attended a several course meal at Chloe Fine Arts Contemporary at which the gallery owners paired food with paintings and wine and in the process reminded me of the merits of slowing down to appreciate all three.

The San Francisco Chronicle online
June 13, 2010  


Dining in Darkness with Willie Brown

Parents from Olivia’s school asked Tom and me to join them at their table for the Foundation Fighting Darkness fundraiser, “Dining in the Dark.” I was genuinely shocked to find they weren’t kidding when they said we’d eat with the lights out (meaning pitch can’t-see-the-end-of-your-nose black), and I am profoundly grateful to have been there and witnessed it.

The San Francisco Chronicle online
May 12, 2010  


Snap Judgments: Imperfect Birds

Review of Anne Lamott’s novel “Imperfect Birds,” which I assumed was the sequel to her glittering writing guide “Bird By Bird” and was crushed to find is actually another of her Rosie novels. I wanted to give Lamott a better grade than C+, since she happens to be my literal and literary role model, but in this case the grade inflation would have been obvious. In the review I ask her to pretty please stop writing fiction, and I hope she listens.

San Francisco Magazine
April, 2010  


Holly Horton, Head of Live Oak School, 1951-2009

My close friend Holly Horton died on the evening of December 7, 2009, and I published this eulogy in the Chronicle the next day. I miss her every day and I still don’t exactly know how we’re all going to live without her.

The San Francisco Chronicle online
December 8, 2009  


I Can’t Believe I Have to Worry About the Democrats Now

Publishing this story about the reluctance of conservative Democrats to get behind the public option was quite an education. My City Brights column has been attracting more and more comments, and as their number increases, so does the level of invective and the number of ad hominem attacks. A friend sent me a link to a piece by a fellow Chronicle blogger, Sarah Granger, who decided to disable comments because of so-called trolls, people (or occasionally bots) who publish personal attacks, offensive or otherwise rude content in comments on blogs. Even more surprising than the number of negative comments on this piece was their conservative bent—odd considering the normally lefty Bay Area audience. Then one reader let me in on a little secret—she said she felt bad after seeing the list of harsh comments, and thought I might like to know that my name had landed on the Watch List of a conservative political group. She had been sent my link along with suggestions for ways to attack me. The reader didn’t tell me the name of the group, but at least I had my explanation. Trolls have caused other Chronicle bloggers besides Sarah Granger to turn off comments, and they’ve chased Peter Coyote clean off the site, but I’m not ready to call it a day yet. Until the trolls found me, I thought the comments I received were pretty damn interesting.

The San Francisco Chronicle online
October 27, 2009


"NOW’s Condemnation of Letterman: Seriously?"

The Letterman scandal kept Helaine and me on television, radio, and the Internet for a solid week, giving our perspective on his activities as experts on office romance (that is, if what transpired can be called “romance”). You can find our clips on the Office Mate website; I published this opinion piece after appearing on CNN’s Headline News.

The San Francisco Chronicle online
October 8, 2009


“When Did the Right Convince the Left That Not-Failing is the Goal?”

Column about President Obama’s reluctance to insist on the public option as part of the health care reform bill.

The San Francisco Chronicle online
September 9, 2009


“How To Survive The Great Recession”

Slice-of-life piece about a big day for the M&M Market and Bakery, a gourmet grocery near our elementary school. The couple who own it have a girl in my middle daughter Greta’s class, and we happened to stop by on the day they installed a new awning, which is how I ended up witnessing this series of events. I was so affected by it; it’s amazing how thin the line between success and failure can be in the life of a small family business.
The San Francisco Chronicle online
August 19, 2009

“Snap Judgments: The Slippery Year”

Review of Melanie Gideon’s memoir “The Slippery Year: A Mediation on Happily Ever After.” Clearly I was destined to review Gideon’s book, since it is about—cough—a 44-year-old author/mother’s musings on whether she has been adequately appreciating her lovely midlife. I gave Gideon an A because I couldn’t think of a single way she could have made the book any better. It’s a great read.

San Francisco Magazine
August, 2009

“Believe it or Not, We Didn’t Kill Jon and Kate’s Marriage”

I couldn’t help it—I had to weigh in on Jon and Kate. Once. I’ll never to do it again. I swear.

The San Francisco Chronicle online
July 17, 2009

“How Platinum Health Care Can Be Rotten Health Care”

This is the best part of being a so-called “Bay Area Luminary Blogger”--I get to introduce my late father to a much bigger audience. I never stop being grateful for two things: my dad’s willingness for me to tell his story, however unflattering, and his utter pride in my writing. It’s a freedom that not many parents give their children. Roots and wings.

The San Francisco Chronicle online

July 9, 2009

The group San Franciscans for Health Care Reform linked to my story here.

“Best of the Bay: BYOW, and Don’t Pay for the Privilege”

What’s fun about this issue isn’t my ditty on free corkage, which was much longer and wittier when I originally submitted it. Rather, it’s the Back Page photo of a bunch of Bay Area writers canoodling at Coffee Bar. I’m the green-bloused, sour-faced blonde in the middle. (You try smiling for every second of a 90-minute photo shoot. I dare you.) I had a tiny career crisis when my editor, Mia Lipman, asked me how I wanted to be ID’d for the photo. Did I want to be called “business journalist Stephanie Losee?” I know that makes me sound impressively serious and fairly successful, but I just can’t be BJSL anymore. I’m not feeling it. So I asked her if I could be “journalist and self-help author Stephanie Losee” and, shlocky though that may sound, it made me much happier.

San Francisco Magazine
July 2009

"Economic News for Dummies"

KQED Public Radio “Perspective” about my reaction to the so-called news that the recession has actually been going on a year, which apparently shocked the hell out of Wall Street since it precipitated the single highest one-day point drop in history. Where have investors been all this time? Here in the Bay Area, we know all too well that the recession has been going on for a solid decade.

KQED Public Radio
December 4, 2008

"Thin is the New Miserable"

Q&A with my Dartmouth classmate Valerie Frankel about her wonderful new memoir, “Thin is the New Happy.” I was passionate about spreading the word because I could have written that book—like Val, I had a mother who was obsessed with body image and utterly ruined my own by putting me on diets when I was a not-even-fat adolescent. Val’s solution is the Not-Diet, which I highly recommend and which I am trying to follow with all of my being, the better to free said being from body obsession, which is the world’s single biggest single waste of time. We women have better things (okay, far worse things, but you get the point) to worry about.

November 19, 2008


"So Sarah Palin Outranks Me on the Morality Scale?"

An essay about how strange it seems to me, the bad liberal, that the good conservative is allowed to have sex before marriage (before college, hell--before puberty is over, even) and neglect to use birth control as long as she keeps the resulting spawn and marries the boy. I, the prig, waited until college to lose my virginity because I didn’t want to even take the chance of conceiving before I could handle the consequences. What was I thinking?

The Huffington Post
September 3, 2008

"Best of the Bay: Personal Stylists "

This was a rare treat—a chance to contribute to an issue I read every year: San Francisco Magazine’s “Best of the Bay.” I’ve wanted to write about professional personal stylists since I used one to get me ready for my book tour last year, which, in Stacey and Clinton style, changed my daily life in ways I could never have anticipated. My picture and a short profile appear on the Contributor’s Page with a photo taken by my husband Tom during one of our patented 24-hour no-kid vacations in Boonville, CA.

San Francisco Magazine
July 2008

"Hermit Crab"

Essay about the first time I visited my father in his Florida nursing home. He read this piece when he was still his old self and encouraged me to publish it, even though it is rather unflinching in its depiction of him and his life. He wanted to be seen and he wanted me to tell the truth, and I admire him for both. My father died in that same nursing home on February 10, 2008. The weekend the story describes took place in June, 2005.
May 2, 2008

"Who Says It’s Settling?"

Helaine’s and my reaction to the criticism of Lori Gottlieb’s article in The Atlantic Monthly saying that her friends were right to “settle” when they married their non-Brad Pitt husbands. We thought maybe they got to know these guys before making judgments based on first impressions and we know one place they might have done it: the office.

The Huffington Post
February 26, 2008

"The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name"

Helaine’s and my piece about the fact that office romance is still somehow “unspeakable” even though it is ubiquitous. Two words: Barack Obama.

The Huffington Post
February 13, 2008

"Choose Some Other License Plate"

Commentary about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Arizona was wrong to reject the application of “Choose Life” for an anti-abortion specialty license plate. This is the second time I’ve written about this issue; see my KQED Public Radio piece (“License Plate Politics”; September 1, 2006) about my discovery of the “Choose Life” plate during a trip to visit my father in Florida.

The Huffington Post
January 29, 2008

"Your Professional Emails, Ims, and Texts Are Not Private—Get Over It"

Helaine’s and my reaction to news about the idiotic and illegal behavior of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in The Huffington Post. He lied under oath (in an unrelated case) about having an extramarital affair with a top aide; the the Detroit Free Press got hold of 14,000 texts the aide sent on her city-issued pager. Oops.

The Huffington Post
January 24, 2008

"The Willpower Myth"

Story in O, The Oprah Magazine about a new way to get yourself unstuck after you’ve tried and failed to make a life change. The story is based on the ideas in Alan Deutschman’s book Change or Die. Alan and I worked together at Fortune years ago and his book gives the lie to our ideas that people who manage to change are just better than you and I are at mustering the willpower change requires. Instead, successful change comes through a relationship with a person or a group who inspires you and shows you the way.

My photo and a short interview appear on the Contributors’ Page as well; check it out.

O, The Oprah Magazine
January 8, 2007


"The Demons You Know"

Q&A I did with Paula Kamen, author of the new book “Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind.” I was fascinated by Iris Chang when she was alive and convinced she was murdered when she was found dead in her car at 36. To have the opportunity to ask her friend Paula Kamen anything I wanted was nothing short of a dream assignment.
December 13, 2007 wrote about the Paula Kamen Q&A in its FishbowlLA newsletter.


"For Love or Pink Slips: Why On-the-Job Nookie with the Boss is a No-No"

Helaine’s and my reaction to Red Cross head Mark Everson’s instant firing after it was revealed he was having an extramarital affair with a colleague.

The Huffington Post
November 28, 2007


New, or Practically New

  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.