I am a natural disaster

“Look! You are a tropical storm!” That’s the random text I received from my daughter Kristen. I’ve been called a lot of things over the years—bossy, stubborn, generous—but never, as in ever, has anyone referred to me as a tropical storm. I suppose that, when I’m in a foul mood, I exhibit a few stormy…

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Notable notes

When I finish a good read, I avoid turning to another book right away. Instead, I’ll turn to short stories, essays, or poetry. This week, I picked up one of my volumes of Letters of Note. Lifting the hardback copyis no easy feat. It’s a book that doubles for a barbell. It’s the size of a…

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Goodbye Hollywood

The Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new inclusion and diversity rules that will take full effect in 2024. Films that fail to meet at least two of the four new guidelines won’t even qualify for an Academy Award nomination, much less take home the coveted Oscar. Before I proceed, an explanation is…

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Awesome and Awful

Once upon a time, someone loaded my very first brand-new washer and dryer onto the back of a box truck. While waiting for the delivery, I glanced out the windows over and over. My heart pounded in anticipation of receiving two new appliances designed with the latest technology. Then, my excitement dawned a sudden realization.…

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Five cardinal rules

The Lorena Bobbitt story hit media outlets in 1993. You remember Lorena. A victim of domestic abuse, she took revenge by cutting off her husband’s, well, use a search engine if you don’t know the rest of the story. The Bobbitt news hit airwaves as Gary drove our first-grade daughter Jordan to school. “Daddy,” said…

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Heinz-57 Female

Our kids gave us ancestry kits for our anniversary. Each box contained Q-tips and tiny test tubes.  The miniature test tubes contained some sort of magical liquid meant to preserve our cheek cells. We swabbed the inside of our cheeks and dropped the Q-tips into the test tubes. Then, Gary and I sent our precious…

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Games people play

My family makes fun of me. They don’t even bother to go behind my back. It happens every time I suggest we play a game. The room goes silent, eyes roll, and then come groans. “Ohhhh, noooo.” “Here she goes again.” “OK. But please, not Quiddler.” For those who enjoy a good word game, don’t…

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Blueberries & ice cream

The recent fiery temperatures didn’t keep me from heading to the West Virginia hills to pick fresh berries. Nor did it stop my mother. We didn’t scavenge in the mountains for wild blueberry bushes. We drove to the peak of Bunners Ridge where lush green treetops mingle with the deep blue sky. There, the bushes…

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A subtle symphony

At my castle in the woods above the lake, a whistling bird bids me good morning. She trills a 30-second solo from outside my open windows. Then, as if on cue, her peer-chorus chimes in. Each bird lifts its own warble or twitter, its chirp or caw. I can’t say that they harmonize in a…

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Teeth & Toes

I leaned back in the dental chair as the hygienist moved a film-holding contraption to 18 places inside my mouth, one after the other. After she positioned the film right she wanted it, she said, “Now, bite down slowly”—18 times. Then, she pushed a button and a new picture of my teeth appeared on the…

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