Tanka For the Dog Days

Noodling on numbers —and time Maybe you already know this The term “dog days,” meant to denote the hottest stretch of summer weather, does not derive from panting pooches lolling in the heat, their tongues unfurled. No, this period got its moniker from the ancient Romans, in reference to the star Sirius, also called the Dog Star for its position in the constellation Canis Major — which means, of course, “big dog.” Sirius is the brightest star in our sky, and the Romans, at least the observant ones, noticed that the one-to-two-month period in which it rises and sets with…

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Molly on Mortality

Dogs understand things we don’t If Molly were human, she would be 90 Roughly speaking, that is. There’s the old formula in which one year in a dog’s life equals seven in a human’s, but that’s been replaced by more nuanced metrics. Now you can find charts that list the ages of dogs relative to humans that depend on breed, size, and so on. Molly is slightly over 50 pounds and is from sturdy hunting stock. She’s a Pudelpointer, which means she is not a poodle-pointer cross but carries a pedigree from an established breed known for their talent as…

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Turned Off By Politics?

Turned Off By Politics?

How about by being a citizen? You may not be interested in politics. But politics is interested in you That’s a version of a saying often attributed to Leon Trotsky, except with the word “war” replacing “politics.” I did a little fact-checking, which revealed that maybe the saying originated with Trotsky and maybe it didn’t. Either way, the truth of it holds — for both war and politics. It seems that for many of us, our feelings about politics are nearly as negative as about war. Increasingly we associate the very term “politics” with division and conflict. Politics is the…

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Story Time Teaser

(Help a writer out here) I’ve written before about how much I like writing contests. They can provide challenge, inspiration, and, if you win or get a mention, a big whacking shot of confidence — something every writer except possibly James Patterson could use more of. Some contests have themes. Some have words or first sentences you have to use. Some have a prompt, like the one I recently entered on Vocal.media: Write a story about someone who wakes up on a train. They have no ticket and no memory of how they got there. Oh, and one more thing:…

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An Invitation to the Middle Class

Bill Gates, come on down Bill Gates is giving away his money On a recent Twitter thread, he announced that he’s giving another $20 billion —yes, that’s billion with a “b” — to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill and Melinda are no longer a thing, marriage-wise, but they continue to co-chair their foundation. With their new gift, and Warren Buffett’s recently announced annual $3.1billion kick-in, the foundation is now worth about $70 billion. As Tristan Bove reports in Fortune magazine, this new injection of capital allows for a healthy increase in the foundation’s charitable payouts, as well as…

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Tooting My Horn

I’m interviewed on a podcast! I’ve hyped Crow’s Feet previously One, because I think its positive, honest, anti-ageism theme is important — and two, because I’m one of its producers. And in this episode, I’m the guest interviewee! Warren Turner, another member of the Crows Feet team who is both a skilled writer and a lovely gentleman, is the host. Full confession: since this episode is about me, promoting it makes me feel shy. But am I going to let that stop me? Nope. I’m really proud of the Crow’s Feet team and the production values of the podcast they’ve…

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Aging in Style

3 lessons from my denim jacket I’ve had this jacket for over 35 years In clothing years, that makes my denim jacket a bona fide elder. But it would be wrong to call it a vintage jacket. It’s not some quaint item from a bygone era that gets trotted out and worn for nostalgia or as a period piece. My denim jacket has been in continual service for as long as I’ve had it, and it remains as much a staple of my wardrobe as it ever was. When I bought that jacket I was out-to-here pregnant. I wore it…

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Life In Escrow

Life In Escrow

Existential adventures in standby I’m the person who boards your flight last Or, close to last. Not because I overslept or missed a connection from another airline or I couldn’t find the right gate. I’m what the airlines refer to as “non-rev” or “space available” or, in civilian parlance, a standby passenger. It’s a perk of being the parent of an airline pilot. I can book my husband and myself on a flight going anywhere the airline flies, for next to nothing. This is exactly as awesome as it sounds. Fly down to the high school reunion instead of drive?…

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What’s Wrong With Me?

What’s Wrong With Me?

I’m grieving — for my country I’ve felt this, on and off, since 2016 There were intimations of it even long before that; waves of disquiet and dread during the second Bush administration as it used the national tragedy of 9/11 as an excuse to plunge us into a baseless war for oil in Iraq. Indeed,ripples of my civic angst ripple back through time to my sense of foreboding the day Ronald Reagan was elected. In each instance, I’ve had the chilling recognition that the ground beneath me was shifting. That my understanding of the country I live in, and…

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