My Family’s Letting Me Down

My Family’s Letting Me Down

If only they were more screwed up No wonder I’m so frustrated See that photo, the kids jumping for joy? Those aren’t my actual family members, but I have more than one pic of my real grandnieces and grandnephews doing the same thing. Because they’re all relentlessly healthy, functional, and high-achieving, with devoted and supportive parents. And grandparents! These are kids who are gracious to adults, polite yet genuine, and full of confidence. You can have a worthwhile conversation with any of them. Even the teenagers among them treat their parents with affection and respect. A week does not go…

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Why I’m Marching Again

Why I’m Marching Again

This time it’s not for me That’s me and my husband, rabble-rousing again Life isn’t entirely comfortable for a progressive in Idaho these days — if it ever has been. On the other hand, life isn’t entirely comfortable for anybody in the United States these days, with primary elections coming at us and campaigns for the midterms already uglier than a mud fence in a rainstorm. And while my conservative brethren — and, confoundingly, sistren — have been whittling away at reproductive rights for decades, the leaked draft of an opinion by Justice Alito that would overturn Roe vs Wade…

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Mother’s Day is Awkward

Mother’s Day is Awkward

I can’t be the only one who feels that way Don’t get me wrong; I love the cards and flowers What mother doesn’t enjoy being treated by her offspring? Mothering is hard work with high stakes, with brutal hours, a constantly shifting job description, and an uncertain retirement plan. If you’re lucky and nothing catastrophic interrupts the carrying out of your duties, eventually you work yourself out of a job. But the emotional investment never lessens. Motherhood leads otherwise rational women to believe in the prophylactic power of worry, long after their children are perfectly capable of taking care of…

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Things For Which You Forget to be Grateful

Things For Which You Forget to be Grateful

Just look around; they’re everywhere In my gratitude practice, here’s what I’ve noticed Maybe “practice” is too lofty a term. I don’t claim any specialness when it comes to spiritual mojo or mental hygiene. I’ve simply developed a nightly habit: before I turn off my bedside lamp, I write down five things I’m grateful for. Not four, not six: always five, and they can’t be repeats. No fair simply listing the names of my loved ones over and over. The rule of five items is arbitrary, but the fixed number works for me. Sometimes it’s not nearly enough; other times,…

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Hey, Conservative Guy

Hey, Conservative Guy

Can we talk? Psst. Over here It’s me, the spiky-haired liberal woman with the “SNFLAK” license plate (SNOWFLAKE: get it? See, not all of us libs take ourselves too seriously). Before you roll your eyes and turn away, let’s acknowledge one thing we have in common: you and I both get a daily drenching from the firehose that is media. And those messages — especially the ones from social media, a personalized, targeted stream with the force of a psychological power washer — tell you and me very different things. Or, the same things but from opposite angles. The one…

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Happiness: A Radical Act

Happiness: A Radical Act

Living lightly in dark times There’s no end of reasons to be unhappy In this third spring of the pandemic, we are only just emerging, or so we hope, into some semblance of our old freedoms. As we begin to confront its staggering collateral damage — burned-out teachers, a mental health epidemic among school-aged kids, older adults in assisted living facilities who may never recover the cognitive ground lost during the long stretches of isolation — a new crowd of miseries pounds at the doors of our awareness. We watch in horror as the atrocities mount against Ukrainian civilians, as…

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Can You Believe These Amazing Deals?

Can You Believe These Amazing Deals?

No, you can’t. Learn from my mistake I should have known better When a deal is too good to be true, there’s always a catch. You’d think that with my wisdom and experience I’d be too savvy to fall for the siren song of those online clothes retailers’ ads that pop up when I’m researching or reading the news. But my love of clothes far outstrips my budget, so when beguiling photos of outfits — each costing less than a couple of decent cocktails — divert my attention from worthier pursuits, I’m an easy fish to hook. Especially right now,…

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Mom’s Answer to Aging

Mom’s Answer to Aging

I couldn’t appreciate it until now Our mother’s words are on repeat in our heads At least they are if we were lucky enough to have mothers, or mother figures, who nurtured and nagged and niggled at us through our formative years. Mom’s admonitions pop up at the drop of an unconscious trigger: while getting dressed, for instance, and discovering a hole in your underwear. “What if you get in a car crash?” says Mom, who may be thousands of miles away or have moved on to another plane of existence entirely. Your adult self thinks it’s silly, but Mom’s…

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Light in the Darkness

Light in the Darkness

Could Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pull Americans together? This post was born in a liquor store Don’t jump to conclusions. For the record, it was late morning and I was as sober as a judge. We’ll come back to the incident in a bit, but for now I’ll just say that it was one of those random moments when great events in the larger world bleed through into otherwise ordinary aspects of daily life. Meanwhile, it’s safe to say that we are living in unsafe times; history is engulfing us whether we want it to or not, and while life…

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