She Meant it as a Compliment, But . . .

It’s what you’d say to an old lady Here’s how it went down I was leaving the store just as she was entering. A dark-haired woman, attractive, probably in her late 30s or early 40s. She swept in through the double doors on a gust of energy and fresh air, her companion, another woman, trailing her. Seeing me in passing, she smiled brightly. “Oh, you look so pretty!” she said. “Thank you,” I said, a little startled. She swept past me.  The whole exchange took two seconds, tops. But I stepped out of that store into an altered reality. I’d walked…

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What’s Better Than a Dog Story?

101 dog stories, on sale now! It’s fun to share good news You’ve seen and probably read at least one of the 250-plus Chicken Soup for the Soul books that have been published since the first one was released in 1993. And now my stories appear in one! Started by motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, in response to demand from their audiences, the Chicken Soup for the Soul concept was based on the idea that people can help one another by sharing their stories. They put together 101 of their favorite true-life tales they’d gathered and put…

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How To Tell A Woman From A Cow

A handy guide for Idaho’s Republican legislators January is a bleak month in Idaho. The holidays are over and most days are gloomy. Commuters, like vampires, emerge from their homes before sunrise and return after sunset. Schoolchildren stand shivering in the dark at their morning bus stops. Thankfully, the January tedium is disrupted every year by the opening of the Idaho Legislature’s session. With a Republican supermajority in both houses — the ratio of Rs to Ds in the Senate is 28 to 7 and 59 to 11 in the House — one might expect few surprises from such an…

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I Wrote The Story That Scares Me

And today, it’s out in the world The most personal essay I’ve ever written is now public As of today, my story is live in HuffPost Personal. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever written, because it’s also the closest to me. The most painful. It’s full of things I found hard to reveal and hard to express. The story’s title is “Dementia Has Upended My Family And I Don’t Know How Much More I Can Take.” That wasn’t the title I pitched. But when the editor sent it to me, even though it made me squirm a bit, I knew…

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I Know What I Want

Santa, if you’re listening . . . I want — make that need — an elastic clock Not a watch with a stretchy wristband. Not even a smartwatch, because I’ve already got one that tells me the time — the objective time, that is — anywhere in the world. It also tells me what the weather will be ten days from now in Pocatello or Paris or Poughkeepsie, how many steps I’ve taken today compared to a year ago on this date, how much I’ve lost in the stock market this month, and when it’s time to get off my…

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I’m Not Going Away

I’ll just be in my cave for awhile I’m about to do a very scary thing It might not seem that way to you. But for me, it makes my innards feel discombobulated, as though they’ve been slightly rearranged. Here’s the deal: I have a big trip coming up, one across the pond to France to celebrate my beloved better half’s big birthday later this fall. That’s not what’s making my stomach twirly. Once we get back, I’m diving into a big hairy writing project: revising the rough draft of a novel, which in this case may well be a…

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Your Name Escapes Me

I remember you. Just not your name You can tell I’ve forgotten, can’t you? You’re too nice to point that out, of course, which in a way makes me feel even stupider. But I’m standing in the endless checkout line at the big-box retailer and you roll your shopping cart up behind mine and say, “Hi, Jan!” and I, startled out of wondering if I was supposed to get that one kind of toothpaste they have here, the kind my dentist told me to use, or do we still have a couple of tubes left from the stockpile we bought…

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Let’s Make This Easy

Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I’d love to hear from you Just like all bloggers, writers, and podcasters want to hear from their readers or listeners, I’m thrilled when I get a comment. Because I know this, I try to make sure I leave comments or otherwise reach out to the online creators whom I follow. But honestly, sometimes it’s a pain to scroll down and leave a comment on a blog post, or DM someone on Twitter, or do whatever it is one does on TikFace, etc. And because I’m writing on multiple platforms and also releasing…

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Don’t Miss the Double Launch

Listen up: episodes of two podcasts taking off today Sometimes good things come in two’s And sometimes schedules just coincide. Either way, today is the release date of two episodes from two different podcasts I’m involved in. I’m so tickled by them both, that I’m over here, horn-tooting! Toot 1: new Crow’s Feet podcast episode I’m way excited about this month’s episode, in which I get to host the witty and always worthwhile Roz Warren — an editor, writer, and author with serious creds who never makes the mistake of taking herself too seriously. How she reinvented herself in her…

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