Before I go, I have something to say

Category: Columns

My Tribe

My Tribe

A lot of people I know were stunned by the outcome of last November’s election. How could this happen? Why didn’t we see it coming? Why did they vote for him? Therein lies a problem. Who, exactly, are “they”? The ballot box is secret. Unlike […]

The Perks of Being Fired by My Doctor

The Perks of Being Fired by My Doctor

Have you ever been fired by a doctor? When it happened to me, six years ago, I was devastated. Not only would Dr. Doe (name changed, pronouns scrambled) no longer see me after three years of treating my headaches, he would not allow any of […]

Becoming Grandma

Ever since last August, when my son and his wife brought twin daughters into the world, I have wanted to write about them. And I have, in letters, Facebook posts, and in these very pages. Often, though, I hesitate. No one wants to listen day […]

In Memory Of

I went looking for Mark Anderson the other day. I hadn’t heard from him in years, but wondered about him, off and on, since we graduated from high school together. Our class numbered 698 teenage souls, but my circle of friends was a mere subset. […]

A Death in the Family

A Death in the Family

Bob and I returned home late, one warm August night. As usual, our cat, Leo, greeted us, flopping down on the living room floor, ready for his nighttime routine. First, get brushed, rolling over on cue. Next, wait for the fistful of treats that come as […]

Missing Friend

Eden (not her real name, for reasons that will become evident) is one of my oldest friends. After being paired as perfect roommates in college, we remained part of each other’s lives, meeting  up in Colorado, Paris, L.A., and always writing letters. She settled on […]

The Valley of the Dolls

We have survived the move. We put every single thing we owned into boxes, bins, and Hy-Vee bags, and now we live in another place. It’s only two miles from our old house, but I sometimes feel like we went to the moon. The house […]

Father of the Year

This is a story of three fathers. The first was Harold. He became a father six years after he married my mom, and he became my father eight years later. His children were both girls, which was a shame since he had so much to […]

A Very Very Very Fine House

This is the tale of three houses. One I grew up in, one I raised my children in, and one I moved into when my nest emptied and I married for a second time. I will be leaving this last one soon, as we move […]

Books to Go

Everybody knows moving is one of the most stressful life events. Only . . . it’s not true. The BBC debunked this stubborn myth two years ago, putting “moving into a new home” way down behind one hundred other stressors. Your response to this news […]

What’s in a Name?

Last August, my son and his wife welcomed twin daughters into the world. Bob and I were there, along with the other about-to-be grandparents and a few other lucky family members. Months before, Dan had called with the astonishing news of two babies, where we […]

Limping Towards Gratitude

Thanksgiving is over, but I’m still thinking about gratitude. Two things happened, shortly after the holiday, that have me pondering what gratitude is, and how it might sustain us. I am not one for truisms and affirmations. Give me Leonard Cohen’s “There is a crack […]

Poetry Is Your Friend

Let me introduce myself. I’m a poet. I love good poetry. (It’s not all good, far from it.) When someone asks me to compose a poem for an occasion, I’m usually up for it, though I won’t write love poems for you to text to […]

The Truthiness Is Out There

When we travel, I tend to look up every trivial thing that pops into my head. How old is Ringo Starr? Is Marianne Faithful still alive? Why was the University of Iowa so ticked off at the Stanford marching band? Could I order a tortilla […]

Lessons Learned, 2015 Edition

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and as I review what I wrote in 2015, certain truths leap off the page, some more pleasant than others. Somewhat chronologically, I learned the following, whether I wanted to or not: The […]

This Elf Is Staying Put

This Elf Is Staying Put

It happened three weeks before Christmas. My husband and I dashed into Bed, Bath, and Infinity to find a _____ [details deleted to ensure my 30-something daughter is ecstatically surprised by the gift we bought there] and were confronted by one of those pre-holiday displays […]

Early to Bed, Early to Rise, etc.

There I was last night, cleaning up, checking the computer, and setting out my breakfast stuff, when it started to dawn on me. Why, I wondered, was I in such a rush to get to bed by my usual time, when I knew I didn’t […]

Walk a Mile in My Shoe

As summer yields fitfully to autumn, my life has taken an eentsy-beentsy turn toward the miserable. Just when I thought it couldn’t get much worse than a chronic daily migraine, I fell on the stairs and cracked two foot bones, one of them known for […]

There Goes the Neighborhood

There Goes the Neighborhood

Big bad changes are afoot in my old neighborhood. Dismay has led me to some strange places, including a children’s picture book, a local history text, and a 2009 Pixar movie. The picture book is Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House. Published in 1942, it […]

A Fallen Woman

A Fallen Woman

Not long ago, I stumbled onto an insight. It came to me as I descended the stairs at home in the dim early-autumn light. Preoccupied with random thoughts, this question failed to enter my mind: You think your right foot just landed on the last […]