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Thanks for Our Family, Dead and Alive

Thanks for the Teutons, Celts, Norse, Slavs, and Balts, calling back the winter sun, who fought to keep Christ out of Yuletide as fiercely and for as long as they have now been crusading to keep Him in.

Thanks for the Shawnee, who explored the Appalachians long before they settled down and shared hearths with Welsh coal miners and Italian grocers in a land that would secede from the Confederacy and become the State of West Virginia.

Thanks for our Great Lakes cousins, the Anishinaabeg, whose beautiful words and ways live all around us today.

Thanks for the Asian refugees who erased their tracks but lived.

Thanks for the Congolese slave who crossed through a watery grave and for her unfathomable captors.

Thanks for those who forgot they were passing -- along genes that held a silent scream.

Thanks for the French Canadian homesteaders who persisted.

Thanks for the Russians who resisted.

Thanks for the new Americans who fought the Germans in two Great Wars, the immigrant father from Ger…
Recent posts

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be:
You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")  35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't waste time o…

It's No Wonder We Can All Say #MeToo

"My mother sculpted me from clay, and Zeus breathed life into me."

A likely story, Wonder Woman!

Our daughter has had an excellent grasp of real vs. pretend and the arts of storytelling since toddlerhood, and I believe these to be real-life superpowers. When you control the narrative, you control hearts and minds, starting with your own.

Many of our cultural taboos here in the USA tell us that sex is shameful, and that sexual feelings and contact make us weak. This culture prepares our children to be sexually victimized during and beyond childhood, because it takes away their ability to identify, avoid, and tell about inappropriate sexual conduct, without fear.

You cannot really understand inappropriate conduct unless you understand healthy behavior. Identifying, describing, and teaching our children in an age-appropriate way about healthy expressions of sexuality are the hard parts of sex education, even for those who are comfortable speaking about scientific facts of life…

A Fall Menu for Writers

Breakfast:  Pie à la modeMore pie if it's cold outside. More mode if the day is globally warmed. Listen to that old guy in your family who always said you should eat dessert first in case you die today. It's true.

Early Bird SpecialIf you wake up very early to write, or if you can't handle all that sugar on an empty stomach, then  begin noshing before dawn on something very savory, like chilaquiles with beans or green tea soba noodles with fermented-fish soup base. Wake up to new and interesting flavors.

Remember to save room for your pie and ice cream.

Lunch:  On Fire It doesn't much matter what's for lunch, as long as it's on fire. The food itself can be literally on fire, as in  flaming saganaki, or it can be cooked with fire, or it can be something that simply lights you up. OPA!

Is it cold outside? Do you have a fireplace or woodstove? Roast, sear, or cauldron-boil whatever you find in the fridge. Never mind cooking with love. That's all fine and good…

This Is What Productivity Looks Like

When my coffee table develops a sense of humor like this, you know my mind has been engaged. I like to consider it one of those "signs of creative genius," you know, like drinking too much, sleeping too little, or swearing like a sailor. (You can find a report of scientific evidence of every kind of adulting failure or personal vice as a sign of genius, and I recommend it. It makes you feel great without having to change your habits, like watching an episode of Hoarders instead of cleaning your house.) However, I think a dinosaur has laid an egg under an old magazine back there. Hmm.

I've been immersed in my novel these past few weeks, taking notes on archaeology texts, watching documentaries, filling in my outline, and sketching out scenes and dialog. It's been a slow process of deepening my settings and characters and weaving historical insights into my plot, with little new writing happening, but I've still pushed the manuscript over 35,000 words.

And now tha…

Still Hot

Still Hot, A List: OctoberMindyTillWonder WomanDem Shoes
1. October As my friend Esperanza says, October is still hot "because of these beautiful global warming days." Sometimes it's too hot for me to bake pies, and that ain't right, but we make do. I know it's weird, but sometimes we must resort to the pumpkin pie ice cream from Quality Dairy.

2. The Mindy Project Speaking of Esperanza, she subscribed to Hulu so we could catch up on The Mindy Project together. There is nothing in the world like this show, which bounces gracefully between potty humor and super soapy dramz. Plus a parade of hot, objectified men. We watched the classic "Diamond Dan" episode twice in a row even though we had both seen it before already. Sometimes that's what you have to do when you have talked and giggled through all the brilliant dialog. We wouldn't want to lose the... thread.

3. Till Lindemann Speaking of hot, objectified men, Till Lindemann's book of photog…

Raison D'être Made from Scratch

Some things are best made from scratch, like birthday cakes and cards designed by a first grader. Or Halloween costumes. Or historical novels. Or raison d'être.

This is the cake my daughter helped me bake and then designed and decorated by herself, for her uncle's birthday. (Later, it had sparkler candles on it.)

She also made him a card with a joke in it: "What did the pumpkin say to the person?"

There was no answer.

Pumpkins don't talk.


You know what's not hilarious? I've gotten so accustomed to having a friend near the site of a terrorist attack that I am not even shocked anymore when I log onto Facebook and see my feed start with "marked safe" posts about "the recent violent incident." 

I've taken a cue from my daughter, as I often do in times of bleak current events, to turn away from the horrors outside my direct sphere of control and ask myself, "What is the easiest thing I could do right now to create joy?&…