Post 43:  Distance Loving

I was allowed a parakeet in a cage; that’s all. No cats, no dogs. We babysat a cat once, my cousin John’s, for a week. It must have been traumatic for the cat: These days, we realize cats bond with their homes and prefer the babysitter to visit them, to fill their familiar food andContinue reading Post 43:  Distance Loving

Post 42: Is Money the Root of All Evil?

You’ve certainly heard this ancient maxim, and you most likely have an opinion about it. Maybe you even know it’s from the New Testament (Paul’s letter to Timothy) and that in its earlier, longer form it read “the love of money is the root of all evil.” In my experience, modern commentary is more likelyContinue reading “Post 42: Is Money the Root of All Evil?”

Post 41: No New . . . Caskets?

Nancy Mairs was the author who influenced my writing life the most. Her first book, Plaintext, from 1986, introduced me to the personal essay; I realized, then, that this would be the form my writing would take. I never knew her personally, even though she lived in Tucson and the very last sentence of theContinue reading Post 41: No New . . . Caskets?

Post 40: A Fresh Code of Paint

One afternoon when my former mother-in-law was still my mother-in-law, we were hanging out in my kitchen. She was cleaning my refrigerator–she was always looking for ways to help out, so I started making sure I saved some dirt and grime for her when she visited–while I was painting the door frame. “Why are youContinue reading “Post 40: A Fresh Code of Paint”

Post 39: A Rose Is a Rose, But . . .

I think I was in grade school when our teacher taught us about smell. “When you smell something,” she said, “you’re actually breathing in some really tiny particles of the thing you’re smelling.” There was a silence, until one student dared ask, “Even dog poop?” “Dog poop, yes. For sure. All kinds of excrement,” sheContinue reading “Post 39: A Rose Is a Rose, But . . .”

Post 38: Top 10 Reasons I Don’t Eat Out (Much)

CaveatsWith the pandemic waves influencing the opening and closing of restaurants, it’s no wonder that people go a little crazy eating out when everything has opened up again. Getting out means eating out. Probably this is a terrible time to publish bad news about it. Or else . . . it’s the right time exactly.Continue reading “Post 38: Top 10 Reasons I Don’t Eat Out (Much)”

Post 37: What the Jell is Jojoba?

It’s spring, and there isn’t anything I’d rather do than work in the yard, inhaling the orange-blossom scent until it practically knocks me flat. But why do all the trees and bushes around here keep grabbing my hair, scratching my face, and almost poking my eye out now and then? It’s because they’re growing, andContinue reading Post 37: What the Jell is Jojoba?

Post 36: Bad Influence

I used to say I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. My parents were both against it. My dad said, “Kay, you don’t want to be one of those kooky artists.” Kooky! I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that word since it came out of his mouth. My mother was moreContinue reading Post 36: Bad Influence

Post 35: Don’t Shop. Repair Shop!

Starting with my early writing, I decided to avoid using brand names if possible. To me it seemed to cheapen fiction. “She put on her tightest Levis, got into her Kia, and drove to the nearest Olive Garden.” See what I mean? Brands are just too pop. Would Dickens or Twain ever write a sentenceContinue reading “Post 35: Don’t Shop. Repair Shop!”

Post 34: Loving Your Before and After

I. INTRO: FOUR DECADES I’ve lived at this property for nearly 41 years. It should be looking a little bit different by now, right? At the time we bought the house, I didn’t know anything about fixing up a home interior, and not much about gardening or landscaping in the desert, either. We had littleContinue reading “Post 34: Loving Your Before and After”