Staying at home ain't so bad

My husband knew COVID-19 was coming before most Americans. While he's not a scientist or doctor, he is an engineer and if you know an engineer you know they like to have as much information as possible when learning about a subject or tackling a problem. At first it was interesting, but as he came what I considered more "obsessed," I began to worry. What if he was right? What if this was going to be another pandemic like the Spanish flu in 1918. People at my work and some friends were not taking it as seriously. Before our "Stay Home" order from the Governor, I was an outlier in sharing my husband's knowledge. My requests at work to socially distance early on were met with reserve. I pushed it, sometimes in anger. "It's no worse than the flu," people said.  Boy were they wrong!  My respect for my COVID-19 sponge of a husband grew. While I didn't go down the rabbit hole with him, I learned from him and an occasional New York Tim

Bah! Humbug! A Christmas story

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”  -- Ebenezer Scrooge  So maybe that's a little harsh but if I'm being honest, I have never really been a Christmas girl. I like seeing my family who live elsewhere, getting a tree, and listening to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" for the 1,245th time. And when the kids were little I enjoyed participating in the Santa myth, watching their little faces light up Christmas morning when they saw their letters to "Santa" materialized of toys and books under the tree.  But in terms of stocking stuffers, gorgeous gift wrapping, maddening crowds, and Black Friday deals? No thanks. But I don't necessarily think that makes me a Scrooge or a Grinch. I have just come to realize in the past few years that mortality is very real, life is fragile, and

Giving thanks for my race?

Some of my many white ancestors - no other race in my blood  As we say good-bye to another Thanksgiving holiday, it's a good time to reflect on all for which I am truly grateful. While historically a religious-based and gratitude-for-the-harvest celebration long before our white ancestors invaded this country, Thanksgiving is generally a time to gather with friends and family, eat way too much food (if you have that kind of privilege) and watch the National Dog Show (if you are me). And that's OK. I think. What it is NOT is a time to decorate your house with pilgrim salt and pepper shakers or perpetuate the myth that the holiday symbolized the coming together dinner of Native Americans and colonists. What it SHOULD ALSO BE is a time to recognize that the land we all live on is traditional land of indigenous peoples that was stolen from them. Not something until recently we have begun teaching our children in the history books. I can't tell you how many school-based

Flat candy and other obsessions

It started out simply like it often does. The desire to do something nice for someone, or simply feel that rewarding sense of accomplishment. A box checked.  An overdue phone call. A post it note recycled. A sock drawer cleaned out because, why not? In this case, on the brink of Halloween, it was a quest to find flat candy. "What the hell is flat candy?" you might ask (and did if you are my husband).  Well get comfortable because this is a tall tale to tell and possibly one you can relate to if you are a) an overachiever, b) a little OCD, or c) just like "the hunt." A little background: Many moons ago I had the privilege of traveling on a group study exchange to India with some other -- at the time -- young people (all Canadians) and our leader, a Rotarian and American named Dan. We were there five weeks and it was both grueling and unforgettable. I got girardia which stayed with me for a year. I jogged around cows. Living on the go with different Indian fa

Getting hip at 50

When I turned 50 I knew I had a lot of things to look forward to: menopause (complete with hot flashes); insomnia; thinning hair; Clarks comfort loafers; and yes, neck wrinkles! All that glory aside, I never envisioned that a hip replacement would be part of my 5th decade. I had been having some groin pain off and on for about six months. It was worse when I took long walks. Physical therapy and treatment for "lazy gluts" (aka my butt muscles) helped a little but then the pain got worse. Maybe I was just getting old!? Just in case I requested an X-ray just to see what was up. So as I sat in the surgeon's office one June day and heard the words "bone on bone" and "hip replacement" I was a bit flabbergasted. How did this happen? For exercise, I walk and do yoga. I ride my bike a few times a year to feel the wind in my hair and sun on my face (and appease my bike fanatic husband who thinks nothing of a 30-mile trail ride). Hip replacements were for

The power of procrastination

As a working journalist, deadlines were my savior. You had a good 8 hours to research, report and write an 8 inch story - no excuses. If you didn't meet them there would be a big hole on the front page and your ass was grass. Fast forward nearly 30 years and deadlines are no longer my friend because generally I set them myself. Or I have too many. Or I put them off. Or they are impossible to meet. See -- excuses! Same for being on time. I am the queen (ask my coworkers and friends) of being 5 minutes (or more) late because I am always trying to get "one more thing" done before I go off to another meeting or appointment. One time I was late to get home so my kindergartner had to ride the bus back to the bus barn where I had to pick her up in shame. Still, I kept putting things off. Awhile back I just sort of gave myself an "out" and said, "You know what, I'm pretty good at everything else. The world won't stop if I'm a little late to

Shrugging off the stigma of depression

When you hear the word depression what do you think of? Maybe someone who sleeps all day and stops eating and showering. Or perhaps someone who only thinks about themselves and chooses not to be in a good mood. Worst case, someone who thinks about ending their life.  Or maybe someone like me.  According to Mayo Clinic, depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Now you might think, "well everyone feels sad once in awhile and you just need to snap out of it." Folks I'm here to say on behalf of those of us who suffer from depression -- mild or severe -- it's just not that easy. Depression can be part of your being, caused by biology, brain chemistry, genetics or hormones. It can be triggered by an incident such as a death in the family or other loss or trauma. For me it's a little bit of everything.  There is no typical candidate for depression. I have suffered from it my whole life and only sought p