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Thatwhich

Girls gone wild

Ms. Backpacker, back in the day.

When I was a teenager, I was friends with two sisters, Tara and Sheila. Every summer we signed up for a backpacking or canoeing adventure at Camp Northwoods, a Girl Scout camp in Wisconsin. Honestly, I didn’t much care for backpacking: carrying a 35-pound pack and eating freeze-dried lunches was not my thing.  Read More 
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I used to be so brave.

Last week several file folders were unearthed from my parents’ basement, archives from a time between college stints. The tabs had short story and essay titles: “Pity Alexander Fischberg,” “Shoulder to Shoulder,” “The Key to the War,” “The Rape Story.” Inside were typewritten pages of double-spaced drafts.  Read More 
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Ghirls' weekend

If you’re going on a girls’ weekend, choose a haunted hotel and go with your friend who’s a past-life regression therapist. Of course, Cindie’s more than that, not an easy person to categorize. She’s also the writing partner I can count on to scrawl “liar” in the margins of my manuscript Read More 
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Remaining Sane: Some Thoughts and Tips for Caregivers

First, a disclaimer: there are a lot of people who work a lot harder than I do as a caregiver. In fact, most caregivers don't even realize they're caregivers. It's like that frog-in-boiling-water syndrome; you don't realize what's happened until well past tea time. (Okay, that was a terrible analogy, and perhaps even a mixed metaphor. Forgive me.) Read More 
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Rebel turtle (without a few claws)

My teenage daughter ratted out the turtle. Turns out he's a rebel. A couple days ago, Churchy woke up from his winter's nap. This typically happens a few times a winter, and when he wakes up, he wants out of the terrarium. He thinks it’s spring, and time to get back into the garden and wait for tomatoes to ripen.  Read More 
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And all are welcome.

We were not what they call regular churchgoers, my family of origin. I was raised Presbyterian, sort of. For us that meant we religiously attended services for six weeks when I was in the fourth grade in order that I might receive a free Bible. After that, my dad refused to get up early on weekends.  Read More 
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These boots were made for walking (funny)

Photograph by Betty Engle LeVin, from I See a Poem, edited by Jane Ellen Dwyer, Whitman Publishing, 1968.
Nothing makes you feel like an old lady like misplacing your orthotics. To be fair, I’m not that old, and I was even younger when I was fitted with them. It’s been a few years, and this past summer I got out of the habit of wearing them every day. Orthotics don’t really fit in sandals, and even if they did, that bright-blue exposed surface is never a good look. Might as well apply red lipstick a quarter-inch above my lip line to complete the image  Read More 
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Muscle memory

It’s Halloween and I did something that really scared me. I started working with a personal trainer. It’s been almost exactly 19 years since a car accident turned my life into a before and after. Before the accident, I cross-country skied in the winter, once shocking a New York City editor when she found out I was pregnant while on lodge-to-lodge ski trip for the magazine. The editor was “scandalized,” which made me feel brave and athletic.  Read More 
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The committee in my head

As part of my midlife makeover, I decided to stop being such a slug. I spend a lot of time applying ass to chair, which is how Dorothy Parker described the art of writing. Part of my excuse for not exercising more has been that I was in a car accident years ago that caused all sorts of havoc with my body, and even though I’ve healed a lot, I’m still not sure what my limitations are. I go to a yoga class once a week, making a lot of modifications. For instance, until recently my tree pose involved using both of my legs to form the trunk. I just stood there, arms raised, heart open.  Read More 
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Half-empty nest syndrome

When you’re young, with two very small children, and you decide the most prudent move is to become a single parent, it’s as big a commitment as a marriage vow. You’re acknowledging that you are solely responsible for your children.

Sam and Grace were 4 and 2 when I realized it couldn’t be any more difficult to raise them myself  Read More 
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