A Picture of Winter

Winter scene
No, this is not the actual view out my back window, but you get the idea.

challengingly Through the lens of my upstairs back window is a picture of Winter, staring back at me like an old tintype photograph of washed out objects reduced to blacks, whites, and grays, frigid and still. I complain about winter like everyone else, in part so I feel normal, with normal-person grievances like extreme cold and icy roads.

But I love winter. I always have. Continue reading “A Picture of Winter”

New Year’s Resolution Gym Fail

Happy New Year!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Not me, not anymore. But I watch plenty of other people try.

January gym crowd
January gym crowds are a nuisance, but not for long.

Take the resolution to work out at the gym. Every January, just as sure as the temperatures turn frigid, I know that my gym will be more crowded.

Not for the entire month, mind you. Because for most people, New Year’s resolutions to work out at the gym have a shelf life of two to three weeks, tops. Experience tells me so. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolution Gym Fail”

Beware Sewer Line Insurance: Flushing Money Down the Toilet

Sewer pipe dig
Here’s part of the hole in the sidewalk next to my entrance to dig up my outside sewer pipe — good times.

This past week I’ve been dealing with a code brown situation – I’m dropping big bucks to repair my broken sewer line, literally flushing money down the toilet.

I can’t safely have a sit down until I lay down several grand.

If my bathroom over-share offends you, Dear Reader, consider this a public service. Because I’d like to warn you of one of the easier ways for homeowners to piss away money – by buying “sewer line insurance” that hardly relieves you of expensive repairs to your “poop pipe,” as a friend cheerfully calls it.  Continue reading “Beware Sewer Line Insurance: Flushing Money Down the Toilet”

How to Self-Edit Your Writing – CAKKALS

Edited draft of Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence with edits by Ben Franklin, 1776

As painful as it can be to accept the criticisms and revisions of an editor, most writers would agree that it’s far more difficult to edit your own writing. A fresh set of eyes – especially skillful editor eyes – is dangerous to forego.

But there are times when all of us have to write something that no one else will take a crack at – a letter, a report, an essay, a blog post. Once I’ve finished drafting something that won’t benefit from another’s input, I go through a painstaking self-editing checklist summed up as the acronym, CAKKALS.

Yes, Dear Reader, it’s pronounced just like the hysterical sounds of relief you’ll make when you finish self-editing. Continue reading “How to Self-Edit Your Writing – CAKKALS”

Over My Head: A Halloween Ghost Story

One bag of candy.

Over My Head: A Halloween Ghost StoryThat’s all I bought to hand out at Halloween. I live on a block in Old Town with only five townhouses on one side shaded by giant old oak trees. The other side is taken up with spare brick commercial buildings, which were shuttered on Halloween night.

It’s a lonely block for trick-or-treaters, I rarely get more than two or three groups. So I only ever bother getting one bag of candy – Mini Snickers bars – chosen with leftovers in mind.

That night, I was washing dinner dishes when I heard the first knock. I grabbed the Mini Snickers and walked to the front door. Continue reading “Over My Head: A Halloween Ghost Story”

StoryCorps – 10 Years of Tales and Tears

StoryCorps image courtesy of WDET.org
StoryCorps mobile unit — image courtesy of WDET.org

If you’re a regular listener of “Morning Edition” on National Public Radio (NPR), then you’ve probably wept and laughed – but mostly wept – after listening to the weekly short segments of oral histories known as StoryCorps.

NPR marked the 10-year anniversary of StoryCorps this past week, featuring daily segments of oral histories NPR had aired in the past, including “where are they now?” updates. It was almost too much to bear.

Why?

Because I love StoryCorps, and I hate StoryCorps. Continue reading “StoryCorps – 10 Years of Tales and Tears”