Would You Send a Gift When The Invitation Reads "No Gift, Please"?

Here’s a brain teaser: A girl receives an invitation to a birthday party. The invitation specifically states “no gifts, please”. Should the girl:a) run out and buy the perfect gift for the birthday girl; she’s no Scrooge  b) show up at the party empty-handed; after all, the invitation was quite clearorc) scratch her head and wonder what the phrase “no gifts” really means ...more
We did a "no gifts" party once. I believe my daughter was five and she was absolutely fine with ...more

Who, What, When, Where and How the Heck Do I Know?

Every journalism student at my college was required to take News 101. Despite my lack of interest in newspaper reporting, I learned quite a bit in that class, specifically the five W’s of reporting: who, what, when, where and why (there’s an H in the mix too, FYI). The first four W’s never tripped me up – pretty basic stuff for the average reporter. But the last one – the why – that’s what differentiated an average reporter from a hard-hitting journalist. To get to the heart of the story, inside the heads of those involved, requires a special talent....more

A Hug is Worth a Thousand Words

A Eulogy: The Light of My Sister's Son Shines On

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.      - Dylan Thomas ...more
Brownie, It was so wonderful to put a face with a name - I wish it had been under better ...more

Sometimes I Feel Very Far From Home

When I went away to college, my mother nearly collapsed from grief - not because I’m all that, although I’d like to think my absence is worth a few tears - but because there had been too much loss already and my leaving felt like another loss to her. Long-distance, over a staticky phone line, my mother sang me a song while I sat in my dorm room and felt the twist of the knife slickly coated with guilt....more

Headaches Can Be a Real Pain in the Neck

I have a headache. A very bad headache. The kind of head-splitting ache that makes you want to reach into your eyeballs and pull out your brain. Throbbing, pulsing, pounding – check, check, check. The one thing it’s not is gone. For 48 hours, some form of this mind-numbing pain has rattled my being. For 48 hours, I have popped Advil, stuck my head over a pot of steaming salt water and worn cold face masks. Nothing has worked....more

When Life Gets Crazy, I Post-It

Hold on. Let me find a pen. I have one here somewhere. Somewhere. Somewhere. Oh, here. Now, what did you say? I want to write that down.  And so begins my daily search for a writing implement and a scrap of paper....more

Why I'm Not Fine with "Fine"

Mumble, mumble, mumble. It seems that’s all people hear when I talk to them. No need to choose my words carefully for my words are just sounds to those around me.Case in point: I went to a store the other day to make a return. I opened the door, stepped inside and was greeted with, “Welcome to the store. How are you?” by a lovely young salesclerk.I smiled (hoping a big grin would make up for my post-workout smell), “I’m fine. Than…” I started to say but was interrupted by her next comment, “I’m doing great!”...more

My Mother's Breast Cancer Diagnosis Defined Her - In a Good Way

I was aware of breast cancer before it became hip to be aware. Now there’s a whole month devoted to the awful disease, but trust me, any month you are diagnosed is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It doesn’t take the leaves turning red, yellow and orange for a woman to start thinking pink. For Marge and our entire family, July was pink. Then October, November and December.  All pink. Unless it was black. And there were definitely many days that cast a somber black shadow....more

The Black and White Approach to Parenting and Why it Works

I would like to be a panda. I would like to be cute and cuddly and have everyone say “aww” when they saw me. I wouldn’t like to live in a tree though. So I would like to be an acrophobic panda who lives at the Marriott and has room service bring me my bamboo allotment for the day. Okay, maybe I don’t really want to be a panda, but I do envy panda mothers....more