Lessons learned while washing dishes

In the 1980s, while I attended a small liberal arts college in the Midwest, I worked at the dormitory cafeterias. I held a variety of jobs, from serving students food at lunch to replenishing donuts for brunch to working on the dishwasher line. On the dishwashing line, my fellow students and I sorted out theContinue reading “Lessons learned while washing dishes”

The feather

Dear Bird, I found your feather today on my walk Lying against the crisp brown late-summer grass. I wonder: Did you pluck it purposefully from your skin, Because it had lost its usefulness? Or was it torn from your wing in a dispute With another raptor? Did it shake loose in a tussle With yourContinue reading “The feather”

A writing life

My junior year of high school featured a huge disruption that would change my life moving forward and inspire a habit that stays with me to the present. In 1982, my mom, dad, sister and I traveled from Pullman, Washington, to London, England, where we lived for a year while my parents took a sabbaticalContinue reading “A writing life”

Tending a Garden Through the Years

In my youth, I fantasized about living off the land, planting, growing and consuming all of my own vegetables. I knew almost nothing about gardening, and as I began to try this activity, I questioned whether my childish dream would ever happen. I questioned this especially in the mid-1990s when I met Austin Springston, aContinue reading “Tending a Garden Through the Years”

The perils and perks of picking blackberries

Summertime in the Inland Empire means days so hot the moisture evaporates leaving behind oven-like breezes. Back in the 70s, it also meant my mom would load my sister and I up in the back of our ’66 Dodge Dart and point it into the countryside to look for blackberries. Blackberry picking takes grit. TheContinue reading “The perils and perks of picking blackberries”

Finding the words, finding my voice

I posted a piece a few weeks ago, a letter to my 25-year-old self. I got some very positive feedback from people. The only person I didn’t receive positive feedback from was me. It took me several weeks before I could bring myself to hit the “post” button. “Who cares about your 25-year-old self?” AContinue reading “Finding the words, finding my voice”

One thousand and one unrelated facts

My dad knew a lot of random facts. And he would bring up these facts at random moments. He could also quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail at will. Now, sometimes, those facts spring forth from me. For instance, at a recent work meeting, we were discussing nibbling amoebae, as one does when oneContinue reading “One thousand and one unrelated facts”

A moving experience – dismantling a life

August, 2018: Earlier this year, I helped my mother and stepfather move from a house they had lived in for 20 years into a retirement community. I flew from Florida to Seattle and spent five days taping together cardboard boxes, filling them with possessions, marking them with sharpies and stickers so the movers would knowContinue reading “A moving experience – dismantling a life”