The Last Word

June 13-17, 2016 Christie thought she was from nowhere–until an internet quiz put her in her place. The novel Frankenstein, Michelle writes, “can be read a warning of the perils of human hubris and a brilliantly imaginative response to a global disaster.” Will we take its lessons and inspiration to heart in the face of our own monstrous creation, climate change? J-Shame: “It hits when your […]

Redux: How an internet quiz put me in my place

This post first ran on January 7, 2014. I am from nowhere. Until my husband told me this — stated it as a fact, like “it’s raining” or “the sky is blue” — I’d never had a truthful answer to a question that has always given me pause: where are you from? “You’re from nowhere,” Dave […]

Redux: What is a good death?

This post first ran on August 29, 2013.My beloved neighbor Joanne was 87 years old when her son found her dead in the hallway of her old farmhouse on Monday. They’d gone to a funeral together that morning — a younger relative had died of pancreatic cancer — and after lunch he’d dropped her off at […]

Redux: Gold Stars

This post was originally published on May 26, 2014, but it’s still relevant today. Go ahead and celebrate today’s holiday with a grill and a swill or a trip to some big box store to buy discounted appliances. Unless you’re part of the other one percent — the tiny fraction of Americans who served in the military […]

Redux: Lost in the Cloud

This post first ran on September 26, 2012.My mother sent me an old letter recently. It was a handwritten note scrawled across two pages that she’d written to her sister more than 30 years ago. My family had just moved to West Germany, where my dad was stationed in the Air Force, and in the […]

Redux: Murmuration. The poetry of the morning walk.

This post first ran on January 15, 2013. This morning I awoke to the kind of day that offers an easy excuse to skip the walk. The temperature gauge read -3F (-19C) when I crawled out of bed, and by the time I’d finished the tea and hot porridge my husband had prepared, it was still only […]

Redux: The sniffle, hack, sneeze blame game

This post first ran on March 22, 2013.  We run it again here because it does seem like half the world is sniffling, hacking, sneezing, and looking for who to blame. We recommend this view over the medieval one.  The storytelling begins the morning you wake up with a slight scratch in your throat. Oh, this […]

Redux: Is passion for science a heritable trait?

This post first ran on August 24, 2011. My dad and I share an obsession with endurance sports. We don’t just love to get outside and ride our bikes, we actually feel antsy and anxious if we go too many days without working up a sweat. As I’ve written elsewhere, our compulsion for exercise has a genetic […]