The Last Word

March 10 – 14 This week, Christie told us that story she doesn’t tell. Then lots of other people flocked to the comments to tell theirs. Guest poster Daniel O’Connell asked if there’s gold in them thar evolutionary hills. Cameron wondered if deep-sea species will be soon be forced to have their own reality show. […]

The story I won’t tell

I was having lunch with a vegetarian friend recently, when I caught myself wanting to tell her the story. When you’re a vegetarian, a lot of people — friends, distant relatives, complete strangers — barrage you with the story. It starts like this: “Yeah, I tried going vegetarian once.”  During my 13 years as a […]

Death Barged In

Pia’s birthday was last week. I didn’t call her or send a card or bake a cake. Such efforts would have fallen on deaf ears, because she died six years ago in January. Pia was the older sister I’d never had, and she’d welcomed me into her life with apricots and a warm pot of […]

Breast cancer’s latest saga: misfearing and misplaced goalposts

What’s the number one killer of women? It’s a question that practitioners asked every new patient at a clinic where physician Lisa Rosenbaum once worked, and she hasn’t forgotten the answer given to her by one middle-aged woman with high blood pressure and elevated blood lipids. “I know the right answer is heart disease,” the […]

24 Reasons to Ignore Best Places Lists

The latest issue of Sunset Magazine arrived in my mail last week, and the cover story immediately caught my eye — “24 Best Places to Live and Work 2014.” “Looking for the perfect place to launch a career? Start a family? Just relax? We’ve found the ideal city, town, or neighborhood for you.” For instance, […]

How an internet quiz put me in my place

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 said. His words hit me like a […]

Holiday Review: Why Blog?

On a recent episode of the literary podcast All Write Already! Susan Orlean said, “I’ve always been skeptical about the value of blogs.” While I agree with her arguments in favor of writing for pay and under the guidance of an editor, I’ve also come to believe that under the right circumstances (i.e. you are not blogging […]

Y’all Need this Word

  Most people don’t adopt a new manner of speech in their 40’s, so when my husband recently started using the phrase “y’all” I wondered what was up. It wasn’t like his Swiss parents taught him to use this slang, and he’d grown up in Colorado, where y’all is uttered only by Texas transplants. After […]