Thankful? Oh, Really?

Ann:  It’s been a fairly dreadful year, personally and nationally, and giving thanks is going to be a stretch.  But even when I was a kid, I was thankless.  When my grandfather said grace at Sunday dinners — “Bless, oh Lord, this food to our use and us to thy service” — I thought the […]

Redux: The Other Signs of Fall

The other day I saw the fall crocuses and remembered that time last year when I learned that fall crocuses exist. Read on for my other signs of fall. What are yours?  The equinox is past. At last, fall has come to the northern hemisphere. Some of the ways the new season shows up are […]

Bug On My Airplane Window

I love seeing bugs on windows, for reasons I’ve never fully worked out. I’ve even written about it before on this blog. Normally those bugs are on the outside of the window and I’m on the inside. That’s how I prefer it. I think the bugs prefer it that way, too. They are out in the world, taking […]

A Letter to Myself: Summer is Survivable

A letter to myself, to be read in spring of 2017, when it starts getting hot again. Dear Helen: I know. The weather report is scary. It’s going to be in the 80s this week. Could be 85 by Friday. It means the worst: Summer. Is. Coming. Yeah, I know. Summer is the worst. Washington, […]

It’s Pretty, but It’s Bad News

It’s August, and that means the porcelainberries are out. The first time I noticed this plant, somewhere on the walk between home and work, I had no idea what I was seeing. Grapes? The leaves looked like grapes, but the fruits looked like so much more. Some kind of fabulous Easter confection. Chocolate covered in […]

Flying on Sunlight

In the winter of 2013, I went on a not-very-successful reporting trip to Switzerland. I was writing about a solar airplane, the Solar Impulse, and got way less access to the project than I had expected. But there was one highlight. After my odd tour of the hangar where the plane was being built, outside […]

Redux: Helen on Tea Towels

This week LWON reminds you of all the mundane, unimpressive, uncelebrated things that are nevertheless worth celebrating. The advice of early mentors often has unexpected weight; we keep following it long after we’ve grown up and become mentors ourselves.  Helen’s first mentor in journalism, the excellent Joanne Silberner, gave her advice about the complex and […]

Milkweed In Summer

Back in April, somebody at the community garden got ambitious. Weeds usually grow pretty profusely around the edges of the garden. But on one Thursday in April, when I walked by on my way to work, the weeds in the corner I pass every day had been completely turned over, in preparation for vegetables. I […]