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Newsy! Dear, Dear Diary + Kale Chips + Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer (v.31)

January 11th, 2017

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Consider this:

Dear, Dear Diary


This is my first dear, dear diary

I started keeping a diary when I was nine years old. It was bright yellow and came with a gold lock and a tiny key. Believe it or not, I’m looking at that very diary right now. The key is long gone, and the cover has faded to the color of wheat, but it’s still decorated with carefully selected stickers. On the front is a striped kitten, a tiny chipmunk in green shorts and a little dog wearing a red winter coat. On the back are ladybirds and bunnies, plus this declaration in dark blue ink: “Harriette waz here, ’83.”

I started this five-year diary when I was a child of nine and kept it, with complete dedication, until I was officially a teenager. In 1979, I rode a short, fat Shetland pony named Ginger through verdant fields in Vermont and played The Dukes of Hazzard with the boys next door. Read more

Newsy! Pondering Politics and Punctuation + White Bean, Kale & Parmesan Soup + The Book Of Eli (v.30)

January 5th, 2017

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Consider this:

Pondering Politics, Punctuation and @realDonaldTrump!

Anyone else finding the 45th president’s punctuation utterly exhausting?

Image via Pixabay

Image via Pixabay

Dear @realDonaldTrump!

I’m not a millionaire, a businessperson or a politician, but as a professional writer, I’ve got some advice for you! Since you’re super busy these days on Twitter, I hope you won’t mind if I offer a friendly reminder about one of the cardinal rules of writing! Here goes!

An exclamation point is a punctuation mark that a) denotes the end of a sentence and b) expresses excitement or emotion.

Sounds simple, I know! Read more

Newsy! My Vest Is Revolting + Coconut Curry Cashews + Born To Run (v.29)

December 22nd, 2016

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Consider this:

My Vest Is Revolting And Other Thoughts About Sartorial Resistance

How do you solve a problem like Ivanka?

My offending vest, courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

My offending vest, courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

In October 2015, a friend and I were browsing at T.J. Maxx. A black velvet-and-faux-fur vest caught my eye. I tried it on and decided to buy it.

It wasn’t until after I’d made my purchase that I checked the label. “It’s an Ivanka!” I told my friend, oddly delighted to be in possession of a brand I associated with strands of fake gold (clearly, I was thinking about a different Trump).

I wore my new vest to a dinner party. In response to compliments, I unabashedly shared the designer’s name. It’s an Ivanka, I said. Read more

Newsy! Why I Hate Hamilton + Swedish Hotcakes + The Trespasser (v.28)

December 15th, 2016

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Consider this:

Hamilton, Schmamilton: Five Reasons I Hate This Show

The fact that I’ve never seen it is completely irrelevant.


Photo credit: Public Domain Photos

Well, folks, it’s finally happening: Hamilton, the musical, is coming to San Francisco.

Am I excited? No, I am not.

Do I loathe musical theater?

No, I do not.

In fact, I love it. I’ve loved it all my life.

I discovered musicals when I was eight years old. Seated in the front row of my local high school’s auditorium, I watched a student production of The Pajama Game. From the moment the curtains rose, I was enthralled. Read more

Newsy! Rut Busters + Lemon & Dill Chicken Soup + Our Year In Books (v.27)

December 8th, 2016

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Consider this:

How To Climb Out Of A Grand-Canyon-Deep Rutgrand-canyon-55643_640

Out on the trail with my dog a few weeks back, I crossed paths with a pal who I haven’t seen in much too long. She commutes daily to her 9-5 job, so I was surprised to find her out and about during work hours. She was taking advantage of a rare day working from home by gulping deep breaths of crisp fresh air.

“It feels so good to be out here,” my friend said as we huffed our way up a steep grade. “I’ve been stuck in a rut as deep as the Grand Canyon.” Read more

Newsy! Shoeboxes Filled With Love + Chicken Pot Pie + The Young Widower’s Handbook: a Novel (v.26)

November 30th, 2016

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Consider this:

How To Fill 350 Shoeboxes With Love


Elizabeth and a few hundred shoeboxes

I met my friend Elizabeth in San Francisco on Election Day, 2002. I was a brand new mom, still figuring out how to get my three-month-old and myself out of the house each day, along with his stroller and a backpack filled with everything a baby could possibly need. That particular morning, my own mom was with me, and we strollered on over to my local polling station so I could cast my vote. Read more

Newsy! Thank You, Bone Marrow Donor + Cranberry Nut Bread + The Poison Artist (v.25)

November 22nd, 2016

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Consider this:

This Thanksgiving, I’m Giving Thanks To A Strangerdonor

Dear Anonymous Bone Marrow Donor,

First and foremost, thank you. Thank you for joining a registry of donors who are on-call for active duty. A military analogy seems apt for describing the way you and your fellow volunteers spend months or even years awaiting a phone call that informs you, you’re up. Recently, on what probably began as a perfectly ordinary day, someone from Be The Match told you your marrow matched that of a 14-year-old boy. You don’t know this lad, but I do. He has a laser bright smile and is sweet and funny and strong. Right now, due to a rare bone marrow disease, he’s the wrong shade of pale. Read more

Newsy! Time Out + Sticky Toffee Date Cake + A Little Life (v.24)

November 16th, 2016

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Consider this:

Time Outcrack-in-the-road

Last week felt endless.

Our escape to a little town in Wine Country with the dog and one of the boys was perfectly timed. The sun was warm. The river was low, but it flowed. Golden leaves dazzled against a clear blue sky.

We didn’t fully unplug, but we took a time-out. Read more

Newsy! Is Dazed, Confused And Desperate For Funny (v. 23, an election week special)

November 11th, 2016

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Consider this:

After This Election, I’m Dazed, Confused And Desperate For Funny

Does this count as a smile? (Photo credit:

The morning after the election, I staggered out of bed with an aching head after a fitful sleep. My 14-year-old was already in the kitchen, waiting for his bread to toast. He was logged onto the computer.

“Did it really happen?” I croaked. My red, puffy eyes filled with tears as he nodded, wordless.

A moment later, he turned the computer screen my way. “Check this out,” he said. I saw a photograph of a vast, towering structure sitting the middle of what looked like a national park. Read more

Newsy! Hello, Gorgeous + Obsessively Good Green Beans + Season Of The Witch (v. 22)

November 10th, 2016

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Consider this:

Hello, Gorgeousyou-are-beautiful

A few months back, I was sitting in the sunshine on a bench in my local town square, noodling back and forth about a project idea with one of my favorite partners in creativity. The project involved, among other things, writing, photography and video. At one point, as part of a “readability” test, I pulled out a black Sharpie and wrote three words in all caps on the back of my business card: