Category Archives: Food for Thought

December 09

If everyone knew one

I had a conversation many years ago with a mixed race friend about discrimination. She had a brilliant theory that all it takes to change someone’s heart that is hardened against one group is to know and care about one person in that group. This, she suggested was how we overcome bigotry. She said that […]

November 22

To Each Her Climate

Every time I post on social media a picture of snow, it never fails to yield disparaging comments from people who don’t like cold weather. Many feel the need to tell me the temperature where they live as if there’s a contest and whoever lives in the warmer climate wins. “I just don’t know how […]

November 17

How to have a good day

Last week I had just finished my last teaching gig of the year and was sitting at the breakfast table wiped out. Bill was in Tennessee finishing his last teaching engagement and I had piles of laundry, stacks of contracts and dozens of emails that needed responses. The travel and deadlines had caught up with […]

September 26

Thank You Stephen Colbert

I saw something on TV this week that I’ve never seen before that made me very happy. I’ve been battling a respiratory infection and have been pumped up on Prednisone, which makes it very hard to sleep or read. Wide-awake at 3am I often watch recent episodes of late night comedy shows on demand on […]

September 16

In a Blink

I loved Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking about the power of gut reactions to situations that can’t always be explained but are often correct. Gladwell writes about the biology behind these instincts and how important they were to survival as we have developed as a species. He also chronicles the […]

September 13

Blessed are the Wounded

I learned today that Charlie Petersen died suddenly and unexpectedly this weekend. I met Charlie online when she was part of an online mystery quilt event we did with American Quilters Society and later in person when we were teaching on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Our first encounter was amid a number of people in a […]

August 29

The Real Family Tree

My head has been full this week of information I learned about my family tree. Both sides of my family arrived in the US prior to the Revolutionary War. Both sides of my family lived in the South. I learned that my very well-documented family tree on one side has been missing a branch. The […]

August 26

Why I’m in a Hurry

I turned 54 today. Truth be told, as a child I didn’t know how long I’d live. There were three separate times before the age of 30 when I thought I was going to die because of complications with my asthma. That leaves a pretty big impression on you when you’re, say, 7 years old. […]

August 25

The Confident Friend

It’s been about 5 weeks since we began fostering Caddy, the 7-year-old Schipapom (Schipperke x Pomeranian mix) on the left. She was very ill with Canine Influenza (CIV) and at one point had to return to the shelter for emergency care. Her prolonged battle with CIV mirrored the struggle PAWS Chicago was having containing this […]

August 21

Dear Snake Oil Salesperson,

I notice that you seem to send me a lot of emails. I have a few questions for you: I’m interested in the grammar of this ad: when you say that “People are noticing your fat,” I’m curious. Which fat are they noticing? The fat on my legs, the fat on my stomach or the […]

August 17

The Great Start

I learned a long time ago the power of the Great Start. In many offices in which I worked over the years I didn’t have Great Starts. In fact, I had Bad Starts. I’d show up and no one would have gotten a desk ready for me. It would be as if they had forgotten […]

May 28

Real Support

So I’m guessing that when you see someone on Facebook sharing a “Support Our Troops!” meme, you’re thinking, “Yeah. I support our troops.” Maybe when you meet someone in uniform you might thanks them for their service. There are many ways to support our troops and I’m hoping that if you’ve spent time in the […]

May 24

No Timetable

I’ve learned through my many medical crises that even the best of friends seem to have a mental timetable for which you’re supposed to get over things. Break-ups, deaths, the loss of a loved one, cancer, a health crises; it doesn’t matter. “Hope you feel better soon!” “Speedy recovery!” These expressions are intended to convey […]

May 22


I’ve got a proposal: how about we all get comfortable with saying the word “no.” How about we stop stalling or avoiding people because we don’t want to have to say “no”? Unless someone is waiting for an organ transplant, no is usually not as big a deal as the person who has to say […]

May 18

Parental Gravitas

At church yesterday morning I was reminded that scripture when read aloud sounds so authoritative. I have no problem being firm when faced with a sullen or bratty kid but sometimes you need to call in the A-Team. There should be an app that allows us to “sample” scripture substituting in pertinent circumstances. I tried […]

May 10

The Complicated Mother’s Day

This week many of us have been barraged by memes on Facebook of how wonderful mothers are and how wonderful it is to be a mother. The reality for some of us is that the word “mother” has a whole lotta baggage. Not everyone in my mother’s generation became a mother by choice. While I […]

April 28


I recently gave someone a second chance to someone who had been driving me crazy for a long time. She had been annoying me because she was trying to do something new and was anxious about doing a good job. I made a joke about the tension that had been between us. We had a […]

April 17

Honoring the Dreamers

Dear NASA, I saw the photos of Pluto that have been released by you. At first glance they look unimpressive; a blurry white spot in a dark sky. Read a bit more though and it Blows. My. Mind. The New Horizons spacecraft has been flying toward Pluto FOR 9 YEARS!? There’s a countdown clock on […]

April 14

The $700 lunch

Thanks David Brooks. Thanks for explaining better than I could have why I left investment banking 25 years ago. In your essay The Moral Bucket List, you answer the question that I’ve felt a bit embarrassed answering because I didn’t want to sound self-righteous. The truth was that I had as a 29-year-old living in […]

April 11

Local Tourist

Shortly before I turned 9 my mother, sister and I moved to a suburb of Washington DC. Across the street was a folksy Midwestern housewife named Polly who lived with her husband and two kids. She was cheerful and positive about almost everything. One day she came over and said, “We haven’t been to the […]