Monthly Archives: October 2014

Shaq, John Irving, Meryl, and Me

This is NOT a photo of me and Shaquille O’Neal. However, she’s about my height, so this illustrates the story I’m about to tell you.   SEEING A FAMOUS PERSON is like seeing a mouse run in front of you. It’s startling. Larger than life. Odd, even. It suddenly transforms a routine stroll across the kitchen to...

Why Do Men Hit?

THINGS TO CONSIDER while dating: Do we both like Szechuan? Does he get along with my cat? Will he kill me? For women, the chief relationship issue isn’t how to find one. It’s how to survive one. If a woman is abused, beaten, or killed, it will most likely be by her husband or her boyfriend. Being...

The (Belated) Graduate

I GRADUATED FROM college last month, at the ripe old age of never-you-mind. Mine might’ve been the last cohort of young people who could earn a good living without initials stuck to the end of our names. While the boys older than us stayed on in grad school to avoid Vietnam, we Nixon-era kids dropped out...

Mother & Child Reunion

I WASN'T TOO HAPPY about him leaving at kindergarten, either. As I watched my son Ian race up the steps to the school’s front door, he suddenly looked defenseless and tiny. I had obviously not been feeding him enough, causing malnourishment in some essential way. He bravely disguised it with that twinkle in his eye, that...

The Best of All Worlds

Being half Irish and half Norwegian means, among other things, never having learned to cook   MY FATHER WEARS orange on St. Patrick’s Day. According to him, it is the only honorable thing for a Norwegian to do. He maintains that the most worthwhile traits among the Irish were deposited by Vikings who visited the Emerald...

Breakup Joints

Anyone can think of a romantic spot to dine on Valentine's Day, but finding the right restaurant to leave your lover is another story   I’M NOT A GOOD dumper. I have no style. Well, at least not the kind of style you might expect from a woman who has had as many husbands as you...

Summer School

I learned about church as community from my hymn-singing Iowa aunts.     IT WAS ONLY an Iowa farmhouse filled with Lutherans. But to me, a Catholic kid from Minneapolis, it was an exotic destination. Summers we would travel there, my five sisters and I, squeezed into the backseat of a two-toned Chevy station wagon, breathing down my father’s...

What’s In A Name?

SO THE GUY who blows the leaves off my sidewalk turns off the turbo-charged jet engine he carries slung on his shoulder, lifts his goggles, and asks me, “What’s the name of that plant over there?” He means, of course, coreopsis auriculata—a tall, hardy perennial covered with yellow blooms that look like a daisy and...

Zula

SHE HAD ASKED  for no flowers at her funeral, likely fearing her gardener friends would struggle to outdo themselves, enveloping the church in combative perfumes. But a man brought in irises, an immense basket of them, and set them down near the altar. Simple, purple, everyday irises—not the exotic black, red, yellow, or white species she nurtured...

Mouse Wars

WHILE I WAS cleaning a mouse nest out of my car engine with a bent wire hanger one afternoon—hang on, I’ll get to that—I began to philosophize about the relationship between women and rodents. First of all, let’s abolish the myth that women freak at the site of four legs and fur. If this were true,...