• The Covid Diaries: Can Can

    The Covid Diaries: Can Can

    April 7th Leggy had her first chemistry lab. The prof gave them the data they would have gleaned from doing a thing in the lab, and then she worked in a Zoom breakout room with her partner to make sense of it. I’m not complaining because kudos to the prof for instructional creativity, but still:…

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  • Journal Snippets

    Journal Snippets

    March 29th B and I just finished doing the nightly online yin yoga and guided meditation class with Ellen. In the class, we were to set an intention, and mine was to stop avoiding writing because I don’t know what I could possibly say. This typing is me, trying to act on intention. March 29th…

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  • Twenty Years Since the Blue Moon

    Twenty Years Since the Blue Moon

    I got engaged and pregnant on the same day. Even better, it was “Buck Night” at the local ball park, so I also got to drink eleventy dollars of watery beer on a humid July evening while feigning interest in an All-American sport. You might be trying to forge a connection between all that cheap beer and my…

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  • Lowell and Mildred, Part 2

    Lowell and Mildred, Part 2

    All right, chums, here’s the conclusion of stories about my grandma, Mildred, and her brother, Lowell, as they grew up in small-town South Dakota in the early 1900s.

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  • Lowell and Mildred, Part 1

    Lowell and Mildred, Part 1

    During this past year, I’ve periodically done “episodes” on Instagram Stories in which I draw from the diaries of my great-great-grandmother, Minerva Baker Haddock. While some have told me telling extended stories on a platform called Stories isn’t the done thing, well uh once a punk, always a punk. You tell me not to do…

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  • Wide Open Spaces

    Wide Open Spaces

    I know they say you can’t go home again. I just had to come back one last time. – Miranda Lambert, artist – Allen Shamblin, Tom Douglas songwriters More than anything, “The Ranch” is the story of my family. The ranch, the place, and The Ranch, the story. So many impressions of both are imprinted…

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  • What They Don’t Tell You about Working in Special Collections

    What They Don’t Tell You about Working in Special Collections

    They tell you that you’ll stamp your yellowing time card every day, in and out, in the coatroom. What they don’t tell you is that when the powers that be decide the university needs a grand reading room and totally renovate the space without care for the function of the library itself, the area of…

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  • What They Don’t Tell You about Hitchhiking

    What They Don’t Tell You about Hitchhiking

    They’ll usually mention the beautiful places that you’ll see. The foggy forests, and seas of sand. The feeling of jumping out of a semi cab blocks away from the ocean, running straight there, pulling your clothes off and diving into a wave, feeling the freedom of infinite possibility. They’ll tell about the kindness of strangers.…

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  • Favorite Stuff of 2019

    Favorite Stuff of 2019

    Ukraine. Wanting to use the remaining allowed “out of country” days during the last weeks of my Fulbright term, I rang in 2019 in Kyiv, visiting on January 1st the incredibly moving Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), wandering the city’s churches, snagging a taxi to a folk park, and taking a painting lesson in the decorative Petrykivka…

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  • Wiggles


    About ten years ago, my mom sent an email, kvetching that the city where she lived was spending four million dollars to redo all the street corners. Just so people in wheelchairs could roll up and down curbs. FOUR MILLION DOLLARS for a few people, she groused. Even without the smell of smoke jumping six…

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