Little Man Big Man

We had to put our heads on our desks and raise our hands to vote. There were no paper ballots, no ballot box, just a simple count of hands. This came after each category called for nominations: secretary, treasurer, reporter, representatives, vice president, and president of the class’s 4-H chapter.

I was at the age where I thought formalities like this mattered, and any positive attention or recognition I could get was automatically a good thing. This was fifth grade, and it’s when… Read More …

If I Seemed too Quiet…

At a time in my life when I hated the world and it seemed to reciprocate beyond all expectation, there was always one bright spot—my silly little brother Kevin. I had been the youngest of three kids for 12 years, but I never really felt the part. It got me no special treatment, and if anything I felt like the quintessential middle child from the beginning—and that made perfect sense when Kevin was born five days after my 12th birthday.

To our delight, Kevin was… Read More …

Always Changing, Probably

I don’t often write about work, and my family and friends seem so befuddled about it that I rarely even bring it up. It’s not fascinating or earth-shattering, but I do enjoy it.

First, a little background: When I finished my undergraduate work (English and anthropology), I knew I wanted to work in publishing, preferably academic publishing. I was certain I did not want to teach, and really, what else is there for an English major but publishing or writing? So I continued with a master’s degree in publishing. Was it more than I needed? Perhaps. It also… Read More …

A Modest Proposal

If you’re anything like me—believe me, I’m not that unique—you are tired of the pageantry and puppetry every two years for national elections. Our entire process has become a televised three-ring circus, full of creepy clowns and poo-flinging monkeys, most ignoring reality and acting solely on hysteria.

Once a model for stability and smooth power transition, our elections have quickly becoming a joke on the world stage, negating any legitimacy for American intervention or… Read More …

Everything and Nothing

I’ve never been a big fan of Robin Williams’ comedy. I often found his frenzied standup painful to watch and sometimes had to turn from talk shows during his segments, because even his interviews were just too manic during my “wind down” time. I was wary of his movies for the same reason, and I haven’t seen many of them. I have, however, always been a fan of Robin Williams, the man.

No, he wasn’t a hero by any stretch and didn’t accomplish… Read More …

Happy Discoveries

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, life is pretty short. I try to spend mine discovering anything and everything, big and small, bizarre and mundane.

No matter where I go—to and from work, out for a stroll behind my building, or walking through my neighborhood—I am constantly taking inventory. My eyes scan everything around me, detecting the least little speck of something out of place. (Ask Susanne—she’s witnessed me spotting the tiniest of things in the forest floor on many of our hikes together.)

So it was nothing new to… Read More …

Burying Daddy

Ten years ago today, my father died. But there’s a lot that I didn’t bury with him.

You see, Daddy (pronounced děd-ee for us Mississippi kids) was kind of an enigma. He could be a cruel, selfish, and uncaring drunk, especially on weekends. Or he could be quiet, silly, and even caring at times. And even his bad side varied widely, ranging from simply being absent to purposely destroying any hope for peace and tranquility at home.

Of course there were… Read More …

Getting Jazzy

For all its quaint, laid-back charm, Vermont likes a good time!

Having a few errands in the Burlington area, I decided to check out a few of the free outdoor performances of the Discover Jazz Festival—and to see how much Vermonters enjoy the outdoor performances. I was not disappointed.

On the center block ofof the Marketplace, Burlington’s own The High Breaks were performing their not-quite-jazz but very enjoyable surf rock. I believe I heard… Read More …

Oh, Alaska… I mean, Vermont!

Back in the day, I loved that silly network show Northern Exposure. The humor and the quirky characters were a great escape from the dullitries¹ of college chores and work, and the storylines often played out like Alaska was some foreign land, long before Sarah Palin came along.

The kicker for me was always the wandering moose, which acted as the unofficial mascot of the show. At the time, a moose seemed about as American as a camel. (Isn’t a moose just a … Read More …

Oh, how I ♥ New York!

When spring arrives in New York City, something special happens.

As warmer, drier weather sets in and the days get longer, outdoor dining returns, music fills the streets, and pedestrians find many more reasons to smile. New York is a happier, friendlier place in spring, and the increase in outdoor activity is the obvious sign.

But in a place that gets a reputation for having no joy or sense of humor, spontaneous outbursts of either (or both) are a much better glimpse into the… Read More …