There's a reason I stopped taking my kids to see the Easter Bunny.
Responding as a nation
I've never written before about the shooting at my child's school, but I need to say this ...
That Pioneer Spirit
The number of skills you had to master to be a pioneer in the American West staggers me.
Thanks for Giving Me Thanksgiving
It wasn't until my great-grandmother died that I finally understood my mother's love for Thanksgiving.
The Inexperienced Tourist
The summer I turned 16, I hopped a plane to NYC. I'd not only never traveled alone before, I'd never even been in an airport ...
The Uncle, the Bomb, and the Beer Hall
My uncle nearly died in a bomb explosion during WWII. What's odd about that is that he was in Iowa at the time.
A girl named Jane
Kindergarten wouldn't have been so scary if I'd gotten the answer right to this one simple question ...
Grieving My Mom, Plus a Boat Race
I lost my mother very suddenly this summer to a cancer we didn't know she had. I've been reeling from that all year. I thought I'd run the gamut of emotions already. I went through shock, grief, anger, and deep depression. I've spent countless hours discussing it with my sisters, debating whether it was better... Continue Reading →
Uninvited Funeral Guest
Then there was the time I party-crashed a funeral ...
Grandma’s Cookie Factory
Christmas cookies always makes me think of my grandmother. I know that probably conjures an image of a sweet little old lady baking a single batch of chocolate chips. But what I remember most is not the warm oven in a cozy kitchen, but the staggering output she managed. Grandma baked cookies not by the dozen... Continue Reading →
In all of my years of attending church, there are two sermons that always stayed with me, and both were given by my father. Dad wasn't your usual minister. Though he was well-versed in the Bible, he rarely quoted scripture and never used it to win an argument. He never tried to convert anybody. In... Continue Reading →
The Two-by-Four Argument
I'm guessing my nephew is the only child who ever intentionally gave himself a speech impediment to win an argument.
When I was little, I thought my grandpa had installed an advanced navigational system in his car. This was crazy, as it was the 70's. Not only did we not have computers, we didn't even have LED screens. Heck, even the radio was a twist-dial that only got AM! Nevertheless, when GPS was developed a... Continue Reading →
Walk of Fame
I took a deep breath, thinking "I hope no one noticed." Yeah, right.My entire office witnessed ...
Trying to Stay Asleep
I've never shared this with anyone, but when I was very young I had some strange, intense, and oddly complicated dreams. I still remember most of them, but one from when I was 4 stands out as by far the most trippy. It started with me "waking up" in a different universe. Everyone around me... Continue Reading →
A Foggy Day
I've always loved foggy afternoons - the way everything in the distance seems to not matter anymore, the feeling of seclusion in open spaces. Everything looks like one of those Gothic British novels that everybody knows but no one has read. Once, in my college days, I was hanging out with friends on such an... Continue Reading →
Why I Blog
I've always thought of myself as a writer. Unfortunately, that means people expect you to write. It isn't that I don't enjoy the process of writing, but it's hard to stay motivated enough to keep at the same novel for months and years at a time. Every published novelist I know gives the same advice:... Continue Reading →
The Christmas Millionaire
Twenty-six years ago today, a crazy thing happened. My dad won the lottery. Yep, no kidding. The real deal. All six numbers. Jackpot. I can still picture the scene: I was standing behind him, peeking over his shoulder as he compared the official numbers to his list. He got to the matching numbers before I... Continue Reading →
In my day … we didn’t use seatbelts
Growing up in the 70s, my generation never had to use seatbelts, so we love freaking out our kids (and harassing our moms) about it. I have one buddy who tells about a four-hour drive his family took with a car so full that he and his little brother had to squish into the passenger... Continue Reading →
Whenever I visit my hometown, I like to stop by the school, just to see the grounds. Which school? The school. There was only one in my little town, a complex of buildings that housed all of grades kindergarten through 12th. My kids have a hard time conceptualizing that I only had 60-some kids in... Continue Reading →
The Easy Research Paper
From 3rd to 7th grade, I was in a special program that, among other things, required us to write several research papers each year. I've never minded that sort of work, so at first I threw myself into the task. By 7th grade, though, the one thing I had truly learned was this: small town... Continue Reading →
The Electric Donut
Long after all the other 80s phrases (your "gag me"s, your "tubular"s) have faded from my vernacular, there is one innately 80s saying that I still try to inject into conversation: "I've got my quarter up." Guys within 5 years above or below my age will give me a sly grin of recognition; from everyone... Continue Reading →
Nicer in Iowa
Big city people won't ever believe you when you say that small-town folk are nicer, but it's true. It isn't that they aren't worldly enough to be savvy, it's that they spend a bit more time looking at people and getting to know them than most of the world does. When I lived in Southeast... Continue Reading →
Dot the i’s with circles
My sister had a book on handwriting analysis that I stumbled across in 4th grade. Being a gullible kid, I believed every word -- that my aggressively-crossed t's indicated that I was a braggart, while the backward slant of my l's said I was introverted and shy. I'm not denying that I was all those... Continue Reading →
When I was in junior high, my school unveiled this state-of-the-art program to help us determine what career paths we were suited for. This being the mid-80s, what they gave us was an MS-DOS program that asked 50 questions, each of which we had to answer on a scale of 1-5. Bo-ring! We all dreaded... Continue Reading →