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A Father’s Day fastwrite – The Good Life

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland

I saw this quote posted on Facebook on Father’s day.  It reminded me of my father right away.  He is a simple man, low maintenance, you might say, never wanted much more for himself or for us than to be happy, whatever that looked like.  Although he did do some telling us how to live, actually, but the advice was always stemming from his love and care for us. Continue reading

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Just the facts, ma’am

Growing up on the farm, my family was often featured in local newspapers.  Evidently it was considered quite a novelty to be a single mother with three daughters raising sheep in the midst of cattle country in Western Pennsylvania.  The articles would recount my mother’s decision to abandon city life to raise her children in the country. They would go on to describe how she started with a mere three sheep that over time swelled to 300, and the development of the cottage industry of wool and sheepskin items that we made and sold.  Each retelling had its own angle and an accompanying cheesy headline like “Sheep Farming Shear Delight for Mother and Daughters” and “The Wolfes in Sheep’s Clothing” (get it?). There was one thing they all had in common however; they always got something wrong.  It never failed that we were misquoted in some way, statistics were jumbled, or the article didn’t quite capture our true essence. Continue reading


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The Anti-New Year’s Resolution: Systems, not Goals.

I ended 2013 uncharacteristically grumpy. I felt on the brink of tears or anger for much of the last couple of weeks of the year, without really being able to identify why. I found it depressing to look back at the year, knowing I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to, finding small solace in the few milestones that I could recollect. I’m not quite sure where I think I should be by now, but my feeling of dissatisfaction lingered and made me an unpleasant person to be around. Continue reading


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The Curse of the Airfare

I don’t know when time started to speed up, but in the past few years I’ve noticed that once school begins in September, the events start coming fast and furious.  Just as we finally get settled into a routine for school, it’s time to start thinking about what costumes my kids want to wear for Halloween.  And if Halloween is here, well then Thanksgiving and Christmas can’t be far behind. Continue reading


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How to really change your life. Yes, really.

In 2007 I was diagnosed with lymphoma.  In that moment when I heard the doctor say “You have a malignant, aggressive cancer” I felt as though my whole beingness collapsed in upon itself.  The coming weeks were filled with tears, visits to doctors, and a tremendous sense of fear until the day I heard my oncologist say:  “You will be cured.”  As it turned out, he was right, and six years later I am as healthy as I was before I got diagnosed. Continue reading


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Does a bear care?

Last week, while my sister and I were having breakfast at my country house, a bear walked across my lawn.  The movement in the bushes initially caught my eye, and at first I thought it was a deer.  Then it stepped boldly and assuredly onto the open lawn, where it traipsed along seemingly without concern towards the woods on the other side.  “Oh my God!” I breathed to Ruth Anne, “That’s a bear!”  I jumped up and grabbed my camera, pulling off the lens cap and dropping it all in one motion.  As the lens cap hit the wooden floor with a “chink,” the bear, which was at least 100 feet away, looked up in our direction.  Yikes!  Then, deciding he was in no immediate danger, he continued on his journey towards the woods.  With a racing heart, I took a series of photos from the relative safety of our screened in porch. Continue reading


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The bus before mine is leaving

My daughter had a “publishing” party at her school recently, and so, instead of driving her as I usually do, we took public transportation.  This consists of hopping on the subway near our house, and then getting off at 110th street to catch a bus across the top of the park.  As we emerge from the subway station, there is a tense moment where we scan the traffic circle between the two bus stops to see if a bus is coming.  If one is stopped at the light, we have just enough time to run from the stairwell to catch it. If the light has already turned green, it’s quite a hustle to make it there in time, but there are usually enough people waiting at the stop or also running alongside us to hold the bus. Continue reading