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I am a freelance, nonfiction writer who cares about the environment, individuality, creative expression, and simplicity. I'm glad you've found my blog, and I hope you'll join in the conversation by leaving a comment. Disagreements are allowed, even encouraged, but cruelty, vulgarity, and slander is not.

Cracks in the Sidewalk

March 22nd, 2017

More letters keep getting added. Not long ago, there were just three: L, G, and B. Then the Ts demanded inclusion. Soon others bravely emerged from the shadows. At last check, the full label was LGBTQIAP+, the plus being coverage for anyone missed.

Days after the Women's March on Washington I got to interview three friends who went. Each of them traveled separately, from different backgrounds, with different reasons for going. Overall, the message was about demanding equal rights for all people. I'm still working on transcribing the interview, and I will post it here when I'm finished. Their experiences were inspiring. It was invigorating to know so many people were willing to stand up for equal rights. There is no doubt, diversity colors life.

Still, despite the best intentions, every time one more letter is added to the description I see it as one more discord, yet another sidewalk crack on which I must be careful not step. Offensive as my perspective may be, it has become obvious that it is no longer helpful to keep politely silent. Like the toddler who tests the boundaries set by his mother, it's important that the advocates for equality understand when they've gone too far, otherwise they risk perpetual adolescence. As I watch the battles unfold, as I cheer for progress and denounce bigotry, I am left to wonder if this will ever end. I come to same conclusion each time. The flaw in each is that it does not recognize the rights of all. With this post, I will do my best to explain.

Deluded is the idea that true equality can prevail with such divisive labels. All of us, no matter where we come from, no matter what we have or choose to do, no matter how many achievements, mistakes, rewards, setbacks, accolades, misunderstandings, gifts, or shortcomings we encounter, are all just people.

Since so many haven’t learned that yet, the fight rages on. The close-minded, brutal, ignorant, heavy-footed, vengeful, and unkind still inflict cruelty. I have no issue with resistance to that. I am an ally to the equal rights movement of every alphabet. Cruelty to one is detrimental to all.

But true unity cannot happen when every off color, “marginalized,” or struggling group demands spotlight recognition. Gender aside, this also includes black lives. It applies to blue lives. Latinos. Immigrants. Refuges. Women. Muslims. Plus. Each time one shade of diversity shouts to be free of discrimination, another falls farther into darkness. Since I prefer not to choose, I have been given no choice. Instead of acceptance, in order to avoid treading on these forever-expanding obstacles, I freeze. Wanting to move forward I am forced to stand still.

Much of this comes from the endless campaigns to understand each and every splintered clan. It's called political correctness, but the issue goes far beyond politics. The tensile strength of human compassion is reaching its limit. Too much vigilance is required to step gently these days. Treating others as I wish to be treated is no longer good enough. It's just not that simple anymore.

Understanding

Peace and love are embraceable, but understanding seems forever elusive.

For instance, I remember the days when, in hopes of more fluid desegregation, whites were urged to stop seeing skin color. This I could understand. My first reaction to any person presented to me should naturally be that I'm looking at a person.

Then, this came to be considered a wrongful denial of blackness. "See me as black, because that is who I am." This too I could understand. I value a connection to ancestry. We must all remained tapped into the lineage of who we are.

But honestly, is it really my role to identify, recognize, and understand the plight of every race which stands before me? In an age when even the seasoned anthropologist is questioning the ability to identify all the racial subspecies of the Homo sapien, how am I supposed to know the makeup and desires of every stranger? I still cannot differentiate with confidence the Asian people. Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese?

And is it really my role to identify--to even ask--what gender you identify with? Male or female, Vietnamese or Korean, how badly will you be offended if I get it wrong?

As a heterosexual, spiritual, middle-class, average, white American with European roots, I am left in quandary, a damned-if-I-do-or-don’t position. Inside the margins of the blank, white page, with hope for our community to be whole, these labels cripple me when I should be empowered to do the right thing. And that's toxic to the equal rights movement. It is part of what has delivered to us a presidential leader who speaks to only his kind, further empowering the supremacist who believes only his kind is best.

Who doesn’t want their true self to be recognized as understood? Who doesn’t struggle to understand whom exactly that true self is?

Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender, transexual, and transvestite. Queer. Intersex. Asexual. Pansexual. Thinning this alphabet soup, someone has produced MOGAI: Marginalized Orientations, Gender Identities, and Intersex, further testing my compassionate knowledge. It's bad enough that we haven't all caught on to the new label; how many among us even know what pansexual means?

The more each “non-confirming” individual seeks vindication in the popular vein, the more the issue of equality becomes clogged with idiosyncrasies. I cannot understand you until I’ve truly been you, and I cannot be anything other than who I am. Doesn’t that make me the same as you? Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that exactly what this fight is all about, being free to be who you are?

Sex

Moreover, I’m exceptionally tired of talking about sex. I’m tired of it as entertainment. I’m tired of it as news. I’m tired of it as a measure of our relationships. I’m tired of having to protect children from it. I’m tired of selling products with it. And I’m tired of it being used to identify a person.

“Gender is not sex!" and "This is not a lifestyle!” the misunderstood will shout in defense. Still, the letters mean sexual orientation, any way you spell it. And I don’t care about the position or the partner you choose. I don’t care what you possess underneath your clothes. I don’t want to have to think about it every time I look at you. I pray you don’t theorize when you look at me. All I want to see is the person you are, preferably dressed and smiling and free.

Plus, when do we stop adding letters? What about the sadists and masochists? The celibates? We have reached a point in which the most personal and sacred aspects of ourselves are not fully appreciated until we have branded them with a diversity-seeking symbol. If it's equality we want, why this push for specificity?

And why this need for pride?

Pride

The past summer, while visiting Halifax, Canada, I was present for one of the country’s largest gay pride celebrations. People lined the streets to cheer as rainbow-decorated flatbeds floated down the parade route. There was a great unity in the messaging, on the sidelines and in the parade, mostly through body language, attire, and poise. The overall behavior was tremendously respectful. People were fully clothed. They smiled. They made eye contact. And glorious of all, they were celebrating each other. They were celebrating the lives of people. It was heartwarming and inspiring.

However, there were also people who I considered disgraceful. They flashed skin, seemingly for the value of shock treatment. Outlandish costumes screamed, "Look at me! I am outlandish. You are ordinary." Off the parade route, I passed two men wearing nothing but gray, tight-fitting briefs. They each proudly pushed forward a hard bulge as their bare feet tramped along the filthy concrete. Out on the streets of society, where all measure of society is trying to raise children, in the admittedly lonely place that is normalcy, in order to appreciate each other on equal terms as equal people, I expect you to put your clothes on and act with respect. The size of and access to your prosthetic dick does not determine your worthiness, unless you prefer life in the jungle of reproductive beguilement.

Furthermore, I’m torn by these events, because pride is a sticky business. Christian gospel warns against it, which I think is for good reason. Pride is self-worship. And that too is divisive. The fact that you are proud means you have mentally raised yourself above one who is not. Even the atheist should be able to see the wisdom in the virtue of humility. To be humble is to open yourself up to accept that your life depends on other things, other people, in every moment of time. Plus, it is humility that dictates the universal truth of the words of Maya Angelou: “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

Acceptance and Love

Still, for most, I think the inarguable struggles come down to acceptance and love.

My advice for those looking for acceptance: do not base your happiness on my acceptance. Just be happy that I'm glad to let you be. There is this unwritten expectation that says, in order to accept someone, you have to like the person. This is a source of great animosity for me. There are simply people who I find abrasive to my personality. In this way, people are not (and never will be) equal to each other. I detest being manipulated, being forced to deny my emotions to accommodate a stranger's desire. Current relations demand that I control my dislike when the target falls into any one of many impoverished categories. It is only when the target is exactly like me -- the same race, class, gender, or creed -- that I am entitled to follow my heart.

As for limiting love or instructing people about who they should love, this is not just sticky, it’s ancient. Arranged marriages and our mothers' expectations are as old as society itself. Still, we may be conditioned; we may be influenced; but we are not gods. We do not control the universe or the genetics of attraction. It is not for me to dictate who you love. While a society may benefit from limiting hate, what benefit shall be derived from limiting love?

Well, for the betterment of American society as a whole, laws were created. Based on the morals of spirituality, these laws aim to prevent bigamy, to favor monogamy, and to characterize the pedophile as a predatory criminal. But marriage has always been known to me as an act of the church. In fact, Catholicism deems matrimony a holy sacrament. I’ve often wondered how, given the separation of church and state, marriage became so entangled in law. Unlike the biblical laws of killing and stealing, why is it necessary?

On the day that a military chaplain legally joined my husband to me on the lawn of a very non-religious bed-and-breakfast, I wondered how the true meaning of a religious marriage translated to that of our marriage certificate, our non-religious permit. I am spiritually committed to my husband for life, but I’m still not sure why I need legal documentation for this commitment to apply. Are not the emotional and financial entanglements of any who share a life the same whether married or not? When we force our legislators to define the boundaries of marriage, are we not forcing our legislators to follow our religion?

We also share a deep emotional need to be recognized as significant. We all struggle to make our mark with the physique, talents, flaws, and emotions with which we are born or have since acquired. I have no right to tarnish the significance of any other person. No law or public policy shall ever facilitate such an act. Those who believe otherwise are doomed to life of insignificance and distress.

Conclusion

Martin Luther King, Jr. led his people to higher ground. He opened the eyes of those who could not see the truth. However, the people outside his tribe were left to create their own opportunities. The lines were drawn: black or white. Lesbians and gays rose up behind Harvey Milk. The feminists had Billie Jean King. The list will continue, on and on, each group fighting to end the same evils of discrimination. Each campaign starting at the bottom, requiring the cultural psyche to first understand, then accept, and finally adopt. Progress is limited to the label of the day.

When will we learn that we are people? When will we come to the blanket realization that, despite what we think of each other, we must treat each other equally in the eyes of the law?

Let us drop the labels. Drop the relentless need to be understood by a society that doesn’t understand itself. Let us all simply be free to make our own way down the tricky, windy, bumpy sidewalk. Let us stop hindering each other by constantly measuring our racial and gender-bias temperature, and let's just get on to the business of living a life that is, at its core, profoundly beautiful.

(Watch for my Women's March interview to appear here soon.)

Whatever happened to compassion?

December 23rd, 2016

There is a lot to be said for the trepidation felt among the American citizenry right now. This is especially true for the sensitive individuals who abide by a moral code which includes compassion for others. Through compassion, we come to see how each of us is connected, not just to other people but to every living thing on earth. Thus, through compassion we come to care about life. Soon to take our highest office is a man whose compassion, whatever may exist, is smothered by ego, ego being one of the greatest enemies of tolerance, clemency, sympathy, lenience, and courtesy. As a result and now more than ever, it's up to each of us to stay true to the compass which guides us instead towards morality and humanity.

Whatever happened to compassion?

The more we know about the impact of our day-to-day actions and words, the more willingly we put aside luxury, convenience, and personal gain whenever those goals may bring harm. Ironically, in doing so, we come to develop the most luxurious sense of appreciation and wealth. As others thrive in the conditions of our restraint, we benefit even further, like the gardener and the bee. After one refrains from picking the blossoms the other comes to feed, and so yields fruit.

Yet, as if faced with some desperate need to stay alive, the culture of America seems to have given in to self indulgence. “What’s in it for me” reigns supreme. Like drowning swimmers, citizens grab at whatever means is necessary to save themselves and maybe their loved ones. They're tired of waiting. They pick what they want and justify the action with a flippant notion that there will be more tomorrow. Prudence has been replaced with entitlement. This unfounded recklessness has washed over every class and generation. Best get what you need now before some pest comes along and eats it first.

The charm is subtle and clever. Even the most kind creatures among us have begun to display hints of it within themselves. Yet for those of us who have successfully resisted--for any who still cling to ideals of prudence--the evidence rests in our discordant position among the majority. We are at odds. Outcasts. Fools.

How so?

Most hunt for bargains online oblivious of the workers and resources the cheap product harms. For instance, they let discounters dictate the true value of a book, ignoring the contributions of the writer, the publisher, or the tree. Saving money, winning the deal, finding the shortcut: these are the virtues rewarded.

They applaud and tweet with glee after the award winner glides across the stage to accept the highest achievement of her life while wearing a dress befitting a high-priced prostitute.

They get in line to pre-purchase the “game” with the most life-like graphics, the one that splatters even more realistic blood to indicate a win.

They tune in nightly to the big network news, happy to let journalists investigate the real-feel temperature on a really cold day, removing the burden of truthful discovery that can only be found by stepping outside the front door.

Why not then allow our most powerful leader to dedicate himself to personal gain? Why is it so atrocious that he should profit from the hardships of others? Is it just because he is so much better at it than we? He got the Taj Mahal; I got a new table at the going-out-of-business sale. Shall we not both be rewarded for our savvy economic prowess?

Is it because he degrades woman, too?

Whatever happened to compassion?

Is it because he supports violence? Is there really any psychological difference between shrugging off digital violence as entertainment and passing off real violence as security?

Whatever happened to compassion?

Why shouldn't he lie to increase his popularity? Instead of investing a few dollars a year to support public-media journalism, do the ratings not show that we'd rather buy the lies sold on the mass-market news?

I have spent the better part of my adult life learning about innovation and progressive ideas for products, services, policy, and infrastructure that would position the United States as a world leader in intelligence and benefit all living things on this beautiful planet. Yet, during that entire time, I’ve had to listen to rhetoric against it. We can’t afford it. It won’t work. The technology is not there yet. In everything from parking lot materials to electricity transmission, legacy greed has held a tight grip on our advancement, and instead of fighting for new and better, we’ve somehow come to accept that the sharks know best. To cope with the ensuing boredom from perpetually standing still, we escape by entertaining ourselves with sex, violence, scandal, and shopping, which further suits the sharks just fine.

And so, here we are: stuck with a representative of greed and self interest as our most powerful leader-to-be. This week, valiant attempts to remove him from this electoral position failed. They were unsuccessful in suppressing this single symptom of a country-wide plague. With our country's highest honor in shambles, we must remove the mask that covers what really ails us. The voter's choice dwindled to the very bottom of the dried-up political bucket for a reason, and we have to find it in ourselves to heal this ourselves.

tattered flag

I believe strongly in the power of strong leadership. But as I see, if our leaders aren’t taking us where we want to go, we should STOP FOLLOWING. And just because we should have turned around long ago doesn’t mean we can’t turn around now. To do this we must demand quality, peace, ethics, and respect not just from them, but first from ourselves and our culture. Then, before you know it, proper, ethical leaders will emerge, invigorated by the positive momentum of the crowd.

Until then, where do we start? With compassion. Let us remember that it is inherent in each of us. Let us remember the true power it brings. Let us consider it’s long-term value. Let us remember how easy it is to lose. And let us reward those who act upon it. Don't be fooled into thinking it doesn’t exist. Reserve judgment, explore the facts, buck the trends, reject wickedness, and defend kindness. Continue to do the right thing even when . . . especially when . . . it's most difficult or uncomfortable.

In a world seemingly gone mad, your concern for others is shared by more people than you might think. Your positive actions and words make more of an impact that you might realize. Your intention to do the right thing is matched by more neighbors than you know exist. Your distaste for big box stores, giant media conglomerates, violence- and sex-crazed entertainment, and scandal-ridden political campaigns is far from reserved for you alone.

There is good reason for that constant feeling of trepidation. And you are most certainly not the only one to feel lonesome, hopeless, or distrustful right now. Let this current situation not further tear us apart but compel us to act. Let us plant a new garden, one in which we can once again be free to imagine, dream, and grow the fruits of compassion so that we may all come to care about life once more.

moonrise

Fission or fussion? A look at the science of social change.

November 16th, 2016

I’ve been silent, I know. For one thing, I felt this blog would get lost in the election chatter. For another, I couldn’t come up with much to write, at least not much besides expressions of sadness or fear, and I was pretty sure you've had enough of that. But today I'm ready to challenge myself to look for the best in our current situation, despite the discomfort, pain, anger, and sacrifice that will likely come during the process. I'm ready because the future of this planet depends upon it.

Clouds can sometimes indicate change.

The fact remains that, now that the votes are in, I am even more saddened with the fear of grave danger. However, I’m also no longer forced to wait for choices of strangers. I can move back to thinking about today's reality in terms of what is or what surely will be, not what might hopefully happen. And in the vein of such knowledge, let me attempt to explain my analogy of what I see is the best, universal action for people like me by stripping it down to the atomic level.

The characteristics of any element is greatly defined by the makeup of the center of its atom. The usefulness of any one chemical element to a goal is often determined by the combination of neutrons and protons in its nucleus, its center. An example is uranium, particularly uranium-235, the stuff of nuclear energy.

The number of neutrons (neutral charge) and protons (positive charge) present determines how the element behaves during a change such as a nuclear reaction. When scientists forcefully introduce an overabundance of neutrality into U-235, nuclear fission . . . or division . . . occurs. This releases energy, but the result is also radioactive.

Meanwhile, crush enough "positivity" together (using hydrogen atoms) and the protons fuse, releasing a huge amount of energy in the process without evoking cancer. Positive charges that would typically repel each other are held close together in the presence of a super strong force such as gravity. This brings about fusion. . .or union.

What does this have to do with social change? Consider that we too are a product of our atomic makeup. And remember that the United States seems ready to split when we really need to fuse.

It is my position that individual Americans need not give up their positive, energized charges–-whatever the characteristics of their personal makeup–-in order that we come together. Neutrality, in fact, could be toxic. However, we do need a whole lot of gravity to force us to unify. Yes, apologies are required to clear the field of the relentless negative energy that keeps spinning around us. But I still believe we can unite, if for no other reason than to protect our future.

Most of us are in this emotional fight because of a positive reason. On both sides there is a quest for improvement. This might include safety, prosperity, or opportunity. Clouding our ability to see that is the curtain of negative disagreement on how to achieve those results.

Thus, fusion requires a strong force to emerge, one able to drive repellent charges to congregate. Of course not all elements are appropriate for achieving this goal. But among those willing, there are mentors and non-governmental leaders who commit to protecting the people and the planet with hope and ethical purpose. They can be that force. Or it might come from each of us adjusting our focus, our conversations, our outlooks. Whatever it takes, we don’t get our non-radioactive power back until things change.

What's that smell?

March 31st, 2016

Yesterday I cut some hyacinth blooms and brought them inside. Pretty as they looked, my real intention was to enjoy the smell while I worked at my desk. Now, the office is absolutely lovely.

Fragrance is an important part of nature. No matter how good manufacturers have gotten at mixing up concoctions that smell like beautiful things, the fact remains that scents--real, honest, natural scents--are crucial to life.

Flowers are the best example. The purpose of the smell is to attract pollinators; reproduction depends on it. Or in the case of the Venus fly trap, to attract a nutritious meal.

Good scents attract humans, too. Fresh peaches, clean air, a shady pine grove, or our partner's pheromones draw us in.

Bad scents keep us away. Toxic chemicals, moldy cloth, infected bruises, and rotting meat stink because they are dangerous conditions to be avoided or corrected and never inhaled.

Fragrance can also orientate and foretell. Have you ever smelled rain coming? Smelled smoke and discovered fire? Smelled salt and realized you were almost there?

Meanwhile, fragrance has become a serious problem. Its pervasive use to sell products is making us sick and narrowing our quality of life. Not only are the artificial, smell-mimicking mixtures harmful to our skin and lungs, they mask warning signals that would otherwise tell us to stay away, and they rob us of the instinctual attraction to the truth.

I once took the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep® guide into my bathroom as I cleaned out my toiletry closet. Using the database, I searched for the products to see how they stacked up on the EWG's hazard score. Any that raised a red flag did so because of the fragrance-related ingredients in them.

When a manufacturer adds a feature that does nothing to enhance the product's effectiveness or improve its performance, you can bet it's there to increase sales. Consider your favorite moisturizer. Does it work better because it smells nice?

We owe our smelling ability to cells in the nasal cavity. It's always moist there, because chemical receptors can only detect odors that are dissolved in water. Signals are then sent to the brain, where the processed information is stored in memory. When we meet the smell again, it registers as familiar.

The relentless exploitation of the body's remarkable sense not only fools the central nervous system, it dulls it. Who really knows what rain smells like after living with a manipulated alternative day in and day out? Lotions, shampoos, and toothpaste aside, what about candles, air fresheners, room sprays, cleaning products, detergents, and perfumes?

At what point does the brain figure out that the flowery chemical air freshener is bad? Could this have anything to do with why so many people are allergic to the outdoors these days? And what are we missing--what signals do we now overlook--because our sensitivity has been dulled by this hyper-infusion?

Still, the more we buy, the more they add. Meanwhile, fragrance-free products are labeled as being for people with sensitive skin. Don't they know we ALL have sensitive skin?

If you want your laundry to smell like fresh air, hang it outside to dry.

If you want to smell the spring rain, then go get wet.

If you want your house to smell like flowers, grow and clip flowers? Or take advantage of the wealth of organic essential oils on the market today.

If you want your husband to smell like musk, let him get a little sweaty.

If you want your toxic bleach to smell like lemons, well, then you've lost your mind.

Another Big Storm

February 19th, 2016

I had to figure out what was bothering me so. Why was it that, if I heard the word “snowstorm” one more time, I thought I might explode? Normally I favor snow. I’m one of those people who believes, if it has to be winter, we should get pretty and playful precipitation. I needed a little soul searching. Otherwise I might be cranky until spring.

First, like a nagging blister, the media wouldn’t shut up about it. Okay already; a big snowstorm's coming. I got it. They’d been at it all week. On the seventh day, I was looking for a hole to crawl in. There, I'd cover my ears and wait 'til it was over. It was the only way to escape the chatter. Every public place I went, the small talk was decorated with the clarifying statement, “Before the big storm tomorrow.”

“I’m returning this purchase, before the big storm tomorrow.”

“I’m mailing this letter, before the big storm tomorrow.”

“I’m filling my gas tank, before the big storm tomorrow.”

I’m all for being prepared. What I dislike is hype, worry, and anxiety, all of which lingered in the air like the smell of a chain smoker, to be inhaled by the next person in line.

Second, Nature has the ability to put miraculous kinks in our routine every day. Haven’t we learned by now that we should buy snow shovels in the fall?

Third, why is that, when it comes to a winter storm, the forecasters go from being the target of “they never get it right” remarks to the “word of the lord” Armageddon soldiers who shall be followed with such intensity, hourly updates just aren’t enough? What would we do if we couldn’t charge the devices that keep us tuned in? How else would we find out about the sky falling down?

Like I said, I was aggravated and I knew it, so I stopped to think about it.

That’s when I realized the hype wasn’t about worry and anxiety; it was about hope. Those people were rushing around like shoppers excited for Christmas. They WANTED to be stuck inside. I realized that each big storm holds some measure of promise that we could go back to a time when we adjusted our routines to the weather. Like a schoolchild glued to the five am radio, we all wanted a day off to play.

Finally, the Blizzard of 2016 came. For a few hours I enjoyed a cozy fire and watched the white fluff fall. I cooked lunch and worked on some simple chores and the time flew by. Since it was the weekend, I needn't worry about traveling. It was lovely.

My car.

Needn't worry? At middle age, you would think I would remember what it takes to keep a driveway open. After just a few hours, all my snowstorm shut-in plans melted into the endless task of shoveling, a task that had to begin before the storm ended and the sun made it heavy. Plus that was the only way I'd get it done by Monday.

Admittedly, I did find it enjoyable to have an excuse to face the blizzard—to bundle up, trudge through, and simply BE outside—but minutes turned to hours, and before I knew it, the sun had set and my hopes for other things had vanished. It was clear that the entire next day wouldn’t be about snuggling inside, it would be about shoveling a ton of show.

The start of a path.

Too exhausted to cook the heartwarming meal I had planned, I ate a microwaved dinner on a tray table in front of the television set. All the major networks were covering the big storm. “Stay home if you can.” “Don’t drive.” “It’s a mess out here.” The only reason I continued to watch was because each alert felt like a new promise: maybe we would have off on Monday.

But no. If there is one thing American society will absolutely NOT tolerate, it's a sputter in the economic engine. By Sunday morning, newscasters had already calculated the estimated revenue losses from the storm. Empty restaurants, empty movie theaters, and empty stores? That simple would not do.

And so we, the employees who turn that wheel worried and fretted and shoveled the day away to ensure arrival at work the moment the morning bell rang. There would be no tardiness, no excuses. Be there or be unemployed.

My husband making progress on Sunday.

All our hopes for a cozy, winter holiday then turned into a rage against the plow. For the next week, journalists flipped rocks for stories of side streets that weren’t yet opened. “My street's not done! Where is he!?” Town leaders took heat as if they’d launched a conspiracy to get residents fired. And the ecosystem drank salt, tons and tons of salt. The more the better. Spread it on thick, just to be sure.

It’s the same scenario every time one of these nor-easters comes around, and I'd finally realized this whole emotional roller coaster was what I wanted to avoid: Scurry around before the deadline only to find that on blizzard morning, there’s no time for hot chocolate and movie watching and book reading and game playing and cuddling. All hands must suit up and get the transportation corridors cleared. Free every inch of concrete and macadam from its snowy prison, and be quick about it, before it melts. There’s no time to enjoy it, only time to make it go away.

They're calling for a big storm next week. And the moment I heard about it, my hopes got in line for another ticket to ride.