So Many Books, So Little Time

Finding time and space to settle down and read a good book can be difficult, depending on one’s circumstances, but the phrase “so many books, so little time” has never seemed truer.  The quote is widely attributed to the late composer and musician Frank Zappa, and has been used on T-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise for decades.  The quarantines and shut downs over the past year and a half due to Covid turned people’s lives upside down.  For many, anxiety and stress challenged the ability to read for pleasure, and would-be readers turned to audio-books, podcasts,…

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Failing the Canine Security Check

Today is my first cross-country trip on an airplane in 16 months, and I did not expect to start out by failing the canine security check.  He was a young, handsome, mellow-seeming dog, doing his duty, and I was not the only soon-to-be passenger noting how sweet looking he was.  None of us reached out to touch him, knowing that it is strictly verboten to interfere with a working dog, but it was tempting. I am not sure why this particular canine signaled me out.  I am very fond of dogs, so certainly it was not…

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A Random Letter in the Mail

Have you ever received a random letter in the mail?  Random, as in an unanticipated, handwritten note or letter? The use of first-class mail has been in decline for decades, and letters have become almost rare.   Any letter or note in the mail is a gift, whether it be a thank you note, a birthday card, a holiday greeting.  But most of our communications today are virtual, via social media, email, text messaging, and more, using multiple platforms. Given the shift in how we communicate, a random letter in the mail is a welcome surprise.  Within…

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The Etiquette of a Condolence Letter

Recently, the need arose for me to write a condolence letter.  Over the years, I have sent many cards and notes to friends who had suffered a loss, but this time was different.  It was a friend who died, a friend with whom I had been out of touch for several years.  I did not know her family or how to contact them, yet it felt important to reach out to them. Handwritten notes As a first step, I contacted the senior living community where she had been living, in an upscale city located to the…

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Creating chaos at the U.S. Postal Service
Mailbox, Annapolis, MD

Creating chaos at the U.S. Postal Service

Multiple crises over the past year created an unprecedented level of chaos at the U.S. Postal Service.  The service has been disrupted by political disputes over mail-in ballots; removal of street mail boxes, mail sorting machines, and barcode readers; COVID-related illnesses among postal employees; and a much higher volume of mail and packages due to the pandemic.  Some of the causes of chaos were deliberate and avoidable. First, there was the dispute over mail-in ballots.  Due to the pandemic, many voters chose to cast their ballots by mail rather than wait in long lines to vote…

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What to Wear (to an Inauguration)

Every morning when I wake up, my first thoughts lie with making a cup of coffee, not on what to wear that day.  This is a reversal from the many years of a working life, where the pace of the early morning was always fast and the day’s clothing might be decided and perhaps even laid out the night before. These days, while staying at home, the choices about what to wear have become much easier.  I have yoga pants, sweatpants, hiking pants, tights, and an assortment of shirts, long-sleeved athletic tees, sweatshirts, and sweaters.  Whether…

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Pandemic Puppies and Other Pets
Napoleon, Lilah, Cassidy and Roxie

Pandemic Puppies and Other Pets

Relief from stress is never far away when aided by the recent rise of pandemic puppies and other pets.  A few chewed shoes or slippers, a few accidents on the new carpet become nothing as these puppies become part of the family.  Until a few years ago, Napoleon, a shaggy, sandy little ball of fluff, was the only dog on the block.  True to his name, he ruled his small cul-de-sac, roaming from house to house, yard to yard, smelling the flowers and the scents left behind by other dogs, and occasionally, skunks or raccoons.  But…

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Politics and Pandemic

Land's End, San Francisco At last, there is good news on the horizon, a promise that a year dominated by politics and pandemic will soon be over.   Politics never go away, but hopefully, the days will become calmer now that the November presidential election is finally over and a new administration is on the horizon.   With two new vaccines rolling out, there also is hope that the pandemic will subside in the first half of 2021.  Election years are always difficult, but 2020 was a doozy.  It was a brutal year in almost every way possible. …

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The End of Silence: Vote!

San Francisco Botanical Gardens July 2020 Following five months of lock down due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we have come to the end of silence.  That initial peace, the joyful upside to our early stay-at-home directives, has been shattered by the sounds of returning activity, as well as increased frustration and tension.   Shelter in place jokes April 2020 When first sheltering in place, the streets were eerily quiet, with barely a car in sight.   Many streets closed in San Francisco to facilitate social distancing for walkers, skateboarders, and bicyclists.  All but the most essential…

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