When horses were my jam.

Friday was my dead horse’s birthday. Her name was Junie because she was born June 1. My father gave me Junie after I turned eight. She was technically a family horse, but I was the only child old enough to ride by myself back then, and she was too small for Dad to ride. Anyway, in my mind, I had paid for her. Dad told me she cost $23, which coincidentally was the amount of money I had saved, soRead more

American girl, age 11.

I remember holding her for the first time, a tiny breath of air in my arms. Now, 11 years and five months later, she’s more like a hurricane, fierce and natural and only semi-predictable.  She twirls and rages, loves and laughs, cries and sleeps, all with equal passion and abandon. Neale Rose graduates from fifth grade today, and not an hour too soon for her. She’s so excited for middle school that she’d probably be willing to skip summer. She’sRead more

Ethel finds a home, and puppies keep pooping

When the puppies were nearly six weeks old, Ethel developed mastitis. It was a Sunday, and she refused to eat breakfast, then she moped around all day. By evening, she was shivering with fever, and could hardly walk. I know this because I’ve learned how to take a dog’s temperature in the butt. Mastitis frequently occurs in breastfeeding women – it’s an infection in the breast tissue due to bacteria transmitted by a baby’s mouth. It also occurs in breastfeedingRead more

Easter squirrels make a Good Friday sacrifice. Jesus and I weep.

I went to the grocery this morning just four minutes after it opened, and it was a pleasure cruising down the aisles by myself. I only planned to buy essentials – eggs, the four different types of milk we consume, bananas, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced with 21 Whole Grains and Seeds*. Somehow those items morphed into $184. What the even heck? I can’t keep buying all this food if people are just going to eat it. *Have you had Dave’sRead more

The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part II

Are you behind? Click on Part I to read Part I It’s barely 6 am on a Sunday morning, and I’m well into my first cup of coffee. I’m in bed writing, and sweet Ethel is curled against my legs. Cookie snuggles against my hip, and eyes Ethel warily; she’s scared of Ethel, who emits a low growl if she thinks anyone’s too close to her brood. The house is quiet and still; sometimes, I use moments like these to grade papersRead more

The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part I

Currently, five humans live in this little house of ours, plus 13 dogs. I might be turning feral. We’ve been fostering homeless dogs for a while now. First there was Bernie Sanders. Then Skippy, Joey, Chicken, and Cheeto. We found good homes for all of them. Cookie, a tiny black terrier mix who weighed about five pounds, stole Neale’s heart, so Cookie has stuck around, giving us a pack of three dogs – one large, one medium, one small. Cookie’sRead more

Just another day, or why I drink a little

Friday morning I woke up at 5 am like usual so I could make coffee before going to teach my 5:45 am boot camp class. I love coffee so much. I had not slept well because I’ve been having headaches. After class, I came home and got the kids off to school. I straightened the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher with the 14 glasses my family of five had used that morning. Then I drove to Orange Park to getRead more

A high school, Planned Parenthood, and anti-intellectualism: how students taught some grown-ups about censorship

A few years ago, some students at Ponte Vedra High School had an idea. Let’s host a beauty pageant for guys, they thought. Sort of a spoof, but just for fun. And we’ll charge people to come see it, and we’ll give the money to charity. The annual Mr. FINtastic contest was born (Go Sharks!), and it has been a smashing success. This year’s winner is PV High senior Matt Gibson, an affable guy with a mop of curly brown hair and anRead more

MLK Day, and keeping our eyes wide open

My teen girl, Scout, is reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah for school. At first, she moaned every time she had to read a new chapter. “I hate this book,” she said repeatedly. “It’s so, so bad.” So I held an intervention. A Long Way Gone is the memoir of a young boy in the Sierra Leone who was driven from his home and forcibly conscripted into a rebel army, where he witnessed –Read more

Feminist. Should you be one? It’s so hard to decide.

The decision about whether to be a feminist is a hard one. Young women today have it tough. Lots of them are happily dating men, and are understandably nervous about becoming a feminist because it automatically requires being a lesbian. I’m a problem-solver by nature, and I hate to think of these hot young things struggling with this decision. So I, a proud feminist who wears Birkenstocks, have written a guide to help women process their feelings. Here are someRead more