The election, fear, and an opportunity for change

A friend sent a text this morning asking how I was feeling about the election. This is what I told her:"I'm completely fine. I voted third party and felt great about it. I don't look to Washington to solve problems. I look at the people around me. And I have great faith in my friends, family, and neighbors and their ability to love each other and work together despite their differences. I'm a firm believer that if we did more of that we'd have less divisiveness. But hey, I'm an optimist. … [Read more...]

Election 2016: What would Susan B. Anthony do?

There are just a few days until Election Day and I have to confess that I'm conflicted about what I'm going to do when I get to the ballot box. I've been supporting a third party candidate the entire season, but I'm also aware that this could be an historic election. Do I want to use my vote to help put the first woman in the Oval Office?So I'm asking myself: What would Susan B. Anthony do?As I'm working on my book about people buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery, I've been putting off writing … [Read more...]

Headstones, creativity, and National Novel Writing Month

It's November, and for writers that means National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, when writers set a goal to write1,500 words a day and at the end of the month hopefully have a very rough draft of a novel.I don't write fiction, but I'm taking the month to set my own writing goals and hopefully make headway on a nonfiction book I've been working on for a while. It was supposed to be done months ago, but despite the mountain of research I'd already done, I seriously underestimated the … [Read more...]

Confessions of an office (and school) supply addict

I spent a half hour today sharpening pencils. I enjoy the act of standing at an old-fashioned sharpener and turning the crank, hearing the blade grind the wood and graphite to a fine point and watching the shavings build into a pile at my feet. It helps me clear my head when I’m stressed, on a column deadline, or stumped by the Sunday crossword.I picked up the yellow No. 2 pencils while I was out running errands. I limited myself to just one box because the truth is that if I didn’t, I would … [Read more...]

FDA bans chemicals in antibacterial soap

When I saw the news report yesterday that the FDA has banned the use of some chemicals commonly found in antibacterial soaps, I wanted to cheer. For some time now, I've been an avid label reader, and have avoided  - as much as humanly possible - chemicals that are suspected of disrupting hormones or are just plain toxic, both in my food and in my household products.The FDA report echoed some of what I learned about in "Slow Death By Rubber Duck," a great and accessible book by Canadians Rick … [Read more...]

Dream big with “The Wishgranter” animated short film (video)

If you're like most people, at some point or another you've made a wish or tossed a coin into a fountain and dreamed of something you desperately wanted - and got back nothing. No answer, no wish granted. You get silence, but other people just keep having blessing upon blessing heaped on them, as if their wishes were somehow more important than yours.And you walk away feeling defeated. Ignored.What if that's not really what's happening? What if, behind the scenes, the universe - or … [Read more...]

Cops, Dallas, and Life With A Badge

I woke up this morning to a world gone mad, and I'm not sure how to proceed with my day.So I write. Without thinking too much, without editing my emotions, and without worry that I might say something that will offend you.You'll get over it, and if you don't then you can find another blogger to read. I really don't care.Because twelve police officers were shot in Dallas last night, and five are dead. And the entire police community in America is changed forever.Again.I’m the d … [Read more...]

Banners, business, and God Bless America

I was a little surprised yesterday when I noticed that a story about a local cafe owner and her kerfuffle over a banner that reads "God Bless America" was trending on Facebook.Jennifer Aquino is at odds with the Town of Penfield over a banner she hung on her Five Mile Cafe back in June. And if you believe everything you read on social media, the town was unpatriotic in its insistence that she remove the banner just as we readied to celebrate Independence Day. In fact, a Fox News story … [Read more...]

Musing on pregnancy, abortion, and becoming a human

I was listening to the radio yesterday, something I don't usually do, addicted as I am to podcasts like "RadioLab" and "Welcome to Nightvale." But a local talk show was on, and I left it on, because when I do listen to talk radio I make sure to listen to both conservative and liberal perspectives. I like to hear many sides of an issue as I ponder where I stand on it and how my decisions affect other people.Anyway, this local host was talking to her guest about abortion and she made a comment … [Read more...]

5 ways to keep your dog happy this Fourth of July

While humans are celebrating Independence Day with picnics and fireworks, many of our dogs are freaking out over the crowds and loud noises, sending many dogs under the bed - or over the fence and down the road, until they're lost. Or worse.With the Fourth of July just around the corner, here are a few tips to help keep your dog safe and stress-free.1) Don't feed Rover picnic food. While he might really enjoy a burger or a hot dog (or other things he can steal from your plate), changes … [Read more...]