Cookie’s secret life

Cookie is living a secret life. She disappears for hours at a time and has no explanation for herself. Finally, it came out. I saw her picture on Facebook. She was on a back deck that wasn’t ours, enjoying a drink with a man who wasn’t Tim, outside a house that wasn’t hers. “What is thisssss?” I asked her, showing her the photo. She said nothing. We knew she liked to visit the neighbors, but this was going too far. Now she was posing for other families’ Facebook photos? She’s refused every selfie I’ve tried with her. It started last summer. She would disappear for a few minutes and, just when I decide to panic, here she’d come loping down […]

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GTWoman’s Office Space

We’re often asked where our GTWoman office is. It’s hard to explain that it’s about one mile down, on the left, just before the hard right turn. Watch for the trailhead sign and park near the first trail you see. Because we don’t have a “real” office. Unless you count Lost Lake Pathway, where we have walked and talked hundreds of miles over the last 12 years; sometimes planning GTWoman, sometimes planning an escape. But always, always talking and walking. We’ve calculated we’ve walked 60–70 miles to produce this very issue in your hands. (We should be skinner if you think about it.) We’ve tried to break the habit and just enjoy our walk but it’s usually right after we’ve […]

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Writer’s Digest essay: Alone

My second “5-Minute Memoir” titled “Alone” is out in the March/April 2015 issue of Writer’s Digest! Check out the issue at Horizon Books, Brilliant Books and BAM in Traverse City. My essay is about being alone. Being by myself is one thing. But after losing my mother, I was alone in a way I couldn’t comprehend, couldn’t fathom. And I overcame it by getting lost in the woods, on my bike and seeking out that space where I was truly alone for the first time in my life. Here is how it changed me, what I saw, what I felt, what I feared, what I overcame, what I cherished. I hope this spring you’ll find time to get out in the woods and get lost, just like […]

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Jigsaw puzzles – Let’s Jig!

Jigsaw puzzles. What’s not to love? A favorite at preschools and nursing homes. And one of the few ways to gather a family of four around a card table without any battles, scoring, tears, game-piece assaults or flat-out accusations. Usually. Every year I try to pass on my love for “jigging” to the children. It is only in the depths of winter that this is possible: when the novelty of snow has run its course, when there’s a blizzard raging or when they are sick of everything else on earth. “Who wants to jig?” I ask. I get out the puzzle, ignore their ignoring me and put on a small party all by myself while sorting pieces. I celebrate each […]

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TRUMP: Euchre game means business

We won a euchre tournament the other day. One we created out of thin air. My sister and I hadn’t played in years. Some 20+ years to be clear. We used to play on the 1-hour ride home from middle school every afternoon and had, in fact, been the champs of Route 131 (and queen nerds too). But this time, we didn’t let on to the guys, our worthy opponents: Tim and Jeff. We played it cool. What does this have to do with career? Plenty. It was the ultimate model-sized business. Business Plan Like most businesses, we started with no plan at all. We just went bounding into it with a pan of brownies and a bag of chips. When […]

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Basketball skills in middle school

My son, Kendall, played his first basketball tournament last Saturday. It was thrilling, crushing, exciting and exhausting. And he’s only in 6th grade. And I’m talking about me. It’s my first year of school events where they actually keep score. And it was a tiny sweat-filled drama that stretched out the length of a Saturday. Foul! I was a fine, calm, courteous spectator at the start of each game. However, when we got down by 2 points and someone on the other team double dribbled, I was gripping the seat of the metal folding chair, wedged into the small gym at West Middle School, and shouting out the call. In my head, very loudly, without saying a word, leaning forward, […]

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Diet Makeover – Green Fruit Smoothies

Green Fruit Smoothies. They’re all the rage and there’s a reason why: They’re fantastic. Why have we waited so long to start drinking them and using high-powered blenders to do so? We are now consuming 2 cups of spinach, a handful of kale, 2 cups of peaches, 1 cup of pineapple and two bananas a day. It’s a bona fide diet makeover. Our bodies are happy. We are happy. The guilt is gone. They are delicious. And, bonus, there are great side effects: The checkout line Do you know how good it feels to check out with four pineapples at once? You can’t help humming to yourself, waiting for the world to notice the amount of goodness on sale 2/$4 […]


Cliff jumping

We went to Lake Placid, N.Y., for our family vacation this summer. On the first day, we stopped into High Peaks Cyclery for the sidewalk sale but left with a plan to jump off a 20-foot cliff. “You’ll wanna hike from Copperas Pond trailhead,” the guy at the shop said. He was a lean, mean cycling machine. “Take your swimsuits. You can jump off cliffs into the lake.” The children stood wide-eyed with hope. “Absolutely!” I said, trying to be cool just long enough to leave the shop with some dignity. I took a map from the man. Good news—there were 10-, 20- and 30-foot death options. We weren’t out of the shop before the kids started howling with excitement. […]

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The Kids Table at Thanksgiving

We ONCE SPENT an entire Thanksgiving Day convincing our cousin Derk to say “sh!t” during grace at the meal. Xmas 1977, sisters KERRY, LORI & KANDY What could be more deplorable than cussing during grace? Nothing, so we set about the task. Derk was five years younger than us, prone to cussing anyway and so the perfect front man. We can remember this as possibly the worst thing we ever did growing up. Yes, we were that good. We would never dream of swearing during grace. Our parents would never believe we were capable of even suggesting it. Therefore, it was fail proof. Derk would garner our undying admiration, we would derive a vicarious thrill, he would be grounded until […]

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Reject a Hit: Runny Babbit

I’m so excited to have another piece published in Writer’s Digest this month! It’s their back of the book column named “Reject a Hit” where they ask you to spoof-reject a famous book. This was a fun one to write. I spoof-rejected Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein. My husband Tim suggested it while we were driving to the U.P. for the Fourth of July and it was too irresistible. Instead of enjoying the views of the Mackinac Bridge, I was writing and giggling in the passenger seat with my notebook. Pick up the November issue of Writer’s Digest to read all their great articles (it’s my fav writers’ mag)! Here’s my piece (with text below). If you […]

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