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A Guide to Healthy Living at Post

In the late 80s I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger… and it was very important to stay healthy while at Post. Amoebic dysentery: Caused by contaminated drinking water, often because of a broken water filter. Turns your stomach into a washing machine. Amoebas we called the little critters. Anxiety: When you hyperventilate for…

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The Okanogan

Almost 25 years ago, just after I moved to Seattle, I went to a slideshow at REI (remember slideshows?) about interesting hikes in Washington. Someone showed slides of North Cascades National Park—rugged mountain territory with jagged peaks and year-round snow-covered peaks, and the Okanogan beyond it–Lodge Pole pine country with sparse undergrowth and dusty earth.…

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Till

Writing residencies, I learned very recently, are the holy grail of writers. You’re given the gift of time and an escape for everyday obligations—jobs, families, pets—to work on writing projects. Some are legendary, like the fellowship at the American Academy in Rome where highly select writers are invited to spend a year writing in the…

Syria 2011 (193)

Aleppo Pepper

I look into the cupboard and see the jar I want, the half-worn word Aleppo written on it, in my handwriting. The dish I’m making calls for Aleppo pepper, a dried chili pepper used commonly in Middle Eastern cooking. I grab it and think of Aiman, my friend and former guide in Syria, who is…

India-2010 (217)

Night Train to Varanasi

“You must pay for the taxi!” the taxi driver yelled at us from behind, “1000 rupees!” Dad and I looked at each other, the hotel had paid him, hadn’t they? India was full of touts, men who will swindle you for money. After only a few days in Delhi we had developed a Don’t fuck…

Infinity of blue

Home, This Must Be the Place

  Home – is where I want to be but I guess I’m already there.…if someone asks, this where I’ll be… Talking Heads, This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)   When my sister asked me if I wanted to go on a Puget Sound cruise I laughed. “I live here, why would I do…

Palmyra, Syria

Palmyra (and the Endless War)

ISIS in Full Control of Syria’s Palmyra. I read the BBC headline and took a deep breath. I have been to the site of ancient Palmyra. I have walked its colonnaded streets under towering pillars. Now, as the war in Syria enters its fifth year, the renegade Islamic State of ISIS is in control of…

Back of the Squareback

Road Trip

When I was a kid my family traveled together. We took road trips across the country in a candy apple red VW Square Back. We went far from Minnesota. There was the trip to Maine, via Quebec and Novia Scotia. There was a drive around Lake Superior. And once we drove all the way to…

Mt Rainier from plane window

Homecoming

    October is the month for homecoming football games, pumpkin everything and flying leaves. It’s always been a time of reflection for me, before winter descends. After losing my job this fall I felt a little more retrospective than usual and since I had time on my hands I made an extended homecoming to Minnesota. But what…

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The Cat and the Rat

  My dad has been scanning old pictures and the other day he sent my sister and me an email with a couple of JPGs attached. One was of Kathi with a rat that she had brought home from school one weekend, the other was of me in a robe with our first cat, Dusty.…