Mad as fire

Last week, I woke up bright and early and realized that I was furious. William was home on vacation. The day was sunny. The dogs were healthy. There were all the ingredients to make this a happy day.

Except I was pissed.

I went upstairs to work on some editing, which usually soothes me, but I just got madder. So I hopped on Facebook, scrolled a bit and then came upon a newspaper story about how the health department had recorded the deaths of four more Pulaski Countians due to Covid.

So I read the story. And then I made the big mistake of reading the comments.

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A look at Covid in Canada

The above photo, taken in Toronto’s Pearson airport, merits some explanation. When I crossed customs back into the U.S. on Aug. 10, 2021, I was one of two people doing so. When I arrived at the terminal, composed of 20 gates, I was one of about 25 people in the entire terminal. Pearson is Canada’s largest and biggest airport.)

A few minutes ago, in the wake of the mask mandate for schools, I had a friend text me about how the pandemic was being handled in Canada. I just returned from a trip home after a year and a half and, yes, it sure is a different place than when I left it. Because my friend was curious about what things are like, I thought you might be too, so I decided to share some of what I witnessed.

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Bouncing back

I’m sitting on an airplane right now and wondering if I’m too old to bounce. Does a person run out of time to get this excited? Does it become unseemly after a certain age? I’m honestly not sure, so, in a few minutes, I plan on bouncing. Because how could I not?

After 529 days of being away from my family, I am finally on my way to them. The border to Canada opened to Canadian citizens near the beginning of July. It opens to American citizens (double vaccinated only, please!) Aug. 9. So here I am, masked to the max, amongst a planeload of peeps who look a little nervous to be here.

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Everything is the kitchen sink

It took me about 18 hours of not having a kitchen sink before I found myself looking at a fork and wondering if it was too dirty to use again. I mean, I’d only eaten a fruit salad with it. Fruit was clean, right? Cleaner than, like, soap in a way?

A few hours later, I found myself staring at a water glass I’d used the day before. Water glass water is pretty germ free, yes?  Germ free enough to be able to hold out washing a water glass for, like, a week?

My answer to all of these questions ended up being a convenient yes. So I could get out of washing dishes.

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Sum sum summertime

Last summer, my husband William and I spent a lot of time pretending we were on vacation when we were really stuck at home. Each weekend, we would choose our destination. Sometimes our VRBO would “be” in Italy, sometimes in France, once in Spain, once in England, at one point we were in Switzerland.

Then we would have the food and wine to match: pizza, pasta, jamón, rösti, fish and chips with mushy peas. We would listen to French or Italian or Spanish music. We would sometimes build a fire and tell ourselves we had had a great day skiing or hiking or sightseeing. We would spend quite a bit of time talking about the quality of our VRBO, especially how relieved we were that they accepted dogs and that their kitchen knives were sharp.

We had a lot of time on our hands. And we are a couple of nerds anyway.

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Grease is the word

“No regrets,” Baby Hugo said after it was all over.

I was kneeling over the rug scrubbing it for the third time and realizing that it still smelled shockingly bad.

“Oh no?” I asked.

“Not a one.”

“Is that your stomach? Or is that thunder?”

Hugo was quiet for a long second.

“I’ll be right back.”

So went the conversation I had with my puppy dog yesterday 24 hours after he’d had the biggest “meal” of his life.

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Be like Ike

One of the luckiest things that happened to me after I moved to Kentucky was finding Ike Adams’s column, “Points East.” I remember sitting at my orange desk in The Sentinel-Echo newsroom and suddenly being immersed in writing so clean and a tone so meandering it felt like water rolling down a creek.

Ike was writing about a Philco refrigerator in his garage, one where he used to keep beer, pipe tobacco, night crawlers and watermelons. The column was the story of the fridge — how he’d rescued it from the dump, the plans he had for it, how old it was — but what it really was, as were all of Ike’s columns, was a love letter.

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Ode to the onion

Without even a bit of sarcasm, I have decreed the past year the Year of the Onion in my cooking life.

My relationship with this beautiful bulb was a complicated one as a child as I, in turn, was complicated. I loved the green onions my parents grew in the garden, in large part because I got to watch their tooth-white heads emerge from and thicken in the black soil. At dinner, they would appear intact on my plate, but with the roots sliced off, and a pile of salt beside them. That meant I was invited to dab the head into it and take a big bite. The only other time salt appeared in our kitchen was if we were having corn on the cob, so this seemed like a rather decadent treat.

So I’ve always like green onions.

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From deep in the archives

This month marks year 15 that I’ve been writing my column. I’m not sure where the time has gone but I do know that when it comes to writing this weekly piece, I always have a ball. I’m knee-deep in helping students with their med school personal statements this week, so I thought I’d dig up an old column from June 2007 whose topic is, unfortunately, timeless. It was definitely an up-close-and-personal introduction to Kentucky life.

*Please note: “The boyfriend,” who was nameless for years, is my now-husband, William.



Hi, I have chiggers. And I don’t, honestly, know how I’m going to make it. I am so itchy I am one baby step away from panic.

I went camping this weekend at Laurel Lake and enjoyed myself tremendously. We pitched a tent, swam almost constantly, ate sunflower seeds and beef jerky, and devoured all manner of tabloid magazine.

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Dissecting the dressing room

So there I was in Macy’s considering the purchase of a banana yellow jogging suit. I’d given it a good think and decided I was ready to try it on to see how it looked. It had been more than a year since I’d been to the mall and even more than that since I’d committed to a trip to a dressing room.

But here I was, grabbing life by the horns.

Along the way, I noticed a denim dress that seemed kind of nice, so I picked that up too. Then I decided I should jump on the high-waisted shorts bandwagon, so picked up a few pairs of them as well. Shorts tend to need shirts to go with them and I started flipping through the racks. Could I pull off a camo V-neck? Time to find out.

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