That Wasn’t on the Lesson Plan

You need some love? He said it a second time in a low, creepy whisper. The teenager was 6 feet tall, 250 pounds completely dry. He’d been whispering at me the last five minutes from the back of the room. What’s your name? Are you mad? Need some love? I could feel the muscles in my neck and shoulders tighten and I began the scenario run down, mentally practicing blocks. Thinking about how to leverage advantage. He was wearing pants halfway down his ass which would easily be yanked to hobble him… Read More

Fired Up, Part 4: Screw It, I’m Going to Smile Anyway

For many people, it’s been a tough few days. I know some people are hooting and hollering in delight, but they will only be able to maintain that state for so long, before they realize their lives are not getting better and nobody’s drunk uncle is going to change that. I’ve had to tamp down all my #notallwhitepeople, #notallwomen, #notallliberals, #notallcitydwellers, #notallmidwesterners defensiveness and close myself off from the stream of blame pouring from every venue. Blame isn’t going to help the Trump supporters improve their lives and it sure as hell… Read More

Fired Up, Part 1: Changing Where, When and How I Get Information

I wrote an impassioned post following the results of the election. Still amped, I had another sleepless night, up at 3am. As I have for months, I logged in and went to the usual sites, CNN, BBC, The Washington Post. No need to go to 538. Polls mean nothing to me anymore. Quickly I scroll through click bait headlines, breeze through articles, scroll down through the comments. It’s all the same. The same pundits turning themselves into pretzels, the same commenters calling each other names and reciting questionable facts and hyperbole. It’s… Read More

The Green Study’s “Positively Happy Nice Story” Contest: 3rd Place

3rd Prize goes to Cezanne at Pugaddinilgab for “The Love of a Grandfather”. Her essay made me think about the nature of sacrifice and service on behalf of others. Who paved the road for us? And how will we pave the road for others? She was sent one Green Study Coffee Mug and a scenic Minnesota postcard. I also made a $50 donation to the Philippine Red Cross. The Love of a Grandfather By Cezanne at Pugaddinilgab My grandfather used to tease me of being called “pugad de nilgab” or a granddaughter… Read More

Congratulations! You Barely Met My Expectations

Michelle, we’d like you to know how much we’ve appreciated your presence and to let you know that we’ve come up with a new review and salary plan for your role here. I am intrigued. Please sir, continue. We’ve noticed that Bob is doing great at his job and you are sucking eggs at yours. In order for you to keep your job, we’ve decided to lower our minimum expectations of your work performance. I am astonished. I protest. But Bob was mentored into his role. He received extra training and hand… Read More

Quitting While You’re Behind

In 1992, I quit grad school after completing one year. On every level, it felt like failure – giving up, not sticking it out, not going the full mile. Thousands of dollars in debt, working three jobs, living on coffee and fear of failure, the final straw was when a professor told me that he was giving me a B- as a favor (C was considered failing at the graduate level). I thought “why am I working my ass off for this?” I didn’t have a good answer, so I knew it… Read More

Back-to-School Special: The AB…ZZZZZZZZZs

Like many parents who have spent the summer with their children, I’m counting down the hours before the start of school. I will also be participating in a school of sorts. Next week, I start a writers’ workshop that runs for a couple of months. I’ve attended writers’ workshops before and have a pronounced aversion to them. The Loft Literary Center has, with a sheer stroke of agoraphobic genius (and for those of us who loathe trying to find parking downtown), added online workshops to its curriculum. No more trying to avert… Read More