Seeking Level Ground

On a shelf in my kitchen is a plain white pitcher that used to belong to my husband’s grandmother Mary, a farm wife in Harvard, Nebraska during the Great Depression. In it I keep a handful of dirt that my sister brought me from my grandmother’s farming village in Huta Przedborska, Poland after visiting there... Continue Reading →

A Garden for Eleanor

From the time she could hold a watering can, my four-year-old granddaughter Eleanor has been a dedicated gardener.  When I bought her a yellow wheelbarrow last summer, her mother told me Eleanor sometimes would wake up in the early morning and head outside in her pajamas to rake leaves. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and the... Continue Reading →

Required Reading in a Pandemic

Reading Bette Carrothers’ online “Our Town” column from New Baltimore, Michigan every Sunday night has become one of my favorite pandemic pastimes. The 85-year-old Carrothers writes about such seemingly mundane topics as yard sales, how Memorial Day ceremonies were observed (“with reverence”), and small-town concerns, such as a family searching for a missing memorial bench... Continue Reading →

The Art of Medicine After COVID-19

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, my ophthalmologist sent an email that he was offering “virtual eye exams” to his patients. But when I developed a serious eye problem over the Memorial Day weekend, I was advised that I couldn’t be treated on Zoom; despite a continuing “stay-at-home” order in Michigan, I had to come... Continue Reading →

College Essays and COVID-19: Growing Up

My student in California apologized for her raspy voice, and said she would prefer not to Skype and just connect by phone for our tutoring session this week. Her dream is to become a physician’s assistant, and we were discussing the new supplemental essay questions that some schools are asking, including “How has COVID-19 affected... Continue Reading →

Mystery Brides, Mystery Corpses

The day after my parents’ 67th wedding anniversary on May 3, 2019, my mother was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. Heartbroken, my 95-year-old father died on June 28, and my mother followed 10 weeks later. Determined to honor their 68th anniversary with a blog post, I began searching through family albums to find the perfect... Continue Reading →

Earth Day: A Mile Down to Water

When I was a newlywed living in New Baltimore, Michigan my father-in-law Robert Lienert used to drop in several times a week and visit while I made dinner. He would entertain me with stories about growing up on a small farm in Harvard, Nebraska during the days of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.... Continue Reading →

The ABCs of Remote Learning: 5 Tips

I’ve been teaching people how to write at a distance since 2004. In the past year I’ve tutored students in Shanghai, Singapore, Jakarta, Sydney, Detroit and Los Angeles via Skype. They are almost always learning to write college essays for undergraduate admissions, Ph.D. programs, and fellowships, but occasionally I get the odd request from a... Continue Reading →

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