• Amazing People,  Blessings

    Creative Ways To Connect and Learn While Social Distancing: A Guide to the Silver Linings

    Updated June 4, 9:40 am: Well, it’s time. After eleven weeks of updating my list of things to do, watch, and learn from home while everyone was self-isolating, I just updated it one last time and now I’m going to let it go. Or rather, I’m going to let it STAY. While I won’t be updating it any further, it’ll be pinned to the top of this site until the end of June. After that, you can easily find it anytime for eternity if you need something to do, by coming here and searching “Coronavirus list.” My final additions include more anti-racism resources, plus the fun videos and things I’ve…

  • How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    A (Partial) List of Anti-Racism Resources

    Before I begin, I need to mention that the mural pictured above is in Minneapolis, Minnesota and it was painted by Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, and Greta McLain, along with help from Niko Alexander and Pablo Hernandez. Our country is figuratively and literally on fire this week, following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, by four police officers—one directly, by keeping his knee on George’s neck (impairing his ability to breathe), and three indirectly: by their lack of action. The events over the last six days are altogether horrible, tragic, unjust, and not surprising; nothing has changed for Black Americans as we’ve seen time and time…

  • Blessings,  Writing

    It Just Seems Write.

    Let me take a second to congratulate myself on a clever title for a post about writing notes to friends. See what I did there? Go, Melisa! When all of the self-isolating (or social distancing, physical distancing, quarantining, or whatever we’re calling it these days) started a couple of months ago, the vast majority of us resorted to doing whatever made us feel better. That is to say, in a time when we’ve had (and continue to have) to do something that is for the most part extremely uncomfortable—staying home most or all of the time—it seems only natural that we would choose to spend our time doing the things…

  • Confessions,  Motivation

    I’m Like a Bird

    I have three hand-blown glass birds that I purchased on three different trips to one of my favorite places on earth, Cape May, New Jersey. These birds hang in the windows of three rooms in my house and they make me incredibly happy whenever I look at them. Usually. Although it always sways a little bit because we keep the ceiling fan on, the green and yellow bird that hangs in our living room window normally looks to the left as its default position. This was double-checked about six weeks ago after Jim put a longer string on it: before he climbed back down the ladder he waited for the…

  • How To,  Motivation

    25 Things to Do While Social Distancing During a Global Pandemic

    What with COVID-19 (coronavirus) having just been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, it has become more important than ever for us to work together to “flatten the curve” (slow down the spread of the virus) so as not to completely overwhelm the capacity of health care systems. And by “work together,” of course I mean “get it done but only while placing ourselves at least six feet away from other humans.” COVID-19 is spread by respiratory secretions and possibly from touching contaminated surfaces, so lots of hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds while not touching our faces is our best bet when it…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  We Are An Awesome Couple

    Middle-Aged Dogs, New Tricks

    One of the trade-offs of having grown kids who live elsewhere (Wah! I miss them!!) is that we have a lot of spare time to do…well, whatever we want. A few months ago Jim made a couple of comments about possibly wanting to learn how to play guitar, something he did as a child but only short term. I thought about buying him a guitar for his birthday and, after debating with myself about whether he was really serious about wanting to take it on, I headed to Guitar Center. I bought him a basic acoustic guitar, figuring that if he didn’t really care to learn we could just return…

  • your vote your voice
    How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  Uncategorized

    Don’t Let the Polls or Anyone Else Dictate How You Vote This Year: Make Up Your Own Mind.

    Jim and I went out the other night and had a great discussion about the 2020 election. It wasn’t the first political discussion we’ve had, by far, but it was a really good one. First let me say that I’m very lucky we can have good political discussions, because he and I have never agreed on what the best candidate should possess, though what we want (or rather, what we don’t want) this year is closer than it has been in the past. It hasn’t always been this way, the “having good political discussions” thing, which was actually the topic of that conversation. Like now, in our younger days he…

  • Motivation,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Change It Up.

    On most Wednesdays around 5:30am when I turn into the parking lot for the strip mall where my boxing gym is located, there is a pickup truck parked diagonally near the entrance, engine running and lights on. I assume he or she is waiting for someone; perhaps it’s a carpool-to-work arrangement. Even though the truck is the only vehicle on that whole side of the parking lot I always go around it the long way instead of turning in front of it to get to my parking space five stores down. I’m not sure why, but it’s become a compulsion. Every week there’s a split second in which I think,…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  Childhood Memories,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    The Best Kind of Quilt

    Just like so many others in my family, my Aunt Nancy was an extremely creative person. She was an avid knitter and enjoyed lots of other crafty pursuits, but one in particular eventually took the lead and became her favorite: making quilts. She started quilting in the early 1980s, completing her first quilt in 1983. After that there was no turning back. For nearly four decades she pieced and sewed, gifting her creations to lucky friends and family members like me (I received a quilt for my college dorm room as well as baby quilts for my sons). For as long as I can remember, if she wasn’t holding court…

  • Am Reading,  Best Thing Ever,  Family Fun,  Food,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting,  Tradition

    My GoodReads Reading Challenge Goal was Thwarted by…a Book.

    Last year I decided to spend more time doing something I had let fall by the wayside since I was a kid: read books. I got active on GoodReads and made a fairly ambitious (for me) reading challenge goal for 2018: 26 books. I fell short, reading “only” 22 books but was proud just the same. I probably hadn’t read 22 books in the ten years before that, all put together. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading; I just used my free time for other creative pursuits. I decided to keep the same goal for 2019 and was projecting to achieve it easily when I took at look at…