Home Alone


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frank creek School starts this week. My boys have new skinny jeans and overpriced t-shirts for their first day. We delivered their school supplies during last week’s open house and we are already spending afternoons running between football practice and the dinner table. They feign disgust at going back, but they’re at least a little psyched to see their friends and show off their new haircuts. It is time: ten year old boys are not meant to stay home all day with their mothers.

Our summer was largely unscheduled. My boys did not attend summer camp or take swimming lessons. They played some tennis and made a few short trips to Colorado, but most days were long, slow versions of a cut-rate sit-com: squabbling punctuated by adventure and surprisingly manageable chaos. At least twice a day somebody claimed to be bored.

Unscheduled days at home would have been impossible a year ago. The boys needed pretty much constant direction and supervision (not to mention squabble intervention!), but this summer they started to spend some time at home alone. I only leave them for an hour or so, and in the age of cell phones I’m never really out of reach. The boys usually watch T.V. or play the Wii, but they’ve also surprised me by reading while I’m at the gym. An hour to workout or meet a friend for coffee feels like freedom – for all of us.canoe and boys

Once they’d mastered hanging out at home solo, I started sending them on errands on their bikes. They run to the grocery down the hill for milk and bread. Frank picked up his new soccer cleats at the Sports Stop down on Main Street. I encouraged them to bike to the ice cream stand at the city park. As long as they stuck together and let me know where they were going, they had their run of town. The boys don’t always love being on their own, but when I overheard them bragging to their friends, I knew I wasn’t the only one happy with the new arrangement.

luca bikeSo it surprised me that my new habit of running out while the kids sit like slugs on the couch scared some of my peers. My closest friends nod and validate my parenting – either out of agreement or loyalty (I’m good with either option). But some other acquaintances seem surprised, even shocked at my willingness to leave my boys unattended. They have expressed the usual concerns: accidents, fires, kidnappings. “Don’t you worry?” they mutter. One woman even said, “Are you sure that’s legal?”

It seems that those concerns are too often the norm. In July, a South Carolina mother was arrested for letting her nine-year old daughter play at the park alone. The girl had a cellphone and it was broad daylight, but the local police determined that the child was in danger and she was placed in the custody of child protective services. Debra Harrell’s case is complicated by class and race and culture, but public reaction was revelatory: the parents of America must contend with a culture of fear.

We fear that our kids might be kidnapped (extremely rare – kids are more likely to have a heart attack). We fear that they won’t be smart enough or athletic enough. We worry that they will be too dependent on us or too wrapped up in the virtual world. We are afraid to trust our gut instincts and our intuition.   But the biggest fear is also the silliest: we fear the judgment of other parents. Who will leer down her nose at us? Who will disapprove of our kids, of us by extension? Who will turn her back on us?

This fear has become so central to parenting that we fail to recognize the real dangers in our children’s lives: grandiose expectations, bad food, concussions, a lack of comprehensive sex education, their tendency to text while moving, our tendency to forget about unconditional love. These are dangers we can do something about. We can examine our expectations, talk about food and sex, and model good behavior. We can give our kids practice – send them out on their own to experience natural consequences while making sure they have a soft place to land. It is a scary prospect. But I’m convinced it is what I signed up for; my job is to help them leave.

My boys will come home on the bus this afternoon. They will expect a snack and help with their homework.   I will ask them about school and they will shrug and mumble something odd. We will rush out the door to football practice and eat dinner at 8:30. I’m glad they still need my help navigating their daily lives – I dread the day they don’t need me anymore.  I know it is around the corner.first day of school 2014

Backpacking First-Timer: Dos and Don’ts…


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Entering the Cloud Peak Wilderness on my first solo backpacking trip.

Entering the Cloud Peak Wilderness on my first solo backpacking trip.

Weighing 280+ pounds, several years ago, I took my first backpacking trip up into the Big Horn Mountains. I went with my husband, and I remember an unrelenting trail. I fell backwards once and needed help getting up like a bug who could not turn itself over. We never made it to our original destination, Big Stull Lake–a regret I had until this year.

This summer, 100+ pounds lighter, I took the same backpacking trip; this time solo but not without my trusty dog, Nikko. My destination was 3.7 miles to Coney Lake with a short stop at Big Stull Lake. Things didn’t quite go the way I had planned, so I thought I would share some of the lessons I learned on my first solo backpacking trip.

#1 Don’t overestimate the amount you can carry. Chances are when you’re hiking, you aren’t going to need a lot of clothing. One pair of shorts, one short sleeve shirt, one long sleeve shirt, rain gear, thermals, and a jacket for high elevations is probably enough. On my first backpacking trip, I ended up with too many clothes and as a result, I could barely lift my backpack. At one point, I tripped on a tiny stump in the middle of the trail and ended up face first in the dirt. With a smaller pack, I could have kept my balance.

#2 Do pack and repack. If I had followed this simple rule, I would have realized I didn’t need 6 pairs of underwear, three shirts, and two jackets for my two-night backpacking trip. Repacking and packing can help you stick to the minimum requirements as well as give you practice packing. Make sure to try on your backpack so you’re not stuck with a too-heavy bag when you get to the trailhead, and it’s always a good idea to consult an expert about what you should or should not bring.

Stull Lake Campsite#3 Do know where you’re going, and have a contingency plan. Experts say not to hike alone, but I knew the trail, I let people know where I was going, and I had a contingency plan. I planned my trip based on the previous hike my husband and I had taken years ago. We had not planned well, so we found ourselves stuck searching for a camping spot in the dark during a thunder storm. It turned into a pleasant camping trip, but without good luck, it could have been a disaster. On this solo trip, I planned ahead and had a contingency plan. I wanted to make it 3.7 miles to Coney Lake with a short stop at Stull Lake, 1.6 miles from the trailhead. I ended up staying at Stull Lake and hiking on to Coney Lake the next day without my pack. I would not have made it through the steep, rocky switchbacks with my super heavy pack. Instead, I had an easy hike and more “me time” next to quiet Stull Lake.

#4 Don’t forget the mole skin. No matter how much you think you’ve broken in your new hiking boots, there is always a chance of chafing. I put several miles on my hiking boots before this trip, but the rocky terrain and up- and down-hill hiking took its toll on my feet. Thankfully, I had mole skin in my first-aid kit, and I managed to cover the hot spots before they developed into giant blisters.

#5 Do pack water shoes or sandals. I was grateful to have my water shoes. They had nice traction for walking in the lake and on the lakeside trail, and they are nice to have if you have to ford any deep creeks. Luckily, my hike was in late summer, so the creeks were dry enough to expose rocks for crossing. Look for shoes that can be easily attached with a carabineer to the outside of your pack, and pick shoes that are light…again, refer to Rule #1.

#6 Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t think you’re going fast or far enough. Yes, there are hard-core hikers out there who count their miles, and you may or may not cover as much ground. Who cares! It’s about your ability and about taking time out for you. Take time to relax and enjoy the scenery. Focusing too much on your speed or the miles you’ve covered can leave you forgetting why you wanted to backpack in the first place. Remember that it’s not a race. If you plan your time accordingly, you won’t have to rush to the campsite and you can take time for breaks, pictures, and bird watching.

Most of all, be proud of what you accomplished. So what if someone else went farther or faster. The point is that you got outside, you had fun, and you experienced something new.

Happy Hiking!

~ K

Stull Lake

Noticing the almost invisible






A lazuli bunting, a gold finch, a downy woodpecker, a hairy woodpecker a nuthatch, several lark sparrows, an eastern king bird and a western wood peewee… all in the space of 10 minutes on a walk at a small recreation area near my hometown on Wyoming. .. I would have missed most of them if my son and daughter-in-law, excellent birders, had not been with me. All this rich bird life caused me to think about the science writer, Richard Panek’s book The Invisible Century, which is about Einstein and Freud. What Panek shows us is that clearly relativity and the human unconscious existed before these two men articulated the ideas, but it took people who were looking differently at the world, who were not willing to just continue “seeing” what most people were seeing to make those ideas part of the culture. Thus these men were able to articulate ideas that have become part of our cultural conversation, ideas that had not been there before although the structures that allowed these men to articulate these ideas clearly existed.

Marion Zimmer Bradley, in her fantasy novels about her invented planet Darkover, calls characters who do not have psi powers “head blind;” they cannot read others’ minds, or see future events. While Bradley’s work is clearly speculative fiction (and good fun at that), the idea that we see what we want to see, or understand what we want to understand is worth thinking about.

So, as I walked the trail in our small recreation area this morning, I realized that I was seeing tracks I might not have seen that looked like horse prints in the gravel. At another time in my life, or even on another day when I hadn’t been primed by seeing so many birds early in the walk, I would missed at least half of them if I had not had expert guides. As I walked along, I thought about Panek’s book, about being head blind. And then I began to think about what we, as community college teachers are doing about remedial education.

We spend a great deal of time thinking about how to improve our students’ math, reading and writing skills. These are important, but what if we are not seeing something more important? What if the deficiencies that we are seeing are NOT the most important deficiencies in our students? We see the obvious, the inability to do fractions, or the inability to write a complete sentence, but what if we are missing something more basic? Can we remove our blinders and become less “head blind” and look more deeply into the problem?

Can we become good trackers? How do we see the lazuli buntings among the grasses, catch the flash of blue as it chases the yellow gold finch? How do we become astute observers of our students? I suspect that the deficiencies that we are seeing are part of a broader problem, that we can attempt to fix these things, and we may make progress. There are larger forces are work here, but as educators, we aren’t seeing them. The tracks in the grass or on the gravel path look like random indentations, not like a logical pattern of hoof prints.

I would love to see a group of people, not just educators, gather together and stretch themselves as they think about the problems that might be underlying the need for remedial education. What are the hoof prints we are missing? What patterns might emerge if we moved beyond the basic subjects and thought about the larger forces at work in our students’ lives? What flashes of blue might we see among the dry grasses?




Are You Small Town or Big City?


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NewYorkCityOn July 31st, at 2:00 AM, I sat in a 24-hour deli having breakfast in downtown Manhattan.

Some people would consider this unwise, but I was amazed at how safe I felt. In fact, after finishing my coffee and yogurt, I walked to Times Square with my mother’s voice repeating in my head, “Nice girls aren’t out after 10.”

I have always been a night person, but I rarely go outside that late because of the supposed dangers lurking in the shadows. I have also always considered myself a small-town girl, and I never thought I would feel comfortable in a city like Manhattan. I expected to be intimidated, self conscious, and hurried. Instead, I was energized, fearless, and confident.

As I sat in the deli, I realized that I could get used to the city life. I could imagine living there writing, walking at night, and loving the fast-paced lifestyle during the day. The other side of me–the side that loves the solitude of the wilderness, fishing, hiking, and just listening to the birds–wonders how long it would take before I would need to escape the city environment.

Despite the fact that I live in a small town, I’m not exactly a hick. I have lived in and visited urban neighborhoods before. In fact, I had been to New York before. I have also lived in Tucson, Arizona, a city of 520,000+, for over 6 years. I also lived in Lincoln, NE, not quite as big as Tucson, but still bigger than Sheridan, Wyoming. I’ve also visited Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Stockholm, London, and Paris. In Paris, my traveling companion refused to be outside after dark. Maybe that’s good practice, but I longed to see the Eiffel Tower lit up after dark. I wasn’t brave enough then to venture out on my own.

This trip to New York was my first experience in a large metropolis alone, so I was completely shocked with how comfortable I felt as I walked down 7th Avenue towards Times Square. Several people were around…men and women dressed in various styles. There were police officers, city workers, and even some homeless people out and about. I did get some strange looks…it was probably completely obvious that I was not a New Yorker…but for the most part, people left me alone, and I felt completely comfortable.

I didn’t have much time once I got to Times Square. I had to catch the airport shuttle at 3:30AM, and I still needed to check out, so I hustled back to the hotel completely energized and not really wanting to go home.

Today, back in Sheridan, I feel out of place. I tried walking at midnight in my neighborhood, but I was uncomfortable and frightened. Without really understanding why, I rushed back to the comfort of home. (It’s possible I realized internally what this study found.)

I don’t really know what to do with myself now. I suppose I’ll settle back into my “normal” life in Sheridan, and New York will be a distant memory. Until then, I have realized that no matter how much I think I know myself, I should remain open to new experiences and new places…because who knows, I may find that I’m a city girl after all.


Living the Life You Want





From 1991 to 2003, I ran, with other co-teachers, a week-long writers camp for kids between the ages of 14 to 18. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Each summer was different. Each group of kids was different. Each week had its high points and low points, its conflict and resolutions, and its intense joys.

This week I have had the chance to spend some time with one of my former campers, now in her 30’s who has come back to town for a few weeks. Being with M has made me reflect where my former campers are now. M has had a career as an exotic dancer in a unionized, employee –owned co-op theater, and she is now completing college with a plan to go to medical school. She was always an interesting kid, and I knew that her creative mind and sharp intelligence would take her places she couldn’t even imagine at 15. What’s wonderful for me, now, 15 years later, is that M, as an adult, is still as much fun to be with as she was then, and she is living a life she is happy with and proud of.

I think about R who went off to college as an art major, and now, runs a ranch with her cowboy husband. She writes a blog about the outdoors, about raising kids and about her ranch life, which is not much different from the ranch life of 50 years ago. (Except, of course, for the Internet.) She writes about cow camp in the summer, and about blizzards in the winter. Like M, the life she is leading is not the life she expected when she was 16, but it’s a life she wants now, and a life she deeply appreciates.

When B was 15, he told me that until he was about 13, he thought everyone grew up to be a poet. Now, B lives in England, has two children, and is working on PhD’s in media and communications, and in digital economics. He writes an occasional poem, and recently was asked to do a writing workshop at a local museum. Not the life he thought he would have, but one that is exciting and one that stretches him in ways he hadn’t expected to be.

G first came to Writers Camp just a few days shy of his 14th birthday. He attended camp for 5 summers. Now G is writing professionally for a Wyoming news service. He sees the inner workings of the state government. His writing is balanced and interesting. Several years ago, G attended a writing workshop that I facilitated and during that workshop wrote eloquently about a guest ranch where he had spent a great deal of time both as a guest and as an employee. I hope that G will write the history of this place that meant so much to him.

D was a camper for three summers. Her last summer, she wrote some wonderful poetry but struggled, at the same time, with where she was going to college. In the end, some weeks after camp was over, she came to me and told me that because she could not decide where she wanted to go, she was not ready to go to college. She went off to be a nanny in New York for a year. Over the next several years, she became a certified massage therapist, and then a CNA and then finally went to college and majored in physics. She has gone on to get a PhD in physics. She has worked at the Max Plank Institute in Germany and do very interesting research. D had no idea where her life would take her when she was 18, but she was willing to take chances and think about what she wanted.

When I think about these extraordinary young people, I realize what an honor it was to work with them. I have only given a few examples here. There are many more campers who now live very interesting lives. However, I also think of my college students, many of whom have limited vision about what they can do and where they can go, and I wonder how we can create educational experiences that expand students’ horizons, so that they can find the lives that they want but never knew they wanted.



How Dogs Read Our Moods: Emotion Detector Found In Fido’s Brain : Shots – Health News : NPR

Recommended Reading: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/02/21/280640267/how-dogs-read-our-moods-emotion-detector-found-in-fidos-brain

I always suspected my dogs know and understand my moods. We always had dogs when I was growing up. In fact, in my family, there’s a famous story of the day I walked out of the house and the family dog followed me.

I was about two years old and my mother had been distracted by the phone or something, and I just walked out the front door…a sucker in my hand.

Now, I don’t remember this story, but I’ve heard it many times, and it goes something like this…

Our dog, Mike, part Doberman, followed me out the door. Down the street a bit, I encountered the neighbor dog. Mike was a protective dog. There are lots of stories of how he protected our property and us kids, but this one is near and dear to my heart because it showed how much Mike loved me.

Anyway, so I’m walking down the street with a giant sucker in my hand. I picture this as the classic rainbow sucker from images in the ’50s. Anyway, when I met the neighbor dog, I offered him a lick of my sucker. He appreciated that, but as any dog would, he didn’t just take a lick, he took the whole thing.

You can imagine my reaction: I cried.

That’s all it took for Mike to act. He attacked that dog. I guess that’s the point when one of my brothers intervened. We ended up paying a hefty vet bill for the neighbor’s dog, but Mike was just doing his job. He was watching over me when no one else was around. He reacted to my emotional distress.

The same thing happened when I went through chemotherapy…my dogs reacted to my emotional distress.

I would come home from sitting hours in that chair as medicine dripped into my veins and I would be exhausted and a feeling a little bit sick. My husband would put me into bed and close the door. He would sit in the living room, watching tv, and normally, the dogs would stay with him, but on chemo days, they were restless. I would hear them both at the bedroom door, sniffing and whining. Eventually, Matt would open the bedroom door and both dogs would jump on the bed and curl up next to me: Kita at my feet, Nikko at my head.

This was not normal behavior because they had their own beds and were normally not allowed on ours, but it proved pointless trying to keep them away on chemo days.

They would stay there while I napped no matter how long I was there. It was a great comfort to me, and now it’s nice to have some scientific evidence to support what I already knew: dogs sense emotions and they will react accordingly. And for me, it was exactly what I needed.

~ K

What I did on my summer vacation…


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panareaWhen we arrived in Catania two weeks ago, my mother and I wound our way through the airport to the car rental counter and waited for an hour. This is the part of travel no one talks about – we Instagram the beach and our exotic breakfast, not the rental car line. I was anxious to leave the airport and head to our apartment on the water, but we needed the Fiat 500 to make our trek around the island. I sat on my suitcase and made small first cafe talk with the other English speakers in line. My mother brought me espresso in a tiny plastic cup and I changed my leggings for a skirt. I could already feel the Sicilian sun – the pulse of heat pushing up from Catania’s concrete jungle. It was both intensely foreign and achingly familiar.

Eventually, I drove our pint sized car through the city on faith and vague memories (the rental car agent looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for a map) and we parked on Capo Mulini’s lungomare. My mother recognized the apartment from the Google earth photos. The home is small – just two bedrooms and a living room, but guests live on the balcony. We didn’t spend a lot of time inside, but we ate picnic lunches and sipped our near constant espresso on the patio overlooking the Mediterranean.Capo mulini We watched Capo Mulini’s harbor full of boats and swimmers. We watched our Sicilian neighbors lower baskets down to the fruit vendor’s three-wheeled truck and hoist fresh produce back up to the third floor. We watched kayaks and paddle boats circle the Cyclops rocks; locals say the towering volcanic lumps were thrown at Odysseus on his legendary journey home from war.

We ended our trip with two days on an isolated island north of Sicily. Panarea feels like a secret paradise – there are no cars on the island and visitors arrive by hydrofoil. Electricity and running water came to Panarea in the 1980’s and now there are several hotels and wonderful restaurants. Most people spend just a few hours on the island, but we stayed two nights. We returned to a familiar hotel and shopped in the same overpriced boutiques we’d found nearly a decade ago. But mostly we sat on the sun warmed rocks and jumped into the clear sea. water

For me returning to Sicily is ideal respite: I know my way around (mostly), I can speak the language (poorly), and I love the water (completely). But the island still offers the alternative perspective that most travelers seek. I can move around with ease because it is familiar, but the place is foreign enough to shift my gaze, to remind me of the vast space in the world. Time is languid – maybe because of the heat or maybe because Sicilian conversation is dramatic and intense and takes a while. We rested well. We measured our days by the sun instead of the clock; we ate when we were hungry and lingered over our wine. We watched people and counted our blessings.

panarea sjIn the end it wasn’t the picture perfect, Intstagram-able moments that made my vacation great. It was the in-between moments: the first espresso in the rental car line, the hugs and tears from my dear Sicilian friends, the wine and the fresh picked peach on our Capo Mulini balcony, Panarea’s jumping rock. It was the smell and feel of the ocean as only a mountain dweller can experience the water: in stark relief. And the perspective that travel promises necessitates returning home. It is so good for my soul to go, but it is so great to be home.


What Works




We are currently bombarded by information about our educational system, whether it’s the need for early childhood education or the appalling completion rates at our community colleges. Everyone from education experts to politicians weighs in on what the solutions might be. Community colleges place a great deal of emphasis on “assessment,” which means measuring how our students are doing. Too often the tools we use for assessment are blunt instruments that do not really look at the important skills and knowledge that our students are gaining or not gaining.

I recently learned about a program started in 1986 by Dr. Rae Fleming Dinneen called Climb Wyoming. Dr. Dinneen developed this program to provide job training for single mothers in Wyoming to help them move out of poverty and into jobs and careers that will allow these women to support their families. The success rate of this program in almost 40 years is remarkable. Ninety-five percent of the women who participate graduate from the 12 week program and remain in their new jobs or in better jobs two years beyond graduation. The women in this program become welders, CNA’s, office managers, warehouse technicians and long distance truck drivers.

What Climb Wyoming has done is taken what we know works in education and applied it. Climb Wyoming does not need “assessments” to tell if what they are doing is working. They see it every day as these young mothers gain job skills, gain relationship skills, gain money skills and gain parenting skills.

What Climb Wyoming does besides pairing women with jobs and job training programs is to facilitate close connections between the women who enroll. Each group that enters together develops a community that supports its members as they meet every week. No participant feels like she is alone, something most of these women felt deeply when they were unemployed or marginally employed. Beyond the immediate connection within each group, Climb Wyoming graduates stay in touch with each other so that those bonds that develop during the training period remain. Climb Wyoming’s staff plays the parts of counselor, cheerleader, older sister, helping each woman over the rough spots, placing each woman in a job training program that will suit her. The staff also teaches resume writing, office etiquette, and gives parenting advice, sometimes something as simple as helping a young mother see that it is important to read aloud to her children.

Research supports all of this work. We know that students learn better if they are in a small, congenial group. They learn better if they have specific goals. They learn better if they have close relationships with their teachers (or in this case the Climb Wyoming leaders). We know students learn better when they can see the result of their learning. We do not need artificial assessments to understand these things.

I suggest that educators look to programs like Climb Wyoming for the answers to some of our educational problems. We need to move to smaller classes that meet more frequently so that students develop relationships with each other. We need to have instructors who are available for students not just for their academic work but for conversations about their students’ lives, about the barriers that might be in the way of a student’s achievement. We need to keep in touch with our students after they have finished our courses, checking in to remind students that people continue to care about them.

In the end, education is about relationships as much as it is about subject matter. Students learn if they care about each other, if their instructor cares about them and if, together they care about the material.

Climb Wyoming takes education’s best practices and puts them to work. I encourage everyone to look at this remarkable program. www.climbwyoming.org.




Living to Writing…well…Later…

Truck w/ kayaks

The pickup & kayaks ready to go…

A couple of weeks ago, Jane wrote about how Revision is the “Heart of Writing.” And that is true, but to get to revision, you first have to begin.

Starting is the hardest part of writing…actually, it’s the hardest part of any project. I am supposed to have a draft of a 250-page book completed by the end of the year. When I proposed this project, I anticipated having 42 pages of polished writing completed each month starting June 1st. That’s 10,500 words. Assuming I need to at least double that to have 42 pages of polished writing completed, that’s 21,000 words a month, equal to 700 words a day. However, if I don’t write every day, that’s 1050 words a day, M-F. I can usually write that in a few hours, so 1050 words a day is doable…mathematically, anyway.

The problem comes when I actually sit down to write.

I check email.

I check Facebook.

I check Twitter.

I watch the birds outside.

Three hours later, I still have a blank screen or a few bad sentences.

I know what I want to write about. I have some writing completed in the forms of journals and short articles. And I could start there, but as I read them and consider using them, the writing seems flat and uninspired.

I tell my students all the time that starting is the most difficult part. I tell them to just sit and write: “Put it on the page. Even if you’re writing “I don’t know what to write” until finally some thoughts come to mind and you write them down.” Once those ideas are out, they can be organized and manipulated into art…or at least communication to the public.

So, I’ve tried that.

But then the river beckons me.

My dogs want to go for a hike.

My viola needs to be practiced.

Perhaps procrastination is the human condition even if it isn’t good for us. I wonder what the biological reason is for it…is it coded in our DNA? Or perhaps it is learned.

Perhaps it is simply summer and I’m having too much fun kayaking, biking, hiking, and camping.

I want to write, but the subject of surviving cancer is hard to write about. It’s hard to think about. I don’t want to remember sitting for hours at The Welch Cancer Center while poison dripped into my veins. I don’t want to remember the tingling throughout my body as the “red devil” took residence into my cells and tissue. I don’t want to remember the days I cried at my desk wondering how I was ever going to survive.

But I have to remember. I have to make sense of it all. I need to pause and consider the lessons I’ve learned and consider how my story can hep others.

And I’ll get there.


But right now, it’s the start of the July 4th weekend, and I have to go camping.

~ K

This is what the inside of my head looks like right now…


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I hate packing so I Google-crastinate. I ask the interwebs what to pack. I bug my husband and bribe my friends to help. I love to travel, but I hate to prepare and so my brain looks like this:


But I eventually get it done with some amount of efficiency and make my way to the airport:


Today I return to my other home : Catania, Sicily. My mother is my fearless and like-minded companion:



Our travel goals center on caloric intake and sunshine exposure. We walk quickly, eat slowly, and sit reluctantly. Today will be a very long travel day: we do not arrive in Italy until Saturday afternoon. We are ready for an adventure!



Mr. Silverstein has it right. Stay tuned for updates and photos of food and fashion Sicilian style: Andiamo!

- Sarah



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