Ivan the (recently) Terrible, Blanca, and the Politics of Cats & Dogs

Poor Ivan, Ivan the (recently) Terrible, Ivan the cat nobody wanted. Found by my step-son, Sean, the night Sean's mother died, he'd been abandoned to whatever fate befalls tiny kittens taken too soon from their mother. There was no sign of momma-cat or siblings, just tiny Ivan, whom kindhearted Sean scooped up from a dumpster by the local …

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Dam Hearts

Our house is a five-minute drive from the largest man-made lake in South Carolina, Lake Murray, a reservoir fed by the Saluda River and across which is the Saluda Dam/Dreher Shoals Dam. A dream since the turn of the last century, the lake is named for the engineer, William S. Murray, who made it come true. It's …

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Tuesday’s Child

Our daughter-in-law, Sarah, is in labor even as I type this. She's about to bring a baby boy into the world. A baby boy to carry on the name, which shouldn't matter really, as we have a granddaughter who certainly seems to be carrying on the Irish stubbornness just fine. But all new babies are …

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Foundation/The Village/Sunday School

There we were: my partner-in-Sunday School-teaching-crime, Arthur, our solitary student, and me. As we peppered him with questions about the text of the day, this not shy middle school boy said the only logical thing there was to say, "Argh.....! Don't quiz me!" And we weren't really quizzing, but I'm sure it feels like a quiz when …

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Star Fruit and Shopping Carts

We had a nice Christmas, able to fly Charlotte out from Chicago, give each other a couple of nice gifts, send some cash out to the kids and grand-kids in Texas. But like about everyone I know, come January we're feeling the pinch. So I was comparison shopping with greater care and squelching the impulsive …

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An Old, Unlikely Angel

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself yesterday, finishing off left-over pasta puttanesca. For the record, puttanesca is delicious the first day, a bit lack-luster the second, but the mediocrity both suited and fed my mood. Today is October 1st, and the fourth anniversary of my friend's, Jeff's, death. I've been feeling his loss …

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The Birds & Bees & Uncle Duane’s Chickens

The casual way TV sitcom characters talk about sex, all the time, in front of their TV sitcom children is something that never quite rings true to Paul and me, though it did have us laughing about our turns at bat delivering The Talk to our own respective children. My former brother- and sister-in-law kept chickens on …

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Buried Treasures: Swiss Steak

We bought a house! Now we just need to move into it, made far easier by our intrepid realtor getting the deal done with a bit of over-lap between apartment and house. My free time is now spent schlepping boxes to the new place, and reveling in having time to organize it just right. Because …

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For Cara, or, Comfort for Parents of Imminent College Students

For all the tea in China I would never be purposefully rude or hurtful to anyone, yet I so often am when unfiltered things come flying out of my face or occasionally, fingertips. For example, the other day a friend posted a heartfelt comment about her daughter going off to college, how she was already …

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The Conversation

I am fairly sure that most parents have some sort of conversation with their teenagers when they get their driver's licenses and start driving. Charlotte's dad and I gave advice we felt, from our  personal experience, was good: when you're pulled over don't sass the cop, because that only makes it worse. This is the time it pays …

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