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If you were born before 2001, then your mind is probably only on one thing today: The terrorist attacks on this date twenty years ago. You may have vivid memories of “where you were”, or your memory might be fuzzy. Maybe you were just a kid, or maybe that day changed your life forever.

In his article “Where Were You When “It” Happened?”, Julio Vincent Gambuto asks us all to think of the pivotal moments in our lives and what we were doing when they happened. …

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Brindi sits on my stomach. She can’t purr anymore, she doesn’t have the energy for it. But she still enjoys being petted gently, long strokes. I can rub softly around her jaw, but not too hard. She is dying.

This great love of my life has been in kidney failure for two years. Special food has made digestion easier for her and extended her life another couple of years. But now, she’s in the final stages and I’m losing her.

We got her as a six-week-old kitten (too young, she needed more social skills,) but her mother was done mothering…

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You leave home for your short walk to work. On the way, you hear a baby crying but you can’t tell what direction the sound is coming from. This makes you anxious. You see a hungry stray cat looking for scraps in a trash can. This makes you sad; you want to help it, but you’re on your way to work.

Down another block, you see the same homeless person you encounter every workday sitting on the sidewalk with their handwritten sign. You dig for change and put it in their cup, knowing you’ll do the same thing the next…

Trauma, Mental Health

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You’ve probably heard of the three classic trauma/fear responses: fight, flight, and freeze. Another response has been delineated recently: appease. We’ll look at that one in a minute.

These responses are triggered by a cascade of hormones in our brains when we are put in potentially dangerous situations. This flash of hormones evolved from our earliest exposure as a species to predatory threats and enabled us to act immediately to save ourselves from harm.

Problems arise when the everyday stresses of modern life trigger those same hormonal cascades that are meant to prepare our bodies for life-and-death confrontations.

In her…

Image from Canva

[Disclaimer: The author is not a mental health professional. Article contents are for information purposes only and are not meant to diagnose or treat. See your doctor if you think you need help.]

A friend recently told a story about being worried about her taxi driver and the effort she went to to placate him so that he wouldn’t flake out on her. Now lots of women have experienced this sort of thing, and appeasement is a behavior most of us adopt at some point in our lives. …

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The horse is my brain. I’m the rider just trying to hang on.

This is my life with ADD.

ADD (or ADHD) kind of has a reputation as a “joke” disorder among people who have no experience with it. After all, it’s just a “kids’ problem” and they eventually grow out of it. Right?

Well, no, not so much. ADD is a form of neurodiversity (as is autism) that can wreak havoc in the lives of those who suffer from it. I’ve written elsewhere about what day-to-day life with the disorder is like. …

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I was born to open space the way a duck is born to water: needing it, thriving in it, loving it. I took root in Arizona, a stunning if rather lonely space, long before it became every elderly person’s favorite retirement community.

There was the smell of the desert after a summer monsoon (petrichor, they call it) when the parched soil gulps the fleeting water. Nowadays, you only smell wet asphalt as it steams in the 115-degree heat.

After Arizona, my family moved to Texas, second only to Alaska in sprawling size and cowboy attitude. …

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Pain teaches us things. If we are young, we remember pain long after it’s faded. And in so doing, we remember the lessons we learned each time we encounter pain again. If we are not young, and pain is an old wound that has never healed, then we have learned to survive it and keep going.

Pain is a constant for me. It fills my body and my mind every day, to varying degrees. Sometimes a lot, sometimes less. It varies in intensity; some days it’s all I can think of, and some days I hardly notice it. …

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Did you decide on a career change during COVID-19 isolation? Are you a recent high school grad trying to choose a long-term career with low stress and perks?

Don’t choose horticulture.

Watering plants and putzing around a greenhouse all day seems like an easy way to make a living. What’s not to love? Calming atmosphere and soothing greenery surround you while the musical sound of water bubbling from the hose plays softly in your ears…It’s like a dream job.

And that’s exactly what this image is — a dream. It’s fake.

The Realities of the Job.

Working in the horticulture industry is hot, sweaty, back-breaking work. There’s no…


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Of course, you love your kids. But when college is finished and they’re still living at home? It may be time to consider ways to get them to leave the nest. You aren’t doing them any favors by letting them mooch off you indefinitely.

This can be a touchy subject for a lot of you, but bear with me. Here are some ideas to help move them along into their own place. If the first one doesn’t work, the others can help you up your “eviction” game.

1. Derail the gravy train. Are you letting your kid live at home…


Writer/editor in science, society, environment, and mental health. Also personal essays. And some random weirdness.

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