Quote of the week


“I don’t believe that books — even bad books — corrupt us. Instead, I believe books challenge and interrogate. They give us windows into the lives of others and give us mirrors so that we can better see ourselves. And ultimately, if you have a world view that can be undone by a novel, let me submit that the problem is not with the novel.” —John Green

In 2018, I resolve…


While the timing may be arbitrary, making resolutions is a lovely practice. Doing so encourages self-reflection, a belief that one can change for the better and a desire to try new things. Sure, such goals may end unsuccessfully a day or month later, but giving resolutions “the old college try” could lead to promising results.

This year, I resolve:

To experience at least seven hours of sleep a night. As a lifelong workaholic and occasional insomniac, I rarely sleep enough. When I was 20, sleeplessness was not a big deal. In my mid-40s, my body and mind demand a recharge and I shall no longer feel ashamed by this need.

Read at least 50 books by Dec. 31. I generally do so anyway, but last year, I was just a bit short. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures. Why should I deprive myself?

Write more — and revel in make-believe. For nearly three decades, I’ve written and edited nonfiction for a living. Although my journalism career thrived, my imagination atrophied and now writing fiction and poetry is much more difficult. This year, I will dedicate more time and energy to exercising this muscle.

Practice hygge. According to Meik Wiking, author of “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living” and the CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is all about appreciating the simple pleasures in life. It is a lifestyle that revolves around coziness, community, contentment and reveling in quiet comforts. Some of the hyggeligt things that already bring me happiness include:

* Spending time with my husband and pets

* Sharing meals and/or playing games with friends

* Reading

* Cooking and baking, particularly from scratch

* Hot beverages (coffee, tea, cocoa)

* Silent Book Club meetings

* Soft and warm lighting

* Sitting in a comfortable chair and reading or watching TV/movies

* Warm sweaters, wool socks, scarves

* Flannel sheets and heavy, soft blankets

* Fire from candles or fireplaces

* Appreciating natural beauty by watching snow fall, listening to thunderstorms, staring at ocean waves or smelling fresh flowers

* Indulging in desserts

* Dwelling in darkness

Due to some of the stressful elements in my life (I’m looking at you, 24-hour news cycle), happiness can sometimes feel fleeting. Yet I am fairly healthy. I’m loved by family, friends and animals. And I have a beautiful home that’s located in a part of the world with fresh air and four distinct seasons. I simply need to keep the more negative aspects of my career from weighing down my spirit. In short, I’m going to embrace hygge.

What do you resolve to change in 2018?

In Memoriam: A Look Back At Many Of The People We Lost in 2017


hourglass.jpgSome people view obituaries as morbid stories, but in truth only one line of an obit deals with death. The rest of the story focuses on the amazing lives people led.

In 2017, these 15 obituaries featured people whose lives — and deaths — most affected me:

* Stuart McLean, storyteller and broadcaster

* Sue Grafton, mystery novelist

* Robert Guillaume, actor

* Bill Paxton, actor

* Mary Tyler Moore, actress

* Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, political dissident

* Chris Cornell, singer/songwriter

* Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author

* Paddles, First Cat of New Zealand/social media star

* Charles Manson, cult leader

* Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy

* Bernie Wrightson, illustrator/artist

* John B. Anderson, congressman

* Bruce McCandless II, astronaut

* Lillian Ross, journalist

Other people we lost this year who won’t be forgotten:

* Roger Ailes, Fox News co-creator

* Chuck Barris, game show host

* Chuck Berry, singer/guitarist

* William Peter Blatty, author

* Simeon Booker, journalist

* Jimmy Breslin, columnist

* Glen Campbell, Rhinestone cowboy/singer

* David Cassidy, pop star

* Alan Colmes, political commentator

* Jonathan Demme, director

* Fats Domino, singer/songwriter, pianist

* Gord Downie, singer/songwriter

* Dick Enberg, sportscaster

* Dick Gregory, comedian, civil rights activist

* Monty Hall, game show host/producer

* John Hillerman, actor

* Al Jarreau, singer

* Jake LaMotta, boxer

* Martin Landau, actor

* Cardinal Bernard Law, religious leader

* Jerry Lewis, comedian

* Rose Marie, actor

* Roger Moore, James Bond

* Erin Moran, actress

* Jim Nabors, actor/singer

* Masaya Nakamura, “father” of Pac-Man

* Manuel Noriega, Panamanian dictator

* Tom Petty, singer/songwriter, guitarist

* Robert M. Pirsig, author

* George Romero, director

* Sam Shepard, actor/playwright

* Liz Smith, gossip columnist

* Harry Dean Stanton, actor

* Don Rickles, comedian

* Jay Thomas, comedian

* Robert James Waller, author

* Judge Joseph Wapner, TV jurist

* Adam West, Batman

* Edith Windsor, LGBT rights activist

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