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  • 8/7/2019 This past week, my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and I stood in front of the greeting card rack for a very long time. 
    Whenever I try to buy a card for my mom or dad, I have a heck of a hard time. I almost bought a “blank inside” card because there wasn’t anything that even came close to telling them what I was thinking on the occasion of this milestone anniversary. 
    My parents have the kind of marriage that used to intimidate me. Other kids’ parents fought. Mine never did. Other kids would play one parent off the other. That got me exactly nowhere. My parents have always been best friends and I have always known their priority was one another. My sister and I never doubted that we were important and loved, but my parents would rely and care first for each other. It was a wonderful thing to see as a kid. It is wonderful to see today. 
    After 60 years, my parents complement one another so well, it is hard to see where one leaves off and the other picks up. My dad bakes the bread, my mother makes it into toast. My dad plans, my mother organizes. My dad’s eyesight has gone bad, so my mother reads aloud for both of them. 
    My mom says, exasperated, “I read the book, but he remembers everything in it!” 
  • 7/31/2019 I started The Postscript exactly one year ago. 
    I am more than a little superstitious when it comes to numbers. When I wrote the first draft of my memoir, Blue Yarn, I had an even number of chapters in all three sections. This was probably tidier than necessary, but maybe not terribly unusual. But then I made sure that every chapter had exactly 5000 words. This pleased me to no end—even as I realized my mania for symmetry was tipping over the edge. 
    When my agent sent notes to me, one of her comments was, “Chapter Eleven is very redundant and needs editing!” 
    I thought, “Well, of course it does! Do you have any idea how hard it was to get that chapter to exactly 5000 words?!” 
    I did not tell her this, of course. I don’t think it’s helpful if your agent thinks she is representing a crazy person. 
  • 7/17/2019 Spring came late and so, appropriately, did the annual deep cleaning of the refrigerator. 
    A lot of stuff gets tucked into the refrigerator over the course of the winter. Obsolete condiments band together and take refuge deep in the corners. A thuggish-looking jar of jam wearing a cap of mold sidles up to an empty bottle of horseradish sauce and they both evade detection by skulking behind an oversized bag of sun-dried tomatoes. A stray stalk of celery becomes separated from the pack and is left alone to mummify. Unnoticed spills of unidentified liquids petrify into sticky footprints. 
    The whole refrigerator had begun to resemble some archeological site with mysterious remnants of a past life that we could now only guess at. 
    In our house this is a double challenge because my husband, Peter, removed the dishwasher from our small kitchen and replaced it with a second, smaller refrigerator. The little refrigerator is a lifesaver but it is not self-defrosting—something we have come to take for granted. Over the winter, the mini freezer of the auxiliary fridge had almost entirely filled with ice and we discovered it just before it triggered the next ice age. 
    So, on a sunny day, Peter and I tackled our respective duties. He was responsible for removing the glacier in the tiny fridge while I worked to identify the historical artifacts in the freezer of the main fridge. 
    I know I need a better system. Finding a frosted-up package labeled: “Mostly Grated Cheese,” is not reassuring. Similarly, “Not Refried Beans,” proves most unhelpful a few months down the line. 
  • 7/10/2019 My husband, Peter, decided to make friends with a raven. 
    We have a lot of ravens around our house. Ravens are smart birds and Peter did some research on them. They mate for life and can live to be seventeen years old in the wild. They learn to recognize people and will grow less afraid once they know someone. So, Peter decided he was going to leave small treats on the birdbath every day and let some raven couple get to know him. 
    At approximately the same time as Peter hatched his plan, we decided to replace one of our two pub chairs. But instead of setting it on the curb where it would have vanished like magic within twenty-four hours, Peter parked the old chair in front of the living room window and starting taking his morning coffee there, watching for ravens. 
    “That chair can’t stay there forever you know,” I reminded him.
    “Uh huh,” Peter said, ignoring me. 
  • 6/19/2019 As long-time readers of The Postscript know, I do not delve into politics or current events. You might think this comes from a desire to find common ground with all my readers. You might think I am trying to bridge the divide in a time when there aren’t enough opportunities to examine the myriad of things we have in common. Or you might simply think I am a coward who wishes to avoid controversy. 
    You would all be wrong. I am simply too ill-informed to say anything intelligent about current events, certainly anything that hasn’t already been said a hundred times before. 
    But today I am breaking my silence because I have heard some news I feel compelled to comment on. I did my due diligence and found—to my shock and disappointment—this news appears to be true. 
    There is now a Twelve Step program for lipstick addicts. 
    Right away, I need to say that I am not disparaging Twelve Step programs. In fact, it’s because I have so much respect for these programs that I find this news distressing. But I decided to research what a Twelve Step program for lipstick might look like because, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what the Twelve Steps were. 
  • 6/12/2019 My husband, Peter, and I just spent a couple of days staying with our scientist friends. 
    I’ve honestly never had scientist friends before, so there is a lot to learn. One of our scientist friends, Wolfgang, is responsible for filling the ice cube trays (which is my job at home) but seeing a scientist do it made me feel like a rank amateur. If there was competitive ice cube tray filling, Wolfgang would be in the elite ranking and I would not have made the preliminaries. 
    “What is he doing?” I whispered to Mary, Wolfgang’s scientist wife. 
    “He’s checking to see if the meniscus is even on all the cubes,” she told me. 
    I tried to look as if I understood. I failed. 
    “You know, the curvature of the water caused by surface tension.”
    “Uh huh,” I answered, appreciatively. 
  • 6/5/2019 My husband, Peter, is preparing for the End Times. 
    This might not be literally true, but it would certainly appear to be if you checked out the food supplies we have stashed away. Peter hates the fact that packages now contain less than they used to while the price continues to rise. He is infuriated when products substitute less quantity and quality and try to “get away with it.”
    “Whenever I find a product I like, they discontinue it or change it!” Peter laments. 
    I tell him he sounds like an old person. 
    Peter and I are getting to be old people—although we would never admit it. We met when we were both technically past “middle-age,” although I notice that “middle-age” seems to be a very elastic term. Not a lot of us are going to be around at 120, yet sixty still qualifies as “middle-age” to every sixty-year-old I know. 
  • 5/29/2019 More than 10 years ago, I was living in Africa (Lagos, Nigeria, to be exact). My life was pretty much a shambles, but I refused to return to the U.S. 
    The reason I didn’t want to come back was because I could not for the life of me figure out what had happened. My husband of 22 years had left without warning. The company I was working my heart out for suddenly dumped me. I found myself in a foreign country (and a difficult one) with no job, no home, no husband, and the most incredible part about all of it—to me—was that I genuinely did not see any of it coming. 
    One day I came in from my run. I was living in yet another temporary apartment that I would have to vacate soon. I was doing freelance work to make enough money to get by (although I didn’t need a lot) and, on this day, I came in still covered in sweat and sat down at my computer. 
    I typed: People ask me what Lagos is like. I never tell them. It’s easier that way.
    Then I proceeded to tell myself (and these imaginary people) what Lagos was really like. I didn’t write the cheery explanations and rationalizations I’d been giving my family and friends (and myself). Instead, I wrote the truth about how afraid and lost I really was at middle-age without a husband or a home or a job and with no idea at all what would happen next. 
  • 5/22/2019 I originally joined Facebook when a long-lost cousin sent me an invitation. 
    No one had heard from this cousin in ages when I got a note out of the blue. Facebook was relatively new then and I hadn’t considered joining. But I figured if I could reconnect with family I wouldn’t hear from otherwise, why not?
    Since then, I’ve become a writer, which means I sit by myself staring out the window for hours at a time. There are about 200 yards of sidewalk I watch most of the day like some sort of hypervigilant Neighborhood Watch. (Don’t even think about committing a crime on my 200 yards!) It gets a little lonely and Facebook has turned into my virtual watercooler. I imagine that my Facebook friends are distant officemates I can hang out with for a few minutes whenever I need a break, when no one has recently tried to commit a crime on the sidewalk, or I have run fresh out of ideas. 
    So, when I finally got a signed contract for my book, I was naturally very excited and did what a lot of us do when we are excited about anything—I posted it on Facebook. 
  • 5/1/2019 Getting my hair cut has never been one of my favorite things, but lately it’s been worse than usual because the town I live in has a shortage of hair stylists and I have a shortage of hair. 
    In order to get a haircut, I had to make an appointment weeks in advance. I was complaining about this to my husband, Peter. He said, (as he always does) “I’ll cut your hair!” 
    “Right.”
    When the big day of the appointment arrived, I was asked to fill out a full page of questions about my hair styling goals (I had none) and my body shape. My choices were: “apple, pear, or banana.” 
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