A dark side of summer vacation

With summer vacation in full swing, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes an ideal vacation. First, it’s important to determine which side of the vacation divide you’re on: familiarity or novelty? There are those (and I’ve been in this camp) who return to the same place year after… Continue reading

Swedish death cleaning and you

Sometimes, a newspaper article can have surprising repercussions. Last fall, I ignored the spate of coverage of a self-help idea called “Swedish Death Cleaning.” As I now know, Swedish author Margareta Magnusson advised the middle-aged to de-clutter their lives so their families don’t have to muck out their living space… Continue reading

“This is Us” and “Cake”: talking across what divides us

There’s a not-so-secret society that could include someone you love – or you. We have no badges or special handshakes. But we do have a meeting time: Tuesdays on NBC at 9 p.m. EST. Or via Hulu, fans waiting expectantly for the latest episode of “This is Us” to load…. Continue reading

“Breaking the Wheel” in Tolkien and Game of Thrones

One freezing Boxing Day, my kids and I watched the extended editions of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in sequence, with bonus material (how the armor and swords were made, cast hijinks, CGI amazingness) added in as needed. Our marathon lasted over 16 hours. It was delightful. We emerged woozy… Continue reading