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...

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Keeping neighbors on the map

Two summers ago, I spent a month in the Kentucky Knobs without a map. The Knobs horseshoe around the Bluegrass just south of the state’s northernmost tip. Unlike those gentle rolls, the Knobs are a ring of hills, or monadnocks. I was staying in a farmhouse near the...

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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...

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Crossing paths with an angry dude

Just so we’re clear, I might have made the wrong decision. It was a chilly day as I headed out to meet a friend to walk around Duke’s East Campus. At a Broad Street intersection, I was blocked by a stream of cars whose drivers had not a single fleeting thought of...

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A succulent philosophy

One evening, I returned home to find the kitchen covered in severed fingers. Green ones. I mean, that was my first impression. But the fingers were far too stubby to be human (perhaps a toddler ogre?). A selection of pots, tins and cups crowded the countertops. When...

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