How Cleaning Got Me Jury Duty

Every once in a while life gives a pleasant surprise. I was cleaning my desk. I rarely get to the bottom, but I was looking for a specific piece of paper. The desk was unhappy, overwhelmed by the way-too-early holiday ads I usually send to "recycle." This time they...

There Are No Bus Monitors in Costa Rica

"Go ahead, call a regular cab...We'll reimburse you," said the wedding coordinator. We didn't mean to wake her at 5AM, but the card said, "For travel emergencies, call..." After a week in beautiful Costa Rica, two of us had to cut the trip short to get back to...

When Enviro-freaks Wake Up to $H!^

"What's a paper towel? said little Declan at a holiday meal. A member of the extended family asked for one. I passed around a stack of cloth napkins. "It's one of these made of paper." Declan laughed. When he saw his first paper napkin in a restaurant, he was...

The Kerosene Desk

It's nearly the end of the first quarter at school. "Miss! I gave you that paper!" "Yes, you did. Yesterday. Late. It's in The Pile." The Late Pile is the pile of papers asking for forgiveness because students don't want bad grades engraved on their transcript. It's...

Taking Candy from Babies

I don't eat processed foods but for once, I needed candy. I waited all day for a senior I've been trying to convert to healthy eating, because I knew she'd have junk food. I lurked around corners and told her friends I was waiting. Finally, she arrived at class. She...

When You Have the Bad Kid…

"Declan broke this pencil on purpose. He'll have to replace it." Yet another note from school. "Why did you do that?" I ask. He gives me a blank stare like he got his mind erased in a sci-fi movie. I have to funnel down excuses from "Someone else made me," and "It was...

Moms Have Demands!

I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I come back. There's a giant dog where I should be. I haven't left for long--I don't need more than thirty seconds to pee. The dog was lying in wait. "That'll teach her to run low on dog treats," the dog...