The spell of New Mexico

One Saturday morning recently I ended up waiting unpatiently at Firestone for the technician to remove a nail from my car’s tire and then patch the tire. I had just found a spot in the waiting room when I noticed that the television set was blaring. As soon as I opened my book, the young […]

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Courage, ingenuity and intelligence

It was in Lubochna, before she was taken to a concentration camp, that the police came to their apartment and ordered Gerda Buergenthal and her son Thomas to pack their belongings and to be ready to go in a hour. When they were taken to the police station, his mother demanded to see the police […]

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Rosa Parks, quiet and unassuming

Rosa Parks, who was born 100 years ago this year, was a quiet, unassuming 42-year-old seamstress when she refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white man. “Though legend would have it that Parks, who died in 2005, refused because her feet were tired, the truth, she always said, was that […]

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A cheese tray?

A cheese tray? My assignment is to bring an appetizer for a Saturday evening potluck. But, it’s Friday night, and I’ve had a busy week. A sad week. I helped make plans for a good friend’s memorial service, helped contact people who loved her and helped write her obituary. “Maybe I should make a spinach […]

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The message is about dreaming

Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court justice, says that she wrote her new book “to inspire people to realize that first, I was just like them, and second, if I could do it, so could they.” “Become a Supreme Court justice? But how realistic is that?” a Time interviewer asked Justice Sotomayor in the February 11, […]

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Killing fat cells

The napkins were on the sale table along with an odd assortment of leftover holiday merchandise, but I am sure I would have bought them even if I had had to pay full price. Bold and decorated with bright pink, yellow and green, the napkins declared: “Why is it that alcohol can kill brain cells […]

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Advice from Donna’s mother

We’ve been talking to other women about our soon-to-be-published book The Resolute Woman, and we’ve been inspired by the advice they’ve shared with us. My friend Donna remembers this advice from her mother. “Take care of yourself. Have a long-term plan. Help others.” We think that’s great advice. What advice did your mother give you? […]

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How suffering takes place

A very good friend died yesterday, and I have been feeling sad and thinking about the sadness her family is feeling. Recently, when I heard Natasha Trethewey, this country’s poet laureate, read a poem by W.H. Auden on National Public Radio, I knew exactly what Auden was writing about. I listened and remembered clearly one […]

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The first lesson of grief

A friend died. She was past 100. She was a friend, but not a close friend. I still felt sad. As I thought about my friend’s death, I remembered my mother’s death. In her book She Matters: A Life in Friendships, Susanna Sonnenberg writes that the first real lesson about grief is “its disorganizing confusions, […]

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Advice from your mother

We firmly believe that mothers usually give great advice, but, no matter who is giving the advice, you need to consider it and decide if it’s the best advice for you. We were reminded about the importance of avoiding blindly following advice from anyone, even your mother, recently when we heard Melinda Gates, co-chair of […]

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