The trouble with being proficient at something, or even being perceived as proficient, is that people will inevitably come seeking your talent…

When I was dating the man who would become my husband, I asked his middle son if he was tired of me hanging out at their house so often. “I li…

On a Christmas morning 117 years ago the children of Eau Claire ran wide-eyed and full of wonder to their Christmas trees, anxious to see Sant…

About 10 years ago, I was seated in a well-lighted classroom at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop taking a course on the poetry of James Merrill. I w…

St. Patrick’s Day, 2020, was my first work-at-home day, and the day I realized I did not want to work from home for long. My favorite gel pen …

Had Jeff DeGrave simply seen a badger on Badger Avenue, it would’ve made a lot more sense. Yet what he saw on that November night was a creatu…

The woodstove is no longer roaring, so I step out onto our back porch for an armload of oak before shouldering my way back inside. After resto…

Throughout my life I’ve called upon Wisconsin’s state motto as my mantra in difficult times. “Forward” reminds all of us that things will get …

Amid the onslaught of recent political news, it’s possible that you’ve failed to keep current on the most consequential election in local thir…

Listening to Elizabeth Steans, the reference services manager at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library (LEPMPL) in Eau Claire, there is a palp…

I don’t exactly see apparitions at my house on Lake Hallie, but I sometimes sense a presence. My husband doubts me, though Bruce knows that in…

The only thermometer the sauna has ever known exploded a long time ago, leaving a mercury-red stain on the cedar paneling, so it is impossible…

For the last decade or so, after each senseless shooting or climate disaster, social media is flush with one of Fred Rogers’ go-to explanation…

Tucked into the ivy just two hundred paces from the Eau Claire County Jail sits a pink house which you’ve probably never noticed. Built in the…

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Before I tell you about second-generation milk-hauler Wayne Myren, before I tell you about his truck, or the dairy farmers he serves, I need t…

There’s plenty of good news in the world even though lately it seems a little harder to find. Roughly 90% of what Americans see in the media i…

A few weeks ago, my son Henry and I embarked on a father-son adventure. Little planning or preparation was involved. I described our general t…

“You play with fire, you’ll wet the bed.” When I was a kid, my mom said this to me nearly each time we had a campfire. Recently I Googled her …

On August 22, author Ray Bradbury — were he still with us — would have turned 100 years old. It’s the kind of round number he’d have loved to …

The promise sounds too good to be true: your body will feel better, and you’ll have less inflammation. You won’t worry as much, and you’ll be …

Before the late congressman John Lewis coined the phrase “good trouble,” he and Jim Zwerg, a former Eau Claire resident, lived it out. I first…

Back in March when the safer-at-home measures were rolled out and the quarantine began, I felt confident that my family was well situated, and…

Eight years ago, after watching the Packers in a bar, my son bid on a 1987 Sun Tracker pontoon. Let’s just say Alex’s judgement wasn’t crystal…

Learning to ride a bike is as easy as learning to ride a bike. Which is to say: pretty darn hard. Especially when you’re 6. And my daughter. A…

I do not have a great memory and perhaps this explains why I have gravitated towards a life of writing. I have to write stuff down to remember…

For years now I’ve kept a “Visitors Log,” a notebook where I write a few lines about what occurs when anyone comes over: family and friends, d…