Hypothetically speaking…sort of.

Photo by Flavius Les on Unsplash

Sometimes, choosing who you’re going to have sex with can be tricky. But at least today, in 2021, we’re pretty much limited to having sex with other people — other Homo sapiens.

Today I was talking — over Zoom — to my high school biology students about evolution and our early human ancestors. Teaching remotely can be pretty dry, so I’m always looking for ways to engage them.

After we watched a youtube video about how many humans today, especially those of European and Asian descent have Neanderthal DNA, one student piped up and told me that…


Even the toughest helmet can’t protect you from everything.

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If cities are made of blocks, suburbs are made of loops. The house I live in with my husband and our kids is at the end of a cul-de-sac that connects to a half-mile loop of pavement. In the decade we’ve lived here, we’ve covered the loop thousands of times.

At first, it was just with our dog for daily walks. Then our daughter was born we graduated to a stroller and then a red Radio Flyer wagon. …


This Is Us

Social distance means we can no longer create shared memories by smelling the world — and each other

Photo: WIN-Initiative/Neleman/Getty Images

What’s the worst smell you can think of? Skunk? Brussels sprouts? Sour milk?

For me, it was a mixture of Coca-Cola, coffee, Gatorade, and rotting bones. The smell was so pungent it clung to my hair and clothes for hours after the air had cleared. I was a student teacher in a regional high school in Vermont, and I had asked my students to do an experiment on bone density. They each chose a liquid to soak a chicken bone in for a week.

I knew the acidic liquids would leach the calcium out of the bones and make them…


Should I tell him any differently? Nah…

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“Why don’t boys do anything,” my son whined at me from his booster seat in the back of my car.

At five, he’s spent his whole life in the shadow of his ten-year-old big sister. Her current life goal is to be the first person to be selected for both the US National Ski Team and the United States Supreme Court.

She pours over her Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls books and spends dinnertime telling us about the female mountain climbers and politicians she reads about in them. Her water bottle is a…


Thanks for the spiritual guidance, dude.

Photo by Tom Ramalho on Unsplash

The cab driver sat in the driveway, waiting to get paid. It was well after midnight when I arrived — unannounced — at my sister’s house. I banged on the door and when her husband answered, I asked him for the twenty bucks I needed to get the cab driver to leave.

My sister was only a little surprised to see me. I was in the middle of a white-knuckled ride through my early twenties that consisted of short-term, seasonal jobs that had me crisscrossing the country and always looking for a place to…


You don’t have to save a lot, you just have to save a little for a long time.

Photo by Gustavo Torres on Unsplash

“Guess what!”

I was sitting with my husband on the sofa after another pandemic Saturday. The kids were in bed, we’d cleaned up from dinner and we were taking a minute to relax before going to bed.

“What?”

“I bought new socks today.”

I know, right? In typical times, new socks would hardly warrant a mention, much less a conversation.

But when I explained that I haven’t bought any new socks since I was pregnant with our son, who is five, it…


Why, yes, I do have a stray placenta in my freezer. Don’t you?

Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

Placenta One

The first time I saw a placenta, I was about three years old. It was on the ground in a field and a cow was eating it. It was a red, gelatinous mass and the cow was lapping at it like a kid licks frosting off a birthday cake.

When you grow up on a farm, you experience the big life events, like birth, sex, and death differently than other people. I used to go to the slaughterhouse with my mom and color on the butcher paper with crayons while she wrapped our steaks and roasts. …


Your attention is limited. Give it to people who are awesome, not to people who beg you for it.

Photo by Jonas Kakaroto on Unsplash

Last week I had to drive across town for an in-person meeting. When I turned the radio on, I caught an interview with writer Margaret Atwood. My drive only lasted a few minutes, but I sat in the car listening through to the end of the interview.

Later in the week, I logged in to a Zoom call sponsored by a local bookstore to watch writer Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series, interview writer Temple…


It’s not a great end-goal, but it’s an awesome side effect.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

When I was a kid, my dad ran a woodworking business on our property. I learned how to shimmy onto the roof of one of the buildings, and I would spend my summer afternoons there, snacking on Ritz crackers and reading Judy Blume books.

Although my lazy afternoons on the roof felt like a waste of time, I learned something about human behavior that summer that has proved to be true over and over again. …


The years may pass, but I’m still a sucker for a G chord.

Photo by Luana Azevedo on Unsplash

The first time I fell in love with a red guitar, I was sixteen years old. The guitar belonged to a blue-eyed boy named Jeremy and when he played it, I felt cold and hot at the same time and my heart felt like it was leaping out of my chest.

Jeremy went to a different high school, but our paths crossed often because we were both involved in sports and band. I’d seen him around plenty, but I didn’t notice him until he came out on…

Emily Kingsley

Big fan of good books, funny looking animals, and great stories. Always ready for the next big thing.

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