Issue #334 June 14, 2017

Rain Will Fall and Take It Away

on the river banks, below the streets, under the trees

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

You could call it a waterfall in that it’s literally falling water. But I told my kids to stay out of it all the same, especially the hole at the bottom where the water had collected into a milky puddle ...

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Issue #333 May 31, 2017

Shrub Me the Wrong Way

What can one do when confronted with offensive hedgery?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

When my wife and I moved into our little house on Eau Claire’s Eastside Hill, the place came with a few things in need of fixing up. The windows needed new paint. The attic needed extra insulation ...

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Issue #332 May 17, 2017

Carni-Fall

running down some county fair flashbacks

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

I can’t remember exactly why we ran across the carnival grounds that afternoon, but I doubt it was my idea. I rarely feel the need to travel faster than a light trot, yet there I was, chasing my cousins ...

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Issue #331 May 2, 2017

Gust Cause

the answer is not blowing in the wind

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

One thing I didn’t expect when I moved into Eau Claire’s Eastside Hill neighborhood was all the wind. Because sometimes I can be kinda dumb. Maybe I should have expected things to be a little gustier when living in a place with “hill” right in the title ...

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Issue #330 April 5, 2017

Grand Little Bridge

some things you may not think about when crossing the river

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

A patchy, crumbling concrete strip stretches from one side of the Chippewa River to the other. You can walk out on it, scuffling over loose pebbles as you go ...

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Issue #328 March 8, 2017

Once More to the Sledding Hill

winter’s not done with us, so I’m not done with it

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

You could reach down into it, your bare hand vanishing, leaving a perfect, almost cartoonish outline at the surface. Four fingers, a thumb, and your palm. It was icy and soft against your blushing skin ...

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Issue #327 February 22, 2017

Puddle Jump

learning from unexpected winter warmth

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Here in February, the sun’s been pushing a cosmic blob of heat against Wisconsin like a sponge, scrubbing away much of the scuzzy snow and ice we’ve been tiptoeing around for weeks. It’s been melting away our cold wintry scowl, softening our cheeks into a smile ...

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Issue #326 February 8, 2017

The Facewash

walking with worry in the wintertime

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I was in the second grade, and my walk home from school was often fraught with peril. Not real peril, but scary peril all the same. When I think about my current mental health, and when I take a good ...

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Issue #324 January 11, 2017

Black Ice & Other Problems

winter driving can be dangerous (because it’s dangerous)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I’m a little neurotic when it comes to driving long distances. I worry. I worry about how good of a driver I am. I worry about other drivers and mistakes they might make. I worry about animals ...

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Issue #323 December 28, 2016

Winter Clothes

you get a little more when you wear a little less

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I hustle outside – without socks – wearing loose fitting shoes, a threadbare t-shirt, and what we as a society have collectively, wordlessly agreed to call “jammie pants.”

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Issue #322 December 14, 2016

Wreck the Halls

pretty sure Father Christmas doesn’t want us to do housework

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten totally stressed out over something as simple as Christmas decorations. I’m not talking to you people out there with 25 holiday-themed inflatable lawn ornaments surrounding your house like giant, poofy sentinels ...

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Issue #321 November 30, 2016

Like Out of Nowhere

remember when we forgot the feel of snow?

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

First it’s the dry, white flakes wisping around the sidewalk, icy crumbs gathering in the cracks. The sky is cold and colorless, but the snow, the first of the year, turns a boring afternoon in late November into something to talk about ...

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Issue #320 November 16, 2016

Counting With Your Feet

losing the rhythm but staying on track

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I used to count how many steps I took within each sidewalk panel. Because walking home from school was so boring. The counting became a chant inside my head, and sometimes this chant fell down into a whisper, tumbling from between my lips as if I’d stuffed too many sugar cubes into my mouth ...

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Issue #319 November 2, 2016

Miss Direction

hey, not all those who wander are lost (almost)

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

My wife is so good with directions it frightens me. On the other hand, I’m so bad with directions it frightens her. If you were to superglue a blindfold onto my wife’s eyeballs, throw her into a helicopter, fly her into the heart of the Amazonian jungles ...

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Issue #318 October 19, 2016

Halloween Scenes

stories of yore from Octobers in Eau Claire

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

A boy in 1980s Eau Claire is so excited by his He-Man Halloween costume he can’t stop looking at it. It includes a stiff plastic mask with a thin elastic string tied around the back, with holes for each eye and each nostril ...

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Issue #317 October 5, 2016

The Best of Me (2016)

this year’s Best of the Mike Paulus Poll was something else

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

The votes are in, the polls have been slammed shut, and the tallies have been tilly-tallied. So it is with great pleasure and excitement that I present to you the results of my 2016 Best of the Mike Paulus Poll.

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Issue #316 September 21, 2016

Repercussions

still feeling the rhythm of my old band classes

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

Deep in Northwestern Wisconsin, you will find the tiny town of Webster. Just outside of Webster, out in the woods, there is a house. In the basement of this house ...

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