Issue #298 January 27, 2016
Justine Childs, photos by Andrea Paulseth
I met a man tonight named David. He’s 57 years old. He has a neatly trimmed beard, clean clothes, wears glasses, and was drinking a Mountain Dew. He grew up being bounced ...
Issue #294 November 25, 2015
skimming the free samples and falling in love
I must confess I have a slight obsession with grocery shopping. Writing up the list, weighing apples on the scale, attempting to pry open the produce bags, deciding what new flavor of yogurt to try – yes, I love it all. When I was little, my parents would pack all six of us kids into the minivan, and we’d take a family vacation ...
Issue #293 November 11, 2015
how a New England vegetarian adapted to her Wisconsin in-laws’ hunting lifestyle
Awaking in the middle of the night to watch Alternative Nation on MTV, my teenaged self was obsessed with the Boston band Letters to Cleo. Their song “Awake” featured lyrics like, “You’re awake and I’m asleep and / we are so complete that way. / You’re asleep and I’m awake and / everything’s so great.” ...
Issue #292 October 28, 2015
changing seasons and shortening days can be a drag, but leading a classroom again is a joyful experience
I hate winter. My joints bark. It’s dark before dinner. More deer are attempting suicide by Honda. Fresh produce lies frozen solid in the garden. My bicycle hangs useless on the red hook in my garage. My black leather sandals have been relegated to the far corner of the closet. I love summer: swimming in warm lakes ...
Issue #291 October 14, 2015
despite years of derision and corniness, the dad-look mainstay is a keeper
From my perspective, sandals without socks have never been a good idea. Let’s be real – even the best pair of leather sandals against the bare foot produces sweat, blisters, a fair amount of chaffing and, in short order, smells like a dead fish. Some dads have always known this and found that pairing ...
Issue #289 September 16, 2015
how a small, seemingly insignificant gesture can make all the difference in the world
I am pacing on the Barstow Street sidewalk. It is 10 minutes to showtime. The room is full. The street feels hot. I always do this. I worry. How can I make this the best night possible? A hug? Handshake? Hanging back? Whatever it requires. I want to pick the right one. No. I don’t want to. I have to ...
Issue #285 July 22, 2015
for millions of us, the Americans with Disabilities Act has improved life in big (and small) ways
Katherine Schneider, photos by Andrea Paulseth
As John Locke said: “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.” The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an amazing piece of civil rights legislation that has immeasurably increased freedom of access to the good things of life for the 19 percent of us who have disabilities ...
Issue #283 June 24, 2015
How do three late-middle-aged guys hike 30 miles? With a lot of second thoughts.
My buddy Gregg is sixty-something and has enjoyed backpacking since he was a young man. When he invited me to join him for a trip on the Superior Hiking Trail, which traces Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, I enthusiastically said “yes” while harboring some quiet reservations. He also invited a mutual friend, Don ...
Issue #282 June 10, 2015
a Star Wars cake fiasco leads a father and teacher to ponder different biases in our community
In writing about unconscious bias in the Eau Claire community for a nonfiction enrichment project, my Enriched English 9 students have struggled to recognize examples that do not directly affect them because unconscious bias goes both ways; it is unconscious ...
Issue #281 May 27, 2015
As you enter the world, don’t worry that you don’t have all the answers. In fact, no one does.
Dear young(er) people – I’ve always wanted to write a commencement speech, but that usually requires being invited to a commencement at which to speak. And because I am not Jim Carrey, J.K. Rowling, or Oprah, I am not likely to be invited to commencement anytime soon ...
Issue #280 May 13, 2015
It’s easy to envy folks who have hideaways in the woods. Instead, we should be praying for them.
It’s May, the time of year when people who have cabins start going up to their cabins, and then come back and start talking about what it was like to be at their cabins. As a non-cabin owner, a person hears a lot secondhand about what that experience is like ...
Issue #201 Apr. 19, 2012
every spring I get the strong urge to find a vessel and traverse the river
Every spring I am overcome by a recurring fantasy, and this last spring was no exception. My fantasy has to do with owning a boat so I can travel up and down the Chippewa River. Having grown up on and in the river, and living within a stone’s ...
Issue #196 Feb. 9, 2012
am I the only person who hasn’t experienced this?
People, mostly audiophile friends of mine, talk about the first album that blew them away with such passion and detail. They talk about precisely what was going on when they first heard it, how it physically moved them (goosebumps), and seemed to ...
Issue #192 Dec. 8, 2011
try the DIY approach to your gift-giving season
The (gifts) I am most excited about are the homemade ones – the hats, scarves, and little knit flower pins I’m making for everyone, the homemade dill pickles and Swedish Rye bread like Grandma used to make.
Issue # 188, Oct. 13, 2011
a realization that clothes can be more than something practical
On my way across the parking lot, a man who had just come out of the store stopped 10 yards away and gaped. He held his arms out and shouted, “Man, what pants! What PANTS!”
Issue #185, Sept. 1, 2011
soon the greens will become grays, but for now I’m enjoying the year’s crop of plant life
Summer finally remembered its manners. It left a few weeks ago without a goodbye, without a hug and kiss for those of us who love it so much and favor it of all seasons.
Issue #183, Aug. 4, 2011
recent trip to small-town Cuba begs comparison to Eau Claire
What’s the difference between the streets of Eau Claire and those of small-town Cuba? I found out as part of a Quaker folk dance peace ministry to Cuba for two weeks last fall.
Issue #183, Aug. 4, 2011
as one story ends, perhaps a new chapter can begin ... turn the page
Eric Rasmussen, illustrated by Garrett Brunker
It’s the economic circle of life. Now we all hate to see Borders go, but that opens the door for something even better. Maybe some enterprising local can open an amazing store downtown.
Issue #181, July 7, 2011
having a prosthetic hand comes with more discrimination than you’d think
I remember vividly coming home from a morning’s play in the low-income housing project. I was five years old. We had a foyer where the sole phone was located. My mother sat by the phone, crying uncontrollably.
Issue #181, July 7, 2011
new momentum has me falling in love with downtown Menomonie
Growing up, going “to town” was big excitement. It involved heaps of candy, cheap bottles of bubbles to blow (and inevitably spill in the car), the park with all its intriguing adventures, and the humming bustle of a thriving downtown.