Issue #294 November 25, 2015

Date Night at the Grocery Store

skimming the free samples and falling in love

Pan Thao

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 ...

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Issue #293 November 11, 2015

How a New England vegetarian adapted to her Wisconsin in-laws’ hunting lifestyle

how a New England vegetarian adapted to her Wisconsin in-laws’ hunting lifestyle

Laura Lash

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.” ...

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Issue #292 October 28, 2015

"I Am Teaching"

changing seasons and shortening days can be a drag, but leading a classroom again is a joyful experience

Jason Collins

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 ...

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Issue #291 October 14, 2015

A Brief Defense of Socks and Sandals

despite years of derision and corniness, the dad-look mainstay is a keeper

Dan Ingersoll

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 ...

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Issue #289 September 16, 2015

A Glass of Humanity

how a small, seemingly insignificant gesture can make all the difference in the world

Cullen Ryan

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 ...

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Issue #285 July 22, 2015

Enlarging Freedom for 25 Years

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 ...

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Issue #283 June 24, 2015

Trepidation on the Trail

How do three late-middle-aged guys hike 30 miles? With a lot of second thoughts.

Dan Ingersoll

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 ...

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Issue #282 June 10, 2015

The Dark Side of Unconscious Bias

a Star Wars cake fiasco leads a father and teacher to ponder different biases in our community

Zach Schultz

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 ...

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Issue #281 May 27, 2015

Graduates: Don't Be Afraid to Fail

As you enter the world, don’t worry that you don’t have all the answers. In fact, no one does.

Christina Berchini

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 ...

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Issue #280 May 13, 2015

On Not Having a Cabin

It’s easy to envy folks who have hideaways in the woods. Instead, we should be praying for them.

Laura Buchholz

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 ...

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Issue #201 Apr. 19, 2012

Hope May Indeed Float

every spring I get the strong urge to find a vessel and traverse the river

Mary Burt

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 ...

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Issue #196 Feb. 9, 2012

The Album that Changed You

am I the only person who hasn’t experienced this?

Trevor Kupfer

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 ...

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Issue #192 Dec. 8, 2011

Going Homemade

try the DIY approach to your gift-giving season

Mary Burt

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.

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Issue # 188, Oct. 13, 2011

Watch Me Unravel

a realization that clothes can be more than something practical

August Rubrecht

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!”

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Issue #185, Sept. 1, 2011

The Garden in September

soon the greens will become grays, but for now I’m enjoying the year’s crop of plant life

Peggy Savides

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.

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Issue #183, Aug. 4, 2011

Borders Be Gone

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.

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Issue #181, July 7, 2011

Captain Hook Walks the Plank

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.

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Issue #181, July 7, 2011

The Heart of Menomonie

new momentum has me falling in love with downtown Menomonie

Tracy Chipman

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.

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