…maybe your problems aren’t about square footage.

Photo by Ksenia Balandina on Unsplash

I have a friend who posts snarky synopses of those tone-deaf lifestyle articles you find in otherwise respectable major newspapers, under the heading of “I read this so you don’t have to.” You know the ones: beautiful wealthy urban couple faces some sort of rich-people dilemma, like, their several nannies don’t get along, or their favorite brunch places are getting too crowded, or their classic-six pre-war Manhattan apartment is so difficult to modernize.

Of course every article has a happy ending, courtesy of the application of even more money: counseling for the nannies! Hiring a private chef! …

Some dreams are not meant to be.

Photo by Maja R. on Unsplash

Right outside the front door of our house — well, across a little stretch of lawn, fifteen or twenty feet maybe — we have a pond. It was one of the many things we fell in love with when we first saw the house. We still love it. It’s gorgeous, it’s soothing, it’s a marvelous place to sit in our weathered old Adirondack chairs and enjoy morning coffee or evening cocktails.

Occasionally, wild ducks come and visit our pond. Usually a pair of mallards, but sometimes more exotic fowl: hooded mergansers, wood ducks, and once even a bufflehead. They are…

You don’t need a poisoned monoculture to have pretty green space

Our back yard. (photo, and fresh mowing, by me)

It is not news that the traditional American lawn is an ecological disaster. The classic expanse of identical non-native green blades (often in a perfectly rectangular space) is actually about as far from “nature” as a growing thing can be. Monoculture lawns are deeply watered and heavily fertilized, then poisoned with weed-killers, in a never-ending cycle of waste and destruction.

I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way.

When we moved here, neither my husband nor I had ever really had lawns before. Gardens, yes — we had a spectacular garden at our last…

Beyond, of course, the obvious

Photo by Jennifer Griffin on Unsplash

I grew up on the poorer side of middle class, so when I married a wealthy older man and became what we semi-jokingly called a trophy wife, my world changed a great deal.

There were the simple and obvious things like, Wow, there’s enough money. Like, I didn’t have to keep a running tally in my head when I went to the grocery store, I could just buy anything. We could — and did — pay off our credit card balance every month. That sort of thing.

I’m talking about the weirder stuff. Did you know that the more money…

Airing a pet peeve that actually says a lot

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

It just happened again…some system decided that I am not the primary owner of my own damn money.

It’s my retirement investment fund. I opened this particular account twelve years ago, when I quit my day job and rolled over the money I’d been setting aside since my twenties, out of my own paychecks, which I earned, by the labor of my own hands.

The account grew, slowly; it was never huge, but it was something. My something. …

Just me, some confused deer, and thoughts of hope

Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

I just got back from my second walk of the day, in the pouring rain. A mile and a half up and down our muddy, one-lane rural road. As I stepped out of our gate, a deer standing in the middle of the driveway turned and stared at me. She stood there a long moment as I walked toward her, as if not able to truly believe that one of the humans had come out in the rain. Don’t the woods belong to the deer, when the weather is nasty?

Eventually she remembered herself, and turned and darted away.


With a few words about food, because it’s all connected

Photo by Geronimo Giqueaux on Unsplash

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this topic, I found myself at my highest weight ever several months into the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. I’ve always been a bit reluctant to talk publicly about weight; it’s such a trigger issue for so many people, and the truth is, one can be fit and strong and healthy at any weight, despite what Hollywood and the Diet Industrial Complex would have us believe. But I, personally, got to the point where I was not personally happy or comfortable in my own personal body, so I have been doing something about it…

With a few words about exercise, because it’s all connected

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

If you’re like me, you spent the early days (or, well, months) of COVID-19 quarantine…baking. I learned how to make skillet breads, and crème brûlée, and English muffins. I baked lemon bars with duck eggs to make them richer, and did the same with lemon curd, and with ice cream. I made granola, and quiche, and cassoulet, and crumpets — oh, crumpets (sigh). World’s greatest butter vehicle.

All that baking had its results. Boy howdy, did it ever. By late summer, I was ready to turn this around. I had gained — well, I don’t know how much weight I…

Though I am truly glad at least some people do

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

I’m about to release a new book! It’s a collection of edited essays that I originally published, well, here. I’m super excited about it: it’s been a really fun project to put together — reading through all my personal essays, choosing my favorites, figuring out how to organize them. Recruiting beta readers and blurb-writers. Having it edited; making it as good as it can be.

As every author knows, it’s one thing to write and polish and hone your work; it’s another huge step to get it published (or publish it yourself); but the real challenge is in the promotion

Now I’m even more convinced

Photo by Chronis Yan on Unsplash

My husband and I are both full-time freelancers, and have been for many years. We know how this works: we keep careful track of all our income and our business expenses, and we make quarterly tax payments so that the additional hit on April 15 isn’t so bad.

Because there always is an additional payment due on the “ides of April”…one never seems to estimate enough. But I always get pretty close.

Until last year, that is, when we got a terrible surprise at tax time. We had made so very little money, and still we owed thousands and thousands…

Shannon Page

Writer, editor, thinker of things, living on Orcas Island, Washington state. https://www.shannonpage.net

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