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My Twitter Feed

Social media has always been a source of stress for me. I’ve had a like-it/hate-it relationship with it for a long time. I like when I make a new friend via Twitter or Instagram. It’s wonderful to exchange shared interests and thoughtful ideas with someone new in your life, especially someone I usually don’t or can’t see in person. But I hate it when I land on a post that makes me feel bad. I can feel anxious, inadequate, angry, sad, or even helplessly confused.

This bad tangled feeling culminated last summer. I thought long and hard about whether to leave social media all together. Finally, after agonizing over pros and cons, I came up with one way I can resolve those dark feelings while connecting with the positive people in my life. …


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I’m sharing this article in an effort to remember what Notre Dame means to us as a civilization, not just to people of faith. Notre Dame is a symbol of human kind’s greatness and world peace.

When my skeptical ten-year-old asked what we would see when visiting Paris, I said, “We’ll see Notre-Dame cathedral. It’s the most famous church in the world!”

“Really? In the whole world?” she said.

Kids often use the phrase, “in the whole world” to emphasize whatever thing they admire. “She’s my best friend in like, the whole world,” or “That place has the best smoothies in the whole world.” So I purposefully used it to emphasize the value of the trip. It worked. And in this case, I believed it to be mostly true. …


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In the last few days, I’ve felt crushed by the news that Robert Mueller and his team found no reason to indict Donald Trump. I, like a fool, had hoped, after all of the indictments and convictions, that the evidence he found would either indict the president or embarrass him enough that he’d resign. It was not meant to be.

Then today we heard that the president will push for a judge to toss out the Affordable Care Act. This crushes me even more. It’s sharply personal. You see, my husband is a stage 4 colon cancer survivor. He was 35 when diagnosed. The expectations were grim. We spent 14 months undergoing chemotherapy. We went through 2 major surgeries to his colon and liver. …


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Photo by Jeshoots.com

Let’s face it, I am a woman of a certain age. And when you get to the midpoint of your life, you start to reassess the time you perceive as wasted. Because I’m a writer, the hardest times to resolve are the silly things I did instead of spending time writing. I did spend quite a bit of time writing (and even publishing) but I also spent time doing useless things that I regret. The list stretches back to the 1990s and ends before social media, because of course, social media can be a huge waste of time (though I’ve tried to make it useful for my career). …


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A gravel path to the backyard.

My husband had always wanted a path on the side of our house. The side yard was dappled shade, growing a thin layer of grass in summer that faded to mud in winter. But instead of letting him call an expensive contractor, I decided to take on the task of installing a path myself.

I thought a lot about the choice of materials. While concrete was appealing because of its permanence, I was reluctant to pave more earth and create more runoff. Flagstone — while beautiful — was too expensive and time intensive. Leveling and cutting the shards of varying thickness would be difficult for me. Bricks or pavers were appealing, but I had a 3' by 40' walkway to cover and I would need more people to help haul and level. I liked the woodland look of bark but the area was dark in winter, and bark would retain moisture and absorb light. I wanted something natural looking that was bright, smooth, had good drainage, and was easy to work with. …


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A happy garden of trees, shrubs, and perennials

As a garden designer, I often meet with clients who have tried to beautify their yard with plants but end up frustrated. A little border along the fence sits with a few anemic perennials and a half-dead sapling on a patch of dry dirt. “We realized we need your help,” they say. They tried with good intentions to design a border and somehow it didn’t work out. But do-it-yourself garden design needn’t be difficult as long as you avoid the mistakes I’ve noticed are common among newbies.

  1. Not figuring out what kind of soil you have. In my yard, I have clay soil. I also have sandy soil. These areas of soil are not even fifty feet from each other. Can I mix sandy soil into clay soil to lighten it up? No. That makes cement. But soils aren’t too complex to work with. Before buying plants, pick a spot where you want to plant, and with a shovel (not a trowel), dig up one scoop. From that scoop, take a handful and squeeze. If the soil stays clumped together, you have clay, usually darkish brown. If it can’t be clumped, you have sand, usually tan or grayish. If the soil falls apart after a second, you probably have silt or loamy soil, which is fine. To amend clay or sandy soil, mix in a bag of organic compost for every few square feet and you’ll be good to go. …

About

Karen Hugg

Posts about plants and their mental health benefits. I write for pleasure, garden for joy, raise kids for angst, laugh to survive. http://www.karenhugg.com

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