Em Dash-ians Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Commas …

  I wrote my first, furtive em dash as a freshman in high school. A boy I liked in English class was sneaking them into his paragraphs willy-nilly, despite our teacher’s objections. I was preparing a speech to the assembly, and it sounded stiff and boring — which was…

Behind the Green Door

Kiefer was still holding my hand, squeezing a little too hard, but it was dark and he seemed to know where he was going, so I didn’t complain. “Almost there,” he whispered. “Portuguese wine and cheese biscuits, coming right up.” He turned left abruptly, and I stumbled into one…

There’s No Such Thing as Perfect Timing

Stop waiting for perfection. Step out there. In Vila do Conde, Portugal, on my second morning of walking the Camino de Santiago, I am struck again by the pragmatic faith in this little village. There are no guard rails on the footbridges, no warning signs, no walk/don’t walk…

Runaway Mom

My Teenager’s Not a Flight Risk. But I am. At age 55, I set out alone to hike the Camino de Santiago from Portugal to Spain. Like so many pilgrims, I came home both reflective and giddy, eager to share my experience about walking the sacred Way, and…

Stop Eating Meat! (Just Kidding)

Well, I’m kidding a little. We Americans love meat – roasted, grilled, fried, baked or simmered all day in our greens. We don’t consider a meal complete without a big hunk of beef, pork or chicken taking up half the plate, and when we hit the fast food joints…

Unleash Your Inner Beagle

I stumbled off the plane at O’Hare, dragging my smelly backpack and my bad attitude with me. I’d spent 6 hours in turbulence, 4 hours sleeping like a pretzel at Heathrow, 2 hours on a bus, and 90 minutes on a sardine flight from Inverness, Scotland, where my…

Your Kids Should See the World … and Protect it, Too

School’s out and so is the sun – finally! After surviving another Illinois winter, we’re looking forward to lazy backyard cook-outs, bike rides on the lakefront, and splash-downs at the water park. If you’ve been planning a family getaway this summer, you may already know that…

We’ll Always Have Paris

Well. Maybe we won’t have Paris. Not the Paris Climate Accord anyway. But no matter what the White House says, climate change is the fundamental challenge of this century. And how we respond will be our defining moment as Americans. Last week, the Trump administration announced that the…

Once a Hippie … Always a Hippie

A funny thing happened on the way to the Climate March. I was busted. Four lanky teenagers, 2 boys and 2 girls, watched me approach the check-in table at one of the many Youth Convening events. I mean, I knew I couldn’t meet the “youth” criteria, but hey…

The Oceans Are Rising … and So Are We!

Among the estimated 200,000 people who participated in the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29 in Washington, D.C. were thousands of teens and young adults. They came by train, by car and by the busload from every state; their voices were loud and their message was…