Making the most of an autumn weekend

  Sometimes my weekday life feels too busy by half. Between the commitments of work, family, friends and routine household and garden projects, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, I sometimes wish I could just turn off my phone, turn off my brain, sit down quietly with an umbrella drink […]

A confession and an invitation for Next readers

I sometimes tell people that I was dragged into journalism by my hair, full of trepidation and self-doubt. And it’s true — you can check with my professors and mentors in the English department at the University of Maine. They’ll tell you I was sublimely happy back in the late 1990s, traipsing around the Orono […]

Four ways to be sure it’s fall, without a calendar

This week, without fanfare, summer slipped quietly into fall. Judging by the weather, though, it’s hard to be sure. September so far has felt like a leisurely extension of our balmy summer. Though I worry about the implications of this warming trend, I admit I’m not missing the garden-killing frosts or sharp-edged evening temperatures I […]

Celebrating marriage at midlife and beyond

A lot of couples are celebrating impressive wedding anniversaries these days. Thirty years or more is pretty common among my circle of friends and acquaintances. But Douglas and I know people who have been married 40, 45, 50 years and longer. That’s a lot of accumulated wisdom, presumably, about the nature of intimacy, the importance […]

Losing a country cat

Our small, tiger-striped cat, Madeleine, hasn’t been seen for a week, and we fear the worst. In the year and a half she’s lived with us, we have come to appreciate her finer qualities, especially as compared to our cranky, disheveled senior cat, (M)Alice, who has been around forever. Madeleine was not a bright cat, […]