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Jillosophy

Non-Fiction

Birth Day

Three years ago today, I pushed open a heavy door with clammy, shaking hands. The dimly lit room was warm, the scent of antiseptic and exhaustion hanging in the humid air like a damp curtain. Drawn white shades over a large window hindered the bright light of a beautiful day. Five people followed behind me, their previously excited voices temporarily silenced. A single overhead light cast a soft glow over a bed surrounded by machines quietly beeping, their bright yellow lights blinking on and off like buoys encircling an island. My daughter rested on the bed-island propped up by doughy

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Political

Missed Opportunities

A tree falls on your house. Instead of using the insurance money to fix it, would you instead use that money to pay your regular operational expenses, like food, gas, rent/mortgage? Wisconsin Republican legislators think that would be the wise way to go. And heaven forbid you use the money to repair your house so that it’s even better than it was before. They’d think that’s whack. In their proposed education budget, WI GOP legislators say we should use federal Build Back Better money to fund WI schools. Never mind that this federal funding is meant to cover additional expenses

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Political

Investing in Wisconsin’s Future

Should Wisconsin include funding for the testing of our surface, ground and drinking water in our state budget, in order to be able to hold accountable businesses that release toxic “forever chemicals” into our environment? Should Wisconsin be the only state in the country that has refused to expand health insurance to more adults and kids living in poverty, resulting in a loss of $1.6 billion in federal funding to cover the expansion? Do you think big box stores like Walgreens should be able to lower their tax assessments by comparing their stores to shuttered retailers with lower values? Should

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Non-Fiction

Birthday Dance

In my family, birthdays are celebrated with a lovely meal, ice cream instead of cake, a few well-chosen gifts and wine. This year was a big one for me—my 60th. So when I was asked how I wanted to celebrate, I thought about this past year with COVID, of missing family and friends, of living through a time of huge social, political and psychological unrest. And then, I recalled one of the happiest times of my life: I’d just turned 18. Fresh out of high school, I was headed to college where I’d plant the seeds for my future. In

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Non-Fiction

Time to Push

I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Instead, every year during my springtime birthday is when I’ve tended to create new goals for myself. Maybe it’s because spring time replaces the dead of winter with the possibility of new life, or because Earth Day forces me to think beyond my own little postage stamp of existence. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about this moment we’re in and what comes next. It’s so easy to feel disheartened right now. The extreme political polarization of this time has seeped into many of our family interactions

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Fiction

Thank You and So Long, Vanna White

To:  Bellville BookclubCc:Bcc:Subject: April (In-Person!) Meeting Hi Ladies: Now that we’ve all been vaccinated, we can ditch our Zoom accounts and return to our monthly, in-person meetings! It’s my turn to host, which means it’s also my turn to pick the book. I select “Stop Trying So G-D Hard And Just Be You,” a newly published self-help book written by yours truly. Yes, I wrote a book during the pandemic. And yes, I know we rarely read self-help books, since we all agree that they tend to make us feel even worse about ourselves. Sure, we might get excited about

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Political

The Ghost of Lessons Past

You’ve been vaccinated (yay!) and you want to take a trip, only you’re not sure where to go. It’s March, so heading to Phoenix sounds nice. But Chicago is always fun and you haven’t been there in ages. How to decide? Many of us would think about where we’ve been, as well as where we are, in order to figure out where to go. Reviewing your past vacations (hmmm, I’ve been to Phoenix a half-dozen times in the last few years) and surveying your current condition (I have two vacation days to use right now), might help you make the

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Non-Fiction

The Art of a Virus

I’m walking along my usual path through a familiar forest. It’s almost sunset on a late winter afternoon and I’m alone, hiking through knee-deep snow that feels as if it’s been falling forever. The hike seems just as endless, as if the path has become one long, circular loop. My toes and the ends of my fingers are stingingly cold; they prickle and burn like they’re on fire. My lungs feel the same as I heave myself through the drifts. I’m exhausted, so I stop for a moment to take a look around. The sky is melting into a dazzling,

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Non-Fiction

Truth Before Unity

My husband and I got into a fight. He yelled at me, I yelled back at him. And then, silence. For a full day. When we started speaking again, we didn’t talk about why we were mad at each other. Just swept it under the marital rug. To anyone else, we didn’t look or act like we were still seething inside. But we were. I’ve been thinking a lot about unity. That’s what everyone wants, right? But what is it, and what’s the best and fastest way to get it? As it so often does, history may provide an answer.

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Take the Stairs

A CEO carrying a leather briefcase and dressed in a cashmere overcoat hurries through the glass doors and into the marble-floored lobby of his office building. He pushes the elevator button as he’s done every week day for the past thirty years. He waits, but the elevator doors fail to open. He pushes the “up” button again. Nothing. Perplexed, he gives it another try, but still, nothing happens. He impatiently checks his watch and then pushes the button three more times. Still, the elevator doors refuse to budge. A scowl crosses his cleanly shaven face as he leans forward to

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