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March 9, 2021

Today is my 65th birthday. Because I have been lucky enough, and just careful enough, I am a healthy older lady.

Until today, I have not been lucky enough to qualify for one of the precious vaccines that everyone on earth is now clamoring for. Today, as a 65 year old in Massachusetts, I can officially get my jab and start getting back to real life. So I’ve spent the past two days making phone calls to pharmacies and local hospitals in search of any available shot. No luck.

I’ve used every known internet site, including Massachusetts’…

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Dear Ms. S,

Today I stood in the hallway outside of my bedroom door, listening in as my sweet Ellie had her last kindergarten lessons.

I stood there in the hall, listening through the door, letting the tears flow free.

Oh, my goodness, my dear Ms. S

I have no idea how you did it!

As I stood there, eavesdropping shamelessly on your classroom, I felt as if I had stumbled into a strange time travel machine.

Wasn’t it just the other day when I stood in this very same spot, anxious and afraid, sure that remote kindergarten would be…

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I’m not teaching anymore, but I still feel the intense emotions of June. I remember 22 years of “last day of school” tears and celebrations. For teachers, that last day is a profoundly exhausting combination of delight and grief.

Every year, the nest would empty. Every year, the hugs got me through, and the promises of staying in touch helped me to let go.

Every year I cried my heart out all the way home, then threw myself into the pleasures of summer with a sense of accomplishment. …

Boy howdy. I haven’t been this excited about UFOs since the 1960s when my big brother used to insist to me that aliens were hovering over our house all night.

I could hardly sleep back then, partly because I was afraid that I’d miss all the UFO excitement and never get the chance to meet the alien beings. And partly because I was convinced that a Martian was going to crawl in my window and eat my brains.

Either way, the prospect of a UFO sighting dominated a lot of backyard conversation back then.

And that excitement is back once…

So here I am again. Trying to make myself into the supportive, happy adult who celebrates the launching of the children. Trying to be happy for them. Trying to embrace the wonderful new adventures that await them.

Trying to silence the woman inside of me who can’t even begin to understand how all of this could have unfolded so quickly. …

For the fifth or sixth year in a row, my deck has become a haven for baby birds. We have had a phoebe nest under there for many years, her nursery built higher and higher each spring until this year I wonder how Mama manages to fit in under the boards.

This year, like last year, we also have a family of tiny robins who have hatched under the deck. …

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I have a question for the media experts who suggest that Washington would work more efficiently if our elected leaders would simply cooperate.

I have the same question for my liberal friends who decry the lack of “bipartisanship” from the GOP and my conservative friends who proclaim its absence from the Dems.

The question is this: What possible incentive could there be to cooperate in a system where the power is equally divided between two entrenched political parties?

The US is riding a seesaw, politically speaking. We lurch up and down, first one side then the other rising and then…

I know I’ve been on this medication for seven long years, and that it has melded itself right into my DNA. Sure. I know that.

I know that this stuff has eased all of the aches and pains of the fibromyalgia that had been slowing me down. It gave me some energy, that’s true. It helped me to sleep. And, you know, even though it’s prescribed for the fibromyalgia, it is actually an antidepressant.

So, ya know, it might or might not have made me a little more serene than I used to be.

I don’t know.

All I know…

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Yeah. I know.

“Getting old ain’t for sissies.” The backache you can’t escape. The inability to remember the word for the thing that you use to clean the stupid thingy when summer comes and you wanna make the whatchamacallit for dinner.

I know.

As my dear old Dad used to say, “Getting old sucks, but it sure beats the alternative.”

These days I’m working hard on my “let’s be a happy old lady” vibe, instead of dwelling on all the nasty things that gravity is doing to my body.

So let’s take a moment to focus on all of the…

Happy Mother’s day. Happy, joyful mother’s day to every woman who has carried a brand new tiny life inside of her own body. To every woman who has felt that first movement, sobbed over those painful rib-busting kicks, celebrated the rolling motion that assured her that her baby was alive.

Happy Mother’s day to every woman who has pushed a being the size of a grapefruit out of an orifice the size of lemon. And to every woman who has endured the surgery, the stitches, the aching pain of a C-Section.

Wishing Mother’s Day love to every single woman on…

Karen Shiebler

A Mother, a grandmother, a progressive voter. I write because it’s getting harder to march and because words are my only weapon. I blog at

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