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99 New: Ring Ring

“Three years, Jan?” I’d written a comment to a fellow cochlear implant recipient hoping to console him about not using the phone a month or so after his implant. Oh heck, I said, I haven’t used the phone yet three years later! And he responded by saying this. “Three years, Jan?” Actually, it’s probably more…

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99 New: The N-Word

At the very last minute, the high school in a northern suburb abutting Milwaukee cancelled its scheduled run of a student production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” because of protests threatened by community members over the N-word which would have been spoken if the performance adhered to Harper Lee’s original narrative. Social media scolding ensued. Black people scolding white people. White people scolding white people. When is it acceptable to say the N-word? Never. Well, never by whites most people say but, unfortunately but consistent with the story line, it is, in fact, a white person who says the N-word in the book and would be a white student actor…

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99 New: Doing It

If you told people you would do it, you do it. That’s the lesson from doing 99 New for the past 25 days. After my husband ribbed me for posting rerun blog posts, I resolved to produce new material every day until Christmas. Here’s what I’ve learned from this experience. There’s more in that well…

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99 New: Traveling Mercies

The old man in the wheelchair grouses at his wife while he holds a fold of dollar bills. The airport man who pushed him to the gate explains what will happen next and the old man coughs a thick gurgling cough and covers his mouth and I wonder if he will vomit in his hand and because I am already squeamish up so early in the morning with nothing but coffee in my stomach, I pray he doesn’t. The pushing man finishes his explanation and the old man peels off three bills which the pushing man puts in his front pocket. He is cheerful for it being so early in…

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99 New: The Widow Minnie

She is an old girl herself, the widow Minnie, and yesterday, she sprang a limp out of nowhere. We’d taken just a two block walk, no chasing or sudden moves, but when we got home, she had that old hitch in her right back leg. We right away dreaded she’d re-injured the ACL she’d torn…

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99 New: What’s Next

What just happened was inevitable so we shouldn’t be acting like a tsunami crashed over us while we were sleeping. Oh my God! What just happened? All that water! The Republicans won the election. And before I get a slew of comments about how Donald Trump didn’t really win because he lost the popular vote, let me say this. He won. They won. The Republicans won everything. That’s why we feel like we’re swimming in a pond of vomit right now. Not only did Trump and the Republicans win, they’re doing exactly what they said they would do – with the Supreme Court, deregulation, tax breaks, and immigration. And we’re…

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99 New: The Good Old Days

The 7:30 a.m. executive meetings killed me. I had two small children and getting them up, dressed, fed, and delivered to day care was a regular Monday morning nightmare. But I’d wanted for years to have the job I had at Milwaukee’s anti-poverty agency. It was a big deal job with a salary I’d never…

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