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Happy New Year! You’ve Got Appendicitis

By Jean Storlie / January 7, 2019 /

Lying in bed the evening of New Year’s Day 1999 in a hotel room, I palpated my abdomen and had a sinking feeling … something is really wrong. We were on a house-hunting trip to move our family with three small children (15 months, three years, and six years old) from Ithaca, NY to Minneapolis,…

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Crippling Blizzard Offers a New Perspective

By Jean Storlie / December 4, 2018 /

I heard my ankle pop as my foot twisted off the final step, and I collapsed at the bottom of the stairs. Pain shot up my leg. What a day! I’d spent much of it shuttling my kids to lessons and medical appointments during a blizzard. Driving was treacherous and scary. My husband was laid…

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Why Does a Jock School Need a Computer?

By Jean Storlie / November 5, 2018 /

My father fumed as he came out of a meeting with the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. It was the early 60s, and he had just pitched the need for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL) to install a computer system. The Regents had summarily dismissed his proposal. One of the Regents had scoffed at…

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Monster in a Corn Field

Frightened and Lost in a Corn Maze

By Jean Storlie / October 2, 2018 /

A zombie with a chain saw blocked our exit from the Haunted Maze which sent us screaming in the other direction. After a few more scary encounters, we made our way out of the maze with our hearts racing. A cup of hot cider calmed our nerves and warmed our toes on this cool, crisp October…

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Angel Food Cake

The Perfect Folding Technique

By Jean Storlie / September 6, 2018 /

Sister Agnes Marie greeted our class as we filed into the brand new Foods and Culture Lab. Perfect grey curls framed her face under her traditional habit. Her face was puffy with old age and her pasty lips looked like she ate a lot of Tums. A transfer student entering my sophomore year, I had…

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Old Man in Store

“Paper or Plastic?” Captured an Audience’s Attention

By Jean Storlie / August 2, 2018 /

My attention was jolted out of my pre-speech-giving trance when the speaker ahead of me started to tell a story about taking her 86-year-old father to the grocery store. She had let him wander the aisles with his own cart because he was persnickety about his independence. After finishing her shopping, she got into the…

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When Yellow Blooms

By Jean Storlie / July 9, 2018 /

“Yellow! You need yellow.” Relaxing with my friend, Astrid, in my new garden patio along with an intimate group of high-school girlfriends and their spouses, I had asked her “what other flowers should I plant?” As a novice gardener, I thought she could guide my horticultural efforts. Expecting a concrete answer about plant varieties or…

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Left-Handed in a Right Handed World

By Jean Storlie / June 5, 2018 /

After writing signatures with our non-dominant hands, we agreed that the action was clumsy, unnatural, inefficient—and our signatures turned out distorted. I was taking a certification course to become a facilitator in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) with a group who primarily represented the helping professions (social work, education, counseling). One of my innate, left-brain preferences came vividly…

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Grief Walk from New York to Wisconsin

By Jean Storlie / May 3, 2018 /

George Asa Sprague felt numb as he turned his back on his home where he had lived with his wife, Lydia, and baby son, Oscar, on the shores of Lake Skaneateles near Syracuse, New York. It was the summer of 1854, and his young family had been destroyed a few months earlier when Lydia and Oscar…

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Big Meadow in Norway

By Jean Storlie / April 6, 2018 /

As I set off for school with my older sister, Cindy, I heard the neighborhood kids shouting, “There’s Cindy Big Meadow!” and chanting, “Jean Big Meadow!” I shrunk away, confused and embarrassed, while Cindy went off to figure out what was up. She came back to explain that our neighbors’ Norwegian grandma was visiting, who…

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