Through it all, there was a dog

The Trailhead

Seven years ago, when my first marriage of fifteen years unexpectedly went belly up, I was involuntarily launched on what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. There are other names for this kind of experience. The writer Elizabeth Lesser calls it the Phoenix Process. Dante called it “the dark woods.” Whatever you call it, it’s a time of upheaval, pain, and eventually, transformation.  And to be sure, the year I spent ending my marriage and recovering – perhaps from the marriage as much as the divorce – was one of the most powerful and potent of my life. I still look back on it with a sense of respect and awe.

What I didn’t understand for a long time, though, was that the year of my divorce was only the opening act in a much longer voyage. Life had a great deal more in store for me than merely the…

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The Baguette That Got Away

Crohn's & the Real Girl

I have a complicated relationship with baguettes.

When I was 16, I won this scholarship to study in Paris for a month. Naturally, my diet for the entirety of my stay largely consisted of whole baguettes eaten in one sitting and what can only be described as jugs of Orangina.

Get in me, you sweet crunchy pieces of heaven. (Photo credit: Julie Kertesz Get in me, you sweet crunchy pieces of heaven. (Photo credit: Julie Kertesz

It was a magical time. I gained two pants sizes. I finally got boobs. Life was good.

When I came home, my almost-daily baguette consumption continued. Crunchy, soft, warm, and sweet. I couldn’t get enough. My interest in other kinds of bread had been left behind in Paris with my too-small pants and my training bra.

Now, let’s jump ahead a few years on the Real Girl Timeline to 2012. I was in Los Angeles for my first ever Bruce Springsteen concert. Another magical time. (Except…

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Tomorrow She is Never Again Four Years Old (Not Even One Dot)

jen groeber: mama art

I look at the clock and it’s 11:34 pm. I picture my newly minted five-year-old, asleep in her bed, covered with the Hello Kitty blanket I stayed up until past midnight last night to make, her hands curled under her ear, like the fiddlehead ferns she begged me to buy in the grocery store last week. I wonder, does she know that she has twenty-six minutes (now twenty) left of being in the in-between?

Because on her birthday this morning, she began as a four-year-old. And four-year-olds are young. They’re like babies. They go to pre-school. They say things like, “I liked it, but only one dot,” and everyone nods in wonderment. They are allowed to lisp. They always get right of way, whether on a bike or in a pool or playing Skipbo. Because they’re just four. And everyone else, at least everyone else in my house…

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All Service Personnel are to report to the Regional National Service Scheme Office under which they are posted on Monday 6th July, 2015 for the compulsory registration and endorsement of appointment letter.

You are strongly advised to take part in the registration and endorsement exercise on the said date.

You are not required to pay anything for this exercise.

Congrats & Good Luck!
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