These rescue groups need your woolly skills.

A black cat is wrapped in a burgundy knitted blanket.
A black cat is wrapped in a burgundy knitted blanket.
Photo by Haley Owens on Unsplash

I’ve been a knitter since childhood, and over the years, I’ve made gifts for family and friends, as well as for myself and for sale. My greatest joy in knitting, though, comes from making items to give away to charity. There’s so much pain in the world; I like to imagine that a warm, handmade scarf or hat feels like a big hug to someone who really needs one. But — I get special joy out of knitting for homeless animals and the shelters and rescues that take care of them.

I’ve participated in two ways: in making items for…


Ambiguous feelings about aging are taking me out of my comfort zone.

A pair of female hands with black nail polish holds multicolored candles in front of a gray t-shirt.
A pair of female hands with black nail polish holds multicolored candles in front of a gray t-shirt.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I’m not comfortable being the oldest one in the room. I discovered this when I wished a younger coworker happy birthday via email last year. She replied that her actual birthday wasn’t for another 10 days, and she was relishing her last days of being in her 30s. In that moment, I could see the gulf of years between us, and briefly I envisioned her as a daughter, just 10 years older than my oldest biological daughter.

She’s someone I’ve worked with for the last couple of years, at a small company where all but three are under 40 (and…


Compassion is the action.

Man sitting at office desk petting big brown dog under his chin.
Man sitting at office desk petting big brown dog under his chin.
Photo by DEVN on Unsplash

Pets are common conversation starters in the office, and that conversation may go on for years, solidifying friendships. You hear about escapades and quirks when co-workers’ pets are young and playful, then about their illnesses as they get older. As their conditions worsen, pets may suddenly pass, or your co-worker may have to make the difficult but compassionate decision to put their beloved pet to sleep. But unlike the death of a family member, for a pet there is no defined office protocol — the office manager isn’t going to send an email telling you where the funeral will be…


Don’t let age bias disqualify you from the perfect job.

Photo by Aman Upadhyay on Unsplash

If you are 50 or older, age-proof your resume before you send it off into the application abyss. Despite age discrimination in employment being against the law, age bias is alive and well in job listings, according to AARP, an organization advocating for the rights of older Americans. In October 2019, AARP conducted a search on three major employment websites, LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster, for job terms such as “recent college graduate.” The search found 4,749 job postings using it on LinkedIn, 1,124 on Indeed and 513 on Monster.¹

I had seen this bias myself over the last 10 years…


Midlife pivots can bring freedom and confidence — and unexpected choices.

Hand stroking a cat under her chin.
Hand stroking a cat under her chin.
Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash

Not too long ago I posted a status on Facebook: “I’ve reached the point in my life when all I want to do is play with cats.” Six or seven of my midlife female friends reacted with glee and excitement at my news of perhaps opening a cat boarding facility and cat café. Posts of encouragement, camaraderie and silly cat stickers appeared in less than five minutes. I was on to something here.

This isn’t an essay about cats, however (although they will show up along the way). It’s about what is happening to me at 52 — or more…


A full pandemic stop is the right time to remember your essence.

A group of boys play with a ball in a forest clearing.
A group of boys play with a ball in a forest clearing.
Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Who are you?

Notice that I’m asking who, not what. In our modern world, the first question usually asked in a conversation between strangers (after introductions) is “What do you do?” As if who you are is synonymous with your work.

But are you really what you do for a living?

Or are you still the little kid who liked to climb trees, get lost in a book about pirates or some far-away country, played hopscotch, or looked deeply into your pet’s eyes and found love there? …


Smart strategies to avoid office awkwardness.

A glass of beer next to a keyboard and office equipment.
A glass of beer next to a keyboard and office equipment.
Photo by Dave Pullis on Unsplash

We all know the holiday office party cliché about that one co-worker getting so drunk it costs them their next raise or promotion. If you can’t ever see yourself as that one co-worker, if you rarely drink alcohol and don’t care to among your colleagues, and especially if they are heavy drinkers at office parties, you may feel like you’re in foreign territory. You may feel like both an outsider wanting to fit in and someone who feels fully justified in your personal decision.

Here are some strategies that may help you to cope:

Politely decline.


Wohlleben has given us a sort of Rosetta Stone for trees.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben
David Suzuki Institute and Greystone Books Ltd., 9781–77164–248–4, 272 pp., 2015


The book is like a culinary grimoire, waiting for you to write your own spells in the margins.

A bowl of fresh fruits, vegetables and cheese.
A bowl of fresh fruits, vegetables and cheese.
Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Food, by Rachel Patterson
Moon Books, ISBN: 978–1–78279–854–5, 312 pp., 2014

After reading this book from Rachel Patterson’s Kitchen Witch series, you just might be inspired to give your kitchen a magical makeover. Not only is she a veteran author of five books on magical food, she is High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an elder at the online Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft. With touches of cheeky humour, she describes readying the kitchen and cooking equipment for magical work, seasonal and holiday recipes, magical food for intent, correspondences of various…

Susan B. Scheck

I’m an eclectic soul, writing and wondering my way through life. Knitting, cats and genealogy are my passions — politics, other cultures and travel, too.

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