Author-Amy0BraseI’ve hit a new low as I beg my kids to let me smell their chocolate. It’s a stark contrast from my old life—the one before I embarked on a strict diet to manage Crohn’s Disease more naturally. And I’ve discovered the million dollar secret to weight loss: stop eating sugar and wheat.


I used to think people with food allergies had some sort of extra-strength survival skills and a crazy amount of self-control. The first time I witnessed a friend politely decline dairy at a meal, I wanted to cry for her. As the gluten-free crowd grew, I experienced sincere, deep sadness for them. Because there’s just no pizza crust that compares to one stretched from glorious wheat. I remember meeting a lady in a yoga class who said she couldn’t tolerate any amount of sugar. I wondered if she would ever be happy again. 



To Dream, Perchance to Sleep

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Written by CJ Fosdick

Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.  Doctors suggest today’s adult requires seven and a half to eight and half hours (a night). Teenagers need nine hours, and infants need 16 hours of sleep to operate efficiently. By those standards, I’m an “inefficient machine.”


As a toddler, I was not big on napping…or lingering in my crib. Once, the story goes, my babysitter was asleep when my folks returned home to find their baby crawling around with a butcher knife. This earned me the nickname, Butchie.  

Once I learned to read, I had a bedtime ritual that took a bite out of sleeping hours. By the time I hit the teens, I was an avid reader and a determined night owl. When I did fall asleep, however, it was deep. A 5 a.m. fire alarm at the bank on our block failed to rouse me, as did my alarm clock and my shrieking mother when I overslept on school days. Skipping breakfast, I would run to the bus stop, praying the buses were also running late. The last morning bell would be ringing as I raced up three flights of stairs in my high school, threw my jacket on the floor outside my homeroom and sauntered casually to my seat, red-faced and breathless.

Fortunately, I worked on the weekly school paper and "journalists" had privileges. I could sign out on the blackboard, pretending to interview someone, then take my time to run a brush through wind-swept hair.  



People Say the Darndest Things

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Written by By Pam Whitfield

My ankle required major surgery last spring. I lay on my sofa in a cast for six weeks. As soon as the cast came off and the doctor said the word “rehab,” I gathered up my kids and flew to the Carolinas to visit my kin. At that point, I just needed some good ole southern lovin’ up. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how well Delta accommodated disabled passengers. And the flight from Rochester to Atlanta was filled with Southerners—the real Deep South kind. “Awww, darling, just look at you,” and “Bless yore little heart,” followed me all the way to my seat—in the bulkhead row. Several men fought for the privilege of taking my crutches up front to the steward.



TROUBLE WITH HORSES: Once you begin loving them

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Written by By C.J. Fosdick

At 9, I identified with a short, bug-eyed blonde named Priscilla Nutshell who lived in the pages of the Milwaukee Journal. “Priscilla’s Pop” was a popular comic strip in my hometown’s famous Green Sheet for 37 years. “Pop” Nutshell was famous for eating mashed potato sandwiches. His 9-year-old daughter, Priscilla, was famous for conniving to get a horse. Priscilla and I shared a brain.  



GUYS My father approved of

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Written by By Pam Whitfield

I went to my senior prom with a guy named Stan. Twenty-one years later, my father still talks about him. “What a fine, upstanding man Stan has become,” my father tells me. “He’s a successful accountant.”


I have never told my father that I only went to prom with Stan because we both were dateless, and the crowd we ran with would not allow either of us to bow out of the Single Most Important Night of High School Life. I could see then what Stan would become. 

After dinner, he removed a calculator from an inner pocket of his tuxedo and proceeded to divide the check evenly between the five couples we had dined with, allowing for a modest 12 percent tip. “She wasn’t that good,” he said when I suggested that 20 percent was the norm. He smiled too much and never missed a Sunday in church. He was utterly predictable. 



Para-minnow-what? Perimenopausal, the Other PMS

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Written by By Pam Whitfield

I adore my doctor. I chose him for totally unscientific reasons. I was on the front edge of a divorce and needed to see someone about my sleeplessness, anxiety, stomach pains and weight loss. My mother, an RN and emergency room veteran, mandated it. “You are Superwoman,” she said, “but even Superwoman’s body can’t take that kind of stress for much longer. Go see someone. Today.”



Signs of Spring

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Written by By Cj Fosdick

For those of us who live in tropical Minnesota, thoughts of spring always bring a smile and a big sigh of relief. More daylight, more sunshine, more birdsong, cleansing rain, daffodils, new outfits, baseball and housecleaning. OK, for some of us, that last one may not get the same share of earnest applause as the others. I come from a long line of German stock who elevated the art of housecleaning to a ferocious priority each spring. Mattresses had to be turned, doorknobs polished, dust motes sucked from refrigerator cubbies, walls washed and painted, area rugs and upholstery cushions beat senseless, floors and windows cleaned, light bulbs changed…well, you get the picture. 



When I consider all the great gifts I received last year, one zooms to the forefront of my mind. It was a random act of kindness that cost less than $1.50, but it was priceless because it cured me of PLUM: Poor Little Ugly Me disease. You know, those terrible times when we feel worthless, wretched and ashamed.

A Day of Self-loathing

My last flare-up of PLUM occurred in August. I clashed with a neighbor about our delinquent kids, and less than an hour later—still prickly with rage—I quarreled with my best friend. Then I got into a shouting match with my son about his slovenly habits. Exhausted from battling, I lapsed into a despondent coma of PLUM disease.

I spent the night reliving the arguments. Accusations and rebuttals echoed in my ears like buzzing gnats. The next morning I moved in a fog. I sipped sweet coffee, but bitter regret coursed through my veins. I’m a horrible person. I should be more diplomatic. I stink at being a friend. 



Rochester is on a Roll Med City Mafia

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Written by Bob Freund


The referee’s whistle tweets and the skaters of MedCity Mafia are in a jam again. Right where they want to be. The blockers are bunching together to clog up the oval track. They push and shove; they smash into opposing players to clear a path. Scorers behind them jostle and juke to pick their way through the pack of players.



Drivers Beware!

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Written by C.G. Worrell


In our I’m a prisoner. My cell is a crusty old Subaru Forester.

Since becoming a parent in 1998, I’ve been prisoner to many things: a breast pump, play dates and homework to name a few. So far, I’ve repeated elementary school, junior high and ninth grade. This is all fine. I enjoy learning and could probably get a higher score on the SAT now.

But nothing…nothing…could have prepared me for the latest milestone.


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