This blog is not about cats or sex, but using either (or both) of these words in a title guarantees that people will click on it—i.e., clickbait!  This essay could be more honestly named “Grab Bag” or “Potpourri,” but then would you select it?  Read on!

Last week’s blog about Gertrude Trumbull Burr,  “A Life Well Lived,” garnered a big response, mostly along the lines of “what an amazing woman!” Chrissie in Tucson wrote:  “We all loved your last line & feel exactly as you do – inadequate by comparison.”

My impatience with the pandemic has morphed into a deep aversion (“hatred” is too ugly a word or I’d use it) to cleaning up the kitchen and doing laundry—over and over and over.  Then my day was brightened by an article in (here)—“Mom lives the dream:  quietly quitting household chores to see if her family notices.”  If you are offended by salty language, you may be put off.  I think it adds the perfect emphasis for the situation.  The amazing outcome of the woman’s experiment is that it was partially successful!  I have tried a similar trick with laundry over the years but surrendered when the piles became too large.  I don’t think anyone else in the family ever noticed.

This month The New Yorker magazine is celebrating the remarkable (and continuing) writing career of John McPhee, who recently turned ninety.  I first learned about McPhee from his 1984 book, The Heirs of General Practice, about the medical students (like my husband) who chose Family Practice as their specialty.  A few years later, I was fascinated by his article, “Los Angeles Against the Mountains,” from which I learned the term “angle of repose.”  I wanted to write a book with that title, but then Wallace Stegner beat me to it with his fine novel of that name.  Just now, while searching for some of his titles, I learned that over the years I have read relatively little of what McPhee has written—more than 30 books listed on Amazon.  There are a few that are collections of his essays, which may be a good place to start.


Photo of cat on the bed by Ergita Sela via Unsplash.



About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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