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Life is not fair. Mentally, every one “Oh, shit!” wipes out ten of the “Atta girl!” comments. Therefore, it would behoove us to collect as many an “Atta girl!” (and, by extension, “Atta boy!” and, of course, “Atta us!”) as possible. Since so few of these just fall into our laps, I’ve decided to create my own “Atta girl!” list. So here is the list of 10 of mine for the past week I’ve earned. Or made it up. Whatever.

1. Tracked everything I ate. Everything went into the app, and I did not miss even a pat of butter.


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Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” This makes sense. The older I get, the more I prize kindness in others, and the more I want to cultivate in myself. Paradoxically, the older I get, the more intolerant I become of stupidity. Yet, don’t the stupid among us need our kindness, perhaps even more than those who use their brains?

If this sounds like a Christian value of “love the sinner, hate the sin” coming from a non-Christian, let me assure you, I honestly…


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I feel as if my life is in a bit of a transition now, and it’s akin to standing on ground that is shifting under my feet. I am reexamining the habits I’ve built up during my life, habits that had to with exercise, with my relationship with food, with how I’ve been looking at people — judging others.

What is exercise? Is it push-ups? Sure. Is it sit ups? You bet. Is it jumping to conclusions about people? In my case, absolutely. In fact, it is more than mere exercise, it has been a passion and an avocation. How…


Cripple Creek, Colorado is about a two and a half hour drive from Denver, and today my husband, Jeff, and I took that drive. We went on a much-needed (and about four months delayed) anniversary getaway. Like so many pre-vaccination activities, our annual getaway was simply put on hold.

There are wildfires burning in the mountains and the Western Slope of the state. The state government encouraged people to limit driving, if they can help it. There is a haze that hangs over, and the smell of smoke permeates the air — although the sunsets can be spectacular. The sun…


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I find a few things interesting only in the abstract — in other words, I honestly don’t want to know how they work. It’s just good enough for me to know that they do. For example, plumbing. I am fascinated and bored by plumbing in equal measures. It is logical and beautiful, like an elegant puzzle, yet I could not care less how it is all put together.

I’m actually surprised plumbing wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes interest. However, it was another detective’s thing — a Russian detective. Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov, a fantastic character in a series of books by Stuart…


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It’s been 45 years, this August, from when we arrived in the States from Soviet Union. And from time to time, I volunteer a few hours at the Russian book store. When people come in and talk to me in Russian, usually it’s the older people. Habitually, they ask me my name.

“лена (Lyena),” I answer. It’s not Lena, not Leanna, not really Elena, either. The thing is, there is no vowel in the English language that sounds like that “yeh” sound. Елена (Yelena) is my formal name, and as the English name Elena comes close to both my formal…


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Happy Fourth of July! The day of Independence — and day of barbecue. We celebrate our uniquely American holiday by eating German food (hamburgers and hot dogs), cooked over an open flame as in Africa, and setting off fireworks invented by the Chinese. Like I said, uniquely American.

There are some things I absolutely love about my country, and July Fourth is one of them. …


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From the time my alarm rang at 9 o’clock in the morning, to the moment I began my slow descend into the water, two hours and 40 minutes had elapsed.

I signed up back at one of the Denver Y’s, this one my old haunt. I first started going to the Y when my son was 3 months old, and stopped going to this particular Y when he was 13 years old. Now, 6 years later, I have been to other gyms, walked in my neighborhood, have gained more weight, survived COVID-19, and forgotten more workout discipline than I could…


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I was scrolling through some news when I saw an article from The Insider magazine, written by Frank Olito. In it, Mr. Olito spent three nights at the Congress Plaza Hotel, in Chicago, on Michigan Avenue.

Why? The Congress Plaza Hotel has the reputation of being one of the most haunted hotels in the United States. Some guests have reported that blankets were snatched from them as they slept. Others complained of ghostly whisperings at the foot of their beds.

Normally, if I read a little fluff piece like this, I would not comment or bother unless I really liked…


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I’ve been trying to be mindful — to be aware of my thoughts lately, and it’s almost as tedious as it sounds. The idea is nearly meditative — don’t dwell, don’t hold, just see your thoughts and let them go. And, I’ve decided to share some of my thoughts with you.

My state of Colorado is getting an unsavory reputation. Apparently, we’re breaking all the wrong records when it comes to mass shootings. That’s right — come for the marijuana, stay for the murders. I’m not saying the two are connected, at all. If anything, a stoner will never get…

Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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