I was Jim. He was Pam.

Jim and Pam from NBC’s The Office. Photo licensed from Getty Images.

My life in “the office” began when I was 20 and assigned to the in-house unit of an insurance claims office, where junior adjusters started out. Most members of our 10-person unit were young or new to the career. The office was a large open space with rows of desks all facing the same direction. No cubes, no privacy. The adjusters sat toward the front, and administrative staff sat at the backs of the rows — making it easier for us to see if someone was on the phone.

Soon after I hired in, two new adjusters joined the team…


But gained a second chance

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My beloved coughs a lot. He coughs intermittently when he sleeps. He coughs when we eat when something goes down the wrong way. He gets colds easily and coughs unceasingly.

Unfortunately, the sound of coughing is a key misophonia trigger for me. I hear him coughing in the other room, and my blood pressure goes up immediately. I sigh loudly. Our sensitive rescue dog gets up and hides behind the chair (sighing is his trigger).

I’ve tried to figure out what causes instant anger when I hear him cough, but I have no idea. I’ve tried to work myself through…

Being bold is too perilous…to a point

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Last week was rough. I crossed a close friend, a colleague, and my boyfriend. And that’s making me rethink the way I deal with conflict.

With concerted effort, I’ve grown over time — from a meek young girl who apologized for everything to a woman with strong opinions and clear boundaries. In my youth, I’d back up when someone walked by and say, “Oh, sorry!” — as if I were not allowed to take up space. Now, I’m happy to move out of people’s way as common courtesy, but I don’t apologize. I speak my mind freely and am known…

Time does not always heal

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Readers: This article mentions domestic violence, emotional abuse, and alcoholism.

I ran into my ex at the grocery store last week.

I was shopping on a Sunday morning as I usually do. I turned a corner, and down the way, I recognized a familiar figure.

Older. A little stooped. Balder.

We’ve been divorced for 15 years. I haven’t been in the same room with him since our son’s high school graduation three years ago. We were polite and pleasant to each other on that occasion.

He had hip replacement surgery last year even though he’s only in his early 60s…

I was one…and then I had one.

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NOTE: The author is fully supportive of full reproductive rights. This article is not intended to provide commentary supportive of anti-abortion arguments. It’s just a story about my family. Other people would have made different choices. I support women’s right to choose.

My mother never hid it from me. She found nice ways to say it, but the truth was, I was an unplanned surprise. An “oops” baby.

When Mom found out she was pregnant, she cried. She had two small children, her husband was working at a car dealership more than 200 miles away and coming back home on…


Capturing his essence

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

She was never a sculptor.
Yet she dreamed of capturing him.
His energy, his passion, his greatest loves.

The medium must be wire.
Metal, to reflect his resolve and strength.
Never cold stone, which would neuter his fervor.

Receding tendrils of fine wire on top
And above his lip.
Dark, with a hearty sheen.

Perhaps guitar wire to define his hands
To reflect musical prowess.
Or brass, ripe with patina, aged and neglected.

His chest would be steel coils.
Burly. Solid.

The thighs — oh, those thighs — would be made of bronze. …


Writing personal stories to entertain, excite, and engage.

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