When someone you love dearly dies here on Earth, they are gone. But they are not gone. They are here. They are everywhere. And if you perceive very carefully, if you truly pay attention, they are right beside you, every step of the way.

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Imagine if you would – without warning, and quite against your free will – you find yourself traveling to another dimension. It is a dimension of sight, sound and mind. It lies between the pit of our fears and the summit of our knowledge. It came quietly and is invisible, yet deadly. It know…

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My aging dad lived alone for nearly 10 years after my mom died. But recently we all came to the conclusion that living alone was a lonely endeavor. That, accompanied by his increasing need for assistance with some things, led us to find him a new home.

Monday morning comes along almost every seven days or so and the workweek looms ahead. Five. Long. Days. Standing at the end, however, is Saturday. Sweet, unencumbered, unscheduled Saturday. A day to sleep in. A day of freedom.

It was in the wee morning hours; I was summoned from sleep by a grinding and screeching sort of noise that is universally recognized as the sound of a garbage truck doing its business.

Life has not always worked out like I planned. And here’s the thing – the more unplanned it becomes the more I learn. The more I grow – and trust. The better everything becomes. I haven’t always embraced this concept. What can I say? I have control issues. But the more you try to harness […]

Many (lucky) daughters see their dad as heroes. I’m no exception. He’s a modest guy, my dad. The polar opposite of ostentatious. A regular Joe – fitting because that’s his name. He wouldn’t like the idea of me calling him a hero, much less writing about it. Good thing he doesn’t read this column. He […]

I’d forgotten what it was like to have a toddler in the house. We recently spent a few grand days with our granddaughter, who is 14 months old. She’s a tiny package but full of content. What she lacks in size she makes up for in personality. She’s definitely an individual. I remember thinking that […]

Most of life isn’t cut and dry – unless you are an herb. The bulk of our days operate on a continuum, with each of us finding our own way forward in our own way. There’s lots of room for middle ground. You may give a book or movie three or four out of five […]

My grandbaby has started talking. One of her first words was “water.” It’s a multitasking multipurpose word in her life. When she’s in the bath she’s surrounded by water. When she’s in the lake she swims in water. When it rains, water falls down on her from the sky to create puddles for splashing. When […]

The media has us fired up. About lots of things. And that’s good. We should be fired up. Fired up equals interested and engaged. We should all be interested and engaged. An observation: Our culture is ever-changing. (Hallelujah to that!) We often need culture changes. They bring about good things. Improvements to the lives of […]

There aren’t many weeks of the year that can rival a summer vacation. Except maybe a winter vacation, but hey, it’s summer so let’s stay in the here and now. Vacations, no matter what time of year are preferable to a regular old nonvacation week. But in my opinion, summer beats winter any month of […]

It happens every year. After months of anticipation, the last day of school finally arrives. The kids are overjoyed. Summer stretches out before us like a vast and inviting beach scene. Sounds peaceful, doesn’t it? It doesn’t take long to realize there are obstacles crowding my view of the lapping water and white sand: Towels […]

The English language is fraught with conundrums. It’s probably why I love it so much. It’s never boring and continually keeps me learning (or guessing – or both). One of these complexities has to do with words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings – our good friend, the homonym. When it comes […]

I saw someone familiar at the store today. I knew that I knew her or at least that I’d had cause to interact with her on several or perhaps a few occasions.

After spending the last three decades with my husband, I’ve learned marriage isn’t what I thought it would be. In some ways it is harder. In myriad ways, it exceeds my expectations. And like a fine wine, it really does get better with age. Take heed, newlyweds! Together we raised four kids, three of them […]

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It was a go to the store for laundry detergent come home with fabric softener kind of day. And it happened to me. Of course it did. But hey, everyone has bad days. Not one of us has a corner on that market. And bad days are in the eye of the beholder. I think […]

I used to worry. About a lot of things. I used to worry about what other people had and what I didn’t and then I realized I didn’t use or need half of what I had anyway and life went on I used to worry that I wasn’t old enough and then I woke up one […]

In our culture we don’t usually brag about snoring. It isn’t a skill we covet. It isn’t seen as a skill at all, but an embarrassing behavior beyond our control. Sort of like stinky feet or public flatulence. I’m here today to suggest we come out from under the covers and embrace the sleepy vibrato […]

It was dead, or nearly so. A massive maple tree that had marked the seasons and passing of time for twice as long as most humans grace the earth. Each spring his buds reminded us of life anew. He’d sheltered us from the intense summer sun and gave a brilliant colorful display each autumn. He […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler My husband and I recently indulged in a couple days away as a couple to celebrate our anniversary. When we partake in such expeditions (which isn’t often) we both understand the significance of the outcome. That is, the outcome upon returning home – to a house inhabited by […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler It’s one of the first things new parents do after counting to make sure there are 10 fingers and 10 toes. They name the baby. Names are chosen carefully and with great attention to detail. What sort of mean nicknames could kids in the schoolyard find to taunt […]

Look around; they’re everywhere. Not smartphones, but they frequently work in partnership, like Fred and Wilma but in a less caveperson style. People wear them on the wrist like people used to wear watches, which they are, but that’s just the tip of the flintstone, dear friend. They’re known by a variety of names: activity […]

Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler We play a name-that-tune game in the car while listening to the radio. Whoever is first to blurt the title of a song and the name of the group or artist singing it wins. Last weekend I encountered a melody unfamiliar to me. When I fessed up to this, […]

For the most part, my husband is a rational and logical human being. There is an orderly and predictable pattern to his days. He showers in the morning; brushes his teeth after meals. He rises early and goes to bed at a reasonable hour. He is a reasonable man – for the most part. On […]

Mr. Rogers made the most of his neighborhood. I try to do the same – by walking the different streets in the name of “exercise.” As a bonus, along the way I make interesting and not-so-interesting observations. You can learn a lot by walking the neighborhood, which is completely different from casing the neighborhood. Which […]

Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler It’s a wrap. Another school year complete – in the books. TGIF: Thank Goodness It’s Finished. Because I am tired. It happens every year. Let’s face it, being a parent can be taxing. Being a parent with kids in school can be exhausting. We start out strong in September […]

Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler We’ve all heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. Most of us couldn’t name them all. I couldn’t so I Googled and discovered I hadn’t even heard of some. Embarrassing, I know. Unfortunately I’m more familiar with embarrassment than the Seven Wonders of the World. Actually, it’s more […]

Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler I worry. We all do. We all have things to fret about and fixate on. Real and legitimate things that could and may go wrong that will mess other things up big time. And lately – oh, lately – doesn’t it seem there are more major, huge and catastrophic […]

Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler They’d be the first to admit they are more adept at handing off a football versus a tiny human being, but during the last week they’ve certainly given the latter their best efforts. At exactly two minutes before midnight on a recent Sunday, soon-to-be Monday, my three sons became […]

Slices of Life: Jill Pertler Life is supposed to be an adventure. That’s what they tell us, anyway. Thing is, what type of adventure isn’t specified so I guess we are left to our own devices. Most of us would welcome a nonstop, exciting, inspiring all-expense-paid and anything-but-banal adventure. Truth is, some things are easier […]

Column: Slices of Life My husband says I am a squirrel. Don’t take it the wrong way. It’s a term of endearment as well as a fairly accurate descriptor (if I am being honest). It’s become a nickname of sorts. It all started at the superstore. About a month ago we stopped to shop for […]

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Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler My family goes through a few — OK more than a few — aluminum cans. And even though we’ve always recycled and attempted to condense the cans the barehanded way, surplus metal was impacting our recycle bin in an overflowing manner. When the excess wouldn’t fit into the […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler During storms, especially in the middle of the night, I often lie in bed and give quiet thanks for the shelter of my house and it’s watertight roof and shingles. During storms I also give thanks knowing my family is nearby, sleeping under warm, cozy covers and we […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler The Winter Olympics are waning. Competition officially ends Feb. 25. Sigh. It’s been a good (sleigh) ride. If you’re like me, the Winter Games provide opportunities to develop an interest in and become an expert on sports not typically televised during prime time. Let’s start with curling, which […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler Life is hard. I’ve told my kids this dozens of times. I’m not trying to be a Debby Downer parent, but I do think I owe them honesty. And honestly, life is hard. I think it’s supposed to be. What we get caught up in, sometimes, is thinking […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler I grew up in the era of classic, they-don’t-make-them-like-that-anymore television shows. Of course, this is my opinion. But who can argue with the iconic status of “The Brady Bunch,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Carol Burnett,” “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island?” (The last two so much different than […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler There isn’t much that makes my husband nervous. Heck, he’s raised four teenagers, which included teaching three of them (so far) to drive. Anyone who can do that can do anything. Or practically anything. I’m confident in him. He isn’t. Not always. Not last weekend. Not when it comes […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler We’ve known each other for more than 30 years and I’m still learning new things about him. This weekend it was all about scented candles. Most of us enjoy the aroma of a nice scented candle. I do. I guess I didn’t realize he did. I never really […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler The other day I found myself in a quandary. I was in need of cupcakes, but the pantry was without a box of cake mix. I didn’t want to go to the store so was left with but one option: to bake from scratch. I’m not a baker. […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler They sat unassumingly on a shelf in the gardening department. I was on the hunt for fertilizer, but these little potted beauties caught my eye and caused me to pause. Even though I’d never seen anything like them before in real life, I identified them immediately. I figured […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler Summer brings out two vastly diverse species of sports persons wielding sticks, and I’m not referring to hockey and lacrosse. I’m talking about fishing poles and golf clubs. While not impossible, it is a rarity to find a golfer who enjoys the rigors of fishing and vice versa. […]

Column: Slices of Life I’ve always been a saucy type. It probably started with ketchup – my first encounter with sauce when I was just a tiny tator tot of a girl. Almost everyone has some sort of experience with ketchup. Many of us have a long-term ongoing relationship and find it hard to imagine […]

Column: Slices of Life: By Jill Pertler I pull the dandelions out of the garden, without consciousness or appreciation of their sunny yellow dispositions. They are weeds, after all. Gardeners think nothing of pulling weeds in order to make room for the non-weedy, desirable plants. But who decides which is which? It’s in the eye […]

My husband and I recently took on the task of refinishing the wood floors in three rooms that constitute our downstairs living areas — family room, dining room and miscellaneous room. (We’re not sure what to call it. Some days it’s the sunroom, other days the napping room. Right now, if I am being honest, […]

We never mastered the barbecue grill. Oh, we tried, of course — in the early years of our marriage. We charred countless chicken breasts and burned a multitude of steaks. Shrimp on the barbie was never as it was supposed to be. No amount of barbecue sauce could salvage our calamities. Our collective lack of […]

Last week my husband and I splurged on a little out-of-town get-away. We were only gone for one night. We figured the kids could handle that without setting the kitchen on fire or flooding the bathroom. We didn’t expect any miracles, like the time one of them actually filled and ran the dishwasher. (True story.) […]

It’s been quite a campaign season so far. The election. The debates. The issues and non-issues that somehow become issues nonetheless. It can be overwhelming. And disheartening — for me, at least. The negativity and accusations and misinformation and misrepresentation and name-calling and scandals could be enough to discourage and dispirit a regular American — […]

Most of my friends are doing it. I’ve always been a little stunted so I’m not quite there yet. It will come soon enough. The next stage. From what I can tell, it’s one of rediscovery, independence and running to the store together for milk. (Because you can.) I still have kids at home. I […]

They are the same person, in two different-sized bodies, born a generation apart. They might have been twins, had they not been father and son. They are my husband and our youngest. They share similar personalities as well as a sharp sense of humor, affection for storytelling, tendency for voicing strong opinions, a love of […]

It’s the trending Sunday sensation more popular than selfies in restaurants or commercials during the Super Bowl. In a word, it’s fantasy football. According to the New York Post, via the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, roughly a quarter of the U.S. population played fantasy football last season. Millions of those aficionados were women. […]

By Jill Pertler: Slices of Life It started with an unexpected flash in the wee hours of the morning. Not long after, a crack of thunder pulled me from sleep as the clouds opened up to share their aqualicious bounty with the earth. The torrent began rapidly and continued with a consistent barrage. I could […]

A new era in family and politics By Jill Pertler: Slices of Life We’re in the middle of a presidential election year (boy, are we ever) and the nation is firmly focused on the next four years. What will they bring? Will things change, or stay the same? My household is experiencing a similar situation, […]

Jill Perter: Slices of Life They are the same person, in two different-sized bodies, born a generation apart. They might have been twins had they not been father and son. They are my husband and our youngest. They share similar personalities as well as a sharp sense of humor, affection for storytelling, tendency for voicing […]

It’s over. The wedding. My daughter and her new husband tied the knot last Saturday in a whirlwind weekend of near perfection. The loving couple has been preparing for this for over a year. They were kind enough to allow me to enjoy an active role in the process. I am a planner by nature; […]

Ever experience a day when things are slightly off kilter? When the normal becomes abnormal, often in an almost imperceptible way? The order of the universe is lagging, your controller fails to control and you’re thrown a degree (or two) off course. Thought processes and actions seem to be deregulated and your brain refuses to […]

It’s all the rage and a cutting-edge craze — sweeping not only the nation, but the entire world. If you don’t have an inkling of understanding about what the verve is all about, chances are you’re aware of the buzz about “Pokémon Go.” And, if you’re like me, you wish you had the foresight to […]

I crossed jet skis off the list Jill Pertler: Slices of Life I’ve been moving slowly during the last few days. My steps are labored, my movements deliberate. My muscles ache in places I never knew muscles existed. I am bruised. I am sore. I am on vacation. Lots of people think vacations are supposed […]