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Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

How Does Jail Time Sound?

I’m a big fan of shows like Dateline, especially when they get into legal nuances.

Consider involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide. I won’t parse the differences; for the moment, they both work as a crime where someone is criminally responsible for another person’s death. That means the charge carries jail or prison time.

Remember, these aren’t premeditated, coldblooded murders. Rather, they’re situations where someone’s action or inaction led to another person’s death. Even though that death wasn’t something the first person intended, wanted, or planned, they’re still responsible for causing it.

Some examples:

If a driver is texting and hits a pedestrian who dies, the driver is responsible for the pedestrian’s death. …

And You’re Using Them Wrong

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Photo by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash

Senator Mike Lee has been in the news a lot of late, and one of the reasons woke my inner word nerd right alongside my inner American, and I must set things straight.

No, this isn’t about how he attended the Rose Garden ceremony and later tested positive for COVID-19. It’s not even about how he whined on Twitter that no one was mentioning that all attendees had tested negative before the event.

Caring for Sick Family & NOT Getting Sick Yourself

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

The pandemic is far from over, despite promising signs in May and June of lower trends. The virus is raging back worldwide as autumn arrives and school is back in session (in some format).

And things won’t be getting better — not with flu season around the corner.

When my husband and 21-year-old daughter came down with COVID-19, we had a lot to learn on the fly, especially in hopes of keeping myself and my high-school daughter from getting sick too.

Here are some of the things we did that worked.

HUGE CAVEAT: I’m very aware that we are in a position that many aren’t. Among other things, we live in a house with a finished basement, with comforts like a fridge down there. Those and other things allowed a level of isolation that not everyone can do. I hope something here is still valuable. …

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Promotional Image for Bill and Ted Face the Music

I’ve long called myself a child of the 80s, but that doesn’t quite fit. I vaguely remember when Mt. St. Helens blew and when the hostages got released from Iran. I’m a tad to young for either to have influenced me.

But I’m not a child of the 90s, either. I’m way too old to be able to distinguish between punk and ska or half the boy bands that popped up. I’m solidly high school class of 1992.

And that means I was just the right age, a high school freshman, to fall in love with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. …

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Photo by FitNish Media on Unsplash

And Why the Pomodoro Method Sucks

I’m always eager to find the latest hacks for managing my symptoms of ADHD; after all, it’s not news that medication helps, but only to a point.

To add to the joys: the medication that works best for me doesn’t have a generic yet, and my insurance decided to stop covering it, so I’m back to a far-less-effective one I can actually pay for.

Ergo, I need any life hacks for my executive function I can find.

My journey with Fitbit didn’t start with ADHD or hacks or anything else like that, unless you count regular exercise as hack because sure, exercise does help. …

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Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

The Century-Long Journey of “Ass over Tea Kettle”

Recently my good friend and New York Times bestselling author Robison Wells had a minor yet painful biking accident that yielded an interesting word-nerd question.

Here’s his post:

In light of my recent bike crash, I’ve been inspecting the phrase “going ass over teakettle” and I can find the earliest usages of a variant (Lippincott’s Magazine, October 1907 “heels over teakettle”) and the earliest usage of the specific phrase (Pagany, volume 3, 1932 “ass over teakettle”), but I can’t find any etymology for why a teakettle was brought into the conversation. Word nerds help me. Annette Lyon, consult your OED.

Naturally, like any self-respecting word nerd, I had to oblige. …

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Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

The third graders had an assignment to read a biography of a historical figure, then do an oral report — three minutes telling that person’s story, in costume, as that person. My very white son picked Martin Luther King Jr. His choice made me proud.

We lived in a very white city in a very white state, about half an hour from the very white city and very white school district I attended as a child.

I remember one black student in my high school, a shy football star who blushed easily, loved by everyone. I remember one Asian student (a girl), and a Latino student a grade ahead of me, a popular kid named Carlos. Throw in one Native American and a handful of students of Polynesian descent, and that’s about as ethnic as our school got in the late 80s and early 90s. …

Autopsy of a 30-year Friendship

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Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

In high school and college, I had two best friends. I’ll call them S and J. They were both bridesmaids at my wedding.

J and I met in eighth grade math after my family had moved home following being abroad for three years. I was dealing with culture shock, social anxiety and all kinds of teenage stress. J became my safe space in Miss B’s math class.

J and I each had two best friends: S was my other one, and K was hers. I wasn’t jealous of K, and J wasn’t jealous of S. It worked.

At some point J & I started referring to ourselves and Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. At one point, probably for a play she was in, I gave her a bouquet. I’d bought Bert and Ernie figurines and tucked them into the flowers. …

You might know #3, but I guarantee you don’t know them all!

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Photo by Jose Martinez on Unsplash

(No spoilers, I promise!)

With the release of The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth Star Wars movie in the third trilogy (and, if my math is correct, eleventh film overall) across more than four decades, a lot of fans are proud of how much they know about the saga, but even the most die-hard of fans probably don’t know all of these.

Here are four ways you probably didn’t know that Finland is connected to Star Wars:

When George Lucas was preparing to shoot the last big scene of the first movie (what oldies like me call the “real” Star Wars and younger folk call Episode IV or A New Hope), he wanted jewelry for Leia to wear during the awards ceremony that looked fit for a science fiction movie set in space. …

Except She Totally Isn’t

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Photo by elen aivali on Unsplash

Since it’s been happening for over forty years, you’d think I’d be used to it now, or at least I’d be able to figure out the why it’s happening. But no.

When I was four it made some sense for people to mistake Sheryl and me for sisters, twins, or each other. We were both chubby-cheeked, strawberry blond little girls with pig tails. We played together a lot, which meant we naturally ended up acting and talking a bit like each other.

But then our baby fat melted away. My hair lost any trace of strawberry and settled into plain old dishwater blond (Sheryl kept her strawberry). People still thought we looked alike. Maybe it was the pigtails. We still wore those. …


Annette Lyon

USA Today bestselling & award-winning author of women’s fiction & romance. Word nerd. Chocoholic. Mom.

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