Rereading a 25-year-old piece that I once considered my best.

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

photo by author

My father died on Thanksgiving night. As I sat with family and friends over the next few days, my grief and sense of disbelief barely lessened.

Finally, to stave off my sadness, I got busy. My sister had helped my father move into his last apartment, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, when his health began to fail; now, we agreed…


First Year Navigation Links: A Work in Progress

I have been writing for nearly half a century…


Every writer on Medium, from novice to pro, has her own path — this might help you find yours.

Photo by Ovan on Pixabay

I’ve been feeling my way around Medium, trying to understand its customs and culture since April when I published my first piece. I am a stranger in a strange land, late of the planet Old School. I’ve won awards for my writing. But, here, I am a novice, desperate to grok this community and the landscape it inhabits.

Grok means “to understand,” of course, but Dr. Mahmoud, who might be termed the leading Terran expert on Martians, explains that it also means, “to drink” and “a hundred other English words, words which we think of as antithetical concepts. ‘Grok’ means…


Advice from me to me — that you might find useful, too.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

11 June 2021: My Dream

I am frazzled and not yet packed. With me are two young women I know from the dog park. We went to the French Open, Roland Garros, two days earlier. I wonder what they’re doing in my apartment, which is dark and foreboding. Twentysomethings, my companions are fun and smart in real life, but in my dream, not helpful. They don’t care that I’m missing vital information, like what airport I’m leaving from. Searching madly for various documents, they tell me I’m “silly” to worry. I finally will myself awake. My heart is pounding.

I wish I could make light…


Geezers don’t despair. Younger people feel it, too!

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“Tech is now for all of us, and yet the tech companies keep focusing on the nerds who want fancy gadgets.”

Other than the fact that she starts out by apologizing for sounding like “a grumpy old man” (ageist stereotype)…

I was thrilled to read New York Times tech columnist Shira Ovide’s article, “Tech Forgets About the Needs of the 99%.”

Shira is 45. And in the piece, she quotes a 2019 article by another young guy, 42-year-old Nilay Patel, “Everything’s Too Complicated.”

I’ve been hesitant to admit my own frustrations. But when I’ve allowed myself to let it rip, my contemporaries leave reassuring comments. A different kind of “me-too” movement?

So it turns out, I was right. It’s isn’t just grumpy old men and frumpy old women.

Technology was supposed to make life easier. Yes…


Time Traveling with My Gerbil Brain

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Introduction: How I Found “My Vision”

My computer is a mess, and my brain is hyperactive. Everyday, I write something other than what I’m meant to be working on. It could be the germ of an idea or awareness, advice, a slice of my own life; a bit of prose or poetry, snippets of words. I can’t seem to stop myself.

Worse, friends come up with ideas they want me to cover. Like Gail, who said I should look at “ Karens “ and shortly after sent links to get me started. Thanks, Gail.

When I later happen upon one of these random musings, it’s as if I’m a time traveler, popping in on an earlier self.

Today. for example I’m supposed to be finishing a piece for Shareable


The Winning Strategy That Will Save Your Relationship

“When Cleaning Windows,” 1943. Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

A Half-Century of Chore Wars

It all started in the 70s, the result of that new-fangled notion of “gender equity.”

Before that, men and women had defined roles. Mothers were the “homemakers.” Fathers weren’t cleaning toilets or packing school lunches.

I first heard the term “chore wars” from a magazine editor who asked me to write about it. I immediately knew what she meant. In my marriage, I was the “ Designated Doer” — a term I would later coin for a book about making families stronger. …


Hint: the voices quiet — and you slow down

Photo by laura adai on Unsplash

…even more important than the painting we make is what happens to us when we make it. — Jerry Fresia, “The Real Reason We Paint

Past truths can be nudged out of hiding unexpectedly.

I recently read a piece, “Painting More Details Can Kill It,” by artist Marsha Hamby Savage, and left this comment:

Delightful and informative, I read this piece as a writer — and it all applies. Thanks.

This starts a conversation. I mention in passing that I “once painted pottery” and that it changed me. She wants to hear more. And suddenly I think back to a chapter in my writing life that I hadn’t pondered…


But I Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut Any Longer

Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

Something is very wrong with the following sentence. I’ve seen many like it on Medium and elsewhere on line:

It often sounds like “good vibes only” or “just be positive”.

The source of this quote isn’t important. I’m not here to shame the writer whose country of origin is not apparent, but I suspect the U. S. Perhaps he or she is British and learned different rules of punctuation and spelling.

But listen up, American writers, who either ignore or don’t know how to punctuate quotations. I’m yelling at you…

Periods and commas ALWAYS go INSIDE quotation marks.

I would imagine that Grammarly catches and corrects such mistakes, but I’m not sure. (If you know, please leave a comment; I’m curious.)

Regardless, there’s no excuse for not…


How to Get a Surprising and Healthful “Shot” of Connection from Someone You Barely Know

GIF by Author (my first!)

A Vaccine Against Loneliness

Every morning around nine, Rocky and I trot off to Le Champ de Mars, the large expanse of lawn, trees, paths, and bushes in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. A tourist mecca in a city that, for over a year, has been without tourists, this verdant tribute to the Roman god of war is my “dog park.”

Rocky runs like a rabbit, and I schmooze with whomever shows up — often, twenty or more dogs and their caretakers. Our dogs run, we yell for them and at them. …

Melinda Blau

Author of 15 books and over 200 articles and posts, here I specialize in short reads — on relationships, social trends and my adventures in Paris.

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