• COLUMN: Funerals call for closed mouths, open hearts

     Sometimes as we’re working in the office, we’ll engage in what some may consider to be offbeat conversations.

    Recently, we discussed funeral homes – and all the ways things can go wrong when well-meaning visitors descend on the bereaved.

  • COLUMN: It's rooster tipping time

     Last week's cold rainy weather meant one thing at our house.

    It's rooster tipping time.

    To be accurate, it was actually rooster "untipping" time.

    Ever since our pet rooster Rusell Crow stayed outside the chicken house during the ice storm last winter, he hasn't been quite right. Although we thawed him out and cared for him to the best of our ability, he hasn't rebounded like we had hoped.

  • COLUMN: Les Miserables was a pleasant surprise

     I don’t go to movies very much. Over the last 10 years, the majority – no, make that all – of the movies I have seen at a theater have been ones my children have wanted to see, or ones my husband and I thought they would enjoy seeing.

  • Remembering 'Mean Widdle Kid' and longing for days of Red Skelton

     Back when I was a kid, we had a black and white TV. We got three channels and we always watched what my dad wanted to watch.

  • COLUMN: National tragedy comes at personal cost to parents

     I was a blessed Meanie Ma last week.

  • COLUMN: Did Kentucky inspire 'The Hobbit?'

    Eleven years after fantasy film fans attended the celebration of his “eleventy-first birthday” party, Bilbo Baggins is back — this time as the central character in Peter Jackson’s new movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”

  • COLUMN: Where's the outrage from rural America?

    In contrast to the outrage expressed at Mitt Romney's comment that 47 percent of Americans were unlikely to vote for him because they benefit from one government program or another, so he wouldn’t be campaigning too hard to reach them, no one has railed about Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's recent comments that rural America is “becoming less and less relevant” to government and to politicians, the editorial page of the Duluth News Tribune notes.

  • COLUMN: Be wary of charitable donation requests

     Your charitable donation can help clothe a child, put food on the table for a family in need and bring hope to those who have none. As you open your heart and pocketbook this holiday season, make sure that you give wisely.

    Much like storms and natural disasters, the season of giving brings out the best and worst in people. Scam artists are ready to unveil their latest schemes designed to prey on the generosity of others.

  • Class teaches how to cope with holiday grief

     Many of us think of the holiday season as a time of joy and fun. For others, however, it’s a time of loneliness and grief. Some people live far from family and miss seeing their loved ones at this time of year. Others dread going to holiday parties without a partner. Then there are those who feel saddened by the holidays, since they remind them of family members who are long gone.

  • COLUMN: Repost this if you hate chain letters

     There has been an influx of Facebook chain letters that have appeared in my news feed. At first, I didn’t think much of them. I just ignored them, because I knew I would never post one of them.

    However, most of my Facebook friends have, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop anytime soon. Just the other day, I read a forwarded status discussing the website’s supposed new guidelines.