“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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11 Things in Your Kitchen Right Now That’ll Kill You!

Wheat is one of the deadliest foods that kill. It can give you “wheat belly;” making you bulbous and inflamed …

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How My Grandma Took a Stand & Decided to Leave Her Church of 40 Years

This Story Is in Honor of National Grandparents Day & LBGT Rights In 1988 at the height of the AIDs epidemic and near-hysterical homophobia, my Aunt Barbara – who’d once been married to a Paul Newman lookalike — came out

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He Answered the Door With a Gun

What happened in the hot tub stays in the hot tub. Let’s just say I did not lose my virginity there, but the Kraken had been unleashed …

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A Colleary Christmas 2015 (The Back Waxing Edition)

“Okay, I told Henry he could write his part of the letter, because there was a good chance I’d run amuck …

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My 7 Best Summer Memories from 1975

“If any of his four granddaughters (not-a-one grandson!) complained about the fish guts, he’d yell, ‘Shad-up and do it! You catch ’em, you clean ’em, you cook ’em, I eat ’em.’

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When The Man You Loved Changes Forever

She did all the things besotted mistresses do. She waited for her phone to ring, she called his home and hung up when his wife answered.

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Banishing the “Wicked” in Stepmother

She had platinum blond hair worn in an Aqua-Net bouffant, thick black eyeliner and a figure Jayne Mansfield would’ve killed for. At night she peeled her false eyelashes off like she was undressing her face.

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Zen and the Art of Sailing During A Small Craft Advisory Warning

I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to barf. I didn’t want to get salty. I didn’t want to smell feces. I didn’t want to be dominated by forces beyond my control. I was invited to take a sailing

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How “The Fault In Our Stars” Changed Me

What was I thinking? I just read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars; the one about the teenage cancer patients, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, who fall in love.  I bought the book for my daughter Clare, because she wanted

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7 Surprising Things My Mom Did!

Mother Daughter Relationships: I was raised in the 70s; era of the skyrocketing divorce rate (key parties?) and the afternoon martini cart (reference any Bewitched episodes; Samantha and both Darrens kept the Grey Goose flowing). Whether it was the 70s,

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The Anti-Thanksgiving

Today, in an effort to prove my Mavericism — a phrase first coined by Tom Cruise when he played Maverick in that cinematic masterpiece Top Gun — I’m bucking the trend and going anti-Thanksgiving by itemizing the things I’m NOT GRATEFUL

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The Hubba Hubba Girls: When Girlfriends Save Your Life

When I was nine-years old my mom went through a debilitating divorce from my stepdad and I moved in, permanently it would turn out, with my dad and stepmom. I was a wreck. I threw up and had fevers whenever

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When Your Divorced Parents Love Each Other

My mom and dad haven’t been married since I was two years old. Throughout my childhood, they had very little contact. Once custody was settled they passed me back and forth with a minimum of drama or friction. I was

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A Few Things From My Life

Ellen Marie Stradall Thank you everyone for all your kind, well-wishes for my grandmother’s memorial service. It was so lovely. All the words spoken were a testament to my grandma’s particular love. Here she is in college in Hays, Kansas

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When Caregivers Strike

“We’re born in diapers and we die in diapers.” This is what my grandpa Rusty told my mom, aunt, grandma and me as we hovered over his deathbed. “You four look like a buncha buzzards waitin’ to finish me off,”

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What I Know About Sisters, Now That I’m In My 40s

Here’s What I Know About Sisters in my 47th Year The truth will set you free. I’ve been jealous of my younger sister, Gina, for as long as I can remember. Well, that’s not completely true. She did have a

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The Celebration of a Life

On Saturday my mom had a celebration at her home for her passionate, intelligent, macho, intrepid, intractable, loving, Rennaisance-Man-of-a husband, Guido, who passed away last September. My mom couldn’t face a memorial until now.   Among his vast array of

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When Thanksgiving Sucks!

This was the worst Thanksgiving ever!  None of the children broke any of their bones. No one got drunk and called everybody cheap bastard sons-of-bitches. No one made a pass at someone else’s wife. The turkey wasn’t as dry as

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Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

Sisterly Competition Bridget and I were lying in bed reading last night when she activated a sleeper cell to commit jihad against me. “Mommy, who’s prettier?  Me or Clare?” she asked casually. Clare is, of course, her older sister who

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All About My Mother

Blaming Your Mom Here’s my sob story accompanied by violin in A minor. My parents divorced when I was two. Both remarried. My dad once and forever. My mom (She Who Shall Be Named Culpable) three more times. There was

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