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Janet Sheridan

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Janet Sheridan: The upside of aging

At my age, if I said I’m surprised by my gravity-altered body, I’d sound no brighter than a collie being amazed by ticks after a romp in the woods. Some things in life are as certain as a stalemate in Congress.

Janet Sheridan: Accepting responsibility

As usual, I began by wallowing in a quagmire of indecision. For months, I’d busily and happily written new material to combine with past columns for a book. Now I had a choice: attempt to publish my work or let it die an anonymous little death on my computer.

Janet Sheridan: For teachers

Last August, a niece who teaches high school posted on Facebook, “Oh, hello, teaching anxiety. There you are. I was wondering when you’d show up.” A week later, a friend in Alabama wrote, “I am going to start my 10th year of teaching next week. Can a person be full of excitement and dread at the same time?”

Janet Sheridan: Moments that linger

A few seconds in a rainforest, a sunrise shared with a stranger, a five-minute walk on a beach: all are moments that lingered and the reason I travel.

Janet Sheridan: Calendars of memories

A week ago, when I planned to wash the windows or sit in the shade feeling guilty because I wasn’t doing so, for some nonsensical reason I decided to reorganize my filing cabinet instead. I flew into action, sorting and discarding with determination, until I came across a stack of old calendars.

Janet Sheridan: Forgive me

If you saw me working in my yard in June, I apologize; I hope you had your children close their eyes as you drove by — no need for nightmares about crazed old ladies in pajamas wielding garden clippers and mumbling.

Janet Sheridan: Plans take flight

Last fall, my husband Joel and I examined our yard, deciding which perennial flowers and shrubs we would praise for their perfomance, transplant to a better spot, divide for increased vigor, discard without mourning or threaten before granting one more chance.

Janet Sheridan: In my father’s words

I started an occasional correspondence with my father after he retired in 1977 and increased it after Mom died. His responses usually began “Your letter arrived just in time; I needed something to do. You must hate it when I write back so soon. Well, anyway, here goes.”

Janet Sheridan: Good thing I retired

I recently acquired a new wellness skill, one of many I’ve learned since my retirement: skills necessary if I want to keep my teeth, judge how much pepper I’ve sprinkled on my food, and rise from a chair without injuring anybody.

Janet Sheridan: Things I miss

The '50s may have been a simpler time, but they weren’t all birthday cake and ice cream. I remember crouching under my desk, hearing my heart thump and my teacher’s hose rub as she patrolled the classroom during an atomic bomb drill. Then, the next day, she distributed iodine tablets that my classmates and I obediently took once each week to prevent goiters. As we swallowed, we imagined growing lumps hanging from our necks until people mistook us for turkeys.

Janet Sheridan: Mom's love

I remember coming home from church on Mothers’ Day, looking forward to dinner and mom’s surprise when she opened her presents — a cookie sheet, a three-pack of Dentyne chewing gum and a boxed set of lace-trimmed handkerchiefs — gifts my siblings and I had purchased despite our mother’s repeated claim that all she wanted was an entire day when we didn’t fight, scream, cry or tattle.

Janet Sheridan: Troublesome technology

When my husband and I entered our assigned room in the downtown Denver hotel, we saw an open suitcase on an easy chair, clothes strewn about, and a football game on TV. Joel about-faced, dragged a baffled me back into the corridor, and rushed off to the lobby.

Janet Sheridan: Honoring my siblings — the way we were

In honor of Siblings Day on April 10, I am dedicating this column to my brothers and sisters. I hope they enjoy it. I think most of them might. Being the youngest, JL could have benefited from the six models of exemplary behavior that preceded him, but there were none. So, when still a toddler, he pinched his finger in a church pew during a silent moment and exclaimed, “Damn that hurts,” using his outdoor voice.

Janet Sheridan: First, I worry

I did some tossing and turning the night Joel and I rented a cabin near Steamboat Lake with three other couples so we could cross-country ski. “Why, did I ever agree to this?” I wondered. “Sure, I can shuffle my skis around Craig’s golf course, looking ungainly — but not falling — on its bumps; but this lake has genuine hills, some of which go straight up and straighter down. I’ll die. I’ll surely die. But only after wallowing about and making a fool of myself.”

Janet Sheridan: Thoughts on Presidents Day

Last Monday morning, Presidents Day, I found myself thinking about the contentious muddle in which our nation currently is mired — I worried that we’ll never find our way out of it. This concern dampened the joy I usually find in breakfast, but I comforted myself by remembering that we survived the ‘60s.

Janet Sheridan: Sleepless nights

Have you ever noticed that small concerns become major issues during sleepless nights? The occasional twinge in your molar is an abscess that will result in extraction and dentures. Your son doesn’t call because he thinks your genes have kept him from bowling a perfect game; when you remember there are no bagels for breakfast, it breaks your heart.

Janet Sheridan: Fooled by first impressions

When I met the new teacher from Chicago everyone was buzzing about at the back-to-school reception for employees of the Carson City School District, I thought he looked like a pampered rich boy. Perfectly dressed, groomed, and tanned, he was tall and impossibly handsome with impeccable manners — and dimples.

Janet Sheridan: Things I don’t need in 2014

Though I never buy a Powerball ticket, I fantasize about what I would do if I won. I dream, debate options and decide on only one immediate change: I would never again board an airplane and park my posterior in economy class.

Janet Sheridan: The day after Christmas

My family followed established traditions on the day after Christmas just as we did on the day itself: Dad muttered about bills. Mom took a lengthy nap. The oldest children whined because we’d been left in charge of the youngest, and the youngest played with the empty boxes their toys had come in, chewed on ornaments from the tree and threw things.

Janet Sheridan: Grant us the grace

During the busy buildup to Christmas, I’m going to remind myself to notice simple pleasures and open myself to them, to remember all that I have. I invite you to join me.

Janet Sheridan: Meaningful blessings, gratitude

I’m grateful for the days of autumn splendor that blessed us this year. Although interrupted by colder periods laden with long-awaited moisture, days of generous sunshine filtered through crisp air arrived with gilt-edged invitations, requesting our presence outdoors, and we complied.

Janet Sheridan: Lesser blessings

Once again, I will devote a November column to small personal pleasures most folks ignore when counting their blessings. For example, on Thanksgiving, how many of you will be giving thanks for size eleven shoes?

Janet Sheridan: The adolescent season

I amuse myself by assigning personalities to the seasons: Spring reminds me of youthful rebels optimistically battling the weary veterans of winter. Summer becomes a revered athlete incapable of delivering the 100 percent perfect performance fans expect every outing, and winter is a polar bear magnificent in its power and beauty. This fall, I decided that autumn is a temperamental adolescent.

Janet Sheridan: Becoming a blogger

I started using Facebook a few months ago. When I bragged about doing so to my teenage grandson, he replied: “Hey, nice. But now everybody’s on it, Facebook’s not so cool anymore. All my friends and I have moved on to texting or tweeting.” Well, la-di-da, Mr. Cutting Edge; I guess I’m not an early adapter.

Janet Sheridan: Sketchy motel stories revisited

After my July column that highlighted flaws with motels, I heard from two readers who confessed to odd habits they’ve adopted in order to feel safe when staying in motels. In addition, two others told me about unpleasant experiences they endured when road weary and longing for a good night’s sleep.

Janet Sheridan: Acting my age

I sprouted to unusual heights at an early age. As a result, teachers, baby sitters and forgetful relatives often assumed I was older than my years. Often, when I tattled, cried, pouted or poked a classmate, an adult would say, “Shame on you, Janet, you’re big enough to know better. Act your age.”

A surprise encounter elevates a leisurely stroll

Two years ago, I experienced nature’s magnificence as I walked along one of the many trails that twine behind the Sandrocks like tendrils of spaghetti clinging to a pot. An unexpected — but not uncommon — encounter, it lingers in my memory; and a glimpse of furtive movement, a September sun washing my face, or the spicy smell of sage can instantaneously pull it back into my consciousness.

School fashions of new bring back memories of stricter times

School fashions have changed dramatically since I carried my nap rug into kindergarten wearing a ruffled, polka-dotted dress and lace-trimmed anklets. Every day of every grade of every year from kindergarten through high school graduation, my friends and I wore dresses or coordinated skirts and blouses to class — the majority of them homemade.

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