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Up the Beach — Travel the backroads and admire autumn

Autumn has officially arrived according to the calendar, but the beachers all know it’s here because you can still drive the backroads admiring the beginning blush of fall colors and listen to the purr of Kenworths, the powerful growl of the Peterbilts and the heavy sounds of a Mack changing gears on a hill.

The Rock Doc — Forensic science meets nuclear chemistry

As a kid, I read the Sherlock Holmes stories and the mysteries of Agatha Christie. As an adult, I wrote four mysteries that focused on a Quaker heroine solving crimes she happened across in her religious community. (I published them using my grandmother’s name — Irene Allen — as a pseudonym.) And, as a geologist, I’ve read about real-life criminal investigations that involved samples of sand and soil.

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The Rock Doc — What antibiotics may be doing to us

It’s astonishing to think about, but when my grandfather was born, tuberculosis was the number one cause of death in our country. Worse still, one in five children didn’t live to see their fifth birthday, in large part due to endemic and epidemic diseases. Today that’s all changed.

Using mother tongue makes family conversation difficult

Dear Abby: My son married an educated professional woman from another country. When their twins were born, my daughter-in-law immersed them in her native language so it would become their mother tongue. Although I understand and respect the benefits of being bilingual, this caused a lot of communication gaps and frustration between us and the grandkids during their early years.

Day care operator needs a timeout for her mouth

Dear Abby: My neighbor has a registered day care business, and every day I hear her screaming at young children and infants. They are all 4-year-olds and younger. We live in a rural area outside a small town. She uses profanity and says mean things to them. It makes me want to cry when I think of how scared those kids must be.

Wife is unwilling to shoulder burden of mother-in-law’s care

Dear Abby: My mother-in-law is 80 and in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She lives alone an hour and a half from us. She also has a professional who takes care of her once a week. My husband, “Fred,” goes to help and entertain her every weekend, and I sometimes accompany him. She has enough money to stay in an assisted living facility, but Fred wants to build a mother-in-law apartment for her on our property.