Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Cascadian Farm
August 30th, 2014 | 6:00am

Were taking a two-week August break from publishing new content. Please enjoy these hand-picked selections from our print and digital archives. Original writing, audio, and visual features will resume on September 1. Happy August!

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Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Cascadian Farm

In a country so hot, and with such sugar hunger, you’d think the frozen dairy dessert field in Abu Dhabi would be crowded. But the United Arab Emirates is a relatively new country, with few home-grown stores, so imported chocolates and native dates dominate the sweet shops. When it comes to ice cream, a dozen kinds of Baskin Robbins is all there is. In grocery stores, there’s Häagen-Dazs too, but it’s the jagged, sickly pink BR that dominates each and every city superblock, including one on the ground floor of our Abu Dhabi apartment building—right next to the ATM. . . . [Click here to read more] 

August 29th, 2014 | 6:00am

Were taking a two-week August break from publishing new content. Please enjoy these hand-picked selections from our print and digital archives. Original writing, audio, and visual features will resume on September 1. Happy August!

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My sister remembers wondering, when she was a kindergartner, if the sky really looked like her classmates’ drawings of it: a blue stripe on the tops of their papers with white space separating it from the stick figures below. She remembers having a significant childhood realization when she looked out the window and saw that the sky was not only above her, but all around her. From then on, she colored her entire paper blue. . . . [Click here to read more]

Photo by author
August 28th, 2014 | 6:00am

Were taking a two-week August break from publishing new content. Please enjoy these hand-picked selections from our print and digital archives. Original writing, audio, and visual features will resume on September 1. Happy August!

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Photo by author

In every family, traditional portraits are hung up or carried around: cousins arrayed before a monument, parents holding their grandchildren, long-gone ancestors smiling from a black and white beyond. Though we cherish their aura, the faces and places remain static.

By contrast, Rachel Barrett composes images that could be candid or staged, but we often cannot guess which. . . . [Click here to read more]

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Sindri Skúlason
August 27th, 2014 | 6:00am

Were taking a two-week August break from publishing new content. Please enjoy these hand-picked selections from our print and digital archives. Original writing, audio, and visual features will resume on September 1. Happy August!

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Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Sindri Skúlason

I’m carting a 55-inch flat-screen

to the car when I’m surprised

by sounds I haven’t heard

for some time and can’t believe

I’m hearing here—the nasally peent, peent

of a woodcock broadcasting its call

from the fields beside this new Wal-Mart. [Click here to read more]

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Deborah-D
August 26th, 2014 | 6:00am

Were taking a two-week August break from publishing new content. Please enjoy these hand-picked selections from our print and digital archives. Original writing, audio, and visual features will resume on September 1. Happy August!

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Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Deborah-D

A vinyl sombrero. A needlepoint rendition of Gainsborough’s Blue Boy.  A macramé lawn chair.  If you go to the thrift store with a specific item in mind, you probably won’t find it.  You’ll find something else.  I forage for the else. 

My relationship with the thrift store started a few months after my life-partner died and I dropped off the first bag of clothes he wouldn’t be wearing any more.  Before that, in the early weeks of mourning, I couldn’t let anything go.  Taking bookmarks out of his books, or emptying his pockets of keys or chapstick, could capsize me. . . . [Click here to read more]