That was for the “Before Times”

Cookie the Pom reading her work emails with her glasses on. Work from home with dogs
Cookie the Pom reading her work emails with her glasses on. Work from home with dogs
Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

Once again this year, the official Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day was observed— this time virtually, of course. I’m willing to say that at this point of our year, most of us could all use a little bit less of the home-work-life. Because, if your house is like mine, we have been living the TODaSTWD basically every day, for over a year. We walk into each other’s Zoom calls or leave embarrassing laundry bits in the background. …


Then travel restrictions brought him back home

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

We have comfortably passed the marker now — one full year in which my husband has not boarded a plane and travelled somewhere else and slept in a hotel bed, for an average of 10 nights each month. One full year in which our whole family has actually fully lived together. Like, all of the time, for the first time. Ever.

This is my twenty-first year with my husband, seventeen of which we’ve been married, but the longest stretch we’ve ever been in one place together is about three months — and that’s only happened a handful of times. Earlier…


A case for them to become a new Unit of Measurement

When I emailed my Jewish mother-in-law to ask for help with a Passover recipe, here’s what I received.

The subject left no room for confusion:

carrot tzimmes

Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

And then the body of the email got right to the point, without any of the cursory warm-ups or salutations:


Chop onions (1 medium per small bunch of carrots) into small chunks.

As I skimmed through the email, I realized that this was more than just a recipe. All measurements were equated to

a Small Bunch of Carrots

It got me thinking. Could she be proposing “a Small Bunch of Carrots” as a…


They just made climate denial new policy

Last week, the Conservative Party of Canada, finally held their twice-delayed policy convention, this time finally opting for a virtual event. Back in the old days, this would have been held in some massive hotel ballroom, with Party members filling up hotel rooms and spreading around their per diems at local restaurants. This year it was another weekend at home, virtually meeting in “rooms” and listening to speeches broadcast on YouTube.

Canadian Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole (he/him) wearing a face mask with a Canadian flag on it. Photo credit Adrian Wyld for Canadian Press
Canadian Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole (he/him) wearing a face mask with a Canadian flag on it. Photo credit Adrian Wyld for Canadian Press
O’Toole walks to the podium at the start of a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 26, 2021 (CP/Adrian Wyld)

Amid the pandemic disaster, last year the Conservative Party of Canada finally voted for their new leader, by mail-in ballot, over the course of two months. The result was…


What are story beats? Inside of every story are words, duh. But there’s also a lot of math, and I like to call them Story Beats. Good stories have great organization to them, but if they’re really really great, this is totally invisible to the reader. And the good news is that you don’t need to create those story beats from scratch, because they are already very universal. You just need to get a list of them and then fill out the appropriate details for your story. There’s some science to this, and there’s also lots of help to get…


I’m making 4 small shifts

Image of a giant number 4 in a parking garage. Image Jordan Graff
Image of a giant number 4 in a parking garage. Image Jordan Graff
Photo by Jordan Graff on Unsplash

It’s been a helluva year. I can’t count how many days that work bled into the school, school bled into parenting, and parenting bled into chaos, and so it repeated, in a very much Groundhogian way.

These days it’s occurring to me how much I miss hugging my friends, and my mom, who as a widow hasn’t had a hug from anyone — in over a year. I’m trying to recall what the hum of a buzzing city actually felt like, what it was like to squeeze into a subway at rush hour, run in a marathon with thousands of…


And how the pandemic has only made them worse

It was complete happenstance that the same week the WHO publicly declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, was also the same week that we celebrate International Women’s Day. But isn’t that such a deep and dark irony, as we look back on this last year?

Women marching in Washington 2017 for the international women’s march
Women marching in Washington 2017 for the international women’s march
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

I celebrate women on this day…But I want to scream even louder.

Yes, women around the world are amazing. They are achieving incredible, heroic, incredible feats, the world over. And we must continue to celebrate that…but at some point, that’s also not the only point. We should also take stock of what we have lost this…


Some surprising things happened

There are no ladies nights. No casual dinner parties. No school fundraisers or lunches with friends. No bring-friend-along just because. No receptions, no launches, no opening nights, no birthday bashes or graduations, no special decade-milestone events.

Each new week yawns open to a sea of not much.

Photo of the horizon with dark clouds and sun peaking out from behind.
Photo of the horizon with dark clouds and sun peaking out from behind.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

It’s easy to get down on this fact. Our social lives have been cut down to the necessities of connection: Those in our immediate family, or our defined Bubble Family (if such a thing exists) and perhaps our close by neighbours whom we see incidentally, or the people who walk dogs on the…


19 days short of living through two pandemics

There was a day I can remember in the backyard of my childhood home, with my grandmother. She’s sitting on a lounge chair with her feet up. Her bunion-curled toes are sticking out of her tan leather open-toed sandals, second toe slightly crossed over her big toe. It’s warm outside, but not hot. She’s sipping a cool drink, iced tea maybe. It was the spring of 1982.

Grandma, Madge, is crying, a slow awkward cry. The kind that tears slip down your cheeks at quiet intervals. She’s not weeping, not making heaving sounds. Just quietly and shaking her head, muttering…

Samantha Hodder

Audio Producer, Writer | Host of This is Our Time podcast | Insta: @ThisIsOurTimePodcast | ESCAPE Your STORY | Start here ~ bit.ly/15Bworksheet

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