Carolynne Estis

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Most of my family is only at our “home” during the Christmas holidays. Because our time there is short, generally spanning between American Thanksgiving and New Years, my dad likes to plan enormous projects that cannot possibly be completed in the time allowed. The result is like something out of Star Trek, when Captain Kirk is yelling at Scotty to fix the engines in the next thirty seconds while Scotty insists that it will take at least six ... (Continue reading)

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Dignity for All


In all the debates that are going on in the world, there is, perhaps, none that are so relative as that which surrounds abortion, and each January brings that argument into the spotlight. Science tells us that life begins at conception, and yet, if someone wants an unborn child, then it is a baby, a blessing to be loved and cherished. But if no one wants it, if it is imperfect or for some other reason “undesirable,” then it is ... (Continue reading)

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The Power of Thanksgiving

By Underwood & Underwood. (War Dept.) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

November 28th was Thanksgiving here in the United States. This year Thanksgiving appears to be the least appreciated holiday of the year. For the most part, stores skipped straight from Halloween to Christmas and, of course, great shopping deals that surround Thanksgiving are the primary focus of advertisers. To be honest, Thanksgiving is just about my least favourite holiday. I don’t really like roast turkey, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes—or washing dishes. I find it slightly irritating when people go on and ... (Continue reading)

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Be not a bison

A few weeks ago, as my family drove through South Dakota, we spotted a small herd of bison in a cramped, muddy pen. It was sad enough to cause my mother to remark that they were mere shadows of their former selves. Bison invoke imagery of thousands of mighty bovine beasts roaming free across open prairies. You think of snow-covered bison in Yellowstone and adorable little brown bison calves romping among spring flowers. You do not think of sad, scraggly, ... (Continue reading)

The Secret Life of the American Fairy Tale

It's pretty easy these days to see that the world isn't doing so well. Babies are murdered by the thousands because they are inconvenient, divorce rates are sky-high, and the government of the country that once played the role of superhero for the world has shut itself down for the personal gain of its members. It’s obvious that the world, in accordance with its habits, has gotten pretty messed up. Of course, life is not a fairy tale, as people ... (Continue reading)

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Eating Corn

When I was growing up, my family planted a vegetable garden almost every summer. It was never a very big garden, just big enough for a decent crop of corn, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and watermelons. When I was little, I thought the food we grew was the absolute best in the world. Now that I’m a grown-up and have some more objectivity, I’m pretty sure I was right. The downside of growing up eating what was arguably the best fresh food ... (Continue reading)

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The Idiot Within

When my family is actually home, we live very close to the main route to the beach. Starting around Spring Break, the roads suddenly clog up with all the many, many people who just want to go to the beach and relax. Fridays and Sundays tend to be the most congested, and Sundays are usually the worst. One Sunday, back when my youngest brother could truthfully be called “little,” we were driving home from Mass. The beach traffic was in full ... (Continue reading)

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The trouble with revolutions

In the first chapter of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Emma Orczy paints a gruesome image of the dark side of revolutions. She writes that the people watching executions like a spectator sport are “a surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and hate.” And of those being executed, she writes, “Their ancestors had oppressed ... (Continue reading)

Redeeming Grief

I think that the worst part of being upset about something is the side effects that come from crying. Just a few tears and suddenly you have a runny nose and a headache and then not only do you feel miserable emotionally, but you are wiped out physically as well. It almost feels like an allergy to grief, which kind of makes sense. Earlier this week, I took my dog to the vet and got pretty much the worst news anyone ... (Continue reading)

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Lessons from Picasso

I love art—particularly paintings. I love the way that paintings have their own language, where so much can be conveyed in a single image. Generally, I prefer classical works. I’m not big on modern works, and up until a few years ago, there were absolutely no modern artists in my favorites list. Then one day, quite by accident, I fell in love with Picasso. It was all because of a single work, painted in 1896 when Picasso was a mere fourteen ... (Continue reading)

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