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Jill Pertler

Slices of Life

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication." More columns are available at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

All thumbs
By Jill Pertler

When I was in school — and dinosaurs roamed the Earth — everyone took a class called Typewriting 101. We wrote about the quick brown fox and lazy dog using our eight fingers without hardly any effort from our thumbs. My right thumb was responsible for only one button — the space bar. My left thumb had the day off.

Today kids learn keyboarding and have probably never laid eyes on a typewriter,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:43 PM
Having it all
By Jill Pertler

There’s been a renewed media buzz on the age-old topic of women having it all. Career plus family equals success. Cameron Diaz fueled the discussion with an announcement about not wanting kids, because in her words, “It’s so much more work to have children.”

In another publicized conversation, Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo and mother of two (not necessarily in that order) admitted she doesn’t think women can have it all. “We pretend we can have it all,” she said during an interview for The Atlantic. She also confessed she’s not sure her two daughters

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 12:13 PM
The patio project
By Jill Pertler

I am tired. My back is sore. My arms ache. My husband put me through the ropes this weekend. He had me completely tied up with yard work.

Our little project involved considerable moving of earth and sod as well as lifting and placement of 4,524 pounds of patio blocks. But that’s just an estimate.

We’ve always been do-it-yourselfers. We enjoy proj­ecting together. Some couples are good at recreating. If they found an extra pile of cash they’d go out for a night on the town. We’d purchase a bunch of lumber or maybe resurface the driveway. Give us a garden that needs planting,

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 2:11 PM
Picture perfect
By Jill Pertler

When my kids were babies, I took lots of photos, always hoping to get the one perfect shot. This was during the prehistoric predigital age, when cameras required film and film required developing. You couldn’t take a million pictures and preview them on your screen. You had to send them away and pay to have them printed. One by one by one.

Back then, I couldn’t tell a megapixel from a winning lottery ticket, but I knew I’d be able to recognize the perfect shot when I saw it. Trouble was, after hundreds of developed photos, I still hadn’t seen it.

I burned through scores of 35mm rolls, peering

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 10:49 AM
A watched pot
By Jill Pertler

At our house, my husband browns the hamburger. I don’t have the patience for it. I go in with the best of intentions. I place the ground beef in the pan, turn on the heat and grab my spatula. Then I get sidetracked — with the potatoes or maybe the corn, sorting through the mail, answering the phone, twiddling my thumbs, Googling the area code for Paris.

I like to consider myself the ultimate multitasker. Unfortunately that’s bad news for the hamburger.

Under my watch, it lies helpless and forgotten,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:15 PM
Survey says . . .
By Jill Pertler

We’ve all partaken in the occasional survey, whether it be for business (customer feedback), pleasure (what’s your personality type), political purposes (donkey or elephant) or just to get a head count of your household (U.S. census). Back in the day, I used to peruse my Seventeen™ magazine in search of a survey about boyfriend types or what my nail polish color said about me. In college I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality inventory to find out if I was an INFP (or maybe it was an ESTJ.) Even TV is dependent on surveys — the Nielsen ratings and Family Feud couldn’t exist without them.

Questionnaires, inventories, surveys — whatever you want to call them — have been around for eons. The concept is ancient, literally. According to my sources, the Babylonians were the first known society to survey the population in the form of a census. They counted people,

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:20 AM
Charger envy
By Jill Pertler

It’s become an integral part of my family’s everyday life: Charging. And I’m not talking about the kind you do at a store with a plastic rectangle, although I am proud to announce we are pre-approved at least once a week.

Plugging in has become a part of our daily routine and at my house we’re suffering from a new-millennium malady — charger envy. It all stems from cellphones. You’ve got to keep them powered up if you want to stay connected. A solid connection is required if you want instant access to reddit, and who doesn’t?

My family is preoccupied with keeping

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:58 PM
The day of Doug
By Jill Pertler

He bounded into the yard Saturday morning around 10 — unannounced and uninvited — with an enthusiasm usually reserved for squirrels. He was off-putting at first, in part because of his exuberance and in part because of his mouth. It had teeth and a tongue and when it comes to unknown dogs, you’re never sure which is going to take precedence. Thankfully, this 80-pound transient was all tail wags and slobbery kisses.

But I didn’t know that during the first moments of our meeting. He was a strange dog. I even said it out loud, “Hello, strange dog.” I could tell right away that wasn’t his name, so I decided to call him “Dog.” No one wants to be strange.

It was one of those day-changing or weekend-changing

Tuesday, June 03, 2014 10:10 AM
Half-empty nesters
By Jill Pertler

Fledgling birds know instinctively when it is time to leave the nest. Thing is, for them there is no going back. Bird nests are high up in trees, making it impossible for baby birds to hop back up. Once they jump out, they are on the ground and must learn to find food, fly, get up early and otherwise survive on their own. Baby birds do not have any time for hokey pokey or fooling around. Move it or lose it never took on such meaning.

Empty nester is the term used to describe a parent whose children have grown up and flown the coop, leaving the nest empty. Or so the theory goes.

Fledgling humans, otherwise known as 18-year-olds,

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:59 PM
Car talk
By Jill Pertler

As drivers, we all possess certain pieces of equipment related to the operation of our vehicles. A license is a good start. Keys are a necessary second. GPS comes in handy for new and distant destinations. We all understand the importance of plenty of window washer fluid and regular oil changes. Car air fresheners work as fragrant reminders of a tropical island while on the Interstate. All these items help make life on the road safer and easier. But something’s missing. It’s a tool that we don’t have — yet — but I wish we did. It involves communication. Not with your passengers. Not with your spouse via cellphone, but with those who share the road with you. Drivers have a need to communicate

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 9:46 AM

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