It’s not so much a list of accomplishments as a portrait of a life

I despise having my picture taken but I like to document fun experiences. This collage includes a couple of post-race photos from a few years ago plus selfies from some theme parties my husband and I threw for ourselves during the pandemic. Because that’s how we roll. And yes, we do have a disco ball in our dining room. Doesn’t everyone?

I’ve been many things throughout the course of my life, and I suppose they all add up to who I am now.

I am a small-college-town, Ohio-born daughter, a wife, a mom of cats. I am a global product manager by day and a writer in all the spare moments, the nooks and crannies of time I can steal for myself.

I was a student and I have the degrees to prove it (BS in Magazine Journalism, MBA in Marketing, what seems like many years ago) but my love of learning is perpetual, eternal. …


Twenty years later, as violent crime increases in my suburban Cleveland neighborhood, I’m reliving the trauma

Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

Heading west across the Kinzie Street Bridge over the Chicago River after work one night, I saw him approaching me on the deserted sidewalk. Head down, bracing against the frosty winter air, his scarf was pulled up over his face, bandana-style.

That itself wasn’t cause for alarm. It was early December in the Windy City and the gales were brutal.

He and I were the only pedestrians on the bridge, though the city street was teeming with commuter traffic.

Something about the situation gave me pause, though. Now, almost 20 years later, I can’t recall exactly what bothered me. …


Riff Summer Challenge

Loudon Wainright III’s “The Swimming Song” is my personal time machine

Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Loudon Wainright III’s “The Swimming Song”, the first track from his 1973 album Attempted Mustache, is the epitome of summer. I’ve always loved it for its lilting simplicity.

It’s a perfect time machine song, transporting me back to days when life was far less complicated. My only complaint, in fact, is that it needs to be a minute or so longer.

“This summer I went swimming
This summer I might have drowned
But I held my breath and I kicked my feet
And I moved my arms around
I moved my arms around

This summer I swam in the ocean
And…


Vegetarian Cuisine

10 delicious meat-free recipes to help you celebrate

Photo by Daniel Hooper on Unsplash

Lately, it seems there is a national or international “day” for just about everything, and foods are no exception.

Stuffed Mushroom Day, anyone? Something on a Stick Day? Or, let’s celebrate Clams on the Half Shell Day!

How oddly specific.

Across the United States, we’re getting ready for Independence Day — planning our menus, cleaning our grills, stocking our coolers, and deciding who to invite for the holiday cookout.

If you’re used to being the only vegetarian at your family’s 4th of July celebration, fear not. As it turns out, July 4th is International Independence from Meat Day too.

Originally…


If your neighbor leaves a bag on your doorstep, rejoice!

Photo by Primal Felines on Unsplash

Hooray! It’s zucchini season in Northeast Ohio where I live. Chances are (if you reside in North America) it’s in season where you live too.

If you don’t think this is cause for celebration, read on!

I recognize that zucchini’s time of plenty may evoke memories of zucchini bread, a few jokes, and a chorus of groans.

It might bring to mind more than one rural legend involving people with large gardens leaving zucchini in their neighbors’ cars and mailboxes or sending small children to hang bags of it from doorknobs before ringing the bell and scurrying away.

I joyously…


I wanted a flipping SANDWICH but I got a lesson in meditation instead

Public domain image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/

There’s nothing in the refrigerator today.

Well, that’s a flat-out lie, as you can imagine, so let me clarify. There’s nothing that I want to eat. The span between grocery cycles is winding down and I’m in that no-man’s-land of the last few days before I shop.

While I’m feeling tempted to just gnaw on a block of cheese, I figure I should have something a bit more substantial than that.

I’m tired of hummus. All the leftovers are gone. A few lonely hamburger and hot dog buns, with nothing to put on them, languish on the top shelf because…


When my favorite breweries switched to aluminum, it was time to rethink my anti-can bias

Great Lakes Brewing Company beers that are currently in my fridge — image courtesy of the author

Drinking beer from cans has always created a low-end association in my mind. It takes me back to being a teenager, chugging Busch or Natty Light in the back of someone’s car on a random Tuesday night as we careened through the Southeast Ohio hills on winding country roads.

I grew up, as we all do, and over the decades my beer palate (and my tolerance for risk) changed. Yes, I became a bit of a beer snob, I suppose, though I’ll rarely turn up my nose at a cold one if someone’s offering.

My preconceived notion that high-end beer…


Travel, freedom, symbolism, and escape

Photo by Balazs Busznyak on Unsplash

It used to be you could hop a train to just about anywhere. You’d have your choice of an express or a local, with regular, dependable routes.

These days, it’ll take you 15 hours to get from Harrisburg, PA to Cleveland, a 325-mile jaunt through the Allegheny Mountains.

I, unfortunately, know all about this because I researched taking a train home after an unexpected emergency room stop during a business trip. I was unable to drive my rental car back to Cleveland but was worried about flying with severe, newly diagnosed sudden onset vertigo. …


When friends die, music helps us grieve and carries us through

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

How do we explain the passing of people in our lives who were supposed to be immortal? I’ve lost two dear friends since mid-April, one of them just this morning: First Rob, a blazing star black hole supernova, and then Mark, a kind, never-met-a-stranger, hippie teddy bear (if it’s even possible to describe legends in so few words).

My peripheral vision plays tricks on me as if I could catch a glimpse of their shadows, to my left and then my right, painting postcard memories of times when all of us were so very much younger but maybe wiser too.


Surprise! Money isn’t one of them.

Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

In some ways, it’s almost comical — News Break, the platform writers love to hate. Whether in Medium articles we’ve written (myself included) or posts within the Facebook News Break Official Creator Community, we grumble and moan, carp and whine.

We complain that our articles aren’t published fast enough or protest when they’re rejected and we don’t know why. We tell anyone who will listen that we’ll be out the door once the coveted base pay is discontinued.

Of course, there are a few chipper folks in the Facebook group who remind us that we should be grateful for the…

Kathryn Dillon

Life’s a journey. Sometimes a peaceful hike in the woods, sometimes a screaming joyride down a dark highway. I’m on a quest to discover my truth by sharing it.

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