please don’t ask me how to pronounce it

Help, I’m stuck in this word and can’t get out!

Me standing on the frozen shore of Lake Michigan

As I “stand” (versus finding me in the fetal position until this is all over), how do I embrace identity, time, community, and the “new way”? I do feel ambiguity and disorientation. I thought it was just menopause. I thought it was the 25-year itch . . . I had no idea I was caught in liminality.


and why I won’t let it happen anymore

Photo is property of author.

When I posted a new profile picture on Facebook, I never thought I would receive so many negative comments via messenger about my teeth.

I did wear Invisalign for way longer than I should have, and it still isn’t quite right — but it’s coming to an end soon, I hope. At the urging of my fantastic dentist, I started the process of straightening my teeth. …


Why keeping your vibes high matters

Photo by Denis Agati on Unsplash

The other day, hubs sent a video of a lawyer on a zoom call who couldn’t get his cat filter off. In the video, the exchange went something like this:

Lawyer 1: I’m not a cat.

Lawyer 2: I know you aren’t a cat.

Hang on . . . I had to stop writing to laugh. Not just laugh but then blow my nose and wipe the tears from my eyes. I can’t stop laughing about just the thought of this simple exchange. My sides will ache when I wake up tomorrow morning.

I don’t laugh like this often, but when it happens, it stays with me.

When my kids were little, I laughed…


Creating a new life in my 50's

My desire to take up less room on this planet.

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

April 22, 2009

It was Earth Day and I had several projects planned for our homeschool day. One of the highlights of the day was watching the Oprah show where they would feature plastic in the ocean with devoted explored and activist Fabien Cousteau, following after his grandfather, undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau (whom I thought was the sexist man alive while I was growing up — French, nature guy, a great laugh — hang on, I need a moment.) Growing up in Michigan near all the Great Lakes and spending my summers on a lake, Jacques and I shared a love of water…


My summer fling with Zingerman’s Gazpacho

Aren’t these colors beautiful? Photo: Renee Tarantowski

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” — Lao Tzu

I use this phrase often. Especially as I teach my own kids how to cook (and make videos for them.) Not only do I teach them my way — I teach them ALL the different ways of creating food you love. For instance, I’ve taught them how to make coffee in the pot, in the percolator, in the French Press, a pour-over, and on the campfire. Then they decide for themselves what they…


After a year to get $h*t done, what did I really accomplish?

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

My year of renunciation was a personal success — 12 Months of Minimalism. I did journal every day; I haven’t eaten meat, I haven’t had a drink, I stayed off social media — for the most part. I’m very proud of myself for making a pact with myself and keeping it. Oh, and I also became my own best friend. I hope you enjoy reading the update as much as I revelled in writing it.

  1. Lose 100 pounds. That did NOT happen. But what did happen is I found out why I can’t lose weight. It is because I have…


When motherhood turns back to womanhood

One on the bus, one walking to the bus stop, one left early for a club, one still in bed. Oddly, I’m not sad.

Our morning walk to the bus stop

I’ve been planning for this day.

For years when the kids walked out the door, they took bits of me like strength, courage, determination, and passion with them, leaving a sobbing shell of a woman. Lately, I’ve secretly gathered all of those parts of me, and in the kids, I planted seeds of courage, determination, strength, and passion for nurturing and growing in themselves.


I never knew there was a name for how I’ve felt since high school. It is arrival fallacy.

Photo by Charlotte Karlsen on Unsplash

Let me just say; I’m not a mental health professional. I’m a health and wellness writer connecting the dots between science and the human experience.

Here where I live in IL, they have 8th-grade graduations. The school hypes up the entire school year of 8th grade like it is some big huge accomplishment. I don’t get it. Partly because of where I came from (Michigan the greatest state of all) — we don’t have 8th-grade graduations. Why would you do that? The kids have 4 more years of high school and then possibly 4 more years after that! If you…


A lesson in modern homemaking

one of the few idioms my mom said that didn’t contain a swear word

Growing up with Farmer’s Sayings

“Rain before 7, quit before 11.”

“Never plant until the lilacs bloom.”

“Red sky at night, sailors delight.”

“Clear as a bell, colder than hell.”

And of course, “Waste not, want not.”

The list goes on and little sayings come out of my mouth without even thinking. I grew up in a community of apron-wearing Polish women who wore sensible shoes. A glance held an hour of conversation and any one of these sentences muttered set them into motion. This year, I waited to plant my flowers until . . . my lilacs bloomed. …


A quote to make us pause and reflect

“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” Carl Jung

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Editorial Note: I have had this in draft form for a very long time. In 2019, I decided that 2020 would be a year of renunciation. It was possibly the best year of my life. I felt free, open, and ended up becoming my own best friend.

Damn, Carl!

In this year of self-reflection, wondering how the unlived parts of my life have impacted my kids. …

renee tarantowski

Health and Wellness Writer, Adventurous Momma to 4 teenagers/adults, healer, teacher, traveler. My life is a contradiction documented in notebooks.

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