Because neurotic is the new black....

Ann Nichols

Ann Nichols
East Lansing, Michigan,
December 31
I write, I read, I clean up after people and I worry about things. I have a chronic insufficiency of ironic detachment. My birthday isn't really December 31; it's March 22 but it won't let me change it.


Ann Nichols's Links

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 3, 2010 9:41AM

So It Isn't "Top Chef...".

As of today, I have had my job cooking at a large, Protestant church for five months. I had imagined it as a kind of "Top Chef: Church."  In reality it tends to be more like a combination of “Upstairs, Downstairs” and some kind of circus in which animals are replaced… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 28, 2010 8:28AM


The world is full of filler, for better or worse. There is “good” filler, like the kind of paper one uses to give purpose to a three-ring binder, and “bad” filler like the slimy stuff injected into lunch meat, the exhausted lettuce and weary tomatoes insinuated into innocent s… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 20, 2010 8:26AM

The Unimagined Perils of Majoring in English

In the midst of doing the "Times" crossword, I came upon this clue: "A pressing device." Four letters. I had only an "I," which was the first letter. My mind, steel trap that it is, flew immediately to devices of the literary sort - "Irony" was too long, "Pathetic Fallacy" was… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 19, 2010 7:37AM

The World is My Oyster

My introduction to oysters came  in college, where I had a roommate (let's call her "Ellen") who was one of the most unattractive specimens of humanity I have encountered in my years on earth. I am not referring to her physical appearance; I'm not that shallow. Her significant deficits had

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Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 14, 2010 10:15AM

The Gift of a Mix Tape - Updated with Videos

A young colleague recently asked if I thought he could be as cool as I am when he grows up. The question elicited both hot-cheeked pride and the urge to laugh; I was, for many years, the most resolutely, hopelessly un-cool person in the tri-state area. My clothes were wrong, IRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 8, 2010 8:27AM

A Halloween Madeleine

I am a person who remembers absolutely everything. I remember being sick when I was two years old and believed (one, hopes, due to fever and not psychopathology) that tiny men were marching out of my laundry hamper. I remember the first day of kindergarten, the exact words in the noteRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 17, 2010 9:27AM


In childhood I flirted briefly with thoughts of becoming a nurse (like Cherry Ames, Student Nurse) or a hockey player. By eighth grade, I wanted to be a cross between Louisa May Alcott and Sylvia Plath, writing my days away and experiencing delicious forms of torment that I could spin into… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 3, 2010 8:50AM

Fall-ing Happily

Years ago, when “Color Me Beautiful” was all the rage, I “had my colors done.” I turned out to be an “Autumn,” which didn’t surprise me in the least - in every possible way, from my reddish hair to the deepest reaches of my soul, I am a fall girl. This… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 9:28AM

The Can Guys

Moral dilemmas are much easier when contemplated from a distance. I can orate with great passion about various social injustices, the raising of other peoples’ children, and Arizona’s immigration policy. I feel a personal obligation to force myself not to look away from ugliness, brutalit… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 26, 2010 9:23AM



A friend who attended my recent high school reunion sent me a message last night: “Have you looked at my montage? Why no comment?”  If I were a sane and reasonable person I would immediately look at the pictures and send a message telling him what a great job he/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 23, 2010 11:56AM

Reunited, and it Feels...Okay

“Our Lips Are Sealed”

-The Go Gos


I have been trying, for an entire day, to think about how to write about my 30th High School reunion. If I went all Kitty Kelly on its ass, I could write something that would enthrall, entertain and probably make/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 11, 2010 9:32AM

Caffeinate, Meditate, Run.

When “Eat, Pray, Love” first wormed itself into my consciousness I was conflicted. I had a friend who loved it, and who actually bought me a copy because “every woman should read it.” So I had a copy. I had another friend who described author Elizabeth Gilbert as insufferably… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 27, 2010 9:09AM

Zucchini My Family Will Eat (Happily)


We are not suffering from an abundance of zucchini, so I have no excuse. Folks seem to complain about that problem at this time of year, and are quick to offer bags of the stuff to anyone willing to take it. Magazines and websites feature recipes to "use up

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Editor’s Pick
JULY 8, 2010 9:03AM

All In Your Head

We like to imagine a very specific relationship between our minds and our bodies. In this relationship our mind is in charge, always calling the shots. Our legs don’t decide between the soba and udon noodles; our brain does. We rarely consult our spleen about the necessity of a breakup o/…

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Editor’s Pick
JUNE 28, 2010 9:28AM

Summertime Blues

I have long wondered whether people really like summer, or whether it’s simply a reflexive response based on years of associating the season with a break from school. If we had three months off starting in September, would we worship autumn with uncritical passion? If we had spent youthful spr… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 25, 2010 2:27PM

Bring on the Flaming Torches..........

My name is Ann, and I’m a Democrat married to a Republican. I have never written about politics on Open Salon, and I may never write about them again. It is certainly not my natural choice of subject matter, particularly because I am thin-skinned and conflict-avoidant. This morning, I read some… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 18, 2010 1:09PM

One Less Worry

Like an extraordinarily confused variety of snail, my son Sam leaves a trail of boy slime as he passes through the house. This morning, in the hour between his father’s repeated exhortations to “get up NOW” and the time his ride appeared in the driveway he left dirty clothes on the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 14, 2010 9:13AM

What Would You Do?

I have just finished reading an excellent blog post about the disappearance of a little boy in Oregon who vanished from school after his stepmother took him to visit his tree frog exhibit at the science fair. The post addressed the fact that there was much speculation about the st/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 4, 2010 7:49AM

The New York Times: A Love Story

Two weeks ago, I swallowed my shock at spending over six dollars for a newspaper, and bought a  Sunday New York Times. It was a revelation, a joy and so completely absorbing that I periodically had to remind myself to stop reading, and do something useful. Comparisons are odious and all, bu… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 26, 2010 10:02AM

The Places I Can't Forget

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” -Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

There is a basic tenet in Buddhism that the only reality is what is happening now. The past exists only in our heads, muddled by our own unavoidable perspectives and biases, and the future may/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 24, 2010 8:43AM

Apples and Sheep

The real issue is the phone. I am almost at the end of the contract that binds me to Verizon and to my pink Blackberry Curve. It hasn’t been a bad run; I’ve never had an issue with Verizon aside from their draconian tendency to declare a payment “late” five minutesRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 21, 2010 10:56AM

Matters Domestic

Leroy got a better job so we moved
Kevin lost a tooth, he’s started school
I’ve got a brand new eight month old baby girl
I sound like a housewife
Hey Chel, I think I’m a housewife

-”Anchorage,” Michelle Shocked

My parents both worked, and they had an enviable and sane balRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 17, 2010 10:03AM

Shall We Gather at the White Board?

Although I am not a fundamentally querulous person, there are things that I really, really hate.  Many of them , including clowns and bridal showers with games, are easily avoided if one eschews the circus and develops the habit of sending of a lovely gift after declining the shower invitation b… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 12, 2010 8:06AM

What I Wore

I’ve been watching a lot of  things on TV that have made me think about my clothes, past and present. (Before I tell you what I was watching I must say, in my defense, that since I have actually read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Middle English, I am allowed to/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 11, 2010 10:28AM

Not a Happy Camper

"To put it rather bluntly, I am not the type who wants to go back to the land; I am the type who wants to go back to the hotel."

-Fran Lebowitz

During the seven years in which I lived in Boston, I was completely safe from the specter of

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