How can crappy Dr. Scholl’s cost more than My Beloved Birkies?

More than 40 years ago, I had an affair with a guy named Dr. Scholl. He’d come up with this exercise sandal that was a wooden knockoff of the original Birkenstock model, the Madrid, fashioned from cork and leather. A cheap alternative.

We were inseparable through two summers of clomping and flopping up the stairs, one the bike, through the grocery story. Dad hated him — er, them — referred to as “Those Damn Woods.”

He threw them out the car window after a particularly exasperating driving lesson.

I took my sweet time, but I finally got around to buying the real deal. Worth the wait. Love my Birkies.

But can this be? Just looked up Dr. Scholl’s on Amazon. Retail for the wooden version is $88? The version with a “flexible solid unit footbed,” what we used to refer to as “Plastics,” is 40 bucks? How can these pretenders be so pretentious.

I’m lovin’ my $79.95 Madrids even more.

Doctors capture “Hearts and Minds” of African-American boys

Divine Intervention tapped me gently on the should about a year and a half ago, when I applied for a temporary job at Catholic Health World, a publication devoted to sharing news, innovation and inspiration among faith-based health systems. I served as a maternity replacement for four months, writing about the struggles and triumphs of keeping alive the dream of women religious who strove to serve the poor more than a century ago. Despite a harsh economic climate, these hospitals, clinics and health systems foster their spirit in projects across the globe.

The gift keeps on giving, as I continue to write for them. One of my favorite stories was just published: this one is about a partnership between Mercy Health in Ohio and an organization called Hearts and Minds. The program includes African-American doctors who serve as role models for boys with an interest in health- or science-related careers. The doctors spend time showing the boys the ins and outs of their careers and offer a helping hand with studies and science projects.

Would love to see more projects like this in cities across the country.

Two-for-one in “Terrain”

Terrain, the region’s premier source for news and features about outdoor and endurance sports, is growing up. What started as a quarterly publication has expanded to six issues a year. Working with them has been an honor and a ball, so it’s kinda neat to see the publication grow.

My work is well-represented in the January-February 2017 issue. Included is a feature on RAAM, the Race Across America. It profiles local cyclists who
competed and Joe Ferguson, the owner of Revolution Cycles in Washington, Mo.,  who serves as host of a timing station. Each of them can scolleen3pin a ripping yarn about the beauty, mayhem and suffering of a cross-country bike race.

The second story is a Q&A with Colleen Quigley, aka @steeple_squigs, a graduate of Nerinx Hall High who finished eighth in the steeplechase in the Rio Olympics. She is many things to many people: model, little sister, coach’s daughter. Most importantly, she has become her own woman.

I hope you enjoy getting to know each of them.