UpSide down—grab some cheese and whine


I swore it wouldn’t come to this. I would never be one of those people…you know, the ones who start a blog and then let it die. No siree, I was going to start strong and stay strong. I did (start strong) but I didn’t (stay strong). There are lots of reasons. Want some? I found getting up at 4:30 in … Read More

Make Minnesota Nice Again


Dear Peoples, I have a new campaign to start, vitally important and guaranteed to make a difference. It doesn’t need politicians to make it happen. It needs me. And it needs you. I want to help Make Minnesota Nice Again. Remember that? People from other places would come here and say the people are so nice. We smile at strangers. … Read More

Dear New President—the letter I’ll send on Nov. 9

Illustration of president seals with the names of the two presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on them.

I have decided that what is making me the most frustrated/sad/fearful about this election for president is not which candidate wins, but the incredible power being given to a single person and a single election. Do you know what I dislike more than our selection of candidates? US. Not US as in United States, but US as in you and me—”We the … Read More

It’s the UpSide one-year blogiversary! Let’s…reflect

Three pink butterflies, isolated on white background

It’s my blogiversary! I started the UpSide one year ago on July 15. I came out of the starting gate passionate, determined, and waaaaaay too ambitious. From July 15 until the end of December, I posted at a rapid-fire two-posts-per-week (about 1,200 to 1,500 words per post, working full-time, being a mom, and all that jazz). I started a more … Read More

Oh say, Francis, what do you see?

The Star Spangled Banner yet waving

In a recent series of speeches for Toastmasters I was working on storytelling. One assignment was to do a speech that brought history to life. The speech I wrote seems appropriate to share on this Independence Day. Enjoy. My name is Francis. I am a lawyer—a fine one, if I do say so myself. I live and work in Washington, D.C., … Read More

How do you know what you need to know?

Chalk board with the words, "education, learning, knowledge."

The other day my husband and I had an interesting dinner-table conversation with my favorite ninth grader. It went something like this: Boy: I don’t like school because I’m learning things I don’t need to know or I already know them. Me: How do you know what you need to know? Boy: I already know not to do drugs and … Read More

Blue moon causes blog website to disappear

Image of blue moon coming up on horizon

I so hope you were sitting down when you got the news that I actually put a new blog post on I mean, in January I apologetically announced I was going from twice-a-week to once-a-week posts. But if you paid any attention to the date of my last post —Feb. 17—you have probably determined I actually meant once-in-a-blue-moon. So you … Read More

What’s your prayer-to-problem ratio?

Hands folded in prayer

Hi UpSiders, Just a quick note from your AWOL UpSide blogger. I wanted to share a thought with you today, and that is to think about your prayer-to-problem ratio. I remember three-and-a-half years ago when we moved our two younger sons from private school to a public school, it was a difficult year for them. They had left behind a group of friends … Read More

America, we can do better

Patriotic Symbols of the United States of America

  America, we need something different. We need to not be satisfied with candidates who thrust themselves onto a candidacy platform for their own egos and ambitions and the goals of big-money backers, or media that dictates what we get to hear. We need to believe that there are men and women of integrity, capable of leading, and we need … Read More

Learning from the hard lessons of the Challenger


A lot of remembering going on today. It’s that way for most big tragedies, I suppose. Where were you when you heard about the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding not even two minutes after liftoff? And yes, of course I remember where I was and I always remember the date and can tell you how many years it’s been off the top of … Read More