Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life

Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website

Latest Posts

Posted: April 22nd, 2014

Why do people run?

I went to college near Boston and the marathon was always a big deal. Friends of mine ran the 26-plus mile race and I always wondered why. This was over three decades ago when running wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today. In fact, it was just around the time Jim Fixx’s book “The [...]

Posted: April 21st, 2014

Don’t fly the friendly skies in an airplane wheel hub

Yikes. It’s happened again. Another stowaway in an airplane wheel hub. Does anyone else find this shocking? This time it was a 16-year old who ran away from home, hid in the wheel well during a flight from San Jose, California to Hawaii–which is mostly over the Pacific Ocean mind you–and made it unharmed. Officials [...]

Posted: April 18th, 2014

This is Goldilocks weather

Not too hot and not too cold. In keeping with my personal promise to myself to never complain about the weather again, I am presented with the challenge of repackaging the climate to my liking on a daily basis. This winter, simply and brutally put, kicked my behind. I found myself wrestling with feelings of [...]

Posted: April 17th, 2014

Shopping leads to violence or just boredom

I always feel bad for the guys I see hanging outside the dressing rooms at women’s clothing shops, looking emphatically bored to the point of numbness. I can only assume it’s their wives or girlfriends they’re waiting on. I thought of them when I read the brief in today’s paper about the man who attacked [...]

Posted: April 16th, 2014

How to retire with grace

My husband’s first day of retirement is today. After 50 years almost to the day in the same career, he’s decided to start his vacation. That’s what he calls it, anyway. The word retirement doesn’t roll that easily off the tongue yet. Retirement used to scare the wits out of him. For years, he’d ponder [...]

Posted: April 15th, 2014

Hey 19, we got nothing in common

Yes, it’s a Steely Dan lyric. When I read today in the newspaper that this iconic band that virtually defined what I consider my coming of age was going to be playing in Erie, my stomach leapt. I love this band, even more so now than when they were at their peak in the late [...]

Posted: April 11th, 2014

World’s biggest baseball fan

So I’m sitting with my brother in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, waiting for a train on the lower level. Sitting at the table next to us as we drank our tall boys, a big man with a shaved head struck up a conversation about beer and sunny days. You know, the usual stuff you [...]

Posted: April 10th, 2014

Are you a Neanderthal?

I know for a fact, my cousin is. I’m not being fascetious. He had his lineage traced back 10,000 years via a DNA sample, courtesy of the website For $99 your unique combination of 23 chromosomes will be analyzed, and you can find out where your roots sink. provides a similar service. According [...]

Posted: April 8th, 2014

It could be snow

The first spring I lived here, one of the locals corrected me when I whined about the rain. “At least it’s not snow.” I thought it was a genius response to my negative attitude. And being from Connecticut, which up until this winter, isn’t one of the snowiest or coldest parts of the country, one [...]

Posted: April 7th, 2014

Ice cream is edible happiness

I saw someone eating ice cream over the weekend. In fact, I saw a lot of someones eating cones. And that alone made my heart soar. Ice cream makes me happy, even if I’m not the one eating it. Ice cream holds a special place in my life because no matter how crazy life got [...]