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Mary Novaria
Mary Novaria is a mother, wife and journalist whose work has been featured in numerous print and online publications including the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, Chicago Tribune, Redbook, Country Living, Delish, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Kansas City Star, The Good Men Project and Feminine Collective. Mary writes about family, friendship and everyday life on her own blog, A Work in Progress. She recently completed a “sandwich generation” memoir exploring the trials of raising an angst-ridden teen while caring for a parent with dementia, all the while trying to maintain her sanity, sense of humor, and some semblance of grace. Find her on Twitter @MaryNovaria and at

Entries by Mary Novaria

Why I'm Worried I'll Get Skin Cancer

(6) Comments | Posted June 15, 2016 | 5:57 AM


I was careless with my skin as a teen and now I'm terrified of getting skin cancer like my father.

Even though my fair, Irish skin would freckle and burn it didn't stop me from trying to achieve that golden glow featured in...

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My Search For Irish Roots That Turned Up Surprises -- And Sorrow

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2016 | 5:33 AM

2016-03-12-1457821329-2539438-shamrocks.jpgMy mother embraced all things Irish: shamrocks, soda bread and fishermen's sweaters. She chose St. Patrick's Day for my father's funeral and, the night before, she mended the old green, white and orange flag so we could fly it at the house...

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What My Teen Taught Me About Friendship

(2) Comments | Posted March 2, 2016 | 4:08 AM


When my daughter was in high school, she struck up a friendship with a girl on the East Coast -- a friend of a friend -- and they spent hours a day chatting online and texting on their cellphones.

Since we didn't...

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Heart Lessons From California's Epic Drought

(8) Comments | Posted January 12, 2016 | 10:39 AM

2016-01-11-1452553532-8310626-raindoggie.jpgGrass has begun to grow in Los Angeles after just two days of steady rain. At the top of our street, tender, green shoots have sprung up on a brown, dusty hill that's been hospitable only to the gophers.

Save for parks and golf...

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10 Parents to Avoid at Your Kid's Sporting Event

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 8:47 AM

I once made an 8-year-old cry at a soccer match when I pointed at her and shouted, "Handball! You've gotta be kidding me!" Not my finest moment in years of youth sports that have taken our family to basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds and golf courses.

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What Grieving My Mother's Death Taught Me About Gratitude

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 1:35 PM

I'm currently mortified because I didn't send thank you notes after my birthday this year. The flowers have long since drooped and died, but other presents -- a couple of gift cards, an adult coloring book (very Zen), a cuff bracelet -- are tangible reminders of my negligence. It's not...

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Cute Meme Reveals Dark Truth About Girls And Dieting

(8) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 4:26 AM

There's a meme going around, the one with two precious little girls in frilly, white matching outfits. One of them stands on the bathroom scale while the other says, "Try again without the socks." 2015-10-24-1445711601-2006924-TryAgainWithouttheSocks.jpg It's meant to be cute and...

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4 Parenting Essentials I Learned From My Adult Kids

(17) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 6:55 AM

One of the most humbling things about my kids growing up is realizing that I still have growing up to do myself.

I'm a reluctant empty nester. And while I'll always be my kids' mom, having the chicks out of the roost and on their own means I've had...

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Unasked Questions: How I Let My Father Take His Secrets To The Grave

(17) Comments | Posted June 21, 2015 | 7:42 AM

This is my fifteenth Father's Day without my dad.

He died of heart failure four days before St. Patrick's Day, a couple of months shy of his 79th birthday, and after a year of hospice care. He took his last breath quite peacefully while I sat by his bedside...

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32 Ways to Reclaim Your Sanity When a Move Goes Terribly Wrong

(8) Comments | Posted May 21, 2015 | 11:32 PM


They say moving is one of life's greatest stressors -- right up there with death and divorce. I'd like to see the stats on moving as a cause of death and divorce because if anything will make you feel murderous and conflicted, it's...

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How An Unexpected Encounter Turned Around My Lonely Mother's Day Weekend

(18) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 2:07 PM

I was on the verge of succumbing to a Mother's Day pity party. My kids and my mother live more than half a continent away. I ached with missing them and, frankly, I was feeling sorry for myself. I also had a vague sense of guilt for not being with...

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I'm Not Sally Draper, But I Could've Been

(14) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 7:23 PM

When Don Draper began showing up on Sunday night television, his visage shook loose the earliest memories I had of my dad. It's not that the "Mad Men" protagonist is my father's doppelgänger, exactly, but there are definite similarities. In many ways, the Drapers depicted on the AMC show, which...

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How I Embraced the Winter Blahs

(11) Comments | Posted February 5, 2015 | 8:48 AM

"Store your energy now. When spring comes, you can burst out of the ground."


With apologies to T.S. Eliot, April is not the cruelest month. February is far more foreboding. Even as hope springs eternal, Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow. We're...

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Is Dementia the Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

(4) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 2:44 PM


My mother's boots were on the wrong feet.

The family was gathering at our house on Christmas Eve and my mom had yet to arrive. In the past year she'd begun showing up uncharacteristically late for things: Mother's Day brunch,...

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Confessions of an Email Hoarder and 4 Tips to Tame an Inbox

(8) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 2:29 PM

I am the cyber equivalent of the lady who's rescued too many cats, collected too many tchotchkes and saved years worth of newspapers and magazines. That's right. I am an email hoarder.

I love my technology. I just don't...

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Scrivere non è un lavoro, dicono i miei amici

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 5:19 AM

Era una semplice chiacchierata, e anche se mi sono un po' stizzita nel sentire quelle parole, sono rimasta in silenzio. Non mi sono messa a discutere, non ho messo le cose in chiaro. Non so nemmeno dire perché. Ma più tardi non riuscivo a smettere di pensare a quello che...

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My Friend Thinks I Don't Work Because I'm a Writer

(74) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 1:26 PM

It was just a casual conversation, and although I bristled when I heard the words, I didn't say anything. I didn't argue, I didn't set her straight. I can't even tell you why. But later, I couldn't stop thinking about what my friend said. She asked for a favor.

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Advice from Mom: It's Never Too Late... Until It Is

(16) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 11:36 AM

Actions speak louder than words. Although my mom didn't give me much verbal advice, she modeled an important life lesson: It's not too late to chase your dream.

Once a stay-at-home mom who produced League of Women Voters materials on a mimeograph machine in our attic, Mom went back...

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We All Scream for Ice Cream: 31 Flavors of Marriage

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 5:59 PM

"We'll be married 31 years next week," John said. "It's like Baskin Robbins' 31 flavors -- a flavor for each year!"

"Which one was Rocky Road?" I asked. 2014-04-08-coffeebuzzbulklanding.png

The obvious punch line... But it got me thinking, what other...

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The Unsolicited Advice I Took To Heart

(4) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 6:24 AM

I was almost run over crossing the street the other day. Near misses happen in my busy neighborhood with alarming frequency, but this one came perilously close to flattening me -- closer even than the day a motorcycle drove right up onto the sidewalk.

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