Alert the Emergency Room:  I'm Using the Snowblower
Last week I learned now to use the new snowblower we finally bought after 13 years of either shoveling by hand or paying some embarrassing fee for a guy with a big shovel...read more
Contact Donna at ddebs@comcast.net

Selected Columns . . .
But What If Mom is, Well, Dead? 
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day when the guest of honor is conspicuously absent? What if she’s been gone from the scene or the seen, for a full 30 years?  What exactly is the right way to get your arms around such a Mom?  That was the question my sisters and I posed as we marked both Mother’s Day and the 30th anniversary of Blanche’s transition from a pixie in jeans and gray hair, to the woman who appears in our dreams... 
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The Male Spanx Experiment
I was so surprised to see Spanx in the men's department at Nordstrom, I thought I would accidentally release the permanent suck from wearing Spanx of my own.  "Is this a joke?" I blurted, as images of beer bellies and love handles morphed into super heroes shaped like a V.  "Are guys buying these?"...
The Meaning of Life
You are insignificant, unnecessary, meaningless and worse, temporary. Countless species are anxiously waiting for your obsolete kind to suddenly, mysteriously, eternally vanish — leaving but a few fossils, a handful of credit card bills, and a half-eaten container of gelato...
Donna Debs writes the slice-of-life column, "Upside Down," found Sundays in The Daily Local News in Chester County, PA and The Times-Herald, The  Reporter, and The Mercury in Montgomery County, PA. She's also a long-time freelance writer and a former radio news reporter/editor for Philadelphia's KYW Radio. You can often find Donna "upside down" in a headstand or handstand; she doubles as an Iyengar Yoga teacher with an active yoga studio.
What Aunts are Good For
Aunts are a mother, a sister and a best friend all rolled into one. I’m not making this up. I’m reading from a poem given to me by two nieces and a nephew. It’s hanging on my wall because I take the job seriously which means I invite one of these young people shopping at the busiest time of year. That would be my 25-year-old niece who can’t find anything to wear...
Go On, Have a Hot Toddy
Being a lightweight runs in my family. When it comes to food, alcohol, caffeine, dust — anything solid or liquid that goes in or near the body, anything that flies by or drips down — we have a reaction. We get food poisoning, sea sickness, air sickness, rashes. When everyone else is smiling, we’re ducking for cover.  When one of us travels, we ask “How’d it go?” We don’t mean did you have fun or great adventures. In my family, we mean did you embarrass yourself in front of friends, strangers...
How to Love Yourself 101
Apparently there’s a big difference between self-esteem and self-compassion. I read an article so now I’m an expert. Which does little for my self-compassion but raises my self-esteem. Unless I admit I’m only human and could be wrong, which is a real drag to my self-esteem but boosts my self-compassion.  I know exactly what I’m talking about...
Confessions of a Hoarder
Whenever I want to throw away something that’s torn, scorned, long-ago worn — I have a philosophy. I walk it down to the give-away pile in the basement, and I wait.  One day, two days, three.  A full 72 hours, a complete background check while my repository of the past, the unconscious, sorts through feelings and memories to reveal which dress, pants, shoes could haunt me for the rest of my natural born life...
The Trouble with Advice
When a woman has an issue, she consults her girlfriends. And girlfriends can be pretty opinionated unless you let them know you’re not NOT asking them to fix it. All you want is a sounding board, someone to let you talk freely of the pros and cons, the what ifs, the fears and frets, so you can move on with it and make your own bad decision you’ll live to regret...
Tolerating Greta
When she first appeared it was shocking, unexpected, unwelcome. I was standing in a dressing room trying on the most intimidating of items, a bathing suit, thinking things couldn’t get any worse. Then she popped up, like a chipmunk or a rat, sticking her face where she didn’t belong.  Despite the rolls and wrinkles already staring me down, Greta emerged as the most dominant blight in the mirror, a sudden eruption as unpredictable as Krakatoa...
Goldilocks, Cars and Love
Wandering in from the forest, Goldilocks found something wrong with everything in the house of the three bears. One chair was too big, the next was too big too, but the next was just right, at first, then broke into pieces when she sat down.  One bed was too hard, one was too soft, the other was just right, at first, and she was lulled off to slumber. Until three hungry bears showed up and stared her smack in the face.  I know how she felt. After driving nine cars in search of a replacement for the 2003 Green Goblin, nothing is just right... 
Before the Husband Goes Away
I’m a news junkie. Who isn’t right now? The phone, the radio, the Internet — all day long. Then at night you turn on the TV so you can scream and yell at the news in the comfort of your own home.  But not if you have my new universal remote, in which case you’re screaming and yelling at either the volume with no picture, or the picture with no volume. The world is passing you by...
​America Needs a Nap
It’s the middle of the day — maybe noon, maybe 2, maybe 4 — and a light switch goes off in your head. Nervous, shaky, you start judging yourself: I’m all washed up, useless, lazy, soft, stupid, old.  You run for coffee, grab a breath of fresh air, get up and walk around, try to keep busy. Maybe you reach for dark chocolate — it’s an emergency! — thinking it will help your heart which may be failing since you feel so faint.  You close your eyes for a second. If only ... you could justify it, get away with it, let go of the guilt.  Admit it: You want to take a nap...
​The Naked Thief
Have you ever worried you’ll lose your clothes in a dressing room while begging random shoppers for an opinion on a new outfit? Or you’ll unexpectedly run out of the house when deer start eating your lawn and you’ll forget you’re naked? Or superhuman villains from another planet will land on your roof and dematerialize your PJs but leave your body for all to see?  Me neither. But when it comes to unexpectedly baring all, the imagination does run wild.  But certainly, like me, you have dreamed of being shamefully exposed, perhaps sitting at a meeting with nothing but your tiny or big parts showing, your head tucked between your knees...
​Home is Where the Mess Is
Whenever I leave the house on a trip, I leave written instructions. Water the plants Friday, grab fruit at the farmers market Saturday, pick up the dead branches blocking the front door, the ones you’re stepping over. I try to be specific. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t exist. I came home the other day to a kitchen that smelled like a dozen vagrants were having an intimate biological infection. That’s the nicest way I can say it because this isn’t a girls’ lunch...