Digging in

LuBarbI spent an hour today sitting on the couch, looking out the big windows into the yard. I was holding a slumped, sleeping boy; Alice Munro’s words (What there is time for is looking out the window … ) and the weight of his fever-warm head kept me from propping him against the pillows and Getting Something Done. Instead through that golden wedge of afternoon, I gazed at our fading open-house landscaping and imagined the very chicken corral that of late I am set on building.  It will have Continue reading

Summer’s best

photo-525We’ve reached the moment when everything is bursting-ripe, tomatoes and peaches and corn and melons, green beans and zucchinis and plums. Summer itself is dwindling, shadows are lengthening, but such glory in these final days.

My summer book bag has slowly emptied. I was inspired by Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing by Daphne Miller, M.D. (Here’s an interview that gives you some sense of her work.) Alice Munro never fails to transport me, and I savored Dear Life. And after seeing my dad and stepmom both reading it, I picked up a copy of The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen of Growing Power – if you’re interested in sustainable urban farming, it’s a good read.

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Trail markers (part two)

grandma-isabelle-sam-grandpabernieFrom what everyone tells me, my Grandpa Bernie’s slides have always been in their square white boxes. The boxes are nondescript, the kind you probably picture when you think of slide boxes, if you think of slide boxes at all. They are the ones that stack easily into garage corners and attics, that protect their contents from dust while becoming thick with it themselves. If these boxes are notable, it is only for their sheer number: my grandpa had thousands upon thousands upon thousands of slides. Some of them show old old images of relatives, from the days when he himself would have been just a boy. Some show my dad and my aunts and my uncle as kids. Some show surgeries he performed, or an ongoing stream of family trips, family houses, family dogs.

bernie 1943

My favorite ones show a glimpse of my grandparents’ love story.  Continue reading

Ebb and flow

low tideFor a while, the only thing they wanted for snack was Nutty Numbers. Jacob made them at school, and the recipe was so easy that I almost didn’t believe it would work. So we tried it – it worked, as well I suppose as any “pretzel” made with wheat germ and an entire stick of butter will. And then, for many days, snack was Nutty Numbers. Continue reading

Here comes the sun

bitter orangesWhen I read Luisa’s post on seville orange marmalade, her description of the tantalizing aroma in her apartment as the oranges cooked down took me straight back to December: orange peel candying on the stove and a house that smelled bright, sunny, freshly picked. Orange is one of my very favorite smells: citrus in general has a good showing in that category, but oranges take the winning spot over most anything, most days. It has been said a million times, but it is truth: oranges smell like sunshine would smell, if it only could.  Continue reading

Relentless fragmentation

time for thyme

When I was a little girl, my dad came up with a phrase that I think is perfect for describing life with small children: relentless fragmentation. It is that feeling we get when an important phone call is interrupted, when the bread burns because we are changing a diaper, when we attempt any of the myriad things that used to take five minutes: articles are now ingested one paragraph, one sentence, one word at a time. Emails are responded to only weeks after the fact. Books we are pining for gather dust on our nightstands as we instead read – again, again, AGAIN! – about dragons and dogs and brave, hungry kittens.

I have a hard time with fragmentation. And I have no doubt it is relentless.

sup, soup

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