Sunday Almanac: The Myth of the Perfect House

Here is the list, I explained less than one month ago to our patient realtor. 1. It must be a pure architectural style—preferably Arts & Crafts, but we’ll keep an open mind. As long as the style represents an authentic design movement, we won’t rule it out. And naturally, the home’s interior should possess character in keeping with its style. 2. The finishes and building … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: The Myth of the Perfect House

A Mother’s Day Reflection: Great-Grandmother Grace

My Great-Grandmother Grace was born in 1899, died in 1991, and lived her entire life, as far as I know, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was not so much a Southerner as an Appalachian, a flavor of Tennessean native to the eastern region of the state known as ‘hill country’ (hence ‘hillbilly’) because of its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains—the particular stretch of the Appalachian … Continue reading A Mother’s Day Reflection: Great-Grandmother Grace

Sunday Almanac: House Shopping Begins

Here is the truth about buying a home in this here economy. First, forget about anything represented in the glossy home-flipping/buying/renovating shows on HGTV, et al. I’m just about convinced the couples on them are made-up people. Avatars. Meet Mr/s. and Mr/s. Dewy-Faced & Well Dressed. S/he sharpens pencils for a living and s/he catches butterflies. The reno specialist smiles into the camera on a … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: House Shopping Begins

Reflection: ‘Fair’ Is Often Fair Enough

Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need. Rick Riordan It is a crisp November afternoon in mid-1970s Memphis and my younger brother is turning seven; several pint-sized partygoers will soon arrive at our modest suburban home to help him celebrate. They’ll step inside the back door into our game room, once a carport, but thanks to a … Continue reading Reflection: ‘Fair’ Is Often Fair Enough

Sunday Almanac: In This House We Play With Our Food

Chef David bought some professional equipment because he’s been itching to get at it, while we he chews on possible business plans and angles and such. Those delectable little confections are chocolate bombs, or bombe au chocolat, if you prefer. When I say it in French, The Chef rolls his eyes. I didn’t capture all of the steps, but I did many of them. This … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: In This House We Play With Our Food

Reflection: Getting Parenting Right, in the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

I pass a road called Rosa Parks Lane each morning on my way to work. It’s unpaved and does not look like much from the major north-south artery in Wilmington that serves it. Driving past it, were you to turn your head and glance, you’d see the characteristically flat, scrubby, sandy landscape that defines coastal North Carolina, offset by clumps of Loblolly pines with their … Continue reading Reflection: Getting Parenting Right, in the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Afternoon Miniature 3.20.22

Emmy’s mother had beseeched her to let him have just one more chance before giving up. “Think of your daughter,” she urged. “Jules needs her daddy.” It was an argument that fell flat, though, entreated by the voice of a generation who didn’t speak to her sensibilities. The generation who insisted every woman needed a knight on a steed as a measure of comfort to … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 3.20.22

Reflection: Six Big Truths About My Running Habit

If you are a runner, you understand it is an addiction. You know the science of this, the natural ‘high’ that comes with the release of endorphins during exertion—running, or any kind of exertion. For most of us, it is a healthy addiction (I’ll take exception to the extreme runners whose hearts explode after running 60 miles at a stretch; it is also science to … Continue reading Reflection: Six Big Truths About My Running Habit

Afternoon Miniature 2.20.22

It had been five years since she left the glass and steel landscape behind her. Five years since she threw caution to the wind, and drove up into the Colorado Rockies with Wolfgang, escaping to a wintry ghost town. Wolfy-the-rescue, the wolf-dog hybrid whose shelter days were numbered. It was not the most inventive name, but suited him well enough. It had been five years … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 2.20.22

Sunday Almanac: Stretching Our Dollars

Some years ago a post popped up in one of my social feeds, an image of a pair of running shoes with a clothes iron wedged between them, business side up, and on top of it a stovetop-style espresso maker, captioned simply Cuba Linda. Hat tip to the Cubans: Are there any more resourceful people? They’ve had to be all kinds of inventive to make … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: Stretching Our Dollars