July 4th Weekend 2022, in Which I Bake Bread

Some of my readers were surprised to learn I baked my first pie, ever, last Thanksgiving. Yesterday, I baked my first bread, ever. It’s true. I announced to The Chef whilst we were on our weekly shop on Saturday I intended to bake bread. Great, he said. Go for it! Just don’t forget to bring your patience. And so yesterday while he was at work, … Continue reading July 4th Weekend 2022, in Which I Bake Bread

Sunday Almanac: Moving Is Brutal

I’m still here. —Elaine Stritch, et al. Which is to say, I’ve had a tough time carving out a minute to sit down and write. Chef David has done the lion’s share of work, haltingly, painstakingly, one box at a time, and one carload at a time (with one rental truckload for the stuff that wouldn’t squeeze), until now all that’s left to do is … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: Moving Is Brutal

Afternoon Miniature 5.30.22

It takes time for the world to teach a child to discriminate, for better or for worse. And so it never dawned on this child, at the tender age of six, that she should not fraternize with her young peer in the adjacent house, where cars perched like relics atop cinder blocks out front and in the drive, where the dallisgrass sent feathery shoots up … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 5.30.22

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