Must Get This Album: Mavis Staples

One True Vine … [Read more...]

Keeping Christ in Christmas


* Oh, my my. I'm not going to pretend that we're good Catholics who keep the Christmas season rolling out until the Epiphany. There's definitely a sense here that celebration has come and gone, that messes have been made, and the survivors are wandering and trudging knee-deep in the aftermath. Slowly one pile at a time of laundry and toys is carried upstairs, and maybe put away, but more likely dropped in another pile to be addressed on another day.Each child is happy with his loot--so … [Read more...]

To Wait, To Wait

Last night my husband asked me what I had to do today, and I felt a wave of existential dread, as in--Tomorrow? Another stupid day to try and fill with meaning? He says I only get this way when it's that time of the month for me, which I will not fully concede.But I'm ashamed to admit that I'm actually looking forward to Monday when one of my kids is scheduled for minor surgery. I will have a purpose on that day, to sit in the hospital halls and be "the mother" in an official and public … [Read more...]

Who Gets to Be Happy?

I wonder why it is always more difficult to accept happiness and joy than it is to accept misery. The Angel Appears to Zachariah (Luke 1:5-25):  "Do not be afraid, because your prayer has been heard…you will have joy and gladness…"  The Angel of God has told Zachariah exactly how his prayers will be answered-- that he will have joy and gladness-- but Zachariah does not believe it.I am convinced more than ever that it is necessary to wage war on the voice of self-criticism. I will n … [Read more...]

Middle School Madness

I've been doing a bit of memoir-izing about middle school now that my kids are in the thick of it, just trying to get a handle on my feelings about it. Terribly self indulgent, and a little salty too, so I've put it at the old place.Click at your own risk. Part I--Anger Issues Part II--A World of Cuss Part III--The Nutcracker (Not a Christmas Ballet) Part IV--Primal Joys I imagine there will be a conclusion forthcoming. … [Read more...]

Oriental Duck Soup


One of my dumb ambitions for Thanksgiving was to cook Turducken. I bought turkey and duck, let them both thaw, then decided the night before that turkey was enough, and the duck was a bad idea. So after we ate all the Thanksgiving leftovers, I recalled that I had a duck to cook, stat. I roasted it for dinner Sunday night according to the package directions, which made about four servings and was neither here nor there taste wise.The next day, I boiled the carcass with onions and celery to … [Read more...]

The Thanksgiving Winners

The grown-up table, before food and people.

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner. It was my first time. I wasn't sure if I'd pull it off, but I even (do I admit this out loud?) enjoyed it a little bit. Setting a table was fun. Family pitched in on the clean-up. The bird was fine to eat. The stuffing and the pecan bars, I  confess, were pretty darn good.I used Ina's stuffing recipe (without the apples).Pecan bars from America's test kitchen were super yum and easier than pie.And I had some leftover crust from the pecan bars, which I … [Read more...]