Category: Life in America

More Mystery than Family

Louis Bonaventure Chanez and Margaret Salome Urban Chanez Agnes Schebler Hiegel and Alois Hiegel — While I was at my parents place for their 50th, I got a little melancholy about genealogy. I guess as we get older, it’s easier to see how our lives are like a filament in a lightbulb… Once we break…

Food Courage, No Judgment

This weekend, the kids and Colin and I went to New Jersey for the first time, (barring a visit to Newark airport) to visit a family of friends. It’s sort of rare to meet another family with more than two or three kids these days, so we immediately magnetized to Alma and Brian and their…

The Facebook Thing

At the end of Lent, I was over on Facebook, and my friend, Tammy, popped up on my Timeline and said in her status something like: Well, I’m back! Didja miss me?? I did it! A whole 40 days without Facebook!  Then she posted a really great list of all the things she “got done”…

A Patriot in the Garden

You know all that flag-waving, “true-American” rhetoric we hear from the Rush Limbaugh conservatives? I was thinking about that today, as I was pondering getting our organic garden ready to spring planting. It’s Ok. I know I am preaching to the choir generally.  But a good argument is worth saying, just in case it’s seeps…

The First Recipe

A BIG QUESTION Guest Post by Krista Richards Mann — I love cooking. Starting in grade school, my mother let me make dinner for the family once a week. The first recipe I remember learning was something she called salmon patties. We removed small vertebras from a can of salmon with our fingers, mixed the…

The Reporter’s Notebook

A Thank You to Brittany Lyte It’s been a curious couple days since I was featured on the front page of the Connecticut Post’s Business section about my Demand Poetry business. I’m not used to being on that side of the news, it’s true. I was interviewed by CT Post reporter Brittany Lyte, who was young…

My Friend, with Existential Chickens

I have a super great old friend from college, Jen. She’s a writer (here’s her book) and a journalist. And a mom. She lives in Des Moines and recently she acquired chickens. She and her husband and her kids have chickens in their backyard.  Do you ever look at your friends, when they do something…

Paying for Santa

Number four child was TRYING to whisper in Jolly Old St. Nick’s ear at the Santa Village when she was interrupted. Elf: “WHICH PHOTO PACKAGE DID YOU BUY?!” the elf barked at us. Me: “We haven’t chosen one yet,” I said. “We wanted to get in line before it got too long.” Elf: “WHAT?! Well,…

How We Remember Alone

When I lived in Kansas City, I was single. This meant that I spent a great deal of my energy and mind space being frustrated and unhappy about my “alone”ness. Like most young women (and men too, I guess), I really wanted to find someone special to connect with, to be with, so long as…

A Great Christmas Memory

(This is a guest post from Paul Merrill, part of the If Only in My Dreams: Big Question Series.) Christmas means different things to different people. After 22 years of marriage, Heather and I are finally understanding how much our families influenced how we enjoy holidays. How many presents are under the tree? Do you…

Real or Real-ish

In which I tried to explain to the kids that our little “artificial” tree is actually “real.” Existentialism 101 Me: We are putting up our tree this afternoon. Kid 1: Is it a real tree? Me: Well, yes, it is a real tree. A real tree in that it isn’t imaginary. Kid 1: No, I…

Gone the Mailbox

At the post office, the hated post office, where lines greet me and awful racks of greeting cards Line walls, ignored. The post office and its Perfume of desperation. The place where scales and stamps sit in dusty corners Like aristocrats awaiting their bloody fate. The post office, doomed, because It is about PLACE and…

Between Here & Handmade

I want things handmade. I want a life devoid of BPA-worries. I want the holidays decorated in popcorn strings and toes of knee-high socks filled with sticky penny candy and tiny oranges. I want to have the hot cocoa, but not the packaging the dried chocolate-flavored granules come in. I want to make the gift…

If Only in My Dreams: A Big Question Series

December is the month of dreams, of nostalgia, of memories, expectations, hopes and disappointments. We were all little children once… dreaming our dreams of light and mystery, wide awake under our covers. It doesn’t matter whether those covers were cotton or silk. We are still those children. Some of us still imagine the twinkling light…

In My California Time

I heard: “Big Sur is calling to me” and here’s what happened to me. I immediately felt the grey, El Nino winter that that I spent in California, in 1999. I was working in a restaurant in Kansas City at the time a place that was renovating. All the staff was given 6 weeks vacation,…