Thursday, 29 August 2013 | 56 comments
Age is a funny thing. Women, especially, spend a lot of time benchmarking themselves against age: you’re a failure if you’re 16 and you’ve never been kissed; your “biological clock” has been ticking for awhile by the time you’re 30; and you’re considered pretty damaged goods by the time you turn 50 (or so L’oreal would have me believe). On Monday I had an annual performance review at work. I was presented with anonymous comments solicited from colleagues: “shows depth of understanding beyond her position”, “far-sighted and pragmatic for her age”, “excellent judgment—beyond her years”. It’s meant to be flattering, but I left disconcerted.
People tell me I am an old soul, but if that’s true, I’m not a particularly wise one. Kind of like the next-door neighbor curmudgeon who is a little bitter and has very particular opinions about things that don’t really matter.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 | 34 comments
Maybe you’ve heard of Ruth Stout, who is quickly rising to the top of my Ideal Dinner Party Guest List (posthumously, sadly). She smashed saloon windows with Carrie Nation during temperance, and then went on to become a garden guru in the ’60s and ’70s. I’m reading her book called “Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent”. (If nothing else: such an appealing title!) Stout champions a way of gardening that essentially has one tenet: mulch the heck out of everything with straw, organic matter, newspaper, and forget about the rest. No weeding, and the organic matter of the mulch is supposed to occupy pests just as much as much as your plants themselves. The end. How she manages to fill up a book with this information, I’m not sure, but she does, and she’s lovable and eccentric and I enjoy every minute of it. It comes as no surprise, I suppose, that this woman was known to garden in the nude (as if I could like her more). » Click to read more
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 | 41 comments
I entertain the big questions with frequency but allow them to slide away unanswered with equal frequency, which is one of the 3,798 reasons I should probably never bear children into the world. This is a roundabout way of getting to my point, which is Dear Stephanie, I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. Stephanie wrote me the kindest email weeks ago asking lots of questions, mostly answerable, except for one: How do you do it? » Click to read more
Monday, 8 April 2013 | 18 comments
“it would be good to live in a perpetual state of leave-taking, never to go nor to stay, but to remain suspended in that golden emotion of love and longing; to be loved without satiety.”
― John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez
When my sister and I told people we were going to Baja, Mexico on vacation, their response was pretty standard: Two women, alone?! Drugs! Cartels! Crime! Which is hardly fair, but it did somehow color my expectations. Instead, we found some of the most beautiful, varied landscapes we had ever seen; warm, helpful locals; and not one bad meal. » Click to read more
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 | 31 comments
i. It is garden-planning season around here. We went a little crazy poring over seed catalogues and, in the recent thaw we had, are doing some initial digging around to make new beds. This year, I will have a bed just for my lettuces and leafy greens, which are some of my favorite things to grow. This is because they’re easy, except where slugs are involved, and because I get to have that kindergarten-wonder moment almost every day when I go out to the garden or Ben brings in lettuce for a salad. Our friend Connie likes to say that this part of the year is best for gardeners: no drought, no pests, no weeds, no deer. And in your mind, the garden is always beautiful and successful. (I believe the subtext there is, “So enjoy it while you can.”) » Click to read more