Her quiet, happy life

July 5th would have been my godmother Angie’s 98th birthday. She passed peacefully in January, in her own home, in her own bed, after feeling vaguely unwell and lying down for a nap. It was the “happy death” she’d prayed for, in the way of the old-style Italian Catholics: no prolonged illness or unbearable pain, […]

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Welcoming, reading, watching, cooking

Summer is flying by, as it always seems to. Here in the US Mid-Atlantic, in the last few weeks we’ve had many hot, steamy days and extended periods of heavy rain, a weather pattern that seems more typical of South Florida. The upside is that everything in the garden is lush and colorful, especially the […]

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Enzo, part deux

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. I’m bound and determined to catch up, starting with my post earlier this evening. This one is my excuse for the lapse. My daughter christened my February-to-May lapse in almost everything “doggie mommy leave ” due to “doggy mommy brain.” It would have been […]

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Modest little treasures

I’ve been a fan of those spiral-bound “community” cookbooks since I first started cooking. My interest, which admittedly has very little to do with cooking, dates to Mollie’s Cookbook, a mid-1970s fund-raiser for the Voluntary Action Center, an organization in Scranton PA that matched volunteers with charitable groups and institutions in need of help. The […]

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Introducing Enzo

As I write this, a four-legged ball of white Maltese fluff is nibbling his kibble at my feet… and now he is nibbling my favorite socks. Enzo has been with us since February 8 and is now three months old. He was so soft and quiet and snuggly at first—eyelids fluttering, curling up to nap for hours at […]

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On following a star

After we moved to our present neighborhood in 2013, Kristy, her husband Matt, and their two sons quickly became part of our “extra family”—the friends and neighbors you meet on your journey who get inside your heart in all the right ways. Kristy was a teacher by training, but she’s had an unrelated part-time, work-from-home […]

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Four years later…

This first post of 2021 marks the fourth anniversary of my blogging adventure. My daughter originally suggested Hashtag Retired as a way to explore my transition to retirement. As I settled into a freer though still busy lifestyle, however, writing about retirement seemed less and less important to me. Retired or not, you are who […]

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Music alone…

When I was a kid, my Italian-American family gathered every night of the Christmas season, each time around a different relative’s table, to eat (mostly), agree (often), disagree (more often), laugh at the same old stories (always), and sing. My cousin’s husband played the guitar; others, the accordion, the harmonica, the piano. I mimicked the Italian […]

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‘St. Martin’s summer’

What have I been up to in the last few weeks? Enjoying long walks under gorgeous October skies, reading (Elizabeth George’s A Great Deliverance and Louise Penny’s All the Devils Are Here — they are truly “sisters in crime”), baking a bit (more on that in a subsequent post), binging the magnificent series Shetland on […]

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Apple season redux

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that fall is my favorite time of year, and October my very favorite month. Nothing beats the splendor of autumn leaves against a not-just-blue-but-BLUE October sky. The air is crisp enough for a sweater and maybe a scarf, but the bone chill is weeks away. […]

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A glimmer of sunlight, just for today

No one I know who is old enough needs to be reminded of this day. Of the horrifying shock, the sheer depth of the tragedy, the fear that set in as the chilling images were repeated over and over again, as that city—New York, New York—disappeared into a storm of fire and ash. My family […]

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What Betty taught me

Dear friends, before you read this, you should know that when I first started this post months ago, it was literally a fluffy little bit about the annoyances of successive household breakdowns. But when I came back to the post today, like a character in a novel under construction, it took me in an entirely […]

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