Lost… and found

I promised to let you know. After writing yesterday’s blogpost, I went about my business for an hour or so, texted my cousin Liz that I’d had no luck so far, then sat down to do something or other.  I’d bothered St. Anthony enough for one day, so I tried to distract myself with some […]

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The Tale of the Missing Macaroni Stick

Note: This post actually isn’t about books (see the photo) or the macaroni stick. It’s about what happens when we lose things. And find them. Or not.  My mother’s macaroni stick, I am convinced, was enchanted. With it she created flawless “homemades” and ravioli, holiday after holiday, year after year. She made her last batch […]

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What I did this summer

I’ve been erratic about writing these last few months. That tendency, to be erratic, is probably one reason why I’m never likely to write the Great American Novel. Serious writers, in my experience, are highly disciplined and highly routinized—and that’s never been quite my cup of tea. First of all, I probably ate too much ice […]

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Summer brain

Hot, sticky days fracture my attention span and–quite frankly–make me flat-out lazy. I hate that feeling. Today I decided that I absolutely MUST get something done. So that I don’t feel like a complete slug, I’m going to recount just about everything I did today. I. Fed Miss Pup. 2. Walked Miss Pup. 3. Went […]

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‘Who knows where the time goes?’

Today’s title is actually the lovingly borrowed title of a  song written by Sandy Denny in 1967 and recorded by a variety of artists over the years—the signature recording, in my estimation, made by silky-voiced Judy Collins. As those of you who follow my blog (thank you!) have no doubt deduced, I have a time […]

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‘I write in ink.’

Dear Frances Mayes, The time I brought The Tuscan Sun Cookbook to you for signing in Chapel Hill, I remember saying, simply, “Can I tell you how much I loved A Year in the World?” You smiled sweetly. I frankly never thought anything else of yours could eclipse that smashing book—which really wasn’t about travel, […]

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Growing up with Yankee

I fell in love with New England—technically, my native New England—not on those tedious trips north from Pennsylvania when I was a tiny child, but month by month, on the pages of Yankee magazine. I’ve mentioned before that my father, a first generation Italian-American, grew up in a papermill town in Western Maine. Think Richard […]

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Remembering another Miss Austin

No, not Austen. And not Jane. But they have books and writing in common. It was a verdant Central Pennsylvania summer, and I was in my last term, anxious for graduation. Summer terms were rapid-fire in those days, eight weeks as opposed to the usual ten. Classes met four times a week and, as I […]

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The books I keep

Whereas buying a book now and then requires minimal space—I can always accommodate another book on my nightstand or the coffee table if need be—the haul from the thrice yearly book sales is another matter. To be sure that I have sufficient space for half a dozen or so treasures, I’ve adopted the ritual of […]

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Au revoir, Monsieur Mayle

I teared up, almost as if I’d lost a friend, when I saw that Peter Mayle had passed.  After all, he had given me Provence—first on the printed pages of his charming, insightful trilogy—A Year in Provence, Encore Provence, Toujours Provence—and thereafter the engaging, lighthearted novels he set there, irresistible confections all. Hotel Pastis and […]

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January reads

January is that metaphorical new broom that sweeps clean. I like to start out the new year re-establishing routines, tackling those niggling little tasks that typically fall by the wayside, and trying to get back to my happy places, chief among them my reading time. After what I like to refer to as my “medical […]

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