Holiday time machine; 12 vegetables of Christmas

Is there any more effective time machine than a Christmas tree? The first ornament that was mine and only mine was given to me by my maternal grandmother, Christmas of 1952. I pull out that silver cardboard horse to hang it up and, bam!, I’m 7 years old in Watsontown, PA, waiting with dread for the… Continue reading Holiday time machine; 12 vegetables of Christmas

One cigarette away; vegetables with oomph

So many addicts in recovery seem so affected by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. No way to tell if it’s more than usual at the passing of a talented young person with as many problems, or more, than talents, but everyone appears gobsmacked by the 20 years sobriety preceding his final tailspin. Those of us who slide… Continue reading One cigarette away; vegetables with oomph

The bear went into the mountain; beef-barley-vegetable soup

I’m so ready for hibernation. Since my 50th high school reunion in August 2012, I’ve packed back on 30 pounds. Bring on the stinky cave — I am re-insulated and ready to live off my hips for a few months. Some of that’s a lot of sitting in office chairs since then. Some of that’s… Continue reading The bear went into the mountain; beef-barley-vegetable soup

Green beans and parsley redefined

Every once in a while — often enough to keep me trying new recipes — I stumble across one that redefines a food (or two). This is one of those recipes — made me almost forget the tender turkey breast glazed in summer’s peach preserves and next to the beans on last night’s dinner plates. When… Continue reading Green beans and parsley redefined

2 pounds and 2 weeks ’til reunion!

I wonder if any other of my classmates has to buy a new fence charger before our 50th reunion in 2.5 weeks. When I went out to put on fly masks this morning, we had a free range quarterhorse, and it will not do if any of our three amigos range onto N. Meadow Rd.… Continue reading 2 pounds and 2 weeks ’til reunion!

Blue nights, golden days and a 21st-century three-bean salad

Joan Didion has always been a bit diaphanous, a bit hide-and-seek for my tastes,  probably never more so than in “Blue Nights” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011), a gauzy remembrance of the 2005 death of her daughter, Quintana Roo. You have to Google Quintana Dunne Michael to find out how she died. Her grief-stricken mother offers… Continue reading Blue nights, golden days and a 21st-century three-bean salad


Picking from last brilliant flush of zinnias yesterday, flashed back decades to my habit of crying whenever my mother said anything nice to/about me — yes, compliments were that rare. I was literally starved for affection, and it takes no  keen insight to see why I’ve overeaten my entire life. I remember asking once, as a so-called… Continue reading Starved

September morn

Too damp to try out the new horsey short-cut our neighbors cut between pastures this weekend. “You could drive a car through it,” promised Esker T., also promising Amish-made venison summer sausage after he and his wife and son bag their limit this fall, at least partly from the new tree stand installed in the… Continue reading September morn

Green beans with a college education

Saturday night was miserable. Not just because of the Thursday gum surgery and my new allergy to hydrocodone but because I wanted to eat, eat, eat and my calories were mostly accounted for (that is, devoured) and at least our taste buds feel better while we’re cramming junk down our throats. Besides eating, I also… Continue reading Green beans with a college education

Green beans are in!

Any minute now, we’re going to have another frog-strangler.  I know because the hummingbirds are eating twice as fast as usual (and the sky is black). One feeder is covered up with greedy June bugs, but the wee birds aren’t afraid of them like they’re scared of the Japanese hornets. I just got home with… Continue reading Green beans are in!