Big Don and the vagabond days.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, for a very short time, I lived in Jackson, Wyoming. I was a squatter, a gypsy, camped out in my little sister’s basement on a futon with a wooden wine crate for a bedside table, just like in college. Only I was 30 years old, still clinging…

A rose for the boy in Aleppo.

The first hint that something was wrong came from a friend’s Facebook post, sharing another friend’s status. The gist of the post was this: A splinter group had broken through the security blocks that prohibited web traffic, and they wanted to world to know that terrible things were happening and being hidden, covered up. “People…

On birthdays, Facebook and #FirstSevenJobs

It’s a conspiracy, you know, the whole birthday thing. A long, long time ago Egyptians celebrated the anniversary date marking when the Pharaoh became Pharaoh, transforming from him a man into a deity. Pharaoh was the only one who got a party, and the party wasn’t on the day he was actually popped out of…

Inhale, exhale.

If there is a dish more emblematic of my cooking story than cheese soufflĂ©, I can’t think what it would be. By now you’ve heard this tale, or bits of it, many times: my mother, who trained herself first by watching and later by reading, trained me to cook by virtue of the fact that…

Letters from camp.

From the moment we master basic locomotive skills, we humans begin to pursue our independence and separate from our parents. It is as natural and ordinary and miraculous a process as any other in the animal kingdom – which is not to say that it is easy, for either child or parent. No matter how…

Summer 1980.

What began with The Shining, released on Memorial Day weekend, ended, a week after Labor Day, with Ordinary People. In between were Caddyshack, The Blue Lagoon, Airplane!, Brubaker, Urban Cowboy and He Knows You’re Alone. It was the summer of Luke and Laura, of Funkytown, Magic and Sailing. The United States led a 65-country boycott…

The American dream.

It is sometimes hard to be optimistic, even for an optimist; it is hard even for me. And so, from time to time, I ask the universe to help me understand, to feed understanding in a way that might feed hope. The universe usually answers, though not always in a cute, tidy or immediately accessible…

Today.

A little while ago, maybe two months, maybe more, we finally joined the 21st century and cut our cable service, replacing it with a Roku device. I thought that cutting the cord would eliminate the constant stream of television in our house, particularly in my bedroom at night when I would finally come upstairs after…