Thoughts on Home

About Last Weekend

Thoughts on Home

Last week, I chaperoned a field trip to the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth with a group of first- and second-graders. We used nets to scoop up fish, tadpoles, and algae (or “allergy” as my kids call it), and talked about the pond ecosystem, but it was an improvised activity that has stuck with […]

Read More
Reid State Park

The Limbo Season

Thoughts on Home

Here we are in not quite fall, a.k.a. the time of year when I force my family to eat homemade soup on a 75-degree day and burnt-orange mums mingle awkwardly with fuchsia geraniums on our back deck. On the front porch, an urn of ornamental cabbage and fountain grass looks similarly at odds with the […]

Read More

Hero Worship

Thoughts on Home

When my older son was three, he gave an aggressive pruning to a peony I had in a vase. Reading my face when I took in the pile of petals before him, he said, “We need to get Daddy to fix the flowers.” This ingrained belief that Mark can repair (or regenerate) just about anything, […]

Read More

Beauty and the Beasts

Thoughts on Home

Living in Portland, we don’t have to contend with as many creatures as suburban and country folks do. There are the voles, of course, that dig up our lawn, the Japanese beetles that ravage our sand cherry, the slugs that slime and munch on our annuals, and whatever recently beheaded our crocuses and burrowed behind the front porch […]

Read More

Mother’s Day

Thoughts on Home

There are moments with my family when my thoughts recede and I feel as though I’m viewing a scene through the eyes of my future self. When I’m “looking back,” the peripheral drama and frustrations fade away and I see only the visceral beauty in a particular snippet. The mental separation also brings the fleeting […]

Read More

Town and Country

Thoughts on Home

The other day, the sound of chainsaws on my Portland street, and the accompanying scent of freshly cut tree limbs, instantly transported me to my family’s first home in Buxton. I only lived in the small ranch my parents built in the rural town until I was five, but the memories I have of stacking […]

Read More

Dialing Back Dinner

Thoughts on Home

The most efficient professional women — the ones who balance career and family demands while also finding hours each week for exercise and leisure activities — don’t give much thought to dinner, time management expert Laura Vanderkam told me for a story I wrote a few years back. Analyzing hour-by-hour time logs from 143 working […]

Read More

Absence and the Heart

Thoughts on Home

Last week, Mark was away at a work conference for four days and four nights, not that I was counting. Sensing the void, and vulnerability on my part, my older son requested pancakes for dinner on the first evening, which we followed up with a maple syrup-fueled dance party to the Trolls soundtrack. Things started […]

Read More

Wonders Never Cease

Thoughts on Home

We went to Sugarloaf Mountain for three days during school vacation last week and returned with changed children. The 4- and 6-year-old who had never skied independently began snowplowing down the bunny slope with confidence after a couple of half-day lessons. Cautious and quick-tempered, our kids don’t always take to athletic endeavors easily — both […]

Read More

Birthday Party Pondering

Entertaining

William Carlos Williams had his red wheelbarrow; for me, the object “so much depends upon” is a child’s birthday cake. I am not a skilled baker, nor am I particularly crafty or proficient with frosting, and, like most working people I know, I have almost zero free time. And yet, twice a year, I spend […]

Read More