Home & Family

  • Animals,  Cat stories,  Home & Family

    Goodbye, Jack B. Nimble

    I lost a dear friend on Thursday. During an annual physical last year, the vet told me that Jack, our 19-year-old tuxedo cat, was possibly nearing his final months. He started failing steadily last week, so when he lost control of his back legs and collapsed by his litter box, I knew it was time to let him go. En route to the vet’s office Thursday afternoon, I remembered a small poster I’d purchased a few years ago. Cats are angels with fur, it said. Like most angels — animal or human — Jack arrived on the scene exactly when I needed him.  Our only child had gone off to college…

  • Christmas,  grandparenting,  Holiday traditions,  Home & Family

    Believe

    “We were dreamers not so long ago. But one by one, we all had to grow up.  When it seems the magic slipped away, We find it all again on Christmas day.” ~from “Believe” by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri Everything they say about seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes is true — but I’d nearly forgotten. Now that there’s a little boy in my life again, I’ve been rereading The Polar Express aloud at bedtime and rediscovering the magic of flying reindeer and jingling sleigh bells. Chris Van Allsberg’s award-winning picture book was published the year our son was born (1985) and was a holiday hit in our home…

  • Arts & crafts,  Home & Family

    Riffing on a recipe

    “Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need to look at a recipe again, and can take off on your own.” ~Julia Child One of my favorite cold-weather recipes is a spicy posole that was published in the “Pantry Raid” section of Better Homes and Gardens magazine more than 10 years ago. I’ve made this Mexican stew so often — sometimes trying my own variations — that I don’t need to make a list of the ingredients I’ll need before heading to the grocery store. Mastering any technique takes practice, whether you’re whipping up an omelette, knitting a scarf, or building a house. But as Julia Child advised, there’s…

  • Christmas,  Community spirit,  Holidays,  Home & Family

    Redefining “family”

    “Family was a bigger word than I imagined, wide and without limitations, if you allowed it, defying easy definition. You had family that was supposed to be family and wasn’t, family that wasn’t family but was….It was possible to lack whole, honest love and connection from family in lead roles, yet to be filled to abundance by the unexpected supporting players.” ~Deb Colette, The Secret Life of Prince Charming The winter holidays traditionally shine a bright light on our family relationships. Sometimes that’s a beautiful thing, and sometimes it’s … complicated. (In yesterday’s post, I shared a column about coping with the loss of loved ones during the holidays.) Whether it’s…

  • Featured,  grandparenting,  Home & Family,  Oakland Press columns,  Where I'm published

    What’s your grandparenting style?

    “If I’d known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first.” ~Lois Wyse About three years ago, I was thrilled to add “Grandma” to my resume. But I couldn’t help but wonder: Had my childcare skills gotten rusty? What makes a good grandparent? I understood the fine line between hovering and supporting — and I wasn’t sure how to get it right. After doing a little research, I learned there are five key styles of grandparenting. That’s the topic of my new column in The Oakland Press. To read it online, please click here. Or you’ll find it here in the May issue of Vitality…