• gift guide

    The Real Gift Guide

    12.21.2015 / OTHER

    Roughly nine years ago, I wrote gift guides for a living. I’d title them with sly, witty link bait like, ’10 Genius Gifts For Your Co-Ed Nephew Who Swears His Alarm Clock Is Broken But We’ve Seen The Timestamp On His Twitter Feed.’ I don’t do gift guides anymore. — Once, years ago, I scoured a Portland bookstore for a limited edition book on pirates. I found a quirky illustrated treasure map guide with dozens of original pirate rules (Stand …

  • schoola and design for mankind 1

    Dress Code

    12.18.2015 / PLAY

    When your mother-in-law invites you to a holiday symphony and the dress code is fancy-fancy-fancy but the days have been so long lately and you’re having trouble mustering the strength for pantyhose? You improvise. You dig for your favorite, most comfortable, most breathable summer dress and you decide that tomorrow night, you’ll break the rules. Tomorrow night, your Labor Day white will be named Winter White, and with a quilted blazer, statement boots and a rosemary braid, you’ll strive for …

  • winter blues cure jar

    Come Pick Me Up

    12.15.2015 / FAMILY

    Well, it’s just that the days are really, really long in the short kind of way. The dark by 5:30 way, the pent up energy way, the bouncing from walls way (her) and the silence, please way (you). The beauty of motherhood is that you learn to power through it. You do it because you must, not because you want to, or because you’re selfless, or because you’ve been blessed with an extra nurturing gene. You do it because there’s …

  • amazon kindle 3

    On Books, On Change

    12.14.2015 / OTHER

    You might say I’m a reader. My current library account displays 18 checked out paperbooks, stories of love and loss and growth and change. They used to stack in two rivaling towers on my nightstand, each leaning into one another, miniature Pisas, ready to fall to the carpet at any moment. In the kitchen, cookbooks. In the office, books on design, typography, art, business, religion, social justice. In the car, memoirs. Ever always memoirs. My former college roommate used to …

  • erin-loechner-hgtv

    On Aging

    12.11.2015 / OTHER

    Last week, I ran into an older woman – 70, maybe 75? – in the ladies room and commented on what beautiful skin she had. It glowed, truly, with just the right amount of weathering that announced to the world, I have been places. I have seen things. These lines contain wisdom; my face is a cartographer’s dream. And she laughed as she washed her hands, saying she’d just had a Botox treatment the week prior. Right here, she said, …

  • blurb-adoption-book-2

    Dear Walden

    12.09.2015 / FAMILY

    She’s been making artwork for the brother she doesn’t yet have, the one that she wants, the one that we want, too. When Ken and I talk about the home study process over dinner, about the paperwork and the fingerprinting and the education seminars, she takes a bite of her apple and asks when he’s coming. Someday, we say. I think he’s going to come tomorrow, she says. — We’ve been reading books. Rosie’s Family, Over the Moon, We Belong …

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