Mary Chapin Carpenter at OCCCA few weeks ago, I crossed the Number One item off my Music Bucket List when I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter perform live. Her album “Come On Come On” was the first CD I ever bought. Her lyrics have inspired me since I first heard them at the age of—nine? Ten? Her album Stones in the Road is at the top of my Desert Island Discs list, one of the most perfect and wonderful set of songs ever committed to tape. She was excellent live—funny, engaging, vulnerable, charming.

If any of you ever have cause to plan my funeral—which I hope is a very long time from now—I’d like to put it out there now that this song of Mary Chapin’s is a must. It should play with no accompaniment: No slideshow, no one talking. I’d just like the gathered mourners (and celebrants) to sit quietly and listen to this tune.



Gerber, 2nd yearI’m going to say this, and I fully expect the Internet to be in my front yard by morning, pitchforks in hand: I think weddings are stupid. Almost every wedding I’ve been to has been exhausting, an unmitigated disaster in one way or another—bridezillas, freaking-out parents, and that one bridesmaid who’s always pissed it isn’t her special day and so makes it all about herself. Lots of flowery romantic language that never feels like it has anything to do with real life, with what a marriage actually is like. Which is why Brian and I got married in a hallway at the county courthouse. One of the small concessions I did want, however, was flowers. I gave one to every woman who attended—my mom, my sister-in-law, my friend K.C., and her daughter Beatrice, who was our flower girl. This was October, and what was available at Whole Foods were Gerber daisies, so that’s what I got.

I also have Gerber daisies growing in the flower bed below my front porch. I planted them last year, and—zing!—back they came this spring. This one was particularly beautiful the other day, so I shot a photo of it, and now I think I have the template for my next tattoo.


Screwy Prayer

Screw ItMy two best friends in the world are going through an absolute hell of a time right now. Their son, with whom they are pregnant after several rounds of IVF, has developed a serious condition in utero that will require the mother’s hospitalization through the remainder of the pregnancy (look up Vasa Praevia for more details).

I used to be one of those people who always wanted to pray with you. Out loud. I’m not one of those people any more—not where almost anyone is concerned (the two aforementioned friends would be an exception, but even then, only seldom). I don’t get anything spiritual from hearing myself pray now. Now, I need my prayers to have feet, legs, hands, grocery bags, rides to the airport, long runs, active things. So last night I went to their house and helped. I put together a book shelf. I ironed a curtain and helped move furniture. I brought tacos for dinner.

I’m not writing all this to say, “Look how wonderful I am!” I’m writing it to say that I like prayers with feet. And Phillips head screwdrivers. And big things of greasy queso. And last night, in my meditation after I got home, I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and prayed—for this baby, for my friends, for all of the extended tribe we have. If you’re so inclined, please join me—whatever that looks like for you.


Two Lips


The first time we saw this house, nearly a decade ago, it had been staged to within an inch of its life. That included the backyard, which was planted with a perfectly timed seasonal rotation of blooming things that began with the first flush of spring and continued through midsummer. I’ve never done much to tend to those plants, and as a result, many of them haven’t survived my inadequate care. But these tulips have come up year after year. I’m not sure what changed in 2015—our neighbors on that side built a fence—but this year, they exploded. I cut a few of them and put them in a vase in the dining room.

Cross Words

Not bad for a Sunday morning. (Some help from the Internet—What's the point if you don't learn something?) #NYTcrossword


I ordered home delivery of the Sunday New York Times at the beginning of the year, and it’s added so much to my life that I’m a little ashamed I didn’t do it before now. My Dad and I have done crossword puzzles together since I was twelve or thirteen; he doesn’t live here, of course, so I’m pretty much on my own to do the one in the Times magazine. I try to work out as much as I can, but I consider it completely legitimate to use the Internet to solve a clue I can’t get on my own—as long as that clue is something easily looked up. There are plenty of crossword cheat sites, of course, but unless you’re well and truly stuck, that’s lame. I stick to Wikipedia for the ones I just can’t get on my own. Because what’s the point if you don’t learn something, right? This one made me proud, though, because I answered somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 percent of the clues without having to look.