Happy Mother’s Day From A Father’s Daughter – 2017


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I wondered if this had changed in the four years since I first wrote it.  No, not really we are still, my mother and I, something…best described as comfortably, and now mutually, respectful.

She is now soon to be 87 years old and my father has been gone 12 years…12 years still seems like the day before yesterday and I remain very much my father’s daughter. My nest egg has grown and her’s remains wonderful as some frugal habits are hard to relinquish.

To her credit, and her benefit,  the one time she didn’t start from no, didn’t say no, resulted in the love affair of the decade.  She has developed a true and deep love of an old dog.  She and Toti Nonna continue to save each other each week since Lina died.  They are the reason each looks forward to the weekend.

I’ve had a new string of wonderful young people cycle through my life and on to live their fullest lives and I fully anticipate this will happen again and again.  There is something to be said for being once removed from family where one can stamp their feet and empty their angst while filling their stomachs.  I’d like to say I’ve perfected that particular method of being available.

Previously published in 2013:


She loves her Chinese food, me not so much.  She has a million quips and quotes that somehow grew us up and we remember to this day.  She is eighty three and like most people her age she concentrates on herself, some amazing survival instinct of the aged. She truly made a silk purse from a sow’s ear, she scrimped and saved and has a wonderful nest egg, me not so much but she is generous.

In the eight years since my Father passed we have become…something.  Something more than we were and less than we will ever be.  I have developed a certain respect for her charm, her ability to bring people to her and to make them feel…something.  Loved, important, heard, special.  She has a long line of people who will always remember how she made them feel.  Including me.

But she and I couldn’t be more different in many ways.  I am hopeful that I’ve been able to cultivate that ability of hers to bring people to me.  Maya Angelou said today that her second greatest blessing has been her ability to turn people into children of hers.  I’ve had a string of people that I believe turned into children of mine but have now moved on into wonderful and satisfying lives through new jobs, new relationships or reestablished relationships with their own mothers, and new…something.

You never really know the effect you’ve had on people, there are no Mother’s Day calls when people have taken your love and lessons and moved on to send those lessons into their own worlds.  You can be grateful for the love and lessons you’ve received from a Mother you’re only now getting to know, love and respect.   I am grateful for both the sending and the receiving.


Happy Mother’s Day to all.

Keeping It Simple

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― Ernst F. Schumacher

Come to find out we’ve got just the courage to move in that opposite direction.  This week we are celebrating life on Stowe Lane for what it is, simple.

The love of a dog.

Reading, writing, cooking from an old recipe box.

The snap and crunch of a Pink Lady.

The promise of a garden and the beach.

At some point in time, it no longer takes courage to go in the direction of simple.  It’s a joy, a relief, a necessity.  You grow weary of the “chasing slow” as Erin Loechner says in her book of the same name.  “Sometime when we’re not looking for what we want, we find what we need.”

We are finding what we need….



Why did I think this sad excuse for bad behavior died? Are we continuing to follow the fist pumping Bieberish outliers that are still using what could be a call to live life to the fullest in their antics? Are we? Are we still allowing the media to continue giving the Millennials a bad name by highlighting the “no regrets” madness of the few? Are we?

You only live once, YOLO, simply isn’t true. I’ve lived at least four lifetimes already in my sixty years and each life change was spurred on by a regret. As Joan Didion puts it, I’ve let go of several people I used to be. The thing about each regret is it wasn’t realized at the time of the occurrence. It is with hind sight, always 20/20, that I could see the regret clearly but somehow I made the life change at the time anyway. I find that fascinating.

How will people be able to realize these life changes if they assign the concept of YOLO in such extremes? I worry that a generation may be lost to not embracing the power of making a mistake and learning from it. That their quest for overindulgences and momentary rash decisions will bring them to an early grave. That there might not be any mindfulness to their decisions and that their only legacy will be their sudden demise. I’ve been thinking about this all week.

And then I realize the media is undeniably at work here. Portraits of the crazy younger generations sells advertising, God knows we did. But as I look around at the young people I know, my trust is restored. For instance a young man I know is just beginning to realize he needs an adventure, not the drive on the edge of a cliff kind of adventure but a change. He’s realizing, in advance, that if he doesn’t follow his heart and seek out those things that give him joy he might never have the opportunity again, he wants no regrets. So in some sense he’s planning but at the same time remaining open to possibility. He’s exploring but remaining cognizant of the effects his decision will have on his family. He’s not struggling with the fact that his family might be hurt or disappointed but mindful that it might happen and prepared to address it. He gets the carpe diem spirit of you only live once.

These are the members of the Millennial generation that need to be celebrated and highlighted. For all their faults and all their perceived entitlements we may have some culpability here; we left them quite a mess to contend with. For all we know most of them, are planning adventures and creating alternate lifestyles that will change the world just as we Boomers did. I think we just need to ask them.

The more I open my mind to them the more I see them as a generation of alternatives. These are the people foregoing the big fancy weddings and concentrating on the marriage, these are the people coming into and helping to revive the cities. Forcing changes to old housing standards like the McMansion. These are the minimalists. These are the people that might just put the automotive business in a tizzy.

I still believe that YOLO in its pop culture manifestation threatens to send life down the drain but my faith in those truly trying to live without regrets will continue to be restored by those simply living their lives the way they want their story told. My kind of people.



The Little Red Hen

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Who will help me…bake? Who will help me…decorate? Who will help me…sort and wrap? Not I said everyone. But if I said, Who will help me be remembered? What then?

It’s not that I need the help, its therapeutic work for me, and nostalgic. I have rituals that surround the cookie making and I get lost in the music I’m playing the smells I’m smelling, and the memories of those in whose steps I’m following. My mother says it’s all in the hands that makes the food taste the way so and so made it. I get that, sometimes I actually see that when I watch my hands and they don’t look or move like mine.

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I’m not sure if people even really enjoy these cookies each year. We’ve become a society of gift cards and obligation rather than traditions and giving from the heart. I’m saddened sometimes that there isn’t anyone I can teach these recipes to or pass along the little book of secret ingredients. Although my dear Dina and Daniel give me hope each summer when we make “Mommy’s favorite cookies”. That’s about as close as I come to sharing and teaching and laughing and seeing the end result light up their faces.

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I know some of my nearest and dearest appreciate the work and the love that goes into this gift each year. Those of you that have swooned over the first bite of a pignoli nut cookie, or squirreled away the Italian cookies in the freezer to be pulled out one at a time when needed, or dipped an anisette cookie in your coffee at three in the afternoon, or tasted one of each as soon as you got them know that these aren’t just cookies. You know this is my gift to you from generations past and my contribution to their legacy.

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There would be no greater gift than to have someone join me in the kitchen as I choreograph several trays into and out of the oven, mixing bowls and cooling racks all the while listening to Andre Boccelli assure me that my busy hands are honoring those who came before me and that somehow these cookies won’t disappear when I do.

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And so while the little red head was trying to teach a lesson on the virtues of a good work ethic and personal initiative I’m trying, as always, to teach a lesson in legacy. Hoping that someone will want to hold tight to holiday food traditions, my holiday food traditions, before they need to be recreated later on…much later on. Anybody?