And now it’s time for lilies

When we planted those tulip bulbs together last fall – yes, together – we knew only one of us would live in this house when they bloomed in the spring. As I dug holes and dropped them in the ground, my tears fell with them. You saw, you stopped what you were doing, and you joined me.

We talked and planted: bulbs and a new relationship. And I knew then, and maybe you did too, that we would be okay.

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Why would you reject a kindness?

Do you know anyone who’s made both these complaints, even at the same time?

A: People should reach out to me and take care of me because I’m dealing with some crap right now.

B. People should stop doing stuff for me because I’m dealing with some crap right now and it’s humiliating enough without their interference.

You can’t complain no one is helping you, then complain when they do. Continue reading

Nashville: Add Pulitzer to your profile

This photo was part of The Tennessean’s coverage of last year’s flood. By Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

The Tennessean was announced yesterday as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for our coverage of last May’s crippling, record-shattering floods.

Finalists and winners are named at the same time, and it is beyond an honor to be included in this group. To put a Nashville spin on it: It’s like the Grammys. If you’re nominated, you call all your relatives, slam the heck out of Twitter and Facebook, pop open something bubbly, and proudly update your digital profiles with the likes of “Pulitzer-recognized journalist…”

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Is this an art project, or a history assignment?

Four months ago, this old farmhouse window was stacked with several others in the back room of an antique mall on 8th Avenue in Nashville. As of Palm Sunday, it’s been redeemed.

I love this window-turned-junk-turned-photo-art-thing because it’s layered in stories. Here are some, most of them true.

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Mothers and daughters, and the questions we trade

Lily and I work on a private podcast for her grandfather (my dad), who is working in India.

I have a clear memory of leaning over the side of the tub, rinsing the strawberry birthmark on my daughter’s soft baby skin as she splashed around, oblivious to me. I was responsible for her cleanliness and safety, her health and well-being. A year prior, I had been routinely pecking from a large cheese ball for dinner (on nights I actually ate dinner) and alternately puffing from Marlboro Lights and an asthma inhaler.

Now I was 25, indulging in a “Can’t believe I’m an actual adult” moment. She was four months old and (appropriately) self absorbed and entirely dependent on another person. In many ways, we were just alike. I said aloud: “Lily, I cannot WAIT for you to talk to me.”

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Prettying and personalizing a modern home with antiques

My house: Lately I have found myself with extra space and a desire to make it feel like me. And not just me, per say, but what has formed me – my family, my community. In an effort to fill these domestic spaces – and fill them meaningfully – I’ve spent a quite a bit of time meandering antique malls around Nashville and Franklin. Sometimes I’m alone, sometimes with friends. Sometimes I have a plan, sometimes not. Sometimes I scour my own closets and drawers, finding things I didn’t know or didn’t remember I had, and these, too, become great finds. Art recovered or repurposed. Some of my recent favorites:

This Eastlake sofa is from circa 1880 but has been relatively recently reupholstered in a bright gold that looks beautiful in my green and cream bedroom. It was one of a handful of antiques in a small downtown Franklin shop that sells primarily gifts and modern home accessories. The store owner told me the sofa had been on display for years, too fancy and unusual to muster serious attention from any practical buyers.

I bought it right away.

The images above it are from my mother’s family: formal portraits of her great aunts and uncles as babies, nurses, soldiers and parents. The frames are a variety of colors and sizes not intended for this grouping, but somehow it works out better that way. When the portraits didn’t fit the frames, I cobbled together matting from the portrait studios’ original paper sleeves.

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