Comfort from my daughter’s ‘present’ box

Residents are evacuated in Fieldstone Farms in Franklin on May 2, 2010. Photo by Mandy Lunn / The Tennessean.

Hidden in my closet is a box of small presents for my daughter, which I restock from the dollar aisle at Target and draw from when I think she needs a pick-me-up. This morning, which is the 12th after the floods began, I turned to the present box impulsively.  Continue reading

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Nashville floods, work overwhelms, heart sinks

This is my neighborhood, Fieldstone Farms.

I’m a journalist with The Tennessean. Because of overwhelming flooding in our city the last four days, my “day job” has been more like a “round the clock” job. That’s why I haven’t posted in a while.

I’m not complaining. Getting information to people is an important part of helping my city overcome this disaster.

Here is a link to our ongoing Nashville Flood coverage. And here is a list of “dos” and “don’ts”, including what you can do to help.

I hope you and your family are safe and dry.

Ten tiny food pleasures are ritualistic and delicious

Lemonade with sugared rim and mint; frozen blueberries; salted almonds.

I have been looking for small ways to treat myself this week, and it occurred to me that when it comes to food, what delights and soothes me has as much to do with ritual and association as it does flavor and sustenance. Here are some favorite tiny pleasures I think others might enjoy:

  • Frozen blueberries. I fill a little dish and eat them one by one. My fingers turn blue. When my grandmother was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, I made her homemade ginger ale and garnished her glass with blueberries I found in her freezer. According to a cookbook I bought when I learned she had cancer, the flavors are strong enough to be enjoyed by chemo patients whose taste buds have been damaged by the treatments. Continue reading

Windowsill flower arrangement

Pansies and columbine

Here is a sweet, simple way to arrange flowers if you don’t have a lot of space, or a lot of know-how. It’s also handy for those who don’t have a big cutting garden, or who (like me) would rather leave everything outside because that’s where you spend more of your time.

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Did Norman Rockwell ever live in Franklin?

A dear friend and I were drinking wine in my garden Sunday afternoon when we heard what sounded to her like Tyrannosaurus Rex snorting above us. I knew without looking what it was. Hot air balloons are not uncommon where I live, and within seconds three of them were hovering right over our house.

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Last update: How to make housekeeping fun-ish

[I’ve updated this. For those who’ve read it already, jump to the bottom.]

This week was full of late work nights, childcare scrambles and a battle with a sinus infection. I tried hard to maintain a “life in full” strategy despite this, but there was only so much my sister-in-law’s neti pot was going to accomplish for me. I ate very little and slept even less. No running. No gardening. No cooking. No writing. Bah. And because we were out of town last weekend, we are way behind on laundry, housekeeping, mowing the grass and grocery shopping. Double bah.

What I need from this weekend might be impossible: Catch up on all my domestic chores in a way that feels relaxing and enjoyable. And do it quickly enough so that there’s still time for something that actually is relaxing and enjoyable. Basically: I want to make vacuuming and whatnot fun and fast. What follows is my strategy, which is full of holes I hope you’ll help me fill.

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Seven pretty green things

The Irish surname Green has a branch on my father’s family tree, and my dad’s mother dyed her hair red long beyond anyone’s memory of its original auburn. Nevertheless, I have never been one to adorn myself (or awash my beer) in a serious green glow just because it’s St. Patrick’s Day. So in subtle honor of today’s holiday, I offer six gently green (ish) images from around my home and garden. Enjoy!

My friend Arienne Holland gave me this as a present. It belonged to a teacher at Nashville's Howard School. It's among the loveliest presents I've ever received.

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