My then-shaggy boys in the Mojave desert where I grew up, December 2014
Sometimes I fear that I'm doing my kids' childhood all wrong.
Not enough forts, for instance.
When I was a kid, we had a corner of the living room devoted frequently to forts. There was a living and a family room. Plenty of space for forts.
Our house here in Berkeley is little. We make forts, though we haven't made one in a while. The giant camo blanket, lightweight with strings sewn into the edges, is perfect for fort-making. We tie the strings to chairs and the iron handles on the heavy bench that used to be the shoe bench and now is the coffee table.
I'm sure my mother worried sometimes that she was not doing our childhood right. It must have been so different from how she grew up, in a small town just outside Newark, shouting distance from the airport I've been flying into since childhood. She and my dad both grew up in the same town, Hillside, one mile square. I was born in upstate New York, land of gray sky, and then they moved to the desert ... more
It was a beautiful fall day, and I was only a little bit sick, so I decided to do my first round of theLife-Changing Magic of Tidying Up technique (the author calls it the KonMari method). I decided to start with something specific and manageable: my shoes.
I gathered up all my shoes in one place, ferreting them out of their various storage spots, even remembering the old slippers under my nightstand and a pair of flip flops hanging out in my bike pannier.
All ... more
Every six months or so, I look around my house and have a sharp, sudden desire to get rid of 75% of the items in it. The random plastic toy floating underfoot, the outgrown shoes I haven't had a chance to deal with yet, the tangled cords that surface here and there, the paper, oh the paper, that multiplies every time I turn my back.
There are people in the world who are naturally very good at decluttering. People like my sister and my friend Meghan, who have no sentimental attachments to old ... more
In the yard, May 2014
Hydrangeas are the perfect plant for me. Ours always comes back, no matter how much we neglect it.
Suddenly, our little yard has become everyone's favorite place to hang out, though no matter how gorgeous these blooms are, I think that's more due to the hot tub than anything.
Yes, hot tub.
This hot-water-lover's dream come true...
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5 minutes after the kids got home
This is where the kids get clean.
This is where they get dirty again.
This is where I say to Emry for the thousandth time, "No drinking the bath water" in tones either patient or not-at-all patient, depending on the day.
This is where I cook.
This is where I stand, checking email on my phone, or looking out at the hummingbird, checking whether she is in her nest or whether she has taken herself off for a meal. She is never gone long.
This is where spring ... more
The yard as backdrop to Emry's first birthday, October 2011
Sometimes I call it the patio, which is fairly accurate, and sometimes the garden, which is wishful thinking.
Mostly I call it the yard, which is what we called outdoor space where I grew up. In the desert, on one acre, in the '80s, we had a front and a back yard: lawns, a wooden deck, a playhouse made by my dad and grandpa with square, circle, rectangle and triangle windows, swings, a plywood slide which would leave splinters in your ... more
Pantry after badly needed clean-up, February 2013
I have felt such a need to purge and clear out lately. What is this, some kind of early-early spring cleaning clock?
I think it's more that the build up over the 4 and a half years we've lived in this house has suddenly... well, built up. To the point where, when I peek into certain closets, I feel like an ant contemplating the scale of a skyscraper, and so I close the curtain on it and go about my business. No, it's not ... more