Buttering up Grandma Peggy

Buttering up Grandma Peggy

More than almost anything else, my mother loathes butter. Her standard breakfast order -- dry toast, crisp bacon, eggs scrambled hard -- is a mandate not a request. Should butter appear on her plate, she will lose her appetite for the entire meal and the offending restaurant will face her non-negotiable butter boycott. So, when [...]

Beautiful things: Another magic mirror

Beautiful things: Another magic mirror

Last week, my sister in-law Nancy gave my son Charlie and his fiancée Tara a beautiful engagement present. As I've written before, Nancy celebrates moments and memories in extraordinarily thoughtful ways. She remembered that, when Charlie was younger, he had given his grandparents a mirror for Christmas, and had written them a note that they [...]

Happy Valentine’s Day, with love

Happy Valentine’s Day, with love

My dad used to swing by Wilmar’s Chocolates every Valentine’s Day to pick up a large heart for my mom and four smaller ones for my sisters, my brother and me. Some of us wolfed down those candies the day we received them, others savored each piece slowly, stretching that sweet little box out for [...]

Be kind, dear groundhog

Be kind, dear groundhog

Have you ever been to Punxsutawney? I have. That's how loyal I am to my fickle friend Phil. We share a fondness for random celebrations  and burrowing on chilly February mornings. We're also legendary procrastinators, which is how my family holiday card came to celebrate the groundhog. Our tradition started because I kept putting off [...]

Our Christmas Camelot

Our Christmas Camelot

Everyone has a Christmas Camelot -- that magical moment when you look around a room filled with all the people you love and your heart swells so big it nudges the tear ducts in your eyes. This year, our Christmas Camelot happened midway through the holidays on a frigid Thursday in Cecil, Wisconsin. Smoke curled [...]