After my parents both passed away (my mom in 2008 and my dad in 2012) my brother and I divided their estate. Of course, there were some things we both wanted. Fortunately, both of us got more than everything we needed. So long story short, it worked out.

Except … there was one painting in my parents’ Shelter Island house that I loved …

It was painted by Rufus Coes and probably purchased shortly after Don and I married, judging by this 1978 article recently found by my sister-in-law …

I confess I was saddened when I learned that my brother had passed the painting on to his son …

But then it occurred to me that I have a painter in the house. So I asked Don if he could paint his own version …

and good man that he is, he did 💕

Channeling my inner Scarlett

Gone with the Wind is definitely not PC these days, but when I was a teenager my mom urged it on me, saying it was a classic. How well I remember reading it in the backseat of our car during a road trip to see what all the fuss was about. “Not much,” was my dismissive opinion.

That said, it was a semi-big deal in 1976 when it finally aired on TV and I got to see the movie version for the first time. I still gave it a “not much” rating, but thankfully it primed me to more fully appreciate Carol Burnett’s skit Went with the Wind, in which she parodied Scarlett’s drapery-inspired gown.

All of which has everything to do with the latest iteration of the boho blouse …

Since I was having trouble with the patchplay version, I decided to try out the pintucks on some vintage cloth that had been packed and moved five times. Purchased in 1980, there were two yards of it left over after I sewed curtains for the living room picture window in our very first house. Finally, it has found its reason for being.

I’m pretty sure it’s 100% cotton and it needles like an absolute dream …

My fingers are grateful … stitches are a cinch when the cloth isn’t clogged with excess dye and whatever else it is they use to finish fabric these days. Now if I could just figure out where to find more 40 year old cloth.

And while I’m looking back, here’s what we had for lunch today …

The backstory is my fond memory of 1974 shopping trips to Bloomingdale’s in Garden City (Long Island, NY), with my friend Rachel. We must have eaten at their in-store restaurant more than once, because I have a very clear recollection of Croque Monsieur being a favorite.

The version I whipped up today might better be called a Monte Cristo, as it had a distinctly Italian vibe. Lest I forget, it consisted of crusty Italian White Bread from Central Market in Austin, thin slices of Speck (a smoked version of prosciutto), leftover zucchini butter (from this Smitten Kitchen recipe), lots of shredded parm (regretfully not Reggiano … this time), all dipped in beaten egg and griddled in melted butter. Oh, and we did dab on a bit of basil vinaigrette at the table because there was some of that leftover, too.



Just before joining the circle of Kindred Spirits at 9:00 am Texas time, I read Jude’s latest post with its ark-like house/boat.

The poignant strains of the Indigo Girls’ Wood Song filled my head, the words long ago committed to memory.

And I remembered.

In 1997 I had given two weeks notice to Colonial Williamsburg in order to accept a job as a middle school librarian.

To say it was a huge leap of faith would be an understatement. I was taking a 20% pay cut, leaving an 18-year career, a hard-earned title, and a newly-acquired corner office.

Each morning as I pointed the bow of my trusty Dodge Caravan into the rising sun, I queued up the Indigo Girls and cranked the volume. Singing at the top of my lungs, I played the Wood Song … over and over.

I had dared to trust my gut … the inner voice that led me to act … the fierce certainty that overcame my doubts about walking away from the security of the known.

The next twelve years were spent in a middle school, a high school, and an elementary school. They led to the Eastern Virginia Writing Project, through which I became an adjunct instructor at the College of William & Mary.

I never looked back.

If only it could be so easy now … to quit the chaos and dysfunction of this troubled world … to walk away, singing … and begin anew.

What is left to trust?

Simply this: love, family, community, truth, and hope … a righteous hope that goodness will ultimately prevail. And the realization that it has always been darkest before the dawn.