Going home

I don’t know why I answered the doorbell. I never do. Really. It’s always someone trying to sell me something—raffle tickets, candy bars, the salvation of Jesus Christ. But this time, I peeked out the window to see who might be there. A father and son stood on my doorstep. I opened the window a…

In a parallel universe

In a parallel universe, at this very moment, I am sipping coffee on my front porch. On a picturesque street, lined with maples and oaks, an elderly gentleman rides his bike by me and waves, shouting out, “Hello, Miss Kristine. Mighty fine day, isn’t it?” I wave back and smile, luxuriating in my book and…

They say I come from bitchy stock

The only time I slapped a man across the face, I think I was as stunned as he was. It was a couple of decades ago, in a Lincoln Park pub. You’d assume he was someone I did not know very well, but this was not the case. The man I slapped had been a…

We do life in this house

You know those weeks where the Universe throws a message at you again and again? And, in case you missed it, yet again? We’re having one of those in my house. We have a saying in my home: “We do life.” Meaning, we are fully human, we make mistakes, we figure it out. Rather than…

Braving dark corners

When was the last time you peered into the dark corners of your life? Taken one step further, when is the last time you peered and did something about what you saw instead of quickly looking away? Despite having put the task off for ages, that is how I spent my afternoon. You can erase…

One-sided conversations in the kitchen

When all else fails, I make my mother’s spaghetti. When weeks are hard and binging on the Gilmore Girls on Netflix does not bring sufficient comfort, a girl has to step it up a bit. I even tried Baileys and coffee in front of the fire, but alas, my mother’s spaghetti it is not. I…

My bed is like Grand Central Station

Yeah. Not in that way. Every home has its epicenter. In many homes, it’s the kitchen table. Homework gets done, meals are eaten, world politics are argued. When we added on to our home, I wanted a kitchen large enough for a huge farmhouse table. Alas, that was not in the cards. But I got…

These aren’t the presents I asked for

My son told me I should ask for a certain something for Christmas. That’s when it hit me. No one asks me what I want for Christmas anymore. When I was little, my parents did. When married, my husband did. Now, middle aged and divorced with deceased parents and young kids—no one asks. While I’d…

Won’t you be my neighbor?

I am part of a rare ecosystem, one which is fast becoming extinct. Let’s not let it happen. I’m part of a neighborhood. That doesn’t mean I live in a cookie-cutter subdivision surrounded by lots of other people of similar socioeconomic persuasions. That’s called a block. Or a development. Or a high-rise. I live in…

Can a bauble get you through a tough week? Sure. Shamelessly.

I’ve never been a believer in talismans. You can keep your rabbit’s foot and lucky penny. I shake my head when a pro baseball player feels compelled to perform rituals before he bats. Does the tap to the forehead and scratch of the nose really play into his homerun stats? Doubtful. But I get what…

Solace in the kitchen

The kitchen used to be enemy territory for me. I grew up with a mother who cooked out of necessity. I did not see joy in her face while she prepared meals. My father, on the other hand, saw cooking as one of the highest creative pursuits. He could cobble a spread from whatever happened…