Ciao'd after setting out sunflower seeds for the winter birds. Welcome home. 



I live on the corner of persnickety and passionate. Sometimes I step off the curb into the universe of me. I am no longer young and malleable, though I try to remain open-minded. Age may be a bias but it allows the privilege and pleasure of making declarations and pronouncements.

I have a political hangover (don’t we all?). The events of the last week put into perspective the small things in life that ultimately define a life. I can’t control the zeitgeist but I can revel in my little world. The good looms large above it. The ridiculous ripples through it. So, yeah, I thought what the hell? Let’s let go of what the future may portend globally and stroll through the universe of me. Namely, a litany of my pet peeves and a symphony of my passions.  Something tells me you'll relate to at least a few. First, the peeves (even the word is annoying).

People who turn without using their turn signal. You are so lucky you haven’t been rear-ended. By me. On purpose. 

When people say “on accident.” It’s “by accident.” Take note Chance and Reyn.

Cold soup when it is supposed to be hot soup. If I can make this happen in my home kitchen, why can’t you restaurant people deliver it, too?

My husband’s bare feet touching mine. No further comment.

People who park in handicapped spots when they are clearly not handicapped, except by their sense of entitlement.

People who enter a store and then stop in front of the door. Especially the boneheads who do this while on their cell phones. I'm guessing these are the same people who phone it in crosswalks and on busy sidewalks, too. Forget Smartphone. This is Dumbphone at its finest. 

“Gluten-free” with no medical justification for the claim. Novak Djokovic gets a pass because he rocks. 

“Reply all.” Don’t.

Cyclists who hog the road by riding two or three or four across. And pretending they don’t see me riding their asses.

Fellow power yoga people who not only shower sweat but smell, too. Men, I am talking to you.

Okay, so. While  I could go on (and on) with the peeves, let's tack to the bright buoys. Like these:

The words “whisper,” ‘prairie,” and “lagniappe.”

The fat red squirrel who visits every morning. His name is Hilary. As in the Everest climber.

People over the age of 75. They are fonts of wisdom.

Sunlight illuminating stained glass windows in an old church.

Mary Oliver. Her poems. She is a national treasure.

The scent of tennis balls newly sprung from the can. Please let one be my lucky ball. 

The random souls who smile back when I smile at them. Love and kindness.

Parmesan, prosciutto and sparkling wine. Together.

My son’s laugh.

My husband’s patience.

Life teeters on the cusp of good and bad, happy and sad, hope and despair. I’m lucky to be a glass-half-full denizen of our crazy world. Except when I’m not.

We need beauty to nourish our souls. Whether we read a poem, contemplate art, ingest a child’s smile, or notice the sun rising, these perfections inspire us. They calm us. They save us from the insanity.

So here, the simplest, beautiful decoration for celebrating the season and punctuating the Thanksgiving table. You were wondering what to do with those pumpkins that still lurk on your porch, right? Well, here you go.  Laugh at the peeves. Give thanks for the passions.


Pumpkins (and squashes, too) come in all sizes, so they're perfect for stacking into a sculptural centerpiece for the table. Let your imagination guide you. If you like, include winter squashes and root vegetables, too. Be sure the top pumpkin has its stem intact. 

Here's how:

Arrange the pumpkins on a platter or cake stand with the biggest one on the bottom and the smallest on the top. Tuck autumn leaves or ivy, if you wish, around the base of the pumpkin sculpture and around the pumpkins in the sculpture, too.  Gorgeous!