A Little Evening Magic

More fire, another trashcan filled to (almost) overflowing, another load into the trunk of the Civic. The pile of remodeling debris continues to shrink. I invite Katie out with me as I’m doing all this. I like to keep her involved, and it gives Michelle some time with one less demand on her. So, we putter around the yard, me laying in big stuff, Katie tossing in small stuff, us having a grand time making the side yard look like yard again. We were climbing up onto the deck’s second level to go in for a drink, when I heard … Continue reading A Little Evening Magic

Potato Soup

Dad made potato soup on Saturdays. That was his lunch and, sometimes, mine too. His recipe wasn’t special. There was no elevating it. A country boy from south-eastern Nebraska, a farmer from a line of farmers, my dad didn’t go in for “elevating.” When it came to cooking, he was not an imaginative man. Dirt colored russet potatoes, white onion, milk, a pat of margarine, salt, pepper. Sometimes a little ground beef – on those days my child’s heart would sing for joy – mostly not. We shopped at the neighborhood market, back in the days when there were such … Continue reading Potato Soup


Took the last batch of tomato sauce and decided to make a meal of it. Garlic, kosher salt, olive oil, brown sugar, then out to the herb garden for marjoram and basil. To amuse myself (sometimes I do) I brought in a couple of very large catnip leaves. Now, a lot of people, given such a raw material, will smush it up and rub it on the couch, but how pedestrian is that? No no, I also have an eight year old boy at my disposal, so… I smushed up the leaves and rubbed them on his forehead. Last I … Continue reading Catnip

The hard side of parenting

I write a lot about the positives. I love amusing anecdotes. But it’s not always easy. If it was, everybody would do it. It’s harder with special needs and gifted children. Oh, so much harder. We (and by “we” I mean any of us in a parental role to a child) often come into conflict with our children. We have the dicey task of weighing what they want versus what they need or what is safe or what is moral or (just as often) what we can afford, and children don’t often listen to logic when they hear the word … Continue reading The hard side of parenting

Danny Boy, O Danny Boy…

As a Celtic musician, I am often asked to play the song Danny Boy. It is a Irish staple, one that should be found in every Irish musician’s repertoire, right? It is not in mine. I don’t like the song. I find it sickly sweet, saccharine, and, dare I say it, trite. It is also not Irish. It is a song written by an Englishman who wrote it having never been to Ireland. It is a masquerade. A conceit. I don’t like Danny Boy. When I am asked, I politely decline. When I perform on St. Patrick’s Day, I hang … Continue reading Danny Boy, O Danny Boy…