Last summer in construction class, I built a tiny (really tiny) house to serve as a neighborhood library. I installed it in the perennial border at the end of my driveway, where at any given moment it holds an assortment of fiction and nonfiction, young adult novels, doggie poop bags for neighborhood canines, and a … Continue reading Mint to Share
Thursday is Chicken Day in Building Construction Technology class at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville. We used to drive to Publix to grab buckets of fried drumsticks and eat in the classroom among the sawdust. Since then, the tradition has evolved into a field trip to a nearby chicken shack. Now that I've graduated, one of the … Continue reading Ain’t Nobody Here But Us, Eating Chicken
I love a romantic comedy in which a house plays a starring role. The Housesitter, The Secret to My Success, Funny Farm, Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, It's Complicated. I could go on forever—or at least until I run out of Nancy Meyers films—but there are no finer examples of house-as-supporting-actor than The Money Pit … Continue reading Well-Built Home Movies
My father-in-law, George Fox, aka "Pops," would be 98 today. I wrote this story about Pops when he died in 2006. It hangs in our kitchen, but I thought I'd hang it here too. Maybe we'll eat some chocolate cake tonight, to celebrate his memory.
Twenty years ago today, the venerable Nashville Banner newspaper closed its doors. While I only worked in that newsroom from May 1997 until February 1998, when I moved upstairs to The Tennessean, I developed lifelong friends and mentors, including food writer Nicki Pendleton Wood, automotive writer Beth Stein, and penny-pinching columnist Mary Hance, better known … Continue reading Remembering “Banner” Days
File this in the category of extreme optimism, but I have recently found unexpected beauty and comfort in plumbing fixtures. First, there was my introduction to the P.E. Guerin brand. Founded in 1857 by French immigrants, P.E. Guerin is now owned and operated by a fourth-generation member of the Guerin family. According to the company's … Continue reading A Sinking Feeling
It's that time of year again when I pony up $25 to renew my domesticated hen permit from Metro Nashville Public Health Department. Whenever that pale blue certificate arrives in the mail, I pause to think of the benefits our urban chicken coop has brought our family. I'm not just talking about fresh eggs, which … Continue reading Coop, There it Is!
When I was a Girl Scout selling cookies door-to-door, I was jealous of the Cub Scouts in my class, always verbally jousting about their Pinewood Derby strategies. How many times did I have to listen to those smug boys talk about weights, decals and axle lubricants, while I spent my winter weekends hawking Tagalongs on … Continue reading Look at That GS Car Go!
Look what just arrived in the mail: my diploma in General Construction! I could not be more grateful to my unflappable instructor, Kenton Pleger, or to the whole team at Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville, for welcoming a middle-aged mom with no relevant experience into the school's new class in Building Construction Technology. (Nor … Continue reading Big News in the Mailbox
Was I the only person watching Madam Secretary last night who thought the episode might have been brought to us by SkillsUSA? Because when Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord's water pipes burst in her D.C. brownstone, Earl the Plumber was talking more sense than the Commander-in-Chief. His commonsense and seasonally appropriate monologue about strong foundations … Continue reading Madam Secretary has Plumbing Problems, Too