Archive for May, 2015

The name is fictional, but the man is real. Here’s “Sal” in his new home. “The fact is, I’ve simply lived too long.” My friend Sal’s eyes filled with tears as he surveyed his new apartment. “I’ve outlived so many friends … and …” He didn’t have to finish. I knew what he was thinking: […]


Since 2009, my friend Pam and I have wandered into the woods each spring to hunt for morel mushrooms. There are two components, I think, to our seasonal addiction: First, the mushrooms are delicious. The English language has no adjective superlative enough to describe the smell and flavor of fresh morels sautéed in butter. And […]


This post is dedicated to my friend Gilles Thomas, for his tireless devotion to preserving the work — and honoring the memory — of Charles-Axel Guillaumot. Suppose you’ve been hired to oversee a vast and vital railroad network. Now imagine that, on the very first day of your new job, one of the trains on […]


“Have you read How Paris Became Paris?” my new blog-friend Nomad Woman asked recently. I had indeed — and I loved Joan DeJean’s approach of (re)telling the city’s history through architectural and technological innovations. I especially appreciated DeJean’s characterization of Henry IV (1554 – 1610) as a visionary. I had never before regarded his urban […]


As I pulled into the bank’s parking lot, a piece of cardboard caught my eye: “Stranded / anything helps.” I wondered what had become of the author. Had be really been stranded? Had anyone helped? And had he lost the sign — or had he thrown it away? I paused to take a photo because, […]


What the hail?!

03May15

“In Minnesota it’s not May 3rd today; it’s the 54th of February.” I was pretty winter-weary when I posted that on Facebook two years ago. The winter of 2013 was rough. But what a difference two years make! Today was glorious — sunny and 81 (27C) degrees — so I spent a few hours gardening. […]