Old writings

Ok, so here’s what I did. I’ve got a lot of old writing:

  • Columns from The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly
  • Editorials, interviews, and features from Carrboro (NC) Free Press
  • Random poetry, letters, and musings
  • Editorials and features from The Daniel Island (SC) News

None of this stuff made it onto the internet, so I’m doing my best to gather it here on this blog. I’m trying to publish under the original dates, so even though I’m posting in 2016 you will see posts going back years. The tag cloud in the sidebar will help you navigate.

I hope you enjoy!

Saying goodbye to a good one

Scott McLean was my friend and my boss. He passed away following a brief struggle with brain cancer, and his wife asked me to write the obituary. This was an honor, but it also gave me a sense of closure.

Published in The News & Observer from Oct. 19 to Oct. 26, 2014

Scott McLean, Jr.
October 18, 1949 – October 15, 2014
Chapel Hill Continue reading

Wish you were here

~~ Originally printed in The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly, July 2012 ~~

I’ve been coming to the Big Apple, Scott McLean’s oceanfront house in Pawleys Island, SC, since I was about 12.

There isn’t any central heat or air. All the windows and doors are open, but it’s hot in the morning because of the land breeze. And because biscuits are baking. But soon the oven will be turned off and the wind will turn, too, and start blowing in from the sea. The hammock on the second floor screened-in porch is the coolest spot this time of day. The kids go there to practice for the annual talent show. They have got talent, and much of it involves skewering the adults with spot-on impressions. Continue reading

Gurl Par-tay

~~ Originally printed in The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly, June 2012 ~~

We’ve got a house full of girls. It’s a small house, too, so Caleb is seriously outnumbered. The prevailing odors around here are that of nail polish remover, Britney Spear’s “Fantasy” perfume, fruity gum, microwave popcorn, Veet®, and Bath & Body Works “Be Enchanted” lotion. Our television has played countless hours of Dance MomsToddlers in Tiaras, and Say Yes to the Dress, but Caleb has to set his alarm for 2 a.m. if he wants to catch an episode of River Monsters. Laundry baskets overflow with bras and thongs. Sanitary items fill the bathroom cabinets. The majority of accessories and linens and miscellany are pink. Or lilac. Continue reading

A name is a name

~~ Originally printed in The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly, June 2012 ~~

If anyone had told me when my beautiful babies were placed in my trembling, greedy arms that I would one day address them as Balls, Brake, and Tob, I would have been indignant at best.

Language fascinates me to no end, and I love the idea of a group collectively deciding that this bedcover made of stitched-together fabric scraps is a “quilt,” and that feathered, beaked creature is a “bird.” Naming is a fascinating process, and the fact that I could bring people into the world and christen them with a moniker of my choosing was absolutely thrilling. Continue reading

In the good ol’ summertime

~~ Originally printed in The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly, April 2012 ~~

As a mother, I choose my battles very, very carefully. I’m a lover, not a fighter, so when I make a stand what I am saying is, “This is the hill I will die on; I hope you brought provisions.” This happens maybe two or three times a year, max.

One such time was when I decided that Bailey was too old to have an idle summer. At 15, she was really too young to have a paying job, especially in the economic turbulence of 2010 where college educated adults were applying for the same jobs she was. And she was not interested in the super cool internship opening I found for her in the Great Dismal Swamp. Continue reading


~~ Originally printed in The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly, March 2012 ~~

So you’ve met my son, Caleb (12,) and my daughters, Bailey (17) and Blake (14.)

There’s orange cat, Lillet, and her calico daughter, Olive.

And there is little white dog. Cooper is a bichon frisé, which is French for “curly haired lap dog.” He is a faithful companion of all who are willing to submit themselves to rubbing his pink belly. He is a ferocious guardian of all manner of fluffy cushions. Continue reading

I live in a zoo

~~ Originally printed in The Chapel Hill (NC) Weekly, March 2012 ~~

I’ve always had cats. At least 11, by my count, until I found myself catless in 2006. After a time I honestly thought it would ever be that way.

But then my children’s stepmother witnessed a man flinging eight tiny kittens and their skeletal mother into the woods near their house. She rescued them, with Blake’s help, and found homes for all. I took the calico. Oh, and I also took the momcat. I often find that cats just sort of come out from the trees and into one’s life – a karmic thing – but my past experiences were laced with a little more mystery and subtlety than this time around, which involved Blake and Caleb sending me countless kitten pix messages and “PLEEEEASE!!!” texts. Continue reading