For me pottery and cooking are similar disciplines. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but for years I was a potter. As in I worked in a studio and spent hours a day sitting at a potters’ wheel making round things, and then changing them. I loved working on the wheel, I gave it up […]

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  • December 19, 2014 - 3:28 am

    Kate Lewis - Such a lovey story! I would really love to have seen that TriBeCa studio with the smoldering trash can and NYFD banging on the door. Oh my!! Never the less, so glad to hear that cooking fills the void where pottery was before. ~Kate xxReplyCancel

    • December 19, 2014 - 6:10 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Kate, thanks for reading! It was actually Chelsea, and quite a scene! Landlord screaming, NYFD pissed off, me trying to act like I didn’t know what they were talking about… Ah the good old days.ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2014 - 7:31 am

    Jhanis - I took ceramics as a vocational course for a year before I went to college. I loved it!ReplyCancel

    • December 19, 2014 - 9:33 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Jhanis, so nice to hear from you! Yes, if you bring patience it is so much fun.ReplyCancel

It’s not often you get a surprise at a funeral, and at this one I got two. On a June day in 1991 I met my parents at Mount Carmel cemetery which straddles Brooklyn and Queens, New York. We were there to bury my grandmother Harriet. Though any funeral is sad, my grandmother had lived […]

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  • December 16, 2014 - 9:53 am

    Peggy Gilbey McMackin - Tough story Nancy. I’m not certain I could have held to the rules. And then, another conversation surrounding birth control alternatives might even been had at your pre-college luncheon.ReplyCancel

    • December 16, 2014 - 11:50 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Peggy, I was trained on those rules very young, and very effectively!ReplyCancel

  • December 16, 2014 - 12:23 pm

    Carolann - My mom passed at a young age as well :( So sad a story but a great lesson for folks too.
    Carolann recently posted…Understanding The Luck FactorMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 16, 2014 - 3:43 pm

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Carolann, losing a parent at a young age has become so rare (which is good) it makes many people uncomfortable. Veterans of this are in a sort of club. So though I am of course sorry you had to endure this, I am glad for the ‘company’.ReplyCancel

  • December 16, 2014 - 2:45 pm

    Jane Gassner (@Jane_Gassner) - I know that cemetery…or the one next to it Mt. Hebron. That’s where my family is. That’s where I will go. I cannot imagine having such important things unsaid in a family. I hope the silence has ended.
    Jane Gassner (@Jane_Gassner) recently posted…Reviewing Draftback: a Big Data approach to writers’ blockMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 16, 2014 - 3:39 pm

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Jane,
      To one degree on another the silence persisted throughout both my parents’ lives. They are both now deceased, and my siblings and I often surprise each other with pieces of the family history only one of us knows. My take-away from this is that secrets are often toxic, and I have spent my life trying to be forthright and transparent (where appropriate).ReplyCancel

  • December 16, 2014 - 4:34 pm

    Nate - I share your aim to be as transparent as I can. As a genealogist, I see it as my duty to dispel the secrets that were left unsaid. I figure they don’t matter anymore to those that have passed through. By doing so, I came across the fact that one side of my family has a rare heart condition running through it. Learning that probably saved my life.ReplyCancel

    • December 17, 2014 - 9:49 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Nate, so glad you found an important answer. I think the really challenging piece is all the questions we don’t even know to ask.ReplyCancel

  • December 16, 2014 - 6:51 pm

    Christine - I completely get that feeling, when a series of little coincidences and surprises fall together into some kind of pattern that seems impossibly non-random. Thanks for sharing this story.
    Christine recently posted…PolarityMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 17, 2014 - 9:50 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Christine, it’s amazing all the random things that fall together and make up our understanding of the world.ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2014 - 3:27 am

    Carrie Lemonade - That must have been a shock indeed. I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad you’re finally finding answers.ReplyCancel

    • December 17, 2014 - 9:50 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Carrie, I think life is a journey of asking questions and trying to find answers.ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2014 - 7:53 am

    Audrey - A wonderful, heartfelt post. Thanks for sharing this.
    Audrey recently posted…My Own Worst EnemyMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 17, 2014 - 9:51 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Audrey, thanks for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2014 - 8:19 am

    Cyn K - I can’t fathom why the location of your mother’s grave was kept from you. I can maybe understand not discussing the cause of her death when you were younger, but not once you were an adult. Funerals are stressful enough without added surprises.
    Cyn K recently posted…a hands on experienceMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 17, 2014 - 9:52 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Cyn,
      I believe withholding information ‘to protect us’ was such a habit that it never occurred to anyone to break the pattern. I also never asked…ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2014 - 8:53 am

    Michelle Longo - Those reminders of the ones we’ve lost are so hard, particularly when they come at such moments. I agree finding a grave of someone with my exact birth date would freak me out even on the best of days.
    Michelle Longo recently posted…True Story.My ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 17, 2014 - 9:54 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Michelle, it was quite a confluence of events!ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2014 - 12:12 am

    Asha - So many important facts about us get lost when we lose our parents, don’t they? And all the more complicated for you because nobody was talking about your mother. Your piece raised so many important points about the secrets that families keep.ReplyCancel

    • December 18, 2014 - 10:36 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Asha, losing a parent is a permanent condition, with no cure.ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    L Renea Shaw - What a story. I can feel you grief in this. it saddens me and makes me curious to read more about how you went through life believing you would die at 33.ReplyCancel

    • December 18, 2014 - 5:13 pm

      nrlowell@comcast.net - L Renea, we all go through life with beliefs that may or may not be rational. It’s hard to articulate how I did that, or managed living with that notion. It was just part of me, and I left it far behind me; I am now in my 50s and plan to live a long time!ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    celeste noelani - I breathed a huge sigh of relief and solidarity when I got to the part where you mention expecting to die at 33. My father died at 47, so when I turned 37 I FREAKED OUT because I only had 10 years left. Recently I realized (hey math!) that he actually died at 46 and it was weird to say the least.

    I wanted to extend my deepest condolences, and thank you so very much for sharing.
    celeste noelani recently posted…That First Afterwards ChristmasMy ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 18, 2014 - 5:10 pm

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Celeste, I had the year wrong as well! because my story was limited in word length I abbreviated all the drama around that… Thank you for sharing as well!ReplyCancel

If you call could a potato hot, this dish would definitely qualify as a hot potato! Decadent, cheesy, and if such a thing is possible  for a potato in your world, sexy. I have seen this recently on the Best Thing I Ever Made, and then again somewhere else, and I decided I needed to try that […]

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 Senate Bean Soup, is a classic navy bean soup, and has been served in the Senate restaurant since 1903. Several weeks ago I put out a call for your favorite soups and the winner (by a wide margin) was potato soup, in second place was chicken, a few votes for gazpacho, and finally bean, including specifically […]

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  • December 11, 2014 - 9:14 am

    Carolann - Well this soup looks soooo good! My hubby loves bean soups. I will have to try this one for sure! Thanks much for sharing #NEB
    Carolann recently posted…Wednesday’s Gadgets and Tech Toys Wishlist – Part 3My ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 11, 2014 - 10:00 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Carolann, it’s so easy and filling! I had some for a late lunch yesterday and wasn’t even hungry for dinner!ReplyCancel

  • December 11, 2014 - 1:39 pm

    Linda Omura - Reminds me of the soup my Mom and Grandma made growing up in the Virginia. Yummy! They always serve it with cornbread. I was going to make Chili on Friday but now I think I’ll make this soup.
    Linda
    Foodhuntress.comReplyCancel

    • December 11, 2014 - 10:01 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Linda, Yes, this is one of those time-tested, old fashioned soups. Perhaps I shouls have labelled it for TBT!ReplyCancel

A year ago I embarked on something I called The Ugliness Project. Someone gave me a piece written by a young woman who was in terrible pain because she believed strongly in her own ugliness.  In this moving essay she articulated every single feeling I’ve had about myself at one time or another, and though […]

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  • December 9, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Peggy Gilbey McMackin - Deep article Nancy, good job. Admittedly, this is a really difficult topic for me,it troubles me tremendously, especially surrounding young women. I’ve seen many physically beautiful young women really struggle. I’ve also seen many average girls appear even more beautiful just in their giving, kindnesses towards others and generosity. I hope your ugliness project has been a success, and based on your photograph, you look very pretty to me! Have a great day.
    Peggy Gilbey McMackin recently posted…Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor GIVEAWAY!My ProfileReplyCancel

  • December 9, 2014 - 12:42 pm

    Erin Schaus Egbert - Such an incredible heart felt piece. Started my day with it. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • December 9, 2014 - 3:54 pm

    Jocelyn Craft Mathis - Lovely, Nancy. And so true for so many of us.ReplyCancel

    • December 11, 2014 - 8:17 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Thanks Jocelyn, yes I’d love to make a project of convincing people of their value and beauty.ReplyCancel

  • December 9, 2014 - 7:47 pm

    Chloe Jeffreys - This was so heart-breaking, Nancy. You are so lovely to me, and yet I know that those words feel hollow when you feel so incredibly bad about yourself.ReplyCancel

    • December 11, 2014 - 8:16 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Chloe, thanks! Maybe I need a dragon tattoo of my own, even if it’s virtual not actual. I hear women with dragon tattoos can take on anything :)ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 2:15 am

    Angie Walker - What a great project.ReplyCancel

    • December 11, 2014 - 8:15 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Thanks Angie, it was illustrative!ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Janelle - The problem with mirrors is they don’t show the inside, and that’s where the real beauty lies! :)
    Janelle recently posted…Rethinking the “Reason”My ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 11, 2014 - 8:15 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Janelle, The trick is to find the right mirrors! Thanks for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • December 10, 2014 - 11:50 pm

    Prajakta - It is awful when even the innocense of 5 year old is marred by superficial beauty. I heard a 6 year old say she wants to go on a diet! To slim down. It is horrifying and no real solution except that you need to start believing in yourself. I had written something long back. Maybe you’ll like it – https://anarmchairperfectionist.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/socs-averageimperfection-is-beauty/

    Stopping over from yeahwrite!
    Prajakta recently posted…Oh Goa, you beauty!My ProfileReplyCancel

    • December 11, 2014 - 8:14 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Prajakta, I couldn’t agree with you more!ReplyCancel

  • December 11, 2014 - 4:08 pm

    Asha Rajan - We’re always most critical of ourselves, aren’t we? I love the positive note at the end though, that you’re working to see your own beauty. That’s a great lesson, indeed.ReplyCancel

  • December 11, 2014 - 7:37 pm

    Liz - I have often looked back at old pictures of myself and wondered, “Why didn’t I see the beauty then that I see now?” After encountering this often enough, I started telling myself that maybe I could only see my own beauty in retrospect. This small thought has helped me be a bit more gentle with the person in the mirror. I also like to think of this line by ani difranco, “It took me too long to realize that I don’t take good pictures because I have the kind of beauty that moves.”

    I hope that through your Ugliness Project you are able to find your beauty & that you will blieve in it as strongly as you have believed in your ugliness.ReplyCancel

    • December 12, 2014 - 9:33 am

      nrlowell@comcast.net - Liz,
      Thanks, isn’t it funny about the old picture thing, trying to reconcile the younger me with the current me… I’m getting there, it seems to work like the half-life of radium.ReplyCancel

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