For Valentine’s Day, Five of the Places I Love

Today is Friday the 13th. We had a two-hour school delay today in Western North Carolina for cold. (Yep: cold.) I’m wearing fleece pants and my Sorel snow boots. I didn’t brush my hair before dropping my older daughter at school, and I didn’t walk her in, either.

I’m not a bad mother. I just couldn’t remember if I’d brushed my teeth.

See, here are my boots. That’s Scout, taking a wee nap on her princess-and-the-pea bed.









Here’s my desk. My writing life is buried in there, somewhere.







Moving on ….

On Monday, I thought, “Ooh, I know what I’ll do this week! I’ll write a blog post each day, and post about 5 things I love in different categories. Like, my favorite places, people, movies, books, and more. What a great idea!”

On Monday afternoon, I forgot.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to offer a list of 5 of the places that I love. Because I’m too tired to do more. Here they are:

1. A gradual curve in the Thrift Cove Trail in the Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, N.C.

The trail is really an old logging road, and here it flattens out to curve around the cove. There’s a spring there that disappears up into the birch-covered hills behind it. Where the creek trickles under the trail, in springtime, hundreds of subtle, tiny white wildflowers pop up like a gift. When I was trail running and hiking weekly–back in my other life–Scout and I would always stop here. She’d drink in the water, and I’d drink in the peace.

2. The spot where my husband’s shoulders meet his collar bone.

There’s a smooth, muscled indention there that I love. I haven’t seen it in a while, it being winter and us having been sick for a month. Plus it’s 55 degrees inside our house. But I know it’s there. I have hopes I’ll see it again.

3. A particular back booth in Coffee Corner diner on Main Street, in Montpelier, Vermont.

I love this place in winter and in summer. I love the scrumptious omelets and fresh bread, the never-ending coffee, the big windows giving way to a bright world of people, the laughs I’ve shared with friends there (mostly inappropriate). I love that when I’m there, I’m a writer.

4. The Hot Springs in Boulder, Montana.

I soaked here for several nights over the month I spent in the area, back in 2007, as a Writer-in-Residence at the (sadly, now defunct) Montana Artists Refuge. That month, I did more hiking than I probably did writing. I drank in the Rockies of Southwestern Montana like wine. Most nights, floating in the hot springs, I’d watch big mule deer emerge from the forest at dusk, then disappear like magic into the dark.

5. Standing beneath the trees at my daughter’s elementary school.

Rain or shine, hot or cold, this spot is a place I love for one reason only: When my daughter’s kindergarten class rounds the corner of the school at let-out, my daughter takes one look at her teacher (who sees me and nods), and then comes sprinting for me and her little sister. She yells, “Mama!” As if I’m her favorite person in the entire world.

I know this won’t last, and I treasure it.

I hope y’all will share your 5 favorite anythings–people, places, books, movies, things, meals–by responding here!




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Today’s newspaper column: “On Valentine’s Day, ‘All you need is love’”

18488283-hands-holding-a-sand-in-form-of-the-heartToday’s column in The Greenville News is all about love. Because love is all there is. It’s easy.

To read, click here.

To hum along with the Beatles all morning long, click below.

All You Need is Love


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Today’s column: “The family flu: This, too, shall pass — won’t it?”

dogwithfeverToday’s column in The Greenville News is all about our recent–and continued–bout with the family flu.

To read, click here.

Healthy ones, may the force be with you!

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Buffalo Chicken Dip (yay!) for the (meh) Super Bowl

So, I’m a college football girl, and don’t really care about the Super Bowl. However, I know a lot of folks do!

Just find a sturdy chip, and dip!

Just find a sturdy chip, and dip!

Plus, I’m okay with any excuse to make football food. Football food is scrumptious.

Here’s my favorite chicken dip, shared by my sister-in-law-in-law. (I didn’t mis-type. She’s the sister-in-law of my sister. She even lived with my parents for a while. We love her. Hey–it’s the South.)

This dip is super easy, and super quick: about 15 minutes prep and 30 to bake.┬áToday, for time’s sake, I used canned chicken instead of chicken breasts.

Elizabeth’s Buffalo Chicken Dip


Salt & pepper
garlic powder
Italian seasoning
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 4 big cans of chicken)
1 12-oz bottle of wing sauce (Hooters mild is a must)
2 packages Ranch dressing mix
3 8-oz packages cream cheese (I just used 2)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
corn or tortilla chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Season a large pot of water with first 3 ingredients. Bring water to boil, add chicken breasts, and cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Drain and cool.

2. Cube the chicken and mix with wing sauce.

3. Combine the ranch dressing and cream cheese. Layer a casserole dish with the cream cheese mixture and the chicken mixture. Top with cheese. Bake 30 minutes and serve with chips.


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New column: “When you’re a parent, hits just keep on coming”

Happy Thursday, folks!

Today’s newspaper column is up at The Greenville News. It’s about how parenthood is a constant lesson in humility. And a little tidbit about how I had to take off my pants in public.

Read here.


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Today’s column: “Friendship is a labyrinth that’s hard to navigate”

Everywhere I look lately, people are talking about friendship: how to make new friends, how to maintain friendships in a busy world; how to deal with inevitable friendship woes–like being left out. So that’s the topic of my newspaper column today in The Greenville News.

To read, click here.

I hope you enjoy, and if you do, I hope you’ll share.

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New column: “Embrace the season and you’ll warm up winter”

snow loveHi, folks.

Today’s column in The Greenville News is all about the joys of winter.


To read, click here.

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The only New Year’s resolution that matters

NYresolutionsToday’s column in The Greenville News is about the only New Year’s resolution I can think of that really matters.

To read it, click here.

I do hope y’all enjoy it! And if you do, I hope you won’t mind sharing.

Stay warm today, folks!

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Catching Up: Newspaper Columns for Christmas & New Year’s

Happy New Year’s, you find people, you!

As you recover from New Year’s Eve I hope you’ll put your feet up while you read today’s and last week’s columns in The Greenville News. (We were in colonial Williamsburg–more on this later–over the holidays, and I didn’t get a chance to post the link.) Here they are:

“Actually, it’s the most exhausting time of the year”

“As ’14 flees, we’ll take a cup o’ kindness”

I hope you and your loved ones had a relaxing holiday season, filled with all kinds of Light. Here’s to a 2015 full of health, adventure, and happiness for all!

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New column: “Christmas ornaments can tell the story of a life”

DSC_1100Every stood by your Christmas tree, looking at all the ornaments, and been besieged by memory? Today’s column in The Greenville News is all about those ornaments, and the stories they tell. I hope you enjoy, and if you do, I hope you’ll share!

Read here.

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