Family Album: Best Christmas Ever.

And I’ve got the snaps to prove it.

With twelve people in the house, we had some novel sleeping arrangements, but it all worked out:


Stripes were in:


So was fur:


Speaking of fur, Chloe was happy to see Taylor:


Gail and Angie:


Granny, Tina and some great-grands with a very merry Soho:


Gym rats:


Family moment:


Game on. Pie Face with Uncle Daniel:


And handstand contests:


Followed by general mayhem. The uncles were popular this year.


The Chicken Emperor does turkey:


And amazingly, no one was crabby. Well, except for Thomas:


James and I stole a few quiet moments with our neighborhood walks. Turns out you make friends if you carry carrots and apples with you:


And then, just like that, everyone left! Not a creature is stirring, not even the dust bunnies in the corner. “That’s okay”, says Chloe. “I’ll just sit outside and wait for them all to come back…


Thanks to all for making it such a great Christmas! xoxo



Posted in All Things Family, Big Fun, Holidays | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Family Album: He’s Going 70 in a 60 Zone.

It’s taken three months of celebrating to convince us all (especially him!) that the CE is really, truly 70 years old. Everyone knows he is a stubborn cuss, but who else gets away with refusing to age?

Here he is back in the day…


And more recently. Different bench, same handsome guy. (But still refusing to ask for directions.) Doesn’t look a day over 60.


Yesterday we interrupted Christmas briefly to throw a birthday party for him. Lots of happy tears as Tina rolled the amazing video she created in his honor. “It’s eighteen minutes long,” she said, “but it takes awhile to cover seventy years!” We’re already hearing Oscars buzz, and there’s a rumor that Aerosmith will appear to do a live performance of the soundtrack.

Truly amazing how the years fly by…



Didn’t have a chance to get many photos but so glad to have proof that all four kids and five grandkids were in attendance:



Many thanks to all who came from near and far to help celebrate!


And happy, happy 70th, dear CE and love of my life. xoxo



Posted in All Things Family, Big Fun, Holidays | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

And for you, a lump of coal.

Oh, I’ve got a list. And I’m checking it twice. But you may wish you weren’t on it. I promise to get merry somewhere along the line. And I’m even hoping for calm and bright. But right now, that whole “most wonderful time of the year” thing sounds a lot like fake news to me. And you are on my lump of coal list if:

You managed to sleep later than 2:30 a.m. today. You weren’t awake in a panic over not yet having even one sugarplum for the little one’s stockings? You’re dead to me.

You are one of those people I know who squeal excitedly about having finished their holiday shopping back in September. A pox upon you.

Speaking of the calendar, I’d like to have the name of the time thief who removed an entire week of December. I know for a fact that it was just December 3 a couple of days ago and yet the 17th keeps coming up on my phone calendar. What’s with that?

You, over there. The one I keep seeing at parties, sampling cheese puffs and chocolate truffles with abandon and never gaining an ounce. I looked at a pfeffernusse last week and there went another dress size…

Purveyors of gift-wrapping supplies. You, sirs, are Beelzebub incarnate. Shiny little roll of ribbon that costs $7 and then, unspooled, is just about long enough to wrap one and a half shirt boxes? Who do you think you’re kidding?

As long as we are talking about the devil, here’s a special shout-out to my L-2, 3, 4 and 5 vertebrae. That song of searing pain you were belting out all night long was not exactly music to my ears.

Oh, and that reminds me. Music. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Anyone who sings, plays or facilitates the dissemination of the song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” should be hung upside down by their jingle bells.

To the Russians, who have clearly hacked my husband’s internal programming. Please return that nice man to me, because this Grinch with whom you have replaced him and who keeps telling me that people don’t give Christmas gifts anymore is not helping the situation.


To all the people who actually remembered to put stamps on their Christmas cards before you mailed them, just stop giving me that smug look. Like you’re smarter than me or something. Huh.

If you can assemble a Nordstrom box in under a half hour. Or, at all. I officially hate you. Or maybe I need to hire you, because I’ve got some pretty wonky looking boxes over here. What the heck IS a “gusset”, anyway?

If you are the idiot lame brain who decided it would be a good idea to plan a birthday party TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Oh wait, that was me. Never mind…

And the most special ire of all, the contents of an entire coal mine, go to the guy who zoomed into  the sweet parking place for which I had patiently waited, the guy who almost ran me down as I walked across said parking lot AND to the clerk who stole my credit card number the other day. Hope you enjoyed the $150 dinner you charged on it, meaning, actually, that I hope you choked on it. Eight shopping days left and I am without a MasterCard. At least my husband is happy…









Posted in Annoyances of Life, Holidays | Tagged , , | 9 Comments



Chloe and I are taking one brief moment in the midst of the frenzy to breathe and think and reflect on the reason for this season.


May all be merry with you!

Posted in Holidays, Spiritual | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

12 Days of Chickenmas

It’s that most wonderful time of the year – the time when flockkeepers brace for a new round of chicken-themed gifts coming their way. I happen to be up to my wattle in chicken tchotchkes but for everyone else out there, here are some suggestions:

I wouldn’t mind if my true love gave me this on the first day of Chickenmas. There’s nothing more soothing to watch than a flock of chickens, and artist Karen Bezuidenhout  paints hers strolling through a forest. 30″ x 24″, available from Sundance Catalog, but at a price. $3,700. Not exactly chicken feed.


For a lot less scratch, you can do well and do good to honor someone on your list with a gift of a flock of chickens through Heifer International. A $20 donation can change lives.


Prefer to wear your chicken love? I’ve got my eye on this Jacques Pepin apron from Sur La Table,  although at $50 I’m hoping it might go on sale after the holidays. The collection also includes coordinated placemats, mugs and paper goods. Three French hens, indeed:


For $320 you could be at the top of the pecking order in these feather-trimmed Uggs, which feature Swarovski crystal trim and a collar of “ostrich, chicken and peafowl” feathers.


Chicks can be chic: ranging in sizes and priced from $8-$46 are these stylish vessels encased in chicken wire from Jayson Home’s Grant Glass Collection.


Perhaps a “prosperity hen” garland will bring you luck in the New Year. Crafted by women cooperatives, these are available from various sources, including Gardener’s Supply Company, where they are priced at $14.99.


For the most dedicated flock keepers, these harnesses from My Pet Chicken bring free-ranging to a whole new level. $10.95 each.


Online retailer Brave New Look  offers a variety of chicken-themed clothing items, including leggings and “ugly chicken sweaters”. But this “Saving My Chicken” t-shirt for $26 is my fave:


It would look lovely paired with this scarf from purplepossumuk on for a mere $10.42:


These winsome decorative knobs from Anthropologie’s “Farm Collection” would be perfect stocking stuffers. $10 each.


Need a cuddle? You can order your very own Roxy, a 12″plush hen from Amazon for $19.99. No barnyard mess, no chicken poop, but, of course, no eggs, either.


Although Amazon has that covered, too, with this egg-laying chicken keychain for $4.68:



And on the last day of Chickenmas, I hope to take a break and hang out with my hens and the latest copy of Backyard Poultry magazine. You can make your favorite chicken keeper happy with a year’s subscription for just $25:



Whatever you find under the tree, I wish you and your flock a merry little Chickenmas!



Posted in All Things Poultry | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Family Album: Thankful

We are usually in NYC for Thanksgiving but changed it up this year. Turns out there is so much to be thankful for on either coast. With a road trip to the OC and San Diego and then turkey day in Santa Barbara we were grateful to check in with almost all the family.

Nothing makes the CE happier than a ride in the Duffy.


Except maybe for spending time with these kiddos…


Fireside dinner with Tina, John and the girls:


Fun to watch these cutest ever gym rats:



And then Evie took the show on the road to San Diego where she crushed it at her very first State gymnastics competition:



So happy to have Taylor and Angie with us for Thanksgiving:


And Phyllis with her friend, Rachel:


It’s not exactly Central Park but I couldn’t complain about the view on my Thanksgiving morning walk:


The only downside is that we left Daniel to his own devices in NYC, and he decided to go SKYDIVING! Ack! Of all the things I am grateful for this week, I am most thankful that I didn’t know about that until after it was over.


I can’t imagine why he couldn’t just come home where it’s a thrill a minute. Why, just yesterday, we saw the chickens cross the driveway:


Life is good. Love to all.













Posted in All Things Family, All Things Poultry, Big Fun, Spoiled Pets, Travel | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Lions, luxury and love in Chicago.

Chicago is the place I always planned to live but turned out to be the place I hardly ever get to anymore. So it was a double thrill to be invited to our friend Olivia’s wedding – lots of love for her and for a favorite town. Four glorious fall days in Chicago and a spectacularly beautiful wedding – what a great way to end our three weeks on the road.


First stop for us is always the Art Institute. I know The Bean has become the go-to Michigan Avenue landmark but for me it will always be those lions. (Not to mention those Cubs!) We are always amazed by the treasures within this grand museum. I’d forgotten how great their Renoir collection is – the famous “Two Sisters” and “Fruits of the Midi” were my favorites this trip:



I also liked these “Male and Female Heads from The Tavern Club, 1937”. Very Atlas Shrugged, aren’t they?


And the lions have a friend prowling about inside, too. “Relief of a Lion Walking” by Antoine-Luis Barye:


We stayed at The Peninsula, where superlatives fail to capture its perfection so I won’t even try. Here’s a peek of our suite – the floral panel features silk embroidery. Divine.


After staying in six hotels in three weeks, my road-weary pet peeve had become staying in rooms where there is no charger outlet by the bed. The Peninsula provides built-in chargers of every kind built in to a leather-stitched drawer in the nightstand. Perfection.


The common areas are no less exquisite than the rooms:


It was hard to leave our aerie at The Peninsula, but we had to head outside – Chicago is such a great walking city. Hello, Hancock building! Hello, Chicago River!





A highlight of the weekend – dinner with dear friend Rosanne at Harry Carey’s:


And Daniel flew in for the wedding!


So special for us all to celebrate Olivia’s big day. She was the most elegant, sparkly and beautiful of brides.


The reception was like a dream…


No idea when we will get back to Chicago, but in the meantime we will cherish this wonderful memory of family, friends, love and those majestic lions.

“It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago — she outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.”

                                                                                                       — Mark Twain





Posted in All Things Family, Big Fun, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments