Goldilocks and the House Fire

It’s the first week of December and I sit on our couch while my family staggers through the front door with an 8-foot noble fir that will be this year’s Christmas tree. My head aches. My throat nurtures a lump. I’m mad at myself for not being happier. Just be happy, Julie. But the last […]

On Being Heard

I spend many of my waking hours in silence. Eight of them, in fact. Every day. Unless I have some kind of appointment (which is rare) or take a phone call (which is rarer), I do not speak a single word between “Have a great day!” when my kids leave for school and “So, how […]

Double Dare

A mile from our home (or so it seems, but we are young and the world is unimaginably big) there is a cave to which we trudge on summer Sundays. We go there to hide. To pretend. To be more than we are. Or simply different. It’s marked by shoestring, vine-choked and roofed with mud. […]

The Space Between

A year ago today, my family moved into a long-term rental house in the wake of our fire.   We’d spent the previous two weeks in a hotel which had its benefits: Plenty of clean towels in the morning. Enough free shampoo to lather, rinse and repeat. Cheap wine in the lobby each night at five […]

A Lady in France

“I was destined to take root in France. I know that now, even if I didn’t know it back when I had the dream.” These are the opening sentences of A Lady in France, Jennie Goutet’s memoir which I’ve read now twice and loved. Both times. You see, I’ve lived within a 45-mile stretch of […]

So I Did This Instead

For the first time in ten years, I did not write a Christmas poem. (Cue the sobs or cheers depending upon how you feel about Christmas poems.) Before you get too excited or depressed however, please remember you’re reading this which constitutes something perhaps worse. Or better. That’s right: The Holiday Letter. Why a letter? […]

The Write Words

One of my favorite quotations comes from T.S. Eliot: “The poet is occupied with frontiers of consciousness beyond which words fail, though meanings still exist.” I wrote this statement on an index card that I kept tacked to the wall above my desk for sixteen years. In that time, I also wrote some terrible poetry, […]

Win Win

This past weekend, Bill and I went away for a belated celebration of our wedding anniversary and a pre-celebration of my upcoming birthday. We drove three hours north to Paso Robles while our teenagers stayed home by themselves. For the first time. Ever. When asked how they’d feel about being left alone, both kids were […]


Another first day of school has come and gone and although I’m a woman of words not numbers, I sit in our silent house and count. My son has only two more “first days” before he graduates from high school. My daughter, three. When I took a leave of absence from teaching, they were in elementary […]

But I don’t even own any lipstick…

True story. So when asked to take a picture to promote this book (IN WHICH I HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN CASE YOU DIDN’T HEAR) I had to borrow  lip gloss from my daughter Karly. (Although I’d like to think she doesn’t wear this color on her own mouth very often.) Still, I was determined to […]