Category Archives: Things that smell

When You Dip I Dip We Dip (Then Throw the Container Away)

Before now, the longest I’ve lived in any one house was seven years at one childhood home; the longest I stayed at one job was ten years, and that was probably for three years too long. Now, as we’re in Year Eight at our current location, Continue reading When You Dip I Dip We Dip (Then Throw the Container Away)

We’re Not the Bloodhound Gang, But There’s Trouble and We’re There on the Double

Everything they say about Labs is true.

I now call him Dogus, as does most of the family, and since he doesn’t respond to any name, nor to most commands, nor to squeaky toys, it’s purely for my own amusement.

In the last four weeks, he’s eaten my daughter’s birthday cake, an entire loaf of bread, two blueberry English muffins, a bag of potato chips, two donuts (and the box), and…


half of a raspberry danish.

Continue reading We’re Not the Bloodhound Gang, But There’s Trouble and We’re There on the Double

Loaf Pans, Sweet Aromas, and Metaphors in Winter

This morning I’m making pumpkin bread, ostensibly for my son who’s home with a cold, but mostly because I want to fill the house with the aroma of ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Comfort. Care. Sweet.

Of late, the home has smelled of sick dog and not-so-homemade meals. The smells of exhaustion.

The pumpkin bread recipe has different baking times for different loaf pan sizes. 8×4 or 9×5.

My loaf pan, browned from years of lightly greasing and flouring, is 8.5×4.5

No joke.

Not quite here, not quite there. Close enough.

That’s how I feel these days, in this place, at this time. Maybe, in many ways, I always have.

It’s a not-entirely-comfortable feeling. No one wants to feel out-of-place.

No, that’s not right.

Out-of-step. I feel slightly out-of-step. Slightly mis-sized. Needing a little finagling to mingle with the other, uh, loaf pans. A different shelf or a little twisting here and there.

On my counter right now is a beautiful, perfectly baked, aromatic loaf of pumpkin bread. Due to the irregular size, it needed more observing, more tending, more awareness than other loaves…more wiggle room and patience than allowed for in the suggested time ranges. It took more than the 52-57 minutes. It took adjusting the oven. It took years of experience to know by sight and smell when it was close to done, and by the quality of crumb on the toothpick that it was.

There’s a lesson there that I choose to apply to myself on these days when the light is fleeting and the year fades into promises for the future. On these days when we hear no and why and you’ve got to be kidding me, on the days when self-care — the soulful kind, not the chocolate kind — is needed, on the days when the fight for rights and beliefs and humanity seems ever needy and urgent…on these days it’s ok to find the metaphor wherever we can.

Even if the metaphor is that there will always be crumbs.