Giving up Lent for Lent

Well well, it’s that time of year again. Lent. We’re really emergency Catholics in our family — those of us that claim any kind of organized spirituality at all — and so I can’t really say with too much smugger-than-thou-ness that I’ve done such-and-such for Lent. I’ve occasionally given up an indulgence here and there, but I always need someone …

Vanessa McGradyGiving up Lent for Lent

Change is a Comin’

One thing about 40licious? You get closer to your mother’s age, even though, she is, technically, the exact same amount of years older than you than when she had you. So tonight my friend calls and says, “What are you doing?”And I say, “I am making a lovely soup.” In all seriousness. In exactly the same earnestness and enthusiasm my …

Vanessa McGradyChange is a Comin’

Some Things Are Better Left Undone

Dear World Market, I currently have, in my possession, an exotic chocolate bar from your fine establishment, which I frequent with great regularity to purchase below-market wine, Indian-patterned table linens, thoughtful gift items, Asian-themed paper lanterns, distressed espresso-finished office furniture, and my Myers natural cleaning solution. I especially love the wide variety of sauces, spices, treats and teas you procure …

Vanessa McGradySome Things Are Better Left Undone

Follow the Recipe

One of the most profound lessons I learned this year — and believe you me, there were a LOT — was over Christmas. For Christmas Eve dinner, I made bouillabaisse from the New York Times Cookbook, as I have on dozens of occasions before. But this time, instead of using the recipe as a suggestion, I followed the directions to …

Vanessa McGradyFollow the Recipe

I Am Big In Texas

I’m here in Houston for training and feel somewhat confined to my not-quite-urban neighborhood. So I decide to walk around to get dinner and pick up a few things for folks back home. Best place to do that is a 20-minute stroll down the road to the Galleria, home of Neiman Marcus, Saks’, Missoni, Jimmy Choo etc. My boredom and …

Vanessa McGradyI Am Big In Texas

I May Move In With My Mother

Contractor shows up only sporadically these days. Still no water in kitchen, washing the few dishes I use in the bathtub. Dust is everywhere. My dog is pooping dust, I fear. Maybe it’s good for her, I don’t know. Today I came home to find: kitchen cabinet doors on and painted the exact shade I wanted (good) outlets in kitchen …

Vanessa McGradyI May Move In With My Mother

A Dog’s Life

This weekend I needed to get out of the house. It’s about two weeks into chaos due to my kitchen remodeling, and at this late date, I am still insecure about my choice of countertop. I am closest to deciding on the granite that looks like early-morning television snow (if you are under 35, go ask your parents what this …

Vanessa McGradyA Dog’s Life