Sweetness at the intersection of want & need

Christmas has been difficult for me since my dad died in December, 2003, and it hasn’t helped that soon after, I moved to Southern California where I have exactly zero family. So a few years ago I finally stopped wallowing in my aloneness and started inviting people over for Christmas Eve as a way to make a new holiday with …

Vanessa McGradySweetness at the intersection of want & need

Black Truck

My first time I saw Steve outside work he’d invited me to come see him play music, on or near this day in 2008. I drove about two hours south to see him and his friend set up at a Starbucks, where the barrista had been slipping whiskey into the frappuccionos in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. There was hardly …

Vanessa McGradyBlack Truck

The Love You Take Is Equal to the Love You Make

It’s kind of weird to be in the midst of a divorce on Valentine’s Day, a holiday I have mixed feelings about anyway. This year, I’m recognizing it as an opportunity to get all gushy over my friends and family. Plus, Grace’s artwork is piling up. So we decided to recycle AND spread the love by cutting hearts out from …

Vanessa McGradyThe Love You Take Is Equal to the Love You Make


We used to be kings. Not real royalty, but cultural kings. By “we,” I mean our family. By “place,” I mean the world. And by “world,” I mean New York. My dad, Pat, and his brother Mike, in the 1960s and ‘70s, owned the fucking place. After my grandmother tired of waiting for her world-traveling UPI reporter husband to come …

Vanessa McGradyTable

Spirit: Holiday Apologies

I am sorry, friend, that I can’t make your holiday thing this year. I can’t add one more thing to the calendar for fear of imploding. I love you so much though. I am sorry, dogs, that I can’t take you out at 4 in the morning. Go ahead and pee in the kitchen, see if I care. OK, I …

Vanessa McGradySpirit: Holiday Apologies

Spirit: One Perfect Christmas Thing

The week had been nothing short of hellacious. We were slammed at work with an epic crisis. I somehow ended up taking a 36-hour shift with only a four-hour sleep break. I am not a doctor or firefighter or a coal miner or an air-traffic controller by day, mind you. I work in a grey cubicle. In my extreme exhaustion, …

Vanessa McGradySpirit: One Perfect Christmas Thing