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I don’t have many amazing Halloween memories. We weren’t the kind of family that spent months brainstorming and weeks sewing elaborate costumes. One Halloween when I was about nine years old, my mother asked some friends if they had any old makeup lying around (Mom wore none herself, not even lipstick), explaining that “Jenny wants …

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Does every little girl go through a ballet phase? My own obsession first played out in a ballet class that I went to on Saturday mornings after riding downtown (alone) on the bus and walking several blocks to the YWCA. I picked up the bus on Capitol Hill, standing in front of Herfy’s on the …

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When Willa was a baby and we’d just begun introducing her to solids, I took great pleasure in making homemade baby food. I would steam sweet potatoes, pass them through a food mill, and then freeze individual portions in an ice cube tray. I loved admiring the bounty of a zip lock bag filled with …

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Most Sundays I make up our bed with fresh sheets. I say “most” because occasionally a trip or something else throws off my schedule. But Sunday is the day that “fresh bedding” typically appears on my chore list. As you can imagine, I’m fairly particular when it comes to bedding. Greg and I sleep in …

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My brother Thomas was devoted to my older daughter from the day she was born. Willa arrived on a snowy day in January of 1998. I can remember laboring overnight as the snow fell through the glow of street lights, reminding me of the view from the hotel in Reykjavik where I stayed in February …

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Uwajimaya is a Seattle landmark. When we have out of town visitors, we typically tailor the list of places we take them based on our audience but Uwajimaya always makes the cut. (One time I took a pair of visiting teenaged boys on a tour of mansions and dead people, including a drive along Lake …

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My father, Chilton, died in December of 2004. I can remember the exact date because he made it easy: 12/3/4. As he lay dying, my brothers and I took care of his “estate” by cleaning the trailer in which he lived, gathering up his few possessions, arranging for his cremation, returning his library books, and …

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When I sat down to write this, I thought that Ben Noble and I went to spring training in 1996. I based my assumption on the memory that I’d already been charmed by Alex Rodriguez the previous fall when he was photographed comforting Joey Cora after the Mariners lost the American League championship. But it …

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I like to think that when I travel, I always find the best souvenirs. For example, I have seven lovely old spools wound with silk thread from Provence; four little cobalt blue bottles that I found in a flea market in Vienna; a lovely wooden sculpture of a prostrate praying monk that I bought from …

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Thirteen years ago when Willa turned three I made elaborate treats for each of her classmates at the Learning Tree Preschool. It wasn’t the last time I went overboard—does anyone else remember the ridiculous flower fairy skirts I made from German crepe paper when she turned four or five? For Willa’s third birthday, I baked …