Tired of Fixing Up the Place?

Crumbling Victorian

If you’re the one in charge of home repair, you might be fantasizing about a brand new condo. Meet Jeremy Brooks, dutiful son and reluctant plumber in the latest installment of The Chicken Painting here

Nostalgia is a Beautiful Temptress

I think most of us wish to live simply, and we want to declutter but nostalgia often keeps us from letting go. There are beautifulghostly_love_by_magicsart-d67keka.png ghosts in the furniture, the pictures, the knickknacks. Amanda asks herself, do I want to live with memories or create new ones? Read section 3 of The Chicken Painting here

Fear of Noble Silence

Peace House BudhaThe first time I went on a meditation retreat, I was terrified of the idea of noble silence. How could I remain quiet for an hour? A day? By lunchtime, I realized what a relief it was not to talk on the outside. As for the inner chatter….I’m still working on that.  Catch up with Amanda Brooks on retreat at Peace House in Chapter One, Section 2 of “The Chicken Painting” ….

Let the Serial Chicken Begin!


Cluttered-HouseHave you ever fantasized about selling the house, giving it all away, and moving to a meditation center? Amanda Brooks discovers that selling a house is easy – it’s getting her children to clean out their Stuff that’s practically impossible. If you long to Simplify Your Life or are tempted to run off with a canoe guide, read the first installment of my new serial, The Chicken Painting right here…

How Mary Used To Make Dinner

Bulloch Hall KitchenIf you’ve never thought much about the Civil War (entirely possible in California; unthinkable in Georgia), you might not know that when General Sherman marched through Atlanta, he burned down the 19th century plantations that would have become the 21st century tourist attractions featuring reenactors and lots of candle dipping. So when I was living in Atlanta and searching for the antebellum South, I drove north to Roswell, a picturesque town with history to spare. I toured three houses and all my docents were courtly men in oxford cloth shirts and shiny loafers.  One of the things that fascinates me about house guides (besides everything) is how often they refer to the former occupants by first name. “Mittie gazed out that very window at her future husband” or “John took his last breath in that rocking chair.” It’s as if they knew them personally.

Bulloch Hall, one of the main attractions in Roswell, is the childhood home of Mittie Roosevelt, mother of President Teddy Roosevelt. When I saw the kitchen (located two floors down in the cellar), and the steep stairway the servants had to climb (while balancing hot food and trays), I realized that the architect who designed this house never cooked a meal in his life.    Adjacent to the dining room is a holding area with a fireplace where the stew was warmed again after its journey from the kitchen two floors below. Now I spend a lot of time preparing meals and all I could think about was the hardworking woman who baked bread and roasted beef in that dark, unvented kitchen. I wanted to go back in time and give her a fridge, a dish washer and a self cleaning oven. I wanted to make the architect carry some hot stew up the steep and narrow stairs and rethink that floor plan. She was an anonymous cook, a woman no one remembered, but I was sure her name was Mary and I felt like I knew her personally.

You know, maybe I should be a house guide at Bulloch Hall.  Do you think they’d accept my application?

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