There’s a story behind this loaf of banana bread.

It starts way back at the beginning of the pandemic, when my friend Rich Swanson was whiling away time in lockdown by messing around in his kitchen. Rich is a culinary savant, able to take regular ingredients and combine them in ways no mere mortal has ever considered, and come out on the other side with something unforgettably delectable. He dubbed each one of these kitchen quarantine experiments “Apocalypse? Now? Part XX” and he would include a blow-by-blow account of what he had made and why. As lockdown continued, they got…


They both came home for spring break back in early March, and they never left.

At first, we thought it would be a few weeks. You know, until we got this whole coronavirus pandemic thing under control as a nation. With one living in New York City for college and the other in Worcester, Mass., also for college, we thought by early April they’d be back at it.

But then we got locked down. First New York, then Connecticut, where we live, then Massachusetts. March became April. April became May. College became “virtual.” …


The other day I was with a group of people getting together after organizing a successful event to debrief. In the pre-meeting chitchat, the age of the woman I was sitting next to came up.

67.

I was stunned. I could not believe this vibrant, energetic, go-getting, world-changing woman was 67. Because to me, 67 seems “old.”

I said to her, “I hope I am what you are at 67 … well … I hope I am that tomorrow.”

I need to learn to let go of my concepts of aging. Because getting older doesn’t mean getting old. Yes, things…


In my 20s, I was full of energy. Launching a career, launching a *life* — the possibilities were, literally, limitless.

In my 30s, I was full of satisfaction. I married the best guy I had ever known, a guy who never, ever (not one single time) tried to change me. I had my two babies. I had an established career, a job I loved that I was really good at.

In my 40s, I was full of confidence. I had this whole thing down. I was in control.

In my 50s, I am full of … well, the best way…


In the summer of 2012, I sobbed for three straight days on a beach in Dennis, Mass., while I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

There’s a paragraph in the book, almost a throw-away, really, in the John Green-scheme of things:

“One of the less bullshitty conventions of the cancer kid genre is the Last Good Day convention, wherein the victim of cancer finds herself with some unexpected hours when it seems like the inexorable decline has suddenly plateaued, when the pain is for a moment bearable. The problem, of course, is that there’s no way of knowing…


September, 2007

Reprinted from The Day because it’s been a tough summer.

Death is tricky. Tricky, and unavoidable. It’s tricky because when you are dealing with little kids, you need to be careful how you handle it, explain it, characterize it, deal with it yourself. Unavoidable because, well, death is part of life.

Up until this year I managed to dodge the subject of death with the kids. Sure, people died, but either the children were too young to really understand what we were talking about, or it was someone on the periphery of our lives and therefore had no…


Requiem for a Babysitter

More than a decade ago, a wise working mother told me “A babysitter is a part of your family … until she isn’t.”

The context of that pearl of wisdom. was a discussion among a group of us about how much our babysitters knew about us — the ins and outs of our family life, our relationship with our spouse, how dirty our bathrooms were. Working mothers and babysitters have an almost sacred relationship — we trust you with our kids, and we trust you to keep our secrets.

Joe and I hired Sandy Madeira to…


(I wrote this in 2011. She turns 20 this week. She remains awesome.)

When you are pregnant with your first baby, you have all these ideas of how pregnancy and motherhood will be: you will be one of those women who carry the pregnancy beautifully; you will be one of those women to whom motherhood comes naturally; your child will never have a snot-encrusted nose.

Of course, none of that turns out to be true.

For me, my first pregnancy started out rocky, with morning sickness that left me in a state of perpetual nausea. It progressed from there to…


When I was a kid, my parents would read the Sunday New York Times out loud to each other. Whatever section my mom had, she would read out loud items that interested her to my dad. Whatever section he had, he did the same to her. They shared news, in the tiny little bubble that was our Sunday kitchen table. They discussed and debated. And then it was over.

These days, the Sunday New York Times actually comes out starting on Saturday afternoon, and rolls out across the Internet as articles are published on their website and subsequently pushed onto…


(Note: I wrote this in 2008. The kids are now practically 19, and 16 1/2. I love them with all my heart as they are right now, but oh my goodness, I miss when they were little. For a whole bunch of reasons.)

They do these things.

At night, after supper, we walk the dog up the street so she can take care of business. We go past the Como tennis courts, in front of which are some big boulders. Every single night, they say, “Mom, can we jump off?” And every night I say yes, and then pause to…

Elissa Bass

Just trying to figure out some shit.

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