May 3, 2019

One of things I find most scintillating about traveling in Europe is how quickly you can move from one culture to another. Just a hop, skip and a jump across a border and suddenly the language, the food, the customs, even the side of the street you drive on – they’ve all changed. You can get on a train in France with a croissant in hand and when yo...

April 26, 2019

Sometimes when I’m riding the Metro it occurs to me how remarkable it is that these metal boxes can move hundreds of people simultaneously across the city, underground, faster than any car could. It’s kind of wild if you think about it – and definitely kind of sci-fi if you think about it for too long. 

Alas, these days public transportation often d...

April 19, 2019

Watching Notre Dame burn this week was shocking and heartbreaking. After the smoke cleared, it felt like a miracle that so much of the cathedral had survived. One has to marvel at her tenacity.

It is painfully ironic that the fire likely started because of renovation work. Notre Dame has desperately needed repairs for decades. 

We tend to be a bit bl...

April 12, 2019

I have a love/hate relationship with spring. I love the blooming flowers, the pale green of new growth, the soft touch of the air, the chirping of baby birds. I hate the pollen and the looming approach – like an alien spaceship hovering on the horizon – of summer heat and humidity. 

But most of the time – when the pollen hasn’t colonized my contact...

April 5, 2019

When I was thirteen, I visited Europe for the first time. Our first stop was Venice. I don’t have perfect memories of our time there, but I do remember how much I loved it. It was so unlike anything I had ever seen or experienced before. We spent an afternoon wandering the city’s narrow streets, away from the crowds on St. Mark’s Square, and every...

March 29, 2019

I’ve returned from two weeks of exploring Italy from top to bottom, and while I will have plenty to say about the experience in the weeks to come, this week, as I recover from jet lag, my mind is focused on one thing above all else: staying caffeinated. So naturally, this post is about Italian coffee.

We can thank the Italians for bringing coffee in...

March 8, 2019

Apologies for the brevity of this post. I’m preparing to leave for a rather long trip, and I’m afraid my to-do list has gotten the better of me. I’ll be sending you some golden oldies from the Mockingbird blog archives for the next couple of weeks, and (fingers crossed) I’ll have some good stories to share when I return.

Leaving as I am on the brink...

March 1, 2019

After the poet Mary Oliver died in January, I discovered that one of my favorite quotes was actually the end of one of her poems, which I had never read in its entirety before. We’ve lost a lot of beautiful souls recently, which makes Mary’s final question feel even more important. It may be the only question that matters. How will you answer? 


February 22, 2019

The New York Times ran an article in January featuring 52 places to visit in 2019, which is a few more places than most of us will be able to fit in in a year with [checks calendar], yep, 52 weeks. And with all due respect to the Times, many of the places on their list didn’t exactly strike my fancy.

Just as there’s often no accounting for taste, th...

February 8, 2019

After last week’s bitter cold, Washington DC reached a stunning 70 degrees on Monday. The birds were singing. The tree buds were, I’m sure, confused. The soft air carried with it the promise of spring…and tantalizingly clear memories of Switzerland. 

I was sitting at my desk when the warm air finally wormed through the cracks in the windows to fill...

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