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Jessie Raymond: Christmas cookies or consequences

Posted on December 6, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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Last year, I started my holiday baking the day after Thanksgiving. By getting an early start and pacing myself, I reasoned, I could build up a varied inventory and be able to hand out plates of goodies to all, right through Christmas.

 I bought butter and sugar by the case, sharpened my cookie cutters, generously floured every flat surface in the house and started cranking out cookies. The Keebler elves could have taken some lessons in mass production.

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Jessie Raymond: Lily the hunter plays with her prey

Posted on November 21, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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They’re back.

The area mice have left their summer homes out in the field and have come indoors to spend the winter behind the walls of our old house. At night we can hear them rearranging their little matchbox tables and thread spool chairs.

When I think of them that way, they seem quite sweet.

Except they also sneak into our kitchen, stealing crumbs and cavorting in the drawers, nibbling on latex gloves and old wine corks. They hoard birdseed in the dishtowel drawer. Last year, they chewed through the water line that runs our icemaker.

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Jessie Raymond: Stuffing the turkey, literally this time

Posted on November 8, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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Under normal circumstances, cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is not that complicated.

Yes, putting together so many dishes can be time consuming, but roasting food isn’t that demanding a task: while things cook, you pass the time by looking for the good tablecloth and drinking wine, at least where I come from.

Some people, particularly new cooks, quake at the thought of hosting the most important meal of the year. But the menu hasn’t changed in generations.

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Jessie Raymond: Telemarketers are working overtime

Posted on October 25, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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You know who I’m really sick of?

Heather.

Heather from Card Services. She calls a lot.

I’ve never heard Heather’s spiel because I hang up as soon as her cheerful voice pops into my ear. I know Heather’s not real, because she sounds exactly the same every time she calls, and because people who work for real credit card companies don’t typically act like you’re the best thing to happen to them all day.

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Jessie Raymond: Partnering on paint color is painful

Posted on October 11, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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“What do you think?” I ask Mark, tossing a pile of paint chips on the table. “I might do the cupboards in a pale neutral. You know, something lighter than taupe but darker than bone, cooler than ivory but warmer than gray. Are you OK with that?”

He shrugs. “What the hell is ‘taupe’?”

Mark’s been no help whatsoever on this walk-in pantry renovation.

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Jessie Raymond: It's cooking 'or' cleaning, not 'and'

Posted on September 27, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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Ah, the first weekend of fall.

My neighbor, whom I will call “Cathy,” as that is her name, marked the occasion by washing her windows. I, on the other hand, spent two days making a dazzling — bordering on disturbing — array of apple-based, cinnamon-spiced foods and beverages.

Cathy and I live across the street from each other, but we’re worlds apart.

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Jessie Raymond: Gardening: Survival of the fittest

Posted on September 13, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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It’s that time of year when I look at my vegetable garden and wonder how it all got away from me.

Every summer, I fall into the same cycle: initial anticipation that turns to endless watering and weeding, giving way to despair and, ultimately, a sense of failure.

I never learn.

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Jessie Raymond: Pantry building, step by (slow) step

Posted on August 30, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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In May of 2017, Mark started building me a pantry — the old-school walk-in pantry I’ve been dreaming of for years — pledging that I would have a finished space by November.

Thanksgiving came and went, and my pantry did not get done. Mark, always the card, says he never specified which November. He also insists that he’s not the one who’s been holding up the schedule.

He hasn’t wanted to pressure me, he claims, but in fact he’s been dying to start framing the cabinets. I just haven’t given him any plans.

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Jessie Raymond: Potato shopping has lost its appeal

Posted on August 16, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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I forgot to pick up potatoes last Friday.

This is nothing unusual. I forget groceries all the time. Sometimes it’s because I write my list on a scrap of paper and leave the paper at home. Sometimes it’s because, despite a long history indicating otherwise, I think I can get by without a list. (These are the times you’ll catch me in the supermarket looking very focused and whispering “bread, broccoli, coffee, detergent, tortillas” over and over.)

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Jessie Raymond: Welcome to the jungle, er, bedroom

Posted on August 2, 2018 |
By Jessie Raymond



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This past weekend, I did something courageous: I stood up to the schefflera in our bedroom.

If a schefflera were some kind of mythical, multiheaded beast, you’d probably be impressed (although you might wonder how it got into our bedroom). In truth, a schefflera, also known as an umbrella tree, is just a houseplant. Still, I showed great courage.

That thing had been intimidating me for years.

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