College letters

Ever since Vincenzo started his sophomore year, our mailbox has been bombarded letters with such ferocity, you’d think Hogwarts was trying to get ahold of him. We open each in hopes of finding the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom. So far no luck, but in the search, we did find a nonconventional letter, sent by Kenyon University.





Transcription of back:

Ten feet wide, nearly a mile long, Middle Path runs the length of Kenyon, bisecting but never dividing. A central line that takes you where you’re going, invites you to cross over, to bump into one another, to pause and reflect. It’s our main drag, our beating heart, connecting us to this place and to each other.

Not to brag, but my college had paved paths. And to save you some trouble, it’s not in Kenya. It’s in Ohio.

The poster was the only thing in the envelope. Not a word of academics, no student testimonies, no glossy pictures of campus life, not even a mention of ROTC.

I looked it up. It’s actually quite a nice path.


I think we’ll hang the letter, if you can call it that, in Vincenzo’s room, as a kind of warning: get good grades or you will be choosing colleges based on the materials of their paths.

Oh woah woah woah, guys.  Slow down! There’s controversy! There have been paving rumors! Not everyone is able to equally access Middle Path. Looks like Middle Path does “divide” after all. Proponents of the path say it should remain gravel, for tradition’s sake. Opponents say this is the same argument people use in favor of hazing. My question for Kenyon students is this: When the path invites you to “cross over,” which side will you stand on? Who will you accidentally “bump into” on the way?

Wait, where am I? What is it I started out writing about? I have strayed from the straight line the path was meant to keep me on! Let’s zoom out to look at this clearly:

There exists in this country (not in Kenya) a college that wants us to give them tens of thousands of dollars plus four years of our son’s life, and their most compelling reason to do so—no, their only reason to do so—is that they have a gravel path.

It’s crazy.

But what’s even crazier is that their campaign is working. Kenyon is the only college from the big stack of junk mail whose website I have visited. It’s the only one I’ve blogged about. It’s likely the only one you’ve read about lately.

I am normally a person who does not like to be manipulated, but honestly I am too awed by the strategy to be upset. The central line has, indeed, taken me where I’m going. Or at least to where I’ve been.

If only it could tell me where I am now.

Is “confused” a place?

Beef enchiladas
Brown rice
Pinto beans

Random Stuff

I don’t have anything thematic to blog about, so I’ll just give you a couple glimpses of our past weeks.

In the only moment of spontaneity I’ve had in my entire life, I went to Bainbridge Island yesterday with my dear friend. Here’s the view from the ferry when we left…


And the same view when we returned.


It was so dreamy, I am planning to be spontaneous again. I think I have time on the 22nd.

In other news, we were tired of Leo rolling around on the carpet saying, “I’m bored,” and asking what he can do, then rejecting all our suggestions and storming off to his room, mad at us. He doesn’t have any hobbies outside of eating candy and playing video games, but he does love punching/kicking Kevin, so we did the natural thing.


Now there are 90 fewer minutes in the week when Leo rolls around on the carpet saying he’s bored.

The taekwondo lessons pair nicely with that thing we finally figured out to get him for Christmas.


Now all I want for Christmas is a basement that doesn’t look like a Crossfit gym.

Relatedly, after Christmas I made my yearly attempt to the get rid of an amount of stuff equal to the amount of stuff we brought in. Among the stuff: my wedding bouquet. I’m not sure what I was saving it for. Maybe in hopes one of my kids would use it for “something borrowed” in their wedding? Or perhaps I had the foresight to know I’d start a blog and need a random photo for a post during a week not much was going on. Get out the Kleenex…


Oh! Here’s something actually deserving of a post! Kevin decided he was tired of all the maple trees free-loading in our backyard and decided it was time to pay rent, so he and my sister tapped them.


One year later and a lot of making fun of him…


The syrup is in the small glass cup at the top of the photo. All four tablespoons of it. We’re calling it “brown gold” and now we no longer laugh when Kevin heads outside, saying he’s going to “work the land.”

And finally, here is tonight’s dessert:

chocolate delight b pn

Do you guys remember this? Walnut crust, a cream cheese layer, pudding, and Cool Whip? I was craving it and know I’ve had it, though no one I know has ever made it. You’ve had it too, right? But you don’t recall when or where, right?

Make it. It is even better than you remember.

Mac ‘n cheese
Grilled salmon
Four-layer chocolate dessert

The Blues get Whited Out

The post-Christmas blues got postponed this year because the day after Christmas, it snowed!!! Snow is best summed up in pictures, so here they are.

A good idea:


A bad idea:

A big snowball:


A bigger snowball:


Something that went according to plan!



Something that didn’t:

A few more pictures from a very happy week:




Smoked brisket
Mashed potatoes
Onion rings
Peppermint snowball cookies