The Suburban Life For Me

I’m going on sabbatical in two weeks (two weeks?!?). We’ll be visiting places like Rome, Jerusalem, and Seattle. It’s hard to promise that we won’t just stay in one of those places, right? Like, isn’t there an Episcopal Church in Rome? Do they have any openings? (Asking for a friend.) And the reason I feel […]

Barber’s Corners

For a long time, there was a sad and empty stone marker in the corner of a parking lot at one of the busiest intersections in Bolingbrook. For 150 years, this place was “Barber’s Corners.” You’d miss the marker if you weren’t looking for it: The Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission installed a plaque here in 1979. […]

Our Local Farm

Our weekly share of produce from Green Earth Institute farm. From the right: winter onions, salad turnips, spinach, snap peas, lettuce, tatsoi (an Asian green), and… a beagle. Green Earth Institute is just four miles from our house, in Naperville. It’s a 60-acre organic farm, complete with beautiful old stone farmhouse, and an island surrounded […]

Farms I Have Loved

This is a farm right down the street from our house. Well, sort of. It’s a couple miles away. An island of agriculture in a sea of Naperville suburban boilerplate. The farm interns always seem to look appropriately scruffy and disinterested when I come to pick up my veggie share. There’s also a wind turbine, lots […]

A History of Cheap American Furniture

Some folks complain about the shoddy construction of IKEA furniture. But wait. Shoddy construction has a long history in American society. I ask you: doesn’t IKEA seem like a natural heir to an American legend: The Sears Catalog? Exhibit 1: Sears dresser (circa 1930? 1940?) Made of cheap wood topped with veneer. Styled to look […]

St. Benedict Was A Suburbanite

The patron saint of my church is St. Benedict, who lived in Italy in the 6th century. He was one of the first people to organize a monastery that wasn’t eccentric or extreme. His monks ate three meals a day, slept in beds, and, although they went to church nine (!) times a day and […]

Back roads and silence

We drove out to Galena and back, yesterday and today. It’s a charming tourist town on the other side of the state. We belong to a meat CSA – we pay a subscription to a farm family and in return, every month we get a “share” of meats and eggs. We missed our delivery last […]