An honest to goodness Family heirloom.

I have an admitted weakness for shabby old cookbooks. To me, a  slightly abused old cookbook full of stains, with torn pages is a cookbook that has been well loved and well used. I’ve been known to walk out of estate sales with cookbooks that are absolutely in shambles because I just couldn’t leave them sitting there feeling abandoned. Friends that know I cook and how I feel about old cookbooks routinely share gems with me that were from their mother/grandmother/aunt that no one wanted, but they didn’t feel they could just give away to a stranger, or worse, throw away. Continue reading

Universal Language

Mena is a 23 year old mother of four who recently fled her home with her family in Afghanistan to resettle in Charlottesville. I was introduced to her by my friend Cathy, who had been paired with the family by International Neighbors  (IN). Their family has been in this country only a few short months, having arrived here in Charlottesville thanks to the assistance of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Unfamiliar to our country, our culture, our language, Mena and her husband are also unaccustomed to running their own household, as they lived in a home with their extended family in their native land. While the IRC got them out of their native country alive, IN works to ensure they thrive in their new home. As a volunteer in the Family Friends program, Cathy was paired with the family to help in that adjustment. Continue reading

When home becomes a hashtag.

I have an article due last week – a feel good story on a piece of Charlottesville history  – that I can’t quite seem to focus on.  After having such violent images of my town broadcast all over the globe, seeing armed nazis in my neighborhood, having my neighbors feel threatened in the safety of their own home, I’m having a hard time focusing on anything but my anger and frustration with our elected officials who allowed this to happen.  The warnings of how ugly this was going to be had been there for months and somehow, our civic leaders failed to protect us. It would appear there is no safety net anymore. Continue reading