Are you someone who loves incorporating rituals into your life? I would guess the answer is yes, since rituals seem to be something we crave as humans.

I have a few rituals I can’t live without (including yogurt and tea every morning and decorating my Christmas tree with colored lights, not white ones!), but I’ve also come to see that I have to be careful about becoming so locked into a ritual that I end up feeling unsettled if it can’t transpire for some reason (like, god forbid, I run out of yogurt).

I was reminded of this over Thanksgiving. For so many years my husband, kids, and I celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents’ house, which was fantastic for me because not only did I adore my parents but all my brothers were around, too. It was a ritual I foolishly let myself feel would go on forever, but of course it didn’t. My parents died and Thanksgiving was thrown up in the air, shifting every year since then because of circumstances.

This Thanksgiving happened to be exceptionally nice. My stepson as well as my own two kids (photo, right) were all able to travel to our home in PA, and it was so lovely to have them there. Part of me was starting to think, “Please, let this be our Thanksgiving ritual for every year going forward,” but I knew how naive that kind of wish was, so I just told myself to savor this one year all by itself. Next year might be totally different but good in its own way, too.

I hope your holidays are truly satisfying this year, and that you not only celebrate some of the rituals you love, but you also get to create a few new ones.

Looking for a good mystery to devour over the holidays?

My seventh Bailey Weggins mystery, EVEN IF IT KILLS HER (October 31), got off to a great start, so thanks to all of you who read it, and also to those who commented on FB, Twitter, or my website ( I love hearing what you think. If you haven’t read it yet but are looking for a book that’s part thriller, part whodunit to curl up with this month, I hope you’ll buy EVEN IF IT KILLS HER (links below) or check it out of your local library.


MISSING, PRESUMED by Susie Steiner. You know the kind of mystery that is so delicious you want to race through it but choose instead to go s-l-o-w so you can relish it? This is that kind of book. A fabulous, fascinating female detective protagonist and a totally intriguing plot (the title says it all).

THE VANITY FAIR DIARIES 1983-1992 by Tina Brown. Also delicious in its own way. I’m not sure how much this book would mean to someone who wasn’t in the magazine business, but Tina Brown ran Vanity Fair magazine during the years I was a magazine editor so every page is intriguing to me.

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This is the season when I usually turn out a few apple pies, a dessert I crave. As you can see by the photo of the pie I baked for Thanksgiving, my presentation sucks (I never did learn how to flute the crust), but my pies generally taste pretty good. I learned a great crust trick from Melissa Clark of the NY Times dining section. When you pulse together the flour and cubes of cold butter, the pieces you end up with before adding ice water should be the size of lima beans, not peas. Makes for a much flakier crust.

Until next month,