Author: Robin Conte

Robin’s Nest: Who needs movies when you can escape into catalog world?

People read books and go to movies for instant escapism, but all I have to do is look through a catalog. I can flip through the pages of a Pottery Barn spring promotional and momentarily convince myself that for my next dinner party, I’ll wrap damask napkins in raffia and insert a daffodil in the middle. To complete my mental picture, I add gold pineapple-shaped place-card holders and a tablescape. I can hover over a recipe in Williams-Sonoma and consider it plausible that I would open my toaster oven and retrieve a tray of my own perfectly baked caramelized-onion-and-gruyere...

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Robin’s Nest: Love reveals itself in tender mercies

I saw a movie many years ago called “Tender Mercies.” I don’t remember much about it except that Robert Duvall was in it and it took place somewhere in the Southwest. I recently googled it out of curiosity and learned that Duvall played a has-been country music star in the film and won an Academy Award for his performance. But what stuck with me for all these decades was the title. It haunted me because I think it speaks to what we yearn for so often in our human condition…tender mercies. We want to be loved, we want to...

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Robin’s Nest: Packing cubes are no panacea

Back in the dark ages before there was an internet, backpacking students got around by using a revered guidebook called “Let’s Go Europe.” You’d go to a youth hostel and you’d find sections on Rome or Vienna that had been ripped out and left there by travelers who had seen those cities and wanted to lighten their load or share information. The book was filled with excellent tips on cheap places to eat and sleep and how to get from point A to point B without a car and what to appreciate once you got there. But there was...

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Robin’s Nest: On Mother’s Day, remembering what your kids will forget

To all you mothers of youngsters out there — you brave women in the trenches — a word from a veteran: You won’t remember a darn thing. You might recall a few snippets from your child-rearing years, but what you remember and what your children remember will be entirely different. Because memory is a fickle thing … so fickle, in fact, that Barbara Streisand sang a song essentially glorifying its fickleness way back in the ’70s. A tattered old cat had a long run on Broadway singing about it, too. Alas, the curious tenet of memory is that you...

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Robin’s Nest: Assembling the worst superhero team ever

As the superhero story goes, the X-Men are a group of people with various X-gene mutations that give them EX-tra powers, and (while battling an assorted bunch of X-rivals) they endeavor to use these powers for the good of humanity. I have noticed that a bit of X-gene activity seems to have occurred in my own family, but our genes have mutated to powers of questionable worth. We are a bunch of the worst X-Men, ever. My youngest is Massive Toe-Gap Boy. You could park a car in the space between his first two toes. He uses this Massive...

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