Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dear Closest Sibling (both in age and proximity),

*this is the latest installment in the 30 Letters Challenge I have taken up. Today, I'm supposed to write to my "sibling or closest relative." My brother R is both.

Dear R,

It's easy to forget, when you live as far apart as we do, how much I like you.

It's a lot. A lot, a lot.

Thanks for growing up with me. It's stupidly obvious that you are going to be world famous someday. I won't be a bit surprised.

It says a lot that I have to think really hard for an unpleasant memory with you. Given everything that we shared -- a room until I was five, classes in school, angsty teenage years, a cell phone, a jeep (well...that was really just me mooching your jeep) -- plus the number of things we don't share -- personality, talents, priorities -- it's sort of amazing that we didn't fight ever. But I guess you're just that awesome.

At any rate, this one's for you:

BROTHER AND SISTER, by Lewis Carroll

"SISTER, sister, go to bed!
Go and rest your weary head."
Thus the prudent brother said.

"Do you want a battered hide,
Or scratches to your face applied?"
Thus his sister calm replied.

"Sister, do not raise my wrath.
I'd make you into mutton broth
As easily as kill a moth"

The sister raised her beaming eye
And looked on him indignantly
And sternly answered, "Only try!"

Off to the cook he quickly ran.
"Dear Cook, please lend a frying-pan
To me as quickly as you can."

And wherefore should I lend it you?"
"The reason, Cook, is plain to view.
I wish to make an Irish stew."

"What meat is in that stew to go?"
"My sister'll be the contents!"
"You'll lend the pan to me, Cook?"

Moral: Never stew your sister.

Love Always.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dear Parents,

*this is the third installment in my Letter Writing Challenge. Previously, I've written to my best friend and my crush. In this edition, I'm supposed to write a letter to my parents. I was inspired by the 1963 classic "Hellow Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp)" by Allan Sherman.

Hello Muddah, hello Faddah,
Have you yet seen Harry Pottah?
I've not watched it, but my fam has
and both Ginny and big Hagrid they dressed up as.

They went to the midnight showing
so I fed them, 'fore their going.
We ate lamb chops, quite delicious,
but the side-dish preparations weren't judicious.

I was prideful of my harvest
broccoli, carrots -- let's be honest,
I was lacking clearest thinking
which explains my momentary cheeks a-pinking.

Time I should have spent in rinsing
I instead took up with mincing,
chopping veggies from my garden
never thinking that I'd have to beg for pardon.

Only as I acted waiter
did I spy the infiltrator.
Fried up with our belly-filler,
sat a little, greenish brownish caterpillar.

Here I was with a conundrum;
it's not like I could refund 'um,
anyway I wouldn't want to
ruin appetites that have nowhere to run to.

So I waited till they'd finished
to announced that I had sinned-ish
Even then, though, I withheld it
From HC whose stomach may have just expelled it.

Husband laughed and brother snorted,
(more humor than I had afforded)
making me feel slightly better --
though the poor caterpillar could not be deader.

In its mem'ry I decided
that this tale would be recited
to the blogging world I know of
Hoping that my fellow cooks, toward bugs, show more love.

The End.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dear Crush

Dear Crush,

Where do I even start?

Look, I'm sorry that we haven't talked in a while. When was it even? The last time I remember seeing you around you were in a two-liter hanging out with that guy I was dating back in 2003, and, frankly, I thought it was a bit childish of him to even take you out. At the time, I blew you off, given my aversion to consuming things that look like they were poured directly out of glow-stick, but I've begun to see you with a new interest now that I realize what an incredible breadth of experience you have in the soft-drink capacity.

I mean, Red Licorice flavored Crush? That's exotic. Pear? Intriguing.

Chocolate? Ok...that's just weird.

Anyway, I wanted to write and let you know that even when you feel like you're just the dumb little cousin of fancy-pants Fanta, I won't forget you. You were forever branded into my memory at Kelly's 13th birthday party when we were all swooning over JTT and the charm bracelet Kelly's Mom gave her. All of a sudden she got a sick look on her face, jumped up, and turning away from the cake table, puked her guts out into the swimming pool.

There you were, Orange Crush, mixed with the vestiges of her birthday lunch, hotdogs and Doritos, swirling your way through what was supposed to be the afternoon's entertainment. You were a neon-orange-mixed-with-chlorine-blue paisley reminder of what gluttony can do to a sensitive stomach.

Don't worry though, I'm sure I'll be seeing you around more and more, what with the young'uns around. Let's just let the bygones be bygones. I'll try and refrain from referring to you as alien blood if you try to stay where you're guzzled.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Dear Stop & Shop

Dear Stop & Shop,

Today I am supposed to write a letter to my best friend. Clearly, you are not my best friend. However, in all seriousness, I experienced something in your produce department today that I just can’t shake.

This is a thank you note.

It was still dark this morning when the phone rang me awake and a pre-recorded message told me the weather was so foul that HC’s bus would be two hours late. There was an ice storm out there, but it was warm where I was, so I promptly went back to sleep. About two hours later I woke up, put on a robe, fed the baby, and then took her back to bed with me where we cuddled under my covers while P made my tea. HC, delighted by her extra hours of sleep, joined me on the bed and we tickled F until P came in and summoned the teenager off to her coalmine for the day.

After several days of undiagnosed fussiness, Baby F has recovered to her normal happy and alert self. This baby is so smiley and laughy that it’s hard to get anything done around here – all I want to do when she’s in these moods is hold her and giggle, too.

The two of us eventually bundled up and went off through the ice storm for a grocery shop. I had only been tooling around your store for a few minutes when F made it clear that it was lunchtime for babies. I made my way to the nearest bench and settled us down, nice and discreet, to nurse for a little while.

Most people didn’t notice us. I doubt we were particularly noticeable – F was mostly covered by a baby blanket, only her little socked feet poking out, kicking away as always, and me getting a glazed look as I stared off into the pyramid of pomegranates ahead of me. One man caught my eye and chuckled, “Duty calls!”

I chuckled back, then drifted away again, pondering the produce.

Slowly, an aged-looking man approached me, shuffling. He was mostly bald with a small track of grey hair fringing the back of his head from one ear to the other. He was very short, maybe a few inches over five feet, and I assume he is a janitor. He pushed a grocery cart with a broom and dustpan inside. He has a pleasant face but his mouth was bobbing open and closed very quickly, as if he were struggling to say something to me. I smiled at him, assuming he had some sort of physical problem that inhibited proper speech, but soon I realized that I could make out a few words.

“She is so beautiful,” he said.

“Thanks,” I beamed.

“She is so beautiful,” he repeated, his eyes not leaving her little pink and grey striped socks. “How old?”

“Three months,” I said, pleased. He stood there for a few seconds, his mouth bobbing open and closed several times, but no sound came out.

He finally spoke, but in a voice so quiet I had to lean forward and read his lips. “I was married once.”

“Oh?” I said, confused.

“I was married once for nineteen years. But no children.”

I was silent, and sat there smiling stupidly on the bench, not knowing what to say. He looked at F with visible yearning. I realized that his mouth was bobbing open and closed, not because of any physical problem, but as an emotional hiccough caused by what he was trying to tell me.

“She got pregnant four times,” he said, “but lost them.” He gestured calmly with his hands, down and away, down and away. I could hardly hear what he was saying, but his eyes softened. “She was too small to hold them.”

He paused briefly, “I always wanted a baby. Now I’m 60 and it’s too late.”

I could feel F stretching her little arms and snuffling as she nursed. Her warm breath was captured under the blanket that covered my shoulder most of her body. I wanted to say something comforting to the man, and it occurred to me that I should mention P’s age and tell him it’s not too late, that P has this baby when he, too, feared it was too late. But I couldn’t. For several seconds he stood in front of us, motionless.

Then his voice cracked as he said,“You take care of that baby, now.” He turned back to his cart and removed the broom, then continued on, presumably to sweep up some spilled flour somewhere, or a broken jar of peanuts.

All day I’ve had the vision of that sad man in my head.

Why am I so blessed? How did this little baby become a part of my life? It makes me want do something really important and wonderful to make myself worthy of this gift. What can I do?

I don’t know yet, except to thank God for the many blessings in my life, and be the best steward I can be for them.

Thank you, Stop & Shop, for providing me with a reminder of how precious my little baby is. Every time I drive past your store, I’ll remember how lucky we are to have her.


PS: Also, thank you for the “customers with infants” parking spaces. They’re a big help.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


There's something about being a new Mom that is just sucking all possibilities of long-term, self-imposed concentration out of my world and all neighboring universes. It's hard to explain.

My life is not that hard, really. Things are (mostly) under control, and if I need help there is always a ready hand. The problem is that I started out as a bear of little brain, and I think I contributed whatever brain I *did* have to that tiny little being that keeps eating up all my time and attention.

So, as a way to stimulate my only two remaining braincells into creative action once again, I'm starting a new regimen. Beware: it's cheezy. And pray that I don't just lose my train of thought and wander around singing the Winnie the Pooh theme song. No matter how cute Piglet is, it just doesn't make good blogging.

Here's the deal -- it's call the 30 Day Letter Challenge, and just in case you didn't get it by the title, I'll be taking up the challenge to write 30 letters. I'm not going to promise to do it in thirty days, but we've gotta start somewhere. Also, I got this list from someone else, and I feel free to edit it on my whim.

Day 1 — My Best Friend

Day 2 — My Crush

Day 3 — My parents

Day 4 — My sibling (or closest relative)

Day 5 — My dreams

Day 6 — A stranger

Day 7 — My Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush

Day 8 — My favorite internet friend

Day 9 — Someone I wish you could meet

Day 10 — Someone I don’t talk to as much as I’d like to

Day 11 — A Deceased person I wish I could talk to

Day 12 — The person I hate most/caused me a lot of pain

Day 13 — Someone I wish could forgive I

Day 14 — Someone I’ve drifted away from

Day 15 — The person I miss the most

Day 16 — Someone that’s not in my state/country

Day 17 — Someone from my childhood

Day 18 — The person that I wish I could be

Day 19 — Someone that pesters my mind—good or bad

Day 20 — The one that broke my heart the hardest

Day 21 — Someone I judged by their first impression

Day 22 — Someone I want to give a second chance

Day 23 — The last person I kissed

Day 24 — The person that gave I your favorite memory

Day 25 — The person I know that is going through the worst of times

Day 26 — The last person I made a pinky promise to

Day 27 — The friendliest person I knew for only one day

Day 28 — Someone that changed my life

Day 29 — The person that I want tell everything to, but too afraid to

Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The last few
golden leaves
are clinging tightly
to their branches,

Like they don't
want to let go.
Like they don't trust
what they don't know.

After several bleak days of damp sweaters and squelching mud, we finally have sunshine here. P has taken Ulrich out for a desperately needed walk. Ulrich doesn't care about the rain and cold, in fact he seems to love being outside in it. Perhaps it's his thick coat and German heritage that does it, but at any rate, he's been on his own the past couple days because when the choice is the big wet or the warm fire, you get one guess as to where I'll be.

"A" graduated from bootcamp about two weeks ago and now is off to Infantry Training with the Marines, leaving his chaotic room behind as a lonely reminder of his visit. I've decided to interpret his discarded jock strap in the middle of the hallway and crushed up potato chips in his bed as his way of saying he appreciates all I do for him. After all, he wouldn't want to deprive of of my life's passion: complaining. HC is deep in rehearsals for her upcoming performance in "Hello, Dolly!" and is busy attending to her hectic social life.

Baby F and I are just spending some nice quiet time together in the chilly fall weather. Tonight, we have a wedding to attend and for the first time, she's wearing shoes!

I was just thinking: what a wonderful day to have a wedding. The landscape is rather bleak, so the beauty of the ceremony and reception will have no competition. The weather is a bit chilly, and will encourage people to warm up to each other quickly. And every year when this time of the season hits, the happy couple will have fond memories to start them off well through the winter season.

Maybe I'm the only person in the world who relates cold, damp weather with love, but summer can't have all the fun.