6/23/18

Letter to My Dead Gramma



 Dear Gramma,
You would be over 100 right now were you still alive.  111 really.  Wow, that is old!  I remember your telling me that you would sometimes look in the mirror and wonder who on earth that old wrinkly lady was staring back at you.  I sometimes feel the same way now. I peer at myself, not with any sense of disgust, but rather curiosity around this 48-year-old oddity with grey steaks who looks like an older version of myself, but turns out is me.  Turns out aging is a “thing” that does happen eventually no matter how many under eye creams you buy, collagen powders you consume and facials you get.
So much has changed since you died in 2004 (besides my youthful skin and chestnut colored hair.) I’m not sure what you would think of it all now. Remember when I called you on my cell phone from a plantation in Charleston, South Carolina and we both marveled about how I could reach you from the middle of the outdoors, far away from any land line? It was such fun to “bring’ you there with me.  

6/22/18

Hey, Janet! Want to go see a movie with me on Sunday? - Sally


Thanks for the invite, Sally.  Going out to the movies on Sunday sounds great.  I am a definite maybe.  If I can move some things around, I will almost 100% possibly be there.  I just have to talk to a few people but I’d really love to come so you can certainly count on me to probably show up. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen you so I will do my best to potentially make it. If you need to invite another friend, feel free to do that, but I think I can guarantee that there is a chance that I might be able to attend…I think. I pledge to trying at least a very little bit. I can honestly tell you that you may very well see me there...or not.  We'll just have to see how I feel.  Thanks again!

4/2/18

Why No One in Seattle Ever Actually Gets Together


Text from Sarah to Jenny:

HI Jenny! What fun to run into you at Whole Foods!  We should get together.

Text from Jenny to Sarah

Hi Sarah!  Yes, so great to see you.  I’d love to get together. I miss you!

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

I miss you too.  It’s been way too long.  How about  Saturday, June 24th?  Come over for dinner?

Text from Jenny to Sarah
Thanks for the invite!  Cannot do Saturday, June 24th, we have tickets to a show that night.  Maybe sometime in July?

Text from Sarah to Jenny:          

Ok- July, it is.  When is good for you?  Wednesday the 13th or 20th are wide open for us.

Text from Jenny to Sarah

Wednesdays are Lizzie’s volleyball nites.  Are there any Sundays or Tuesdays that work for you?

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

Sure!  Sunday the 17th is a good night for me.

Text from Jenny to Sarah

Sorry, I meant Sunday Brunch.

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

Ok, Sunday Brunch on the 17th should work.

Text from Jenny to Sarah

I just remembered, we are out of town that wknd. 

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

OK, how about Sunday the 24th instead?

Text from Jenny to Sarah

Actually can we do Saturday?

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

Saturday, I’m on call at work.  Is there a Sunday that might work better?  Maybe the 31st?

Text from Jenny to Sarah

The 31st.  Hmmmm….I just hate to plan that far out. I guess the 24th is ok.  I was just hoping to clean out the basement that day.  It’s such a mess and I can never seem to find the time to get to it.  But I REALLY want to see you, so let’s try to make it work.

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

Maybe I can try to switch my on call shift with a co-worker so we could do Saturday the 23rd.  How about 11am?

Text from Jenny to Sarah

I have yoga until 11:30am

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

12pm?

Text from Jenny to Sarah

Perfect!  See you then!

Two Weeks Later

Text from Sarah to Jenny:

Just confirming our brunch at 12pm tomorrow.

Text from Jenny to Sarah

Omigosh!  I totally spaced writing that down.  I’m so sorry. Turns out, Alex is doing a half marathon I forgot about.   Can we reschedule? I’m dying to see you!


4/2/17

Why I Love the Heck out of Grocery Shopping - Day #5 of 31 Day Writing Challenge

 (Yes, it took me two months to get to day #5 of the 31 day writing challenge I started in January. But here it is in all its lackluster glory!)

I adore grocery shopping.  One of my ideal Saturday night plans is lingering amidst the lemons, ambling around the apples, perusing the pickles and zoning out by the zucchini. Shopping for food is more like a hobby than a chore.  It’s like a little trip to a food museum, and on a Saturday night, I don’t have to rush.  I don’t have to get back to anything except for…the rest of Saturday night.

Normally on a quick weeknight shop, I have to stay on the route, focused and predictable, purchasing the necessities: kale, lemons, garlic, cilantro, quinoa, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, almonds and sunflower seeds, cans of chick peas and black beans, tortillas, and don’t forget the salsa, yells my husband, Keith (or the  coconut milk!).  I have the list down pat in my head. I know what we need for a typical week of meals feeling we’ve got enough balance, bounty and color, fiber, sweet, sour, plain and fancy….but…. Saturday night at the Pacific Central Food Coop, the world is mine. I can spend time reading labels and comparing ingredients, (wow, this brand has guar gum while this one uses carrageenan), discover  new products, (There are 37 different brands of green tea and 19 sorts of  grainy crackers!), sneak a taste of something in the bulk bin, (what exactly is in those gritty little chunks of marbled nuttiness?) look at product in the freezer that I’ve never seen (frozen chicken gizzards?  Eek!)

2/4/17

31 Day Writing Challenge Day #5: My Vitamix: A Non-Human, Non-Gendered Specific Member of My Family.

Food Writing Prompt : Write about a kitchen gadget you or someone you love bought late at night online or via TV or as a whim at the store. Did the gadget work well or disappointingly?

It might be true that life changed when I bought a Vitamix in the year 2000.  It seemed like an enormous investment (and also ridiculous that a contraption made of metal and plastic should cost as much as a room in an apartment in New York City where I lived at the time) , but I was working a short term consulting job where I made $400/day and I figured that the Vitamix  (at $399) was my reward for one day’s work. 

It came in a big cardboard box emblazoned with a photo of itself filled with whole fruits and vegetables, surrounded by happy and healthy customers.  The contraption was covered in  mounds of plastic and peanuts, a clear polycarbonate blender jar and what felt like a 46 pound base with knobs and wheels and an electric cord that wrapped around its innards. 

I plugged it in and essentially threw in the contents of my fridge’s Crisper drawers, just like the commercials indicate and next thing I knew there was a glowing emerald green purple  smoothie concoction in my blender jar which quickly made its way into a glass and then down my gullet. 

1/14/17

31 Day Writing Daily Challenge Blog Post #4 - Zucchini is Gross


Food Writing Prompt: Gross!
 Write about a gross food that you had to hold your breath to try to choke down your throat. Detail the setting and add as many of the five senses as possible in your description



There were nights in my childhood when the oh, so slimy zucchini, upon orders from my mother, had to make its way off my plate and down my throat before I could leave the table. I would stare at it on the plate:  glistening with Mazola, the yellowy-white mush peeking out of faded green skin.  I usually waited until the very last minute of the meal, and then, breath and nose held, shoved it into my mouth, swept up my glass of milk to provide extra accompaniment on the journey to my stomach,  took 3 bites and swallowed.  Clean plate. Permission to exit from the dining room granted.

People claim it doesn’t have much taste. Oh,I  beg to differ!  (Why beg?  I don’t need to do that, I can simply differ.) It has a pungent tastelessness that is easily recognizable to my palate.  And its texture, when cooked to an extreme is like the stuff that you swallow after sniffing the contents of your sinuses back to your throat.  Truly awful.  I adore vegetables, but I cannot stand to eat cooked zucchini.  I may tolerate it in a flavorful soup when joined by enough veggie friends that it gets lost in the crowd, but I’ll be honest:  I cringe when I see it.  

When a waiter proudly presents the seasonal side order of vegetables: a "zucchini medley".  God help me.   Who on earth wants a zucchini medley?  Why would I want a medley of zucchini? I don’t even want a slice of zucchini!  It’s a pity since  zucchini’s are healthy, yes,healthy!  And moreover they are the rabbits of the vegetable world.  You can rely on zucchini to multiply a plenty.  No concern that there won’t be enough of a zucchini harvest. People are getting rid of the stuff – leaving it on peoples’ doorsteps and then running away.  (I wonder if some feel like I do, but the need to celebrate the prolific nature of this summer squash.) What? Another one just popped out of the garden?  And it’s the size of foot ball player’s calf?  Yup, that’s zucchini for you. Impressive in size and its growing stamina.


I have walked by farmer market stand which has proudly displayed a small bookshelf -sized zucchini for $1.50 and been tempted to buy it just for the sheer price to portion ratio. You almost MAKE money by eating a large zucchini.  I thought I could handle grilled zucchini thinking the magic of the grill must impart flavor that masks the tepid zucchini-ness but no. Even zucchini on one of those sheek shish ke·babs sticks doesn’t make my disgust wane.  And throw on a yellow squash there, my heart sinks even further.  Oh, the feeble yellow squash.  This is essentially a yellow zucchini.  These two live in the same family of ickiness. I have no issue shit talking them, but they are the only ones  I swear.  I don’t want to hurt the feelings of other loved ones in the vegetable world – they are my friends and I am grateful for them but please, take my zucchini, enjoy my medley, remove that beast of a veggie from my garden so I don’t have to use it as a mallet in croquet.  

1/10/17

31 Day Writing Daily Challenge Blog Post #3: That After-School Snack


Food Writing Prompt : The After-School Snack
 What was your go-to after-school snack back in the day? Was it delicious or did you want something else that was forbidden before dinner? 


The moments, minutes, seconds, really, after coming home from school with the knowledge that a treat awaited,  oozed with anticipation.  I knew there was almost always going to be some Breyer’s strawberry ice cream in the freezer and I could grab the cold cardboard carton, and sit watching Brady Brunch Re-runs while I gingerly spooned the cold gob of glee into my mouth, felt it melt, tasted the silkiness of the cream, and the subtle sour sharpness of the strawberry slices.  Total and utter joy. 

Mint Chocolate Chip also by Breyer’s, was another favorite,- not St. Patty’s Day green like The Baskin Robbins’ version, but pure white giving it a somewhat healthier veneer, with specks of chocolate peeking out of the velvelty mound. The crunch of those chips between the teeth followed by the quick melt on the tongue led to eyebrows and lip corners raised in sugary pleasure.   It was always sad, gathering those last few spoonfuls in the bowl - liquid leftovers, afternoon treat officially over as the Brady Bunch credits rolled.  I knew I could have more, unwrap the carton from its plastic and dive in again, but only at the risk of a tummy ache, and a heavy nausea from sweet creamy overload, not to mention a potential finger wagging from Mom, supper being "spoiled!".

Other snacks that I discovered later in my high school years were Combos – but these were usually purchased at the food truck outside school and were munched on during the bus ride home. “Total junk” my mom might have said.  Did I even like them?  It was more the novelty of  having access to a pile of food bits in a transportable bag.  They were brittle to the bite, with an unidentifiable taste of briny cheese-like goop inside.  The throw pillow shape of the snack itself, appealing visually, was predictable, contained, easy to maneuver and pop right into your mouth.  It really “cheeses your hunger away” was the claim, a sentence that made absolutely no sense.  What does it mean to “cheese hunger away”? 


”Bite sized pieces”  all those snack food pronounced.  But bites seem bigger now.  Bites can now fill an entire oral cavity.  Bites are larger than  a thumb ½ worth of hardened cracker mass with inert cheese substance stuffed inside.