Vancouver, I miss you already

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‘And my Mom and Sister too, of course’

Guess what? This plane has WiFi (!) And I’m stuck here for upwards (hah) of four hours with a choice of watching a movie or writing this post. Heck, the flight is so long I’ll probably have time for both.

Anyway. I wrote last week about how lucky I was to get to go visit my Mom. I’m lucky because A) I actually have a Mom, and B) she’s very nice to visit. Time spent with her at her senior living place in Vancouver, Washington, is very mellow.

Mellow random shot of Gary Cooper from Instagram. Just because *sigh*

So mellow that, when Oldest Younger Brother Scott phoned to tip us off to the presence of a great basketball playoff game on TV, Mom and I ended the call with, “Thanks! Now we need to get back to doing nothing.”

The school still hasn’t hired a proofreader. I’m available

We did watch that game. Forgive me, for I am not a dyed-in-the-wool hoops fan like Mom and Scott (and Laura, for that matter). I believe it was the Timberwolves and the Nuggets. The Wolves basically gnawed those Nuggets to shreds. Must’ve hurt their teeth something fierce.

Hit “Guide” a couple of times, and a whole TV World reveals itself

We also watched the Kentucky Derby. Which I found by discovering a cool trick on Mom’s remote. If you hit “guide” twice, you get a menu of little icons for stuff like movies and game shows and news. Then, if you choose the “sports” one — it looks like a little football — you can find any sport you like. Even horse-racing. (I know, I know. This is super-boring. Sorry. But it made our day, which should give you an inkling of what our days were like.)

First three-way Derby photo finish ever. Or practically ever; forget which. Mom picked the winner!

My days started with my walk through Mom’s nabe. If it was raining, I waited for “the window.” You’d be surprised how many people do the same thing. I said “hello” to a nice mailman one otherwise-raining morning, who merrily said, “Gotta take advantage of the window!” right back at me.

Blossoms and trash bins adorn this Vancouver street during a “window”

We didn’t get around to Scrabble this visit. Too many sports events to watch. Lots of Happy Hours too. There were two regularly-scheduled ones during my visit, plus one Mexican Fiesta in honor of Cinco de Mayo. They have entertainment (besides wine and cheese, and margaritas for the Fiesta) at these hoedowns. You know you’re getting old when they play “All The Leaves Are Brown” and “Downtown” at your Mom’s senior living facility.

I’d love to know the story here. Or maybe not

There is a hardcore group of line-dancers who never fail to get up and do their line-dancing thing at Happy Hour. I swear they’d line dance to the Star-Spangled Banner. They kinda drive my Mom crazy; we have to position our chairs so as not to see them.

Other than the line-dancers and the bossy woman who planted my mother’s paper whites outside in the January cold and who Mom has sworn to never speak to again, everyone is terrific chez Mom. At this point, I’d like to give a special bye-bye shoutout to Jeff and Leonard and Carole and Betty and Renee and all the various Shirleys: Shirley with the dog, Shirley with the purse, short Shirley, Shirley who lives down the hall, and Shirlee with the two “ees.”

I miss you all already!

Bye bye, Mt. Hood and Mt. Whatsits. I also saw Mt. St. Helens

En route from Vancouver to New York. May 2024

“Lucky”

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‘I have a mom and I get to go visit her today’

Whenever somebody in our family does something that my Middle Younger Brother Roger wishes he could do, he says, “Lucky.”

So I’m crediting him with the comment before making it myself. But this time I get to do the lucky thing, not just hear about it: I get to go visit my mother.

Me, hanging around JFK prepping for a previous Mom Visit

I’m getting on a plane in a few hours — writing this post is one way to keep from pacing around the very small Ken & Barbie House and wearing a path in the tile — so I may have to cut this post short. But maybe not, especially if I keep it short.

I should take this card along with me. Or maybe get a “keep calm” tee shirt. Or maybe just get a manhattan in the Delta Lounge

Basically, what I do when I visit my mother is sit around with her, drinking coffee and/or wine and reading and knitting. Talking a lot too, of course. Reminiscing. Gossiping. Solving the world’s problems.

Oh, there’s also walk-taking. Since I get up super-early (I’m on Eastern Time but even at home I’m up irrationally early), I go for a long walk through Mom’s nabe while she’s still sleeping. Then later, fueled up by coffee, we go on walks together. I do a lot of walking on these trips.

I can hardly wait to walk by this school again so I can check the grammar on their sign

Sometimes, if we’re feeling really frisky, we play Scrabble. (That’s me celebrating a seven-letter word in the photo at the top of this story. Talk about lucky.) But Scrabble is more fun with more players, so we usually skip it and do more reading.

My lucky necklace. I wear it every time I fly. Guess who gave it to me? No, not Mom. But close: my one and only Sister

Oh, did I mention that I sleep on Mom’s pullout couch? Actually, it’s much bigger than my bed at the Ken & Barbie House. But it is in rather close proximity to Mom’s fridge, which rumbles off and on through the night.

But hey. Those are not problems. Not at all. I have a Mom — and I get to go see her. Nyah nyah nyah.

Added bonus: A Sister Sighting! Here’s Mom and me with Laura

New York City (but not for long). May 2024

 

 

“You’re not made of sugar; you won’t melt.”

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‘Or so my mother assures me.’

It was so wet out in Vancouver this last trip. So wet that if I had been made of sugar, I would have melted into a Wicked-Witch-style puddle.

Now, you may be thinking, “Gosh, what did you expect? Vancouver, Washington, is in the Pacific Northwest, for heaven’s sakes.” I mean, they have businesses that specialize in moss removal out there.

Who ya gonna call? Moss Busters!

Well, believe it or not, this is really the first time I’ve encountered classic Pacific Northwest wet  — at least the kind of rainy wetness that the area is famous for: steady, unrelenting, unvarying, and mostly sideways.

Wet out? Stay inside and finish another hat!

On most of my other trips, I’ve seen sunny skies. Honest. My Beloved Only Sister has lived out here for more than thirty years, and you can practically bet your bottom dollar that when I visit the sun will come out. I like to think I’m the cause of all this solar energy, but it’s no doubt just dumb luck. Whatever it is, we’ll take it.

Most of my trips require sunglasses and hats — and not the rain-hat kind

But the usual state of weather affairs out there is so consistently wet that everyone pretty much gets used to it. Why, my nieces famously squinted and shrieked, “Too bright, Mommy, too bright!” one sunny spring morning and begged for the curtains to be drawn.

People who live there, my sister included, just kind of walk around in the mist and/or rain with their shoulders shrugged up to their ears. I have yet to see an umbrella. A major concession to the universal damp is to pull one’s hoodie hood to the upward position.

Me with my hoodie hood up. Note: Peanuts characters in the background are not carrying umbrellas

That’s how I’d see the pods of kids in the mornings waiting for the school bus: shrugged into their hoodies, staring at the phones cradled under the “awnings” of their chins. Of course, I had options for my walks. I’d check the weather, then look for a “window” of clear weather. (Or at least a window of not-so-much rain.) Then I’d scamper out for my walk. One day, though, my window closed before I could get back and, if I had indeed been made of sugar, I would have dissolved right down to a nub.

Turns out that everyone in the Pacific Northwest waits for a “window,” then they dash about doing their grocery shopping, dog-walking and whatnot. Of course, at Mom’s place, the population being older, they just stay inside. Mom and I got our exercise by walking the hallways inside instead of the walkways outside. Hey, it was better than nothing — and we got to admire the various and sundry Christmasy-decorated doorways.

Mixed messages decorate a doorway in Mom’s building

To end on one last precipitation-soaked note, I got a surprise the last day I was there. I got up early, as is my wont, and peered out the window to assess the degree of wetness. But hey! There was snow!

The view out my Mom’s bedroom that last morning. Most of the snow had, alas, melted by the time I got this shot. Then, of course, it started raining again

But, my feelings of delight (fresh tracks! flinging snowballs!) rapidly turned into forebodings of danger (flight delays! falling!) I guess that’s how you know you’re officially old.

New York City. January 2024

What do you call the father of your daughter’s husband?

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‘Other than a really nice guy, I mean.’

So, okay. It’s been ages since I checked in with you lovely readers (hi Sally!) and I’d better get a wiggle on before this year runs its course too.

“Enough already” you’ll be thinking if I start whining about how fast time has been whizzing by, so I won’t go there this time. Suffice it to say that I just put my Christmas-tree-scented candle away — and I didn’t get around to lighting it even once this season.

No need to put up a Christmas Tree; there’s one right outside our window. Have to go outside to sniff it though

So what was I doing instead of sniffing fake evergreen? Well, Dude Man and I got a snootfull of the real thing out in Flagstaff, Arizona, where The Child and her hub The SIL have put down roots.

Dude Man strolling around Flagstaff. That’s the giant pine cone hanging from that building across the street. On New Year’s Eve, they “drop” it

It’s a really fun town (cool shops! hot restaurants! wine bars! more wine bars!) and in the middle of a lot of Natural Wonders. The last time we were there (Christmas 2021, which, yes, feels like two weeks ago, not two years) we climbed down a mile into the Grand Canyon. (And yes, climbed back up.)

Me, looking determined but mighty relieved, climbing out of the Grand Canyon

This time, we “did” the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest and the Meteor Crater. After all that we were just too goldarned tired to make it to the Lowell Observatory. Next time.

We also did a bit of Christmas shopping. Here we check out the display of Cheap Plastic Shit (Note Child decked out in non-plastic Mom-knit hat)

We also hung out around the house, where I continued my Hat Attack by knitting one for The Guy Who Is My SIL’s Dad, otherwise known as The Child’s Father-in-Law. I love this guy; I really do. No sooner had I whipped it off my needles, revealing that it was for him, when he grabbed it and put it on his head. “I love this hat,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. (Conversely, my SIL, whom I adore in spite of this, took one look at his hat, thanked me, then dropped it into a basket of many many hats. Sigh.)

Mark and his son James (my SIL) not wearing their handknit hats, but looking extremely cute anyway

Which brings me to the ostensible subject of this piece: what to call this guy. “The Child’s Father-in-Law” is accurate, but not very snappy, though I suppose it could be shortened to “The Child’s FIL.” Nah, no one will get it. Then, as noted above, there’s “The Guy Who Is My SIL’s Dad.” Still no good.

Huge petrified log — and Co-Father-In-Law, Dude

I googled, and here’s the best I could find: “A father-in-law is the father of a person’s spouse. Two men who are fathers-in-law to each other’s children may be called co-fathers-in-law, or, if there are grandchildren, co-grandfathers.” For mothers-in-law, same deal.

They used to train astronauts at the Meteor Crater, hence the spacecraft

But google as hard as I could, I could find no citing for the relationship between me (a mother-in-law) and him (a father-in-law). “Parents in law?” Blech. I guess I’ll just call him Mark. (And yes, speaking of the name “Mark,” I did tell him the one about the guy at Starbucks who told the barrista he was “Marc with a ‘C'” and got a cup labeled “Cark.”) He laughed, which is yet another reason (other than wearing the handknit hat) that I like him.

Painted Desert and Mother-in-Law, Moi

Oh, he’s not perfect, by any means. He leans Libertarian (which endears him to The Dude), and, at one point, he regaled the occupants of the Ford 350 with the entire history of the iPhone which he read from the screen of (yes) his iPhone.

Christmas Hike: The Child and Me, flanked by two Co-Fathers-In-Law

But he’s sweet and funny and a great cook who cleans up after himself (see top photo for proof) so he’s aces in my book. I doubt if he really cares what you call him. As long as you call him for dinner. Or a new knit hat.

Mark’s hat during a rare moment not on his head (It’s topping a teapot)

Amagansett, New York. January 2024

 

Counting my cocktails instead of sheep

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‘Oh, yes. I have plenty of blessings to count, too.’

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, thank you. I appreciate your giving me and my measly little blog any thoughts at all (!)

No Namibia excuse. Not this time, anyway. For a real trip, read “The Four Seatmates of the Apocalypse”

Confession: I haven’t been anywhere (except maybe off the rails). I just haven’t been feeling very funny lately. (Well, maybe I’ve been feeling “funny,” just not “funny haha funny.”)

There’s the fact that my wonderful friend and shirt-tail relation, Aunt Eleanor, left us to go hit Saint Peter up for a donation to the Eleanor Whitmore Daycare Center. Eleanor: “What do you mean, you’re short of cash? What about those pearly gates, mister?!”

Eleanor wangling a donation out of Dude Man 

And, not as earth-shatteringly important — not even close — but all the Christmas goings-on can make me feel, well, melancholy. Yesterday I cranked up a Christmas playlist on Spotify and found myself tearing up over Dean Martin doing “Let it Snow,” for heavens sakes.

Sometimes opera makes me cry. But that makes me happy

Thanksgiving doesn’t have that kind of effect on me. Maybe because I’m too busy planning and organizing and cooking. And maybe the very things about it that make it (IMHO) the Best Holiday Ever — no gifts, no decorations, no carols — mean there are fewer “triggers,” if you will. Though the aroma of pumpkin pie can do me in. Maybe that’s really why I didn’t make one this year. (And not the fact that nobody but me will touch it.)

I mean, what’s not to like about Thanksgiving?

So I decided to list some blessings. Some things I can think about to turn those blues into red and green sparkly lights.

    1. Having a family I really like. You’d be surprised (maybe) at how many people don’t. I wish I had a dime for everyone I know who’s said something like: “Oh, I have a sister, but we don’t speak.” Or: “No, my father won’t be joining us this year. Or ever.” Oh, I do have a few in-laws who are not exactly my favorite people — if you are reading this, you are definitely not among their number — but we can be in the same room without bloodshed.

      I even like the Whitmore side of my family. Maybe not each and every one, but definitely the ones you see here!

    2. Not having to wear a housedress. When I was a kid, all the older women wore those. With orthopedic shoes. And support hose. Now we in the 70-Plus Crowd are clad in leggings. Hmmm…maybe housedresses should make a comeback.

      My mom is, fortunately, still going strong — and still has a hand in the fruitcake-making. Tho she does NOT sport a housedress. Or leggings, for that matter

    3.  Being able to boast that I’ve taken a bath with a cousin and an aunt — at the same time. Now that people have such small families — not to mention waaay more bathrooms! — the chances of this happening are slim to none.

      Rub a dub dub — three kids in a tub! Left to right: aunt, me, cousin

    4.  Not having to pass the lutefisk. True, I miss my Gramma’s Christmas dinners. (Even the time my Aunt Marilyn read about roasting the turkey in a bag, so she put ours in a paper grocery bag and it caught fire.) But I don’t miss having that big ole bowl of cured fish buried in custard. Yes, some people ate it. My Gramma and my Uncle Ronald, to name two.

      Yup. There was a bowl with lutefisk on this table. Gramma and Ronald (to her left) loved it

    5. Living in a city that decorates itself. I really don’t enjoy putting up decorations. (See “Deck the Halls with Bough of Holly” for my Grinch-like take on holiday decor.) But I do enjoy looking at them. So thank goodness we have plenty of done-by-others Holiday trappings to admire.

      I had absolutely nothing to do with decorating this tree

Well, that’s it for now. Gotta go get ready for a party. Actually, two parties. Which is another thing I’m counting as a blessing: that I still get invited to places where festivities occur. Cheers!

Nor did I decorate this tree. And I don’t even have to go to the Met –it’s right out my window!

New York City. December 2023

Minding my Ps and Qs. Oh, and my Mom.

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‘Signs that I’ve been away. Plus some actual signs.’

It’s been a while since I shared my unbelievable-but-true tale, “The Four Seatmates of the Apocalypse.” But that’s because I’ve been away twice since that three-weeks-long trip to Africa. And, while both places were well-equipped with up-to-date conveniences like internet, I was a tad too distracted to wow you all with any new tales.

Dr. Dude and I smack-dab in the middle of Namibia

So, you might be asking, where the heck were you? Nowhere nearly as exotic as Namibia and Botswana, but that’s okay. Sometimes I think “exotic” is highly overrated.

I can honestly think of nothing more satisfying than spending Columbus Day in the Catskills with our politically-wacky-but-otherwise-most-excellent friends Jim and Phyllis.

Dude Man and Jim admire the signage at the Kaaterskill Falls. They admired the actual falls, too

Unless, of course, it’s spending a nice restful week in Vancouver, Washington, with my one-and-only mother. (No, that’s not the Vancouver where Megan and Harry fled; this is the Vancouver that’s just a hop, skip and a jump over the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.)

This is the Vancouver where you get to see cool mountains — coming or going

My routine while in Vancouver is to get up early, go for a walk, have coffee with my mother and her friends (hi, Jeff and Carole and Leonard and Betty and all you Shirleys!), hang out with my mother, make dinner, hang out with my mother some more, sleep — and repeat.

My mother’s apartment building seen on my return from a daily walk. It’s really nice. We like to hang out on the balcony and eavesdrop on the smokers who gather under that awning on the right

Trust me. Hanging out in a senior living center makes a nice change from the hustle and bustle of New York. “You live in New York?!?” gasped a new mom-friend named Bill. Um, yeah, Bill. A whole heck of a lot of people do.

But, as I say, hanging out with the seniors can be pretty nice. For one thing, you’re almost always younger than everybody else. Though it doesn’t always show. “You’re sisters, right?” is something I hear every time I visit.

A nice photo of Mom and her daughter and “sister”, taken on my last visit

And there are actually lots of things to do, like exercise class with Kim. And history lectures with John. And this time of year there was lots of baseball to watch.

There were also lots of Halloween decorations to admire

Oh — before I forget. I must explain about the Ps and Qs mentioned in the title of this piece. See, my morning walk takes me by an elementary school. It’s really nice seeing the kids arrive on the big yellow school buses. There are crossing guards, too; volunteer parents who stop traffic so you can cross the street. One very sweet woman with impeccably-groomed eyebrows greeted me warmly every day.

But there was also this sign. Cycling through an electronic display, it read, in part, thusly:

Check out the third line.

Now look at the first word. Ouch.

I mean, really. This is a school we’re talking about, people! One would think they would know their way around some apostrophes. Heavy *sigh* goes here.

Oh — also before I forget. We did have a bit of excitement. Mom and I were happily ensconced in front of her big ole flat-screen TV watching the Phillies wallop several homers during the MLB playoffs when the game was interrupted by, of all things, a tornado warning. Having been raised in the Midwest — specifically in what is known as “Tornado Alley” — Mom and I did not have to be told twice to get away from the windows and down to the first floor.

Nope. That’s not a tornado. That’s my One and Only Sister, with a giant bag of frozen green beans. Which she served with her amazing beef stroganoff. (Yes, she shared the recipe with me)

Turns out we weren’t the only smart ones. Carole and three of the Shirleys — Shirlee With Two Es, Shirley With The Purse At All Times, and Shirley Who Looks 70 But Is 90 — were there, too. (I decided this trip that it is a requirement of this senior living place to have at least two Shirleys on every floor. Marilyn is another hot name. As is Carol, with or without an “e.” But not nearly as ubiquitously hot as Shirley.)

Speaking of which, I have a hot ticket to the opera tonight, and must get gussied up.

Yes, I’m back in New York.

That’s my home town down there

New York City. October 2023

 

My Brother’s Living Wake

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‘Scott Henry turns seventy in style’

You know you’re getting long in the tooth when your brother turns seventy — and he’s your younger brother. Scott’s birthday is in August, and mine is in November, so, for a few months he’s only one year younger than me instead of two. Every year when his birthday rolls around, I like to think that he’s catching up to me.

On another of Scott’s 70 birthdays (this was his first) his Big Sister had to have a cake too

But hey, Scott’s not only younger than me, he’s funnier too. He pitched his birthday party as a Living Wake. He said he got the idea after attending one of those big sendoffs — the kind with a slideshow of the life of the Dearly Departed, tribute speeches from family and friends, and, of course, tons of food and gallons of booze — and hearing people say, “Gosh, he would have really loved this.”

So Scott’s like, “Hey, if someone’s gonna throw me a wake, well, I want to be there to enjoy it.” And so his bestie, Susan, did just that. With some help from family and friends:

And it was a doozie. Yup, there was a slideshow, plus plenty of tribute speeches, and you wouldn’t believe the spread. There were even tears.

The only thing that was different from a traditional wake — well, except for the fact that the body was still breathing — was the presence of a birthday cake. At least I haven’t heard of a birthday cake at a wake before, but nothing much surprises me these days.

And Scott thought THIS was a lot of candles (!) I couldn’t count them, so not sure which of his 70 years this cake was for

But the most appreciated presence was that of our mother. After all, there wouldn’t be a birthday party — or a Birthday Boy — without her.

Mom holds court, Wakeside. That’s one of her courtiers, Youngest Younger Brother Doug, doing a bit of photobombing

I’ll close this story with a little video — thank you, Favorite Sister! — to give you a taste of the party, if not of the cake itself. (Which, like the setting, was as wonderful as it looks.)

Happy Birthday, dear Little Brother. Maybe one of these days you’ll catch up to me. In years, I mean.

Amagansett, New York. August 2023

The Grammy Awards

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‘And the winner is…’

Last weekend I had the pleasure of greeting a new grandchild. No, this was not my new grandchild (fingers — and toes — are firmly crossed hoping for that Blessed Event) but a very fine grandchild indeed. I mean, just look at this baby.

Even if you are not usually fond of babies, you must admit this one is a dandy

No, the latest winners of the Grandparent Lottery happen to be Dude Man’s cousin and his wife. They had us over last weekend to meet little Elouise. There was eating and drinking and laughing plus funny-face-making, high-pitched cooing and, of course, much cuddling. I swear that baby got passed around more than the wine bottle(s).

The latest winners of the Grandparent Lottery

I say “latest winners” because little Zachs and Esmes and Orens and Sophias and Madeleines and Francescos seem to be popping out everywhere like flowers after the rain. And, since I knit baby sweaters for the progeny of people I am related to and/or like a lot, my fingers have been getting a workout. (Which, of course, makes it harder to keep them wishfully crossed.)

Oh, and Elouise got this little number. It has pockets. You know, for her pacifier. Or car keys

But enough about teensy knitwear. All these new grandchildren got me thinking about my own grandmothers. How wonderful they were, but how different.

A rare occasion when both Grammas were in the same room at the same time: Gramma H on the left (with undyed hair!), Just Plain Gramma to the right, also undyed (as usual)

One was wiry and skinny, wore slacks, worked in a factory and — most fascinating to us kids — dyed her hair. Why was this fascinating? Well, we kids didn’t know from hair dye. We just knew that Gramma Henry’s hair was a different color every time we saw her: sometimes brown, sometimes reddish, sometimes almost black. (We kids also didn’t know about false teeth. There was a scary lady in my home town who used to push her partial plate out at us to keep us out of her yard.)

Gramma Henry (with Laura and Mom) aboard the Sir Launch-A-Lot. Gosh, she has undyed hair — and is wearing a dress

My other gramma — my mom’s mom — was kinda plump, always wore a housedress, worked on a farm and most certainly didn’t dye her hair. She even wore an apron. Pretty much all the time.

Classic Gramma (Peterson) at right. Housedress: check, apron: check

Incidentally, my mom’s mother was known as “Gramma,” while my dad’s mom was called “Gramma Henry.” True, we saw my Peterson gramma more often than the Henry one, and my mom and I even lived with her while my dad was off serving in Korea. But, still, I bet that stung.

Our Korean Conflict family unit: Gramma and Grampa in the middle, Aunt Marilyn on the left, Mom on the right. Oh, and me on the lap. Read about what happened when my Dad returned in “Kissing Daddy Good-night”

(Back then, no grandmothers — at least no grandmothers that I knew — were called anything but “Gramma.” Well, maybe “Grandmother,” but that was only in books. I certainly hadn’t heard any parent of a parent referred to as “Nana” or “Gigi” or “MomMom” or even “G-Ma.” Yes, I wrote a piece about this.

Gramma beating Aunt Shirley, Mom and me at Scrabble

Yes, they were different. One played poker and one played Scrabble. One drank plum wine, and the other something she called “silver tea,” which was a cup of hot water.

But both of them deserve a Grammy Award for being so wonderful. Thanks for jogging some fine memories, Miss Elouise.

It’s exhausting being a baby. And a parent (!)

New York City. May 2023

Sifting through a big ole flour sack full of feelings

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‘Emotionally ambushed by a humble household gadget’

So I’m unloading the dishwasher and putting the clean dishes away when the cutting board hits a jumble of Tupperware lids in the back of a cabinet and refuses to slide all the way in.

(Incidentally, I read somewhere about somebody who has two dishwashers in their kitchen — one for clean and one for dirty — so they never have to put the dishes away. Also regarding dishwashers — and this is something that really happened, not something I read about — one time my sister-in-law, in a fit of misguided helpfulness, unloaded the dirty dishes and put them all away, a fact I only discovered when I grabbed a “clean” plate to find it gravy-glued to the one beneath. It was weeks before I found all the sticky ice cream bowls, egg-crusted forks and coffee-besmirched mugs hidden in my cabinets like Easter eggs.)

An Easter egg decorated by Her Childness lo these many years ago

Anyway. This being a below-counter cabinet, I got down on my hands and knees to untangle the Tupperware jumble and happened to spot the flour sifter jammed way in the back.

Well. It wasn’t Memory Lane that flour sifter triggered — it was a whole Four-Lane Memory Highway. A virtual Long Island Expressway of memories.

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“My tongue just threw a party for my mouth.”

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‘Lunchtime at the Cameo Cafe’

First: Thank you, Mel Brooks, for the title of this piece. Mel had a million funny lines — no doubt still does — but this one’s my favorite. If (gasp) you have no idea who I am talking about, here you go.

Second: Sorry, everyone, for skipping a couple of weeks of pieces. (Assuming, that is, you noticed I skipped a couple of weeks of pieces.) At least I had a good excuse. It was my turn to visit Mom in our sibs’ “Kid of the Month Club” rotation. And, well, what with sitting around drinking coffee and reading books and sitting around drinking wine and watching movies, I couldn’t find the time.

We also sat around drinking wine and playing Scrabble

We did some culinary exploration, too. Which is pretty exciting for me. Not the culinary part; the exploration part. See, I absolutely hate to drive when I’m someplace “away.” Part of the reason is that I have terrible night vision. But even during the day, I freak out when I have to navigate an unfamiliar route in an unfamiliar car. My dear sister always makes sure wheels are provided when I visit, just in case. But that case hardly ever comes up, and said car sits in the parking lot in the same spot day after day after day.

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