Kickstart My Heart, Part II

The Daily Life Text

So. While I was headed down to the gym earlier tonight (at 10:30! What a joke!) I was struck with the most certain terrifying thought that if I didn’t write down all of the wedding weekend festivities, I’d just…forget.
I mean, hey, we all say things like, “It was a night we’d never forget,” but…well, a girl gets old. Stuff falls out and between the cracks. And besides, I want to share this with peeps who weren’t able to go.
So I’ll give you the rundown of the weekend now. But in the interest of space and your own sanity, I’ll save the rumination for later. There’s a lot to think about.
Got that? Boring timeline now; potentially boring reflections later.
Okay. So when last we left this blog, it was Wednesday afternoon and Lara and I were picking up Ms. Jody. We collected a bizarrely baggage-less girl, and although gullible me just shrugged when Jody waved her small carryon backpack at me and said, cheerfully, “dress and shoes, that’s all I need!” it proved to be that the airline had lost Jody’s luggage.
So we spent part of the trip out of Vegas trying to find mobile phone spots in which Jody could bark at the airline, trying to figure out when her luggage was going to get to Death Valley. We had a minor detour during which we stopped at WalMart and Michael’s to pick up some odds and ends*, and then it was finally, finally off to Death Valley. We checked into our individual rooms, said hi to Jim and Scott and Nichole (Jim’s best man and our officiant, respectively), and then, delight of delights, got a text that Peter was already at the resort, family in tow.
We met Peter for drinks and some light eats at the Corkscrew Salon, and then hot-footed it back to my suite to put together gift bags. This included some small disappointments: The letters I’d had the resort print out came out in a different, decidedly non-1920s font, despite my spending some time having chosen a specific look, and I forgot to add the location of the post-race BBQ to said letter, so Jody spent some precious time and energy writing the location on each of the 52 gift bags. Nuts. This might be why the scene in our room looked like this:

[photo: Jody]
In the end, though, everything looked OK.
photo: cousin Rachel, wicked w a camera
It felt a little bit surreal. I’ve never undertaken such a large-scale “craft” job, unless you count the time I made all those bracelets for Terry, and that was just with Jim helping. This time, having two of my closest friends nearby, felt strange, especially with Kim Kardashian yammering in the background. I still don’t know why Lara chose that channel. But I said I wouldn’t ruminate.
Okay. So. The next morning we gathered for breakfast and then showed Lara and Roj (he’d arrived earlier that morning) and Jody around the ceremony and reception site, and then, with Scott and Nichole and our friends Kathy and Jeff in tow, we finally set off a little after lunchtime for a trip to the nearest sites available to us, Badwater Basin, the Artist’s Palette, and…something I can’t remember right now. Oh, right, the Natural Bridge.
Here’s Badwater.

Photo: Lara

Yes, yes, that’s me and Roj tasting the water. I daresay, I think my plank is better than Roj’s, although I will confess I had a dangerous time of actually getting up from the dip that was required if I was going to taste the wine of the desert.
Here, I like this photo:
Photo: Lara

And here’s a photo from Lara’s camera of our group. Lookit all the friends!

Jody and Lara and Roj and I went back to the Inn, where Jody and I went to sit by the pool and chatted up the race director, and then we ended up deciding that it was a good time to head up to the bar with Lara. The text messages started coming in then; Jen and Ken; Kara Andersen, and Jim stopped by, and I know there were one or two others, but I cannot remember now.**
Dan and Audrey arrived then, and we had drinks up in my room, and then eventually my parents and my brother and sister-in-law pulled in, and after getting them all settled in, we went out to dinner down at the Ranch, where we ran into a whole bunch of other friends, like Ed and Kathleen and Peggy and Amalia and some other people*** and it began to sink in just a little bit that everyone was gathered here for a reason.
It was a most delicious sensation. But I digress.
The next day was race day. We got up and dragged ourselves down to race start, where, oh! joy of joys! My parents AND Kara’s were waiting, to take pictures of the race start, and we heard that Lara had indeed decided to undertake the marathon with Jody and Jim’s brother Jon and his trainer TJ. The half-marathoners were me, Roj, Kathy, Jeff, Kara, Rachel, Ed, Kathleen, Peter, and Dustin. And Jim decided he was going to do the 10K. Here’s this lovely lovely race photo!

Kathleen and I ran almost all the way together. I’m sure I was holding her back, but by mile ten my hamstring was seriously jacked up and I told Kath to go on. We had a nice run together, anyway, and I enjoyed the company and stopping to take photos and the scenery and all of it. I do love that race.
I came in nowhere near where I wanted my time, but there’s not a whole lot you can do about crap training.
Roj won his age group, and Jody won her age group in the marathon, and and and … well.
After that, we stumbled back to the hotel and did stuff I can’t remember, like…ummmmm. Gosh. I really don’t know. This is awful. I know I was with Jim. Maybe we were looking for my parents. Maybe we hung out with my brother? Maybe we hung out by the pool again. Or maybe I went down to the Ranch to hang out with Jody. No, that’s not right, cos I was back at the Inn in time for rehearsal.
Yes, rehearsal!!
Here was our wedding site, pretty much:
Photo: Alan

If you look real closely you can see all the chairs set up for the ceremony in the upper right hand corner of the photo.
So rehearsal happened, and then there was a post-race BBQ where there was a ton of roasting and a ton of laughs and just some really good times and apparently the cameras didn’t come out until, at 8PM, it got windy and we all repaired to the bar at the Ranch.
Oh. My.
It was crazy buffoonery and there was rather too much drinking for the night before a wedding, but hey, what the heck. You only live once.
Jim went to stay in another room (why? why? I will never understand this), so when I woke up hungover then next morning at 5:45, having been awakened by the howling whistling wind, I totally freaked out. And I called Jim.**** This is the problem with outdoor weddings, you see. Things could Go Wrong.
Well, they didn’t go wrong. The wind died down, we took our pre-wedding photos, which included a little bit of this:
Photo: Nichole Donje

and some of this:
Photo: Scott Allinson

and finally some of this:

and then we went back to the Inn and put our feet up for a wee bit, and then there was a ceremony and some vows and then there was this:
Photo: Matt Siber
Photo: Scott Allinson

And then there was an Epic Fricken Party with the best friends in the world and a pretty good after-party, and that’s all I have to say about that for now, cos this post is SO LONG.
But I will risk a bit of rumination and just say here that it was one of the two best weekends of my life, for a few reasons. One, everyone who was there mattered. Really, really mattered. And two, it was the best ever for its normalcy. Think about it: We had drinks and dinner, we ran a race; we had a post-race BBQ, and then we had a big event and everyone went home happy.
This is the way every weekend should be.
Next post, some Deep Thoughts. Well…some thoughts, anyway.

*these included some gift bags and an item of clothing which I will er, reflect on later.
**See? How awful is that? I’ve already started to forget! If someone out there is reading this and was there, could you remind me?
***Seriously, brain is for shit.
****It would have been so much easier if we had been together, so I could have just pounced on him and yelled, “MAKE IT STOP!” instead of doing it over the phone.

Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009: Place

The Daily Life Text

December 11 The best place. A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

I really had to think about this one. In the end, I picked the most mundane of places: our current apartment. Back in Chicago, we lived in a huge, drafty 1400-square-foot spot. It was a ton of room and badly put together, and, frankly, I didn’t want to be there. Chicago, I mean. I got to like it by the time we left, but it wasn’t my idea to move there and it took me a good long while to just shut up and live in this terrific city for however long I got to experience it.

It's huge! This room isn't even the bulk of it! (New Year's, '05)
It's huge! This room isn't even the bulk of it!

It was in an awesome, post-Victorian-era greystone that had been gutted and re-done. We liked it, but it had so many elements already built in, like an original sideboard dating from 1912, when the building was built, and pocket doors. High ceilings and poor insulation made the place super-chilly, so we ran the fireplace a lot. Perhaps the thing I hated the most was the fact that it was so big that Jim and I just spread out. Things got lost and hidden, and, with the addition of basement storage just below us, it was a recipe for way too much clutter.

We lived on the first floor, where the front door is, of this house.
We lived on the first floor, where the front door is, of this house.

Also, I had a terrible habit of walking around without either my contacts or glasses in, so I probably didn’t see the clutter part of the time. It was awful.
Before the move to Chicago, we lived in a small place in Croton Falls, New York. It was about 750 square feet. It was Jim’s place; I moved in when my Manhattan roommate got married. It felt tiny, expecially for two people who owned two bicycles apiece and, eventually, a 19-foot kayak. But we loved it. It was Sprocket’s first home.

Our back door was arched and exited onto a massive porch. We loved it. So did Sprocket. (Fuzzy!)
Our back door was arched and exited onto a massive porch. We loved it. So did Sprocket. (Fuzzy!)

Anyway, in May this year we moved from Chicago back to New York State, to White Plains. It’s a weird place. The social divide here feels tremendous at times. But our apartment? I love it. We’re back down to 1100 square feet, and the missing 300 square feet has allowed us to regain some of the efficiency we had when we were living in 750 square feet.
Now, when we’re done cooking, we put things away. We store extra things in the storeroom. We keep most stuff stores away in cabinets. It’s not perfect. But it’s closer to the way we want to function.
Perhaps best of all, this new home was a blank slate. Aside from the obnoxious radiators, which stick out of the wall and reduce the published living space by something like 20 square feet in each room, it had no quirky features whatsoever. So it’s truly become a place that we’ve made our own, and in full partnership.

our couch in Chicago was big enough for three hounds & three people! 98 inches!
our couch in Chicago was big enough for three hounds and three people, all at once. 98 inches!

So this is the place I call home. Really, really and truly. Not “Jim’s place, which I crashed into,” or “our Chicago apartment (we had to move for Jim’s job),” but “our place.” Great things will happen here.
Oh, and there is a spare bedroom and a spare bath, and spare keys. Our friends are always welcome.

I have wanted an Arco lamp forever. it's too big for the room, but whatev.
I have wanted an Arco lamp forever. it's too big for the room, but whatev.
galley kitchen; dining table under bar, funky lighting.
galley kitchen; dining table under bar, funky lighting.
elements of a bedroom: lamp, ratty old bear; books; lint brush; 400-count sheets.
elements of a bedroom: lamp, ratty old bear; books; lint brush; 400-count sheets.
elements of an entryway: a Sprocket and a ShelterBox. Um, yeah.
elements of an entryway: a Sprocket and a ShelterBox. Um, yeah.

Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009: Challenge

The Daily Life Text

So Gwen Bell is doing this project, okay? It’s not really about getting people to read your stuff, it’s more an opportunity to reflect on all of the things that have happened over the course of 2009.

We already know that I’ve been terrible about blogging this year–yes, yes, let’s face it–and that’s largely because a lot has happened. So I’m going to take up Gwen on her December project. I’m late (they started December 1), but I think this will be good for me. Perhaps I’ll fill in days 1-8 as bonuses later.

In the meantime, although it’s December 10th, I’m starting with her December 9th question: What was your greatest challenge of the year?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Was it Ironman? Was it moving? Was it ShelterBox, or the only really honest novel I’ve written of the four currently gathering dust on my desk and in my hard drive? I have been turning all of these things over in my head, and the winner is ShelterBox.

But you know, it wasn’t the extensive interview and training process, or the fact that I think training for the physicality of the thing was worse than Ironman training; or even that I’m finally a part of the disaster-relief community at large, that makes this stand out. It was more the fact that I learned to trust myself.

Something I haven’t really spoken about when I talk about ShelterBox is that when our teams hit the ground, we’re autonomous. We make the decisions; we tell HQ to send more boxes or keep them back; we deal with whatever problems arise. Obviously, this mean you need to carry around a certain amount of trust in your own decisions and actions.

This is not something I am good at. I mean, I know I’ve done good things and made good decisions; it’s just that, much of the time, I do the thing first and then spend an inordinate amount of time fretting over it, rather than just saying, “Right, okay, you did the thing, so just shut up and carry on.” I don’t know what excuse to offer for this lame, hunted-rabbit-like behavior, but then again, the time is long gone for excuses.

some days i feel like this. sheepish AND nervous in a rabbity way.
some days i feel like this. sheepish AND nervous in a rabbity way.

I don’t know how ShelterBox HQ eventually saw through the fluff, crap, and mutterings I go through while I’m reaching the right decisions, but they did. More embarrassing still is the fact that I *knew* when I was in a place where I didn’t feel secure. At those moments, I was loudest, most strident, uber-aggressive. Awful, and not the way I want to live my life.

The whole experience has taught me an invaluable lesson: If you waste time faffing about with should-I-shouldn’t-Is, well, you’re not only wasting time, but energy, too, and I need all of that I can get. Also, that you are your own worst betrayer: even if you think you’re exuding confidence, if you’re feeling insecure, it will show. This isn’t pleasant for anyone, and it’s absolutely awful to recollect.

It’s hard to learn to trust yourself. Sometimes it takes nine days in the woods with angry British people screaming at you to pack up your kit before the tsunami hits to help you figure it out. But it’s worth it in the end.

Shelterbox SRT Training 113
My graduating class, and the day I learned not to bark at people.

Oh, look. It’s the end of the tunnel.

The Daily Life Text

Well, it’s the end of one tunnel, anyway. I believe I am finally fed up with being inactive.

What happened? This:


I mean that quite literally. Over the course of the day yesterday, I ate an entire pizza. I mean that I had a slice of cold pizza for breakfast, two slices for lunch, two slices for dinner–and I think I must have padded the rest of the day–and my waistline–with it.

It was a bizarre, other-worldly experience. I’ve never done such a thing before. I think I might refer to it as a milestone from now on. I’m not sure what I was trying to prove. Suffice it to say that after I had polished off the last piece, at around 9PM last night, I felt quite ill and realized, with some horror, that exactly yesterday a year ago–and about that same time, 6PM PST, I was toasting my first-ever marathon with a well deserved glass of pinot grigio. Sigh.

dv14I mean, crikey! Look at how happy I am! And healthy! Here’s another one, just for nostalgia’s sake:

deathvalleyLookit me, with my dorky little running belt and my loping gait!

Now, I’m not implying that I’ve grown an extra chin, or extra hips (or maybe I have; some photographic evidence speaks to the contrary), but I must confess that it has been an extraordinary experience to see just how little I’ve done since July. It *is* fascinating, however, that I didn’t really miss the activity. I seemed to be perfectly, shockingly happy to Loaf.

Until yesterday, the Day of Galloping-Galooting Gluttony. And then I realized what I miss the most about training. I miss being healthy. I miss knowing that I *can*. Can what? It doesn’t matter. Here follows a short list of things I could do when I was training.

  • Eat whatever
  • Drink, without considering totally useless calories
  • Sleep well, and all through the night
  • Swim two hours at a time
  • Run a half-marathon every weekend
  • Ride 40 miles at the drop of a hat
  • Manage my time better

Heck, back then, I could eat a whole pizza and not take another second to think about what it was doing to my health. ‘Cos back then, then answer was nothing. If I wasn’t eating the pizza to make up for energy burnt during that day’s workout, I was fueling up for the following day’s workout. I hadn’t thought of my activity as adding so much to my life. I only had previously thought of it taking time away. The truth is, I became much more efficient, all the way around, when my time was limited. I was happier. I miss that.

And so, without making too much of a fuss about it, I believe I will go back to being happier, thank you very much.

By the way, here’s a photo of Dan, Audrey, me, Jim, Flat Stanlina, and Sprocket in front of Dan’s Christmas tree. I like to think of it as our alternate family photograph. And…wait a minute. Is that a double-chin I see, hiding behind Flat Stanlina? …



The Daily Life Text

My goodness, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.

You’ll excuse my absence, please…I’ve been holed up, working on my project for National Novel Writing Month. It’s over now, though, and I should really stop neglecting this ‘blog. A lot has happened, and since I’m not really very good about keeping a written journal any more, I must confess to feeling a little bit scared that if I don’t jot something down on these digital pages, one day I’ll wake up and realize that whole chunks of life are missing from my memory. Yikes!

But that won’t happen with November, because really, all I did was write.

The NaNoWriMo experience is fascinating. I learned a lot of things about myself. First and foremost, perhaps, that I write very quickly. This is mostly because I’m very good at letting myself ramble. So maybe it’s not really that I’m a speedy writer; it’s that I generate a lot of text in a short period of time because I’m turning things over in my head, and that translates directly into words on the page. (I have absolutely no doubt that the current 50,000 words I have down now will gradually be whittled down into something not even half the size.)

Second, I learned that I really do love to write.

Third, I learned that I also like the process of a verbal dump first, and then whittling down second. I don’t think this is any real surprise; after all, this is my second time with NaNoWriMo, with much the same results. Also, this is, if I think back to my editing life, the way it’s always been with me.

So there’s another year over. I am deeply grateful to the NaNoWriMo process; I’d informed my critique group that I was going to have a revision of my latest book to them by the first of November, and, after two months or so of doing nothing but working with existing text, it was a sheer pleasure to spend a whole month indulging in logorrhea.

Okay, who’m I kidding? I have been doing other things since since last I saw y’all–I went to a TweetUp at a lovely winebar in Mt. Kisco and met a bunch of great people that might lead to more freelance relationships. I’ve got a new freelance gig that looks like it might be long-term, writing copy for an awesome company. (Yes, that’s my copy you see on the front page.) And there are other things going on. But not exercise, sadly. This time last year, I ran a marathon! (Today is the annual Death Valley marathon, at which I had fully planned to be this time last year. Oh, the best-laid plans…)

I’m still completing my applications to a few MFA programs, but I’m looking forward to several more freelance projects between now and then. I guess, the thing is, although I’ve really enjoyed this freelance lifestyle for the past umpteen years, it’s time to step up my game, either with more challenging, enjoyable freelance projects (I count the work for in that category) or with publication of one of the four manuscripts I have lying around.

Perhaps this is all just year-end ruminating, but I feel like I’m approaching a period of great activity. I’m visiting my friend Jody in her new home in North Carolina in a week; I’ve got several freelance projects immediately on deck that I need to take care of; and the completion of those applications will be the crowning point, I think, of that activity. The Christmas holidays will be here in no time flat and I want to go into them–and come out of them–feeling refreshed, happy, and satisfied.

And no, I’m not thinking about any revisions for my most complete novel to date, even if I’m sitting on top of a bunch of great feedback from my critique group. That is, not until Monday, anyway.

Here are some photos from the three weeks I’ve been away from TheGoodDirt.

parkHere’s the park across the street from us. Sprocket and I poach it every morning. We like it there, although it’s only a 1/3rd mile loop around.

ciprianiHere’s Jen, Anna and me at Cipriani Dolci, where this happened to me, but where, nevertheless, I had a terrific time with my friends.

mejimgrandmasHere are me and Jim and an errant biplane on the shores of Lake Michigan by Grandma’s house in Sheboygan the day after Thanksgiving. I love her house. She’s been living on the same plot of land for all of her 84 years. Pretty cool.

dantreeWe helped Dan shop for a tree after Thanksgiving. It was so nice to see him, even if he was terrifically jet-lagged from his time in Hawaii. Rough life, I say.

bunnyearsOur amazing friends Lisa and Ron hosted a dinner party for us. Lovely! They made pasta that impressed the Italian at the table, and we played a rollicking game of dominoes. (Really? Did I just say that? Yes.) A mis-communication between the photographer (me) and the photographees (them) resulted in the above ridiculous photo.

And now, onto a continuation of my own rough life: Reading, writing, not exercising. Sigh.

They do things that they’d never do on Broadway…

The Daily Life Text

I am fighting some kind of wacked-out head and chest cold. It is making my thought process fuzzy, but perhaps that’s more the incredibly long weekend I had.
It started on a Wednesday, you see, with some visits with old friends from college and one much more recently and regularly in touch. With the former I’ve kept in only spotty touch, but the latter’s been on and off, sharing adventures and catching up every once in a while. Really, really nice. Breakfast with one, lunch with the other, and, shock of shocks, when I stepped to have lunch with Kate and spotted her jotting thoughts down in a journal, I became instantly aware that I don’t do this myself anymore, if at all. I carry around a notebook that I use to write, uh, notes in, but I’m nowhere near the pages I used to collect for myself each day, noting down minutiae of thought and occurrence. Oh well. It doesn’t fit my current life, quite possibly because I’m spending much more time at TheGoodDirt.
Anyway. I then went to my favorite airport terminal in the world to catch my afternoon flight to Chicago’s Midway, where I took notice once again of the awesome depth model of Lake Michigan, and, also, noted this:
It’s an enormous bird, made of tiny, tiny aircraft. Here:
But the crowning grace of this work, which hangs suspended from the ceiling at Midway, is the silhouette that the bird casts, which is made of the weights that hold the artwork in place.
Can you make out the silhouette? It’s an airplane. Very, very cool.
Anyway. It was a minor thing to get from Orange Line to Brown line and back home to Dan’s, where I was staying for the night, and where he’d offered to host me and Audrey in an eerie reprise of many, many evenings we’d spent previously at Dan’s house, before Jim and I moved. It felt curiously like nothing had changed, except that I was walking around in a pair of boots that I’d ordinarily never wear to Dan’s house because I know he’s got a loose shoes-off rule in the house, and who wants to deal with mucking around in boots just to take ’em off?
Er. Dinner that night was a casual affair, with pizza from Art of Pizza next door and some glasses of wine, and then it was off to much-needed sleep.
Thursday was breakfast with Kristin, which was really nice, and felt, once again, as if I’d never left; then lunch and an exploration of the Art Institute with cousin John, who’s starting his first semester of law school at Northwestern.
I never tire of the Art Institute, and if I feel as if they’ve done the place a minor disservice with the installation of a new wing that feels kind of ordinary, well, it’s the art that makes the place, anyway.
Took this picture of John and myself in the reflection of the Bean, which makes me laugh every time I look at it.
I zipped up to my old neighborhood, had a quick visit of the Southport stores, and then went to Tabitha‘s place to meet my wonderful, wonderful critique group. Here they are. I can’t believe we’ve been meeting forever and that this is my only photo of them. DSC00327
We took a look at Tabitha’s next work, which is quite good and on its way to being something much, much bigger. I am remiss in not mentioning here that Tabitha has secured an agent for the first work she had us critique, Royal Rose. Needless to say, I am stupid proud of her and equally, stupidly, keep on repeating, in her company, “SQUEEEE! You have an agent!”
Anyway. I’m up next, again. It’s a freak proposition that I’ll have this thing where I want it to be in time for our next meeting.
I went out to meet friends for drinks afterwards, again in my old neighborhood, and had a wicked good time at our old haunt, Gurthrie’s.
Crashed into Dan’s place and woke up for breakfast the next day at the lovely Tre Kroner, where I had terrific Corned Beef Hash and eggs and good coffee, and then it was off to meet Abby for lunch and David for tea and then home for a quick kip on the couch, and then off to Lisa and Ron‘s to meet up with Kristin, Audrey, Bonnie, and Jim for dinner at Babareeba, where they did absolutely right by us and set us up with a nice corner table, two pitchers of sangria, plenty of tapas, and a full round of desserts for a ridiculously small price. The conversation was terrifically good, and I’ve never been prouder to see such different people all at one table.
I often say that I’m proud of my friends, happy to endorse any one of them, but this really took the cake: Conversation never lagged, and yet, all of these people come from different walks of life. Really, really precious, to be sitting among all of the smarts, and know that these brilliant people consider me a friend.
[/End Schmaltz]
Next morning it was off to meet Tab at her place for a conversation on a potential class we’d like to jointly teach, her in Chicago and me here, and bat around ideas in her gorgeous little penthouse office, way in the trees at the top of their home. Sigh.
Then, after lunch with Alexe and Mike and Baby Kai, we were off to Ed and Kathleen’s wedding, which was, ostensibly, the reason for coming into town in the first place.
They were crazy busy, but not too busy that they couldn’t take the time to say hello and look thrilled and point us out to the friends they thought we needed to be in touch with. We love Ed and Kathleen, have I ever said? It’s funny how a scant year of living in the same house can make people fast friends or true enemies. We’re lucky to have stumbled upon the former in many situations, but truly lucky to count Ed and Kathleen as good friends, people we’d expect to hear from if things went pear-shaped, and who’d we’d expect to be able to call on if they went cock-eyed on this end.
Here I find myself all emotionally verklempt over the fact that Chicago is truly a great city, where we had great friends, and must exit for a Kleenex, but not before mentioning that I had breakfast with the very cheery, insightful Bevin the next morning before flying home. Lovely way to cap a really, really great weekend. More later.

They’re here…

The Daily Life Text

Some people have talismans. I have memories of food, and I carry them everywhere. They do me just as well, providing me with comfort and more often than not some fodder for thought.
I know, that sounds bizarre. But it’s true. I love food. I love the preparation of it, the serving of it, the stuff that goes on around it.
Perhaps it’s this last that makes the most sense. For me, the memory of food often brings into sharp focus what I was doing when I consumed it. For instance, one of our last meals before leaving Chicago was a meal at Moto with Jim’s parents. His father is a chef, and his mother a generally adventuresome sort, in many ways, so that was a good memory.
Or, since Moto is one of those weird molecular gastronomy restaurants and likely to be an event in and of itself, perhaps a better example is the way that my friends gather around the bar as I’m doing food prep, or mixing drinks; or the way they will try anything that comes out of my kitchen, even if it’s horrible.
At any rate, witness the Twiglets. I order them in bulk. They’re a British snack food item and I can’t seem to find them on grocery store shelves here. They are whole-wheat thingys, and, therefore, somewhat good for me, and they are curiously addictive.
This may be because they bring back sharp memories of my last trip to England, where I stayed with my good friend Lara and took advantage of her hospitality and her considerable culinary skills. Among the events that peppered my last stay were some light triathlon training (Lara, Jim, and I will do the Switzerland Ironman in less than two months), some good evenings out, ShelterBox training, and some good chat about writing and even a few tea dates.
Anyway. I first ordered them almost immediately upon my return from England in early March, and almost promptly either ate them all or shared them with friends.
Now I’ve got a whole new batch. Wonder how long these will last.