Tag: Family

Let’s wing it

Before I say anything else, I want to thank you for your kindness about my aunt.  I was very nervous when I put up that post, but I felt much better for having written it, and I hoped that meant something.  Thank you for reading, and for saying what you did, and mostly, for understanding. There is no smooth transition to be made from talking about death to discussing Thai food.  Let’s wing it. I don’t know why that fried egg looks like it has no yolk. It definitely had one, because before I took this picture, I punctured it with that spoon. I think this is my punishment for not taking a proper photograph: my iPhone ate the yolk. Anyway,…

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She felt like cheering

I have three half-siblings.  I know I’ve told you that before, probably lots of times. My half-siblings are a decent bit older than me, so growing up, they often seemed more like uncles and an aunt.  I was an only child, mostly.  But my mother came from a big family, and she had an identical twin sister named Tina. Though Tina lived in California and we lived in Oklahoma, she and my mother did their best to make sure that their children, my cousins Sarah and Katie and I, would feel close as we grew up.  I fell in love with the West Coast  – and, I’m sure, wound up living here – because of trips we took to visit…

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September 4

Hi. I’ve never made an announcement like this before, and it feels very awkward and shouty to do it through a computer screen, so please be nice and pretend that we’re sitting in your living room. I’ll give you a minute to get settled. The thing is, I’ve been working on my manuscript, yes, yes, but I’ve also been working on something else. That something else has made it difficult, actually, to work on my manuscript, because it’s made me want to lie on the couch instead, eating peanut butter sandwiches and fantasizing about donuts. I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s there, under my shirt. I’ll give you a hint. It’s a baby. I’m 13 weeks along,…

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To poach a pear

My mother is usually the one who makes poached pears. I have a photo of her in an old family album, holding a platter of them. By the length of her hair, I’m guessing that the year was 1982. My father must have snapped the picture as they were leaving for a holiday party. That was the kind of thing he liked to do. She’s standing in the wood-paneled den of the house we lived in until I was 13, wearing what appears to be a sand-colored fur jacket. She must have curled her hair with hot rollers, because it sits on her shoulders in soft loops, and where she’s pinned it back above her left ear, you can see…

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It’s my specialty

Hi. I am writing this from my in-laws’ kitchen. Brandon is out on a bike ride with his dad. THEY’RE BOTH WEARING SPANDEX!!!! It’s a great day to be in New Jersey. Before the holiday sets in, while it’s still relatively quiet in the house, I wanted to share a recipe with you. I should say first that it’s not for Thanksgiving. I know you already have plenty of that. What we have here is something for this weekend, or next week. More specifically, what we have here is the soup that I will be eating over and over and over again, lunch after lunch and dinner after dinner, for months to come. The New Winter Favorite. I can tell…

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October 19

I come from a family that goes to church only on occasional Christmas Eves, but somehow, I have come to love the feeling of being inside a church. I like the high ceilings, the wood and the stone and the gold leaf, and I like them best when they’re empty. There’s no other silence like it. My favorite church is in Paris, and it’s called Saint-Sulpice. I first loved it because my grandmother loved it, but now I love it because I do. I never forget to go to Saint-Sulpice. I usually go on a weekday, when it’s quiet, and I make sure that I have some coins on me, so that I can light a candle. My grandmother used…

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How it is

I think I might have told you about my father’s friend Michael. Sometime in the early ‘90s, Burg was on his way out of the grocery store, and being something of a car buff, he stopped to check out a Citroën in the parking lot. While he stood there with his grocery bags, the owner of the car came along – or maybe the owner was in the car; these details are long gone – and he turned out to be a man named Michael. They struck up a conversation, and something must have clicked, because for years after that, they were best friends. Michael was a native New Yorker, a former cab driver-slash-writer turned small business owner, intense and…

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You might hear someone sing

My family is not having the Christmas that you hear about in carols and television specials. I am typing this from California, where we were supposed to arrive next Tuesday for the holiday festivities, but instead I flew down six days early to help take care of my aunt, who is in the hospital. My mother is here, too, and my aunt’s two daughters, my cousins. My aunt came down with an acute illness, very fast and sudden and serious, but after more than a week in the hospital, she’s going to be alright. Today she even cracked a joke. I was so elated that I tried out a couple of bad puns, and she actually laughed at them. It…

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Now here, now there

I have two half brothers who live on the East Coast, and when I was a kid, if they came home for the holidays, they would bring a Styrofoam cooler of oysters. My father would get out his knife and shucking glove and lean against the kitchen counter, flicking grit and shells into the sink as he went, and they would all stand around, eating and sighing, making the noises that people make when they eat oysters. I don’t know how old I was that night, but I think I must have been about six. I stood next to my father while he shucked, and he leaned down and gave me an oyster, a fat one, an enormous one, amoeba-like,…

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August 12

Delancey is one year old today. I took that picture, the one above, 16 months ago. Brandon had bought a 30-quart Hobart mixer a few months earlier, and we’d been storing it in our friend Carla’s basement. Our friend Sam named it Sir Mix-a-Lot. That morning, the morning that I took the picture, we had rented a big truck, wrestled Sir Mix-a-Lot into the back, strapped him in, and hauled him to the restaurant. The thing was so heavy, such a mess to move, and I had no idea how to operate it, and I was excited and intimidated and borderline terrified, and mostly, more than anything, I had no clue how we were ever going to get this restaurant…

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Three / six

This is my favorite photograph from our wedding. Look at those crazy kids! Taking a romantic stroll in the alley behind someone’s apartment building! Blissing out beside the dumpsters! Oblivious to the wonky dinosaur graffiti! It was July 29, 2007, three years ago today, and we were on our way to get married. We had no idea what we might do with ourselves, or who we might become, but we had decided to do it, and become it, together. We still have no idea, and I like that. I wonder what the future will bring. I hope it involves Brandon making his Serious Face, because I’m quite fond of it. Today is also the sixth birthday of this blog. Six.…

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Her recipe box

Well. That was not at all what I planned for the month of April. So long, April. So long, plans. I want to get this show back on the road. I’ve missed being here, and I’ve missed you. But before we go any further, I want to offer a long overdue thank you to those who came to my readings last month. I thought I had a great time on my first tour, but somehow, I had an even better time this year, despite the fact that I was dealing with a whopping case of laryngitis and could hardly speak. I hope you could hear me, and that you enjoyed it. It made me so happy to meet you. I’ll…

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That cloud

Hi, all. This note is to say that I’ve had to postpone my reading this Sunday, April 18, at the Ballard Library in Seattle, and that I’m going to be away from this space a few days longer than I expected. My grandmother is not doing well, and I’m making an emergency trip to Oklahoma to be with my family. You would have liked my grandmother. She was a devotee of rare roast beef sandwiches and red shoes, and she had a penchant for using the word yummy to describe non-food items, like a pretty scarf or a soft sweater. You can imagine it: we’d be in a store together, and she would pick up a shirt and say, “Moll,…

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The very definition

I am bad at weekend mornings. I hear that some people, maybe even a lot of people, have weekend mornings that involve a hot breakfast, hot coffee, the Sunday Times, and hours that pass slowly, quietly, as though on tiptoe, but I am not familiar with that kind of weekend morning. I like mornings a lot, but I am not good at planned relaxation, and I married someone who is similarly impaired. We went to visit his grandparents in Florida over New Year’s, and we were very tired and verging on sick, but instead of reading books, lying on the beach, or whatever one does on vacation in Florida, we wound up kayaking in the Everglades. With alligators. (To be…

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A nasty habit

I have many important things to tell you. 1. I’m doing a podcast! I intended to tell you about this a week ago, but there’s been an illness in my family, and I’ve been away, and it hasn’t been a lot of fun, so, you know, let’s talk about that podcast. It’s called Spilled Milk, and I co-host it with my friend Matthew Amster-Burton. Every time we record an episode, Matthew makes me laugh until I snort, cry, hyperventilate, and/or hoot like an owl, and I hope our show does the same for you. The first episode is on the topic of fried eggs, and you can listen or download it – free! – through the Spilled Milk website, or…

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A public display of chickpeas

Under normal circumstances, I try to play it cool. Sure, there’s this guy named Brandon, and I think he’s pretty dreamy and stuff, but most of the time, I try to keep my swooning behind the scenes. Few people look fondly upon public displays of affection—on the Internet or otherwise—and far be it for me, dear reader, to risk spoiling your appetite. But then this guy named Brandon came to town, and one afternoon, he bought me a quarter-pound of culatello. Nothing makes a girl feel prone to public gloating like a present of cured pork from a very handsome vegetarian. And should he then, over the span of ten short days, churn from her kitchen a batch of whole-wheat pita,…

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