I've just finished the memoir, "Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage," by Dani Shapiro. It is a tiny book -- the pages laid out with shockingly wide margins -- but does it ever pack a punch. Which is surprising given that Shapiro describes what many of us are living: the vague blandness of waking up next to the same person every morning, years on end. She and her husband "M." love each other. There is no dysfunction, and the drama is the kind you can't escape in life -- accidents and illnesses, ailing parents, career disappointment.Read More
Last summer, we almost bought a farm. It was a pretty place, up in Door County, Wisconsin, certified organic and very well-maintained. The stone and timber house sat nicely on the property, overlooking the horse pasture out front and the barley fields out back. But it was the fence of espaliered apple trees that completely captivated me.
Not that I would have a clue how to prune an espaliered apple tree fence. My mom grew up on a farm in Illinois, but she left for nursing school as soon as she could. She did not pass that knowledge along. Everything I know about farming I learned by reading the Little House books seventeen times. When the grasshopper cloud comes, you are screwed. Also, you can be minding your own business sweeping the dugout floor and by jingo, an oxen hoof will puncture you in the head. And don't even think about eating watermelons planted in the creek bottom.Read More
Last year at an estate sale up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the woman standing next to me remarked that this was the home of her deceased surgeon. "Sorry to hear that," I said. "Yeah," she replied, "Good thing my cleaning lady saw the obit. I was scheduled for a boob job that Tuesday."
Of course I immediately looked at her boobs. Couldn't have helped it if I tried. My glance answered my first question, which was whether she found a replacement surgeon. But the second question I asked myself went unanswered. Which was why. Why did this nice woman tell me, a perfect stranger, such a thing?Read More
Against a wintry backdrop, a man peruses a magazine while a woman shovels snow behind him. The couple are Don and Dottie Hagan, of Des Moines, Iowa, and something about their photo reminds me of Grant Wood's painting, American Gothic. Do you see it too? The Iowa setting, Don's deadpan expression, that shovel, the house in the background.
Unlike American Gothic's subjects, who were father and daughter, Don and Dottie are husband and wife. You won't be surprised to learn that they have been married for fifty-six years.
When I saw this photo, my first question was who took it?Read More
I use an editorial calendar for my blog, and a long time ago, I penciled in "thoughts on thirty years of marriage" for today's post. So all last week while my husband and I were celebrating our anniversary with a trip to the Pacific Northwest, I kept watching him, puzzling over what wisdom I could share. He'd catch me staring at him as he tucked into a plate of meat and potatoes and ask, "What? What'd I do?"
So here's the first thing I'll share. When you're in love with a high metabolism, it's hard. My mother-in-law used to quip that what her son liked most about me was my family's chain of grocery stores.Read More
My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday. We spent the day with our son and his fiancée, planning their wedding celebration. It will take place next summer on our patio, and yesterday, a fair amount of time was spent discussing the weather. Whether the weather would weather the day. (Apologies to readers whose first language is not English.)
It sprinkled on our wedding, which was held on my parents' patio. It poured on my sister's wedding, which was held on my parents' patio. So I advised my son and future daughter-in-law to expect rain on our patio too.
Rain on a wedding day was once thought to be a good omen. But so was virginity, so to hell with that.
Here's this weekend's listicle loosely categorized around my weekend of l-o-v-e:
This podcast about a Persian marriage and its twisty-turvy journey kept me in the car for 45 minutes despite a very full bladder -- that's how good it is. (Sidenote: the Iranian couple's daughters are shocked and dismayed by the unexpected outcome. We listeners are thrilled.)
Erica Weiner is a Brooklyn jeweler with a vintage obsession. Her Instagram is full of stunning antique wedding bands and engagement rings. Next year is our thirtieth anniversary and I'm bookmarking this band, a reissue of an antique pattern. Very simple and pretty.
Last night, we watched Cutie and the Boxer, an independent documentary about two free-minded artists whose complex marriage and working arrangement are costly to the wife and beneficial to the husband. The first-time director won Sundance's Best Director award, among others.
Food trucks are a popular feature at weddings these days, and yesterday, we went in search of Yellow Bellies Food Truck. Milwaukee peeps, these guys book out at least a year in advance. Their food is to-die-for. Here's their schedule. Hint: they're in Cedarburg every Friday at lunchtime.
No fancy dinner reservations for us last night. Instead, I cooked the best chicken enchiladas ever. I served them with Persian saffron rice, crockpot beans, and a spinach, avocado, corn, tomato, jalapeno pepper salad. I recommend doubling the mole sauce. Divine!
Last but not least, you cannot enter into marriage until you do this.
Campy His and Hers Mugs available here at Finder Not Keeper.
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Merry Christmas from The Bubble Joy! When you are a child, Christmas is magical. When you are a parent, Christmas is magical. But for those who are neither, Christmas can be tricky. It requires more effort to capture the spirit of the season. This, my husband and I learned together during our first Christmas back in our salad days. And the manner in which we learned this lesson inspired a collection in the shop.
Side note: I come across quite badly in this story. My mother-in-law, who recently started subscribing to this blog, is going to read this post and then spend the afternoon whispering to herself, "I knew it. I knew it!"Read More
I talked to my parents on the phone this morning and my mother had just returned from the grocery store where she had purchased a turkey for Thanksgiving. She is such a pro, she calls them ‘birds’. She usually roasts three birds, so why she came home with only one was a mystery to me. Evidently, the grocery store is running a turkey promotion limited to one turkey per customer per day. She will be going back tomorrow and the day after for two more birds. I said that was a lot of gas and time and trouble to save ten cents a pound.
I could hear her shrug over the phone. “What else do I have to do?” she joked.Read More