Appreciating

“Hello, Laura? You have a delivery at the reception desk.” I got the voicemail just after I returned from picking up my t-shirt and bib for Saturday’s run…I am running for the American Family Team, which was a handy way to have my race packet delivered to me at work, instead of having to go and pick it up myself. I deleted the message, knowing I had just picked up what had been delivered.

The receptionist called again, and I inquired if this was regarding the t-shirt I just picked up, and she replied, “NO! IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ORCHID!” I think I sprinted all the way downstairs. I knew it wouldn’t be from Nick—not that Nick isn’t the best sort of man who buys me flowers, because he is…he just likes to give them in person. The plant is really tall, and it was awkward bringing it back up to my desk. I opened the card quickly, knowing it had to be someone who’s known me a long, long time because the name scribbled across the envelope was Laura Kittleson Phillips.

And sure enough, the nicest card with the sweetest note was from none other than the Gehrke Family, the family my father knew as neighbors while growing up, and the family that lost one of theirs to liver cancer mere months after my family lost Mom. Geraldine wrote that she’s wanted to get me an orchid for a long time and that she hopes it blooms for a long time to come…that she and the entire family love me.

It was such and out-of-the blue gift that I’ll admit I teared up instantly and the emotion clogged at the bottom of my throat. The instruction sheet says it is one of the easiest to maintain orchids, and it blooms twice a year, with blossoms lasting 2-4 months. It’s beautiful, it truly is. Between the weak light last night and this morning, I haven’t been able to get a picture that does it justice…so, I edited one of the poorly tinted shots in Photoshop (above).

I am just so touched, and I’ve been working on drafts for my thank you note…finding the words that express how truly lovely the gift made me feel. If you, in your daily lives, have a thought of someone cross your mind, perhaps someone you don’t talk with all that often, don’t see all that often, send a trinket or even a note. It will make their day.

White Flag

“Why don’t you make cookies for me?” he whines as I make a batch for work.

“We don’t get through cookies here,” I reply. Indeed, they go hard and stale before we reach the bottom of the pile and many are thrown away entirely. It is an old conversation, and one we’ve been having for at least a year. I say “conversation” figuratively, of course. It’s more like he complains and I ignore. See!—I would have been SUCH a good mother!

But it’s not just about me preparing goodies, it’s about having treats around. I am in charge of groceries, and while I do a poor job of keeping the cupboards from being look-a-likes of Mother Hubbard’s, I don’t typically stock anything even remotely resembling dessert. “We just don’t get through cookies fast enough here!” I defend. Today he hit me with a new one that left me with a wave of righteous indignation so powerful that I felt my nose hairs stiffen and my breath roll forth in incendiary waves—most probably because there was some truth to his nonsense.

“YOU HIDE THEM ON ME!”

I sigh, Oh, not this conversation again, my thoughts groan. I take a deep breath while I choose just the right dismissal and—!

I got nothin’.

A strong believer of the “out of sight of of mind” philosophy, I don’t keep temptation in plain view. That, and everything has its place. I’m sorry, but I classify that bag of cookies as snack food and snack food goes in the snack basket on the top of the refrigerator. It bugged me all night, and after the kitchen was clean from dinner and I saw the partially opened bag of cookies in the corner, my pulse throbbed in my eye ticked. They looked untidy sitting just there. They needed a place and I needed to not be caught committing the very crime of which I had been accused.

Truce?

Cheese Curds

For Sheree, and others unfamiliar with a cheese curd:

In the foreground are the garlic dill curds I bought at the Farmer’s Market and behind, the jalapeño. These little guys are not, perhaps, spread the country over because (other than the fact that not everyone has the same steamy love affair going on with cheese as we have) cheese curds loose their freshness very fast, and the initial “cheese curd-ness” goes away—namely, the squeak—within 25 hours of production. Their texture is a little rubbery I’d say, and they’re generally mild in flavor (except if you buy jalapeño altered ones, I suppose).

From my Google queries, it seems to be that Wisconsin and Canada (Quebec) are the main areas of availability for fresh cheese curds…now, deep fried, well, I think they’re everywhere. Most people don’t care if their little breaded ball of melted cheese squeaks against their teeth—making the unhealthier cousin much more marketable.

The Best Way to Start Saturday

Strides long, air crisp, and coffee in hand, we head toward the vibrant awning patchwork and the pleasant sound of gentle morning chatter. The air is fragranced with the sweet perfume of soil and babies gurgle from their strollers as I take in the visual feast.

Hearty voices adorn the scene.

“Hot Spicy Cheesy Bread!”

“Fresh Asparagus!”

“Cheese Curds, Get Your Cheese Curds!”

It’s so friendly, so wonderful—and, I suppose, a little of my inner Bohemian comes forth.

I love the Farmer’s Market.