Tag Archives: cheese

135journals: My husband’s first day as a free man

30 Jun
My dear husband will be wearing these glasses every day until forever. Promise!

My dear husband will be wearing these glasses every day until forever. Promise!

Yesterday was the first day of the rest of  Brian’s life. That is to say, it was the first Monday of his life as a member of the retired. What will he do with this endless expanse of possibility? Right now, his intention is to keep it open. He hasn’t spent the last whatever years of his life teaching Asian literature for nothing. The beautiful spareness of Chinese poetry pulls at his heart. So does the Japanese concept of Ma, or negative space. Although, in the Japanese thought Ma has a much more dynamic and interactive meaning than not being. It is part of the fabric of the whole, a part of the dance of possibilities. Oh dear, I am getting very abstract here. What I mean is, my husband is bravely trying to let himself be open and to find out what calls to him. And I am very interested to see what this human being to whom I’ve been married for the past 30 years is going to discover.

His first no-longer-employed Monday was not entirely filled with Ma. I had an appointment with a famousy-famous hip surgeon to see if I needed hip surgery at the famousy-famous Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. I didn’t think I needed hip surgery, but another one of my doctors thought, well, maybe, I don’t know, just check it out, so grumblingly, I did. I reorganized my gigantic binder of tests and visits and brought it in. And this time, I brought Mr. HH with me. Despite my relative certainty that I wouldn’t need surgery (maybe some kind of injection though because of osteoarthritis?) I did feel afraid. I’ve gone to many scary doctor appointments by myself, and most of the time I’ve managed okay, but sometimes I come out of them with this jumble of notes that don’t make any sense because I’ve felt a rushing of panic clogging my ears when the doctor was giving me information. So the dear husband and I agreed that he would come to scary appointment and be a second set of ears for me. Anyway, I had some X-rays, talked to perfectly nice doctor, don’t need surgery, then husband and I had a pleasant walk around the Upper East Side.

“Look at that building,” Brian said, pointing to an old brick building. “A Czech gymnasium. I see a lot of Czech names around here” (near 70th and York).

“I think  a lot of Czechs and Germans settled this neighborhood,” I said. “Every part of Manhattan is so different.”

“It’s so different when you walk it,” he said.

“I know what we should do!” I said. “We should get a big map of Manhattan and get a yellow marker and color in every street we walk after your retirement. And we should walk every street in Manhattan!”

“Where does anybody even get a map nowadays?” he said. “Everybody has GPS.”

“Huh.” I was stumped, too. Maybe off the internet? Barnes and Noble? I don’t know.

He looks at his phone. “There’s a gourmet shop ten blocks away. We can get cheese.” Cheese is part of his holy trinity of consumables, along with coffee and bread. So we wandered uptown past more stores. We people watched. I saw lots of people walking dogs. I saw a woman carrying a dog. I saw lots of doggy day care businesses. There is no shortage of dogs in New York. And I almost never, ever see dog poop. So, good work, New Yorkers. The Upper East Side is full of uniformed private school kids who burst out into the streets at 3:30 or so, along with moms and dads and nannies with strollers. I see a schlumpy looking guy in a Gilligan hat and pink socks lumping across the street. People wearing neon-bright sneakers–that’s a thing now, I guess. Lots of women with pretty legs and short skirts and little sandals. Workers with hard hats ignoring interested onlookers. Street sellers hawking fruit, scarves, books, watches.

At the gourmet shop we buy two small pieces of ridiculously expensive cheese and linger over other delicious but outlandishly expensive items–gluten free lemon bars, figs, bright red $5.99 a pound tomatoes. As we leave we see the pasta hanging on the line. They had gluten free ravioli for $12.99 a pound. We passed. We’ve made homemade pasta before, but it is a pain. Still, I liked watching it hanging there.

We two flaneurs amble back to our car, driving home through rush hour,  but the traffic still isn’t TOO bad. We listen to a podcast. “The drive was only one This American Life long,” Brian says. He makes chicken and salad and pasta for dinner and I fold clothes. I run off to my book group and when I get home, he is sitting on the back deck in the semi-darkness,  looking at the trees and the sky above.  His hands are folded behind his head. He smiles at me, and in that smile I see a happiness formed of the possibility of a joyful anything to come.

Writing prompt: What possibilities do you see?


100 Words About Cheese

22 Mar

100 Words About Cheese

Young chef prepares Italian dish called Rustico with several types of cheese.

So, the husband, with his very delicate palate, is very partial to the most expensive and exquisite, i.e.; smelly cheese. If possible, he wants to be introduced to each cow personally, and make sure that she’s consented to being milked, and would like to inspect the grass she feeds upon for its balance of Omegas 3 and 6. And for the composition of the soil. Cheese is a much discussed topic in our house. So, it came to mind for me to try to come up with 50 words about cheese. And I came up with 100. When I did, I realized that I could probably come up with 100 more. As a writer, it reminded me of how sometimes, it is much easier to write small to large than large to small. If someone said, “Why don’t you write 100 words about food, the task would feel somehow more daunting, more mind-scattering. So here, for no reason at all, are 100 words about fromage, queso, what have you, a food that at the moment seems strangely central to my life and maybe yours.

1. smelly
2. powdery
3. holes
4. gjetost
5. chives
6. feta
7. wedge
8. slice
9. mold
10. volcanic ash
11. reamy
12. humboldt
13. creamy
14. cracker
15. rind
16. rennet
17. veins
18. orange
19. spread
20. sheep
21. cave aged
22. wine
23. melt
24. cheddar
25. goat
26. empanada
27. queso
28. Huntsman
29. Gloucestershire
30. Omelet
31. Wheel
32. Milk
33. Croton
34. Cheeseburger
35. Gouda
36. Camembert
37. Brie
38. Party
39. Pepperoni
40. Whey
41. Curds
42. Poutine
43. Pepperjack
44. Mascarpone
45. Cheesecake
46. Tiramisu
47. Crumbly
48. Grilled cheese sandwich
49. Baguette
50. French onion soup
51. Cubes
52. Laughing cow
53. Mozzarella
54. Pont Leveque (sp)
55. Bite
56. Croque monsieur
57. Paris
58. Oppressive
59. Heavy
60. Romano
61. Italy
62. Leicester
63. Pale
64. Morbier
65. Cheeseboard
66. Wedding gifts
67. Thick
68. Fatty
69. Lumpy Colby
70. Dijon mustard
71. Fig jam
72. Tacoes
73. Spaghetti
74. Swiss cheese
75. Butter
76. Salt
77. Ham and cheese sandwich
78. Cigarette
79. Cream cheese
80. Farmer’s cheese
81. Blitzes
82. Sour cream
83. Remorse
84. Luxury
85. Hickory farm
86. Samples
87. Butcher paper
88. Grayson
89. Greek yogurt
90. Aroma
91. Salad
92. Frilly toothpick
93. Wisconsin
94. Apples
95. Explorateur
96. Kitchen
97. Mild
98. Picnic
99. Ploughman’s Lunch
100. Turkish breakfast

Writing Prompt: Can you come up with another hundred words about cheese?

Things Married People Talk About

27 Jan


Welcome to the inner sanctum. That magical world INSIDE those regular old suburban houses (or apartments, trailers, what have you) where two people have committed themselves to each other for a lifetime then have a lifetime of conversation . I hereforth offer a sampling of what two such people (that would be Mr. B. and myself) actually talk about, in no particular order.

  1. “You know, it’s finally gotten to the point that I prefer yogurt to sour cream.”
  2. “You could put that cheese that’s on the counter in the refrigerator. Are you going to put that cheese away? The cheese that’s on the counter? Right next to you. The MOZZARELLA. All right, forget it. I’ll put the cheese away. ”
  3. “How come two socks go in and one sock comes out? Why is my life filled with singletons?”
  4. “Is there a place where we keep, like, envelopes? I don’t know what kind. The regular kind.”
  5. “Don’t you know you can’t put the NEW cans in front? You have to ROTATE the stock.”
  6. “Can you pleeeeeasse help me find my keys? No, I didn’t put them away in the regular place. What does that even MEAN, regular place? Oh god, please don’t tell me about the keyhook again.”
  7. Your nose is a little, um. . . here’s a tissue.”
  8. “You want to order in the Greek or the Turkish? No, you decide. No really. It’s too hard for me to decide right now. They’re too different.”
  9. “Someday I’m going to eat pancakes for dinner and you won’t be able to stop me. Because they are delicious for dinner. They ARE.”

10. “Here, let me get that schmutz on your cheek and you’ll be perfect. And wait, how do you get it in your hair? And your ear?”

11. “Is just using panko bread crumbs too boring?”

12. “Who’s going to open the window? It’s so hot in here, it would be so nice if somebody opened the window. I really wish there was a way that would happen. Because then I wouldn’t have to talk. I would just sleep. Without talking about how hot it is. Because it’s soooo hot without the window open.”

13. “I’m really flattered you think that’s my actual size.”

14. “How can you possibly think your family is crazier than my family?”

  1. 15.  “You just think you’re superior to me because you know who that princess is who’s having the baby in like, Europe.”

16. “Wow, there are even more collard greens in the garden? Does that make it 21 days straight of collard greens? I’m soo lucky.”

17. “What do you do, soak your feet in an ice bucket before you crawl into bed?”

18. “No, you take a left on Woodland. Not that left, the other left. You know what I mean.”

19. “Remember, ladies don’t like it when they sit on your lap and you make a sound as if you’re being crushed like an elephant.”

20. (after I had two actual alcoholic drinks—well above my usual zero– including my first scotch ever). “You are like Shuperman. How did you even think to park on this block? It’s the shmartest thing in the world. And you’re so handshome. How do you drive and be handshome at the shame time? It’s . . . . “ (snore)