Ba-ba-doo-BANG (The One for Father’s Day)

I don’t want to write about my dad, even though Father’s Day is coming this week, and that’s a natural topic for my blog. Circumstances in recent weeks have thrust this topic into my lap, but I am resisting full force. In a prompt from my writing class, we were asked to pick the fourteenth photo in a randomly chosen album. The fourteenth photo: there we are in North Carolina on a drive from Detroit to Miami in 1973, but my first thought was, I don’t want to write about me and my dad.

Later that day, my wise friend Nancy saw a set of essays about famous fathers on http://myoldman.org/. With praise towards my weekly entries, she wondered what I would say about my parents instead of writing about food or art. How can you refuse a friend? Especially when they flatter you?

I didn’t know my dad well enough. That’s my problem.

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The Magic Flourish at Dinner

Since Sandra Boynton has pointed out it is National Cheese Soufflé day, I thought it would be fitting to provide some words of inspiration on one of my favorite dishes to cook. Inspiration is the proper word, since souffler is French for to blow or to breathe, and one definition of it is a “low murmuring sound heard through a stethoscope.” Inspired, meaning to inhale and breathe in; creating, we exhale, breathe out, and offer our culinary creations to the world. The execution of a soufflé is to blow air into a pancake; to take the familiar –eggs, milk, butter, and flour – and transform them into a light puffy honeycombed framework on which to hang flavors of tangy cheddar, mysterious dark chocolate, or exotic Grand Marnier or Meyer Lemon.

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Fond Memories
The first soufflé I ever made was with my dad’s second wife, Mary. She was experimenting with the cookbook and wanted a challenge. She was very nervous because making a soufflé has always had a reputation for being complicated and easy to ruin. I remember us checking the cookbook every five minutes or so, hesitating at choosing which pans to use, peering over the mixture we stirred in the skillet, and later chewing our fingernails watching it in the oven.

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Stay Together for 39 Years with this One Simple Trick…

Let’s throw away anxiety, let’s quite forget propriety,
Respectable society, the rector and his piety,
And contemplate l’amour in all its infinite variety,
My dear, let’s talk about love

–Cole Porter

It’s February and there’s spring in the air. That means this past Sunday there were long lines of men standing outside the See’s candy store, roadside stands full of red hearts and teddy bears, and women with a particular gleam in their eye and a knowing smile. February is also the month that Karin and I celebrate our anniversary, so it’s the love month for us, too. This upcoming one is #39 – poor 39, such a lonely number, being right under the shadow of 40 and neither even nor prime. It’s still a pretty good number as longevity goes, so it seems appropriate to discuss the question I often get: What’s the secret to such a long relationship?

lastinglovehandsOddly enough, I feel both expert and novice in this. I can speak with superior knowledge about how to make it last, and I have the statistically significant number of years to prove it. Having been in only one relationship, though, I don’t really have a clue about what attracts people to each other in the first place, so I can’t offer any advice on that. (Sorry, I won the multi-billion dollar lottery on that one.) I only know how to get your hooks in good and tight once you got ’em.

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The Dreaded Senior Center

Bette Davis famously said, “Old age ain’t for sissies.”

The scariest thing I’ve done this month is to start taking a yoga class at a local Senior Center. After the first class, I couldn’t shake the disquieting feeling that there was something wrong about the whole thing. The room was too dark; the instructor went too fast; other people blocked my view, whine, whine whine. I had only paid for half the sessions and resolved after only one class not to see it through. Forget that the stretching made me feel better, that other returning members graciously lent me their mats and pillows, or that I discovered a beautiful Japanese garden next door. Clearly being there wasn’t for me!

Upon reflection – you know, that part of you that knows better – (Freud called it the Supergo) –the part that says you shouldn’t eat that or you’re going too fast – that part called bs on my lame rationalizations. I didn’t want to go because it was in the Senior Center.

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Attach Seat to Chair

This sentence doesn’t know where it’s going. This sentence feels pretentious. This sentence doesn’t like serifs but knows it’s trapped. This sentence feels lucky but guilty. This sentence is retired.

After wanting to leave Corporate America for more than fifteen years, I feel suddenly overwhelmed that I have done it – the dog that caught the bus—now what? I was ready for it. I was not ready for it.

At one point – before banking – before B-school – I was an English major. And it was assumed that if anyone might produce the Great American Novel in my family, it would be me. I actually wrote a couple of books in my twenties, but they needed a lot of work which I was unwilling to invest at the time. Meanwhile, my spouse found a new lease on life as a writer and gravitated to it full time when our children came along. She started it with a discipline that she developed into a craft and thirty plus books later, there’s no longer any doubt who is the writer in the family. And yet .. and yet.. the urge is still there for me.

So through this blog, I hope to find that voice I might have had – might still have – with no silly excuses about making a living to get in the way. Once each year at Christmas, I have successfully shared insights that people find worth reading. It might not be through the Great American Novel, but when was the last time we read one of those anyway? (That seems like an excellent topic for a future blog, note to self.)

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