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The Truth is, I Never Left You…

6 Jan

Well, okay, I did leave you.

I left you for about two months. Two months without a word. Two months without my words. I’m not sure how you survived without me and will admit that I got a warm and fuzzy and guilty feeling when a couple of folks inquired about my disappearance. (Hi Allenavw! I’m alive!)

I’ve been an irresponsible blog parent. I’ve been a grade-A procrastinator. I’ve been working on a secret project that will remain unmentionable until it isn’t. 

If you’re at all grateful for my prodigal return (fatted calf burgers anyone?), then you must be grateful for my friend Lisa and the New Year. Lisa is out of town, so I am dog sitting for her. With an empty house–apart from Ginger the sweetheart golden retriever, that is–it seemed like the perfect opportunity for some blog writing/brainstorming. Thus the where and the when blogging puzzles were solved. As for the why….

One of my New Years resolutions is to get back on the blogging horse. No more M.I.A. Oh My Words! This is actually my only resolution that made the cut. Those that have already hit some bumps in the road include:

1. I will not buy another book until I’ve read all those that are lining my shelves, piled on my floor, propping up lamps, hiding under coffee tables etc. etc. etc. 

In theory, this resolution is top notch. It’s practical, fun, and good for the soul. I’ll feel so accomplished if I can finally read the books I’ve been meaning to read. The hiccup? There is another library used book sale coming up and, if you’ll recall, the last one had me swooning from sheer joy. I can’t not go to this sale. Can’t do it. And I can’t go and not buy anything. That would be Hell, pure and simple.

So, within 24 hours of making my book buying resolution, I was forced to amend it. I will try to go easy on the book-buying, I really will–but a book nerd and bargain hunter only has so much strength. For my new goal, I will tackle my To Be Read list and occasionally post about my reading. I’m not into book reviews (more specifically, the idea of writing them gives me the heebie jeebies), so this will likely mean just quotes or random thoughts. But look at me, combining one resolution with another! I. Am. Good.

2. I will spend more time on my creative writing.

The vagueness of this resolution is a problem. “More time” is relative, since I haven’t seriously devoted myself to my writing for quite a long time. I could spend a minute writing today, and it would be more than I spent yesterday (or the day before, or the day before that). Also, this blog doesn’t count. I know, I know–but it’s still writing! It’s still engaging the right (write?) part of the brain! Let’s not forget the blogging resolution already! All good points. What would I do without you?

What I need is a writing schedule. Or a daily word count goal. Or some stick-with-it-ness. What I need is a writing resolution without a lot of wiggle room. (See “more time,” discussion, above.) What I need is a cookie.

Other resolutions I’ve bandied about: working out/exercising more diligently (cliche and vague!), being braver (just vague), and following all horoscopes and fortune cookie fortunes to adventure (call it what you will).

For now, you can rest assured that I’m back, baby! As always, thanks for reading. You can expect more words soon!

“More” being relative, of course…..


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A Story About the Kindness of Strangers and Musical Miracles, Told in Song Titles

27 Sep

The picture above is an approximate representation of how I feel. I’m happy. Like, spin-around-in-a-mountaintop-meadow-while-singing happy. Actually, since I’m supposed to be taking vocabulary steroids in preparation for the GRE, maybe I should be using a better word than happy. Gleeful? Ecstatic? Joyful? Thrilled? Jubilant? Elated? Tickled pink? Man, if this turns out to be one of the questions on that dratted test, I am set. 

I know what you’re thinking: Oh my words! Why are you so very happy, Abigail? Well, first of all, I like you’re enthusiasm. You’re all right. Secondly…I’ll TELL you why I’m happy! Because the universe is awesome and I have been rewarded with a stupendous gift! 

You may recall that I have been searching for a special Birthday Song that is part of my family’s birthday tradition. Well, a wondrous, serendipitous event happened. Someone who visited this little ol’ blog (Kasi, if you read this, you’re my new favorite person in the whole wide world) appreciated my desperation and my story, and left a comment that included a link to the MP3 for the song. Isn’t the universe amazing? Isn’t the internet incredible? Is the sky bluer than usual today? Are my dogs cuter? Don’t you just feel like smiling and laughing all the livelong day?

Really, though, I am so happy that a perfect stranger helped me out and am grateful that I now have this song in my itunes possession. I was taking a blogging break to focus on studying and working and other unpleasant -ings, and when I finally allowed myself to return to my blog baby, it was such a thrill to find this long-lost song. See? You can rely on the kindness of strangers. Ask and ye shall receive. Music does make the people come together!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: What’s this about a story told in song titles? Oh my word, Abigail, was this post’s title false advertising?

First of all, woah Nelly! You’re a tough audience, aren’t ya? It’s okay though, I forgive you because a song title poem-story is quite exciting.

Below is my epic hero’s journey–the significance of the Happy Birthday Song, its absence, its recovery–told through song titles, to honor this miraculous musical moment. I’ve linked a few of them to their youtube selves and encourage you to listen and enjoy.

(Note: You may need to read the original Birthday Song post for some helpful context….or you can just muddle through and listen to the music….woah-oh-oh, listen to the music… )

~

Music. Foundations. We Are Family. Songs We Sing. Memories Are Made of This. All the Small Things. Precious Love. Part of My Life. Hooked on a Feeling. Groove is in the Heart. Hidden Away.

I Got Trouble. Something’s Missing. Those Sweet Words. Can’t Find the Words. I Have Nothing. Lost. Harder to Breathe. It’s the End of the World as We Know It. I Hate Myself for Losing You. What Did You Do. Don’t Blame Me.

Heartbreak Hotel. Today I Sing the Blues. Irreplaceable. Incomplete. Inaudible Melodies. Here Without You. Crying Shame. When You’re Gone. I Want You Back.

Help! Rescue Me! Not the Only One. We All Want the Same Thing. Searchin’. Luck Be a Lady. Simple As It Should Be. Needle in a Haystack. Creep. The Things We Do For Love. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.When You Were Mine. Wasn’t It Good.

Worrisome Heart. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. Trouble Sleeping. On My Mind.  I’ll Do Anything. Nothing but a Miracle. Makes Me Wanna Pray. When You Wish Upon a Star. I’ve Got Dreams to Remember.

Takin’ Care of Business. It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Lady Sings. You Can Get it if You Really Want. Never Going to Give You Up. I’ll Find a Way.

People Get Ready. Something Good This Way Comes. Teardrops Will Fall. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. Fairytale. Love is All Around.

You Don’t Know Me. Beautiful Stranger. You Give Me Something. The Gift of Song.

Listen.

Oh!   You’re the One.

Back Together Again. Celebrate. I Feel Home. Breathe Again. Oh What a Day. Because of You. You Rock My World. Hallelujah. Wonderful. Bubbly. Overjoyed. Zip a dee do da. This Magic Moment.

From My Heart to Yours. Thanks and Praise. Danke Schoen. Thank You For the Music. Thanks For the Memories. All Because of You. Earth Angel. You’ve Got a Friend in Me.  

What a Wonderful World.


It’s My Birthday and I’ll Stalk If I Want to!

23 Aug

It’s my birthday today! Yipee! Wahoo! Commence applause, joyful cheering, and prayerful thanks for my existence! It’s the 23rd, I’m turning 23, and it’s a Tuesday, which is the same day of the week I was born on 23 years ago. Clearly, this will be a magical, epic year.

A lot of people have certain birthday traditions that help make their special day memorable–whether it’s a favorite meal, a standing date with friends, or birthday margaritas. My grandma used to take a picture of me sitting in her rocking chair every year on my birthday. When you flip through, you can watch me go from a baby that needed propping up to a 5’10 gal who blocks the chair. I’ve always been grateful for my grandma’s creative idea, and I know it’s something that I will do when I have kids of my own. 

My family has a special Happy Birthday song that we’ve always sung to each other on birthdays. The lyrics go like this:

Today, you’re one year older
and you’re growing up the way we want you to
So we planned a big surprise
walk with me, and close your eyes
Oh look, your friends are waiting here for you! 

[traditional Happy Birthday song: Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you etc.]

Make a wish and blow out the candles
wishes for good boys and girls come true
Now hurry and cut the cake, we can hardly wait
As you open your gifts we’ll sing once more to youuuuu

[repeat traditional Happy Birthday song]

Now, since several people in my family are slightly tone-deaf (okay, very tone-deaf–sorry Grandma), we always played the actual recorded version of this song, too. My grandma had the record for a long time and somewhere a long the line, somebody transferred the song to a cassette tape. My little branch of the family has since lost this precious tape.

Nobody remembered who sang the song, or what the album was called. Nobody knew the title of the song, but everyone guessed it was some variant of “the Happy Birthday Song.” I didn’t despair, however, because I knew most of the lyrics and I imagined I could just type them into Google and the song would pop out. I’m a child of the internet age and I trust the mysterious Web to answer all my questions.

I picked a portion of the lyrics and plugged them into the search engine. I got three–count ’em three–results. One led to someone who was also searching for this song, for the same sentimental reasons. (I feel ya brother!) The other two were completely unrelated. Over the course of several more days, I logged hours and hours of internet searching. I tried different variations of the lyrics. I searched each individual line of lyrics. I tried quotations marks around the words, the words by themselves. I thought maybe I’d strike gold with Youtube. There is a lot of birthday music on Youtube. I found the Beatles’ Birthday Song, a tribute by Elvis, and then this odd version. Then there was a great musical birthday moment from Boy Meets World, a diddy by The Three Stooges, and Burt and Ernie’s celebration for the letter U. And of course, who can forget Marilyn Monroe’s breathy performance?

This all made for some good entertainment and hours of distraction, but where-oh-where was MY birthday song? I found dozens of other people who were also searching for this song, but it appeared that no one had been successful. The very fact that this song didn’t seem to exist according to the internet–an impossibility, since everything can be found online–turned this whim of a hunt into an obsession.

Then, by some magical combination of search terms and with some lucky clicking, I found it. Sort of. I found a woman’s ancestral blog, a blog dedicated to her genealogical research and family tree. This woman devoted a blog post to a relative’s birthday and included a lovely slideshow of mostly black and white photographs that highlighted his early years. The slideshow’s background music was–you guessed it–the song I’d been searching for.

Although this woman’s blog was public, I assume that it is intended for her and her family. I felt a little, well, stalker-y as I watched her relative’s childhood flash on my computer screen. I was so excited to hear this music that I actually played it several times and even held the phone to my computer so my grandma could listen.

Now, of course, I could just play this slideshow full of strangers whenever I want to celebrate a birthday with this song. However, I haven’t given up hope of finding my own personal copy.

That’s why I clicked around until I found this woman’s contact information and emailed her with a plea for song information–artist, name of song, album title, anything. I tried to phrase my email as un-creepily as possible. I tried to downplay my musical desperation. Hopefully, since this woman’s blog is devoted to family, she’ll understand how much this music means to me. I don’t know if she’ll read my email or not, but I figured it was worth a try.

So that’s my little birthday stalking story. Okay, so it definitely doesn’t rival Kim “The G is Silent” Pugliano’s Passat Saga. (Check it out if you haven’t already–you gotta love an addicting neighborhood mystery told with wit and humor). But I think I’m at least in the stalker-with-good-intentions minor leagues.

I hope you all will have a bubbly drink or a slice/scoop of a snazzy dessert (my birthday cake is a homemade Baked Alaska, in case you were wondering) to celebrate my birthday. You deserve it.

Oh, and P.S
If  the universe decides to mess with me and one of you reads this and knows exactly what song I’m talking about, I swear I’ll have a freaking heart attack.

Cheers!

How It Feels to Catch a Rubber Chicken in Your Mouth

31 May

This is how I felt after discovering that my post Fun With Allergies! had been Freshly Pressed last Friday. I was going to try and describe it with words, but after trying for half an hour and not getting beyond it feels freakin’ great! I decided that a picture says a thousand words. See how this dog caught that rubber chicken? The triumph! The unparalleled joy! That chicken is a prize and it will be treasured!

Okay, in all seriousness, being Freshly Pressed last week was a really great writing-affirming experience. It was the second time my words have been featured on the WordPress homepage and I was no less thrilled or grateful. Like the last time, this Freshly Pressed post was a light, just-for-fun kind of thing. But to have someone (lots of someones!) identify with it and find the funny? That means a lot. 

As you may know, this came on the heels of a job letdown. I’ve been feeling a little lost. But if I can’t control the rest of the universe, at least I have power and the chance for ultimate expression in my own little blogging world. Here, apparently, I can be funny and my words can be touching. Here, my words have a life outside of my own head. (It’s good for them to socialize.)

Anyway, thanks for reading, subscribing, and commenting. (Speaking of comments–in the beginning, I wanted to respond to all of them. As more and more piled up, it became harder. Just so you know, I do read and appreciate every one….) I hope you’ll continue to read and comment and enjoy. 

Now, I’m off to toss toys at my dogs and see if any of them catches one and feels Freshly Pressed. 

Oh, For Pete’s Sake

26 May

Well, I got some bad news about that thing that happened a few weeks ago. Now that the universe doesn’t depend on my silence, I think it’s safe to say that the thing was a job interview and the bad news was a polite no. Though I was not exactly surprised, the news that they had “opted to pursue another candidate” was still a downer. It was the first job I’d been excited about in a long time and oh, how I wanted to be pursued.

My reaction to the rejection included an unusually emotional response to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the consumption of a (mostly) Gin and (very little) Tonic, and then the obligatory oh-God-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life panic. And I baked. I baked a lot.

I like baking when I’m upset. I can get frustration out through the aggressive whisking of ingredients, or during a forceful round with a rolling pin and some dough. Or, I can be calmed by the careful cracking of eggs, the familiar comfort of recipe cards written by my aunt, my grandma, my mom’s cousins. There’s something satisfying about gently measuring sugar, but I also like to pretend I’m as good a cook as my mom and grandma and eyeball things as they’re poured into our big red bowl. That looks like a cup, I think. Or , That was about a tablespoon. Breezy. Confident. And then at the end of it all, you’re rewarded with something good to eat. I can think of no better therapy.

So, the day after the job letdown, I baked. I made candied nuts, and mercilessly picked apart my interview as the walnuts bubbled and became glittery, crusted vanilla and sugar fossils. I had been nervous, my voice a little higher than usual. I had rambled while answering one question, hadn’t responded long enough during another. My outfit was boring. My shoes were too big. Maybe I should have bragged a little more? I stirred up Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip muffins (more like cupcakes without the frosting) and, spooning the batter into cupcake wrappers, thought about fate and signs and doors that open and close. The recipe should make a dozen muffins—I got eighteen and had to fetch another pan for my runovers.

I zested lemon for my version of Lemon Sugar Cookies (similar to the recipe found on the wonderful blog Let’s Talk Cookies) and the kitchen immediately radiated a crisp citrus smell. I considered making a Lemon Pudding Cake, a favorite of my family’s. Stirring vigorously, I accidentally sloshed some of the liquid onto the counter. I scooped dough onto sheets and growled to the dogs, always hopeful kitchen helpers, to get out of the way.

Then, I dropped an egg. In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal—but it threw me off my game, disrupted my rhythm. I grabbed paper towels violently, and swore louder than necessary. For the first time in hours, I sat and broke into a muffin. I crunched a few nuts and waited for the cookies to turn golden.

In the book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, the main character can taste the emotions in everything she eats. They are the emotions of the person who made the food, and upon the first bite she immediately knows all the intimate feelings that swirled during the stirring, measuring, heating, kneading. My candied walnuts and Raspberry White Chocolate muffins didn’t taste like any emotion, but imagine if they did. No amount of sugar would cover those insecure nuts. And I definitely wouldn’t want to sample the feelings in those muffins.

I gave half of my baking results away, some to my grandma and some to her neighbor Pete. I feel a little protective of Pete. His wife died recently, and you can see how it weighs on him. Last week, Pete gave me a ride to pick up my car at the garage where it was being serviced. I felt badly, taking him away on an errand (and a little embarrassed that my grandma had roped him into it), so when I thanked him for the lift, I really meant it. “No, thank you,” he said. “Thank you for saving me from a lonely afternoon.” There was silence for a few seconds, then he said quietly, “I’m lonely most of the time, these days.”

So when I was done with my cathartic cooking, I made sure to give Pete a pretty little jar of nuts and an assorted plate of muffins and cookies. Out of a job disappointment, I got tasty gifts for a sweet, lonely senior who, luckily, won’t taste any turbulent emotions in them. I’m not sure if that’s a silver (cupcake) lining, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment.

Looking for some similar kitchen therapy? Scroll this way……

Stop Acting So Candied Nuts
a.k.a Bavarian Sugar Almonds/Candied Nuts from My Baking Addiction.

Ingredients
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 tsp. of vanilla extract if you are using regular granulated sugar instead of vanilla sugar)
1 tablespoon water
1 pound nuts (normally like to use almonds or pecans, but this time all I had was walnuts–still good!)
3/4 cup vanilla sugar, or regular granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons of fine grain salt (or vanilla fleur de sel, if you’re the type that would have it)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
2. In a large bowl, combine egg white, vanilla extract, and water. Beat mixture until frothy. Stir in nuts and mix to coat.
3. Gently combine sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt and stir into nut mixture, thoroughly coating all nuts.
4. Evenly spread nuts onto prepared baking sheet and place in oven.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring/shifting nuts every 15 minutes. (The stirring part is very important, otherwise the nuts will stick together into one brittle mess.)
6. When cool, pack in an airtight jar. They will keep at room temperature for about 2 weeks.

Shared Joy is Doubled Joy, Shared Sorrow is Half a Sorrow Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Muffins
a.k.a  Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins from one of my favorite cookbooks, Peace Meals

Ingredients
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pint raspberries

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray, or line with wrappers.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the yogurt, then the white chocolate chips.
4. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt (the batter will be stiff). Overmixing the batter makes muffins tough, so use only 10-15 strokes to incorporate the dry ingredients.
5. Gently fold in the raspberries. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cups.
6. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Sugar Cookies
a.k.a the cousin of The “Can’t Eat Just One” Lemon Sugar Cookie
Here, I adapted the recipe from Let’s Talk Cookies.  Once I figure out how I merged the LTC recipe with another one I had, I’ll type it out and share. The problem with merging/experimenting is trying to get the same result a second time!

Oh My Words — I’m Versatile!

4 May

versatile (ˈvɜːsəˌtaɪl)

–adj

1. capable of or adapted for many different uses, skills, etc.

2. variable or changeable

3. ME!

You are reading the words of a versatile blogger! I have been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by both Scriptor Obscura and The Novice’s Journey. (Special note to The Novice: I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to write about and pass along the award–but please know that I am very grateful that you read and enjoy my blog.) I am very happy for readers like these and very happy to be labeled “versatile.” When I started this blog, when the only people reading it were two of my best friends and the occasional lost googler, I worried that my blog topics were too bouncy. A story about grandma here, a quick word about a quirky news story there–it wasn’t like I had a theme. But as it turns out, my words weren’t wandering–they were versatile.

Anyway, like anything worth having, there are a few responsibilities and stipulations with this award. They are:

1. Post linking back to the person that gave you the award.
2. Share 7 random things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered blogs.
4. Drop them a note and tell them about it.

And so, here we go.

15 Versatile Blogs I Enjoy Reading (in no particular order)
Some of these weren’t “recently discovered,” but as a versatile blogger I reserve the right to veer from the rules by just a little bit. I know, I’m a rebel.

1. Gone for a Walk
2. Away with Words

3. Gin & Lemonade

4. Girl on the Contrary

5. Let’s Talk Cookies

6. Drunk Literature

7. A Full Measure of Happiness

8. English Major Junk Food
Can I use EMJF? Ash, are you technically a blog? Oh well, I’m pleading ignorance and listing you anyway.
9. How Did I Reach Sixty?
What happened to you Nan? Haven’t read your words in awhile…
10. Sea Sweetie’s Pages
11. Belle of the Carnival

12. A Striped Armchair
13. The Edmonton Tourist
14. After I Quit My Day Job
15. Your Servant in the Kitchen

And, because you must be dying to know….

7 Random Things About Me

1. I have size 11 feet. (I didn’t know what to put for my first Random Thing, so I decided to jump in, feet first.) For me, shoe shopping can be as emotionally taxing as bathing suit shopping. I am this close to shopping in the men’s section–and actually, that may not be a bad idea because  I’m pretty sure that men’s shoes are 1,489,263 times more comfy than women’s shoes.  

2. I studied abroad in Milan, Italy during my junior year of college. I had an amazing experience and was lucky enough to travel all over Europe. I saw Obama give a speech in Prague, soaked up art at the Louvre, felt a tug on my soul in Greece, and gelato-d my way around Italy. I am so grateful for the amazing experience, but I still have regrets–things I wish I had done or things I did but wish I had done better. When I’m in a proper state of mind, I remind myself that I can always go back. I have a Europe To-Do list and it gets longer every day!

3. I have weird, physical reactions to awkwardness or embarassment. It doesn’t matter if the undesired awkward/embarassing moment is mine or someone else’s, all I need to do is think about it, see it, or remember it, and I feel squirmy. Sometimes I have to close my eyes or clench my fists, and I often feel an awkwardness-inspired shiver scurrying down my back. I’m pretty sure I experience vicarious embarassment (it’s a real thing!) and I figure this makes me a better, if squirmier person.

4. When I say “wash,” there’s an “r” right in the middle. Basically, when I say “wash,” it rhymes with borsch. I get this from my grandma and mom, and since they’re both from Pennsylvannia, I figured it was a Pennyslvannia thing. So far, though, I’ve never met another Pennsylvannian who says “warsh.” Go figure.

5. During college, I had to choose between taking a second-level creative writing class and being a tutor for an elementary school student. I had tutored at my college’s community literacy center two times before, and absolutely loved it….but I love creative writing, too, and it was my last chance to take it. I chose tutoring, and I don’t regret my decision–I had the cutest, sweetest student. But I do occasionally wonder what I would have accomplished writing-wise if I had taken that writing class.

6. It really annoys me when people are prejudiced against small dogs. If someone says small dogs aren’t “real dogs,” within my earshot, they better be ready for a lecture or a damning judgement of their character. I’m not saying Bubba the Biker has to love terriers, but he should be aware that they have just as many loveable characteristics as any “full-sized” dog. It’s the size of the heart, not the size of the dog, dontcha know.

7. Without fail, I tear up when watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Specifically, I tear up when they move the bus and the family sees their house for the first time. This is puzzling to me because I do not cry easily–although, technically, tearing up isn’t crying. Anyway, seeing the people so happy and excited and crying tears of joy is some sort of trigger for me.

Another definition for versatile? Being able to kick butt and rock a purple mini dress

Freshly Pressed, Paralyzing Surprise, and Powdered Sugar

5 Mar

 

Here’s how my day went yesterday. I woke up, took a family friend to the airport, and ruthlessly ignored an angry-as-a-bear coffee craving. I took grandma and her candy-apple red walker to Target to buy off-black stockings. It was very important that they were off-black and not midnight, jet, or ebony–I don’t know why, but I generally make it a rule not to question the whims of a 92 year old woman with a candy-apple red walker. By Order of Grandma, I had to get down on my hands and knees and weed through the depths of stockings–not the most graceful moment of my life.(Picture a racoon, who appreciates a bargain, foraging in Target’s hosiery department.)  This was followed by lunch at La Boulange where they messed up our orders and I had to work up the nerve to tell them so. (I hate doing that!) Grandma bought me an almond croissant (aren’t grandmas great?) and I tucked it away to eat later. 

You still with me? I’m going somewhere with this, I swear.

I brought grandma home and did a few chores for her–changed a light bulb, got a teapot off the top shelf, dusted the windowsill. When I got home, I decided it was croissant time. This was an epic, magical, croissant–I’m talking the kind of pastry that almost inspires a religious experience. I idly logged into my email while I was eating and when gmail informed me that I had more than 150 messages I was so shocked that I actually put down the divine danish. There were WordPress emails as far as the eye could see! At first I thought it was a mistake. I’ve been having a problem with traffic scams (fake-out hits that indicate bogus readership) so I thought this was more of the same. I retrieved my croissant and clicked on one of the comments. Amidst some lovely praise was “Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!”  

I inhaled my croissant’s powdered sugar and choked.

This was no delicate little cough at a cotillion. I wheezed so hard that the dogs scattered (so much for loyalty–not a Lassie among them). I choked so violently that the table and my computer with its game-changing email rattled. I tried to breathe in sugar-free air, but somehow ended up hacking more. (Is it possible to die from powdered sugar inhalation? Someone should study this.) Disbelieving, I quickly clicked over to the WordPress homepage (oh me of little faith!) and there it was, my 5 Stages of Cleaning.

I was speechless. I sat there, covered in powdered sugar, speechless.

Eventually I called my grandma. First, it took several minutes to explain what a blog is (and that it’s not pronounced ba-log). Then, when I told her the name of the featured post, she wouldn’t stop laughing. “CLEANING? Bahahahahah! You wrote about cleaning? That must have been a short article! Bahahaha! Just imagine–you, cleaning!” Okay, not exactly the trumpets-blaring, my-granddaughter-is-so-witty reaction I was going for.

It doesn’t matter though, because even Grandma’s bout of hysterics (honestly, I was worried about her heart she was laughing so hard) didn’t pop my bubble. I’m still on a Freshly Pressed high (not unlike a powdered sugar high) because the readership has been undeniable and the comments have been incredible. I know this is a roller coaster ride (that’s how it was described by one of my favorite bloggers, Girl on the Contrary) but at the moment I’m definitely going up up up. I just want to let all of you know that I really appreciate all the subscriptions, likes, and comments. Besides finding the funny in life, my day-to-day goal is to write things that inspire oh-me-too! moments. In the end, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that the 5 Stages of Cleaning hit a chord with so many people–shared misery will do that. For all you cleaning sympathizers, I invite you to check out this book. What a philosophy!

Okay, if this were the Oscars the get-off-the-stage music would be playing really loudly right now. Ijustwanttothankmymotherandmygrandmaforbelievinginmeandlaughingatmeand
mydogsandmy11thgradeteacherandmybestfriendsandformerroommatesandandand
justTHANKYOU!


P.S I am slowly reading all the comments and trying to respond to a lot of them. In the meantime, because I value you so much as a reader, you (yes, YOU) should treat yourself to an almond croissant. Just don’t inhale.