Dear Charlie ChoochooTrain-
A year ago today we brought you home. You were a scrawny guy with a patch of poop crusted onto your hip. You had no attention span and even fewer manners.
I was at yoga when papá went to meet you. I couldn’t do it. I refused to visit another shelter unless I knew we were coming home with a dog. It destroyed me to see all those precious faces wishing for a home, and walking out without granting a wish. When I got the text saying I should come meet you, I knew I was in trouble.
You came bounding into the play area, giving me a quick sniff before ignoring me to investigate a ball. You weren’t the most affectionate or playful, and preferred to hang around the perimeter doing your own thing. I get it. That’s my instinct with new people, too. Nonetheless, your head was so big and face was so sweet, we knew you had to be ours.
I drove behind you guys the whole way home, … Read the rest
I have a crush, and it’s getting serious. It started as they do – an innocent flirtation, wondering if it’s all in my head or if my feelings are genuine. I’ve been fighting my instincts, poorly attempting to rationalize my way out of it – the brain and heart have a long history of clashing on this topic. I can’t deny it and need to come clean. I’m falling in love with Missouri.
Oh Missouri, with your disarming blend of Midwest sincerity and Southern charm. Your “have a blessed day” well-wishes, and referring to grocery bags as “sacks.” Even your armadillo roadkill and boring baseball rivalry make me smile. Every day you show me something new that makes me wonder how I lived so long without you. Oh, I get it now! Is this why you’re called the “Show Me” state?
At first glance, we don’t have a lot in common. You’re a little conservative and churchy for my taste, but I am enchanted by your kindness. Your broad, confident shape is unlike any … Read the rest
What’s the secret to a happy marriage? Everyone has an opinion. Honesty or communication? Perhaps trust, compromise and patience? These are foundational – the flour, butter and baking soda in the good-marriage recipe. If you’re married, you’ve concocted your own special recipe, and I suspect it’s gone through various iterations with different ingredients over time.
Huzzbot and I just spent our third anniversary in Iceland. Though we’re still rookies in the marriage game, we’ve whipped up a pretty dope recipe so far. Our key ingredients include adventure and exploration. These two work together like yeast – giving rise to our marriage, expanding our boundaries and widening our ability to tackle the world together. Each adventure creates nooks and crannies for us to put all the stuff life throws our way. We are endlessly curious and eager to see the world and try new things – not only together, but independently. Losing sight of your personal growth and solo adventuring is a sure-fire way to destroy your recipe.
I learned the Icelandic people have a recipe … Read the rest
Before falling in love and marrying my husband, he was just my run-of-the-mill co-worker. (Scandal!) He was the cool dude with a nickname for everyone and a well-timed joke to bust up the room. I distinctly remember him never able to eat office birthday treats or potluck salads because of an egg allergy. I had never met anyone with an egg allergy and was confused how someone could exist in a world without quiche or cake. I felt so much pity for him and his senseless affliction.
Fast forward a couple years to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We’d been dating awhile and were excited to escape the Minnesota winter. We arrived in paradise after a long, turbulent travel day, and were finally able to unwind and eat dinner. About 10 minutes in, he said his mouth felt weird and must’ve eaten something eggy. “Itchy mouth” is his first indication of an allergic reaction. We hurried out of the restaurant to the hotel room where he spent the next five hours violently ill in the bathroom … Read the rest
I’m constantly working hard to earn “wifepoints,” a recognition system invented by my husband that determines whether I earn his “Wife of the Year” award. I get points for thoughtful gestures like buying treats at the grocery store or bringing a beer to him on the couch. So far, I’ve always won the award, and though I’m the only one in the running, I don’t want to chance it by slacking off. Huzzbot has often talked about visiting Mystery Cave State Park in Preston, MN. He’s been weirdly fixated on it. I knew I’d earn a heap of wifepoints if I planned a road trip that included the cave.
Naturally, I mapped bakeries along the way. On our way south, we stopped in Rochester at one of Daube’s Bakery’s two locations. Daube’s has been around since 1987 and is known for their cakes – notably the carrot cake – fritters, cake donuts and kolaches. They also have irresistable, chunky loaves of rustic bread. I tested the chocolate covered cake donut and poppyseed kolache. I’m going … Read the rest
This past spring, I took a Sunday morning walk to Rustica to enjoy a latte and chocolate croissant. I sat near the window and took out my journal for the usual scribbling and daydreaming. Halfway through a sentence, I wrote, “Yum. I should really be documenting these.” Over the next three weeks, I sampled 10 unique chocolate croissants comparing flakiness, chocolate flavor, density, size and shape. I have notes jammed in the margins like, “very puffy, like maybe too puffy,” “top like plastic,” “not too much chocolate to be annoying.” Profound stuff.
During this time, I researched pain au chocolat (its fancy name) and studied recipes detailing the intensive rolling, chilling and waiting process involved in producing them. I learned one very important thing – I’m not interested in baking them myself. I’m simply interested in eating them, finding ones that taste great and sharing my discoveries with you.
If I were to put an ad in the personals, it would look like this:
Married 30-something female seeking a crispy-topped, structured, flaky pastry with a
… Read the rest