April Love prompt, “love note to self.”
You are like the blossoms on a cherry tree — your natural expression of yourself such a wonder, such a welcome surprise. You don’t need to do anything but be as you are and you bring such joy, such beauty to the world.
April Moon prompt, “The moment I enter the kitchen I feel”: happy, safe, nourished. It’s surprisingly the place the dogs are the most relaxed, content. They’ll sprawl out and snooze right in the middle, as we carefully step around them. Eric spends a lot of time there — cooking, reading, listening to the radio — and leaves me love notes on the counter when he knows I’ll get home before he does. It’s more his space, but it feeds me too. I wrote something about it a year or two ago and have never found a place for it, but it’s still true and this prompt reminded me of it so I’m going to share it with you here. I think it was in response to a prompt from Laurie Wagner’s Telling True Stories class. (Another session of that starts up May 4th. You should check it out.)
Most of the time I can find you standing in the kitchen, or on the couch with one or two dogs, or in a lawn chair on the patio; almost always reading. The kitchen isn’t really that great of a space. We call it the Hallway. The technical term for the style is galley kitchen. Two people and two dogs make it seem even smaller. If you open the oven or fridge, there isn’t enough room remaining for anyone to walk past. We say “excuse me,” “look out,” and “move” a lot in that space.
We had the whole kitchen redone about a year after we bought the house. Not because we were unhappy with it, in fact we loved the early 60s style cabinets and retro look. But, a longstanding dishwasher leak improperly fixed by the previous owners had completely rotted the subfloor and we had to gut it and start over. However, we hadn’t planned for it and didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so though updated, it’s still a regular, pretty small and just okay kitchen. And some things, like the long block of fluorescent lights that you don’t want to update because you like the quality of the light, were left as is.
There are a few reasons you spend so much time in the kitchen. One is you do most of the cooking. I like to bake, but you’re the one who makes dinner every night, (that’s where you are and what you’re doing as I write this). I cooked for the first five years we were together, except for the bird at Thanksgiving, which you did because I couldn’t stand to, as it still looked way too much like the original animal. But then when I was in graduate school, I got too busy—teaching, taking classes, writing my thesis, so you took over. By the time I could have taken the chore back, we’d realized that you actually liked cooking. This is how many of the chores in our home have been assigned: you either don’t mind it or you even like it and the other might even hate it, so you do it.
You watch shows like Iron Chef: Japan, and America’s Test Kitchen, have a subscription to Cooks Illustrated, check books out from the library about the history of various foods and spices or DVDs about home canning or bread making, and request cooking gear (pans, knives, quick read thermometers) as presents. Sure you grill like the stereotypical man, but you also make an amazing peach tart.
Another reason you like it in the kitchen is if the oven got used, you like to open the door and lean on it, soaking up the residual heat, (we’ve had to reattached the handle on the oven door twice because you lean on it so much). Your radio is also in the kitchen, tuned to satellite stations playing radio shows from the 30s and 40s or NPR’s Splendid Table or Moth Radio. You often listen to the radio while simultaneously reading a book or magazine. You read a lot, making good use of the library and Al’s News in Old Town. You like mostly nonfiction—local or world history, stories about people climbing Mount Everest or crossing the Antarctic or hiking the Appalachian Trail, philosophy books, or how-to books about building fences. Currently, you are reading “Life in Medieval Times,” Outside magazine, and a book on how to build greenhouses.