An evening with Amy Krouse Rosenthal brownpapertickets. I know it's been a really long time since I wrote anything on here. I suppose that almost anyone reading this knows that I've been "talking" on Facebook rather than here. It seems I can't really do both. So for those of you who enjoy my comments or essayettes, please look for them on my Facebook page. This website will be useful for biographical information and news about books and events and recipes, though, so I hope you're come over and visit sometimes.
And thank you for your interest and support. December 20, I have gotten lots of wonderful Christmas presents in my life. I suppose I'm typical in remembering most strongly the gifs of childhood: Also the time I got the teddy bear I called Hope, whom I still have. But the other day I got another wonderful gift. I awakened in the morning to the adoring gaze of my golden, Homer, who'd gotten up on the bed during the night and was stretched out alongside me with his head on a pillow.
It made me laugh out loud, which made him thump his tail. I came downstairs and got a cup of coffee, then went into my study to work, and it started to snow. It was the kind of snow that looked like someone had torn up lace, and it drifted down slowly and so beautifully for hours.
After I finished working, I went to our little downtown to get some shopping done, and coming down the street was a sleigh being pulled by a team of horses wearing jingle bells. The sleigh had wheels, which was a good thing, given that the snow hadn't stuck. Outside one store was a group of carolers wearing old fashioned clothes: I have to tell you I devastated when I learned there was no Santa. I remember sitting out on the curb knee to knee with my best friend Cathy, saying, "Well, maybe there's no Santa Claus, but there is definitely an Easter Bunny.
No one would make that up! Even if they girls would deny being innocent, even if they would resent being called innocent, that is how they looked. This concert was a fundraiser, and in the lobby there were gingerbread cookies lying on a paper plate, ginger men and ginger ladies, so many it looked like a small nation, and they were only five dollars. I bought them before the concert started and brought them in with me so they could hear too.
I sat behind some teenage girls, and one was fooling around with the another's hair the whole time, carefully laying this strand over that and the effect was really very relaxing. It reminded me of my friend Phyllis, who used to pay her neices a quarter to mess around with her hair--gently! After the concert I went to a holiday party where I knew almost no one, but enjoyed a freindly chat and some wonderful food and an excellent martini which I drank from a plastic glass featuring a holly and berry design.
When I went to bed, I realized I'd had a perfect day. Joy lay on my chest like a cat. Good thing it wasn't a real cat, because it would have gotten in the way of Homer repeating his lie-on-the bed move, which he did happily that night. Merry Christmas to all who don't mind hearing it.
May the new year bring up hope, happiness and a measure of sanity to our inglorious Congress. In the spirit of the season, I offer the following recipe: Pull beleaguered turkey from refrigerator. Also pull out all the other leftovers.
Get out the icky white bread, the kind so soft it folds over in your hand before you've even done anything to it. Wonder bread is best, but take care not to get any of that vile enriched or WW stuff. Spread both sides of the bread with a lot of mayonnaise. The goal here is to have mayonnaise squishing out of the sandwich every time you take a bite. Pile on some turkey. Pile on some stuffing. Pile on some cranberry sauce. Pile on some potato chips. Pile on some gravy and also some green bean bake.
Keep telling that person that this is YOUR sandwich, no, they cannot have a bite, if they want one, make their own. Only the little one. The little ones are best because they fit properly in the hand and they have the right amout of syrup and also they remind you of Santa Claus whom you like even if you don't believe in him because he's s such a good guy and because old as he is--and jeez, think how OLD he is! Photograph your sandwich from a few different angles.
You will use one of these photos to have a t-shirt made to sleep in and to remind you that next year you can have another sandwich just like this. Not before, or your doctor and Michele Obama will get you. Take a huge bite. Chew until it's all gooshy. Then call your little grandchildren over by using a series of grunts and gestures. Say, "War a bi? When you have finished eating the sandwich, go to the kitchen and get out the left over pie.
You know what to do. October 16, On my last day in Positano, I went with my friend Lauren and her husband Rino to Tramonti, in the hills of Amalfi, to vist a vineyard. Lauren had gotten a call that today was the day: The ride up into the hills was so beautiful: A videographer who works with Lauren was waiting for us so that he could lead us to the place where the cutters were working these grapes are cut by hand, not machine.
I was struck by the pride and apparent joy of the cutters, who held bunches of green grapes up like a trophy, the sun illuminating the fruit in a way that was living art. Add to that the quite literally indescribable beauty of the hills in which the vineyard lay, and you'll have some idea of what a sensory explosion it was. I was moved to tears, which kept on falling even as I was smiling, then laughing. After the vineyard we visited Amalfi, and Lauren and I went to the Cathedral of Amalfi, down into the Cloister of Paradise, which is a jewel box of a place: Then we had lunch at a seaside restaurant: The food was so good there were no words: We ended up at Lauren's house and talked for a long time and then, for perhaps the third time, I said I really should go.
I shouldered my purse and moved out onto the balcony facing the Tyrrhenian Sea and the hills of Positano, where, in the gathering darkness, the lights were beginning to come on; here, there, over there. Rino selected the wine, a lovely rose, then uncorked it. He set out beautiful glasses which shone even in the darkness. Then he set about to light candles. The ones Lauren had put out were not to his satisfaction; he had to find prettier ones. This he did, and we sat in the candlelight drinking wine and talking, talking, talking, saying a long farewell, which is the only farewell Italians seem to know how to do.
I had a sense of being there fully in the moment, but also of being in a dream. It is both, there in Positano, all the time. I will be going back to Italy to teach another writing workshop, perhaps next time in Venice, or up in a small hill town, for I found that I really love inspiring people to write.
This was a happy surprise for me. I will also be doing the same workshop I did in Positano in the states, probably in the cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston and San Francisco. I will post details here and on my facebook page once I have them. It will take a little while; I want to get all the details worked out first.
Meanwhile, I'm going to dream again about the apartment I saw for rent in Positano. And it had a fantastic view. I walked in, looked around, and turned to the landlord to say, "Uh oh. October 3, This Friday, I go to Positano, Italy, where I'll be teaching a writing workshop and taking a cooking class, along with the rest of the participants.
See it at cooking-vacations. But last night I woke up at 3AM, worried about what to pack and all the other bump-in-the-night things associated with traveling: Or catching the flight, but the flight is doomed: Apparently our wings have fallen off. Feel free to take along our complimentary in-flight magzine when you exit the aircraft. I fall asleep and start drooling and awaken to see my seatmate watching me with ill-disguised disgust.
And then it turns out that my seatmate is in my writing class. I miss my connection. I get no sleep on the plane and arrive at my destination sobbing because when I don't get enough sleep I get verklempt or however you spell that over everything. I lose my passport. I get sick and have to be hospitalized. I tried my version of prayer, which is basically, "Okay, game on. What do they dream about? What is it that makes them whine and twitch their paws that way? I am grateful for books for many reasons, but this is perhaps their greatest triumph: