The Apple Pie, or Baked Goods Betrayal

I went to Whole Foods. I saw the apple pies. I love apple pies. I love my mother’s apple pie the best, but when that’s not available, a good-looking apple pie sure can tempt. But a whole pie? Those, I thought, are too big. I just want a slice, not an event.

Then I saw the half-sized apple pies. Still too big, I thought. I just want a taste.

Then I saw the tiny little apple pies. So tiny. So adorable. Whole, complete pies in little single-serving sizes. And one apple pie left. It was meant for me.

I brought it home and vaguely threatened my husband so that it would not get eaten by accident. I thought about it several times. I thought about it while I was making dinner. I thought about it when I was finished dinner. I thought about it while we were reading books to the children.

Finally, the time came. I opened the little clear cover. I got out a nice knife. A special occasion deserves a good knife. I wanted to relish this little treat.

I cut into it, gently, pulled the knife back, and...




Trifextra: Week Sixty-Three

Writing Challenge

This weekend we're asking for exactly 33 of your own words inspired by the following quote from the book you could win in the WBN giveaway. Good luck!

“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” ― Paulo CoelhoAlchemist

Here's my entry.


Something had changed, that time we played tennis. No longer did he watch from behind the invisible cloak of priest. He stood before me as a single man. Awkwardly. Eyes and lips ready.


The Admiral Told Me To Write It, or What Makes You Think I Can Write?


A number of years ago, I took an informal poll of my family, including some once-removed folks, to find out what they thought I should do for a living, if I were to stop doing what I do for a living.

They unanimously said I should be a writer.

Not one of these people had ever read anything that I had written. Ever. And yet they were all in agreement. Except my mother, who thinks I should be a stand-up comedian. More on that another day.

So what did they base that on? My personality? How much I drink? My SAT verbal scores?

I do have a B.A. in English from a fine private university, but this proves very little. It implies that I can read and think, both useful things, but it doesn’t prove that there’s ink in the pen. I could have writer’s Tourette’s. I could write like Heidegger. I could make obtuse references that would probably offend anybody deeply read enough to understand them.

So I did not become a writer. Instead, I kept working long hours, got married, and had some kids. More material, probably, but less time, certainly.

Enter the Admiral.

I was fortunate to work with a retired Rear Admiral in my professional life. Nobody works harder. If something needs doing and nobody is doing it, he becomes an expert at that task and gets it done. He is modest with his astounding credentials and only puts his foot down when necessary – but when he does, once will usually suffice. He also smoothed my ruffled feathers, and I am not the only person in his life that he has advised generously.

He told me to write a book. He said: “Write it.”

You can ask my Book Club about how often I actually finish reading a book, much the less writing one. But the Admiral told me to write, so I am writing. Slowly, I’m finding my way, finding my voice. Perhaps someday there will be a book. If so, he will get the first copy.

This Sums Up What’s Wrong with My Life, or Does Anybody Know What the Hell This Is?

This thing. If you have any idea what this is, please, please let me know in the comments section.

This thing. If you have any idea what this is, please, please let me know in the comments section.

This little yellow plastic thing has been haunting me for months. It showed up in the kitchen one day, and nobody in my house knows what it is. It goes from counter to bowl to shelf to window sill, waiting to be recognized and reunited with whatever it goes to.

And I can’t throw it away. Because I’m not rich.

Whatever this goes to will need it someday, and I don’t want to have to buy a new whatever it is.

Last year, someone threw away a small piece of red plastic and it turned out to be essential to a computer adapter. Without that adapter, I could no longer use my old printer, which worked great. I had no reason to buy a new one until I no longer had a way of connecting to the old one. My efforts to replace the adapter failed, and I had to replace the whole printer.

Waste not, want not. Katy Waldman described this conundrum well in Slate Magazine, in which she responds to a story about Graham Hill, a childless kajillionaire bachelor who downsized to a 420-foot studio apartment.

Mr. Hill breathes rarified, purified air. I am so glad he’s pulling as little as possible from our planet’s resources. I think many more people should follow his lead. Especially childless bachelors, who don’t need room for a diaper pail and diapers and a crib and a rocking chair and a changing station and toys and clothes and a bouncy saucer and a stroller and a swing and bottles and baby food and formula and unbreakable tableware and bibs. By all means, get your wardrobe down to 20 items that are dry-cleaned weekly. And make sure when you marry you find someone who does the same. Good luck with that.


We could all do with less crap. It doesn’t feel good to have all this crap everywhere. Especially if you’re home a lot, having been, say, laid off last week. If you have the time, and don’t feel stressed about not spending that time pounding the pavement oh my god I have got to get a job. You might feel a little better if you cleaned up some of this how the hell did our house get to this point?

So here’s your chance to make a dent. But how do you pare things down? “What if I need this someday?” speaks louder than “Can I get rid of this?” because it speaks from a place of fear and caution. So the little yellow thing gets put back on the counter, or in a drawer. It doesn’t do any harm there, in and of itself, amongst all the other things. It doesn’t take up much space.

But it takes up a little energy, thinking about it, trying to find something else in that drawer that has one too many things in it, and all the little energies add up.

So I’m going to try.

First, I’m going to start to decrapify my home. This is based on a web site with a much more dramatic term. Here are their top four fundamentals, very abbreviated:

1.      Make an effort for 20 minutes at a time. Don’t overdo it.

2.      Put things away, especially dishes and laundry.

3.      Get rid of stuff.

4.      Get off your ass and do something, anything

Today, I put away all the laundry, and the dishes are done. I feel like I accomplished something. I hope to give it at least 20 minutes per day, and maybe even start getting rid of some crap. As for that little yellow thing? I’m sure I’ll figure out what it goes to any day now. I'll probably come across its home while I'm decrapifying.

Money Versus Sanity, or Yes, I'll Pay That


I have not been grocery shopping in years.

Sometime during my second pregnancy, I discovered that grocery stores deliver, and that was it. I might swing into a store to pick up odds and ends, but the bulk of it comes courtesy of a beautiful green truck. $7 for delivery and a $5 tip for the driver.

But then I got laid off, which is some scary shit when you’re a single-income family. Suddenly those dollars, while a small expense, was an unnecessary expense. I’m not working, why don’t I go myself? Every little bit helps, no use throwing your money away.

So for two hours in the middle of the day on a Thursday, while the kids were being tended to, I strolled up and down the aisles with my list. Which list, incidentally, I had compiled by going to the online ordering site I usually use and writing down what I would have ordered online.

Here’s what I did not do during those 2 hours:

  • Look for a job
  • Pay bills, which are late
  • Pay my taxes, due in 2 weeks, refund expected/needed
  • Apply for unemployment benefits
  • Take care of my kids
  • Exercise
  • Prepare dinner
  • Clean anything
  • Write
  • Back up my computer files
  • Anything else

Here’s what I accomplished:

  • Got groceries for the week
  • Remembered to get coffee, which hadn’t been on the list
  • Exhausted myself

Did I get the best price for everything? I don’t know. It’s easy to tell online which item is the lowest price per ounce. And a few items slipped in into the cart that I wouldn’t have gotten (like a roasted chicken, how good are those?!). I really can’t tell if saving that $12 is cheaper or not.

Even if it is, isn’t my time worth more than $6/hour? It feels like I spent 2 hours not doing something more important. Next week, I think I’ll click “submit order” instead.