An Open Letter to My Kitchen Sink

Dear Sir:

I am not sure if our ongoing business relationship is going to work out, despite having several productive years together.  You see, I am simply not sure how I can satisfy you professionally anymore.  You run slowly, and I plunge you— several times.   Yet, you back up again.

I pour down all kinds of Liquid Plumber and other chemicals that their peddlers swear would help you in minutes.  They did no such thing.  So, I went to go and get some lye, which the man at the hardware store says comes highly recommended by the Mafia for the disposal of bodies.  Apparently, and thankfully I suppose, there is not a human body part in your pipes anywhere, because you still back up. So, then on yet another recommendation,  I bought some sulfuric acid, even though buying sulfuric acid and lye within several weeks of each other is frowned upon these days.  (I absolutely refuse to buy you cold medicine— don’t ask.)

I haven’t used the Liquid Fire sulfuric acid yet, because it came in a plastic bag and with a warning label that basically reads that I really shouldn’t be using sulfuric acid at all but, if I do, I should make my will out first.

So, here’s what I have done instead:  I have spent several hours “snaking” you, clearing out whatever crud I can find in your grease-laden pipes.  When I hit a dead end, where one pipe fed in to another, I went down my basement, found an opening to the new pipe, and snaked it too.  Alas, for all my efforts and after about six feet in to the pipe, I located another 90 degree turn. All the while, you insist on backing up.

In, summary, I feel as if I am giving in this relationship and receiving nothing in return.  I must insist that you being helping me help you, or I may have to consider washing my dishes out in the bathtub for the time being, because I absolutely positively refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on you by ripping out a wall, sending a camera down your pipes, or filling you up with some sort of witch’s brew that supposedly works when the official chemical of Mafia assassins does not…

Yours sincerely with honor and love,




I had extra tomatoes and basil to use and decided to make Mrs. Young’s famous pasta dish.  It’s one of our favorite meals in the summer.  It has tomatoes, basil, garlic, pasta, olive oil, and mozzarella (which I still need to add).  Served, as she suggests, with Merlot, it’s possibly the most perfect pasta dish of all time.

And, for some reason, this morning, it’s made me feel very homesick.  I wanted to write to Mrs. Young and tell her how much I love her and her wonderful cooking.  I remembered her aprons with sayings about always cooking with wine (and sometimes putting it in the food too).  I remembered family movie nights and Rosary groups with their family.  And I suddenly felt very nostalgic.  She threw the most beautiful bridal shower for me nearly twelve years ago.  It was so elegant with china, crystal, bright blue hydrangeas from her garden, and Oregon sunshine.  Oh, how I miss her!

So, thank you, Mrs. Young (and the Young family) for your friendship and sweetness to us.  Somehow, this morning, I’m feeling very homesick for long-time friends and family.  And I’m very grateful for your presence in our lives.


Emily =)

Anniversary 2012

We are admittedly lazy in the romance department, ringing in our anniversaries by going out to eat (and often including the children).  And with a few exceptions, we can never seem to remember what we did for our anniversaries later. We try, but with kids, dogs, bills, and the other cares of life getting in the way, we never seem to have money or the time to do something really memorable and/or personal.

This year, however, we were determined to do better.  Twelve years together is something to celebrate.  And you never know how many years you’re going to have with someone.  Each anniversary (and each day, for that matter) should be celebrated as if it’s your last.  We are very grateful for the gift of one another and, despite our limitations, we wanted to remember this anniversary celebration.

We started celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary on Saturday, the night before.  We invited a whole bunch of friends over to pray the Rosary with us and enjoy some food and fellowship.  Every month we get together with other families from our parish for a potluck Rosary group.  This month it was at our house.  Emily made spaghetti, french bread, and a veggie tray (from our garden).  Except for the garden veggies, it was the same as our first dinner together in our first apartment.



Charlie and Matthew picked out the yellowy-peach roses.  Rose and Emily added all the other flowers (lavender, mini pink roses, and butterfly blossoms) from our garden.  The crystal candlesticks were a wedding gift.

We shared a cake and champagne with our friends.  The cake was fantastic–even if the bakery did get our wedding colors wrong.

Outside, the sky grew dark.  The wind roared, thunder boomed, lightening flashed, and the rain poured down.  We sipped hot drinks, watched the candles flicker, and enjoyed visiting with our company.  It was really coming down hard outside.  The 4th of July fireworks had been cancelled due to lack of rain (the burn ban), but rescheduled for that night.  We were sure that due to rain, they were going to have to reschedule again.  Oh, the irony!

As we tucked ourselves into bed that night, we heard (& glimpsed) fireworks from our windows.  The rain cleared up just enough to get that show on the road.  We missed them, but it was still neat to have big fireworks on our anniversary.

The next morning we went to Mass and, afterward, renewed our vows.  Upon coming home, we made breakfast and read for a while as a family (one of our favorite pastimes).  Then Emily gave Matthew the first of his twelve gifts: a shirt and silk tie.  Well, at least we think it’s silk.  It didn’t say.  Silk and linen are the traditional 12-year anniversary gifts.  And these are our wedding colors.


As you can see from the pictures, only three presents were ready in time for our anniversary, but Matthew will have 12 days of presents.  It means our anniversary celebration will go on and on and on (until the mighty Greeks are gone, yea-ah…).

Matthew gave Emily the gift of his time and attention, which is her very favorite gift in the world.  We talked, laughed, read books together, ordered the children’s school books, and just enjoyed being in one another’s company.

We are also digging through Quicken and our old calendars so that we can remember our past anniversaries and create something personal so they won’t be forgotten.  Perhaps some artwork or some type of decor for our house?  We’ll keep you posted on what we come up with.  Meanwhile, happy anniversary to all celebrating anniversaries this year!

Stuff and Nonesense

We apologize for the delay, but things have been busy.

The recent thunder showers finally lifted the burn ban.  4th of July fireworks will be this Friday, August 3rd.  The grass is growing.  The garden is growing.  And our water bill can finally stop growing!

The children have been taking swimming lessons.  (when there haven’t been thunderstorms).  We’ll have to post some photos… or video…. Rose and Charlie turn into chickens of the pool, complete with squawking and flapping.  And, at this pool, which is at someone’s house, there are actually live chickens wandering around the pool area.  It’s quite unexpected.  Clearly, there is some kind of subliminal chicken influence going on.

Here’s Charlie.  He tells visitors his name is Charlie, but they can call him Charles for short.  To a little girl at swimming class he announced, “Hi!  I’m Charlie, but most people call me Crazy Chunky!” while whirling around with a flourish.

Our friend, electrician, and general handyman, Tim, stopped by and knocked out that rascally baseboard radiator for us.  Matt merely asked him what tool he might recommend and he stopped by and cut that bad boy right out.  He said it was easy and would only take a minute with his reciprocating saw.  It was amazing!  And it did only take a minute.  Now, why didn’t we think of that?  Clearly, we need a reciprocating saw.  Just think of all the things we can do with one of those.  There are only several more rooms around here with defunct radiators.  Hmm….

One of our neighbors, who, for the record, considers herself an agnostic, drew the most amazingly detailed picture of our church and gave it to us.  We’re talking individual bricks, minute shadowing, leaves, the works.  We are all in awe.  We–all of us–frequently stop and stare lovingly at her work, grateful to own such a masterpiece.  One of the most interesting details is that, from her perspective, a large pine tree blocks the view of the front doors.  In real life, there is a pine tree on either side of the church, but they do not block the view of the doors, which are quite prominent.  Her placement of the tree in front of the doors seems symbolic to us of her own obstacles to entering the Church.

For perspective, here’s a photo of our church:

She could use some prayers as she was recently in a horrible, life-threatening motorcycle accident and air lifted to the hospital in the next town over.  She is home and doing better, but missing teeth and prone to headaches and dizziness.  The gift of this drawing was her way of thanking us for a meal and flowers we brought over after the accident.  Whenever we look at her drawing, it reminds us of her and her thoughtfulness and generosity.  And we pray for her and her family.

In other news, the circus is coming to town.  Seriously.  They are coming to our very small, we-never-heard-of-this-place-before-we-moved-here town.  What are the odds?  The elephants even put up the tents.  Or so we’re told.  We’re not yet sure if we’ll be going, but it’s the biggest news around here since the 4-H fair.  Whoopee!

And that’s all for now.  What about you?  What have you been up to lately?  Any home improvement projects?  Swimming lessons?  Getting ready for school?  Have you experienced a drought and relieving rain this summer too?  Anyone else experiencing a belated 4th of July or circus coming to town?