Listen. I promised you a long time ago I would never write about my dreams, since, whenever anyone starts telling me about one of theirs, I have to fight hard to stay awake.
But I’ve gotta tell ya.
Lately, I think I’ve earned a master’s degree in conjuring stressful scenarios in my sleep. Sometimes I wake up and I’m actually impressed.
A few weeks ago, I was walking back to my car after a not-fun errand at Walmart. I looked at the sky, which was grey, and then I looked at the pavement, which was grey. I walked faster as I approached my car, which is white.
But then I looked more closely at it. There was grey there too, around my bumper, just around the wheel well. I bent over and saw a long series of nicks — almost like a zipper — in the paint job, ones so deep they had removed the paint.
I looked around, wondering if this had just happened. But what kind of vehicle could have caused this kind of injury? It wasn’t a case of someone rubbing it as they pulled out, as that would have caused a dent and a scrape. But these were nicks, almost like cuts.
At that moment, I decided two things:
- Somehow, some way, I must have done this to my car, though I had no memory of it.
- I was going to wait until my stepdad Peter arrived for Christmas before I said anything to my husband about it.
At 3:19 a.m. on Dec. 22, I received a text that said, “We’re here!”
I had been sleeping on the couch with the doggies to try to keep the rest of the household — my parents in the basement; William, who had to work in the morning, in our bedroom — sleeping despite this late-night arrival. I looked outside and saw a sight that has happened about eight times since I moved to Kentucky: my little brother Matthew standing in the driveway.
For the past few holiday seasons, I’ve been making the deliberate effort to start some new traditions. The sweetest of those takes place in a tent. Features a woman named Prue. And constantly makes me want to pack it all in and move to merrie olde England.
I’m speaking, of course, of The Great British Baking Show.
If you haven’t seen it, let me quickly fill you in on its concept. It’s a baking competition between a group of amateur bakers asked to make sometimes traditional, sometimes outrageous confections by judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. As with the case of Survivor, one baker gets eliminated at the end of every episode until just one remains standing.
When I saw a picture of the amaryllis bulb, as big as a pomegranate, as pale as parsnip, posted on Jon Carloftis’s Instagram feed, I knew I had to have it. To think that I could own the giant, splashy flowers that grew out of it, that I could watch them bloom year after year, at Christmas time, no less, was just too glorious to resist.
It would be for sale at Rockcastle River Trading Company’s Christmas Open House. And baby, that was terrific news indeed.
If you haven’t been to this charming gift store, complete with gorgeous gardens, you’re missing out. The writers of Southern Living have actually likened it to Eden, and it’s only about a 30-minute drive from Somerset.
“It is nostalgia. Everyone knew what that Old El Paso box meant.”
So said the ever-wise Jessica Crockett as we conducted a conversation about last night’s dinner.
I had had a hankering for tacos. But not el pastor tacos. Or lengua or chorizo. Heck, not even chicken. The truth is, I didn’t want today’s terrific tacos at all.
I wanted tacos from the ’80s.
You know, the ones with cheddar cheese. And iceberg lettuce. And taco seasoning poured from a pouch.
Last Thanksgiving, I conducted an experiment. After having made enough mashed potatoes and gravy to feed a not-very-small army, I decided I would test my limits. I would eat mashed potatoes and gravy every lunch and dinner until, a), we ran out, or, b), I got too sick of them to eat anymore.
Result? After seven days and 14 straight meals, we ran out potatoes.
Last week, I lost my daytimer.
That may not sound like a big deal, certainly not one deserving of its own paragraph, but I can assure you it-a was-a veray bigga deal to me. I even temporarily developed an Italian accent.
There are a few elements that made the experience especially disturbing.
- I am too stupid to graduate to electronic daytiming, so everything is written down in my old-school daytimer, including (and don’t tell anyone) all of my passwords.
- I was keenly aware of the last time I used it, which was only 16 hours before I couldn’t find it.
The event made me remember interesting behavior that surfaces when I’m looking for the lost. This thus (and yes, I’ve been waiting my whole life to place those two words beside each other) made me curious to know if you react in the same way.
Yesterday, I opened my inbox to discover I had 627 new messages. This was interesting to me, given that:
- I am not important.
- I am not popular.
- I don’t especially like to shop.
- And I am not overly interested. In general.
But, somehow, over the course of a year, my incoming mail has become an onslaught. And so, I find myself smack dab inside Unsubscribe Season, during which I scrutinize every email I receive and decide whether or not to breakup forever with its sender.
Well, folks, you’re looking at one big, fat hypocrite over here. I’m not proud of it, although, surprisingly, I’m not especially apologetic either.
Still, it seemed important to make that admission and to make it publicly. Because, at the end of the day, I know what I am. I’ve become something I’ve always felt pretty comfortable being critical of.
It started, as all good stories do, at T.J. Maxx last weekend.