Tag Archives: Family

Thankful

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With A traveling this week, being crazy-busy at work and not been able to be my usual social-runner self, I’ve been particularly thankful for the incredibly encouraging and kind emails, comments, and text messages I’ve received all week from friends and family. Although I’ve felt a little out of the loop with my running community the last couple weeks, what with tapering and now injury, it’s made me feel so much better and put me in such a better head space knowing that so many of you thought of me, have checked up on me and are rooting for me! I’m so lucky to have such an amazing network of people in my life.

You all rock my socks every day!

You all rock my socks every day!

What are you thankful for this week? What’s making your joyful?

 

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Home Alone

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Whenever A is out of town, I always send him goodnight pictures of myself and the dog. I don’t know why I started this, but now A really looks forward to it. It’s nice to know your family back home is thinking of you, especially when you’ve had a long day at work. I’m not really one to take selfies (unless they are, for, um, purposes that would not be internet-posting appropriate) but it’s worth it to take a couple seconds to do something that makes us feel closer when we’re apart!

Here are some of my favorites from this past year:

Let me come with you?

Let me come with you?

Nose in the camera.

Nose in the camera.

Why can't I be this photogenic?

Why can’t I be this photogenic?

Look at me, dog!

Look at me, dog!

This is pretty much what I look like before 9am and after 5pm.

This is pretty much what I look like before 9am and after 5pm.

Goodnight Kiss!

Goodnight Kiss!

Do you do anything special to stay in touch with your family when you’re not with them?

Happy Birthday, Noni

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Before you were born, and right before we moved to Indiana, mommy and daddy sat my three-year-old butt down for chat one morning. I doubt my memory is accurate, but I remember gathering near the big TV on a brown rug, mommy in a floral nightgown.  There was another baby growing inside of my mommy, and in a few months, I’d have someone new to play with.

I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. There’s no way something like that could really happen, I told them.  But mommy’s belly grew and I finally had to acknowledge that something was going on. Since I was pretty little myself, I convinced myself that you would be my twin (because I didn’t actually understand what twins were, obviously) and that we would be inseparable.  We would have a bond that was unbreakable and we’d know each others thoughts and always be there for one another.  I remember imagining all of the fun adventures we would have together and getting so excited for you to come out and play with me!

The day you were born was freezing cold and an ice storm. Mommy and daddy dropped me off at a friends house with all the things I’d need to spend the night, but you were born so quickly I didn’t need to spend the night. You came home soon afterwards, and there you were, my “twin” baby brother, in all your glory.  Mommy and daddy said you peed on all the nurses when you came out.

Since then, we’ve had our ups and downs. We tortured each other growing up as most brothers and sisters do — me, getting you in trouble so you’d get your mouth washed out with soap; you, scratching my eyeball so I’d have to wear an eye patch; me, tattling on you when you smooched with your first “girlfriend”; you, always insisting on hanging out with me and my friends.  We’ve had years where we’ve grown closer and years where we’ve been far apart in both distance and emotionally.

But, through everything, you’ve always been my little brother and I’ve always loved you and wanted to protect you in such a fierce way. When you broke your wrist, I remember thinking when you fell that you were crying for attention. As you ran towards my friends house and our mom, you let out this blood-curdling scream and I dropped everything I was doing and ran after you. I knew something was very wrong. I remember coming home after a long afternoon at the hospital with you and seeing your homework assignment on the table: “This is what my  name looks like with my left hand.” And then your name was scrawled out in awkward, big letters across the page. I burst into tears, because you had just broken your left wrist and I was so sad that you wouldn’t be able to use it for so long, afraid you’d fall behind in learning.  I wished so hard that it hadn’t happened to you, felt like if I had watched you better it wouldn’t have happened. I promised myself I’d never let you hurt like that again. I know I haven’t managed to follow through on that promise, but I still try my damnedest.

I love being a part of your life, watching you learn and grow. I loved helping you with stupid homework assignments, and when you’d come to visit me in college. I loved discovering how to make dumplings and scallion pancakes with you, fashioning together a weird makeshift steamer in my college apartment and then feasting on our delicacies. I loved coming to visit you during culinary camp and while you went to college. I loved screaming as loud as I could with mommy at your high school graduation, and sneaking in noisemakers for your college graduation.  I loved meeting the love of your life.  And I’ll love seeing you get married, open your first restaurant, buy your first house.

Life hasn’t been easy for you, and at times you’ve struggled with that, but you’ve always triumphed over all of it. I always knew you would. I always tell people that you’re my favorite person and it’s true. I admire you and your perseverance and your strength.  I am so proud of what a smart,hardworking, passionate  and truly kind person you’ve blossomed into — so proud, sometimes, that it makes me feel as if I’ll burst at the seams with all of it when I talk about you or mention to someone how you’re doing.  You’ve grown into the most amazing person I know and I’m so lucky to be able to call you my “twin.”

Happy 23rd Birthday, Noni!  I hope this year brings you so much joy.

All my love,

Noodles

 

Brie Cheese

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Cheese is my greatest weakness. Any diet I have ever started has always failed because of cheese. Until I became an avid runner (I suggest this, if you’re an avid eater, by the way), I always had somewhat high cholesterol, and, truthfully, I blame it on the cheese.

One cheese in particular has always had a uniquely special place in my gluttonous palate, and that is the achingly smooth, sinfully buttery brie cheese. I haven’t met a brie I haven’t liked, and this is why anytime I’m invited over to a dinner party or family affair, there’s always a rather generous wedge of brie and some disembodied voice cries out from the kitchen, “Rachel! That brie is for you! I know how much you love it!”  Even if I wanted to count calories, how could I not indulge in something someone thoughtfully purchased and displayed just with me in mind? And so I have just a little nibble, which, with a little wine, and very little self-control when it comes to culinary delicacies I have deemed a “favorite,” I somehow manage to choke down a substantial hunk of the glistening, cream colored treat.

A Wheel of Brie

I firmly believe I have my father to blame for my particular penchant for brie cheese, as he introduced it to me when I was just barely stumbling into toddlerhood.  This was when he, my fiery-haired mother and I used to live in Los Angeles and headed to the Hollywood Bowl every so often.  We would arrive early, and at some picnic tables on a hill behind the amphitheater, we would hurriedly feast on gleaming, succulent red grapes and tender brie cheese. I’m sure there was some cheap, but good enough, bottle of wine bought at Trader Joe’s, which my parents would share, but I, at the ripe old age of 2 ½ , was mostly fixated on the rich yet mild cheese.

All three of us would savor the moldy wedge, but my mom, would always peel away the opaque white “skin” that covered the creamy interior of the brie, and my dad, whose favorite part of brie is this “skin,” would eat her discarded bits. As a young girl, I strove to emulate my mother as closely as I could, and would demand my brie be served to me in skinless pieces too; convinced I hated both the taste and texture of this formaggio’s exoskeleton.

As I got older, we moved away from L.A., and my parent’s relationship faded, as did my own relationship with my father, and while cheese wasn’t enough to patch my parents back together, I’m fairly certain it was that same cheese we shared at the Hollywood Bowl so many years earlier that started to strengthen the bond between me and my dad again.

The summer he moved out of our family house and into his own apartment was the same summer I moved away to Boston for college. When I came home for Christmas break later that year, I begrudgingly made dinner plans with my dad and his girlfriend, Gretchen, and I remember the walk to his grungy building as though it were a death march. When I arrived, I was greeted by the usual sheepish grin and awkward, paralytic silence characteristic of my father, but there was also a peace offering already out on the table: the ubiquitous slab of brie cheese.

“It’s brie cheese,” he stammered, obviously proud of himself. “You love brie cheese. I got it just for you.”

I think I rolled my eyes, and, in a moment of teenage-angst-induced resolve, refused to eat any of his “peace cheese”, or to take it with me at the end of the night, when he carefully wrapped the untouched piece in plastic wrap and handed it to me, his eyes sad.

It would be several more years, and many more chunks of cheese, before I appreciated how much my dad actually cared and before I saw him as a human being, one with raw, deep emotions. One day, at lunch, I was served a sandwich with brie, skin still attached. I was still squeamish about the skin, but gave it try, and discovered I actually loved the earthiness and complexity this outside layer added to the whole brie experience. I suddenly had a new appreciation for the depth food could harbor. Maybe this was why it was my dad’s favorite part – unable to communicate the depth of his emotion, he relied on the cheese, deliciously smeared between two crusty slices of French bread, to speak for him.