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Dear Diary – It’s the month for ghost and goblins, and last night I had a terrible fright. I caught my reflection in the microwave with a ghostly creature hovering behind me. It was nearly a full head higher and it was smiling menacingly with gleamy white pearly teeth. It was my youngest son still delighting in being taller than me. The scariest part – he’s not done growing!

Dear Diary – I always thought I wasn’t vegetarian because I was too lazy. Or because I was raised on good country beef. Turns out, it’s both plus vegetarian cooking requires way more skill and planning that I possess. I baked a red lentil pie this week. It was a marginal success. This time, it wasn’t my fault. I followed the directions, even though I questioned the ratio of water to lentils. I ended up with slop, which Hubby patiently drained in my baking sieve. The pie turned out okay but my family was underwhelmed. The best part really was the pastry, and it came out of a box. I think I should stick to steak. 😉

How low as people do we dare to stoop, making young broccolis bleed in the soup?
Untie your beans, uncage your tomatoes, let potted plants free, don’t mash that potato!

Arrogant Worms, Carrot Juice is Murder

Dear Diary – After investing what felt like our life savings into repairing the sewer line (I could not stand another 27 hour day), we still have toilet troubles. It continues to be a fickle fiend that doesn’t always like to flush. The other morning Hubby woke me gently to ask me to “work my magic”. He had tried but he doesn’t have “the touch”. Most women want to be praised for their fantastic food or their breathtaking baking, not their pure plunging skills. But since I can neither cook nor bake without procuring disaster it seems, I’ll take it. I will be his queen of the latrine.

Dear Diary – It was supposed to be a quick trip to the fabric store, not a 3 hour tour. In the rain. But that’s what happened. My friend was like a kid in a candy store, running from display to display choosing fabric she would love to have as a mask. I understand. I get giddy in the store too. It’s why I own pounds of printed paper for papercrafting, which sit in a drawer, unused. They’re too pretty to just give away! But I’m also holding purse strings that are worn terribly thin and I have to be restrained. Somehow, I ended up also going to 2 drug stores, a convenience store, a grocery store, and Tim Horton’s. I sat in the car for most of those, slightly soggy and confused as to why I wasn’t home by now! I wonder if the people on Gilligan’s Island ever felt this way?

Dear Diary – I was blessed this week to re-connect with a couple friends in person and it made me realize how much I almost miss human contact. I spent a pleasant afternoon in a neighbour’s garden, being sassed by a squirrel while we caught up. I brought my own tea, because tea and conversation go so nicely together, and I left there feeling refreshed.

Another afternoon, I visited with an old friend (old as in known a long time) and it felt like no time had passed since our last meeting (which was several years ago). We were hesitant at first, until she passed me a gift…

I simply couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled inside and gushed out like a geyser.

We grew up together. My parents and grandparents were friends with her parents so there were monthly rotating dinner gatherings. While the adults played cards, my friend, my brother and I made our own fun. Our families sometimes camped together. We served in church together. My mom taught her piano and after her lesson, she’d join us to watch Star Trek or Little House on the Prairie (depending on if it was my night or my brother’s).

Where do the lips come in? One summer we worked together as guides in a historic house, a living museum. I had grown up in this house too, volunteering from a young age alongside my Mom. It was my dream summer job!! On Wednesdays, we baked bread in the brick oven. On Thursdays we served Scottish Cream Tea, hustling as cooks, servers and dish washers. Sunday afternoons, if it was quiet, we were prepare out own tea time with thick dollops of leftover whipped cream.

It was a tough summer. Some new patrons with big plans and narrow hearts alienated and hurt all of the faithful volunteers who had served in the house for decades. The director and assistant director resigned. They were replaced by snobs who knew nothing and cared nothing for the “home”. For them it was a place to host wine tastings for the “important people”, and we were caught in the middle.

We made up a song that summer, mostly to help us laugh, to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas, starting with the new director, “an over-anxious, up-tight, red-lipped broad”. “Lips” as we called her – because she always wore a thick smear of glossy, red lipstick painted “outside the lines”, liked to float around in costume and tell us what to do. She was completely incompetent and we had to hold her hand for everything! By the end of the summer, my heart was so broken, I never went back. My friend went away to college, and while we’ve kept in touch, we’ve lived apart.

So we sat on my back porch in the autumn chill, draped in lap blankets, drinking tea and savouring scones. We talked about the challeges of the last year. We talked about emptying nests and new beginnings. And we talked about getting together again. Soon.

It was kind of nice to talk to someone who knew me when I was young and stupid, and who recognizes that young, stupid person still inside of me, and doesn’t judge me when inner stupid shows her face. (Like when I lost the butter knife through the cracks of the porch. I will not be crawling under the porch to retrieve it. I’ll use my finger from now on).

Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that!

Ally Condie, Matched