Hey, remember when I used to blog regularly? Sigh. Here are a few tidbits from the last [gulp] 4½ months:
Tidbit 1: I think I must be the ideal demographic for the Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? since I watched the show religiously as a child. I mean, it was all I could do not to sing along with every song during the movie. I still remembered every word, and every puppet's name, and every square inch of the set. I've tried to explain to the kids that, first of all, there wasn't a whole lot of children's TV in those days, and there certainly weren't any other "screen time" distractions—no computer, no videos, no video games, no tablets, no phones, no apps, no nuthin'. But beyond that, it was Mr. Rogers himself, of course. He was the first one who said to kids, "I like you just the way you are. You're special. You are loved." It sounds so corny to my kids and so obvious, but that just wasn't the way grownups talked to kids in the 1960s and '70s. Anyhow, I loved every minute of this and wept like a baby during some parts.
Tidbit 2: My book group met in June to discuss Less by Andrew Sean Greer, but I couldn't make it, so I only just read it this past weekend. Wow. I can't remember the last time I was so captivated by a writer's style—the prose was so sparkling, so inventive, so warm and engaging, I started fretting early on that it was such a short book because I knew I'd want more when it ended! I also really and truly laughed out loud on at least a dozen occasions in the book—one time so hard that I had tears streaming down my cheeks and couldn't return to the story until I composed myself. I can't recommend this book highly enough. (And obviously the Pulitzer folks felt the same way!)
Tidbit 3: I see that I haven't been here in so long that I never even talked about the annual ACES meeting in Chicago! (ACES stands for American Copy Editors Society, but the name was recently changed to The Society for Editing as a way to include international editors and other kinds of editors—development editors, line editors, slot editors, etc. It's still referred to as ACES, though.) Usually we meet in March, but the organizers wisely pushed the date back to April to allow for the chance at some decent weather, and it was a great decision! The meeting was at the Palmer House, which is a gorgeous Old World–style hotel (now a Hilton, but still elegant), with a grand lobby that was ideal for 700 (!) editors to meet for drinks, Scrabble, drinks, chitchat, drinks, etc.:
Oh, and of course we also had full days with lots of interesting workshops and sessions (I presented again!), plus the usual spelling bee and a cocktail party at the headquarters for (nerd alert!) Encyclopedia Britannica:
(If you think that's the nerdiest thing that happened, you obviously didn't see my button proclaiming that Merriam-Webster has finally gotten rid of the hyphen in the word good-bye:
Yes, we were that excited.)
And food! I had been instructed not to ask for ketchup on my Chicago hot dog under any circumstances, and I even spotted this sign in the hot dog joint down the street:
Fortunately no one noticed that I used some of the ketchup meant for my fries on my dog! Don't tell. (I also tried the famous deep-dish pizza and was not won over.)
Tidbit 4: The following delicious recipe is not your typical summertime fare; indeed, Julie and I made it during one of the snowpocalypses last winter, but I never got around to posting it. So here goes:
1 (5- or 6-ounce) bag baby spinach
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2½ cups milk, divided
1 pound elbow macaroni
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound white cheddar cheese
In a food processor, buzz the spinach, parsley, and ½ cup of the milk until smooth. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the elbows and cook until al dente. Rinse with cold water and drain.
In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat; add the flour and stir until golden brown. Add the remaining 2 cups milk and the seasonings and stir until smooth. Add the cheese and mix until well incorporated. Add the spinach mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in the pasta and serve!
Tidbit 5: This isn't really a tidbit but more of a quick summer catch-up. All's well here. It's nice to have a full house again, although juggling 3 cars and 5 full-time jobs has been interesting at times! Steph is working at a daycare center (she starts student teaching in the fall!). Pete is working at the same running shop as usual. And Julie is a camp counselor at the day camp they all went to—this is the first summer I haven't had to send them a check in 15 years! We did make it up to Ogunquit a couple of times, in various familial configurations—and in fact I actually did no work whatsoever for one entire weekend, which is something I haven't been able to say in many months. (Yes, it felt great!)
How's your summer going? What are you reading and watching and eating and doing?