Gratitude and Grandpas: A ‘Thank You’ Note

Years before I ever started to blog I taught two weeks of blog writing to college freshmen and sophomores. They could blog about anything, but they didn’t. Their collective range of self-selected topics was fairly narrow: “The O.C.” a Fox primetime soap starring that guy with the eyebrows like midnight’s caterpillars, weight loss, weight gain, the beginning/end of a relationship, high school.


In retrospect, that’s a rich range. It covers a lot during a time of life when, for lots of folks, things are really starting to happen. Why was I getting cynical and condescending on all these aspiring PR execs and Rolling-Stone exposé-writer wannabes? Was it the typos? Was I not seeing the forest because all the dangling modifiers and gratuitous caps were getting in the way? Well, typos were on the grading scale. They had to be addressed. Every classroom is a rainforest when you’re teaching early-college students how to write.

“Can we just deduct five points from anyone who writes about eating too much, not eating enough, or a blog about Milwaukee’s best restaurants?” I one day joked.

“Or dead grandpas,” my colleague typed back in our email exchange.

Reality check. Today I am a soccer-mom whose singular literary contribution is a late-night blog where I talk about food and dead grandpas. What am I doing here? And what’s your excuse?

Thanks for your thoughts, your time

Actually, what I am trying to say is “thank you.” From my mom who wrote me a sweet, “I’m practically a Democrat now”* response to “National Pancake Day,” to my husband who promoted that post on his facebook page and quadrupled my total readership in a couple hours, to, a faraway friend who offered me condolences and a reblog — people I know, plus a few who I don’t, have said real nice things about my grandpa and my writing. This is meaningful and motivating during what has turned out to be an exhausting and emotionally fraught week in ways that I so. did not. expect. Stories for another time? Maybe…

Now, about the chutney

Tonight I had hunger pangs for bhel puri, but any chaat would have done. Something in-your-face fresh and colored like a rainbow and tasting like the chaos and character of Mumbai — at its best, of course — is what I wanted.

This reminded me. Chutney Challenged. This is a food blog and I need to get back to it, simmering with renewed focus and adventure once life settles down just a bit. To all who followed me here seeking Milwaukee’s answer to Padma Lakshmi: do be patient. There may be no chutney right now, but I remain challenged. Very much. Always, I promise. And the chutney will come again. I promise.

*That’s really not at all what my mom said, but what she said was very kind, very loving, indeed.


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