Thursday, May 15, 2008

Herd the Gorilla Bear

I am very excited, because we have a visitor! My cousin Scarlett is visiting from the Bay Area for the next few days. Other than for a day back in February when my mom flew in for my shower (and so did Oldest Friend), we haven't had any visitors in a really long time, so when Scarlett said she wanted to come hang with us for a while I said GREAT!

Scarlett is the big sister I never had, someone who I consider a blood relation even though we share no drops of blood between us. Her mother was my mother's best friend in college, who ended up in a relationship with my mom's half brother (they didn't actually marry until they'd been together for like 15 years!) Scarlett was the flower girl for my parents' wedding and she remembers the day I was born. Though I am the oldest of three sisters, in many ways I have always felt like Scarlett was my big sister who only came for visits sometimes. When we were kids, she would sometimes stay at our house for a few days during winter break, usually before Christmas. Because of that, we developed quite a few family holiday traditions - we would make up plays (one called The Death of Abigail Root, which took place in Salem, Mass.) and perform them for our families, we slept under the Christmas tree two nights before Christmas, and we saved up the change we made from selling tickets to our plays to buy treats: special cookies, pistachio nuts.

Sometimes we'd do make-believe type games, like pretending to be babies living in an orphanage in Boston, or pretending to be executives at an advertising agency and making up ad campaigns (including slogans and jingles) for various products and services. Once Scarlett started to tell me a story, all about a princess and a man in black; it wasn't until I saw the movie a few years later (on video) that I realized she was telling me the story of The Princess Bride. I have fond memories of us doing things together like teaching my little sister, at approximately two years old, the banana boat song (you know, Day-O! Day-O! Daylight come and I want to go home).

Scarlett is nearly four years older than I am, so I always looked up to her. She was the one who introduced me to Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, to the Eurythmics, to Prince's purple rain. I looked up to her, looked forward for weeks to her visits, and was disconsolate for days after she'd go home. As we both got older and she was in high school, she no longer came for long visits, but we still saw each other at family holiday gatherings. I missed her when she went away to the East Coast to go to college, and was thrilled when she moved to the Bay Area after graduation, living just across town and then a few blocks away from me while I was in school at Berkeley. We hung out pretty frequently until she moved to the city, and even then made time to spend together.

Scarlett has done some amazing things in her adulthood. She's still every bit as creative as she was when we were kids, and puts her creativity to good use in her writing and other projects. She and a group of her friends read a different book each month and get together to discuss it, also bringing food associated with the culture in which the book takes place (they call it Iron Rainbow, which is Iron Chef meets Reading Rainbow). She saved up for a couple of years, quit her job, and traveled in England, China, and Mongolia for six months. I am so happy to know her as an adult and as a friend, not just my older half step cousin*, subject of my early hero worship, but as someone who I genuinely like, respect, and enjoy spending time with. I am so glad she came to visit and hope she enjoys the Mile High City.

*Dan pointed out to her sometime around the wedding festivities that they were now half step cousins-in-law. Hee!


Anonymous said...

Say hi to her for me!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Completely random:

So years ago I tried the TJ's in-a-box butternut soup and HATED it. It was sweet and runny and disgusting.

I know you mention butternut soup on and off as a comfort favourite.

So this weekend I saw some beautiful pre-cut butternut squash at Whole Paycheck and have been stuck on the idea of butternut squash soup. One accidental stumbled upon recipe on Allrecipes later...I can't get it out of my mind.

So the fates conspire against me yesterday and I forgot my lunch and what do I remember but the fact that Wolfgang Puck Express across the street from me sells BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP.

OMG. Where have I been all this time?

The best part of this story? It know...

"curry powder"

I could taste curry powder and ginger in his version yesterday. I'm sure his was all fatted up with loads of cream and more butter than necessary. But get this-I am making it this weekend and I'm using


Did you predict that or what?

I'm going to experiment with the curry powder first, though I may move on to using regular garam masala. Still, it had such a lovely taste with the regular madras curry powder.

What do you think of veggie vs chicken broth?