Friday, November 03, 2006

An Apple Pie Without Cheese

When I was a little girl I remember my dad quoting this phrase: "an apple pie without cheese is like a hug without a squeeze." This usually served as the intro for Mom's dessert or a holiday treat. And, yes, I developed a taste for apple pie with cheese – usually with a chunk of nice mild cheddar.

In fact, the quote is actually "an apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze."

Rowley Leigh mentions this phrase and its possible origin on

An English fruit pie is frequently not sweet at all. Apple pies in England were often almost savoury and sometimes eaten with strong cheese. "An apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze," went the old saying. The Kentish apple pie went further and introduced a layer of mature Cheddar under the crust.

Throughout my life with Dad we developed our own variations of this saying:

An apple pie without cheese is like….

…a cold without the sneeze

…a tree without the leaves

…a lap without the knees

… a car without the keys

… the birds without the bees

…a ship without the seas

As with most things about Dad, I prefer his original version. It’s one of the gifts he left me – every time I indulge in a slice of apple pie I hear “an apple pie without cheese is like a hug without a squeeze.” I hear it in his voice and in my mind’s eye I can see the mischief and delight in his eyes. I remember how he loved my mother, his children … and apple pie.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
Ususally attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson but current postings debate this. Regardless it has become my personal "mission statement".

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Can you call it writer's block if this is your first attempt to write for public consumption? Can you even call it writer’s block? Blogger’s block?

I like the concept of blogging. It’s kind of like graffiti on the Web. However, for better or worse, words on the Web live forever. No sandblasting, no urban renewal. For those of you who know my fear of commitment (I don’t even like massive furniture) this can be an overwhelming responsibility. It’s not quite the same as writing in a journal because this is intended for others to read while I’m still alive and accountable for what I say here. Still, I consider blogging a method of reaching out and I can delude myself into thinking that others might be interested and even mildly amused.

I’ve just come off a week of vacation. No exotic trips, no treks into the wilderness. I got as far as an hour away to walk along the bluff in St Joe, Michigan. Forget for a moment that a day trip to St Joe is about as far as my budget will take me. I really do enjoy vacations at home. I like spending daylight hours in my home. I like walking my dog in the neighborhood when everyone else is in school or at work. I love this time of year – the mild temperatures, saturated colors and crunchy leaves. The bugs are gone and the field mice haven’t invaded yet. I like running errands outside of the lunchtime or after work hours. I have time to talk to the young people ringing up or bagging my groceries or to ask about the baby pictures on the dry cleaner’s calendar. I have lunch with my mother, dinner with friends, and I make or send long overdue phone calls and emails. I make appointments and keep them. My focus is the life I want. The one that keeps getting eclipsed by the occupation that is supposed to finance it.

I’m getting my house ready to sell so I spent some of my vacation getting repairmen in to fix things I should have taken care of long ago. I had an electrician come to install an oven hood I bought when I bought the stove. It’s been sitting on top of my refrigerator for 10 years. You can’t rush these things.

I’m a little ambivalent about selling the house. It’s time. The nest is empty and a four-bedroom, two-story house is excessive for one person. I could be quite comfortable in less than 900 square feet – assuming that 900 square feet includes two bedrooms, a bath and a half, central air a fireplace and an attached garage. (I’m downsizing but let’s not be ridiculous). Even so, things are getting spruced up and, besides, the photo the realtor took makes the house look really good. So, if it sells –great; if it doesn’t - no biggie.

My life is in flux. Everything is up for grabs. I’m anxious to make new mistakes in the second half of my adult life. So, stay tuned.