I’ve been reading princes stories to my daughter for the last year or so. We started with George MacDonald’s princess stories, The Light Princess, The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and Curdie and we went through all the traditional princess from the Brothers Grimm to Disney.
It’s partly because she’s eight, and she loves princess stories. It’s partly because I want to understand the message these stories are portraying so I can help her process them in our current age. I did not grow up hearing princess stories, so it’s a discovery process for both of us.
And it’s partly because the world is obsessed with fairy tales right now. Or perhaps it always has been.
We stayed in bed all day watching Netflix movies and reading books in between the movies.
Call it recovery from our first big house party in a few years, where we dipped into the cellar and made like Jesus, serving the best last late into Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
I got up and made breakfast for the friends who stayed until the bitter end and then stayed the night.
We ate omelettes with leftover pulled pork and sharp cheddar cheese with salsa and avocado. I made them strong coffee, and we watched some television together before they left for their Sunday activities.
This is one of those weeks or, rather, two-week stretches that we don’t have any time designation for, but you learn to dread them when you’re not in the midst of one of them.
My wife worked 10-days straight at a mismanaged Starbucks, and it left some scars.
The younger kids had a half day of school on Friday, and they made plans, but the oldest had school all day, so they had to cancel their plans, which made for a miserable dinner table conversation on Thursday.
There are nights where our robust family dinner-table discussions descend into a circus only Fellini could appreciate.
Lest you think we’re any more put together than you are.
My daughter still wants me to read to her every night.
It is one of the great joys of my life.
She’s a great reader, tied for top in her class and competitive in a way I didn’t really expect, always asking to go another level up.
She likes the way I do the characters, with accents and growls and stutters.
We’ve moved on from her toddler books into the big world of pop cultural literature. When we moved recently, I found myself with two boxes of books to donate to Goodwill. When I opened the box to peek inside, I found all my favorites there. “Goodnight Moon,” “Curious George,” “Go, Dog. Go!” “Where the Wild Things Are,” and many more.
These books are books I’d proudly keep on my shelves next to my Hemingway, Vonnegut, Maclean, Harrison and Bulgakov.
I’ve always joked with people that if I were to develop a life-threatening allergy to seafood, I would settle my affairs, go to my kitchen and whip up a batch of bouillabaisse the likes of which the world has never seen before, pour myself a big glass of some fine, French wine and enjoy a divine last meal.
When I went vegetarian for four years during my early 30s, I couldn’t give up seafood, such is my love for the bounty of the oceans.
I learned to cook from watching my grandmothers and my mother work their magic in their respective kitchens over my lifetime. Through their bloodlines flowed thousands of years of shared knowledge. I loved the way they knew where in the cooking process they were by the smells and the colors or the feel. Cooking was a sensory experience, it wasn’t book learning.