Saturday, July 16, 2016


I remember learning a unique verb tense in my high school Spanish class - Ojala. It is used to mean "May God grant that..."

As in: "Ojala que mi madre tenia un viaje seguro en Alemania" - "May God grant that my mother has a safe trip to Germany."


I've long forgotten most of the Spanish I learned all those years ago.

But I remember "Ojala que."

In those moments when other might pray, I find myself using the phrase in a unique form of meditative Spanglish.

"Ojala que mi pais can make a rational and safe decision in the 2016 Presidential election."

"Ojala que la gente de Turkey remain safe and under Democratic rule."

"Ojala que mi esposo is no longer so sick."

Feel better BMG. 


Friday, July 1, 2016

The Cherry Pitter

I live in a tiny house. A tiny house with a tiny amount of storage space.

This tiny amount of storage space, combined with my natural propensity for simple living, are the reasons why I tend to shy away from single use kitchen gadgets. Things like egg slicers (knives work just great), grapefruit spoons, and spaghetti servers. Yeah, nope. Don't need 'em. Don't want 'em.

But, I *do* have a cherry pitter.

This is a tool that expels the pit of a cherry into a small chute, and then with a poof, pops it into a waiting vessel (like a hand or a bowl). The sound of the pit being forced out of the fruit sounds like a gnome-sized nail gun to me. And the part of device that presses into the cherry to push out the pit looks like a gnome sized pick-axe.

The result of the pitter's work is tiny piece of stone fruit with a gaping flesh wound that looks as if a bullet has passed through it. While it is no longer gorgeous, but it is also free of the tiny pit you need to awkwardly and ungracefully dispose of every time you consume one cherry.  

I've owned mine for three years. And I've used it maybe four times. It takes up precious real estate in my limited drawer space. By all rights, it is not the sort of thing I would ever own.

But I'll never get rid of it.

Because every time I use it, I'm reminded of my father-in-law.

In the short time I knew him, he introduced me to the magic of the cherry pitter.

It was a weekend day, long before BMG and I were actually married, and I was visiting with him and my mother-in-law. As I chatted with them, my father-in-law was discreetly flexing his hand and causing a small popping sound.

"What are you doing?" I remember asking.

And he explained the cherry pitter, even letting me take the reins of the device and giving it a squeeze.

I may have scoffed at the need for a cherry pitter, perhaps extolling the diverse virtues of the knife or asking "How hard is it to eat around the pit?"

I remember my father-in-law laughing and telling me the cherries were much more delicious when they were pitted. And that was that.

A couple of years later, after he passed from this earth, BMG and I were planning our wedding. I insisted on putting a cherry pitter on our registry. BMG raised his eyebrows at me (he knows me well), but I insisted. And that was that.


I much prefer to infuse everyday objects with meaning and memories, rather than holding onto other types of mementos. Doing so gives me regular opportunities to reflect on the person or event that I associate with the object. The size of my home makes it harder for me to display or interact with other types of memory devices, like photos stored on Facebook or in print albums or souvenirs from trips,

And I don't need them. I don't need a photo of my father-in-law to remember what made him such a special person. I don't need to hang onto every gift he ever gave me to make I don't forget him. Nope. All I need is to pit a few cherries and boom, I'm reminded of how much I hold him in my heart.