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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Adrift But Admiring

Hi....Punch and I went to the South Orange Performing Arts Center this evening, where my friend Anne Mernin, impressive director of Toni's Kitchen in Montclair, was honored with an award at a Women's History Month event.

Anne is an inspiration to me--and to plenty of other people. Punchy and I were proud to attend. Our friend's work as director of the soup kitchen in town over the last eight years has touched and improved many lives, and not just by offering nutritious hot meals. Toni's brings in a nurse to do health screenings, offers memoir workshops for guests [Elly and I led those for a while], and one of my favorite things Anne has done is introduce a backpack program. Children from low-income families get a backpack to bring home, filled with shelf-stable meal ingredients [tunafish, PB, etc.], after-school snacks like granola bars, and fresh produce...then they bring it back empty and it is filled again, like a portable cupboard. How brilliant. Anne doesn't want anyone to be singled out...wants to preserve the families' respect and dignity. The backpacks are distributed discreetly, such as at after-care tutoring programs.

But when our families went out to dinner after the event tonight, Anne asked me what I did today and I didn't have a productive report for the time between 8:35, when Punch leaves for school, and 4, when the bus drops her off. Here is a rambling list....took a bath...cleaned up after Sugar, who has more accidents in the house now....made breakfast and ate it...emailed Rach...talked to Sis....emailed school librarian because I slacked off on volunteering this month, signed up now for a couple of days in April...changed my outfit twice...browsed recipes online...which led me to a link for an interview with a high-profile foodie I admire...and she said that as opposed to job/career boards, to write/reach out directly to people you admire and try to meet for now I'm planning that...I did it as a young writer, too, mailing a note to Joan Didion and getting an encouraging letter back! I also procrastinated on starting my article assignments for the next issue of ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME, which I will tackle tomorrow...I found info needed for writing project due April 8....and then at 3 p.m., I left to walk into town, get flowers for Anne and groceries, get car keys from Dan, who parked at library, and zip back to meet Punchy's bus....

  1. Cheerios with banana. 
  2. Warm bath.
  3. Walked into town.
  4. Bought ingredients for the Melissa Clark recipe in today's NY Times Food section--it's a main dish, Baked Polenta with Crispy Leeks and Blue Cheese.  Maybe I will try and also make a vegan version, without butter and cheese, for Figgy. It won't taste nearly as good, but she might like it with the crispy leeks anyway.
  • Kings, bouquet of  pale blue hydrangeas for my friend, pound of Breakstone butter [sale], Wasa rye crisps [coupon], If You Care recycled aluminum foil, 3 large leeks, Bob's Red Mill polenta, crumbled gorgonzola [$7], hot chicken sub [did not plan my lunch very well; it was 4 p.m. and I was overhungry], $49.07. The good news is, I'm set for making polenta for dinner tomorrow night, with steamed green beans on the side.
  • Two boxes of Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies purchased by and for Punch, $8. [They are vegan and Fig loves them, too, so Punch will share. But I can't keep them in the kitchen because too tempting.]
  • Went to CVS for Punch Rx, bought Foster Grant sunglasses [big spend, $21.99 + tax; mine broke a while ago and I've been walking in and out of town with a deep squint], pint Fairlife chocolate milk for Punch, half-gallon organic milk, single-roll pack of Oreos, $33.02.
DAILY TOTAL: $90.09.
MONEY THOUGHT: Oh, Girl Scout Cookies! Mom was a Girl Scout leader/assistant for Sis's troop. I remember when I was finally a Scout, in the 1970s, and got to sell the cookies. We went door-to-door with a large envelope that had color photos of each kind; we kept the money collected inside. I went across the street to the mysterious green ranch house, where the nice lady always bought several boxes. When I see Girl Scouts selling now, it warms my heart. Tradition. And empowering--now that I've been a co-leader, too, for Fig's troop, I know that the girls earn a profit per box [though not nearly as much as you might think] and use the funds to go somewhere special. Our Scouts went on a sleepover to a hotel with a pool one year, and to Great Wolf Lodge another year. 


  1. Funny, yesterday I dilly-dallied too -let’s be nose to the grindstone today!
    Offf to swim, good luck!