My apologies for so few new posts these days, but as I mentioned perhaps a few too many times, I’ve been hard at work writing additional chapters for the paperback edition of Cherries in Winter. There are a few new recipes too, and those required testing. (That is one of the least difficult parts of this job of mine, and The Hubbins and I are always up for that non-challenge.) My deadline is Thursday, and I just sent in my new chapters to my paperback editor Andrea today, so please join me in finger-crossing that everything goes well.

In other news that will make my race headline even more meaningful, here’s an update on my training for the More Half-Marathon: Both my running partner, my dear friend Linda, and I have fallen so far off our training schedules it would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Both of us got swamped in work and one of us took a fabulous trip to Italy (hint: Regrettably, it wasn’t me). The consequence is that we’re now more prepared for The Far Side’s hundred-meter mosey than we are for anything resembling a 13.2 miler.


But will we give up? We will not. First of all, I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Well, I try to do it; I would put my dependability rating at slightly better than that of certain airlines. Second, I have to work off some of the food I ate during the recipe-testing phase of writing those additional chapters. I don’t know how my e-pal and food writer inspiration Melissa Clark writes cookbooks and stays so slim, even though she explained it in this great article. But I’m definitely not following in her footsteps.

So, whether I’m talking about a book deadline or a half-marathon finish line, I’m off to the races! And I’m exhausted already…


Which way to my daydream?

Enough of reality for a moment! I’m over it. Let’s pretend there was no Recession, nothing to worry about, and nada on your plate but pie in the sky. If you could do anything you wanted to, right this minute–if time and money weren’t a factor–what would you do?

Here’s mine: I would grab The Hubbins and jet off to Italy to Il Campo, my friend Marlane Miriello’s cooking school in Radicondoli, Italy. Marlane is one of my muses, a combination friend/cheerleader who played a big part in me actually sitting down and writing my book. (As opposed to just sitting down, which I do with frightening regularity, and talking about it.)

I met Marlane last year at a lunch for a group of women who’d been laid off or were freelance by choice. Having been recently laid off myself, it was great to be with people who were encouraging and excited about the possibilities that lay before us. I found this far more palatable than, say, freaking out, which is what I’d been doing.

Anyway, over a lovely lunch of minestrone soup, grilled asparagus with olive oil and shaved parmesan, roast chicken, and salad–all homemade, all done on a freelancer’s budget (read: cheap), we left our worries outside and daydreamed aloud for a while. I’d forgotten that it was okay to do that. I’d thought it was something of an obligation to worry and fret during difficult times. I equate that with dieting–ie, only eating what I “should” eat and having zero fun as a result. Now, though, I allowed myself to start my list of “Someday I’m Gonna”s, which was like giving my mind a few cookies. Delish! Fun! Total relief! A smile!

It doesn’t matter whether or not you actually do the things you might do in a so-called perfect world or perfect time…though you very well might. Marlane daydreamed aloud that she’d like to write a book about this great Italian town she loves, and now, that’s exactly what she’s doing. Money and time are tight, but she’s taking a chance. Hey, we only live once (as far as I know). In the meantime, she’s started a business with her Italian cooking school.

When reality gets to be a bit much for me, I formulate my list of “in a perfect world, if I had the time and the money” fantasies. Today, I’ve put a visit to Marlane’s cooking school in this small Italian town high on the list.

So have a mental cookie break. If you could do anything you wanted, right now, what would you do?