Monday, February 27, 2012

One Kitchen, Many Hearts (A Beginning)

When The Husband told me, quite a few years ago now, that we were going to an ASU game with someone he met through one of his professional online chat boards, I was quite certain that we were in the hands of a wily mad ax murderer who utilized 50-gallon drums to dispose of his victims.
But clearly that didn't happen; we're still here, sans 50-gallon drums, and we have become extremely good friends with The Husband's online buddy and his entire family.
But this post really isn't about that friendship (although we could discuss how this very same family was kind enough to send my 3YO a vuvuzela).  It's about the friendship that I have made with another group of people I have only met online - my "sisters from other misters" who brought you Pie Week, Cookie Week, and Cake Week.  In this last year, we have become fast friends who joke with one another, send encouragement for special events, and even plan out virtual runs sometimes.  This is a group of ladies I would love to live on the same street with.

Clockwise, from top left:
Mads, Kirsten, Megan, Kat, me, Jeanne
Kat, Kirsten, Jeanne, Mads, Megan, and I all live in different areas of the country, so we use "teh interwebz" to get together in our virtual kitchen, which I imagine is as clean and airy (and full of windows showing a lovely view) as Paula Deen's but has more cutting boards than Kitchen Stadium.
Recently, we started talking about sharing more than pictures and a common theme.  Being in different parts of the country as we do, we have our various Favorite Things to Use in each of our actual kitchens with which the rest of us probably aren't that familiar.  Thus a little "care package" project was born.
This year, we'll be taking turns sending each other some special gifts from our home area that are part those Favorites and part "Hmm, That Looks Like Something (Recipient) Would Really Like."
This month, I received a wonderful package from Mads over at La Petite Pancake, who somehow manages to blog while going through the rigors of grad school, so I can't really complain (although I do) about blogging while working full time and having HRH as my COO.
Mads is a Trader Joe's fiend.  She loves it, and she has a tradition of buying one novelty item each week.  This could go either way, and she certainly has had her share of both "OMG, this is awesome" and "OMG, this is awful" moments.
But I certainly lucked out, as I received her favorite salsa!

This guy and I have a special date with a bag of chips,.
Now, Trader Joe's is a nationwide company, and there are stores here in the Valley.  But I have to admit that I can't recall the last time I went to one.  The closest one is out of the way enough to make it inconvenient for popping by, especially on a weekly basis, so this is an exciting treat.  I just hope it's not TOO addictive, as I have been known to go out of my way for such addictive treats before (ice cream).
In addition, Mads sent me garlic-roasted pistachios and banana-carb granola bars from her local farmers' market.  Neither of these made the photo lineup, and I apologize, but drastic measures had to be taken.  As I was looking for a treat one afternoon, I discovered that half of the granola bars had "mysteriously disappeared."  To make sure that the other bar didn't end up in someone else's belly, I took swift - and tummy-satisfying - action.  They were for refueling after running, but I again, time was of the essence here.  I can tell you, though, that had I had the opportunity to try them after a run, they would have been extremely revitalizing - great crunch, some sweet (from the banana especially), and filling - it would be perfect after a long run day.
I had to turn similar attention to the pistachios.  The Husband likes nothing more than plunking himself down in front of some sporting event on the television and eating himself sick on pistachios.  I knew as soon as he saw them, his eyes would start to gleam like the dad in A Christmas Story gets around turkey.  So basically the second I saw what was in the box, I devoured all the pistachios.  It had to be done.  You understand, I'm sure.
But that wasn't enough for Mads.  She knows that I'm 1) a runner, 2) a dog lover, and 3) someone who loves reading, so she sent me something that made my heart go pitter pat - a NEW BOOK!

Look - it's so shiny and new!
I haven't had the opportunity to crack it open yet, as I want to be able to enjoy it completely.  But this certainly can take a place in my Twelve for 12 project (#10, to be exact), so you knew that I unpacked this with a few squees of joy.
I want to extend a huge thanks to Mads for basically reading my mind and knowing the Perfect Things to Send!  It was so much fun to both send (see below) and to receive! :)

If you want to see what else everyone sent along, check out my BBFFs' (best blogging friends forever) sites:
Kat at Tenaciously Yours,
Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic
Jeanne at Inside NanaBread's Head (she received my package)
Mads at La Petite Pancake
Megan at Wanna Be a Country Cleaver

What do you and your close circle of friends do to keep in touch when you are far away from one another?  Does the internet help you keep in communication with people you might otherwise lose contact with?


  1. Art of Racing in the Rain - Amazing. I laughed (horny zebra) and cried snotty ugly tears (you'll see why). Brilliant book that made me go cuddlez with my hound all the way through it.

  2. What a cool book! It sounds perfect for you. Way to go, Mads! I love that she included a Trader Joe's element. And your tales of pilfered granola bars and a preemptive pistachio strike made me laugh out loud. Another perfect box of love. I think our first exchange can be validated as a complete success!

  3. Great blog! You have a clear tone and it's fun to read. My husband is in the military, so I am making new BFFs every two years when we move. But I never lose touch with my old ones -- good friends are too valuable. I love the Internet!

  4. The fact that you devoured your pistachios before the husband even knew they existed just goes to prove that we were sisters in another life. LOVED seeing what every one got! I see these goodie boxes getting better & better.

  5. You will LOVE The Art of Racing in the Rain.

    I've definitely eaten things before to keep other people from eating them. It's a survival of the fittest technique that is most commonly seen at the cabin. It's the only way to justify eating a pint of my aunt's chicken pasta salad at 10 PM. I wish I was kidding except for the part where I'm not.