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Today is the 42nd anniversary of the best day of my life.

I don’t remember the day, exactly, but sometime on May 30, 1966 (gotta check with Mom to get the exact time), my sister was born.

My life would not have been nearly as good as it has been if not for Debra. In fact, when I find myself getting all nostalgic for “days gone by,” I realize that one of the people I miss most, on a daily basis, is my sister. Granted, we’re only two hours away from each other, but she travels every other weekend and I do just about anything I can to avoid traveling on weekends — at least over the past year and a half or so, maybe longer — so we don’t see each other often enough.

Certainly not like we did during our growing-up years, sharing a bedroom for 17 years, walking to school together, playing tennis and anything else that seemed like fun, ending up at the same college.

Happy birthday, Debra!

This is the best dish I’ve cooked in quite some time:

Linguine with Peas & Mushrooms
(This made 1 heaping serving.)

Linguine (fettucine or spaghetti can be substituted, I suppose … or probably any other pasta you happen to have in the cabinet)
3 to 5 tablespoons of salted butter (hey, I never said this was a low-fat recipe!)
5 or 6 sliced white “button” mushrooms
2 or 3 small handfuls of frozen sweet peas
1/4 a medium sweet onion, sliced fine (or is it “finely”?)
A clove or 2 of garlic, minced (I used about a full teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic; saute for 5 minutes. Add peas and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Salt and pepper liberally. Set pan aside. (I prefer the mushrooms to be slightly softened but not mushy.)

Cook a serving of pasta according to instructions on the box. (I ALWAYS cook too much.) Drain pasta water and add a teaspoon or so of butter to pasta. Add mushroom-and-peas mixture to pasta. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. (I prefer this kind of cheese; freshly grated truly DOES make a difference, even with “standard” parmesan!)

Kiddle & Pictures

So, I had grand intentions this holiday weekend of getting my “spring cleaning” done started, but as we all know, I am a complete slacker, so the majority of housework that I had planned to do went basically undone.

Shortly after lunch today, though, I decided to get my photos organized, and I started making various piles of different subjects (for example, Hummingbirds, Poppies and Arizona 2006). And shortly into the project, Kiddle made her way onto the coffee table and decided to lie down right in the midst of some pictures … and the remote … and the salt shaker … and an empty Coke can.

I think she’s enjoyed having me around the past three days.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend and a happy-as-possible Memorial Day.

My sister was born on Memorial Day, so I’ve always viewed the holiday as A Good Thing rather than A Day to Be Sad. The past 12 months have been rather difficult, deaths-wise, so, of course, I did find myself thinking about people I and/or others know and care about, and the losses I/we have had.

What or when was your very first memory of someone (or something) dying?

I have three, actually.

My first, probably, was when Mom took Debra and me to the Kay Drive-In to see The Jungle Book. I don’t remember much about the movie, but I do know that I cried when Baloo took a nap — because I thought he had died.

Another recollection of death that stays with me is when Grandpa Dido died. What I remember is Bob picking Debra and me up from school and driving over to the Route 16 (bar) in Pana. It was about a 20-minute drive, and the entire time, Bob was talking to us about how sometimes, a person’s body becomes too sick or tired to go on, and how, at that point, God comes to take the person’s soul to heaven. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t paying too close attention, but right as we pulled up to the Route 16, he told us that our grandpa had died.

Probably my most vivid memory of someone dying occurred sometime when I was a kid, and my mom told me that this little boy, Ryan Mingus, a toddler who couldn’t have been more 12 to 16 months old, had fallen into a well and died. And I didn’t know the boy — I was a fairly young girl myself — but I had seen him at least a couple of times (his mom was my step-uncle’s brother’s girlfriend), and all I could do was visualize his bald head and his baby face and his ears, and wonder how scared he must have been.

Anyhoo, Memorial Day means summer is here, even if the calendar doesn’t necessarily agree. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

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