Five Favorites

Well, it’s been a long hard three-day week for me. I got caught in a flash flood with six kids and no cell phone, spent two hours sitting in a men’s bathroom at a park waiting for reprieve which didn’t come, finally wade-ran through a field filled with three feet of water to my home so I could drive a truck back to my chick-a-dees and get us all safe in dry clothes. In the days following, we’ve been carrying logs back and forth from the tree that fell down in the storm to the burn pile. In addition, I’ve engaged in approximately three intense internet debates, which I’ve found, take more out of me than I’d like.

Now seems like a good time to spend a moment thinking upon the good things in life, the things this week that brought me fleeting delight. Without further ado, my five favorites for the week containing July 4. (Please see Hallie for more Five Favorites!)



Chicken salad

Don’t ask me to explain the mule.

I’ve made a lot of chicken salads in my life. I’m not sure I ever make it the same way twice, and I’ve both won and lost some of those ventures. Last night, I won. Here’s what I did:

six boiled, boneless skinless chicken breasts

Green onion–white and light green portions chopped

diced sweet peppers

chopped cilantro (I know some people hate it. I don’t understand such people)

sunflower seeds

dried cranberries

For the dressing:

50/50 mayo and greek yogurt totaling a little over a cup

A generous splurt of honey mustard


and as much curry powder as one likes


This salad was just right. And the peppers were sweet enough, it really didn’t need the cranberries. I hope I can remember how to make it again.



Jumbo Jelly Beans

Animals just make it better.

My husband brought these home from work yesterday. I’ve always preferred the big bulbous brachs beans to the stingy jelly bellies. The only thing that could make them better is to supersize em.





I know I’ve mentioned this before–that we like to listen to books. But now that my husband has burned through Tolstoy, Augustine, Dante, Milton, and Dostoevsky, in addition to many others, he actually said this to me: “I think maybe I should quit my job and become an English professor.”

If you knew my husband, you would be absolutely floored. He’s gone decades of his life without reading a single book. He works on DNA sequencing technology. I’m not sure the English professor idea is a good financial game-plan, but… WE GET TO TALK ABOUT BOOKS!!!



Diplomatic People



I mentioned internet discussions. I took a little gamble this week, and wandered all alone out of my friendly echo chamber into one that was less friendly to my beliefs. Sure, I did it a little stridently, perhaps overly-confident that my position would make perfect sense once I explained it, but I also really did want to know why–Why am I misogynist if I think ultrasound before abortion might be something some women would want? Why do I hate women if I presume women would like to make tough decisions based on more information rather than less?

What happened next was predictable. Unflattering assumptions were made. Disembodied opposing voices suggested I had no grasp on basic information. I decided that nothing fruitful could come from the situation.

But then something rather unusual occurred: a diplomatic person stepped in.

She affirmed my question, and also my grasp on basic information. She affirmed the opposing voices and the experiences that informed their beliefs. She opened a viable segue for further dialogue. An opposing voice and I began to have a conversation that was somewhat peaceable even though we did not reach an agreement.

Look, I learned something about how others think in this dialogue, and I consider it fruitful to have done so. Thank you Diplomatic Person! (You know who you are).




I go back and forth with music. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I just want some peace and quiet.

Tonight, I did a punch-run to this song, and it was cathartic.

Following that, a glass of wine and a cig on the porch with Lucinda Williams. Turned out to be a good kind of night.



Happy 4th of July everyone! I’ll be partying with my in-laws in honor of my father-in-law who just finished treatment for colon cancer. The Old Man Didn’t Die–party, is what we’re calling it. Praise the Lord!

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About Elizabeth Duffy