I just found a new-to-me blog in which the writer keeps emphasizing that she posts 3 times a week, MWF. I thought that was good. What if I posted that often? Who would care? No one. You don’t have time to read all that’s in your feed reader anyway, right? Right.  No guilt here.

Last week we went to a conference in Indiana. It was a lot of fun, believe it or not. Usually this sort of thing is either interesting and informative or deadly dull, but rarely is it fun. This one was. We met a lot of really cool people, connected with some old friends, and went on a bunch of hikes by a creek filled with limestone boulders for scrambling over. I didn’t find out that this region has copperhead snakes till the evening before we left, which meant my heart was relaxed and calm as I leaped happily from rock to rock. (I will post pics either Monday or Wednesday)

The weather was sunny and there were even Adirondack chairs on a breezy, leaf-strewn lawn, and it was easy to snatch an hour or two with a book. Seriously. Best conference ever.

(Ok but how was the coffee, you’re wondering. Frankly, it would have been okay (Douwe Egberts from a machine)  except that it was served in styrofoam cups, which I thought were illegal but I guess not. Do you live in a region where they still exist? Do you care? Do you feel that nothing tastes all the good out of styrofoam? Did you feel that way long before you knew they were even bad for you and the environment? Discuss in comments)

Several of my Iraqi friends were worried about the kids, who stayed in Oregon and went to school as normal. “We can bring them food,” they told me. I explained they were staying with someone else. “Tell them to call us if they need ANYTHING,” they urged.

On Wednesday, I got a call in Indiana. Mona wanted the address where they were staying. She had made falafel, qubba, and dolma for them. She delivered it all on Thursday. She called me tonight. “You didn’t get any, so I’m making some more for you,” she told me.

But I don’t need it. Today another couple brought me dinner, since I’m “tired.” (aside: I’m not really that tired.) They showed up at my door with an enormous plate of briyani, a platter of baked chicken with potatoes and vegetables, and another plate of fried…something delicious…possibly fish?…and french fries, garnished with parsley. Also there’s a salad.

“It’s like we get paid in food,” Elliot commented.

But I’m feeling the love. I think food is definitely a love language. Last week, I allowed myself to be talked into staying at Bea’s for lunch on Wednesday, mostly because Fiona wanted to meet Bea’s visitor, who’s from the same region in Iraq as she is. When I thanked Bea for the amazing (and delicious) spread she’d put on, she touched her heart. “Oh Elizabeth, it makes me so happy when I can cook for you,” she said. And while Arabs always win at compliments and hospitality (seriously, if you are American, just try and top them. You can’t! We’re raised wrong), I sensed she meant it. It brings her joy to feed me. (It brings me joy to eat too, sadly for my jean size…) I feel very loved by my full fridge, knowing that while I was gone someone went out of their way to make sure my children and my friend who was hosting them got their full of delicious, home-made Arab food. (And I heard from my friends how wonderful the food was.) (Also apparently I’m addicted to parenthetical comments. I believe it’s a sign of a lazy writer, which is another reason to be happy I’m not posting 3 times a week).


PS Thanks to all who  voted for Elliot’s essay, and those who tried. He didn’t get enough votes to advance to the second round, sadly, but it’s all right–there are a lot of other essays out there to try for.