an intermission

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the past couple of weeks. Maybe longer, even.

Take this post, for example. I was planning to share a recipe with you – a recipe for peach cobbler bars, one that I know you’ll love – along with a story about summer, or maybe about peaches, or possibly about time spent with friends and family. Instead, I’ve written ten different first paragraphs, and I’ve stopped just long enough after each one to realize that the paragraph is crap.  And then, I’ve tapped the backspace key rapidly until each offending word is gone.


The last month has been tough. We buried my father-in-law two Thursdays ago. The service was beautiful, a loving tribute to the wonderful father of my husband. My children were so well behaved that I’m certain people assumed we drugged them. (We didn’t.)

The visitation was the night before the funeral, and it was an open casket viewing at the funeral home. People whose lives were touched by my father-in-law — and there were so very many — stood in line for over an hour to give their condolences to our family, to hold our hands and to give embraces.  My father-in-law and my dad have overlapping circles of friends, and so many of these people who came through the line asked about my father. That was hard. So much harder than I expected it to be. I didn’t have a good answer. “He’s okay,” I’d say. “He has good weeks and he has bad weeks.”

I cried a lot. The visitation felt like a practice run for my own father’s funeral.

Not surprisingly, I’m still coming to grips with some of the emotions I felt that night.

And all of this is to say that I’m not ready to simply share a recipe post with you. A recipe seems meaningless right now.  And any words that I might have to say about that recipe? They just seem trivial.

But the making of the recipe? The hands on time in the kitchen? Prepping green beans with my kids, roasting a chicken, churning ice cream? I’m finally doing this again, after feeling out of practice. It’s wonderful.

sous chefs

Please know that I am fine. My children are fine — great, actually. My husband is okay, and he seems to be doing better each day.

We’re taking a much-needed beach vacation in less than a week, and I fully intend to have an amazing time on that trip. I’m going to read a lot of books. I plan to let the sun warm my pale skin while the turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico cools my red-painted toes. I’m going to drink wine with friends, and I’ll probably eat too many fried foods. We’re going to laugh and play in the water and ride bicycles and stay up too late. I’m going to do my best to beat Sam and the kids in Monopoly, and I’m going to try even harder to not answer work emails immediately.

But I’m not going to share any recipe posts for a little while. Maybe a week. Or perhaps two. I’m not quite sure yet. When I’m ready, when I’m not feeling so much pressure to write, then I’ll be back here.

And, as always, thanks for waiting.

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30 Responses to “still here”

  1. Angie @ Bigbearswife — October 20, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

    Happy Late Birthday hun!

    Thinking of you, your dad and family!

  2. Kristina @ spabettie — October 20, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    oh, I am sorry! sending healing thoughts to your dad, comfort to all of you!

  3. kamran siddiqi — October 20, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

    Happy belated birthday, my friend! Sending you a huge hug and lots of positive energy and prayers!

  4. Wenderly — October 20, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    Sending you hugs, love & light to lift you and hold you tight.

  5. Melissa — October 20, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

    Just over a year ago I was in the same place you are now with my dad. Seeing your photo of an ICU room just made my entire chest tighten up. I’m sending you every positive thought I can muster up for your dad, you and your family.

  6. Georgie — October 20, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    Sending you the sweetest wishes ever!

  7. Anneliesz — October 20, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    Oh Merry. I’m sorry your dad is in the hospital but glad that you are able to spend the time with him. Sending you a big hug.

  8. Sam — October 20, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    I’m seconding everyone on sending healing thoughts. And an extra big hug for you.

  9. DessertForTwo — October 20, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

    We are all thinking about ya, praying for ya, and sending lots of good wishes y’all’s way.

    Much love,

  10. SMITH BITES — October 20, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

    Am grateful you have a good support system MJ including a wonderful husband; sad that you’re going thru this but again grateful you also have time to spend w/your dad. (((hugs)))

  11. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 21, 2011 @ 6:55 am

    Merry Jennifer. YOU are pretty darned amazing too. Sending healing vibes to your dad and hugs and love to everyone else. Especially you.

  12. Jamie — October 21, 2011 @ 7:06 am

    I know how it hurts. Thinking of you. xo

  13. Judith Klinger — October 21, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    Hang in there. What choice do we have?
    Sending you a hug full of warmth and strength. If I had a magic wand I’d fix the fridge too.

  14. Chris @ The Peche — October 21, 2011 @ 8:40 am

    Thinking of you, friend. We’re not so far that we can’t drive to help if you need us.

  15. Kim Foster — October 21, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    Oh babe, this post is so full of love.

    Thinking of you, MJ. Sending your dad special prayers. xo

  16. Erin @ A Nesting Experience — October 21, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    Take care and happy birthday.

  17. Michelle Ledesma — October 21, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    During this time of distraction, from the bottom of my heart, I am sending up prayers for continued strength and grace for both you and your rock of a husband . I won’t worry about you, because that’s not what you you want. But I’m thinking of you, and your family. Sending hugs. Do take care.

  18. Colleen — October 21, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

    I am so sorry about what you are going through. My heart goes out to you. I wish you strength.

  19. Di — October 21, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    I am sorry to hear about your father; sadly there are things in life we can’t go around….we just have to go through them. You don’t know me, but I have become a big fan over the last few months and I feel like I know you. My god daughter recommended your site (she’s a dr. in Fl and a Gator). Her grandmother told me when my own parents were ill (25 years ago) … “This is your time, honey.” We all have a time in our lives when we face our parents fragility. This is your time, Jennifer. I am sure you are heart-broken. I wish you, your husband and your family strength and peace.

  20. LisaK — October 21, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    Happy Late Birthday! I’m so sorry your dad is sick. Sending hugs and healing thoughts.

  21. themacaronqueen — October 21, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    I’m sorry about your loss :(. Be strong and hope everything will get better. I hope a macaron can put a smile back in your face.

  22. delia — October 21, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    Sorry to hear about what’s been going on. Thinking of you.

  23. Macaroni Mama — October 21, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

    The Merry Gourmet is a WONDERFUL daughter, mother, friend, and doctor. I appreciate all the love you send to her. P.S. I’m a terrible cook. I don’t even want to learn how.

  24. SweetSugarBelle — October 21, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

    I am so sorry you’re going through this, MJ. Wishing heath and healing to your dad, peace for you, and smooth sailing for your hubby and kids. Sending brighter skies and blue pastures your way.

  25. Cheryl Arkison — October 22, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    Oh, it was your birthday too? Happy Birthday, as much as you can find the happiness.

    This is a very tough road you are on right now, but we’re here for you.

    (And I took photos in the hospital too. I don’t know why and I have a hard time if I run across them now, but I was compelled to at the time.)

  26. Aggie — October 22, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    This makes me want to cry, MJ. I know how much you love your daddy and I am praying for a speedy recovery.

    hang in there. You can celebrate your bday big time when this nightmare is over and your daddy is home safe & sound.

  27. Brian @ A Thought For Food — October 23, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    You have been through so much darling! I am glad that you’re father is no longer being intubated. Sending you sweet thoughts, my dear!

  28. Lana — October 23, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    Happy belated birthday! I am at a similar place in life, taking care of my ailing mother, while my husband is holding our family fort. You are a strong and loving person, and your dad is lucky to have you near him when he needs you. My thoughts are with you and your family. Hugs!

  29. Paula — October 25, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

    I’m sorry that I’m late to reading this and hoping that by now your poor Dad is showing some improvement. What an awful thing to have happened to him. It certainly wasn’t the way I’m sure you had planned to spend your birthday but the important thing is your family is together to help your Dad heal.
    Keeping you all in my prayers MJ.

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