Summer of My Grilled Cheese Sandwich



It’s a beautiful sunny September day that happens to be my 47th birthday. As anyone who has been 47 can tell you, you don’t really feel any different than you did at 27, or at 17, for that matter, but everyone treats you differently. It’s confusing, sometimes. Even comical. Recently, I was waiting at a bus stop where two boys in their teens were arguing about the age of the taller one. He insisted he was 17, while the other, who was clearly yanking his chain, said no, you’re 15. Outraged, the taller boy offered his birthdate as evidence. “I was born July 17, 1995. That makes me 17!” The shorter boy continued to yank. Finally, the exasperated tall boy turned to me and asked, “If I was born July 17, 1995, that makes me 17, right?” I nodded yes, indeed, it does. That ended the argument. The old lady said so; it must be true.


Here’s the update on life in Rabbitville.


Elder child Tigger, who is 15 (not 17) spent the summer working her very first job—camp counselor. She enjoyed it, earned what is for her a LOT of money, and did a spectacular job. Midway through the summer her boss made it clear that she was invited to come back next year. Go Tigger!


Younger child Little Bit, who is less than two weeks from her 12th birthday, attended a variety of entertaining and enriching camps and made grilled cheese sandwiches (at home, not at camp). Having been empowered to put a cheese sandwich together and slap it on the George Foreman grill all by herself, she has done so nearly every day for months. Our vacation only intensified her grilled cheese habit.


In August, we visited the Oregon coast, a common vacation strategy for Washingtonians. While the ocean beaches in Washington are largely covered with rocks, Oregon beaches boast an appealing amount of sand. They are also slightly warmer. On some days it is even possible to visit the beach without a hoodie, in Oregon.


So we went to Seaside, a touristy little beach town full of kitschy little shops and arcades and mountains of saltwater taffy. My kids are old enough now to wander about touristy little beach towns by themselves, and Little Bit, who is only recently old enough, especially savored that freedom. Best of all, the little bookstore in town had a big, lazy, fluffy cat named Oz. Little Bit gleefully left the hotel, walked into town, and spent hours sitting in that shop, reading and petting Oz.


On every trip to Oregon, we visit Tillamook and tour the cheese factory. By “tour” I actually mean, “glance at the people in hairnets putting cheese blocks on conveyor belts before getting in line for ice cream.” Then we go to the shop and buy stuff. You can buy Tillamook cheese anywhere (on the west coast, anyway) but the shop at the factory has varieties that do not show up in stores. On this trip we got habanero pepper jack, which is way, way hotter than the jalapeno pepper jack that is widely available. We also got a three-year aged sharp cheddar, which is what sent Little Bit’s grilled cheese habit into hyperdrive. She loved that cheese and nearly wept when we were back home and we finished all we’d bought. Fortunately, a two-year aged variety can be bought here in town, which proved to be an acceptable substitute.


In addition to this being my birthday, it is also BB King’s birthday. 87! Go BB! It’s also Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. It’s year 5773, in case you were wondering. The years are a lot bigger when you don’t date them from the birth of the false messiah.


I hope the Christian world doesn’t riot because some random American blogger expressed an unflattering view of you-know-who. They probably won’t. Unless I make a video.


Anyway, Rosh Hashana is one of the two high holy days. It’s when we eat sweet stuff (apples and honey are traditional) to express our wish for a sweet year. It’s also the day we start apologizing like crazy to anyone we might have wronged, leading up to the second high holy day, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.


Little Bit made an apple pie for my birthday and for Rosh Hashana, and it was delicious. Go Little Bit! Tigger picked out a book for me: 4,000 Years of Uppity Women. And I got some other stuff I’d asked for, like a Misto olive oil spritzer. So, not a bad birthday and not a bad start to year 5773 and not a bad start to fall, my favorite season.


L’shana tovah, my friends.




18 thoughts on “Summer of My Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  1. huh, 5773. I had no idea. From the time I was quite young I’ve always thought it was odd we base our calendar on one particular religious tradition, even if it happens to be my family’s religious tradition.

  2. My daughter also enjoys preparing a George Foreman grilled cheese sandwich. She’s a good baker, too. We should get them together for a bi-coastal business. I’ve already wished you a HBD – so Happy New Year, as well.

  3. Happy birthday! I remember being 47, I think. It happened five years ago. Yeah, that was the year I bought my van and my house.Seems like an abnormally high percentage of birthdays happen in September. The result of Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s cheer, no doubt. I was at a party on Saturday, and my own was the week before that.Grilled cheese is my favorite. I haven’t had one in months. Maybe tomorrow I’ll set up the bread machine so it will be ready in the evening.

  4. Happy 5773!!  Do you have some funky glasses that indicate the date for your party-going adventures?? Hey, I thought of you & your mellow reading & cat-petting child yesterday as I had to escort my 11yo out of the coffee shop because she freaked out over shared blueberry muffin portions and then knocked over a giant glass of iced tea.  There’s more to the story, but let’s just say it was not a productive study session and reminded me of why I didn’t get any work done all summer. 

  5. @ordinarybutloud – Yeah, at least they say BCE instead of BC nowadays. In some circles.@turningreen – Does your daughter like cats? Not liking cats would be a total deal killer.@Roadkill_Spatula – Mmm, a grilled cheese sandwich on fresh bread would be excellent. Little Bit likes hers with a slice of tomato, mayo, and just a bit of mustard.@DrTiff – Believe me, I am grateful every day for that mellow, cat-petting kid.@Shahrazad1973 – Can’t complain.

  6. Glad you had a wonderful birthday and have been having a wonderful time this year. I’m still grinning about the comment to start a protest in this country of all Christians. I’m going to go make my sign if I have any poster board. lol Truthfully it is a rotten shame this world is so screwed up.That book sounds like fun.

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