25 Pounts of Cheese, Two Gallons of Worry

This morning I opened the frig. My God, we have a lot of food to eat before we leave. And here I am after Christmas trying to lose a little weight. That won’t happen with 25 pounds of cheese, a full container of whipped cream cheese, a pound of bacon, two half gallons of eggnog, a half full can of chocolate frosting, two clear plastic containers of fudge, a quart of cranberry compote and four fruitcakes.

Why did I make so much fruitcake? Because, dear reader, I LOVE fruitcake, and wouldn’t they make great presents for Christmas?

The answer for my family and friends was “no.” My family HATES fruitcake. If I eat this much fruitcake I won’t need a plane to get to Southeast Asia, I will just drift up to the stratosphere and float along belching.

The Christmas decorations are all stowed in the attic. Now what do I do with the rest of the stuff? Four knitting projects in four different basket containers will not be finished by February, and I can’t see myself sweating and knitting with wool as I travel. (I did make a pair of socks on the India trip but the temperature was a comfy 50 degrees most of the time. Of course, Tom got held up at immigration in Nepal when the agent found knitting needles in his carry-on. I had to hustle back and claim them as mine.)

Now I must tidy the projects. January is definitely a time for reorganizing, I recently found two miniature paintings I had purchased in Mandawa stuffed in the bookcase with my knitting patterns, but I don’t really have time to organize if I’m leaving, do I? There are still more lists to be written.

My thoughtful brother-in-law has begun sending me articles from newspapers and travel brochures on Southeast Asia. So far I know that a National Geographic trip for about 1/3 of our planned excursion would cost the price of our last ten years of vacations, and that “Myanmar’s recent political opening has unleashed deep-seated and violent ethnic clashes that have sent waves of refugees on perilous boat journeys” to just exactly the beaches we plan to visit.

The friend of Julia’s we are visiting in Bangkok has also cautioned us to steer clear of the southern provinces of Thailand, the part of the country we’d planned to travel through by local train. Brigands are everywhere apparently giving rebels a bad name.

Then at tea today I told my friend Jan about our 51 minute dash. “Oh, dear,” she said, “Chicago is the worst airport for changing planes. Imagine, it’s as if Terminal 1 is in Easthampton and Terminal 3 in Hadley.” That really cheered me up, so I told her about the plan to carry on everything.

“At least you’re not on United.” (Oh, sh–!)

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