Email is great. It's efficient. It's easy. It can be instantly gratifying.
But still, I miss real letters. I miss writing them, I miss getting them. I miss that feeling of walking to the mailbox, and hoping there might be something good inside. Now when I walk to the mailbox I usually just hope there ain't nothin' bad, like bills, or I hope there ain't anything annoying, like ten more credit card offers. Then again, since there aren't that many snail mail letters zooming back and forth along the pony express anymore, when I actually get a real live handwritten letter in the mail, it's so much more exciting. It's an event. A moment to savor.
Today I got a letter from my friend Lara, who recently moved to Washington. Lara is one of the greatest people ever and not just because she sent me a letter in the mail. Honestly, people should pay her to be her, and if I had the money, I would. (I remember this one time in college, we were both so broke that we couldn't even make withdrawals from our checking accounts because both of our balances were beneath twenty dollars. Also, this was back before you could pay your bill with your ATM card. But still, we wanted to go out on the town and do something, do something decadent. So we managed to scrape together several dollars from the floors of our respective cars and then we went to the Onyx, a now dead coffee shop in Los Feliz, and we ordered these huge, delicious pieces of chocolate cake, and we paid with hundreds of pennies that we poured out on the counter like we were five-year-olds with our piggy banks, and then, as we ate these huge mounds of chocolate cake, Lara looked at me, her eyes atwinkle, completely serious, and said: "People should pay us to be us." It sounded like a good idea at the time, but Ethel and I are still trying to figure out a way to make that one work.)
In this letter from Lara, she mentions a recent former job: "I was a baker for awhile but apparently bakeries are like hot beds of intrigue. All that rising dough I guess."
Well, Lara, it's so strange that you bring that up because yesterday I couldn't have told you a single thing about rising dough, but today I'm a damn-near expert on the subject. Because today, on Day Twelve of My Year of New Things, I made my very first loaf of Challah bread. More details to come. (Including pictures!) (I don't mean to be a tease, but it's bedtime.)