Wednesday, March 7, 2012


One of the things I like about having joined From Left to Write is the idea of writing blogs that are -inspired- by a book, but not necessarily a review of it.  Today, my inspiration comes from:

Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs' housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia's San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.   A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother's death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia's engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.  As a member of GoodReads, I received a free preview copy of How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue through their First-Reads Giveaways. All opinions are my own. Get your copy available March 13, 2012!

Believe it or not, but I'm actually the oldest of five girls.  I have four sisters.  All of them are younger than me.  And thinner.  And taller.  I could rant about how it's not fair, but one of those is completely on me to change:  And I can always wear heels (;  

Through the wonder of facebook and social media, I get to be involved with all of their lives.  A few quick key strokes and I can hear about their days, pan through the photos they share.  I greatly appreciate facebook's ability to connect me with my friends and family.

But I haven't always had four sisters.  To be honest, most of my growing up, I've only had one.  And reading Meg Donohue's "How to Eat a Cupcake" made me miss her all the more.  She's three days drive away, living her daily life with her family.  But when I look back and think of her, it's always a series of moments.

I'm six and she's four.  And we're outside playing.  We're at the swing set.  I can still remember the feel of the sun on my face.  And the smell of the grass.  We haven't been there long.  And it starts to rain.  My sister starts to cry because she doesn't want to have to stop playing.  Neither do I.  So she climbs into the swing and I start pushing her.  And I sing, asking the rain to go away.  I remember the moment when the rain is but a sprinkle falling down around us with the sun shining as well.  And my sister and I laugh-- it's like we're in a crystal prism with light reflecting on all those tiny beads-- jewels that we took as a sign that our hopes had been heard-- and answered.  A friend of mine this weekend described that perfectly as the faith of children.

I was seven when an adult pointed out my form of speech.  He asked me if I was speaking in 'the royal we'.  Because I always said 'We', meaning my sister and I.  I was the one who spoke.  So I needed to learn to be quiet and she developed a voice of her own.

At eight and six, our favorite games were hide and seek, snap the whip, and school.  I'd like to think I have some hand in her incredible math skills, but I can admit that now, she's actually better at math than I am.  It's funny to me to look back on it that we would spend so much of our summer playing school.  I would stay up at night making worksheets for us to do.  Now, my sister likes to snarl the quip, "She even gave homework!"

When we got older, one of our favorite rainy weather games was Barbie fashion show-- where we piled up all of the barbie clothes we had and would create new combinations between them.

And when we were more coordinated, two of our favorite games were 'tunnel tag' (which is really hard to describe if you've never had a playground with hard above ground plastic tunnels on it, but I'm about to give it a go:  Our tunnels were in the shape of a top hat-- a square, with one side that had an addition piece on each end.  There were 'connectors' that were open on sides that joined these round pieces together.  We used the legs of the hat as safety and home base.  The rules were simple-- you ran around the top of the square, jumping the corners.  If you got going fast enough, you leaned in towards the center, almost (but not quite) running parallel to the ground.) and '3-2-1- Kick Up'.  All of the neighborhood girls played this one.  We stood in a large circle with one girl in the center who called out 3-2-1-Kick Up!  Then everyone in the ring would kick up into a handstand and try to hold it as long as possible.  The one who did it the longest won the round and took over the position of standing in the center.

And like all sisters, we had fights-- hair pulling, broken toys, yelling, crying, and some pretty violent moments when I stop to look back on them.  The upshot is that we got really good at super-gluing knick-knacks back together. (;

It's like I tell my boys, your sibling is your first best friend.  Someone to hide under the blanket with when you're scared of the monsters.  Someone to play with on the rainy days.  Someone to help you when you haven't quite figured out how to tie your shoes or need help with your homework.  Someone to adventure and dream and imagine with.  And yes, even someone to have spats with-- because then you learn how to resolve them, and how to say sorry.

And I think I need to give my first best friend a call and see how she's doing today and let her know that I love her!

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