This is an email from Dispatches from the No-Niche Niche, a newsletter by Tales from the No-Niche Niche.

Words Are Not Enough

To say “thank you” to all eleven of you subscribers, and especially the four of you who open your emails. Ohhh, you didn’t know that Medium tattles? Well, good news — I don’t know which four did, and which seven didn’t, so thank you all.

In all seriousness, I hope that you have had a terrific week. Between the pandemic and retirement, I have lost track of what day it is. The week no longer has its familiar patterns and rhythms, but that is not a bad thing! They say “live in the present,” and how can I not, when every day is “today”?

I started the week with much to say, and no idea how to say it. That’s when the poetry kicked in:

“Butterfly or Moth?”

expresses the idea that we are all potentially drawn to the light, or stuck in the darkness, beating our wings against the glass;

“Tree Crabs”

started out as a little story about my friend, in the back yard, and how I have become the unlikely protector of a whole garden full of spiders (only please, let’s not call them that, because then I might remember that I’m terrified of them, having been bitten, once upon a time).

In honor of the start of Hurricane Season, here near the Gulf of Mexico, I shared memories of Hurricane Ike, which devastated Galveston, but passed almost directly over my house — just an hour inland — and did little more than flatten our back fence.

“Hurricane Force”

And then, I found my voice — if you’re looking for a way to say what’s in your heart, just say it. Tell your own stories. Don’t just cogitate and regurgitate and talk in academic socio-psychobabble. The stories that inspired me, this week, were real and they were personal. They were couragous, insightful — sometimes full of great ideas on how we can all do better, and sometimes well-meaning but oh-so-wrong. But they were conversation starters, and no knives were drawn. So here were mine:

“We Are All Complicit”

which deals with those little things that add up — what we mean when we talk about “microaggressions” and “gaslighting,” though I could not have told you, at the time, that’s what was going on. All I know is, none of us spoke up; all of us should have.


“Words, Fraught with Meaning Not Found in Any Dictionary”

deals with how easy it is to take offense when none is intended — and how that’s not “wrong” or “petty” at all, but through giving each other benefit of the doubt and admitting that maybe what we are isn’t so much “righteously offended” as having our feelings hurt, we can all grow and maybe even become friends, instead of enemies. Well, that’s the hope.

I may not write much, this week; I’ll be spending a wonderful few days with my grandson (this is bittersweet — my daughter and her family are moving halfway across the country), and I think writing can go on the back burner till I get back.

Oh — I’m almost finished with that dresser. Remember the dresser?

“Epiphany While Painting a Dresser”

I’ve had a few more “epiphanies,” since then:

  • Never paint a dresser in a room that’s 92°F with the shades drawn.
  • Furniture sanding, painting, and refurbishing is not ever going to be my favorite “hobby.”
  • I have no idea how to get interior/exterior oil-based house paint out of carpet.
  • An unfinished “project” is like the proverbial albatross hanging around your neck.
  • There are two other pieces of ugly furniture in that room, and I want them gone.

I may have more positive thoughts after a shower, when my brain’s not feeling so “cooked” from the heat and paint fumes.

I much preferred the art class — drawing for beginners — that I took, last week:

I was supposed to draw a still life; no one said it had to be “still alive.”

And then there was baking, too:

Olive & Feta Dutch Oven Bread

This is bread for people who don’t want to make friends with their bread, or grow it like some sort of living thing in a corner of their kitchen, cooing over its sour little doughy face. This is easy bread for people who like to eat.

The original recipe (which is awesome, too, by the way) is here:

My sister in law and I made that, together. She also made one with rosemary and garlic, I think, but there was none of that left, by the time we got there! It disappears fast.

I made mine with sliced black olives and grated feta cheese. You do whatever sounds good to you. Expect the dough to be a little soft. You don’t exactly have to knead it. As for the “warm place” where I let it rise, I covered it with a clean towel and stuck it on the hood of my car, in the garage. The other day, I went out to lunch, and when I finished, I thought a bird had pooped on my car, but no — I had three tiny slices of bread baked on the hood.

No, I didn’t eat them.

Don’t think I wasn’t almost tempted. This stuff’s good.

Next time, though, I’ll put them upstairs on top of that dresser. 92°F ought to keep the yeast happy.

Later, gators…




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Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri

Writer and Kid-at-Heart, often found at Subscribe to my (free!) Newsletter: