Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I recently caught the tail-end of an interview with author, Neil Pasricha, who wrote The Book of Awesome. The thing that caught my attention as he rattled off a verbal list of life's true and tiny pleasures was when he said, "People just don't realize that the best things in life really are free."

This was quite a revelation to a gal with a weekly column about frugal living. After two years of writing it, I've had occasional struggles generating fresh ideas on a very popular topic. I find the column has slowly morphed into a bit of a simple living column, focusing more on finding ways to live your best life, within the confines of financial peace. The fact that the best things in life really are free made perfect sense to me.

Later that night, the five of us sat at the table outside eating a late summer dinner, which has already become the season's norm. For me, that alone falls into the "best things in life" category. It was only made better by what we were eating: artichokes.

What a soul-filler-upper it was to gather together and eat full artichokes, each one of our kids enjoying them just as much as Mike and me. We scooped and slurped and piled the leaves onto bona fide artichoke plates, given to a younger, artichoke-loving Mike by his Grandmother Taggart. There were the gentle reminders to only eat the bottom of the leaves, the quiet arguments over the last puddles of melted butter and the yummy noises only heard when something as delicious as an artichoke is being enjoyed.

All that work, leaf after leaf, tiny morsel after tiny morsel, only to arrive at the scary-looking and unexpected choke. But it did not detour us, we kept at it, worked hard, scraped away the unappealing and arrived at our destination: the heart. Funny how the artichoke is sort of like life. Aren't they both all about the heart anyway?

We all agreed. For us, eating artichokes is most definitely one life's greatest pleasures.

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