To commemorate the Thanksgiving holiday and all its beautiful leftovers, I have an announcement to make: I’m probably going to steal your Tupperware.

The goddess can still mash.

My grandma is one of an elite circle of divine Tupperware-and-Cool-Whip-container goddesses. Her sacred power? Packing up delicious, love-seasoned leftovers to send home with her loved ones. She doesn’t wield her powers as often as she once did but, when I was a kid, the magic was flying all the time.

Sundays often went like this: Dinner (which was really lunch) around Grandma’s kitchen table in DeSoto, Kan.; nap on the living room floor; dessert back at the kitchen table; extended thank yous and goodbyes as she divvied up leftovers. Once back at home, when I opened the fridge, just the sight of her vintage Tupperware containers filled with remnants of our Sunday dinner was comforting to me, an instant symbol of the fact I was loved. When you’re a kid, you need that reminder, and often. Edit: When you’re a human, you need that reminder, and often. And so, with apologies to my friends, I must blame my grandma for getting me hooked on lovingly prepared hand-me-down food gifts wrapped in a snap-lidded receptacle, because that cycle of foodborne love is irreconcilably the cause of my present-day Tupperware thievery.

I opened my container cabinet yesterday and plastic spilled out everywhere. I stopped an avalanche of glass jars from falling by jimmying my thigh against the top shelf. I then noticed I’ve been withholding some things that aren’t technically mine. It’s true I’ve never formally stolen anything besides a candy corn from the bulk bin at Hy-Vee in Leawood, Kan., and yet I might be a kleptomaniac. Of the Tupperware variety.

Contents of my leftover container avalanche.

My grandma had a cabinet full of that pale green and burnt orange-ish early-days Tupperware, the kind with the triangularly-bumpy lids that took a million tries to close up tight. Once she’d filled them with our goods, we transported them to our house and eventually ate their contents, at which point they sat on the back counter of my childhood home awaiting her next visit, or ours, so we could return them. It seems like a varying assortment of my grandma’s containers perpetually rested on that back counter for most of my childhood. Seeing the stack was a reminder of that particular Sunday dinner at her house, the nap we took on her floor after eating, the sound of the ice cream scoop clinking against the blender glass…

Every time, she carefully packed a brown paper bag stacked with take-home containers and sprinkled with Starlight mints and Russell Stover’s individually wrapped French mints, which we opened and devoured on the drive home. We’d enjoy the bag’s remaining contents that night or the next day, relishing her homemade (angel-food cake), full-butter (mashed potatoes), powdered sugar-sprinkled (strawberries), Crisco-fried (pork tenderloin patties), slow-stewed (spaghetti sauce with meatballs), whole-milk (cottage cheese salad), marshmallow-topped (sweet potatoes) creations.

When she moved out of her house a couple years ago in favor of a senior living center, I got to take home her Tupperware pie slice container. I’ve only used it once or twice, but every time I see it in the back of my cabinet, I smile.

My grandma’s treasured take-home-a-slice-of-pie container. I like to call this “Tupperware’s senior portrait.”

Without questioning the fact that a plastic container can make me smile, I admit the sight of more than a couple of the containers I’ve been harboring brings about a sense of comfort and joy. Especially yours, Joanie. Still, only my Grandma has said of the pie container, “Take it, Honey. I don’t want it back.” As for the others, I will now attempt to make amends:

Joanie, this is the container that held the chocolate cream pie you made for Dennis’ birthday. It was the best dang chocolate pie I’ve ever eaten, yes, but it was way more than that to me at the time. One, I think it was the very first of many exquisite homemade creations you shared with me. Two, that pie was a symbol of all the love, friendship, mothering and good TLC you gave me when I needed it more than I needed the air around me. I apologize for this, but unless you have a sentimental attachment to this container that merits my trip to the post office, you are never, ever getting that container back from me. The best I’ll be able to do is to pay that love forward. I really hope you’re ok with this.

Joanie’s holy high-vibration Rubbermaid: Nobody leaves this baby in the cabinet. See? It’s full of leftover rice even at this very moment.

Emilee, this is from that time when Jim rode his bike to our house in the middle of the party you two were hosting to deliver low-country delicacies to Brian, who was on his own with then-Baby Kip for the weekend and had to leave your party early before the food was ready. Brian was so touched someone would do that for him. I’m sentimental about it because your man took care of my man. And that is why you never saw it again.

Emilee’s container: This held some bitchin’ Cajun food, if I remember correctly.

Becca, that tomato soup you made was otherworldly. How did you know I had nothing in the fridge for my lunch the next day? Somehow, you always know. You even said, “This is for your lunch tomorrow,” when you produced it out of your purse. You bring me nourishment in a variety of ways, but this jar? This jar contained an extra special dose of liquid love. I do actually plan to give it back to you, however, because I know those Ball jar lids are key when you’re canning, like, kaffir lime leaf relish from the tree in your kitchen. Or something. Suffice it to say, you inspire me. (Note: Between writing and posting this, I broke the jar. I really apologize for that. I will be giving you back your lid, though, just in case.)

Becca’s lid: The jar was a casualty of my take-home container avalanche. Thank goodness the lid survived.

Liz, this jar contained a steaming stockpot’s supply of the delectable powdered hot cocoa mix with which you gifted me. Your darling container now holds my guajillo chiles. And I think of you—so fondly—every time I grab one. That was a really great gift, and I don’t think I’m ready to part with the daily reminder of your sweet friendship just yet.

Liz’s cute jar: That was some awesome hot cocoa in there. Now my dried chiles have taken up residence.

Alyson, I know these BPA-free Whole Foods containers don’t grow on trees, but this particular one contained a scrumptious lentil vegetable stew, which you delivered as part of our soup exchange last year, and I loved it. I’m not sure if it healed a cold I had that day or if it made me feel better because it arrived in a moment when I really needed someone else taking care of me, but even though my name written on the lid is a constant reminder that I neglected to return it to you, so far, the reminder of the love it once contained keeps it in my regular rotation. I promise, on a day you least expect it, I will return it to you full of the sambar for which you have such a flattering appreciation.

Alyson’s container: Without question, I was supposed to return this container full of soup about a year ago.

Cin, I’m actually not harboring any of your containers at the present, but I once did, and for a long time. If you hadn’t asked me about a different container (also from the aforementioned soup exchange), thus unintentionally flushing my cheeks about a separate container I’d been withholding, you never would’ve gotten it back, mark my words. Nonetheless, even though it’s no longer in my possession, it bears mentioning here. You are my dairy-free-organic-vichyssoise angel. You are a magician, and soups are your ultimate performance. You take potatoes and leeks and turn them into a grounding elixir of joy. You transform kale and white beans into steaming bowls of light. Many times I found the container in question, a large Ball jar with the two-part lid, in my mailbox, or swathed in a plastic bag on my doorstep. No note. No text. No voicemail. Just soup. For me. It was the best surprise. I apologize for holding onto it for so long. It’s just that it made me so happy to look at it, like someone was out there thinking of me and making an effort to care for me.

So, thanks to Grandma, I equate containers of food with presents of love. Brian declared early on that “it takes a village to love Emily.” And, in surveying all my stolen Tupperware, I’m feeling very thankful that a village I do have. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May you be laden with love, food-borne and otherwise, on this holiday and every day.

Overall, it was Kip’s technique that really wowed me.

Charlie really got into the rolling of the pie dough, and his skill was impressive, I daresay.

Resuming my haiku project with 5-7-5 tributes to four special women, who happened to subscribe to my blog

I’ve been quiet for a while.

New kinds of work have whooshed into my life and tuned my brainwaves into a different frequency, one that so far hasn’t allotted me much mind space to muse at Emily En Route. Well, not without sacrificing my self care, and if you read my recent post about your bangin’ body, you know how important I feel it is we take care of ourselves, which usually means not staying up till all hours so I can write. (Except, of course, when writing into the wee hours is more energizing than sleep, which occasionally does happen.)

Suddenly, in the course of my introspection on how I can fit both work and writing into my already full life, a spotlight pointed to the poetry-loving part of my brain, reminding me I still have a generous slew of thank-you haikus to write for friends who subscribed to my blog before its October 11 one-year anniversary. So, I’m very happily picking back up with my haiku-writing project. And I will resume with four women I adore.

Lucila D.

You’ve got that chispa

Magnanimous heart, sharp mind

La que es linda…

Cindy S.

Your heart beats with verve

If spunk and grace had a kid

She’d be just like you

Alicia I.H.

Miracles happen

When you show souls the power

That’s always been theirs

(Check out Alicia’s miraculous work at Your Soul Story.)

Merry Carole

Redhead fairy queen

Sprinkling potent pixie dust

Elevating all

(Merry Carole wields her amazing powers to build compelling personal and professional double-bottom-line brands at Branding Powers.)

Haikus for some fellow Jayhawks

I may not have the most school spirit, although it’s been known to get conjured during basketball season, but I sure am grateful to the University of Kansas for the immeasurably awesome friends and experiences it gave me. Here, some thank-you haikus celebrating a few of those people. I so appreciate you reading my blog. Rock Chalk!

Allyson F.

Your Feeding Sparrows

Is transformational, bright

Your light shines through it

Andy O.

You taught me to write

Scared me a little bit, too

First, fave editor

Melinda W.

Beyond womanly

You, alluring, always glowed.

Your life force dazzles.

Ashley L.M.

Graciousness in gold

Always gleaming, style to spare

Complex and lovely

Julie Z.

Reliably true

Flawless skin mirrors your heart

Luminous yogi

Catherine B.

You remind me of

the old Hollywood beauties

Classic, radiant

Emily En Route gets Hollar’d out

It’s gettin’ real at Emily En Route. We got our first official third-party endorsement. (Insert squealing and jazz hands.)

Katie Hollar, legal marketing wiz and captivating force of nature who happens to have a pretty fantastic marketing blog, named Emily En Route her inaugural Marketing Crush. “You should read it, as she delivers funny, inspiring and thought-provoking content on the regular,” Katie writes.


I swoon. And I write her a haiku.


Whip smart, sexy, kind.

You have the trifecta down

Roar, lioness, roar.

I could write so many haikus about this broad. She’s a longtime friend. Does the fact we’re friends make the endorsement any less potent, you ask? No, because Katie Hollar is kind of a big deal, and she doesn’t endorse frivolously. I’m stoked.

Alternate haiku for Katie

You don’t need to floss

Goddess of nineties hip hop

Steelo like no one

To all my other amazing new subscribers, Emily En Route’s first anniversary was October 11 and so I’m wrapping up the last of the haikus. If you haven’t gotten a haiku, know that it is on the way, and that I apologize sincerely for taking so long to make you my muse. I will relish writing about you.


Haiku house party

It’s Friday night in the big city, and all’s quiet in my house. ‘Seems like the perfect occasion for some thank-you haikus to a few of my new email subscribers. Thanks for reading, friends!

Dan G.

Your kindness struck me

In that ride home, first meeting

Eat, Drink, Man, Man rules

Becca W. L.

Magnet for blessings

Like butterfly to blossom

Your love nourishes

Gaby N.

Lovely dark features

Irresistible mystique

You transcend time, space


Up for anything

Contagious vitality

And beauty to match

Brandy B.R.

Astounding sunshine

In those eyes like bluewater

Wild, bursting with life

A big batch of thank-you haikus

I must be feeling very affectionate today. Some of the following haikus sound more like love poems than 17-syllable thank-you notes. Secret’s out: If you join my email subscription list, I’ll ponder you from afar and uncover my true feelings. Whether I write about my profound love for you or about something else, like peanut M&Ms, is up in the air, but I will thank you as promised. I do so appreciate you reading.

If you signed up for my email list, are receiving my posts and I haven’t yet penned you a poem, comment on this post or write to me at emilyhughey<at>me<dot>com with your name and your email address. I’ve heard from a few yet un-haiku’d friends who say they’ve subscribed and are not showing up in my list of subscribers. I may take a while to get to you, but please let me know if I’m missing you because I do so want to thank you, 5-7-5-style.

Also, if I don’t know you personally, just send me your name (first, first and last, nickname, whatever) and I’ll invent for you a secret identity about which to write.

Note: The first anniversary of my blog is October 11, so I’ll be crafting haikus for anyone who subscribes before that day. Such fun for me!

Bethany B.S.

Your joy is so bright

Your friends bloom like sunflowers

Splendor in your trail

Joanie F.

Luminous Joanie

You bring the divine to all

Make it look easy

Andrea (…You know I could write you a thousand haikus, but this is the one that came to me quickest)

Who knows how many

Peanut M&Ms we shared

Childhood weekend nights

Melissa M.

I’m in awe of you

You see things most people don’t

Bright, loving and wise

Liz P.

Grace in all seasons

You turn “simple” into “grand”

With a slow, warm smile


Shawn L.

Is there any flame

That gives more light than your eyes?

You’re one of a kind

Krista S.

Real spunk and sweetness

Your laugh is like jellybeans

Elicits pure joy

David G.


By your bold wit and savvy

You kick so much ass

Gary B.

‘Twas love at first sight

My soul brother’s shining match

Now my dear friend, too

Lindsay K.J.

You must know something

The rest of us don’t yet know

Style, strength, poise, beauty

A soundtrack to de-sulkify my fall

Today the boys and I took an urban nature walk. We tracked grasshoppers, saw color in the trees and ate some delicious apples. I may be coming around on this change-of-season thing. This calls for some music.

I have a really neat friend named Andrew. He really gets the earth and her seasons. You’d almost think he was a farmer with how in tune he is with the light, the air, the colors, the feelings, the everythings associated with each season. But he’s not. He’s a law student. And a musician ( And so much more. Not in that order.

After writing to him that I was feeling “sad and transition-y” about fall, deep experiencer of the seasons that he is, Andrew not only validated my feelings, but also recommended something akin to a playlist to carry me through. “It’s a weird time of year, isn’t it?” he writes. “…Walks in the evening help a lot because I love to observe the subtle differences in light from day to day. And for some reason I try to embrace the weirdness of the change and soundtrack my life accordingly.”

And so I’m going to take his advice on evening walks and new music. To the below albums, I add two more: Andrew Morgan’s own Please Kid, Remember, which houses his “Leaves” suite, my most favorite song, possibly of all time; and Grey Light of the Season, an unimaginably gorgeous two-volume masterpiece that will take me all the way through to the spring equinox.

This kind of evening light demands a new soundtrack.

Music for your fall (Albums recommended by the wonderful Andrew Morgan.)

The Clientele’s Violet Hour

Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew

Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On

Two songs from God Save the Clientele – “Bonfires on the Heath” and “Harvest Time”

Andrew Morgan’s Please Kid, Remember

Andrew Morgan’s Grey Light of the Season

David Axelrod’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

Simon & Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

The Zombies’ Odessey & Oracle

Elliott Smith’s XO

Arthur Verocai – self-titled

Haikus for some honeys

I’m back on the haiku train…winding my way through a surprisingly expanded list of email subscribers. Thank you so much for signing up!

Jenna K.

Momshell firecracker

Your style is palpable, girl

Brilliant writer

Meredith H.D.

Hilarious sons

Heartwarming tales of childhood

Motherhood made bright

Amber F.L.

Nothing makes me smile

Like visions of you starting

Epic dance parties

Veronda P.

Chic, mysterious

Universally adored

Magnetic, warm, wise

Lynne R.

You’ve always sparkled

Now you glow even brighter

Pretty cool, ole friend

Three haikus for three rad women

If I write any more haikus during my day job, there’s going to be an uprising. Preschoolers don’t take kindly to Mommy with her face in a laptop. Hence, the slowdown at the haiku factory. If I haven’t written yet about you, my awesome email subscriber, know that I will soon, and I can’t wait to get to you.

For now, I get my haiku on with three supremely cool chicks.

Julianne W.

The female ideal

Beauty, strength, wisdom and love

I admire you so

Ainsley M.

Rich voice like honey

You moved away far too soon

Lovely, pleasant, bright

 Stacey G.

Glamour girl in pumps

Rocker chick supermodel

Dynamite stories

Monday morning poetry slam

These all seem rather sentimental, don’t they? Well, you’re all very special people. So here are a few declarations of admiration for sorority sisters, friends of my actual sister, Sunday school teachers, dashing pen pals and babysitters. My humble thanks for subscribing!

Shannon C.

Danced in crimson lips

Fab friend, mom, leader and wife

Did the worm in white

Julie B.P.

You have the best hair

Middle school slumber parties

Spun amber in waves

Kathy D.

When I was a kid

You helped me to feel valued

Your smile is God’s smile

Hugo C.

What a pleasant twist

Not meeting you that spring night

Instead, epistles

Mike H.

When my sons grow up

I’ll be thrilled if they’re like you

Witty, kind and true

Martha M.

Never has a kid

Smiled as instantly as when

You came to the door