Sunday, December 8, 2013

Writing, Hawaii and Cold

     We, Us Three, got back from Maui a few days ago--to freezing temperatures in the Bay Area.
We're on Ka'anapali Beach just two days before departure. 

"Please bring the warmth back with you," my mother messages me. 

     It's hard to believe that we are going to be trading white, hot sand for the gray, cold concrete. I notice how fast towards the future time goes when I look at my phone, check my emails. Scrolling down with my forefinger while bringing on the future. 

     I stop. I put the phone away and wish I could throw it into the ocean. If only it didn't cost so much I might just do that, I think.

     Instead, I shove it deep inside my straw beach bag and scrape the top of my right hand in the motion. I look towards the ocean again, where Ian and Kyle are bobbing up and down, there goes Kyle, now Ian, against the waves. It's sunny forever in this moment. 

    It's five days after that day on Ka'anapali Beach, and I'm deep into a book about Armenian culture and heritage. My final essay of the semester is due in two days. I have been thinking about this essay for at least the past week, if not preparing for it my entire life. So I think I'm golden. But I don't want to get too cocky. Cockiness seems to work against even the best people. Once you think, hey, I've got this essay-, job-, parenting-, school-, life-thing figured out, the canoe flips over and your new bride is eaten by a shark. Well, that's what happened to one person. (I spent one sleepless night of our vacation looking up shark attacks on Maui.)
  So I'm reading and writing and checking around for sharks. Sounds about right.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Egg-White Cookies and a Pedicurist from Heaven

A visit to my mom yesterday to take her on errands. She treats her pedicures like medical appointments and I imagine that her pedicurist of the past 30 years, a lovely, effervescent woman named Eliana has become her therapist of sorts. I came back from walking around Broadway in Millbrae to find that she was giving her customers these cookies. When she told me she had cookies for me, I thought, I won't be able to eat these (not gluten-free) and they will torture me in traffic on the way back to Berkeley. Then at closer glance, I realized these were egg-white flour, yay! I ate about 5 of them and save the rest for the boy. And they (and Eliana) were a little sunshine in an otherwise hard day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Visiting with Hummus

Hummus is made up of Tahini, Garbanzo Beans, Lemon Juice and garlic, just five ingredients but everyone makes it differently. Just five ingredients and it can turn out right or so wrong. At some point I got lazy and instead of just reserving part of the garbanzo bean water for the recipe, I started throwing the whole can in recklessly. I didn’t think anyone would notice it’s less-than-creamy consistency in the Tupperware container. At first, the recipient, I’ll call her “Mother”, taking a stab at it with her pita bread merely said, “It’s the taste that matters,” and ate heartily. She asked me to make some every other time we spoke. Life happened those next three weeks and I couldn’t. Sometimes I didn’t have the Tahini and sometimes I ran out of lemons.  Her voice became more and more strained each time she asked about my next batch. When are you going to visit me next?
A month went by and I thought about making the hummus for her all the time. I became resentful. Why does she love Armenian food so much? She’s Argentinian. I almost never had Tahini on hand, that key ingredient because it would always go bad just before I needed it, the contents of the jar turning dark with anger. Finally one day I got desperate and a light bulb went off. I would make my own Tahini.
I’ve always been resourceful in a pinch, remembered the bag of sesame seeds in the pantry and Googled. Make your own Tahini with toasted sesame seeds and olive oil, the first page promised. I dumped the seeds onto the black cast iron pan and toasted with desperation. I hope this turns out.

Here's my simple version:

Toast half a cup of sesame seeds until fragrant and slightly brown. Watch carefully as they burn quickly. Place slightly cooled sesame seeds into food processor and slowly add olive oil until you make a pasty consistency. Refrigerate up to a week or sell at Farmer's Market for ten dollars.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cafe Gratitude and Peach Smoothie

If I could have three meals a day here I would. I added Maca powder to this yummy peach smoothie.

 Basically, the menu as a whole is the ideal clean way of eating and is packed with all the superfoods

 like Kale, Acai, Beets, and Raw Cacao (think milkshakes and agave-sweetened desserts). I may be

 back for lunch.

But because this can get really expensive, really fast here's my at-home peach smoothie recipe:

1 ripe, organic peach

1 tablespoon organic almond butter

1 teaspoon organic agave syrup

2 cups organic coconut milk

Blend until smooth.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Plum Cake

I promised my aunt that I would make cookies for my grandmother's 40th day memorial. It's hard to

think of going to her house without her being there, and baking while on Clean seems just as ridiculous.

 I'm in one of those use-what-you-already-have moods and just came away with two big bowls of

 plums from our backyard. It's hard to bake and not lick the spoon. Until I have better sweet alternatives

 for the family, I'm going to stick to the traditional stuff. Rome wasn't built in a day or even 6.

I had two smoothies today and made falafel from all that wonderful Bob's Red Mill garbanzo flour. The

recipe is right on the bag. Dr. Junger recommends that you have the non-juice meal for lunch, but it's

 just easier to feed all of us at the same time some days.

Regardless of the diet over-haul I'm enjoying having some edibles in our yard.

Plum Cake recipe:

Thursday, July 5, 2012


About four days into the Clean program and I tried this socca recipe that we just devoured. I also got a

 trainer three weeks ago, so clearly I am serious about something. I even (barely) made it through a

 county fair yesterday without so much as a deep-fried morsel passing my lips.* Okay off to read

Chocolate Fever to little guy.

*The previous weekend I spent making cupcakes and a cake, licking chocolate frosting off my fingers and eating pizza and the best veggie corn dog, purportedly the best in the world thank goodness because it will probably be the last one I eat for a long time. I admit, in the middle of munching on a slice of pizza this past Sunday, in the midst of reflecting on my sins, I thought, oh, Middle America, this is how people become obese.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Into the Light, Kind Of...

I'm back here to say that I made it through the nightmare of treatment but not without some side effects, both inside and out. Often you hear about the "long road of recovery" kidding. A person doesn't come out of cancer without feeling changed somehow, maybe even robbed and violated. I see myself smiling in these pictures and wonder at myself, "how can you smile after being in the dark for so long?" I feel that people who haven't been through the darkness yet want me to come out on this other end, joining them, jumping up and down joyfully reaffirming the triumph of the human spirit. Well-meaning friends wanted me to join them in breast cancer walks and marathons. I imagined that people waited words of wisdom fall out of mouth when they asked how I was doing. I don't think they expected me to say, "I think I need psychotherapy," or "My ears are ringing constantly, a possible side effect from the chemo, how are you?"
Everyday is a little better, and then worse and then better. I guess that's life. Sometimes sweet and then sometimes bittersweet. Sweet and not I like my cereal in the morning.