Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ginger chicken and asian greens!

There is nothing like fresh greens in the cooler months to remind us that spring exists.  Tonight I made the most lovely dish inspired by whatever was in "the box" at Hollygrove market http://hollygrovemarket.com/.  I don't usually get the whole box, but this week it was filled with a variety of citrus and greens, not to mention sweet potatoes and shiitake mushrooms.  Grapefruit, Meyer lemons, Clementines, naval oranges, bok choy, totsoi, and rapini.  And local broccoli too!  Also available but not in the  box was ginger, but I had already picked up some of that at the Thursday market.  The wheels began to turn.

Totsoi, you may ask?  I have no idea.  But I googled it.  An Asian green.  So I googled "chicken and Asian greens" and came up with so many options!  Here is the one I based my version on:
http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=343699.  But lately I'm finding it impossible to stick to a recipe.  I looked in my fridge.  There were those shiitakes and part of a red pepper.  And a brand new bag of celery--ooh that would be good, too.

I diced a couple of chicken breasts I found in the freezer, marinated them for what turned into about an hour in the lemon juice, grated ginger, salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, I cooked some brown rice, and started chopping up the veggies:  Bok choy, totsoi, broccoli, and celery went into the steamer basket for a few minutes to soften them up.  I saved the red pepper and shiitakes for the saute.  The recipe called for steaming the chicken, but I just cooked it in a pan in some sesame oil.  Sauteed the veggies, adding the greens, garlic and soy sauce at the end, and served it all up to my family.  At least what was left of it after I kept picking at the greens while cooking them.

Isabella is the picky one, but she said it was the best chicken she ever tasted, eating every last bite plus what was left in the pan.  She tasted the greens but was not impressed.  Michael picked out the broccoli and ate it, but wasn't sure about all that other green and red stuff.  Victor and I polished off everything else.

I wish I had taken a picture of it while I was sauteing it.  It was so beautiful and fresh looking.  What should I do with the rapini?  Maybe some of those beans I froze in the summer would complement it.  Sausage?  I'll see what inspires me tonight!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Loss

This Thanksgiving week has not been what I expected.  I had a beautiful vacation with my little family planned...Atlanta for a few nights, Asheville for a few nights, and back home next weekend.  God had other things planned for me.

My Aunt Crin Del died on Saturday.  She was riding a brand new candy apple red scooter that she had posted pictures of on facebook and was so excited about.  She even said on facebook that her sons assured her it would change her life.  After a wonderful day of riding with her twin sons, Nick and Nate, she made a right turn, lost control, and was hit by a car, ending her life.

I am okay.  I am in West Monroe with my dad's family.  The love in this family transcends all.  We have lost so many wonderful people way too early in the last few years.  My uncle and godfather, Mike (who my son is named after) died of HIV related illness when I was in high school.  He was probably in his 40s.  And of course, my grandmother died when I was pregnant with Isabella, 2002.  Not tragic, but sad still.  Then my father died of leukemia in 2006 at 65.  My cousins Alex and Kelly both died in the past 4 years, at both in their 30s, one of leukemia and one of a rare genetic disease.  And now my beautiful, fun loving Aunt, my godmother, who left behind a legacy of wisdom and two beautiful boys.  I feel like I need to adopt them.  

And all this on top of the loss of Edmund, my late son-in-law, who died in September, tragically and so young, who I'm still mourning, and haven't even been able to blog about yet.  It seems destined to be a difficult year.  

I wish my dad was here to be with us all.  I wish I could have known Mike better. I wish I had gone to my cousin's wedding last weekend so I could have seen Crin Del one more time.  I wish I could share with her the books that I'm writing.  I think she would have really enjoyed hearing about it.  She would have understood giving a voice to someone who had none.  She was one of my people.  

But I still have many wonderful family members left, and I am vowing to cherish every minute I can spend with them.  Difficult, maybe at times, but worth every minute of personal connection.  I love them.  Crin Del, I will miss you.  Rest in peace.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Letters and such?

I know, I know.  I haven't been posting every day.  Did you miss me?  The good thing is, I have been writing.  Just not blogging so much.  I have a big list of topics to blog about, but am having trouble making myself do it.  The first topic on my list is "What does it mean to be a writer?"

One of my favorite movie moments is in Unforgiven, when someone in the company of a dangerous criminal identifies himself as a writer.  Gene Hackman's character, puzzled, asks, "Letters and such?"  The writer shows him the book he's writing about said bad guy, and Hackman reads, "The Duck o' Death."  "That's Duke," the writer corrects.  I love that scene.  It reminds me that once your words are put on paper, they take on a life of their own, and you never know what someone will make of them.

I've been calling myself a writer lately, when someone asks me what I do.  Otherwise, I am a household engineer, chauffer, Lego piece retriever, laundress, etc...  I like "writer" better.  But what does that mean?  Do you have to be published to call yourself a writer?

I write almost every day.  I've been lazy with the morning pages.  Artists Way, Week 11 has lasted about 12 weeks.  But if I'm not writing morning pages, I'm writing the book I've been working on this fall.  And if I'm not writing that, maybe I am writing letters and such.  Emails, facebook posts, thank you notes (on a good day) or actual handwritten letters, which happen once in a blue moon.

Have you ever received a letter that touched your heart in a way that no phone call or email ever has?  Some people have that gift, and I aspire to it.  I believe there is an art to the personal note.  I began learning it at camp, writing letters during rest hour.  I also learned that skill from my mother, who writes wonderful letters.  They meant a lot those six weeks of camp every summer, and still do on very special occasions.

A writer writes.  That's what they say.  So I guess I am allowed to call myself one.  Have I published?  Depends on who you ask.  I wrote a few things for my high school and college newspapers.  Does that count?

Well, good news.  It is the eve of the publication of my very first magazine article!  So there.  Amelie G magazine, http://ameliegmag.com, a nationally distributed New Orleans fashion and lifestyle magazine, is publishing an article I wrote dealing with food sensitivities and allergies.  I have had enough practice with that, as you know if you've read any one of my early posts.  After you've all (all 4 of you) had a chance to run out to your nearest Barnes and Noble or Whole Foods and buy the magazine, maybe I'll post it here!

I'm having fun writing.   This weekend, I will celebrate.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about words.  Enjoy!

A word is dead when it is said. Some say. I say it just, begins to live that day.
Emily Dickinson


Our words have wings, but fly not where we would.
George Eliot


The closer the look one takes at a word, the greater distance from which it looks back.
Karl Kraus


Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.
Ludwig Wittgenstein


But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
Lord Byron


Saturday, November 3, 2012

An uneventful weekend

This is a weekend so rare, it only comes along once every few months.  I stayed at home with my husband and kids both Friday and Saturday nights.  We had no fairs to be at, no campouts to go to, no sleepovers with friends, no birthday parties, no galas, no fish fries or spaghetti dinners or bingo nights.  Just us.  Hanging out at the house.  I hardly knew what to do.

During the day I attended a writing workshop, and Michael invited a friend over.  Victor and Isabella went on a father-daughter date to the Wax Museum, Camellia Grill, and Cafe du Monde. All lovely ways to spend an afternoon, but also very unusual because we were not together.  Plus, usually if we separate, we end up drawing the line by gender.  Michael and Victor might play frisbee golf, while Isabella and I go shopping.  Not today.

I sense a turning point in our lives that may have something to do with Isabella growing into double digits and Michael about to become a teenager.  They are becoming little adults.  We've always treated them that way because they are both old souls, but now they are responding in interesting ways.  It's always surprising to realize that these little people I helped create are not just mini versions of me or Victor but completely separate souls that have separate thoughts and dreams and a purpose on this earth all their own.  Sometimes I just have to step back and watch in amazement.

Did I use my time productively on these evenings?  It depends on who you ask.  We watched a lot of TV (together), and I played too much Settlers of Catan on my phone.  It was so tempting--no obligations, taking a little breather in front of screen after screen.  For me, the writing workshops take a lot of mental energy.  I was a bit brain dead by 5:00.

But around dinnertime, Isabella literally got in my face, in between me and my phone, and started singing and gyrating wildly.  It actually took me a second to focus on her, so out of tune was I.  She's not shy.  She tells me when she wants attention.  So finally, I put the phone down (why does it seem so magnetic?) and got up and danced with her to her made up tune.  We jumped around and mirrored each others movements until I put my arms tight around her and we jumped around and danced crazy steps as a single unit.  I held her tight until she felt contained, and still, until she felt uncomfortable, and I let her go.  And we danced some more.

Moments like that make life worth living.  So, an uneventful weekend?  Thank goodness we have time for them once in a while.  I hope I remember it forever.

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Souls

Pinky and Pacman get ready to haunt Lakeview...wide eyed...

Happy All Souls Day.  As a tribute to the Halloween season in general, here are some great pics of the family in costume.  We especially remember Edmund, who always outdid us all in costuming and all sartorial pursuits.  Rest in peace, dear soul.


Dizzy Lizzy with wig 

Dizzy Izzy and the Dark Lord/Hooded Figure thing


Dizzy Izzy and Pinky ready for the night!
Halloween 2011--Rufi and the Faeries!
Our first Halloween with Edmund, October 2010
All smiles

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy National Blog Posting Month!

Well, it's November 1st and all I can say is, it's been a busy few months.  My last post was in April.  Sad, sad, sad.  But I've been inspired by the arrival of National Blog Posting Month, which, I learned today, is November.  Who knew?  The goal is to post every day on your blog.  Yup, whether you want me to or not.  Teehee. :P
 
Blogging is a strange phenomenon.  I started keeping a diary when I was old enough to write.  When Katrina hit New Orleans, I had about 8 or 9 journals collected over the years, all lost, unfortunately.  These were not something I would ever, EVER want anyone to see, and when blogging became a trend, I scoffed.  Who would ever want to read the musings of little old me?  And who would be so presumptuous to think anyone would want to read theirs?

Ummmmm.......me.

I started this blog because I was going through something that I couldn't find anything about online--food sensitivities, allergies, leaky gut (which is not as gross as it sounds), and a rotation diet.  But I found I had more to say.  In fact, I found I had hopes of making writing a career--so much so that I had no time for blogging.  I was writing important stuff, in writing workshops, doing the morning pages for the Artist's Way.  Since March I have another 4 or 5 journals written, and have started writing two books.  Blogging, and then writing, has been a reawakening for me.

I don't know who thought of devoting a month to blogging every day.  I think it's a pretty funny concept.  But for someone who expresses herself best in writing, so much better than in conversation, this is a jump start.  It doesn't have to be so hard.  Having to do it every day takes the pressure off.  It doesn't have to be (and won't be) perfect.  Kind of an issue for me.  For more info, see the post entitled "Perfection." :)

So thank you, whoever you are.  I needed a jump start, a reason to get back to it.