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Archive for August, 2011

It goes like this some days:

good luck/bad luck

I find good parking spaces, often; I have terrible luck with shopping carts, the wonky wheels

I kept passing the same man in the grocery store today, 5, maybe 6, times. A regular guy, maybe two or three years older than me, not too tall. For at least 20 minutes I saw him, passing me in this or that aisle. He never made eye contact with me. I tried to make eye contact with him. A little smile, an acknowledgement. I ended up looking at the ground and smiling to the floor after about 3 times. When he exited the store, I saw that he was empty-handed.

I went to a grocery store earlier in the day. A tall, dark-skinned African woman in a dress made of traditional African cloth (if I knew anything about Africa, maybe I could say what country the cloth was from) was walking in the beverage aisle (I came there to see if the Polar seltzer was on sale, but they never carry the black cherry) toward me. She walked slowly, but with a rhythm all her own, in her own world, and she wore large, Birkenstock-like slippers on her feet. They were incongruous. Maybe they were Crocs with furry linings?

Later, a few hours later, I saw the same woman behind a grocery cart outside another grocery store. I recognized her feet first, I must have been looking down. She never looked at me, neither time.

When I read blogs in which the words are written on a black background, I can’t read. I look away and all I see are lines lines lines. This is unfortunate, I think, and I wonder if other people have this problem. Sometimes I get ocular migraines and I think these blogs could trigger one, but come to think of it, none ever has.

Today was a shopping day, a catching-up-on-groceries-and-errands day. I went to FIVE different stores and to TWO different banks. I still haven’t gone to the post office to mail a package that I haven’t yet packed, sealed, or addressed.

On the road, on my way to the third grocery store, someone in a Suburu Outback wagon was following behind my car and although the driver was not actually allowing her car to tailgate mine, I had the sense that she was in a hurry or pissed off or needing something urgently. She passed me when she could and turned ahead of me, less than half-a-block ahead. I caught a glimpse of her silvery short hair and proper, politically-correct bumper sticker.

In the third grocery store, I passed 2 women talking and I recognized the woman with short silver hair as the driver of the almost-tailgating-me Suburu. She had all of the signs of someone who lives in the Pioneer Valley, just like I do. Right then and there, I decided she was full of shit and I wanted to ask her why she drove like an asshole.

In the Whole Foods Market in Hadley, Massachusetts, one enters directly into the produce department. When I walked into the store (my FIFTH and final store of the day), I heard a high-pitched screaming. A mother shopping with her 2 children, the youngest still in the realm of baby-hood (13 months, maybe?), was pushing the screecher in a cart, her other child walking beside. The sound of the screeching was jarring to my system and painful to my ears. I asked the cute produce man putting up local green peppers, of which I needed at least two, “how long have you had to listen to that?” at which he answered that he was glad his wife had a boy because “they don’t scream like that.” Now that I’m not sure about. I just thought the mother was a particularly indulgent mother who was raising a child who could have been told not to scream. I heard the mother try this once, maybe twice, all the while while the baby screamed and screamed, laughing and giggling and making cutesy faces after every scream. The baby screamed and screeched the entire half-hour that I was in the store. The employees, you can tell, are not allowed to say anything negative in conversation about anything like an obnoxious screaming baby. So everyone, shoppers and workers, just nodded our heads uncomfortably. Sometimes a shopper would hear the screeching baby for the first time, as the little family approached. I could tell it was the first time by the way the shopper would jolt and startle and jump a little in his shoes. I think I jumped a little almost every time until I got far enough away that I sort of forgot about it until now.

I look at the women a lot. The women shopping, in the parking lots, in their cars, in their yoga pants and sports tops. In their good flip flops. With bouncy long hair, with beautiful silver hair. Thinner than me. More fit than me. This one’s got runner’s legs, that one has cork heels too high for safety with her small daughter walking next to her. What if she has to run after her in the parking lot? I don’t notice the men as much and there aren’t as many of them anyway. I have good flip-flops, too, but not flip-flops with bling. When did flip-flops get to have supportive soles?

I love the women at my bank. One has smoked for too long, I can hear it in her voice. She wears a crucifix around her neck. She is beautiful and kind, a little older than me. She has a pretty face and I love her.

I never remember names any more. The cashier I always talk to at WF has 2 daughters, one a new baby, and I ask and ask and I can’t remember. I know where she lives, I see her walking her baby in a stroller on the sidewalk, I know that her grandfather is from Italy, Sicily to be exact, I know the grade her oldest daughter is going into, but I can’t remember the names. What happened to my memory?

It is almost one o’clock and I thought it was only almost midnight.

I went to sing Sacred Harp tonight, as I do almost every Tuesday night at Helen Hills Hills Chapel on the Smith College campus in Northampton, Mass, and my oldest daughter went with me. She looked really pretty tonight and was very happy, but I still got ticked off at her in the car on the way home.

I went to yoga before singing and it was GREAT and I thought that sometimes good yoga is like good sex and I know I’m not the first to say or think or write this, so why bother?

When I used to do a lot of massage, this was a regular thing, someone or another would say that a great massage was as good as great sex. My clients never said this to me, just friends or acquaintances.

When I come across a new blog and I see that the posts are all long or I see a long post, I don’t read usually. So I try not to have blog posts that are too long. But I am full of words, swimming in my head when I am in the car too much or in a certain manic state and now look where it’s got me. And this is AFTER yoga! But also after singing, which can wind me up sometimes.

At a local, annual food-tasting the other day, a guy giving out samples told me I had blueberry eyes and he asked me if I do have blueberry eyes: do you have blueberry eyes? I said I don’t really like blueberries, but I wish I did. That was a new one: blueberry eyes. I’ll take it.

What about the words lush and razz-ma-tazz and linger? Can you guess who I was listening to in the car? Here’s another hint: dame.

Well, I’m tired and wired, so you know that means it’s time for my crossword. If you got this far, you may a. be married to me or b. a really good friend or c. brave and patient, more than I probably am or d. the recipient of my gratitude. I love my readers.

I even have something in common with Ol’ Blue Eyes. Whaddaya know?

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Greetings! We didn’t get much rain in my neighborhood, but our neighbors to the north (Brattleboro, VT and right up the river in Turner’s Falls, MA) were underwater in a lot of places.  There has been a lot of flooding and a lot of tree damage, roads busted up, buildings traveling downstream. My family got lucky this time.

I am sticking to Music Monday in spite of the tragedy that befell many over the weekend and late last week. Trying to keep it light but deep at the same time.

How can you be unhappy when you hear Mahalia singing?

Now will you look at this

High heels and a dress, style, poise, bravado, braggadocio, electric guitar, and great gospel singing to boot! Still in the aquatic vein, Ladies and Gentlemen, Sister Rosetta Tharpe:

Before you get the idea that I think we are being punished by God or some higher being for some evil or other, I have a question: how does anyone know what God knows? Tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine.

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My youngest is 13 today. Happy Birthday, my love!

Here is a photo from when she was a littler bug:

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It’s the ocean today and the ocean tomorrow and this beach has a carousel. And beach rhymes with peach and you know I love peaches.

My kids are too old to ride the “Flying Horses” carousel, but we are going with a friend who has a 6-year old. Perfect.

This carousel claims to be the oldest of its kind in the US. These types of claims are made all over New England. Oldest this and first that and most, richest, prettiest, best. Who knows? I’m just happy to be here.

The carousel horses are hand-carved and their tails are made of real horse hair.

My mother called me yesterday in a panic that we might be caught in the upcoming hurricane. I see it’s not expected in New England until Sunday, but the predictions for NYC on Saturday are dire. I don’t mean to be flippant, but I have a hard time getting in a tizzy over these kinds of things (still, I’ll kick myself if we have a flooded basement over the weekend). Here in the motel, we have full cable and the weather people are falling all over themselves. It must be nice for them to have a story to sink their teeth into, but it’s pretty shocking how bad TV culture (and by extension, our country’s) is.

Thankful then that I don’t watch TV (for the last few years, not that I never have and not that I didn’t used to love it).

The waves were huge today, a bit beyond my comfort level, but the water was refreshing. Strange clouds and a spot of rain in the late afternoon, not sunny like in the photo below. I love being at the ocean and I’m grateful to live close (enough).

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Yup, it was my 30-year HS reunion last weekend. Yup, me and my pals used to listen to the Doors a lot. Is this song in honor of that time? Nope; you bet your sweet bippies, nope.

Still celebrating 20 years of marriage around here, and on our way to 21, 2 love-me-2-times at a time.

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Kale, how do I love thee?

One, you start with the letter K. Not many vegetables can make that claim (kohlrabi?).

When I was anemic (severely), you called to me, for you are full of iron. Fe on the periodic table, from the Latin, ferrum, meaning, well, iron.

The most common nutritional deficiency in the world? Lack of iron.

The most abundant element on earth? Iron.

Why do you need iron in your body? So your red blood cells can carry oxygen (O). You need 4 Fe molecules per erythrocyte in order to carry one molecule of O2. This is why anemic folks get out of breath (at least I did).

Wait a minute, twinkly, is this the same iron that we see rusting on playground fences and garden tools?

HELL YES! Would I lie to you?

What do you need to absorb iron so your red blood cells can carry oxygen? Something acidic (lemon or orange juice work well). What can interfere with Fe absorption? Among other things, calcium (Ca). The particulars of this get pretty tricky so if you are interested, you should do some of your own research.

What form of iron do humans most successfully absorb? Heme iron, found in red meat, especially liver, also oysters. You can eat a lot of kale and it will help, but it won’t get you out of a severe anemia.

Kale is in the brassica family. It is a cabbage or cruciferous vegetable, named for the shape of the leaves at its base. You can therefore feel virtuous for eating cabbages, getting to the crux of the matter, as it were.

Here’s my basic kale recipe and how I cook my kale almost always, though I do put it in soups and frittatas and egg-and-cheese strata. Me and the mister just love it this way and I think you will, too:

Get yourself a bunch of lacinito kale (aka dinosaur, Tuscan, or black kale)

But twinkly, can’t I use another kind of kale?

NO. This is my blog and you will do as I say and cook as I do.

Here’s why–

the lacinito kale is beautiful and dark, dark green. Its leaves are firmer than the other varieties of kale. It is darker green, so, even though I’m making this up, it stands to reason that it’s higher in vitamin A and all of the B-complex vitamins. It cooks up crunchier than other kale because it’s leaves are so dang firm. No soggy crap!

That tough stem that all kale recipes tell you to remove? You can leave it. You can leave it in all varieties of kale, but especially with the lacinito kale. Yes, you can trim it at the bottom if it is a 1/4 inch or more wide, but leave the rest.

Okay, back to the recipe:

Ingredients:

appx 1 lb fresh lacinito kale, trimmed at the bottom

appx 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (you already know your fats should be organic)

garlic, at least 3 cloves (I like the hard-necked garlic when it’s available) ready for a garlic press

half a lemon

some toasted sesame oil and don’t use the Trader Joe’s stuff because it doesn’t have a shaker-top and it’s not too flavorful to boot

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

good set of metal cooking-tongs (you won’t be using a non-stick pan, right me maties?)

Method:

Grab your big bunch o’ kale

Rinse the leaves. Usually kale is pretty clean of dirt, but sometimes does have some little bugs

After rinsing, leave the leaves full of those beautiful, silvery dew drops of water

Cut your kale into a chiffonade. Use a really good, sharp knife–not serrated,’kay?

(chiffonade is French, but your knife should probably be German)

You don’t have to cut it super-fancy thin, but about 1/8″ is good. You’ll need to cut narrow across, not length-wise

Heat about a TBSP of evoo in a large pan on medium heat, or if your stove gets really hot (I have electric, sorry purists), turn that down a notch. Don’t use a non-stick pan because a. Teflon will kill you (the fumes can kill a bird) and leach icky endocrine-disruptors and hormone mimicers into everything and into everyone’s gonads, even fish and especially amphibians and b. your kale will not sear properly and have a tiny crunch to it.

If you are anemic (menstruating ladies, take heed), you can use a cast-iron pan for extra iron

When your oil has a bit of a sheen on it, throw in the kale. It will sizzle and pop. Take a step back and let the dew do its magic.

While the kale steams a bit in the pan, take your garlic cloves and crush them in a garlic press (I DO sometimes slice my garlic, but I prefer the crushed in this recipe). Throw the garlic onto the kale.

Grab up a tong-full of kale and turn it in the pan a few times. Do this until all of the kale gets a turn: fair is fair. The garlic needs to be distributed evenly.

Grab your half-a-lemon and squeeze some of that baby into your pan. Sizzle, sizzle. Do your guests like a lot of lemon? Use more juice. Keep grabbing up the kale and turning it in the pan.

Take the toasted sesame oil and shake shake shake it onto the kale. Now you can also shake your booty. Put on some James Brown. Now you’re cookin’! Maybe five shakes should do the trick. It’s really a matter of preference.

You can put a pinch or so of sea salt (appx 1/4 tsp) onto the kale and grind some pepper on there, too. Salt seems to go pretty far on kale, not sure why, so don’t overdo it; you can always add more after a taste-test.

That’s about all. I like the kale to have a lot of crunchiness and some signs of searing, but I don’t like it to lose its bright hue. You can cook it so it has no searing or you can cook the living hell out of it like our parents’ generation seemed to do to all green veggies.

HIT IT AND QUIT IT!

Would I lie to you?

photo: ©kgfarthing2011

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A little late today….

I may have hinted at it and I may be repeating myself, but I am grateful for my family and home and for living in Western MA. Nothing like a trip, which included 700+ miles on the road and about 1000 miles in the air, to remind me of what I love and of my many blessings.

Back in Ohio, I was able to catch up with many friends who I hadn’t seen in a lot of years. I attended my 30-year HS reunion in Sylvania. It was strange and surreal and heartening and fun, a blast and really groovy overall.

Really grateful to be sober.

While in Kent, I visited my friend who owns and runs a frame shop. I bought a couple of black squirrel glasses, poked around her new space. Back in the day, I had many things framed by her (when I used to earn a buck and could afford it). She is the best framer I know and runs one of the best businesses in town. Unbeknownst to me, another friend of mine was cutting mats in the basement of the shop right then, so I got to see her as well. What a fabulous surprise.

I got to visit an old roomie of mine, finally see his house and meet his kids (though I met the oldest when she was a baby). He played the tabla for me right next to the newly-created pond that he built for his wife. It was all just so good.

I miss my old life because of those folks.

What else? I attended a wake, unplanned, that. I did get to see my friend from New Mexico who I hadn’t seen, we calculated, in about 17 years. Despite the circumstance, her mother’s death, it was great to be able to see her.

Back in Sylvania, I had the great fortune to stay and hang out with one of my oldest friends. I can’t put into words what that all meant to me. The overarching feelings are just these, gratitude and love.

You know Judy Collins’ does the Sandy Denny song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” right? You could play that right now. Or you could listen to this:

Lastly, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys, is that I got to do something I’d wanted to do since I turned 40 and that was a nude photo shoot. A friend of mine recently got a new camera and I volunteered to be a body for her. As it turned out, I wasn’t naked for a lot of it, and Kathy wisely brought some different draping fabrics. She is the professional after all.

This was another full-circle experience because this friend was an attendant and photographer (pre-digital!) at both of my daughters’ births. I am now at the other end of my fertility and she took photos of me again. It was a great experience–educational, fun, and empowering. Not as empowering as having a baby without drugs, but less painful and more fun. For the most part, I wasn’t even naked, just wrapped in gauzy Greek goddess fabrics.

Now go out and get to your next HS reunion and don’t be afraid of getting naked when you’re old! ‘Kay?


photo: ©kgfarthing2011

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