Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are You Looking For Me?

Hello Friends,
As you may have noticed, this blog has gone on hiatus. You can find me blogging over at The Pen and the Bell, the interactive website for the new book I wrote with Holly J. Hughes. Or check out my beautiful new author website, where I plan to have a newsletter started soon.
Happy trails,

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sweets for the Sweets

Well, it's been a while, sorry about that. I was immersed in a copy-editing job for a university report, which meant I was swimming in a world ruled by passive voice. This voice is hypnotic and deceptive; it lulls you into believing that things happen on their own accord, with no one taking responsibility, or credit, for anything.

In this world, things just are. They are reviewed, formed, analyzed,
shifted, reorganized, studied—with no human hand intervening. I spent hours upon hours resurrecting lost verbs, animating committees, revving up an entire university on paper. I asked a lot of questions in red, most predominantly: "What do you mean by this?"

I sent off the last chapter Saturday morning. Phew. But that passive voice still drones in my ears, and I'll need to do some serious exorcizing in the next few days, to hear my own voice calling faintly, like an avalanche survivor hoping to be rescued.

In the meantime, here's a lovely recipe for Sweet Potato Salad with Chili and Lime; I made it for 4th of July, and the rhythm of peeling sweet potatoes, chopping them into uniform chunks, squeezing lime after lime, soothed me after all those hours on the computer.

It was even better the next day, with a can of black beans added to the mix! Next time, I'll leave out the red pepper and bump up the lime and salt a bit.

Sweet Potato Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing
Epicurious | March 1999
Lauren Chattman
Just Add Water
Yield: Makes 6 servings
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 medium-size red bell pepper, seeded and diced.
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped

Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes (don't overcook or your salad will be mushy and falling apart.) Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add the red bell pepper and scallions to the potatoes and toss with the dressing. Season again with salt and pepper. Serve warm or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer!

This morning, the dog, cat, and I all woke early to a room flooded with light. We looked at each other. I said, "I hope it's not 5 a.m." I turned to look at the clock. It was 5 a.m. Abbe got up and shook herself, jumped off the bed, and nosed open the door.

It's the longest day of the year today, so I thought, why not?, and followed her lead. I got up to experience this day from beginning to end. I ate my breakfast, then sat on my front porch to read.

My front porch faces east. It also faces the street where children go by on their way to school. Two teenagers floated by on their skateboards. They must have been about 14, with the lanky bodies of boys free from their parents, their houses, in that blessed in-between time from home to school. They kicked and glided their way past my driveway, not noticing me at all. They called to an unseen friend in the distance: "Hey, who is that? Who are you?" Who are you, indeed.

I walked with Abbe to meet a good friend for Second breakfast (I would make a very good hobbit), where we sat outside in the still-early sun. Then Abbe and I walked home. I read some more on the porch, wrote a letter recommending a colleague for tenure and promotion. I sent out one of my own essays. I ate lunch. I went shopping for a new sofa, then took Abbe for a walk in Hovander park.

Then I went to Yin Yoga, where my favorite teacher Michal was back from maternity leave. I actually fell asleep while doing sun salutation because we did it so slowly (a first!) Came home, ate dinner, read the paper, and it's STILL Daylight.

In my email, there was this message from the site Everyday Creative:
"Summer Solstice was thought to be a magical time when evil spirits would disappear."

So I'm not a big proponent of "evil" anything, but if we were to replace "evil spirits" with "inner problem-child spirits", and...

... if you believed that today could result in just ONE of your inner problem-child spirits disappearing, even if for just an experimental leave of absence, which one would you exorcise in the magic of the Solstice?

 What if we all picked one tantrumy spirit child, and practiced acting as if he/she was away at summer camp.

I have this Judgmental/Critical set of problem-child twins who are going to a camp far, far away.

I thought about it. And I decided I would send my work-aholic, always-needing-approval child to Club Med!

Where would you send your problem child?

It's been a LONG day, and a happy one (problem children and all). Wishing you a happy summer solstice evening, and a fruitful summer ahead.

P.S.: Drew Myron, over at Off The Page, has an interview up today with me and Holly Hughes about The Pen and the Bell. You can check it out here (and see a goofy picture of us).