Happy August 35th! Seriously, did anyone else feel like August dragged on for much longer than the Gregorian calendar allotted?
A few weeks ago I found out a friend from college passed away from brain cancer. Brain cancer at 27 years old. I met him during my year at NAU in Flagstaff, Arizona and he was our honorary roommate. He was smart, witty, and full of life. The saying went, “who needs Wikipedia when you have Sean?” That year, a huge snowstorm took over the town and we were holed up for 3 days. There were six of us in an apartment made for four and we all went crazy with cabin fever, getting in flour fights, jumping off the roof into snow piles, and sledding down the outdoor complex stairs. During one of our sled runs, Sean and I badly misjudged a pole and went barreling into it, giving us matching bruises for over a week.
Nothing prepares you for another person’s mortality. Several people from my life have gone too soon, each passing hitting my heart with the same burst of cold that comes with an opened door in the middle of winter. What was once safe and warm has snow everywhere and the heat has to work extra hard to make it the temperature it once was.
Grief also has a way of making me calm other people’s condolences. For every “I’m so sorry” comes an “oh, well, I hadn’t seen him since I left NAU and you know, you lose touch with people.” as if I needed them to be okay more than I needed myself to be. I think most of us are guilty of this, deflecting our hurt, making it appear to be okay, in hopes that it eventually will be.
Let yourself sit with your feelings, whatever they may be. Your emotions are valid and they can stick around as long as they need to. Grief doesn’t call for justification, the only thing it calls for is time.
Recipes I tried
Gazpacho: I don’t remember the first time I had gazpacho, but I remember it always being my dad’s favorite. Whenever he sees it on the menu, he perks up and exclaims, “I love gazpacho,” as if this is a new revelation. He made it once when I was younger and I remember him saying all the vegetables you have to chop for it is exhausting. That being said, it’s been hot and muggy in San Diego, not ideal weather for soup – unless that soup is chilled. My gazpacho had tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, carrots, and a whole lot of spices in it. It might have had other things, but I don’t remember. With Bilbo’s words ringing in my ears, I opted to use my immersion blender to make a smoother soup. When serving, I topped it with pesto, mostly because my basil plant is flourishing and I am overwhelmed, as I am a spectacular killer of basil.
Falafel: I have a list of foods that I have always regretted buying from the grocery store. On that list is tzatziki and frozen falafel. Falafel is surprisingly easy to make, mostly just mashed up chickpeas and spices. I followed this recipe and added in some tahini only because I had it on hand. After baking, I let them cool and to reheat, put some oil in a pan to brown them and give them the crisp the over didn’t. Served in a pita with some feta, tzatziki, spinach, and onions. My stomach was very happy with me this week.
Articles I wrote
Queensborough – your NYC fix right in San Diego , There San Diego
Articles I read
Oysters: A love story, NY Times
Having your home professionally cleaned – at least once: I am a particularly clean and tidy person as an adult. As a kid, not so much, but few kids are and I have zero guilt about this. I will deep clean my apartment on a Friday night when I had every intention of solely doing a quick wipe of the countertops. Living in a studio, things get dirty quick and you notice immediately. For the last few months, I have been a combination of busy, overwhelmed, anxious, and exhausted, so I’ve been doing the bare minimum and it made coming home uncomfortable. My overpriced 405 square foot sanctuary was anything but that. As a gift to my sanity, I had a dear friend who is starting her own cleaning company come give my home some love. 5 hours and a not at all unreasonable amount of money later, I nearly cried walking into my apartment. Actually, I am emotionally unstable and absolutely teared up and proceeded to write my friend a very long love letter via text about how happy it made me to come home. That night I also managed to write more than I had for months. I don’t know if the two are linked, but I do know my apartment feels like home again. It’s also made me want to buy a $169 trash can, so pros and cons.
Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning: My Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment was one block away from the best bagel shop in the neighborhood, which meant I spent a year living off everything bagels with scallion cream cheese. It was the best of times, and it was the carb-iest of times. San Diego, for all its perks, does not do bagels in any satisfying capacity. What’s even more unforgivable is when I suck it up and accept my mediocre everything bagel, nowhere has scallion cream cheese. It will be this city’s downfall – aside from the eventual sinking into the ocean. While my bagel game is abysmal, my everything seasoning game has never been better. I put this on EVERYTHING. Eggs. Toast. Disappointing bagels. Vegetables. Chicken. Avocado. It is…literally everything.
This week is packed full of day trips! Sunday, I’m headed up for a hike and wander in Idyllwild, a place I have been wanting to rent a cabin in for the weekend, but life has yet to make that happen. To celebrate Labor Day, on Monday I will be doing no work and instead, I’ll be at Milagro winery treating myself to wine and cheese.