01 . 05 . 13
We lounged on the couch all day on the first. No crisp morning run and green juice to follow. No, we just laid there, me curled in tie-dye and yoga pants, you in the flannel with the pink stain on the pocket from where your sharpie exploded in the spring. We ordered bad pizza and watched the new Bourne flick until it got dark and the streetlights out front turned on. You looked at me and reached for my hand at one point with a new look, one I haven’t seen you wear before, it said holy-shit-what-a-freaking-year. I felt the same thing but didn’t say anything. I took your hand and smiled. What a freaking year was right.
This picture has been the screen saver on my phone since it was taken in January of last year. We were home for my holiday break and everything that stood before us seemed bursting and bright, albeit completely undefined. I had one semester of school left and we intended to foster a few more dogs, run a few triathalons, and move. Move somewhere. Anywhere. Away from California, preferably, but we weren’t picky yet. You wanted snow, and I wanted interesting people. We were both undaunted by any of it until the spring. Crap. You mean we actually have to decide, now? New York, Denver, DC? I interviewed in Brooklyn while you filmed Sprout and we crunched the numbers. I wanted the job, but hated the city. Flying home I remember trying to summon every ounce of wisdom Paulo Coelho or Mary Oliver or Oprah would promise me I had inside to turn our sails the right way.
May came quick. I didn’t get the job in Brooklyn, thankfully, and DC got put on the shelf for later. I passed French 3 and marched to Pomp and Circumstance wearing a cap without a tassel or permanent address. We said goodbye to the ocean the next morning and hit the road. Alaska first. Big fish. Deep introspection. Hours of Mexican train dominos and the very best company. I didn’t know I could love so much outside of my own kin until your grandparents. I sold my car and we camped along I-80 until a flat tire parked us in front of the duplex in Denver that we now call home. You built me a garden, I learned about marmots and bears, mountains and altitude became our new addiction. We made fast friends. You traveled a lot for work, I missed you terribly.
At the end of the summer I got a “real” job and things changed, again, as they do. For the first time in my life I understood what exhaustion looked and felt like — you saw it in my eyes and in my distance. In the bowels of it all I met people, saw things, felt things that I didn’t even know myself capable. Things were hard. It felt like someone took our little snow globe and glued it to the ceiling, everything looked misshaped and backwards and we held each other upside down like that, so tight, shocked, stunned by it all. We were both free and trapped. Happy, but terrified. Bright eyed and blistered. There were mornings like the one after the first snow, we ran far and fast, in silence, our legs red and tingly from the cold, or that night of the Ben Howard show where I wondered if I was getting closer to or even further from myself, closer to or further away from you. It was a free fall. We made questionable choices, spoke important truths, and held on for dear life as the time and place tested all that we were, are, and will be.
I looked at the picture of us today, the one on my screen saver of you and me and Buddy, a whole year later, a year older and stronger, and see the best parts of it all. We were so happy. So darn certain that despite the hardship, heartache, and the dramatic changes that lay before us, our love would kick it all in the pants. I look at that picture and I want to go back and tell those two kids that, yeah, it’s gonna be a crazy road, CRAZY TOWN, but keep believing, keep going, because your love will kick life in the pants and guess what, IT TOTALLY DID. Sitting on the yellow couch with you eating pizza a year later, seven years later, really, I’m so glad we postponed our resolutions a day to just give thanks. We made it. It was our hardest and best year. For all the obvious and secret reasons I love you. I love you so much. I love what we do, I love what we believe, I love how fucking hard we work to make this relationship right. Here’s to you and to 2013. Here’s to the mountains we’ve climbed and the many more before us. We’ve got this.
Made a little money playing in the bars
With two beat up drums and two old guitars
From the Crescent City to the Great Salt Lake
It ain’t what you got, it’s what you make
When the road got rough and the wheels all broke
Couldn’t take more then we could tow
Making something out of nothing with a scratcher and our hope
With two old guitars like a shovel and a rope
Rock of Ages, cleave for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Now I understand
On better terms since Birmingham
Shovels and Rope
Shaved Cauliflower Salad
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit, 2012
- 1/2 head of a large cauliflower
- 1 medium sized radicchio, cored
- 6 inner celery stalks with leaves
- 1/4 cup chives
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup honey glazed walnuts
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 tsp water
- 4-5 medjool dates, pitted
Break out your mandoline and shave the cauliflower as thin as the setting allows. Shave the radicchio by hand with a sharp knife. Place in a mixing bowl. Remove celery leaves and toss into the bowl. Cut the remaining stalks into thin matchsticks and add to the mix. Add parsley leaves and chopped chives.
For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree until smooth. Mix with the veggies and add lemon zest or more citrus juice and salt to your liking.
For the walnuts, preheat the oven to 350.’ Massage walnuts with honey and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 + minutes or until just toasty. Comine with salad mixture and serve at room temperature.
12 . 02 . 12
When the moon is out and fog hugs the city limits, the trails of airplanes — the steam, smoke, whatever it is they leave behind — appears black against the night sky. Have you seen this before? It’s stunning. Haunting.
Driving home from the movies a few nights ago, I motioned to Shaun to pull over and look at the moon in this state, the way the black line lingering up there in the sky divided it in two. We parked the car in front a dark driveway and stared, silently. “Do you think it’s an asteroid headed for Earth?” I asked. Shaun laughed, “I think it’s a plane, and, I think you’re beautiful.”
It is December now, and I am reminded by the twinkling lights on houses that guide my bike rides home at night that life can be messy and confusing and still be knock-your-socks-off-magnificent. My life is so abundant, fuller and richer than any young woman could possibly deserve in a lifetime. Tough days seem selfish, trite, ignorant. I wake some nights gasping for breath, stunned at my blessings and overwhelmed with a sense of duty to repay the world with duplicate affection for all it has given me.
A new friend asked me the other day, “seems like you’e working too hard at this stuff, is it all worth fighting for?” The answer was (and is) YES. Yes and always yes. The good is always worth fighting for. There isn’t much I feel like I know for sure about this world but this, fighting for the good stuff, I can assure. The moments parked in front of dark driveways discussing asteroids and planes and the moon and love and life and death and who we are and why we’re here and how desperately we just want to do it right – these moments will always be worth fighting for.
Sweet Potato Samosas (baked, not fried!)
Adapted from Saveur
- 1½ cups flour
- 8 tsps water or buttermilk
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 sweet onion, minced
- 2 tbsp. minced cilantro
- 1 (1″) piece ginger, peeled and minced
- juice of 3 fresh lemons
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne
- 2 medium sweet potatoes cut into ¼” cubes
- 2-3 cups veggie stock
- sea salt, to taste
- 3½ cups tightly packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup tightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup greek yogurt
- salt to taste
Preheat the oven for 450.’ In a large bowl with measured flour, cut in shavings of butter using a paring knife. Rub together flour and butter until the dough becomes crumbly. Add in water or buttermilk and mix with hands until the dough starts coming together. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until elastic. Cover and set aside.
For the filling: Heat oil in a skillet over then add onion, and cook until lightly browned. Add sweet potatoes and 1 cup of broth and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, coriander, garam masala, cumin, cayenne, salt and a cup more of broth. Simmer for another 10 minutes until potatoes soften, adding more stock as needed as the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat to cool.
Divide dough into 10 golf-ball sized rounds and cover with a towel. On a lightly floured work surface using a rolling pin, roll 1 dough ball into a 6″ round. Cut in half. Here’s the part I’m going to quote from Saveur, the instructions are just too good: “Gather straight edges of 1 half-round together, overlapping them by ¼” to form a cone; moisten seam with water and press to seal. Spoon 1 heaping tbsp. filling into cone. Moisten inside of top edge of cone with water, press edges together to close top of cone, and pinch along top ¼” of seam to completely seal filling in dough cone. Pleat length of seam by folding over about ¼” of the dough and pinching it together in about ½” increments. Repeat process with remaining dough and filling to make 20 pastries total. Set filled pastries aside.”
Bake Samosas for 15 minutes on one side, turn and bake for another 5. Remove when both sides are lightly browned.
For the chutney: Place cilantro, mint, lemon juice, and yogurt in a blender. Purée until smooth.
09 . 25 . 12
No recipe today. I have a few on deck that I think you’re really going to dig, but our work hours and travel schedule have left us light-less for any actual photo taking lately. The Happyolks posts of days past were thought up, and literally shot, on a whim. Nothing was planned, most times I’d show up at the farmers market, grab what looked pretty, and develop an idea from there. Pulling it all together now takes more finesse which is fine, I like a good challenge. New posts end up feeling like an accomplishment. A gift to ourselves, and a gift to you.
In the meantime, I’m dropping in to share a few good things that I think are worth a look or listen. Some new, many old. A random assortment of ideas and art that keep me light on my feet during the “in-between” moments of these jammin’ days. Take it easy, friends.
Katie Makkai, “Pretty.” For every woman, and her best friend, sister, or daughter.
This song and this song. All. Day. Long.
Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability.
Denali, one day?
Cozied up in My Berlin Kitchen and Tiny Beautiful Things.
Chaos on Bullshit Mountain.
Yes. Yum. Creamy Polenta, Cherry Tomatoes, and Shell Beans.
Favorite online reads of late: Rose and Crown, Big Bang Studio, Delightful Crumb.
Martha Beck, rule No. 5.
Kiele of the Sea.
A story for tomorrow.
Paperback weddings / 3:00 minute marker, sobbing. Don’t even know these two.
Direct Orders, Anis Mogjani.
05 . 29 . 12
To Mom, Dad, Austin, Shaun, and San Diego:
je t’aime | je t’aimais | je t’aimerai
I love you (!) | I loved you | I will (always) love you
10 . 07 . 11
There will be no pumpkin bread in this week’s post. No cinnamon-sugar scones, honeycrisp apples, rutabaga mash, baked spinach, and definitely no butternut squash gratin. But there will be F-75, F-100, and Plumpy’nut. This is what food aid looks like in the Horn of Africa right now. Keep Reading…
(more…) «Famine, Food, Justice»
If you’re looking for a cozy autumnal meal, skip this. Today I’ve baked up a nice PSA for you.
Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti still face the worst famine in the Horn of Africa in 20 years. Remember reading about chronic drought in Eastern Africa this summer? It hasn’t gone away. Barren land and food insecurity has already caused tens of thousands of deaths, and aid agencies say four million people are still acutely malnourished and in need of assistance. At the current rate, widespread starvation and disease will take short of a million more lives by Thanksgiving.
International NGOs working on the ground to distribute medical aid and foodstuffs face immense challenges. In Somalia, a nation wraught with the woes of civil war and radical Islamist militants, aid is not reaching the people who need it most. Shabab-controlled regions continue to suffer as terrorist factions divert and hoard UN WFP food drops and hold Western assistance agencies at bay.
“Food” for famine victims is strictly functional. Plumpy’nut is generally the soup du’jour. It consists of peanut paste fortified with sugar, soy, whey, vitamins and minerals to facilitate rapid weight gain. The sticky, soft substance needs no cooking, and can be eaten straight from the foil packaging. At 500 calories a packet, it takes multiple packets a day for 9-12 weeks to return to baseline nutritional standards. For those who are too sick to eat, doctors treat severe malnutrition with therapeutic milk products like F-75 and F-100 that are made of concentrated milk powder, grease, and dextrin vitamin complexes. In “less critical” areas, rice, cornmeal, vegetable protein, and other non-perishable goods can be distributed.
How lucky are we? When most of us are hungry, we can cook ourselves food. Food insecurity exists in the States, no question, but this kind of depravity is unthinkable. Reading the death tolls in the paper, watching video footage of children gazing into the camera with bloated bellies — it’s easy to feel helpless. We’re here, they’re there. Where do I put my money? Will it even help?
Throwing money at things isn’t always the best solution. How about compassion, empathy? Sure, but without action, nothing changes. The situation in the Horn of Africa is quickly becoming one of the worst humanitarian crises since the early 80′s. Just another line-item on a preposterous list of human travesties that we just sat back and watched, keeping our fingers crossed that government would figure it out.
They won’t. Not without us. The al-Shabab in Somalia are denying relief agencies of their important work of healing the sick. Unacceptable. Not only is this a humanitarian crisis, but it’s a crime. Matt Bryden the coordinator of the U.N. Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group agrees: “without justice, humanitarian assistance alone will have the perverse effect of absolving and even rewarding those responsible for this tragedy.” Justice means food to the sick. Justice means these sick people can heal, grow strong, and take back their state. Justice means corrupt regimes don’t get away with murder. Getting food to the people who need it is step one.
What does this mean for you? Start talking about it. Make some noise. It’s not pumpkin bread. It’s not apple pie. It’s standing up and saying “hey, this isn’t right, people are starving, and there is food aid that they need and can’t get.” We’ve made noise like this before. Remember Live Aid? Well, I wasn’t born yet, but it really helped turn the tide in Ethiopia. Discussing the role of the International Criminal Court over book club might not seem trés chic, but for people who care about food (that’s you, dear reader) this issue should hit home. If donating is your gig, go here. If you’re upset, tell your government. Cut and paste Bryden’s call to action and send it to the people with power.
“The time has come for either the International Criminal Court to become engaged in Somalia, or for a special international tribunal to be established, in order to dismantle Somalia’s deadly culture of impunity. It may seem unrealistic today that leaders of al-Shabaab would ever face trial, but the same could also once have been said about the leaders of the Khmer Rouge or the Bosnian Serbs. And those who have undermined and brought shame upon the Somalian Transitional Government and its affiliates by commodifying their own people, using them as lures for personal profit, are no less guilty and more readily accessible to the reach of international justice.”