Eating Local in Phoenix

November 28, 2011, 12:04 am
Filed under: asides | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Graduate Invitation AppleIt is three days post-Thanksgiving. The tree is decorated, the lights are up, half the gifts are bought. Of all the things I accomplished this weekend, none of them involved ‘work’ work. But I did cook. And it was wonderful.

This weekend, I should have written my 15 page paper due in five days. I should have finished my half-written resume. I should have updated my website. I should have finished that CSS/HTML project I’ve been working on for too long.

I did none of these things. Fortunately, I don’t believe in ‘should.’ I do, however, believe in procrastination.

As I writer, I’m not great at transitions. I tend to jump topics without warning. I do the same thing off the page.

The problem isn’t the change. The problem is getting from one place to another without radically changing everything.

How to get from undergraduate degree to living in France for eight months? Spend a summer worrying and eating chocolate pudding for breakfast.

How to get from living abroad to moving home with no plans? Cry a lot.

How to get from a masters to what comes next? Procrastinate, apparently.

There are nine days until the end of classes, nineteen days until I graduate. It is time to transition. Once again, I am lost.

I will make jam. This is how I will transition. With jam. Lots of jam.


October 30, 2011, 11:19 pm
Filed under: asides, garden, holiday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

PumpkinI really want to like pumpkin.

Every year as I’m disembowling some ugly, misshapen gourd (why go generic when you can go warty, I always say) I think about saving the seeds and growing my own orange monstrosity.

I become oddly nostalgic, picturing the vine climbing along the garden trellis, smiling as I picture the sudden appearance of an orange ball, waiting for that one leaf to turn over and die before plucking my jack-o-latern.

And then, inevitably, the bubble bursts when someone gives me something pumpkin flavored – this year it was cupcakes – and I remember that I really don’t care for the taste of pumpkin.

Stuffed pumpkin, yes. Pumpkin flavored anything else? Not so much.

Pumpkins glowIt’s my great food secret. I don’t like ginger and I don’t really care for anything with sweetened pumpkin as a primary ingredient.

So this year, as I was hacking into my reddish-orange, bigger than my head and riddled with warts pumpkin, I had that same old debate with myself: Save the seeds or compost them?

This year, instead of carefully washing and drying the seeds just to throw them out a month later when I can’t remember what they are, my pumpkin gave me a clear answer.

Pumpkin gutsIt seems, my rock hard gourd had self-sprouted every seed. Now, I’m all for gross pumpkin insides, but I’m not planting any seed that mutinously grows inside its host.

Problem solved.

This year I just carved. And I won’t be planting any pumpkins. At least, not intentionally.

Eating Local in Ireland – Traveling in Co. Donegal
January 21, 2011, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sunset; Greencastle, Co. DonegalIt’s the tourist’s dream: a popular area, talked about the world over, empty, quiet, with no rush. Just you and the landscape. No hustle, no impatience, no noise. That’s Greencastle, Co. Donegal in the winter. But that’s not why I fell in love. Sure, having it all to ourselves helped, but it wasn’t the landscape or even the history, no, it was the sense of contentment.

There is little doubt that we were tourists – in a one street town, we still walked past the same grocery store four times, much to the amusement of the owner, Greencastle, Co. Donegaltrying to find the Shore Walk path to Moville – but we didn’t feel unwelcome or even out of place.

No, this was a holiday and not a vacation. A difference in word, but a difference in feel too. Vacation has always involved a schedule or even forced relaxation (although, I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced a vacation designed just for relaxation) combined with a sense of purpose. We are here to see this. A holiday, I discovered – or at least as I decided to repurpose the commonly used word – is when you go somewhere and feel it, but don’t exactly see much of anything.

And that’s what this was. A lot of walking the landscape and feeling the cold through the mittens, scarves and hats. There was a sense of being helpless in the Moville, Co. Donegal from Shore Walkface of dusk on an unfamiliar path and a sense of being powerful standing in front of the lit fire, kindling of wood in hand.

But more than the long walks, the pints of beer in wood-paneled pubs and the fresh seafood dinner, Greencastle is where I finally fell in love with Ireland as a place. Boyfriend, heritage and lore aside, I experienced Ireland on its own terms – and even in a rugged, sea swept environment, it was calming.

Looking out to Lough Foyle, Greencastle, Co. DonegalIt’s a funny feeling to love a place, because, as Ernest Hemingway said about Paris, “for wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” I’ve loved many places, including Paris, and they do stay with you and shape you. I’m glad to have Ireland as one of those places.