February 2010 Archives

Spicy Coffee Soup


We barely made a dent in yesterday morning's pot of coffee. I couldn't bear to toss it to make some fresh coffee today, but reheated coffee it is pretty blah so I decided to experiment.

I'd made soup. Coffee and Indian curry spices go well together, as it turns out. The coffee adds an interesting depth to the usual flavor of a curried soup. Toss in some lentils, rice and a few vegetables and you have a nice lunch that will perk you up for the afternoon.

I'd like to try it again in a creamed variation using potato instead of lentils. Thanks to the enormous amount of coffee we didn't drink yesterday, I certainly can.

Spicy Coffee Soup
serves 2

1 cup coffee
2 cups water
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp dried garlic
2 dried chilis
1/3 cup brown lentils
1/3 cup brown rice
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything except the corn and peas in a pot. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils and rice are soft - about 30 minutes. If you let it simmer longer, you may wish to add a little more water. Add the corn and peas for long enough to heat them through, then serve the soup.

Knitting a Horse


This morning I woke up feeling behind on things. I've been glued to the computer for three days editing but I knew I'd have a break today while clients had a look at the rough cut.

So gee...I should fill the larder, do the laundry, take care of the bills and paperwork, tidy the house. I really must fit in some yoga or hooping to move my body, at least an hour. And there are this week's Artist's Way tasks to do and today would be a good time to get them started. Oh, I need to decorate the partner hoop before Sunday, too. Since I am not reading this week, I ought to catch up with my friends by phone. And wasn't there...Argh.

I had to stop myself. Stressful! I hate all those ought/should/must/need things. They are always way more than can actually be accomplished without exhaustion and the way they hover makes me feel horrible. So what do I do when those sort of things overwhelm me?

I knit a horse.

Not (necessarily) a literal horse, but a project to show off at the end of the day. A project that lights my passion on the spur of the moment. Procrastination, yes, but the knitted horse is always an accomplishment of some magnitude; something elaborate enough to justify the undone laundry or unpaid bills. "Look, honey, I knitted a horse! Life size with a hand plaited mane and embroidered button eyes. Took me all day! I think we'd better order in tonight."

And thus this morning I unexpectedly began knitting a horse. It's taking the form of rearranging the living room, which has follow-on effects in the rest of the house as I shift cabinets around and rehang the kitchen door, clean under cupboards, and consider moving the stereo, too. I will accomplish some nagging tasks in the end, but this was not at all what I'd intended to do with my free hours.

Still, it's a nice horse.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


Birthday party, 1975

Mom turns 70 today. Here she is half a lifetime ago at our dinner table in New Jersey, opening a birthday present with remains of yellow cake and party decor on the table.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Memory Loss


Last week when I posted my hoop performance video, my mother and sister were both reminded of a record we had when I was a kid - classic marches - that I didn't have any recollection of. Even having been reminded of it, I have but the vaguest tickle of recall.

This happens to me a lot. It is worrying.

I've always been this way with books and movies. A few of them stick, but most are forgotten; possibly a part of a scene or a song or something will resonate with me, but the rest is quickly lost. I've read voraciously since childhood and assumed that forgetting so-so plots and narrative was my brain's way of keeping room for the good stuff. But the "good stuff" is pretty random and now real life experiences are getting the same treatment.

I don't always remember places I've visited or restaurants where I've enjoyed a meal. Tod knows them and is patient enough to prompt me with details until I have a ping on my radar. "You know, the basement restaurant with the big blue vases? Where the lobby had a old statue of a man smoking and we talked about how you'd never see that anymore? And you had the rice pilaf with the pretty carrots on it?" It can sometimes take a lot of explaining before I twig. And sometimes I never do.

I usually can remember rooms where I've spent considerable time. My childhood homes, a classroom, various apartments and friends' houses. But perhaps I am inventing details over a basic framework of shape and color. I am very good at believing my own make-believe.

But forgetting books, vacations spots, and old LPs isn't the only memory issue that I struggle with. Recently I started doing The Artist's Way, which is a sort of therapy course for blocked creative people. Some of the exercises terrify me. For example, listing five people I admire. I can't think of who they might be, though I am sure I admire five people and then some. Last week we were to list twenty activities we liked to do. It took me three tries to come up with twenty things, even though I know there are scads of things I love to do.

I wonder if I am on the road to dementia? I have unusual white spots on my brain, according to a neurologist and an MRI. These are the sort of spots that are normally only seen on very old people's brains. So yes, perhaps I am on my way to being the crazy lady who doesn't know who you are.

That's scary.

I am developing some strategies for dealing with this current (and possible future) memory loss: live in the present moment without concern for the past or future; teach my body things like hooping and dance that do not require brainpower to enjoy; cultivate a joyfulness in small observations like watching birds and wind; build a body of creative work that will delight, surprise, and inspire me when I explore it.

I try not to be anxious about this, but I am a little. A great deal of my identity is wrapped up in the smart brain I was given. Dealing with loss of mental faculties is difficult. Who will I be if I can't use my mind as I used to?

I don't know. And I have to wonder - did I already blog about this?

Epic Change

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Yesterday morning

Yesterday afternoon

The dull grey mood of winter begs for something new and exciting. Something different. February is high time for a style change. The sort that a salon will never give you but that a friend with scissors and valor will. While giggling.

I popped around to Jojo's for a cup of tea and a bit of snipping and came home looking like a new person. The sort of person who buys vivid pink hair dye and performs circus tricks. Yes, that person. Hi!

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