Monday, April 27, 2009

Pounding the Feet

I'm running again. Thrice in the last four days. Up (or, often, around) the big hills of our neighborhood, under the pink canopies of blossoms. And before you think it sounds romantic, let me assure you, it ain't pretty. Imagine (or don't, please don't) my hulky frame jouncing and bouncing in a too-small tank top and cropped pants, sweating like the dickens ... you get the idea. People pass me. Not just svelte figures with swinging ponytails. But old men. Old women. Dads pushing strollers at a leisurely pace. Frogs. Snails. Two-year olds with polio.

I used to run a lot--several times a week for an hour. I'd listen to a whole episode of This American Life, doubling over laughing when it was funny, little tears mixing with pouring sweat when I was moved. But that was in Mississippi. And since then my health has made it impossible. It's only now, coming out on the other side of all that, that I realize just how impossible it was. Running takes a lot of energy. Not just pounding the feet, but getting out of bed in enough time to do it, putting shoes on the feet, gearing up to feel humiliated by my creeping pace and not care. Not to mention the winter. I don't get people who run outside in winter.

Anyway, today I ran by a bus stop. I was nearly home, Bjork was on the ipod, I was feeling good. "Who cares what I look like when I run?!" I was thinking. "I'm healthy and happy!" I was thinking.

This little old Asian woman sitting on the bus stop bench looked at me and her face lit up into this huge bemused smile. Who knows what she was thinking. She didn't say anything. For all I know, she could have been remembering a particularly jolly episode of Full House. But I tell you, to me she looked EXACTLY like she was thinking, "Whoa, even the big American girls run. Look at that tummy bounce!"

I don't think I could ever flip someone off. It's not in me. But I must say that as I passed this woman, I found it comforting to touch my thumb to my middle finger, marking it, readying it, just in case.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Very Important Things to Tell You

* Amara asked about the Nightmare Gallery in Salem. I must say, a love for frightful things is not something Sam and I have in common, so as we were going in to said gallery, while he was saying, "Ohboyohboyohboyohboy," I was saying, "Ohnoohnoohnoohno." But it wasn't bad. It was just a museum of horror movies. The weird part was that after nearly three years of hanging with the Sam, I had seen WAY more of those movies than I ever thought I would. I recognized characters, remembered lines. THAT was the terrifying part.

* It's gorgeous outside, just gorgeous. I took a run, lapping up the vitamin D on my bare shoulders. A little puppy insisted on conversing with me. I stopped at the park at the top of that tall-tall hill, sat on the stone wall, looked at the city, and cried for my friend Scott, who died last summer in Provo canyon. Didn't know I was still mourning that. Anyway, aside from that, it was such a happy outing.

*The other night I dreamed that Marjorie Hinckley (the sweet, sassy, lovely wife of the last Mormon prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley) came to see me and told me I was an okay human, that God doesn't think I'm wormy. That's gotta be on my top ten list of favorite dreams.

*Yesterday we had our picnic at the park on the tall-tall hill. I was craving pizza, so we got it from our favorite place loaded with veggies, my half without cheese and sausage. And before you cry for me, Argentina, let me say that I snagged a very small sliver of sausage, put it in my mouth, and spit it back out. I kid you not, it tasted like a pig had defecated in my mouth. If any of you are aware of my former weakness for sausage, you will know this indicates conclusively that my tastes have changed. Hallelujah. You know what tastes good? My mom's special spinach and fresh mint and pineapple juice smoothie. That tastes better to me than anything right now. Boy, it's good. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

*Oh, oh, and this was fun. Tried to have a conversation with my students about poverty, centered around an essay by that woman who wrote Nickel and Dimed. One of the women discussed in the essay is pregnant and eats a bag of Doritos for lunch. Somehow this devolved into several vocal students insisting that it was selfish and wrong for poor people to have children, that she should have spent her money on an apple instead of Doritos, that if the poor would just blahblahblah, etc etc. And instead of being really mature and teacherly, and guiding them with socratic questions to enlightenment, I just sputtered and muttered and verbally (uselessly) stomped my foot. Ah, Teaching. How glad I am you're over in a week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh Boy

Love this picture of Sam and his dad in Marblehead.

Sam's parents were in town last week, and they spoiled us rotten--in a very good way. They fixed things around the house, bought us yummy food and more yummy food, then whisked us off for a weekend in New York. New York was swinging gently into spring--blossoms just barely peeking and the weather lovelier than I remembered it could be.

Here's one more picture of Sam going into Count Orlock's Nightmare Gallery in Salem. You can't tell from his back how excited he is. He must have said, "Oh boy," about 300 times. I honestly don't know if I've ever seen him happier.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Favorite Vegan Dish--Thus Far

Here's tonight's dinner. Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto with whole grain pasta and garlic-sauted broccoli rabe.

Sam, when he saw this picture, said: "That actually doesn't look anywhere near as good as it tasted."

I'd agree. I like this better than traditional pesto. Lighter or something. The lemon just shimmers on the tongue and the cashews are oh-so-creamy.

Here's a picture of the pesto all alone:

And here's the recipe, courtesy of Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.

Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto

1 large clove garlic
3-3 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 dry mustard (I just used a squirt of brown mustard. Tasted fine.)
3/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil (I used one, and two tbsp of water.)
1 tbsp water
1 cup + 1-2 tbsp raw cashews
2 1/2-3 cups (packed) fresh basil

In food processor, combine garlic, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, oil, and water, puree until smooth. Add cashews and basil and puree.

The pesto will be thick at this point. When you cook pasta, save the hot pasta water. Add it a bit at a time until it's how you want it.

Then, well, you eat it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Want to Hug It

We went for a walk at some park yesterday.

I took a lot of pictures like the one below to illustrate two points: 1. Pretty. 2. It is so not spring yet. What a jerk.

We found these spiky things, which reminded me of being in elementary school at Golden Avenue in Lemon Grove, CA. We would have spiky-thing wars. Why someone would have a tree that produced spikes at an elementary school is beyond me. War hurts.

Our favorite part was the Canada Geese. Sam was particularly impressed. Here's a bit of dialogue.

Sam: What kind of creature is that?

Deja: A Canada Goose.

Sam: I want to hug it.

And off he went, after the goose. Here's a shot of him trying to get close. That's about as close he got because I told him they are notoriously violent. Is that true? I'm pretty sure that's true.

Like I said, we liked the geese. Which caused us to be disturbed by this sign.

Define "degrade" please. Who says it's your park, Bub?

Do you think this begins my transition into a rabid, protesting Vegan? Yikes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Maybe It Ain't So Bad

So today I made fat free vegan waffles and I know you're groaning over there, imagining how hard and icky those would be. But you know what? They rocked. And not as in hard as rocks, but really genuine rocking. Wow they were good. Especially with my special berry sauce, which really isn't special, just tasty. Come to my house. I'll make you healthy waffles.

Also, Sam and I went on a walk because it was sunny and gorgeous and there were little tiny flowers, so there are SOME flowers up in this hood.

He made me walk up this hill that was enormously steep, which was fine because there was a pretty little park at the top with a stone wall and a view of Boston and happy people were sitting on the stone, and I was in this lovely mood so I kept asking Sam if we could have a picnic some day at this pretty park, and I don't think he was digging my four-year-old-ed-ness. Whatever though, because if I make the food and I put it in a basket and I tell him we're eating at the pretty park, he'll follow the dinner. Maybe. Or maybe he'll just go get Reeses PB cups, because he's really into those lately.

While we walked Sam did what he always does: thinks about whether or not zombies can get into people's houses. If I say a house is pretty, he has to decide whether it's safe from a zombie attack. Emergency Preparedness and all.

And he thinks he isn't Mormon.

He's going to hate that I just said that.

Anyway, so while we were talking about zombies, my right knee gave out, which it so rudely does on downhill slopes. And after whining not a little, I realized if I kept it straight, it didn't hurt as bad. So I walked the rest of the way home like a zombie, of all things. I eat brains.

And while I'm telling you every detail of our eventless walk, let me also say that I found a lovely, soft, pussy-willow type object. Really, I don't know what it was, but it was this stick with soft tufts as grey and delicate as baby seal fur. I had to yank and grunt to break it off of its mother-plant (don't worry, someone had already cut it down so I wasn't killing it.), but it was worth it. I spent the rest of the walk brushing it lightly across my cheek. I tried to brush it lightly across Sam's cheek but he didn't like it. He jerked his head back and looked like I'd come at him with a dagger. But then I drew it lightly across the inside of his palm, and he liked that much better.

Therefore, spring is perhaps closer than I think.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Stopped Believing in Winter Weeks Ago

I stopped wearing my coat, even though I shivered all the way from my car to campus. I tore all the draft-preventing plastic from our windows, even though I could feel the wind come through the closed window and kiss my neck. I cooed at the little green sprouts by our doorstep, even though they haven't blossomed yet.

My reasoning was this: If I ceased lending credibility to winter, it would get its feelings hurt, realize its goose was cooked, and split.

But it didn't. It hasn't snowed again or anything. And the weather has been decent-er, sometimes even lovely, but where the Sam Hill (Hi, Sam!) are the flowers, the blossoms, the bright pink petals? Enough already with the brown.

I wouldn't whine, but I keep seeing pictures of the cherry blossoms in DC, which are painfully gorgeous. And I was thinking maybe they're just lower than us, and wondering how many days it takes spring to travel 8 hours. But today I saw pictures of flashy flowers in the Pacific Northwest, so now I'm just wondering what spring has against us. We need her, too.

Come on, Spring. Get yourself in gear. I'll be your best friend ...