Saturday, July 31, 2010


Over the last few years, I feel like my life has lacked balance in many ways. In general, maybe, my personality lacks balance. I tend embrace life's extremes (hopefully not in a bipolar-kind-of-way, but in an exuberant-kind-of-way). The last five years of my life have been extreme. Graduated, married, moved, job changes, baby, motherhood, moved again.

I'm finally feeling settled. For the first time in my life, I'm living in a place with no end in sight. Up until now, my life has been divided into stages: university, Peace Corps, grad school, the Doctor's residency. Each stage had a finite life-span, a time when it was definitively over and it was time to move on.

But now, here I am. And I feel settled. I feel like I am sliding into my life, sinking in. The knowledge that I could live here for ever (or not) is comforting. This isn't a stage, this isn't a phase, there is no end in sight. It just is. This is my life.

And I am filling my life with bounty. I have a job that excites me, a child who inspires me to be better and stronger, even as she becomes her own person. I have the time to both work and cook, to do and create. I am enjoying summer and food and monsoons and rest. I am balancing my family, my work, my passions and my loves.

For the first time, I really understand how life is about the journey and not the destination.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

We're back from a lovely vacation armed with Virginia peanuts (but no ham). I always feel so sad when I leave my family behind to head back out West, but simultaneously, it's always somewhat of a relief to be back in my own home. We sunned, surfed, spent time with beloved friends and family members, ate and drank and ate and drank and ate some more. My mother's brothers are both "foodies" in the best sense and family get-togethers inevitably result in massive piles of shaved parmesan, giant boxes of pasta, links of sausage and a hot grill. Oh yes, and lots of bottles of wine. There is nothing like beautiful, messy, lovely family to make a holiday trip feel blessed.

After getting home, we went shopping. I love having a fridge full of fresh foods. The colors of summer are so vibrant on my counters.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Tonight I feel discouraged. This week hasn't been particularly overwhelming (or underwhelming), so I'm not really sure where this maudlin feeling has come from tonight (maybe that second glass of white?).

We have had some client losses these last few weeks. It's been sad. I don't like telling women they are no longer pregnant. They hear the initial news from the doctor, but inevitably, they come to me for reassurance, for understanding, for asking "is it true?" It is so hard holding a woman's hand while she cries in a language that I don't speak. Grief is universal, but there is still a chasm between us for reasons I can't explain. I am not fluent in the specific language of miscarriage loss and I know the grief of any pregnancy loss is so personal and different for each woman and each experience.

I know there are reasons for loss, all loss. I believe there is a place for us all to meet again, to see those we have lost, known or unknown, again or for the first time.

In a few short days, I am headed back to the sticky summer heat and green of Virginia. I am looking forward to taking a break from work, seeing my beloved family and having my tired, dried-out soul renewed from the ocean's salty breeze.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stoned Fruit

I used the term "stone fruit" the other day (as in, "Please pick up some stone fruit at the store") and The Doctor looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Though I didn't ask, I suspect an image of eating rocks flashed in his mind. Clearly "stone fruit" isn't a term that is as commonly used as I thought.
Stone Fruit: In botany, is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part (exocarp, or skin; and mesocarp, or flesh) surrounds a shell (the pit or stone) of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries. The definitive characteristic of a drupe is that the hard, lignified stone (or pit) is derived from the ovary wall of the flower.

Stoned fruit salad is a delicious summer treat. Cut up a variety of stone fruits into chunks (peaches, plums, nectarines). Add a handful of berries (your choice, but I'm partial to raspberries or blackberries, myself). Add 2 Tbsp of sugar (or to taste, depending on your sweet tooth). Squeeze the juice of one lime (or equivalent amount of refrigerated juice from concentrate if you swing that way). If you have a zester, zest away (but I don't, so I don't). Tear up a nice-sized handful of fresh mint and mix well. Let sit at room temp for 30 minutes to let the flavors absorb. Refrigerator or eat. Also amazing when paired with Dutch babies (as in the pancakes, not actual babies).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cherish the Heirloom

Tomatoes are my favorite part of the summer. We always had tomato plants growing on our deck during the summers; they never yielded much bounty, but plucking tomatoes right off the vine and eating them on the deck, juice running down our chins was most certainly the best part of the summer (besides the smell of chlorine and no school).

I can eat a tomato like an apple. Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite. Often, they are so thick with flesh on the inside that I have to slice them and eat them like a steak, sprinkled with salt and drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and chunks of mozzarella.

I haven't been successful at tomato-growing, here in the dry and dusty southwest (but let's face it, I haven't been very successful at making anything grow--even weeds). Thank heavens for stores and farmer markets. There is a lovely place, just down the street, called the Fruit Barn which always sells delicious and fresh tomatoes a short walk away.

In honor of summer, here is my new favorite summer tomato recipe (so easy, I can actually make it after work):

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
Two sheets of puff pastry dough, thawed according to package directions. Slice one sheet into four equal squares. Cut the second sheet into strips about 1" thick. Lay the strips along the outside of each of the squares (goal is a tart with raised sides).

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes on a cookie sheet.

While the tarts are baking, different varieties of baby heirloom cherry tomatoes in half (yellow, orange, red, etc.). Set aside. Take 2 oz of goat cheese (or more) and mix with sizable pinches of rosemary, thyme and oregano. Add two or so Tbsp of milk and mix it with the cheese so it becomes thinner and more spreadable.

When the pastry is finished baking, spread the goat cheese mixture on each of the tarts equally, top with cherry tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and put back in the oven for another five minutes.

Top with torn fresh basil and serve warm (or room temperature).

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Heat Wave

It's gotten hot. Summer has hit full force and the temperatures are soaring well over 105. The heat shimmers on the horizon and the asphalt is sticky.

I hate this time of year in the Valley of the Sun. It's unrelenting sunshine and heat.

I know that it's a dry heat, but still, sometimes, I feel like my soul is shriveling from the heat. The humidity represents a certainly level of fecundity that feeds a soul, keeps one alive even in the heat. Sweaty glasses of iced tea on a porch, the low hum of cicadas, the sticky feeling on the backs of your legs, the curls on the back of your ponytail.

I am looking forward to the humidity of VA.