Monday, December 08, 2014

The World's Best Hummus (from an old Lebanese family recipe)

This is a top-secret recipe for hummus from my ex-husband's Lebanese Maronite family. They don't like to part with their recipes (case in point: rice pilaf with pine nuts and vermicelli) so I'm sharing this with you on risk of death.  There are so many bad hummus recipes out there. This one is THE ONE. The key is plenty of tahini and plenty of lemon.

    1 can garbanzos - drained, reserve juice
    2 tablespoons tahini
    1-3 cloves garlic
    lemon juice & salt to taste

Put garbanzos, tahini and garlic cloves in food processor. Pulse. Add reserved juice back to get the desired consistency. Add lemon juice (a good couple squeezes) and salt to taste. Garnish with good olive oil (a delightful swirl on top).

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Summerland, CA -- 4pm

Because of the storms a layer of oil has arrived on the beach at Summerland, causing it to shimmer with iridescence. All I can think is, it's December and I live here and I am walking on the beach barefoot. 


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Why I Liked Having A Husband

No matter what happens, there is always someone to give you a hug at the end of the day, someone who will come up behind you in the kitchen when you're grumpy and cooking, and they'll throw their arms around you and say something like "I love it when you're focused so ferociously." And then later, they'll say "Isn't it amazing how you can take all these random ingredients your find in the fridge and come up with something so delicious."

And when you're having one of those days. You know, those days, when you've run out of milk so there's no tea in the morning, and the dogs come in with muddy feet, and your daughter has borrowed your favorite dress, and your hair is frizzy because of the rain, and your clients are being surly, and you lose a story you've been working on, and you haven't had time to go to yoga, there's always someone who is ready to tell you you're brilliant. And you're not. You're clearly not brilliant or kind or any of those things. In fact, you're small and timid and fearful and wondering why any of it is worth it, but there they are, standing in front of you with a big smile on their face, beaming at you as if the sun rises and sets with you, with your frizzy hair and your sallow complexion and your misery. And you can't help but smile too. You can't help but think that the world is a better place because there is someone else forcing you to believe it.

That's what it is. A husband is someone on your team, who gets you. Someone who loves you even when you are feeling fat, or ugly, or unloved or unloveable. Someone who makes you forget you're homesick. Someone who takes your car in to get the wheels aligned because they know you won't. Someone who puts a registration sticker on your license plate because they know you'll forget. Someone who forces you to breathe the air and walk in the trees because they know that it will revive you, even if it isn't important to them.

And it's someone who doesn't think you're silly and understands when you have a tantrum and doesn't accuse you of being a child even though you're behaving like a five year old. They're just there. With big open arms, ready to catch you when you fall.

Or at least, that's how I remember it.

But here's the truth: they know you're crazy but they never mention it. Not once. Not once do they point out that you are nuttier than squirrel poo. They just love you. Solidly. Constantly. Without question.

That's why I don't like being single. I'm learning. But it's not easy.

Kindness. Forgiveness. Love. It's all we can do.

That, and find someone who loves us back.

And a dog. A dog always makes everything better.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Gathering Water Lilies

Gathering Water Lilies, 1886, by Peter Henry Emerson. Emerson’s photographs of people working on the Fens of East Anglia show his passion for naturalism in photography (via @Guardian)

Lines for Winter

I am new to Mark Strand. But I love him nonetheless. This, for example:

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.
-- Mark Strand

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Digby Van Winkle (ridiculous for a rainy day)

Monday, December 01, 2014

Black Sea

One clear night while the others slept, I climbed
the stairs to the roof of the house and under a sky
strewn with stars I gazed at the sea, at the spread of it,
the rolling crests of it raked by the wind, becoming
like bits of lace tossed in the air. I stood in the long,
whispering night, waiting for something, a sign, the approach
of a distant light, and I imagined you coming closer,
the dark waves of your hair mingling with the sea,
and the dark became desire, and desire the arriving light.
The nearness, the momentary warmth of you as I stood
on that lonely height watching the slow swells of the sea
break on the shore and turn briefly into glass and disappear . . .
Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere? Why with all
that the world offers would you come only because I was here?

"Black Sea" by Mark Strand, from Man and Camel. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2008 via @writersalmanac