Those who know me are aware of how much I love games of all kinds. I’m hyper-competitive and I live for the thrill of winning.
Turns out though that there’s one game out there that I loathe-– and I’m particularly ill-suited for.
Yep, the waiting game.
Here’s my life in a nutshell. So much is happening around me (birthdays, pending graduation, etc.) and yet so much of our lives is clouded by a big fat question mark.
What does the future hold for David’s health?
He finished with his chemo and radiation weeks ago and this week he’ll undergo two tests which will jointly determine if he’s a candidate for surgery to remove his tumors. Or not.
And so there’s a lot of holding our breaths, trying to live normally as much as we can, and grab every delicious morsel we come across.
I’m a nervous wait-and-see-r, so there’s been lots of activity coming out of the kitchen.
I’ve been organizing and tidying random little corners of my world.
I’m re-watching the Tidying up with Marie Kondo series on Netflix and it’s motivated me to take baby steps to contain clutter (and heaven only knows I have far too much stuff in my house).
And while my husband isn’t eating much these days, that hasn’t stopped me from catching up with girlfriends over meals.
Like at one of my favorite spots in town, Poke Mon.
Or new-to-me Canard with their excellent bar food and snacks.
There was a dish here that particularly intrigued me — a red quinoa bowl with a poached egg and a carrot harissa sauce.
And recently I’ve tried to make a point to reach out to those on the very periphery of my life, wanting to learn how some people are navigating particularly challenging points in their own lives.
I recently spent almost two hours on the phone with Elizabeth, the mother of a dear friend of mine, who lives in Florida and is struggling with her own cancer.
I slowly ate my meal of homemade Chicken Tikka Masala
while she generously gave me tips on how to deal with the stress I’m currently feeling, and I’m so grateful for her wisdom and thoughtfulness.
One thing she reminded me of is the need for caregivers to rest up and recharge their batteries with whatever gives them joy.
That’s where this guy comes in.
Erica is another example of someone I reconnected with this past week.
She and I met years ago (and currently subs for one of my kid’s teachers) but somehow got linked up on Instagram. She’d commented that she’d like to treasure hunt with me, so I invited her to a Goodwill Bin and lunch date, and we had a blast.
Afterwards, we feasted on lunch I’d made us.
It may sound strange, but I love talking to people, particularly about the specific details of their struggles, and I always find strength from the resolve and courage displayed by others.
This thought leads me to ask.
Are you guys watching The Kindness Diaries on Netflix?
If not, I highly recommend that you check it out.
It follows Leon Logothetis as he travels the world, relying solely on the kindness of strangers to get from one point to another.
It’s so inspiring to watch how people give so freely to someone they’ve never met — and so moving to witness how he returns their generosity in unusually thoughtful and profound ways.
Touched by this program, Alex is yet another person I reached out to recently.
She’s a vintage seller and we met up on IG (@Attic.antics) through mutual friends. We’d never met but I asked her if I could cook for her (I knew that she has Stage 4 breast cancer and I thought she could use a home-cooked meal).
Turns out she lives a little over a mile from me and so she popped over this week.
She’s currently going through chemo and so I asked her what appealed to her and she said she loves grilled cheese, so I made a point to make some special ones.
There’s no real mystery behind a terrific grilled cheese.
Just use the best levain (or rye or whole grain) bread you can buy and preferably use it on day two or three (it’ll be a little drier and firmer and not soak up the butter as much).
Use top-notch ingredients, and I like to mix something unusual in there to make things interesting.
One of my sandwiches was Brie and French raspberry jam and the other was a mix of sharp cheeses and pesto.
Both sandwiches were brushed liberally with garlic butter as they pan-fried and they were delicious!
Here’s a funny coincidence.
Alex was talking about her antique business and she mentioned that years ago she had a booth at Monticello, one of my favorite vintage collectives in Portland.
On a whim, I described what was my favorite booth ever; it was full of European enamelware and little signs and
years ago I’d bought a little set of French stamps there.
(The booth disappeared years ago but every time I go there I always look for it in a new spot in the event the seller had decided to selling again.)
“That was my booth!”, she squealed.
I grabbed the stamps and for a moment they were reunited.
She showed me pics on her phone of the little French town they came from, and I got the biggest kick off hearing he back story.
Alex is such a fascinating woman and she is dealing with her crappy hand with grace and dignity and humor. Plus she’s a hoot!
So lots of visiting around here with people around town, including at my favorite coffee shop, NEVER.
And when I’m not eating out, I’m cooking up a storm, day-in, day out.
To settle my nerves (and clear off my counters), I’m like Johnny Appleseed scattering treats in my hood.
Lots of them.
Plenty of those to go around, too.
So much baking, cooking, organizing — all attempts to channel the chaos of uncertainty and worry circling us…
into something tastier and far more productive.
So please keep those thoughts, prayers, and most of all, the
coming our way. I carry these lovely wishes around with me always.
Wherever you are, may your Memorial Day be filled with love and laughter.