Curried ICE

I just had last night’s leftovers for lunch.  It reminded me that I stumbled on a fab way to make a tasty curry dish, and I have to write it down before I forget.  I am a good spur-of-the-moment cook, utilising whatever my pantry and frig present.  Yesterday, I had leftover brown rice and a package of tofu that was calling to me.  I decided I wanted curried tofu, not just my usual saute.  I diced some garlic and onion and sauteed them in the skillet in about a tablespoon of olive oil.  I added the tofu, cut into short strips.  I sprinkled cumin (about 1 teaspoon) and curry powder (about 2 tablespoons because I like it spicy) on top, mixing to make sure all the tofu got coated.  Then I hunted in my pantry for something to make it more like a sauce.  In a stroke of genius, I chose a box of carrot and ginger soup.  I tested it on my mental palate and decided it would work just fine, and added the whole box (? 2 cups or more) into the pan.  I stirred it and tasted.  The sweetness of the carrots was barely coming through, and needed enhancement.  The honey jar did the rest.  A few tablespoons of honey, to taste, and voila!!!!! a wonderful curry.  I let it simmer and thicken, then enjoyed.  A spoonful of nonfat plain greek yogurt was a nice accompaniment. 

When I was a kid, my mom cooked all kinds of ethnic food.  She would joke that she was part – Italian, or Indian, or German, or whatever suited her dish for the night.  I started school seriously thinking I was part Mexican and Italian and Indian and…you name it.  I didn’t know the difference ’til I was in sixth grade.  Seriously. 

I wish my mom still had her taste for new and different foods.  She seems to have outlived most of her taste buds, and nothing is very palatable to her now.  (You do lose taste buds and smell with age, smell contributing a lot to our ability to differentiate specific flavors.)  I called my mom on Saturday when I was feeling awful, and she gave me some comforting words.  She and my dad are very understanding and supportive when I am sick, and still very protective of me.  How nice to still be someone’s child. 

This morning I saw a reference to Atlanta’s ICE:  Indie Craft Experience.  It will be held for two days at the end of May, and I mustered my nerve and put in an application to be a vendor.  Crossing my fingers.  I tried to show my hippest stuff. 



Introspection I

It’s time to change colours in a striped piece, and I pause.  Outside the door I hear a lone bird calling “Sweetie, sweetie, sweetie, sweetie” over and over.  It gives an odd feeling of spring, despite the constant hum of the heater working overtime on this 32 degree morning.  I’m in a garden-type hotel, with weather right outside my door. 


This week has plunged me into my head, once again taking stock of my feelings and progress, or lack of it.  I was gung-ho for this trip, physically ready to travel south and conquer the world.  I was in the midst of remarkable physical improvement.  Travel has pushed me back a bit.  I arrived tired and found I didn’t pack my CPAP mask.  The first two nights I struggled to sleep, propped on four or five pillows so that I could breathe.  It was an exercise in forced exhaustion.  The third night, I began to use a new mask, purchased from my favorite medical supplier, one that I’ve used again and again on my trips to the college town.  It took two days to regain my rest, and a dose of big diuretics to get rid of the fluid that accumulated during my folly. 


It is remarkable to me that this never gets easy.  No wonder that my patients used to come to appointments with such profound decompensation.  It takes daily, thoughtful, patient surveillance of my situation to prevent problems.  If I take my eye off the ball and try to be a little bit normal, I am slipping backward.  How clever of god to give me a medical background to deal with this constant test.  No wonder that I dream of being in school, training over and over, being quizzed and questioned and observed and never making it safely to graduation or completion.  How ironic, having to turn my knowledge on myself with the lack of objectivity always present as a stumbling block. 


My knitting is comforting this week.  It is a comfort, a constant, a place where I find satisfaction.  I feel competent.  I don’t dream of knitting tests or competitions.  When I look at the work of artists who are in a whole other realm from me, I am admiring, but not envious.  I can see the art and grace and skill in my own work. 


Fairly new for me is to see the art and grace and skill in me, recognize that there is no price to be put on my human worth.  In a recent mini-meltdown, with memories of a past crisis, I yelled “I am a good woman”.  Only the walls heard me, but it stuck in my mind that I need that affirmation.  I’ve looked at the press around an actress’ recent weight gain, and marvelled at the superficiality of our culture.  But that’s not the only arena where I have recently surfaced to sanity.  There is the guilt and self-doubt that seems to capture women, in particular, immersing them in quicksand, leaving them – me – immobile.  Immobile, lassooed by inertia, and doomed to repeat the same mistakes.  I am a good woman, indeed, good and aware and freed from my past, and not compelled to continue explaining myself. 


There are some days when I may only make sense to myself.  Pardonnez-moi.


Coming Out of Flare for a Sick Child

I’m watching America’s Got Talent.  The judges and admin have changed the rules, narrowing the field of people who have traveled all the way to Vegas, sending some home before they even perform.  It’s a reminder for me of real life.  Sometimes the rules change.  Sometimes the landscape changes.  Sometimes we change.


Last week, my household was all about welcoming my young cousin and preparing my daughter for leaving.  The cousin arrived, and she is a perfect addition to our household.  She eats like us, enjoys the same television shows, and laughs with my daughter.  I am thrilled with her willingness to be with us, to participate in our family and share her lovely smile.  She learned to knit yesterday, probably in self-defense.  She shared our all-veggie meal today without complaint. 


On the other hand, my daughter is still here, because she has been ill.  It seems to be an exacerbation of an old illness, but her doctor is doing some tests to determine if something new is taking place.  The preparation for going to school stopped midstream, because she has barely been able to leave the couch for a week.  I am having mother freak-out, of course.  Just because you know the medicine doesn’t make it easier to bear.  It may make it worse, because you constantly think of all the horrible possibilities behind every little symptom.  She is taking it with good will, and has assumed the responsibility for helping her cousin to feel comfortable in the house.  My child is funnier from her sickbed than I am when I’m at my very best. 


I received a link today to an interesting challenge.  STC Craft is giving away a mitten pattern (Melanie Falick Books – News – The Big Mitten Give) if we agree to make a pair for someone in need.  There are no papers to sign, just your unspoken commitment.  If you have a short attention span and can only complete one mitten, you can donate it to your closest Veterans Administration Hospital.  Sadly, there are hundreds of injured soldiers coming home, needing only one sock or one mitten.  I’ve designed and made fingerless mitts before, and absolutely love them.  I will make many before the cold weather comes.  This mitten pattern will go on my list for my local Salvation Army.  Charity hats have been in my yearly schedule.  It will be fun to vary it a bit this year. 


My current projects have stalled at various points.  The niece’s blanket needed a new skein of yarn, and it just arrived today, so I can complete it in one good day and show off the crocheted connections.  The little girl’s sweater that I am knitting for a contract is lovely.  It has two inches of lace design at the bottom, and I’ve completed the body of the cardigan.  The sleeves will be cast on tomorrow and knit together.  They will get a bit of lace at the bottom, too.  The neckband and front placket are last.  This is the kind of design that I enjoy immensely.  I began the sweater with a stitch pattern that I liked, but decided that it didn’t have the feminine, little-girly look I was aiming for.  I frogged it and began again, on the right note this time.  The huge striped tote that I’m making from Noro Kureyon has haf its handles.  I decided to make one short one and one very long one.  The long one can be pulled through the short one to close the bag, and then placed over the shoulder.  I try to make sure that very large bags have a secure carrying mechanism, preferably one that involves placing the weight on a shoulder and back rather than a wrist or hand. 


The one project that I’ve been carrying around through Dayna’s appointments is the bathmat that I started with barely a thought.  It’s from a Buton d’Or cotton/acrylic 60/40 mix, machine-washable, and rather spongy feeling.  I’m using two strands at a time and it makes a thick fabric that will be easy on the feet.  It’s a very simple stockinette mat with a garter stitch border.  I purchased the yarn from a sale basket in Florida, knowing that it woud declare itself later.  Two days ago I walked by and it said “I can be the bathmat that matches Dayna’s shower curtain.” 


Today I awoke with one of those little improvements that tells me I’m on the recovering side of this flare.  It wasn’t huge, just a perceptible increase in energy.  My prednisone is at 20 mg and I can sleep again.  It seems that I am making up sleep with my four-hour naps.  Another improvement.  I’ll be back to my exercise bike and walking soon.  God willing, life not interfering.