I should be done with Facebook. The ads that appear creep me out because they obviously know my browsing history, and I am truly tired of the reposts of my son/daughter/friend/mother is awesome because…and Jesus loves you, followed closely by some hard left/hard right mean-spirited rant. Some of my relatives are flat-out bat-shit crazy (looking at you, A), but they are still part of my history and I love knowing what’s up with them, just a little tired of the stories of their dogs, the rescue dogs, the dogs at the dog park; the check-ins at the gym, the grocery store, the office; the endless stream of what they are listening to on Spotify. I don’t want to “friend” my sister’s friend because she thinks I’m funny - get your own friends
But I love keeping up with cousins and old friends I rarely see, and love seeing pictures of the kids, the life events, the vacations, the projects. I like keeping in touch with people I met while working in Brazil and Mexico, seeing how their projects are progressing. I don’t repost anything or “like” posts that came from elsewhere, I refuse to click on any of the ads. I only post snippets of my life that I think my real friends might be interested in (and the occasional sports trash-talking). I don’t want them to follow me here, because, frankly, I’m not sure I want them here.
So, I won’t quit Facebook. Yet. But I’m getting close.
You’re the glue that holds the family together.
—My sister-in-law to me after dinner last night.
Scholium Project “Midan al Tahrir”, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Verdelho and Gewurtztraminer. It sounds like a hot mess, but it was a lovely, full-bodied white with a bit of crispness from the Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelho, a hint of sweetness from the Gewurtztraminer, but without the mustiness of a Chardonnay. Great white with food.
We ordered a case from Astor Wines, who offered free shipping on the first onine order, plus a discount on a case, so it was less than $18 per bottle.
Note: Next served a 2010, but we bought 2011.
I haaaaate everything pumpkin?
I pulled the tomato plants this week. I had about 3/4 of a pound of little yellow pear tomatoes left, and, fearing divorce if another variant of a tomato salad was on the table at dinner, I made this spicy-sweet chutney. It’s loosely based on a recipe from Epicurious, accommodating what I had on hand. I’m not posting a picture, because it was, frankly, not very pretty (I think red tomatoes would have been lovely; the yellow just produced a sickly-looking brownish glob). However, the flavor was stellar. I served it with roasted halibut and pearled couscous accompanied by a chilled Urban Torrontes that served as a nice, acidic counterpoint to the the spiciness of the chutney.
Spicy Tomato Chutney
3/4 pound vine-ripened tomatoes
1 small cayenne pepper
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens
Chop tomatoes and finely slice pepper (remove seeds for less heat).
In a medium non-stick saucepan, bring vinegars to a boil with sugar, salt, mustard seeds, and black pepper. Stir in tomatoes, pepper, and scallions. Simmer mixture over med-low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently toward end of cooking), until very thick and reduced to about 1 cup. Cool chutney completely. Chutney keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.
I received an email from Tumblr telling me that I’ve been writing here for 2 years. I started in November 2011 because I thought I was losing my job (I had the severance papers in my hands), Lou was facing the start of chemotherapy for leukemia (or as we call it, LOUkemia). Our quiet, comfortable life was threatened. I was anxious, tearful, fearful, stressed to my limit. We went on vacation to DC that December, and I wondered if our financial position or health would make it our last.
2012 was the lost year. Chemo started in January, with unintended consequences. It triggered a virus that attacked his bone marrow and left him nearly defenseless to disease and bleeding to death. He was so tired, all the time, mostly because he had no red cells to carry oxygen. Chemo was abandoned, and a monoclonal antibody treatment was started. We held our breath as his blood counts were meticulously tracked, inching up, retreating, inching up again. When the treatment was finished, his counts were still very low, but the doctor cautioned that it would take time for his bone marrow to recover. And so we waited. In November, there was another bone marrow biopsy that revealed his bone marrow was 95% viable! That was the day I looked at my accumulated frequent flyer miles and asked him if he would like to go to Argentina with me to drink all the Malbec. He laughed, said yes, and we planned a trip 6 months out, hoping that he would regain his strength.
2013 has been the comeback year. We went to Argentina in April, and we paced ourselves, taking a rest break every afternoon, and did our best to drink all the Malbec (and most of the Torrontes). The day we landed was my first day of retirement. The company made me a generous offer to retire. We found that we had been conservative enough with our money that we could make it happen, our children are grown, married homeowners and not dependent on us for support (except when the dinner check comes). In July, our children celebrated our achievements (retirement/return to health) with a most elegant dinner party for our closest friends. In August we went to London to scatter a friend’s ashes, a further reminder that life is short. We went on to Paris afterward, walking everywhere, his endurance noticeably improved. Since we’ve been back, I’ve taken a part-time consulting gig to keep us in vacation money. His blood counts are stable, close enough to normal that the doctor is unconcerned. We know it will be back at some point, but for now, we will gratefully accept our quiet comfortable life once again.
I’m not sure how we would have fared without the support of our kids, our friends and family, but I’ve always believed that if you do the best you can in the circumstances you face, things will change. For better, for worse, it is not always in your hands, but life moves inexorably forward with or without you.