The post I didn’t want to write

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and then immediately put off publishing it. However, today is my mother’s birthday, and it seems somehow an appropriate time to finally put this out there.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.


“How’s your Mom doing?”

These are the words that I dread to hear. Although I know that this is a question people ask out of concern and to show that they care, the truth is that there is no other subject I would least like to talk about. It’s sad and tragic, and talking doesn’t make anything better.

For the last few years my Mom has been suffering from a combination of Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy. In essence, her brain has been very slowly shutting down. Against all denial, I’ve had to accept the truth – that the woman who I knew as my mother is gone. I can’t call her for advice, or support, or to tell her about something funny that happened that day. I have to contend with the fact that she will never know her future grandchildren, and they will never know her. There are so many future memories that I had planned in my head that are gone, before they even had a chance to happen.

Despite everything, I still consider myself “lucky”. My parents were smart enough to take out long-term care insurance years ago, and it has enabled my step-father, Henry, to have in-home nurses to care for my mother seven days a week without going into debt, allowing him a break and to maintain whatever amount of a normal life that he can. I am blessed with family and friends who support us in whatever way they are able, whether it be cooking dinner for Henry or cracking jokes to keep everyone smiling. I have an amazing husband who will always hold me when I need to cry and has never questioned the cost of a plane ticket when I need to go home. I have to constantly remind myself that things could be a lot worse, and on most days I feel like my life is normal, if not blessed. But of course, there are other days when all that seems to matter is that I want my Mom and she isn’t here. Grief is more of a roller-coaster than I would have previously thought.

I have been debating writing about this for a long time. Because although I like to feel that this is my place to come and share parts of my life, there are topics that have until now felt inappropriate to post on this site. See those advertisements off to the right? They bring in money, however humble the amount may be, and although I have no moral dilemma with exploiting my talents with cooking or sarcasm, I would never want to feel that I was exploiting my mother or the situation she is currently in. Until now I have made a purposeful decision to leave her off of Pink Basil.

That is, however, until I read this post. After reading it I felt better, knowing that I am not alone. And when I reflected on how it felt to read the words of stranger and know that we were somehow connected, I knew that I wasn’t  helping anything by not writing about what is such a continuous part of my thoughts every day.

This situation and my feelings on it are not something I can sum up in one blog post (I’m doubtful that I can truly put some of them into words at all). Nor am I going to allow them to take over this site. But writing about it can make anyone else feel less alone, or if I can use this place to sort through my own complicated feelings, then I hope it will be worth it.

Thanks, as alway, for reading. XOXO

Whole Wheat Ginger-Carrot Muffins + How To Freeze Muffin Batter

There has been an interesting development in my home the last few weeks: Chase has become a fan of carrot juice. And not just any old fan, he’s become the “I can go through a 5-lb bag of carrots in a day” kind. The kind of fan that doesn’t even wash the juicer because it’s just going to get dirty again in a hour. Now, I have been trying to tell Chase that carrot juice is delicious for years, but he never agreed until he finally tried some that had ginger added. Apparently this was the missing link, because now we have bags of carrots in our fridge and I’m trying to find additional counter space that doesn’t exist so so we don’t have to keep moving the juicer back and forth from counter to cabinet.

Not to say that I’m not happy about this – I’d much prefer that we be going through bags of carrots than cases of Coke. However, with all that carrot juice comes lots of carrot pulp, and the part of me that was told about starving children as a child will always feel guilty for throwing away pounds of food just to make juice. This past weekend I came up with a solution – carrot muffins!

To go further and make sure I don’t waste any food, I froze the batter and can now bake muffins throughout the week as I need them, instead of baking everything all at once and hoping I eat them before mold starts to grow. I know that some people will try to tell me that you can bake the muffins and then freeze them and the muffins will taste good when you heat them up but I DON’T BELIEVE YOU! I have never eaten a de-frosted bread product that I thought tasted remotely as good as one that was right out of the oven.

Since it was the ginger that convinced Chase that carrot juice is in fact, delicious, I thought it was only appropriate that I put ginger in the muffins as well.

Carrots + Ginger = Delicious juice

Carrots + Ginger + Whole Wheat = Delicious muffins.


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There might be an impending coup…

UPDATE: I wrote this post a few hours ago, right before my site went down. That sort of killed the humor for me, but hopefully you all will enjoy:

I logged on to my Google reader today and was like, “Oh that’s interesting, apparently I have a new blog post. I hope I haven’t started that awful sleep blogging again.” And when I clicked on it I saw this:

And I got really freaked out cause I thought maybe I started to write a new post and accidently hit “Publish” without realizing it. Which would have been really dumb of me but is totally within the relm of possibility – I often do dumb things WITHOUT EVEN TRYING.

When I checked the blog and saw that all was well I realized that someone is obviously trying to send me a message: that there is about to be a violent take-over and soon you will be spammed with random messages that link to weird products made in China and/or images of Disney porn.

If either of these things happens – just know that I tried to prevent it except I don’t really know any prevention methods and so all I actually did was hope really hard that the evil computer geniuses of the world realize that there are better/more lucrative blogs to take over than mine.

PS – in case you’re wondering why I subscribe to my own blog, it’s to monitor that the RSS feed is working properly. And to intercept secret messages from evil computer geniuses. Duh.

PSS – when an evil genius sends you a message, take it seriously! Even if the evil genius is your own self, who used an outdated email to purchase her domain and therefore didn’t receive the expiration notices. Like I said – I do dumb things without EVEN TRYING

No-Good, Very Bad Day

You all remember the book “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day” right? I got smacked in the face by one of those this weekend. And the thing about these terrible days is that they don’t even deserve sympathy. If I was in a car wreck and broke bones I wouldn’t feel too self-centered when I started crying and complaining about having a shitty day. Did anything that dramatic or life-threatening happen to me this weekend? Here, I’ll let you decide:

I went to the gym to take a spin class and ALL THE BIKES WERE ALREADY RESERVED. This was clearly going to de-rail my entire work-out program and now all of my hard work since January will have been for nothing and when I go to the beach in a few weeks and I will be doomed to have a muffin top because I missed ONE CLASS. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise.

I had a mildly irritating headache. For like THREE HOURS. It RUINED my afternoon NAP. I know, right? I mean, how can a person live like this?

Two of my friends went on a hike and forgot to invite me. And no, it obviously wasn’t an innocent mistake. They are CLEARLY conspiring against me and most-likely spent the whole time talking about me behind my back. Clearly.

We went to my first-ever Dodger game and it was cloudy, chilly and there were epically long lines to buy Dodger dogs, and when Chase finally got to the end of the really long line they were out of veggie dogs.  When I sat down in a bathroom stall a few minutes later and realized too late that there was no toilet paper I burst into tears. This obviously was not an overreaction by any means. Obviously. (luckily there were some unusually soft disposable seat covers at my disposal, or I might still be crying in that stall)

The day ended a bit better when Chase let me cry out some tears of frustration in the car without cracking one joke about the fact that I was acting like a baby, which was quite commendable of him under the circumstances. And then we bought In-N-Out for dinner, and the world was better again.

Curry Egg Salad

Let’s pretend for a second that the egg salad sandwich is the star of its own movie (please, go with me on this). It would enter the film as a sweet but rather plain girl who always takes a back seat to her much more exciting friends, like Tuna Melt and Reuben. Then she meets a mysterious stranger who whisks her away for the make-over of a lifetime. But instead of eye-brow waxes and mascara, our star is transformed into a sexy leading lady with lime juice, Granny Smith apples and curry powder. Step aside, Tuna Melt.

(I sort of think that the Tuna Melt deserves it’s own movie, but it would be more along the lines of all these tuna melt sandwiches wanting to be the same until they realize that being different is soooo much cooler and that they taste way better when you add things like hard boiled eggs or Gruyere cheese or arugula. But I’ll save that for another post)

(Actually,  I’m gonna try and stop now with the food-as-movie-star metaphors. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused)

I’m re-posting this recipe from my days back at A Cozy Kitchen.  I like the idea of re-posting because writing a food blog often results in cooking a lot of recipes that you never go back to again. Not that I’ve ever posted anything I didn’t think was truly worth your attention. Seriously – that would just be lame. Unless of course it was just so awful that I found it amusing and then I would need to have people share in the experience with me. But there are plenty of things I’ve made that no matter how tasty the finished product ended up being, I’ve never felt the urge to make it a 2nd time. Maybe the recipe was too complicated, maybe it requires ingredients I don’t normally have on hand, or maybe my tastes have changed just enough so that it no longer holds appeal for me anymore.

The point is: this sandwich is not one of those recipes. I LOVE it. More than I did the first time I ate it. If we were in a movie together we would sing this duet. Except, instead of being a man and another man in drag we would be a woman and another woman dressed in drag. Or food. Whichever is less weird.

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5 Things

This amazing cuff I found at the bottom of a sale bin at Francesca’s while I was picking up some new tights. Truthfully, I never wear things on my wrist, not even a watch, but this was too pretty to not at least make an effort for.

Another awesome shopping find – a sparkly gold dress found hidden in the racks at Crossroads. As soon as I pulled it out my friends were like “Vegas!!” since we have a trip planned in June and I currently don’t own anything that would be considered “Vegas appropriate.” That is, before now I didn’t own a dress that was covered in sequins and that ended well above my knees.

Another trip in the works – Chase and I are going to Seattle!! We’ve never been, but I’m already planning on drinking lots of coffee, grabbing pizza at Delancey and some oysters at the Walrus and the Carpenter. If anyone has additional suggestions, throw them my way!

This was my after-work snack all week. A few kumquats and some slices of good Swiss cheese. Perfection.

For the first time in my adult life, I have running shoes that are actually getting some good wear on them. Didn’t you see? I have a sparkly gold dress I have to fit into. Who would have thought sequins could provide that kind of motivation.


Smoky White Bean Chowder

Writing a blog is so often an exercise in wrestling with one’s own limitations. There are some limitations that can be easily fixed – spell check was invented for a reason, after all. There are others that may take time but can certainly be adjusted – I can always read books on writing to sharpen my skills (Bird by Bird is an all-time favorite).

But then there are things like inspiration, which is something that seems unfixable when you no longer have it. When I’m inspired writing comes easily, but recently I’ve felt like I’m at the bottom of a very dry well, praying for rain. I’m longing for the days when I struggled to get to sleep because my mind was alive with ideas. I try to throw in some humorous barbs that came so naturally in some posts but have now taken on the distinct tone of pandering.

Most likely the best remedy is that I listen to my inner voice more than I usually do. This post was originally going to be about how I hate the cold weather and like to eat soups like this when it is dreary outside (all true facts). But it was taking on a tone that felt disengenuinely “cute” and a was a little too peppy. So I finally gave in to the fact that I just wasn’t full of wit or humor today, and hopefully you lovely readers who for some reason keep coming back will still enjoy my writing (and please keep coming back, it is something that will forever keep me in high spirits).

Here are my honest thoughts on this soup: it’s delicious. It has smoked paprika in it, for goodness’ sake. (If you’ve never had smoked paprika, you should know that it makes ANYTHING taste better. Fact.) It’s hearty and full of veggies so you don’t have to feel bad about having second or third helpings. It requires a bit of chopping, sauteing and stirring which can be a lovely mediative therapy after a long day. And it really is good to curl up with on the couch on a dreary day. Please give it a try – and thanks for reading :)

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