Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eat Alone or Leave Alone

Here it is melon season with all their lusciousness.  But, with any melon, I am always reminded of that phrase, "Eat alone or leave alone."  Don't eat them with anything else if you don't want your digestion to object.  So that means no cantaloupe and yogurt, no watermelon in your salsa ... you get the picture.  And I remember once hearing that Persians consider the mixture of cantaloupe, yogurt, and honey to be highly unpleasant.  I haven't tried it; I'm just passing that tid-bit on.  But, please, no cantaloupe and cucumber ice cream as I saw someone make on a food show.

Apparently high sugar fruits digest very quickly ... or don't even require any digestion.  (So I eat them a half-hour before the rest of my meal.)  But if you combine them with something else, your digestion decides to work on the proteins and carbs, leaving the simple sugars in the stomach to ferment.  So, another hint:  if you're going to eat fruit with other food, eat it at the beginning of the meal, not the end.

I've actually read that it's best not to do a lot of food combining, no matter what.  That seems very inconvenient, no fun, and hard to follow through on.  I mean, there goes the apple pie (fruit and starch), the grilled cheese sandwiches (protein and starch).  Some combos, of course, like rice and lentils do go well together, as the people of India and Nepal have discovered.

Here's a quick link with more particulars.  It's called "10 Common Food Combinations That Wreak Havoc on Your Health."  For instance:  o.j. with your morning cereal, cheese omelets, cucumbers with tomatoes (or any nightshade), your favorite Tex Mex beans with cheese.  Ah, me.  Sometimes it almost seems better not to know.  Click here

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Twenty-five Years

Twenty-five years ago on this day in August 1988, I became a widow when my husband died of prostate cancer.  He was 64.  I was 49.  To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Ronald Reagan was still president.  Though it's been 25 years, I have to admit that it feels more like 125 years.  There are times when I wonder that I was, in fact, ever married.  I do know that soon afterwards, my 19 years of married life eclipsed and my earlier single life suddenly seemed to take over again.  I'd even look at husbands of friends, amazed that such people existed.  Mine was gone; weren't they all?  Of course, I now had a splendid daughter--she with one more year of high school.  Then I'd become a real empty nester when she'd leave for university.

After 25 years you'd think I'd be used to the widowed life, and I guess I am.  I can certainly buy, sell, and rent houses as I've done in four different states.  I've traveled on my own (not with a group), turned myself into a painter (selling oils and water colors), written something like five (unpublished) manuscripts, and, yes, thought about being with someone again, though that hasn't happened.

What I really miss is someone to go places with, laugh with, confer with, tell our grandchildren (whom he never knew) our old family stories, as well as bring out the old games, toys, and favorite children's books.  Of course, I've downsized so much, I no longer have what we used to have.  I've also left the community where we lived, where we spent all our married years, where our daughter grew up.  Maybe not a wise decision.

What with his and others' deaths later, various moves and illnesses, I sometimes felt as if I were pushing some sort of existential pause button as I worked to regain strength (and orientation), only to find, after I "reawakened," that I now had an older body that didn't want to do the old things.  (Even long-distance travel no longer enthralled me.)  I also felt as if I were on some sort of Red Alert ... whether prompted by the weather, house, car, weird jangles, sounds, aches, even having to make ordinary decisions about this or that ... as if I were constantly revved up, unable to soak down into myself.  Watch Out, Be Careful.

I miss my husband in all this, he who used to make me laugh--with a humor which could cut through anything.

Here he is doing research on tropical agriculture outside Kathmandu.
The eight-year-old in the white dress is our daughter.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Gallery of Photos: Markets

Bins containing veggies at our local farmers' market.

With all those ears of corn, splendid red tomatoes, boxes of blueberries, colorful arrangements of carrots, beets, and rainbow chard, to say nothing of displays of hand-made soaps, wooden bowls, and ceramic pots, market time right now is humming!  Ours is every Saturday morning from the first of May until the end of October.  Others, depending on weather, carry on all year ... some like Santa Fe, under cover.  Smelling bundles of fresh herbs, chatting with vendors, engaging with other customers, checking out the cheeses, the breads ... it's all great fun.

Here are some market photos taken over the years and across the miles. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico, weekly farmers' market

A display of candles at the International Market Place in Waikiki, Hawaii

Neighborhood farmers' market, Honolulu, Hawaii

Weekly market, Sommières, France

Wednesday market, Nicosia, Cyprus

Tashkent, Uzbekistan market


These women set out their produce on a street corner in Leh, Ladakh, India

The Asan Tole market in Kathmandu, Nepal

Same place, seeds for sale

Saturday market in a village in Maharashtra, India

Same place, spices for sale

Same place, the egg-seller

Home again ... our local farmers' market

A reminder:  Unless otherwise noted, all photos in all my postings are my property; please do not reproduce.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Outdoor Art on a Sunday Afternoon

Making an excursion to Manchester, Vermont, this past Sunday, to take in an exhibit at the art center there, I found that it was the outdoor art that I happened upon both there and on the way back that captured my attention.

"Palm Tree" by Neisga and Owen Crawford

First, there was this sculpture at the art center of a stainless steel palm tree with the splendid incongruity of tropicality amidst the region's cold-weather pines and maples.

Then, as my route home took me through the village of Bondville, there off to the side of the road were hundreds of rock sculptures in the river with people milling about--some wading in the water creating new cairns, others (motorists like me) standing around enjoying the scene.

Looking up-river

Thinking she might be a local, I asked a woman, "Who's doing this, do you know?"

"I don't know," she said.  "I'm from Maine."  But, later, looking on-line I found the story.  It all started a few weeks ago when, to assuage his grief after losing his dog, a man went out to the river over the course of several evenings and starting piling rocks on top of each other.  Soon, townspeople joined in including families with children ... turning it into something of a community art project.  But then one of the town's residents who thought the whole thing had gotten out of hand took a rake and in the course of just a couple of hours knocked everything down again.

But people got together and decided to rebuild.  So it was that rebuilding that I was lucky enough to witness both by townspeople and by tourists who stopped to join in.  (Surely some from the Pine Tree state since there were a number of parked motorcycles with Maine plates.)

Looking down-river

As I then made my way home, I thought about the simple, lovely act of piling one stone on top of another.  It seemed very Zen-like.   Very transitory.  Rather like building sand-castles that are all too soon washed away but that give both on-looker and builder a quiet satisfaction.  They're there.  And then they're gone.  Work well done that brightens the moment.

No more than a mile from home, I found this beside the road.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

And On Down the Line

A sketch of the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey.

As soon as little Prince George of Cambridge made his appearance, he bumped all those in the line of succession to the British Throne, from his Uncle Harry on, back a notch.  In one of those early morning floaty moments--half awake, half still asleep--I wondered where the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) was in that line.  Was her succession order the same as her birth order (after Charles) ... or was she after all three of her brothers and their offspring?  So I looked it up.  But in looking it up--she comes after her brothers--I found a list of the first forty-nine in the line of succession which included some wonderful first names.  It prompted me to look up the other European royalty, too, (Denmark, Holland, Belgium, etc.) to see what sorts of names they had.

Some of the first names I found were completely new to me.  Others I hadn't heard for awhile.  Among Queen Elizabeth's direct descendants, there are Savannah, Isla, and Zara.  Among her cousins there are Xan, Cosima, Tane, Senna, Rufus, Lyla, Columbus, Cassius, Eloise, and Zenouska.

King Xan, Queen Zenouska?  Well, no, I guess not:  he's 24th in line; she's 49th.

As for the other European crowns, there are Haakon, Sverre, Maud, Estelle, Joachim, Athena, Emmanuel, Amadeo, Aymerie, Ariane, Claus-Casimir, Aloys, and Wenzelaus among others.

Speaking of third in line, I also found that in our own Presidential succession, the third in line after the Vice-President and Speaker of the House, is Vermont's own Patrick Leahy by virtue of being President pro tempore of the Senate.  Just a bit of extra info, that.