Sunday, April 26, 2009

Delayed Gratification

One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to cook more often, and I'm pretty sure I made it through the entire first quarter without producing a single dish.

This weekend, however, I made good on a promise to reprise a dessert I first made for Zach years and years ago.

I'm not sure what inspired me back then—Valentine's Day, perhaps?—but I found a great-sounding recipe for a Savoy Raspberry Tart and gave it a whirl.

Zach is a big fan of raspberries, and he absolutely loved the tart. For whatever reason, it took something like 15 years for me to make it again.

This time the inspiration was a small dinner party we hosted last night.

Here's a shot of the tart, taken with Zach's iPhone:

It's a little hard to see, but that's a homemade crust with homemade pastry cream (flavored with vanilla bean and Chambord) and fresh raspberries from yesterday's farmers' market.

I joked that I'd make it again in 2024, and I'm sure I will.

And every year between now and then.

At least.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Old Friends and Faraway Places

Ever since we returned from Greece, Zach and I have been meaning to put together a book of photos and send them to Andreas, the shaman-like artist we met on Santorini.

We think of Andreas often, when we listen to the Greek music we first heard in his studio, or repeat the mantra he taught us, or admire one of the beautiful ceramics pieces of his that we brought home as keepsakes.

We hope to get back to Santorini and to see Andreas again someday. Until then, we thought we could at least send him photos we took of and with him, plus others from our trip. But we have never managed to do it.

A few weeks ago, our dear friend Lisa told us that she and her family were going to Greece this month. When we heard that they'd be visiting Santorini, we begged her to seek Andreas out—not only to send him our regards, but also because we knew that she'd really dig him, just as we had. We even sent her the photos we'd been meaning to send to him.

So we were absolutely overjoyed to receive this text message from Lisa first thing Thursday morning:
We are with Andreas. We delivered the pictures. He is very happy. I'm enjoying a glass of wine. . . .
Our hearts were very full all day, knowing that we'd finally been able to reach out to Andreas and let him know how much he has meant to us—and that Lisa and her family had had the experience of meeting this lovely, extraordinary man.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Today is my dad's birthday—what would have been number eighty-three.

I wasn't sure exactly how to observe the day, but I wanted to do something in his honor.

So tonight, over a dinner that included one of his favorite foods—soup—Zach and I toasted him with his favorite drink.

We looked heavenward, raised our glasses in his name, and each took a swig of Caffeine-free Diet Coke.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I quit physical therapy on Friday and practically skipped out of the building, so free did I feel after three months of twice- and eventually once- and most recently almost-weekly sessions.

I started PT with the hope of getting some guidance on an exercise routine that I could eventually undertake on my own without increasing my risk of developing lymphedema.

The very same day that I called to make my first appointment, Zach and I were rear-ended (well, sandwiched really), and thus began my unhappy stint as a whiplash sufferer.

The focus of my PT visits went from getting back in shape to, you know, being able to move without pain. And on that score they were very successful. It took about six weeks of regular treatment, but I am almost entirely symptom-free at this point. (I still get the odd stinger in my neck—sometimes accompanied by a lightning bolt of blinding pain—but these are far less frequent and entirely unpredictable. My hope is that they will ultimately subside completely. In the meantime, they are mainly an intermittent irritant.)

The problem was that when it came to the other, much more basic stuff, I didn't feel that I was making much progress. In part this was because I was treated by three different therapists, each of whom had her own ideas about what I should and shouldn't be doing.

One insisted that I needed to wear my compression sleeve whenever I exercised; the other two (and, I might add, my surgeon) disagreed.

One wanted me to do Pilates, which I'd never done before and wouldn't be continuing on my own, even though the whole point of my visits was to develop a routine that I could do outside the PT gym.

The one I liked best, who impressed me with her knowledge and shared my goal of planned PT obsolescence, quit between two of my appointments—I didn't even get to say goodbye.

I finally realized that I was not getting what I needed from these sessions, and that it was time to cut both the cord and my losses.

It's now up to me to come up with an exercise routine—starting slowly but building deliberately. Zach and I are trying out an early-morning walk around the neighborhood as a first step.

We got up at 6AM today and walked for about 45 minutes.

It beat the hell out of the stuff I was doing in PT.

And the company was infinitely better.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Setting Off on a New Journey

Three-plus years ago, I wrote a long post about our hope to one day become parents—and how, in our case, it wouldn't happen the old-fashioned way:
If anything, we are now more convinced than ever that it would be too risky for me to try to carry a child. And that means—if the IVF goes well and we have some promising embryos to freeze—we will be looking to a surrogate. And that's a whole other minefield that we are not going to try to navigate just yet.
It has taken a long time to reach this place, but we're finally here.

Not at the edge of a minefield, really—however apt that metaphor seemed at the time.

Instead I'd say that we've arrived at the trailhead.

And although we've got sturdy shoes and a trusty compass, this path has no map.

We'll be figuring it out as we go.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Avoiding the Treadmill

I have been trying hard of late to cultivate a habit of reflecting on things, both great and small, for which I am grateful.

Part of this is an effort to stave off the free-floating negativity of the Great American Economic Hangover.

Part of it comes from awareness of the concept of the hedonic treadmill—that we get used to improvements in our lives and quickly come to take them for granted.

And yet another part stems from knowing that we have been through so much really, really hard stuff that any day that doesn't feature an emergency room, or intensive care, or a blood draw, or an IV, or anesthesia, or arthralgia, or chemo, or nuclear medicine, or radiation therapy, or needles in my stomach—or any of the other individually difficult but collectively overwhelming experiences we've had—is by definition a mighty fine day.

Today was a mighty fine day. And I'm grateful.