My 50th Birthday…Stream of Thoughts

My 50th birthday will be here in less than six months and that’s cool, because 50 is one of those milestone numbers. I was thinking that maybe I should have a big bash. Then I remembered that parties are overwhelming for this introvert. Additionally, if all the people I know and would like to invite actually showed up, it would be extra stressful because some folks I haven’t seen in more than five, ten, years. That’s a lot of catching up try to do.

I had this idea that in the run up to my fiftieth I would try to schedule a coffee date every week with a person I hadn’t seen in years to try to catch up, so when I invite them to the big bash, it wouldn’t be so weird and stressful. Then I got a job and got too busy with that and planning trips. Plus I remembered that several of my efforts to reach out to people I miss fell flat and they never reached back.

I know so many people from so many different communities, and part of me wonders how that would work in a party format? Probably pretty nutty, like the time I invited both Sunni and Shi’a Muslimahs to a party and when the former wanted to put on music and dance, the latter all picked up and left. How would my alcohol-avoiding friends deal with a party where some people are heavily into drinking, for example?

Then I found out my birthday is happening during this year’s Critical NW camping trip. My first reaction to that was to see if maybe I could make up an excuse to not go and attend a Buddhist retreat instead. I think I have talked myself out of that plan. But I’m not sure how I feel about celebrating my birthday with only one my communities. In the end I will probably use my birthday as an excuse to show up late to Critical, after I get that 1/2 price spa entry fee from Olympus Spa. 😉 Then maybe there will be a surprise party waiting for me, because I hate surprises, but if I drop a hint about it online six months before, maybe I can have a non-surprise Surprise Party.

My new favorite emoji

 

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30 Days of New Foods: Day 28: Quail Egg

I was at Poke Square in Ballard getting my Poke on when I saw something I’d never seen before: a quail egg.

For $1 extra I decided to try it. I wasn’t expecting it to be raw. But there it was, staring up from my bowl.

I cautiously dumped the contents on to some lettuce and stuff. I didn’t have the nerve to just drink it like a shot. So I ate this raw yoke mixed up with other stuff in my bowl. Heck, I was eating raw fish, why not raw egg? It was…unobjectionable. I don’t think I would have liked it straight up though.

Fun with the Air Fryer

I got an Air Fryer recently and have been playing with it. It’s called an Air Fryer because people love fried food and the idea of “frying” with little to no oil really sells these gadgets. Really, it’s like a mini convection oven, so it’s good at making things crispy.

Here’s what I have tried so far:

  1. Potato chunks
  2. Spinach
  3. Cauliflower

All three of these were done up simple. A splash of olive oil (or in the case the the spinach, a bit of oil spray) and some salt and maybe one or two other seasonings. I would have photos but they disappeared too fast. The spinach, I’m not kidding, was inside me and my kid in minutes.

These things were good, especially the spinach (if you like crispy kale you should try it for sure).

But tonight I took it to a whole new level and made the Buffalo Cauliflower Things from Ready or Not! the newest Nom Nom Paleo cook book. This is basically crisp-ish roasted cauliflower with Buffalo hot sauce. Sublime.

Have you made anything with an Air Fryer? Have a favorite recipe to share?

30 Days of New Foods: Day 27: Keripik Tempe Pedas

Is that oatmeal in there? No.

I recently visited an Indonesian Grocery store and encountered a number of new foods. I wanted to try some Indonesian snacks so when I visit Java next month there’s a touch of the familiar.

So what is Keripik Tempe Pedas? “Spicy Soy Bean.” The ingredients: soy bean, salt, black pepper, palm oil, sugar, water and flavour enhancer (probably a code word for MSG).

It is crispy, spicy little oil bomb. I couldn’t eat very much in one sitting. I have to wonder how it tastes in 90 degree humid equatorial weather? In cold Seattle, it’s like having a mini-sun explode in your mouth. Like this sunset:

30 Days of New Foods: Day 26: Yuba Noodle

Yuba Noodle is a delicacy, apparently, made from the “skin” that forms on heated soymilk. It comes clumped together and when you cut it up (here I made strips about 3/4″ wide each), the layers tend to separate into something sort of like a noodle. Like tofu it is pretty flavorless until you add some kind of seasoning. I cooked mine with Tamari and some other stuff, using a meal kit from Munchery.

Here is the package:

Helping a Friend Through a Disaster

Hurricanes are weird. They can predict their coming days in advance, so you have plenty of time to prepare, and plenty of time to worry.

I don’t live in a Hurricane zone, but my best friend Monika does. She and her family were right in the predicted path of Hurricane Irma and it sure looked like they were going to be in deep trouble.

This post is about the lifeline I helped provide to Monika while she prepared and lived through the most dangerously threatening hurricane Florida has seen in a long, long time. She asked me to write this to help other people understand just how vital their remote assistance can be in times of impending disaster.

When Monika first called me crying saying she had a Cat 4 hurricane headed her way and their house was only rated for Cat 3 winds or lower, my first impulse was to try to deny this was really happening. I had already agreed to be her out of area contact and felt a sense of responsibility I wasn’t sure I was ready for. Over the next day or so, she sent me photos of her kids’ clothes with both hers and my number written on the inside of them. Visions of her children getting whisked away in a tornado and me being called to help identify the bodies were disturbing to say the least. We talked about her will, and her legacy to her children should she not make it through the storm. These are the sort of moments you don’t want to have to think about, until you realize that you must.

Imagine for a moment that your death could be imminent, but that your chance of survival could be much higher if you take the right precautions.  You need to focus on taking those precautions, and let someone else worry about the other stuff. My job was to deal with the other stuff. So while Moka was freezing ice in bags, prepping food, talking to neighbors about securing their house, I was in touch with her family letting them know what was up, and checking the news and weather frequently, sending her brief missives about what she needed to know from local news. She had no time to sit on the computer and try to figure out the track of the storm, the wind strength, whether or not the shelters in her county were full or if her neighbors had power. I could provide that info and did.

The best moments might have been when, late Sunday night, she was texting and asking me where the eye of the storm was. I had probably six different sites open but was having trouble finding the eye. It was as if a miracle had happened: the storm was beginning to break up, and the eye was dissipating, right as it got to them. From my look at the radar, I could tell her that the eerie calm she was hearing outside was not actually the eye, it was pretty much the end of the storm.

Fast forward to the happy ending…they got through it alright…two trees fell on their neighbor’s house and around the corner, four trees fell on another house and punctured the roof, leaving a gaping hole in the baby’s room.

So next time you have a faraway friend in a danger zone, see if you can reach out and help. It might just make a bigger difference than you can imagine.

 

30 Days of New Foods: Day 25

I found this in the freezer section of this huge Asian Market on Highway 99 and decided to try it. The package says to defrost it overnight in the fridge and then boil for 25 minutes until the center reaches an internal temperature of 165 Degrees F. I did that and this is what it looked like when I brought it out of the pot:

Here’s what it looks like when you get one out of the leaf wrapper:

The brown stuff is bean paste. I have a cold at the moment so I know I wasn’t getting the full flavor effect. It is slightly sweet and not bad.