Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A matter of socks

beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

A few weeks ago, we bought 6 pairs of socks for our 3 year old. Some stripes, some solids, in different shades of pink. When I was putting her to bed that night, she asked me why we bought her socks. “Why? Because you needed them”, I replied. Last night, I was a little surprised when she asked me again, and I gave her the same answer and kissed her good night. I left her room feeling like my answer did not fully satisfy her. I could just imagine the little cogs of wheel turning in her head as she lay in her pink bed.
I mulled this thought over, and I got an “Aaah” moment: She was confused because she didn’t ask for it, and it’s not her birthday, or Hannukah, and it’s not pasalubong. Tamar infrequently asks for things, and when she does, we promise to give it to her on an occasion (birthday, etc). And we do good on that promise if she still wants it at that time. We don’t normally give the girls unnecessary things because, between the presents from friends and family members, and hand-me-downs, they have SO MUCH and need very little else. And we try to live with only what we need, recycle, and donate or pass along to friends what we don’t need (for the most part). Such should be the way of the world – with less waste. The following morning, I decided to make those pairs of pink socks a teaching tool for my child.
When I was growing up, I used to mend my dad’s “hole-y”socks. Of course, he could have bought new ones, but I don’t ever recall him doing so. Socks and hankerchiefs were traditional presents from me and my sister. I guess not knowing what to give him, since he buys his own golf clubs and accessories anyway, we just went for the safest things we knew he needed – mostly socks. Black socks, white socks, and brown ones too. The thing is, when they get holes, I made sure to mend them. Dad felt so loved, and I, so accomplished.
These days, when we get holes in our socks, we toss it out and run to Target. The needle and thread are getting dusty at the back of our closet.
I guess I better get reacquainted with my old friends.

All things pink and wonderful


Friday, April 18, 2014

Thank you for the books, Gabo.

"...a person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

I don't often mourn the death of public figures, but there are some who has touched me irrevocably through their passion, that the sadness pinches my heart. Yesterday, I bade Gabriel Garcia Marquez,  goodbye.  No one heard, as no one should.  He never knew me, and I him, but in his time, he brought me joy, sorrow, angst, and magic. There was something so powerful in his writing that you may forget what it's about, but the feeling remains well after you've read his books. The truth is I only read a handful of his books, 3 as I recall, maybe 4, and I don't remember the plots and twists of all of them, but I can easily conjure up the images that stood out - those that frightened me, some surreal, and some which can only possibly thought of by a genius as Gabo.  The way that he painted his characters was so full of love and life, and yet so transparent. If he was describing someone you love, you cannot help but feel a pang of jealousy. His words were intoxicating.
To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”

Growing up, I didn't really learn much about history of other countries. So, I didn't even know until much later on that One Hundred Years of Solitude was a metaphoric rendition of the history of Colombia.  I read it in College, at a tender age of 16, and found it hard to keep track of all the many Aurelianos, Joses, Remedios, and Renatas that were the protagonists/antagonists in the 7 generation saga.  Still, one vision stood out, Remedios the beauty floating up, up, up in the air...never to be seen again...while doing something so mundane - hanging clothes to dry. The sheets remained flapping in the breeze, seemingly waving goodbye.  This ethereal image was too perfect, so pure, as was the character. That image still comes to me on days when I see a paper blowing in the wind, or when a dandelion floats gently with the breeze... It calms me.

Farewell, Gabo, and thank you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Healthy Passover Treat: Roasted Cinnamon Pecans

This past month I decided to take proactive steps to take better care of my health. There were so many triggers... a friend passing...that I ultimately decided to take action. So, I have been going to the gym fairly regularly and eating healthy food. No starvation diet, just balanced eating and proper portions. There are so many tools that people can use these days to really monitor their health on a day-to-day basis. I just went ahead and grabbed some. I love using MyFitnessPal App on my phone, where I can log in my protein, fat and carbs intake, as well as how many glasses of water I've drank. I'm also using UP by Jawbone wristband, which is similar to FitBit, to track my activities in steps and my hours of sleep.  I know it's cliche to say that "I'm doing this for my kids", but I am saying it anyway, and I'm very proud of it.

With Passover coming up, I've prepared a healthier version of my favorite snack these days - roasted cinnamon pecans. This, hopefully, will drown out the call of the Passover macaroons! Anyway, here's my recipe. It's easy, healthy and YUMMMMM.... for kids and adults alike. And yes, this is a fun snack to make with kids. 

2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups pecans 

1. Preheat the oven to 225 F. Lightly grease the baking sheet.
2. Whisk the egg whites and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add the pecans in portions, and fold.
3. In a small tupperware with lid,  mix sugar, salt and cinnamon. Shake.
4. Add cinnamon-sugar in small quantity to the pecans and mix gently. *I used less than half of the cinnamon-sugar, so I'm saving the rest for future pancakes or roasted almonds.
5. Bake for an hour. Mix in between, every 10-15 minutes. 

And now back to that portion control - just put some in little containers. They're handy to keep for snack, and good to add on your salad. Next snack to make: roasted savory cashews or almonds!

By the way, kudos to my very enthusiastic assistant.