Two months ago, I drove by myself to a double funeral. It was a surreal experience, one I hope never to repeat. I can’t quite remember the details of the day, except that the children handled it like the champions they are and will have to continue to be, and someone near me was wearing far too much perfume. Or maybe multiple someones, I couldn’t tell. My head ached from it. Lonely, I sat on the very edge of a hard chair, and watched hundreds of people file past. More and more black-clothed strangers crowded in around me, separating me from the people I knew. I tried to look up and forward, but my mom’s dark wavy hair blended in with her sister’s. More people crowded into the pew I sat in. The little seat edge I perched on shrank. Or maybe I grew smaller and smaller, like Alice in Wonderland going down that rabbit hole. Because I really couldn’t be here, alone, and this sadness we all (more or less) felt couldn’t be real.
I had written a whole other post of thoughts I wanted to share with you, but after the funeral, I had to write of something different. I wasn’t sure entirely what. But there’s something in my perspective that had changed. Maybe to tell you how small the problems we/I moan about everyday was in comparison to this. Or something about love and family. All of the things my mother and I said to each other after she told me, while I stood trembling in my socked feet. All of those things that don’t become our truth until something happens to make them so.
Since childhood, my mind constantly touches upon something a reading from grandfather’s funeral, something about life being a balance of good and bad, happy and sad. Are not the good parts worth suffering through the bad? Or is my brain going fuzzy from too little sleep? It’s 3 am here now, I’ve got an 8 am class and should sleep but I have written and rewritten this post so many times that I think I’m going crazy. It’s never going to be perfect. The balance: good food, family meals, falling-apart shoes, funerals. What the most of us live with. I don’t believe in the cheesiness of a “happily ever after” or a “new beginning”. No such thing, we have what we have and all we’ve got is another chance to make the best of it. We carry on. Simply that. Just the chance to take what we’ve got and make 2014 mind-blowingly, soul-crushingly beautiful.
Thai green curried squash and coconut rice
1 cup of your favorite broth
1 cup coconut milk (not lite)
1 cup brown/white jasmine rice
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
1 stalk of lemongrass, bottom 4 inches, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. of Thai green curry paste (Nigel Slater’s recipe is my go-to)
12 – 13 oz. cubed squash (about 1 inch cubes)
zest and juice of one lime (kaffir lime if you can find them)
¼ cup toasted sliced almond
Extra lime wedges and thyme for serving
Rinse the rice two-three times in cold water, or until the water runs clear. Put in a medium saucepan, add coconut milk and broth/water, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes (or according to instructions for the rice that you are using). Fluff, then quickly replace the cover and let stand at least 10 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the onion, then the coriander and cumin seeds and lemongrass. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the onion is golden brown. Add the curry paste and sauté for a minute more. Then, add the squash and lime juice. Sauté for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Once the rice and squash mixture are both read, combine them both in your sauté pan, add the lime juice, cook through for a few minutes. Top with the sliced almonds, and serve with thyme and lime wedges.
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