Archive for July, 2014

Marvelous Mondays

July 29 2014

Living essentially out of a suitcase for the past five years, I never really thought of myself as someone who has a routine.  But, I am.  I like to walk into a coffeeshop where people know my name.  I like to have everything put away in its place at home, including my suitcase.  When there is paperwork to go through that I’ve been avoid for days (weeks, months or years …), I feel unsettled.

For our first anniversary, Dave decided to surprise me by buying me a chair.  I call her my thinking chair:

Thinking Chair

Thinking Chair

The first time I sat on the thinking chair, I told Dave “If I were reincarnated as a chair, this would be me.”  Needless to say, I love this chair.  I knew that I wanted to put it in my office, but it was covered with paperwork: old notes from meetings, Geico statements (I got rid of Geico over 6 months ago), pictures in boxes that need to be hung up.  So, in preparation for the arrival of my reincarnated self, I started organizing, cleaning, and drilling holes into the wall.  Seeing this room without the sorted piles to go through is quite a relief.  (The piles are now on my dining room table, but I am slowly going through them for 30 minutes each morning).  I still don’t quite know how to arrange the furniture in my office, but I’ll work it out sooner or later.

Settled.  The idea of ever being “settled” somewhere seems so far off to me.  I think that is why I like my new chair so much, it helped me to settle just a little bit more.  

When sitting in my thinking chair this evening, I surprise myself and found that I do have patterns in my schedule.  I have a (loose) schedule, at least when I am in New Orleans.

On Mondays, I wake up, do some work around the house (like the pile of paperwork that has now relocated to my dining room table), then head into the office around 10:00.  I usually work on something relating to my research with CMU TopStat until the 2:00 meeting I have with the CMU group.  After the meeting, I continue to work in my office until I head to Mariny for my 7:00 yoga class with Thomas.  Recently (the past few weeks), I’ve been going to Flora gallery and coffeeshop in the late afternoon instead of working in my office.  I love the environment there, and they have interesting fruity drinks (without alcohol of course).  Depending on my level of tiredness after yoga, I occasionally go to the Bacchanal wine to grab (delicious) dinner and to see Helen Gillet play the cello.  So, my Mondays in New Orleans are pretty routine.  On occasion, I even wake up early enough to start my Monday with a 6:30 a.m. cross-fit work out!

At Flora’s, I see the same three people working every week.  The first time I was there, the chef/owner Ali kept coming back and asking the guy behind the counter what he thought of the food he just created.  When Ali didn’t like the responses he was getting, he started asking me.  I said, as probably would be expected, that it needs more salt.  

Today, Ali came out with a spoon and hovered over me for a minute as I was reading.  He startled me a bit, but then he put the spoonful of a delicious eggplant dish in my mouth (which startled me even more).  This time, he didn’t need more salt, so I told him it was perfect.  He seemed pleased.  Then, he invited me (and my husband) the dinner he was hosting that evening.  I told him I would be there.  

Tonight was the last night of Ramadan and he made a huge feast.  Apparently, he’s been doing this all month long too.  There was an eggplant dish (the one I tasted), a rice and butter bean dish, a pizza, a salad, a chicken dish, a beef dish that almost tasted like tender lamb, another rice dish with some kind of crust, and a large selection of small store-bought pastries for dessert.  Someone brought a squash lasagna-like dish that everyone said was delicious (I didn’t dare taste it though).  

The group of people who gathered was diverse, including a musician, a photographer, a bike messenger, myself, …  The one thing that everyone seemed to have in common was that they have traveled.  The bike messenger told about her travels in Costa Rica; the photographer told about her around-the-world tour she took. I really enjoyed the experience of meeting new people, and eating delicious food.  Hours later, I am still stuffed (and that says a lot coming from me)!!

Ramadan Dinner

Ramadan Dinner


Watermelon Gazpacho

July 14 2014



The First Ingredient of Watermelon Gazpacho

Tonight, I made gazpacho.  I found the recipe in my Rachael Ray magazine, and–as usual– I made a few small changes to the printed recipe.  At the store, I made a list of the items needed, but forgot to write down the quantities.  I came home with 30 beefsteak tomatoes, but only used five (and I doubled the recipe too!)


Ingredients: Watermelon, Tomato, Cucumber, Serano Pepper, Oil & Vinegar, Salt & Pepper

The recipe is super easy and quick.  And, it is all done in a 5 cup blender!  I doubled the recipe when I made it (did it twice so that it fit in the blender though …)

In the blender, add:

  1. 4 cups cubed watermellon
  2. 2 beefsteak tomatoes, cubed
  3. 1 serano pepper, sliced
  4. 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  5. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  6. freshly ground salt and pepper
  7. 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced

The main step of the recipe: press blend.  It’s done in seconds.  I let it chill in the fridge as I cleaned up, but it was good at room temperature.  Chilled, it became even better!


Add it all into the blender …

In a small bowl, I combined 1 cup diced watermelond, 1 peeled and diced cucumber, 1 diced tomato, and a handful of chopped fresh basil.

I poured the mixed from the blender to my bowl, and scooped a large spoonful of the diced veggies.  Topped with sea salt and coarse black pepper.  Delicious!

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho