「学校、2週間閉鎖になっちゃった...」

朝晩は冷えるけれど、日が長くなって、暗いうちに仕事へ行って、暗くなってから帰ってくる(これ、結構ディプレッシングです)ということがなくなってきたから、例年の3月なら、「春ぅ!つぼみ!植物!」という明るい雰囲気ですごしますが、さあ、今年は随分違っちゃったなあ。アメリカに越してきてから、ちょうど20年経ちましたが、9.11、2016年の大統領選挙と並んで、新型コロナウイルス感染症は大きな事例になってしまいました。

シアトル周辺のパブリック、プライベートスクールが2週間の閉鎖になりました。わたしのボスのチャンダ(3男児の母)が青い顔で、「これから2週間、どうしよう」とぽつりとつぶやきました。わたし達の会社はすでに1か月のリモートワークなので、ビデオを使って会議やら、チャットやらをしていますが、彼女くらいの役職になると、1日中会議、しかもビデオ会議なので、9時間ほど、コンピューターの前に座っているという状態もあるわけです。しかも、家の中で。プレティーンの3人の男の子達は、これから2週間退屈するだろう、お母さんが家にいればうれしいし(いつもいないんだから、尚更)、おなかもすくし、外に出ないようにするだろうから、家の中でばたばたするだろう、しかも喧嘩とかもありそうだし。。。考えるだけで、会社の上級役員とどうやって会議するんだろうと心配になってしまう。うちの会社は、かなりの理解があるけれど、それでも、やりにくいこと、この上ない。働くお母さんの現実。

パブリックスクールが、閉鎖になると聞いて思ったのは、貧困層の家庭、シングルピアレントの家庭はどうなっちゃうのか、ということ。パブリックのフリーミールプランに頼ってる人達は、たくさんいるだろう。サービス業についているお父さん、お母さんはリモートワークなんてできないんだから、その間、子供達はどうしてるんだろう。シッターさんを頼める余裕がある家庭は少ないんだろう。アメリカでは、一定の年齢に達していない子供は、一人で留守番ができないようになっているから 、そしたらその親御さんたちは、仕事を休むしかなくなって、お給料が入ってこなくなる。そうなったら、ごはんが食べられなくなる。。。そのあたりの保障、ワシントン州は、きちんと考えているんだろうか。どこもそうかもしれないけど、この国は貧困層は、さらに貧困にさらされるシステムになっている。そういうときに「だから、選挙が大事!」とよく聞くけど、選挙で、そういうシステムをひっくり返してくれる人が選ばれて、ちゃんとひっくり返るかどうかなんて、信じてないし、可能だと思えない、もう。遅すぎるよ。

チャンダのつぶやき、重いなあ。

Not-so-lovely Saturday: Self Acceptance

Not-so-lovely Saturday: Self Acceptance

Today’s (or my lifetime) goal is “not to compare myself to others.” Sounds strenuous.  I think that is the root of all of my issues and baggage that I carry, which is constantly comparing myself to others and not accepting myself.  Other people have better personality, family, more money, popularity, leadership skills, more talented, are kinder, more beautiful, thinner calves, prettier smile, better cook, better dancer…etc.  No wonder my life has been so harsh.  That is no one’s fault, but mine because I have been letting myself accept that.

This last Saturday, Archie and I wasted almost all Saturday because of lack of self-assurance and affirmation.  I was not liking parts of my bodies.  I thought too much about it and that drove me to the point where I get upset with someone else.  I was angry at myself too much already and I was not sure what to do.  My emotion burst out against Archie.  We could have spent a lovely Saturday together (it was gorgeous spring weather day!) if I was not that way.  Me being bitter affected us so much and we ended up having a long-ass argument that was not necessary.

It is all about my ego that is playing me.  I read below a while ago but I can’t recall where but I kept it in my notebook.  This is such a nice reminder to take a step forward to accept who I am.

Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be-the best version of you-on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it” 

本日の(というか、きっと人生の)目標は、「人と比べない」。私自身、たくさんの問題を抱えているけど、根源となっているのは、自分はこれでいいんだっていう、そういう思いが欠けているから。自信というより、自己肯定。生まれてきてから、今のいままで、何かが欠けている、自分は人より劣っている、他の人はできるのに、なんで私はできないのか。そんなことばかり思って生きてきたので、今になってその代償を払っている。アーチーに教えてもらうまで、人より劣ってると思うことが普通だったから、ようやく、どうしてこんなに辛かったのか良くわかった。

以下、「私より他人の方が。症候群」の症例。他人の方が、正しい、良い仕事持ってる、友達がたくさんいる、頭が良い、優しい家族がいる、お金持ち、笑顔がきれい、足が細い、料理が上手、怠惰じゃない、ダンスがうまい、収入が多い、性格が良い、みんなに優しくできる、人気がある、リーダーシップがある、才能がある...等々。これにプラスして、「自分もそんな風になりたい。を通り越して、他人より秀でたい。症候群」っていうのになりかかっている感じもする。周囲の評判や、他人が自分のことをどう思っているのか、気にしすぎてしまう。もう少し言えば、気に病んでしまう。そうすると、自分にも他人(自分にとってとても大切な人々)にもぎすぎすした態度を取って、優しくできなくなってしまう。魔のパラドックスにどっぷりはまって、抜け出すのに物凄い量の、労力と時間がかかる。先だっての土曜日だってそうだ。自分の体型が気に入らないとか、そんな理由でアーチーに、つっかかったし、それが理由でその日は、ほぼ一日無駄にした。しかも別れる、別れないとかそんなことまで、話す羽目になって。暖かくて、春みたいに良い天気で、もっと楽しい一日が二人で過ごせたはずなのだ。

慎み深さを持ってまた、自己肯定のできる様、ゆっくり、ゆっくり、牛歩にて。

Savory & Manila: Clam Talk

Savory & Manila: Clam Talk

At U-district farmers market, this cheerful, personable and warm hearted lady working the Hama Hama stand and I were chatting about their excellent quality of oysters.  She recommended clams this week and they carried 2 kinds of clams, savory and manila. I bought both.

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It was BEAUTIFUL today.  It was around 50 degrees and sunny.  Yes, SUNNY in Seattle.  I am happy that I was able to have a relaxing Sunday.  So, what I need is an easy but delicious meal on this relaxed early Sunday evening.

Combination of savory and manila clams, about 2lb.

Half of mayor lemon, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Olive oil

Pinch of sea salt

Little bit of white wine

I put the above in my favorite Staub cast iron pot and put a lid on and left alone for about 10 min over medium low heat.

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Sliced baguette (from Tall Grass Bakery) toasted in a Turk iron frying pan to accompany that.

There, all I need is to sit down and enjoy this simple and relaxed dish with Archie.  I even have a cherry pie from Janeli’s Alki Pie Company in the oven right now.

I can’t ask for a better Sunday night than this.  I hope you all had a wonderful Sunday.

Right vs. Wrong: Who Decides What Freedom is for people?

Right vs. Wrong:  Who Decides What Freedom is for people?

My heart has been aching for months with regards to what’s happening in Syria.  3 days ago, I could barely stand what just happened.  I nearly lost all hope for humankind.  I felt hopeless, fearful, sad and heartbroken.

Then, I am conflicted.  I am confident they are doing wrong things but what if they believe they are doing a right thing for freedom?

Freedom does not mean that you are “FREE” from responsibilities.  To me, freedom is to let go of things not meant for me (I am still working toward my own freedom) and be kind to others.  But who gets to decide THEIR freedom?  What if they really believe that they are working toward to their own freedom?  Do I get to decide they are completely wrong?

When I saw this photo this morning I thought that freedom also meant not giving up and speaking up.  Freedom requires responsibilities.  Freedom requires focus and believing in humankind.  I have to decide now and today I will not give up until the day freedom for everyone comes.  Humankind.  We call us humankind because we are able to be kind to each other, right?

I will never give up my right to be kind to others.

Here is what Rosa Parks said.

I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.

We all struggle and this is remarkably hard to do but it is also nice to know there are people out there who don’t give up on humankind’s love and freedom.

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Musician, Author or Rocky?: No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Musician, Author or Rocky?:  No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Have you ever been disappointed in a second album of a particular musician who released a phenomenal 1st record?  I have many times.  How about writers?  His/her 1st book was so damn good and you can’t stand the second book?  Or the movie “Rocky,” which I don’t think I need to explain.

Emily Crawford Dann is not a musician or author who produces a disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  She is a law school graduate, bright, very sincere, calm, fun, knowledgeable, thoughtful and beautiful.  This is a story about her and her restaurant, The Corson Building.  http://www.thecorsonbuilding.com/

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One night in February 2012, somewhere around 9:30pm, he and I were driving through Georgetown on Corson Avenue in Seattle after checking out a couple of venues that we considered having a party with a small group of close friends and family.  We were looking for something quaint, classy, vintagie and yet fun.  We were not quite excited about both places and were tired, and so headed home.  We stopped at red light.  I looked out to the window and I saw this quaint, classy and vintagie place tucked away on Corson Ave, and I let him know.  As soon as he saw that place, he flipped a U-turn and got out of the car.   We hesitantly opened the gate and looked inside the building.  We could see someone in the back of the building so we approached the back door and poked our heads in.  It was a gorgeous, organized and stunning kitchen.  Pots and pans hanged from the ceiling. Utensils and kitchen tools were on one side and plates on the other.  And unmatched silverwares!  I fell in love with that kitchen with just a glance.  Then this soft-spoken, elegant looking women, with a gorgeous smile and apron said, “Do you want to take a look inside?  Come on in”. As soon as I heard her voice and encountered her graceful manner, I decided this place was it.  It must have been the same for him because I remember him saying, “We don’t need to look further.”

the back of The Corson Building

Last night, we went to a “Seafood Chowder” dinner at this place.  I repeat, she is not a musician, author who produces disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  We’ve been to her restaurant countless times and she and her creations never disappoint.

When we had a dinner party in October 2012, the only request I had for Emily was no carrots (because I do not like carrot so much).  I had so much trust in her and I didn’t request anything else because I wanted to have HER food, not our modified version.  Of course, she delivered beautifully.

Emily is Seattle’s treasure.  She loves ingredients and has a strong emotional connection to food and those who enjoy food.  In fact, every time I taste what she makes, my heart starts aching.  She uses a mix of many kinds of spices but it never loses its original flavor of ingredients.  Her food makes you want to use all of your feelings, emotions and senses.

If you ever have a chance to visit Seattle, this is the place that should be first on your list.

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Sunday Happiness = Winter Vegetables in Staub 24cm

Sunday Happiness = Winter Vegetables in Staub 24cm

I used to dislike Sundays.  Lots of people don’t like Mondays but Sundays were loneliest and longest of the week to me.  However, since 2010, that has changed drastically.

I am cooking cauliflower today for lunch.  A whole cauliflower plus some other winter vegetables (more like left over veggies in the fridge), lotus root, Japanese sweet potatoes, carrots, carrots, brussels sprouts.  Here is what I did.

1.  Place all vegetables in cast iron pot

2.  Add white wine vinegar, water (50ml-ish? maybe), olive oil, sea salt, thyme, ground cumin seed

3. Put the lid on and cook about 25 minutes over low-medium heat.

4.  Bon appetit!

Accompaniments are La Parisienne’s demi-baguette www.laparisienneseattle.com/gallery.html and Loki Fish Co.’s smoked salmon spread http://www.lokifish.com/

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I get to do this kind of stuff every weekend.  Not only that, I get to share these dishes, joy, love and passion for food and cooking with my best friend.  Lonely Sundays?  I am so over it.

… (no words needed)

… (no words needed)

I love taking a nap.  Naps are magical.  After taking a nap, all of my body parts and soul were revitalized.  It is 3 pm and OK, I have 2 and half hours until two friends are coming to our place for dinner.

These pretty birds, 2 of them, have been taking a nap for quite a while.  Not a typical nap, they have been bathing as well …with salt and lemon.  It is time to wake them up.  They are rested well and their body should be rejuvenated, and their soul, should be, uh well, good(?).  Salt and lemon make their skin look gorgeous.  Now, I even make them look prettier with quartered lemons, garlic and fresh thyme inside of their bellies.  Then I coat their bodies with melted butter.  Lots of butter.

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Following this, they go to an even warmer place, the oven, with winter vegetables such as fingering potatoes, rutabaga, renkon (lotus root), parsnips, carrots, brussel sprouts, leeks and onions that Washington state small farmers grew with TLC. They get to enjoy the heat for about an hour and half.

Naps are magical, I said.  Naps make (almost) everything better.  I have proof here because these chickens tasted just delightful as the 4 of us got quiet for a while when we started eating them.  Sometimes no words are needed to express how delicious the food is.

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