You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.
– Henry David Thoreau
2. Marathon Day. I’ve been told by several friends who’ve run marathons in cities around the country that nowhere compares to NYC for spectator participation. People line the route for 26.2 miles as it snakes through all 5 boroughs. In my neck of the woods, the crowd was about four deep, armed with cowbells, whistles and posters. A band set up shop in a gas station parking lot and jammed the entire time I was there. This year the weather was a little nippy for those of us on the sidelines but perfect for the runners. The professional women and men arrive with a lot of fanfare – cameras, pace cars, police escorts, helicopters – and they pass in the time it takes you to read this sentence. I read that the men’s winner averaged a 4:54 mile! But we really come out to cheer for the mortals who run by in a mass of humanity for hours. Those who’ve been slogging away at long-ass training runs in the heat of the summer or in the dark before work. They put their names on their bibs so we can call out, “Go Joe!” “Emiliooooo!” And we hold our hands out so they can give us high-fives as they run by.
The most inspiring of all the runners are those with disabilities. Makes you feel like maybe you shouldn’t complain so much about those training runs in the heat of summer or in the dark before work. Should you need more motivation check out an Achilles Club in your area. You can do practice runs or an entire race with people who have disabilities, whether it be guiding a blind person or giving an extra push to a person in a wheelchair.
3. People have been clamoring (ok, just Naomi)for my world famous pumpkin black bean soup recipe. It may seem unusual, but give it a try. If you make it, let me know what you think. (Enjoy Naomi!) I tend to o.d. on soups in the winter, so much that by April I can’t look at the stock pot. I’ll post more recipes from time to time. Julia Child look out.
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
1.5 cups drained diced tomato
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (secret ingredient!)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can pumpkin
1 cup queso fresco (if you can’t find that in your supermarket, try feta cheese)
1.5 cup green onions, sliced
1. Place tomatoes and beans in a food processor. I like the soup to be a little chunky, but you can process until it’s completely smooth.
2. Heat some olive oil in a stock pot, over medium high heat. Add onion and saute about 4-5 minutes. Then add cumin, garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the beans and tomato mixture, broth and next ingredients through pumpkin.
3. Reduce heat, cover the pot and simmer about 20 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with green onions and cheese.
About 4 main meal servings.
4. Close encounter. You know the zen saying that a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the world and causes a wind storm on the other? How many little, seemingly inane, decisions add up to change the course of your life?
I was walking Reggie and crossed the street because I saw another dog approaching. He usually likes other dogs, but for some reason, not this one. After we’d crossed over, Reggie stopped to take care of some business, which, being a good dog owner, I promptly picked up. We were doubling back to the trash can on the corner, maybe 25 feet away. I paused , unsure of what the other dog and person were going to do. Maybe they’d continue straight, clearing my path. Or maybe they’d turn and we’d end up meeting on the corner. As I waited, an SUV peeled out in reverse so quickly that the tires squealed a bit. The SUV hit the metal trash can with a loud crunch sending it toppling into the middle of the intersection and spilling garbage.
The little hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I realized that had I not stopped, Reggie and I would have been at the corner at the second the SUV hit the garbage can. Instead of going on about my day, I could have been on my way to the hospital, or something terrible could have happened to Reggie. One day, a friend of mine missed a traffic light which caused her to miss her usual train which caused her to get to work late which caused her to be in the lobby of the World Trade Center as the first plane hit. Had she not missed the traffic light she would have been at her desk on the 86th floor.
But how often does it happen when you’re none the wiser? Every day I guess. The butterfly is always flapping its wings.
5. Planer update. A few weeks ago, I’d mentioned that I bought a power planer. The first day I tackled this *easy* project, I spent 2 hours shaving wood from the top of the door, which had refused to close since, well, since I moved in. I’d taken the door down to be able to maneuver the tool. Putting the door back up to see if the door fit proved too much for one person. In my defense, the door weighs more than Pavarotti. Enter my friend Ken. My muscular, powerful friend Ken. (All right, I can stop buttering him up. He already came over.) Together we spent another hour planing. (All right, I held the door while he planed.) Long story short, the door is never going to close properly. It’s much better than it was, but the door frame is seriously out of square, and it was hard to see just how much until I’d tried this project. Clearly I’ve watched too much HGTV and This Old House because at the end of those shows, the fun music plays while the new, shiny space is revealed. At my apartment, there was no music playing, a lot of sawdust on the floor, and enough lead paint particles floating around to set off a metal detector.