I’m just going to be honest. Starting a blog while going to graduate school and raising two little kids might have been a little bit over-ambitious. In the past, I’ve done that bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew thing and not choked. Doing all that and then being hit with a year of The Hardest Shit Life Throws at You… well, something had to give and it was definitely my internet self and this blog. Instead, I was facing head-on multiple challenges, things you have to show up for with everything you’ve got.
Things started to spiral downwards when my husband unexpectedly lost his job, out of the blue, in a really messy way.
Then last spring, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, and before we could even catch our breath, it felt like, she was gone. It went from stomach pains and indigestion to rampant cancer diagnosis to her passing in her sleep in 48 days.
Only six weeks later, our youngest son who had just turned four, contracted an e.coli infection and was hospitalized for Hemolytic Uresis Syndrome (HUS) and subsequent kidney failure. I wrote about it here, to keep friends and family up to date, but also to help me process and keep track of what was going on. If you feel like learning a whole lot about the kidneys, reading about extraordinary children’s medical care at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and the importance of support from near and far, feel free to take that journey with me… it’s 12 days worth of anxiety and ferocious love for a child spilled in words.
And then, oh yes, there’s more, exactly one week after he was released from the hospital, in recovery and expected to fully recover, we watched our island of Puerto Rico get hit by Hurricane Maria. And unless you’ve been living under a rock for a year, you know that it wiped out electricity and communications for our family there in a very serious way. We didn’t hear from them for two weeks. Talk about carrying around some stress.
When we did, we were fortunate to find out that they were ok, traumatized to be sure from the battering of 36 hours of hurricane-force winds. But that they were making it work, with the warmth and resilience of islanders, helping neighbors and being more patient than anyone should have to be for basic needs.
Those weeks are a blur to me, while we tried to ship care packages to Puerto Rico and nurture our son’s recovery at home until he was cleared to go back to daycare, and go to grad school and take care of each other. I don’t remember much of what we ate, just that there were friends caring for us by delivering meals unexpectedly or keeping our well child in their homes.
So that’s real life, that’s one V E R Y B A D Y E A R that we made it through, thank goodness. And in doing so, I want to post here a survival mode recipe, not even a recipe, just a suggestion. This is the start of getting back into this writing and blogging thing. And it’s messy and it’s not well-photographed, but it’s what happens when you have to stand up and stand strong in the face of storms in your life.
When there is nothing planned for dinner and only an assortment of leftovers in the refrigerator, what can make it feel like a meal? Put an egg on it. (The same way there was a year or two when everything “cool” had a bird on it now is the time to “put an egg on it”.) This solution has pulled me out of nose-diving energy levels, allowed me to turn lackluster greens and bland grains into a couch for the yolk of a fried egg, ready to drape itself on them like a slinking cat. It brings back memories of backpacking in Central America on dollars a day, where bread is cheap but flavorless and avocados are abundant; tomatoes are hit or miss; what is one way to guarantee a satisfying meal? Turn that list into a sandwich and put an egg on it! You and your traveling friends will feel like geniuses. When staring into a pantry of canned goods, holding a wilting bundle of cilantro, looking for lunch inspiration, grab a can of beans, some broth, some sofrito and make a fine black bean soup. But perk it up! Poach an egg in it! When you eat it, you’ll plunge the spoon through streaks of gold yolk to turn beany water with herbs into something sublime in the mouth. Simple yet variable, affordable yet indulgent, humble yet delicious; when in doubt, I will put an egg on it.
See you back here again soon. It’s only going to get better from here…