Twenty five years ago our son was born, this photo was when he was four days old, we had just gotten him home, he and I had a rather intense experience so we spent three days in the hospital. Time goes by so quickly, I can remember his birth so clearly, even the exact moment I am smiling at the camera with him in my arms. We were so awestruck as new parents, I was terrified, I didn’t want my parents to leave, but my husband wasn’t showing any fear, he took to it like it was another day on the job. I was still coming to terms with what my body was doing, lol, it seemed to have a mind of its own when it came to the baby, thank goodness we synochronized very quickly, our son and I, it made it a lot easier.
One of our son’s favorite meals is the Vietnamese spring roll, as a pre-birthday celebration, I got into the kitchen this morning and whipped up a batch of about 60 spring rolls. He was so happy and boy, did he put a dent into the 60, we bought him an ice cream cake, but we never got that far, he got his favorite food and he didn’t want to know anything else.
The spring rolls aren’t hard to make, they’re just time consuming, wrapping the filling with rice crêpe papers and then frying them in peanut oil. The filling itself comes together fairly quickly; two finely diced onions, four minced cloves of garlic, 15 grams of reconstituted Chinese black mushrooms sliced, 60 grams of grated carrots, 50 grams of reconstituted rice bean threads, 250 grams of crab meat, 500 grams of ground pork, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of fish sauce and three beaten eggs to bind the filling. Once the rolls are fried, you serve them with lettuce and mint, dipping them in a Vietnamese dipping sauce called Nuac Man, 1/3 of fish sauce, 2/3 water, some minced garlic, grated carrot, a teaspoon of sugar, lemon juice and a dash of red pepper flake. The different flavors and textures all come together to make a singular taste which is almost addictive, they’re hard to stop eating once you start.
Our son was very happy, we have leftovers so we know he’s coming back very soon.
Massachusetts General is right off Charles Street and Beacon Hill, it is such a lovely area. My son and I were very excited thinking of lunch after my visit with the neurosurgeon. I have to say my journey is definitely not boring, it’s quite the adventure. My second MRI has shown a new tumor, I hadn’t even noticed it, I literally have a new bump on the top of my head, they showed it to me today, it doesn’t hurt so I was blissfully oblivious. The tumor is mostly in the bone, some in the brain’s barrier, nothing major, the neurosurgeon was confident that it can be excised. The neurosurgeon also gave me hope for my headaches, he is sure that my headaches are due to a faulty absorption and release rate in my meninges, the brain’s lining and that is causing pressure, so he while he’s in there taking care of the tumor, he plans to put in a shunt to drain the excess fluid buildup and headache gone, hooray for me!
Now back to lunch, my son and I went to Ma Maison right down the street from Mass. Gen. on Cambridge Street. It was wonderful, I started with a butter cream and wild mushroom soup, my son had a lobster bisque, we then split a foie-gras poêle with red wine poached pear, to die for, and lastly for the main course, I had moules frites and my son had a coq au vin. We enjoyed everything, the ambience, the decor, the food, the coffee and the service. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the Boston area.
The temperatures have been cold these past few nights, but my marigolds and dianthus are still alive and kicking! I love the juxtaposition of pumpkins and summer annuals, similar coloring even though normally they inhabit different seasons. The leaves are falling at such a brisk pace, the strong winds over the past few days have laid out carpets of red, brown and yellow everywhere, on roads and front yards. The surrounding mountains are looking a bit naked, but the ground is very colorful. Autumn is definitely making a bold statement right now.
I was visualizing a whole bunch of relaxing images during my 40 minutes in the closed MRI machine. The word irony comes into the picture because we are using the noisy MRI to try to figure out why I can’t get rid of these headaches that have been plaguing me since April. Needless to say that I left the hospital with an even bigger headache than the one I had before entering the hospital. When I asked whose great idea was it, the MRI, the nurse said that the MRI only came into the medical field in the late 1970’s, early 1980’s, before that it had had other applications, which ones, she didn’t specify. I haven’t looked into it yet, but I would bet the DOD had something to do with it. I wonder why the medical field can’t modify the noise component, it really is quite unpleasant. I’m nevertheless thankful my oncologist is mindful of my aches and pains and the marvel of modern medicine is available to me, but it is difficult being mindful of all this when you’re in the machine with the obnoxious booming surrounding you for what feels like a long time. Hooray it’s over!
I was pleasantly surprised when I found fresh lavender ripe for a second harvest. All I was planning to do was to cut the faded lavender I have outback and add it to my dried flower bouquets, what a bonus to discover pretty purple spikes ready to come inside to brighten a room. Dried lavender still smells lovely and calming, it makes me feel better when I take a long whiff, just as much as when I smell the fresh lavender in my special vase.
It’s been hard these past few weeks, learning that my chemo wasn’t working and my cancer is most probably chemo resistant, and now waiting for the pharmaceutical company and the health insurance company to come to an agreement about my immunotherapy treatmen, waiting and staying zen are straining at my emotions. It is bringing me to new depths of patience and optimism since these are what will guide me through the next steps. The difficulty is not knowing what the future holds, not that we ever really know what the future has in store for us. I make it a point of telling myself that nothing is really different, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, I wake up everyday with an amazing family, three hilarious dogs and wonderful friends, what more can a person ask for?
I know there are some who aren’t fans of lamb, our family doesn’t belong to that group, we all love lamb, especially the lollipop-like lamb chop, they’re so fun to eat. Since yesterday was a round tip to Boston, I was pooped, so my husband took care of dinner and viola, seared lamb chops served on a bed of sautéed spinach with apples, sweet onions and lemon. It may look as if it took some time to put together, but it was ready in 30 minutes, lamb chops this dainty take no time to cook and fresh spinach cooks down in minutes as well. This meal was a perfect plan, easy to get together after a long car ride and when it’s rainy outside, it serves as a comfort food as well.
My husband had business in Boston today, I never mind visiting Boston, despite the rain it’s a beautiful vibrant city. He also took me out to lunch at Brasserie Jo, a brasserie, strictly speaking, has Alsatian origins, serves beer on tap and has a long menu with with a variety of seafood choices and the invariable Alsatian choucroute. This brasserie was more casual than what you would find in Paris, but the food was just as good. We both started with their onion soup, it’s been a while since we have enjoyed a good onion soup gratiné, the ratio of croutons, onions and gruyère cheese was textbook, my only criticism was with the broth, it was a little too sweet for my taste, a shot of Pernod would have given just the bite it needed, at least in my opinion. Afterward, we shared escargots en cocotte, I adore snails however they are prepared, but the key in any preparation is the sauce, the sauce here needed parsley and armagnac to cut through the butter’s richness, again just my opinion. I’m picky aren’t I, lol. I had moules/frites as a main course, they were served in a Riesling cream sauce alongside excellent fries, my husband had crepe Newbug for his main course, he really enjoyed it, it had a healthy portion of salmon, spinach and lobster with the classic Newburg sauce, after all this we were happily satisfied.