Today is a lovely mid-May day, filled with sun and birdsong. The world has leafed out and is a spectrum of vibrant green hues. I’m sitting at the computer, listening to the outside world and drinking my daily cup of coffee.

After a cool, wet spring we have returned to warm and dry conditions, prompting a high fire danger warning for today. While the temperature right now is a lovely 70F, there are frost and freeze warnings for tomorrow tonight.

I’m still dealing with Long Covid inflammation and joint pain which seems interminable and is exhausting. Covid has exacerbated my Post-Polio symptoms so I am trying to understand how best to live gracefully and well with the new normal. Clearly, being well vaccinated does not fully protect one from the late manifestations of Covid.

On Monday, Jennie and I took a walk in a much loved reserve a bit away from our home. I took my Zoom recorder in hopes of capturing nature sounds, especially frogs and birds. We excitedly captured a wide range of sounds, only to discover, when we returned home, that the sounds did not record because of an error on my part. This reminded me, yet again, of the importance of checking whether gear is actually working when in the field…. At the moment I am recording birds in our back yard using less stellar technology but with considerably better results.

We’ve lived here for close to three years now and, as it is a Portuguese community, have had the great pleasure of eating many Portuguese meals. Oddly, given our love of international cuisine, I have not prepared any Portuguese dishes. That omission was remedied last night when I followed a recipe for Portuguese fava bean stew. The result was delicious, hot and aromatic, and we are still talking about it this morning. Fortunately, there are leftovers.

It has been a great few days on the food front, as Saturday evening we attended a fundraiser for the local Afghan refugee community. We are very fond of Afghani cuisine so drove a couple of towns over with great anticipation. The food was delicious, made more so by the great good fortune of bumping into friends with whom to share it. As it happens, these friends we had previously only met on Zoom! There was, in typical Afghani fashion, an abundance of food and we were sent home with leftovers!

There was a lively artists discussion at our table, something we greatly miss. Seemingly inevitably, the question of how can we manage our lives and do our art in an insane world came up. Of course there were no answers, just the age old recognition of an ancient dilemma. This morning brought word from a poet friend, Andrew James Murray, that he was about to have published his third collection of poems, along with his thoughts about just doing what one can in the faced of chaos. As he turns fifty: “Fifty Poems for Fifty years!”

An image from our walk a couple of weeks ago:

20 thoughts on “Mid-May

    1. Andrea, For me food is such a source of creativity and pleasure! When i was dating my wife I visited her folks for the first time. Afterwards, they said to her, “He’s a foodie! He’ll be a great addition to the family!”

  1. A nice surprise to find your reference, Michael 🙂

    As for the mistake in your recordings-for the oral history project I’m undertaking, about three interviews in I sat with a lovely lady, in her eighties, for a couple of hours. However when I later started to transcribe the interview I was horrified to find that the file had been wiped from my voice recorder. I rang, explained and apologised to her. Of course she was understanding and said that yes, she would sit with me again, but it would have to be in the new year (this was mid-December). I was saying to my wife in the interim “If anything happens to Mona I will never forgive myself.” It’s like I’d lost her last will and testament, never mind her life story. New Year’s Eve afternoon I bumped into the parish priest. “Have you heard about Mona?” “What?” “She fell down the stairs on Boxing Day.” “Is she alive?!” “Yes.” I was on the phone to her straight away. And having learned my lesson about our reliance on technology-every interview after I went armed with two voice recorders!

    1. Marvelous story, Andy. Technology is great when it works….
      I had a friend many years ago who was approaching 90 when he asked me to collaborate on a huge project. I was very excited and a bit concerned when he said it would be six weeks or so until we could start. Sadly he died before we were able to begin. I think of him often.
      When does your new collection come out?

      1. A few sadly died before I could sit with them. One of them, who could take me back the furthest in the area that we are working in, I was days away from interviewing when something came in that none of us could have foreseen: Covid. As all of the subjects were elderly and classed as vulnerable they of course had to isolate. She, like others, passed away before some form of normality resumed. I’ve since been to the funeral of two of the people whose life stories I have preserved-the responsibility isn’t lost on me.
        I have one more (or possibly two) interview to record, edit the others, and then I’m handing over the manuscript.

      2. I think most people have no clue the knowledge and wisdom we collectively lost to the pandemic.
        A remarkable project, Andy. At 75 I am being asked to write memoirs but I have not much to add to what my kids already know.
        I just noticed that I referenced your new collection by omitted your name! What was I thinking? I’ve corrected that. When your collection comes out I will give my readers a link.

      3. I remember some years back I broached the subject of you publishing your views/memoirs. I’d still keep the door open 🙂

        That was okay, I didn’t need my name added. But thank you.

  2. I do hope that the COVID goes away so you can get back to knowing how to cope with the polio symptoms. What a downer. I know how it saps energy which is so frustrating when there are things we want to do.

    1. Thanks, Pat. It may well be that this is the new norm. I’m doing most of the things I want to be doing, fortunately. The fatigue is hard to manage for sure. I become really frustrated when people act as if Covid is no longer an issue……

    1. Thanks, Debbie!
      Here’s the recipe:
      Basic recipe of which there are many versions::
      1 can fava beans, 1 can tomatoes, 1 cup tomato sauce, 2 peppers (we used one bell and 2 red Portuguese) 1 scant tablespoon red chili fakes, Portuguese sausage, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 onion, 4 garlic cloves, 2 chopped carrots. Brown the sausage for 2 minutes or so with the onions, add tomatoes, the tomato sauce, spices and carrots and simmer till carrots are tender. Add favas and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Let rest before serving. Our changes: we roasted the carrots, garlic, onion and peppers, sautéed mushrooms with the meat (Beyond Burger for us), added 2 small red potatoes cut into small cubes with the tomatoes and tomato sauce, and used smoked paprika. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

  3. So sorry about the lasting effects of Covid! No guarantees, that’s for sure, even if you are fully vaccinated. I will be making that stew sometime soon. Thanks for listing the ingredients you used. I am a huge fan smoked paprika and find that it peps up many soups. Your food gatherings sound wonderful. How fine it is to be part of a lively discussion with other artists. The last photo is beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Laurie. The photo was taken in a tiny reserve a few blocks from our house. A gem for sure. We found the stew stunningly good and will finish it for dinner this evening. Let me know how you like it.

Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.