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it’s not about the food

Daring Bakers: I’m sorry to say there is no Dobos Torte here, my friends. For sanity’s sake, I punted this month’s challenge.

Admin: I’ve been falling behind in answering comments and I think this is a problem that will continue to snowball until it sucks me under. So instead of answering every comment, as I have done in the past, I’ll now address those comments with questions or discussions about specifics. Hopefully this will get you more timely answers to inquiries regarding the recipes. Thanks for understanding.

On Friday I drove down to the flats for a gathering of some bodacious ladies. It’s a collection of local bloggers, ski buds, friends from my old workplace, friends of friends – great gals all around. We keep calling these events stitch-n-bitches but really, it’s an excuse to eat and share stories and enjoy one another’s company. There is less and less knitting (in fact, none this time) as we are driven to the point of distraction with full on multi-course meals being served and about 4 or 5 conversations going on at any given time. It’s a party. I didn’t even bother bringing any knitting or sewing because I knew better. I did contribute some chocolate French macarons and two flavors of homemade ice cream since Manisha was making fabulous Indian street food for all of us.

babes who blog: indian food rocks, urb, the kitchen witch, the kittalog

You could take away the “stitching” and the “bitching” – you could even take away the food (but you’d have to pry the drink from Dana‘s cold, dead fingers!) and it would still be a wonderful time because the people make it so. One of the ladies I know through Manisha has stage IV brain cancer. When I met her, my hair was very short as it was finally growing back months after my chemo had ended. She smiled and said she recognized the “cut”. At the time, her brain tumor was shrinking with a radical treatment. Everyone was hopeful. She’s a delight to be around, a lovely woman, calm and sweet with a smile like a million tiny wildflowers.

Her tumor is back and has been unresponsive to treatment. When I offered her a macaron, her hands shook as she reached for one. She had difficulty explaining the next course of action in her treatment because she couldn’t think of the words. That’s all the tumor’s doing – the deterioration. We don’t know how much time she has, but the fear is that it isn’t much longer. Her loved ones are rallying around and making the moments count. She met a lot of new faces at the stitch-n-bitch. The point was for her, for everyone to have a good time. And we did.

Despite leaving my knitting and sewing projects at home, I did have a project that had to be completed at the stitch-n-bitch. I wanted portraits of everyone. I take pictures of my grandmother whenever I visit with her. She used to frown and mutter in Chinese, “Why do you need a picture of an old person?” and I’d tease, “because you’re my favorite old person,” and she’d laugh. She’s so used to my camera now that the last time I saw her she squared her shoulders and grinned, “Take a good one so I can use it at my funeral.” I know she’s only half joking and I oblige not because I want these pictures for her funeral, but because this is a small way to hold on to and remember those we cherish. So we piled into the backyard as soon as it had cooled off and I was able to capture the laughs and goofy antics of these hilarious and beautiful women. It’s something we sometimes overlook. It’s something I used to take for granted – that the people we care about will always be there. They will not. That is why the time we have together is precious.

25 nibbles at “it’s not about the food”

  1. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Honestly, the entire time we were in the backyard, I wanted to focus on pictures of her. And you were right there with me. Having lost someone this year to a cancer that really, sadly, we knew was a ticking time bomb, it’s important to capture the ones you care about in the finer moments. And she still is so radiant, don’t you think?

    She kept insisting that she was the oldest among us, and yet her eyes were bright and her smile so “ready at the go.” And her attitude. That’s balls-to-the-wall-courage right there. To have someone so young and beautiful look you in the eye and say, “well, this last evaluation is the end of the road, they can’t do anything else” makes you look at the world in an entirely different way. No self pity, no anger, just…Let’s do what we have left in style. She, like my friend Mary Beth, has a lot to teach me about grace.

    Manisha, I was so glad you invited her, and she was brilliant. It was kind of nice to laugh with someone who has “horrid shaky hand syndrome” like me and spills shit everywhere. Someday we’ll throw a party in the afterlife and nobody gets to use utensils or delicate teacups.

    When I got home, I read the news that DJ AM died of an overdose, and I got furious. The guy escapes a fiery plane crash that kills 4 of his friends, survives, and just shy of a year later, overdoses on drugs. There’s a gorgeous woman fighting for her life, and yet other people just piss it away.

    Anyways, sorry to be so long-winded, but yesterday made me feel proud to know so many of you.

  2. TheKitchenWitch says:

    PS: And yes, my dear URB, you WILL have to pry the drink out of my cold, dead, fingers. Irish girls go no other way :) And just in case I die tomorrow, make sure I am buried with a bottle of Dom, if you please!

  3. Rosa says:

    It seems like you had a lot of fun together!

    Have a great sunday!



  4. Y says:

    Looks like you’re using your time wisely, so who can begrudge you the lack of cake :) xx

  5. Pearl says:

    i’m sorry to hear about your friend, but i’m also inspired by her courage and determination to live for each and every moment.

  6. Fiona says:

    I don’t have anything profound to say. But I read what you wrote and it touched me. Thank you.

  7. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    I do the same thing every time I see my grandmother. I take a picture of her and she complains and then a few minutes later I show her the picture on my camera and she ask “oh who is that?” (she has alzheimers). It’s really sad watching this once vibrant, talented woman deterioate. All I really have left now are the pictures.

    They hell with the cake, lol, your blog is always something I want to read, recipes or not.

  8. Tawnia says:

    Another touching post–thank you for sharing. I can only speak for myself, but I am so glad you continue to share those amazing photos and recipes with us. I never expect a reply to my comments–but it is nice to know you will try to answer questions ;)

  9. Jenny says:

    I love reading your blog, but you’re way too popular to keep up with all the commenters, I wouldnt expect you to reply to them, and I have to be honest, I love to comment on peoples blogs, but unless I’m hyper interested in the subject, I dont usually go back to see if the author has replied to my comment. Am I a bad blogger?

    Also, that is a wonderful story about your friend of a friend. I do a lot of thinking about the end of life experience, and I think its really brave and really wonderful that she’s working hard to make the most of her remaining time, it seems to echo what Ted Kennedy did and I feel its something that is important for everyone to discuss with close friends and family. I hope as a country we can come to an agreement that this is important to discuss, without getting hysterical or talking about ‘death panels’

  10. charlane says:

    the greatest honor I had was taking a portrait good enough of my mother to use at her funeral – well, her celebration service. the celebration of her life and our love. it was a service we discussed in detail with her as we knew the end was coming. though difficult, it was oh so beautiful.

    anyway – I now know how important it is to have portraits.

  11. Manisha says:

    and, thank you.

  12. Susan says:

    So very touching. Life is all about friends and sharing the good times and the bad and supporting each other through it all.

  13. Chocolate and Toast says:

    Amen, sister. Amen.

  14. Margie says:

    You are so right…we must enjoy and love those around us while we can. None of us knows the hour that we pass, fade, and become a memory.

    I love the photograph, all lovely ladies enjoying a wonderful afternoon. Nothing more fulfilling than being with those that fill us with joy.

  15. Asianmommy says:

    It’s true. We need to cherish every moment.

  16. Tartelette says:

    {{{ xoxo}}}

  17. Irene says:

    You girls are beautiful, and even through the anonymity of the internet and the two-dimensionality of a photo, I can tell that it’s from the inside.

  18. christina says:

    She’s very fortunate she has such wonderful friends, as I’m sure it helps with everything she’s going through =)

  19. cloudydeb says:

    This very week-end, my lovely friend Wendi and her husband Mark found out that his mother has a malignant brain tumor. It happened so fast, with no warning, and no time to gather thoughts or prayers before she was rushed into surgery to have it removed. She e-mailed me this morning realizing how precious every second spent with family and friends is, and how important it is to love and be loved. Your words were so reassuring to me today, and I will surely pass them along to Wendi and her family.

  20. Caitlin says:

    Lovely – I don’t take enough photos of the people who matter, so that just reminds me to snap, snap away the next time I’m home. Wish I was close enough to join the stitch’n’bitch – I could bring my knitting (and not get any done)!

  21. Karen B says:

    Yesterday I read your post, turned off my computer, and played with my kids in our herb garden until bedtime (it’s a kind of magical place in our yard where the best times happen). Thanks for the reminder of what a precious gift time is!

  22. Judy says:

    Friends are priceless. Friendship is why I took time away recently to go to Arkansas, and why I meet with my quilting/knitting sisters every Tuesday. Lovely story.

  23. Mrs Ergül says:

    Great post! And great day to spend one’s day! I will be keeping your friend in my thoughts.

  24. pelicano says:

    You are so right about our tendency to think that things will stay the same and that the people we love will always be there; it’s unfortunate that it’s hard to know this truth without pain. Loved this post.

  25. jenyu says:

    Thanks to everyone for your sweet comments. xxoo

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