Pestle, Mortar, Pratchett

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With my pestle and mortar, I began to grind lavender blossoms and orange leaves.
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“Oh Maga,” Lorelei’s message echoed in my head. “We have lost Terry Pratchett.”

He died surrounded by family and while still remembering who he was, I thought. I hope he got his glass of brandy. I continued pulverizing blossoms and leaves until I had enough to make the biggest cup of tea in the universe.

But I didn’t feel like drinking tea. In fact, I had been sipping French vanilla coffee while pressing pestle to mortar and watching orange leaves and lavender blossoms become something new… and thinking about Terry Pratchett being gone.

I’m not exactly sure at what point in time I decided to put my grinding tools aside, and chose to recycle some left over bits of wax into a new candle.

I started melting the old wax and…
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… grabbed some lavender sprigs…
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…a recycled coffee filter, a pencil, scissors, three pennies and an empty jar;
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I cut the coffee filter into a wide strip, and wrote “You will be missed and remembered…”
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…twisted the strip into a wick, anointed it with rosemary oil, tied one end of it to the pennies, and the other to the pencil, which was balanced over the mouth of the jar;
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I poured the melted wax into the jar, and added three sprigs of lavender when the wax began to set… I stared at the cooling candle for a long time, inhaling its scent, trying not to cry. García Márquez last year and now Pratchett… Death must happen in order for life to continue happening. If not, we’ll run out of room.
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The practical thought didn’t dam my tears, so I repeated the previous process in the making of a smaller candle…
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After removing the pencils and trimming the wicks, I melted a wee chunk of recycled lilac candle, topped the new candles with the purplish liquid, sprinkled some of the lavender/orange powder over the wax, and brought them into my bedroom to finish cooling by me… as I wrote this post…
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The small candle is shining in front of some of my Knight Writer’s books. I will save the one in the golden jar to light on April 29th, Terry Pratchett’s birthday… after he has had his first long conversation with Death; and perhaps, a drink or three with the ghost of Gabriel García Márquez…
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Terry Pratchett
Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015)
image via, DailyMail.com

If You Feel Too Old to Live Like You Have Always Wanted To…

This morning, as my steel cut oats simmered on the stove and I went through my cabinets in order to remove any condiments made with onion or garlic, a person I love very much messaged me to say that she felt too old. “I really wanted to help people,” she wrote. “If I could change time, I would go back and become a doctor.”

I added brown sugar and a pinch of salt to my steel cut oats and began to pan-roast five pecan halves, before replying to the text. You see, my Wicked Luvs, words implying that someone feels he or she is running out of time are not to be taken lightly. In my reply, I said that we should talk about this on the phone. And that “It’s never too late to do what our hearts call for [what our souls need]. If we are alive, we can find a way.”

The latter bit of the text sounds a bit cliché. I know that. Yet, that doesn’t keep it from being true. This person has done so much helping already. I reminded her that “Sometimes is difficult to see our own worth, but those outside… notice.” I’ve noticed the deeds of her huge giving heart a lot.

After adding two table spoons of coconut milk to the creamy oats, I stared at my half empty spices cabinet. I had no idea so many of my condiments had onion and garlic in them! My gastroenterologist put me on a mildly strict low FODMAP diet—no fructose, no lactose, no fructans, no galactans, no polyols. Which translates to no onions, no garlic, no most-of-the-stuff-I’ve-been-eating-for-the-last-almost-38-years of my witchy life… and no mangoes.

With all that in front of me, I started thinking, I’m so freaking lucky. That might sound a tad ridiculous coming from someone whose bones and gut seem to be aging three times faster than the rest of her. But I do feel lucky, my Wicked Luvs. Why? Well, because although all the changes upset me at first, in a day or two I’m back to being my usual chirpy self.

It’s not that I don’t care. Oh, I care so much and so very often. But I am lucky because losing some of the things I love and some of the ones I thought I needed—certain foods, driving, sitting at the dinner table—doesn’t take my happy away. I will miss them. But having them taken from me gives me the opportunity to search for new things.

My gut issues take my fresh onion and my garlic away? Fine! I’ll experiment with onion and garlic infused oils (the fructans in garlic aren’t oil soluble, so I can get the yummy taste without the painful *and embarrassing* tummy consequences). I shall also create a sofrito a la Magaly (yes, I’ll share the recipe). I am going to make all sorts of changes that I suspect will remind me that although I’m not living like I used to, I am still alive and I can choose to make the best of that gift.

If you feel too old to help society as a whole, then help a couple of people who live near you. If you feel too old or too sick to publish a book, then write short stories and submit them to literary journals, magazines; share them online! If you feel too old to live like you’ve always wanted to, then find something different to want just as much and live for that.

With those thoughts still swimming in my mind, I made a cup of French Vanilla coffee, added the roasted pecans to my steel cut oats, and took a bite. And you know what, my Wicked Luvs? I rather like this recipe. I might miss the rich and distinct flavor of evaporated milk, but the coconut milk and pecan combination gives my oats a wild and earthy healthy taste.

Steel Cut Oats - Low FODMAP

– ¼ cup of steel cut oats
– 4 cups of water
– 3 sticks of cinnamon
– 2 tbsp. of coconut milk (canned)
– 2 tsp. of raw sugar
– a pinch of salt
* 5 pecan halves (optional)
* one serving

In a one quart saucepan, bring the water to a brisk boil. Add cinnamon sticks. Let it boil, over medium-high heat, for five minutes. Add the steel cut oats and lower the heat to medium. Let it boil, stirring every now and then to keep from overflowing, until the oats are soft and most of the liquid is gone (about 30 minutes). At this point, I remove the cinnamon sticks, but you can leave them in if you like. Add the sugar, salt, coconut milk, and stir. Set the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. While you wait, crushed the pecans and roast them (I roast mine in a frying pan for 3 minutes or so). Pour your oats into your favorite bowl, sprinkled the hot, roasted pecan on top, and yum, yum, yum. ♥