Monday, March 20, 2006

In the mood for a road trip…

I am so in the mood to go up north. Northern California, Carmel to be exact. Although, if I can not get that far then Cambria would be lovely too. Both places are right on the beach. I do love the beach in the winter. Everyone goes to the beach in the summer - so predictable. Everyone is there and it is so crowded. It smells of Hawaiian Tropic oil and nachos. You should try the beach in the winter. It’s moody, dark, sullen and very romantic. Most importantly there are no crowds. I grew up in Newport Beach, CA. That is where I learned to love the beach in the winter. It’s quiet and everyone has gone. If you are lucky enough to get to the beach on a weekday in the winter – it’s beautiful. There will be just you, the seagulls, the rouge artist and a lonely writer perhaps. If you have no vacation days left I suggest considering a Ferris Bueller day off. These types of days can be soul affirming.

I live in a beach town, but the northern beaches seem to be the most romantic. I love pine trees near the ocean, especially Torrey Pines. But to see the best Torry Pines you don’t want to go to Torry Pines San Diego – you want to go up north to Carmel on the 17-mile drive! That is the coastline to see. Hmm… now I am really in the mood to pack up and go, but my hubby is such a worker bee. I can see it now – I will start working on this idea convincing him to go and by the time he agrees it will be June. Just in time for the summer crowds!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Carrot jam reminds me of Shamsi

I got this carrot jam at the middle-eastern grocery store. It’s about 45 miles away but I go there every other week. They have everything I need to make a proper Persian meal. Yep, my husband is from Iran. Rather than get into the political ramifications about all of that I will tell you that he graduated from university here in the states, Utah in fact. He is pretty Americanized but he loves all the things his mother Shamsi cooks. Don’t all men love what their mothers cook?

Shamsi has been out to visit about 4 times. I can not be exactly certain how many times she has really been here because I tend to get a little “drinky” when she comes out here. You see she stays a very long time, eight months last time. Usually it is about 6 months. It all becomes a sort of haze after 3 months. I do love her, but I love my hubby more.

Anyway, she is a wonderful cook and loves to make jam. She is the original domestic goddess of the Middle East. At 70-something, Shamsi wouldn’t learn a single syllable of English, so I learned to speak Farsi. I am such a Chatty Cathy. I always loved how she put on a pretty blouse and fresh lipstick when my hubby came home from work.

Whenever we have carrot jam I think of Shamsi stirring her little pot of jam simmering on the stove while wearing her black cashmere sweater over her housedress. The Persian ladies like their fashion you know. She would spend all day simmering jam while she sat and crocheted.

Carrot jam is light and sweet. It has only shredded carrots, sugar and a little vanilla. Shamsi used to put Cardamom in her recipe. Don’t be afraid to try it. If you have an international grocery store you should stop in and try new things. Jam is a good safe place to start.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Haunted Fridays!

Today is Haunted Friday! Most Fridays my daughter and I watch the Travel Channel’s Most Haunted TV show (Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT). We order pizza and make something yummy for desert and tune in for this pseudo scary show. Could you lock yourself in a haunted location for 24 hours? Well, the Most Haunted ghost hunting team in the UK does just that.

We first saw Most Haunted when we visited my sister in Scotland two years ago. We thought it was hilarious. There is a team of about 6 or 7 ghost hunters and they visit some of the most haunted locations in Briton. They use a lot of night-vision and thermal imaging cameras to investigate. It’s all very “Blair Witch” like. You certainly never see any ghosts or hear any ghosts, but you do see the team scare the wits out of themselves and that seems entertaining enough for us. We also spend a fair amount of time trying to get that British accent down perfectly – they have a lot of different dialects going on in this show. My daughter being an active theater student loves to practice here different accents!

So it is sort of a “thing” a ritual to watch this show and spend this silly time together. I don’t now that I believe any of this stuff but I love it because I know that in short time her Friday nights will be spent out on dates or rehearsing the current play she is in or just hanging out with anyone but me. So, I love Haunted Friday because it is my time with Nina!

Although, there really are some very scary places in Briton. You could not pay me enough money in the world to go into the mausoleum of the Grey Friars Cemetery in Edinburgh!