Pasta To Go

I wrote this back in January when Winter was months away and just a dim memory - swim Yes, it's still hot and yes, we're well over it now. Mae West said "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful". Not however when it comes to excesses of hot weather over 45C! It has it's compensations and our evening excursion to the beach was one. I had promised I would achieve my goal of getting in the sea this Summer. I found the condition perfect last night and just kept walking, hat, glasses, walking stick and all! We laughed and enjoyed the freedom of a gentle sea, soft air and a setting sun. We followed up with a picnic meal on the warm, white sand - Jamie's meatballs and pasta, made with fresh coriander and lime pasta and herbs from the garden. So simple, so enjoyable and I felt like a Nona as I stood over the stove beforehand in my bathers/swimsuit stirring pasta sauce, sweating and enjoying the anticipation of the good food to come. Ah summer! How we love you! Pasta how we love you too, Summer, Winter any time, with any sauce at all. We are so lucky to have our fresh pasta maker at the Farmers' Market and her product is the best I've ever tasted. She's adventurous in her combinations of flavours and the colours are stunning. We particularly like her parsley and garlic, the chilli and the beetroot, all gluten free and so quick to cook.
My dear fiend Claire posted this on Facebook, I hope she won't mind sharing. She is once again in hospital with the horrible mastocytosis and best wishes are going her way -
"In illness, you're suddenly not yourself anymore. The question is: Are you going to cling in panic to some idealized self that no longer exists? Or are you going to cross the threshold and acknowledge that you're on a journey, though you don't know to where? You haven't chosen it, but now you're different in some way. This is one reason physical illness shows up as a turning point in so many spiritual biographies or as the catalyst of shamanic initiation. It's a profound shock to the system. It dislodges you. You look in the mirror, and one of the unfortunate ill stares back. But in a way, you could say that disease also abrades away, painfully, all of these superficial ways in which we judge our worthiness, even life's worthiness. Our worthiness, as in: "Am I strong, beautiful, competent, undamaged goods?" Or life's worthiness, as in: "Life is good only when it makes me happy, or aggrandizes me, or favors my enterprise." But who's bigger, you or life? There's a Rilke poem Robert Bly has translated: "This is how he grows - by being defeated, decisively, by ever greater beings." by Marc Ian Barasch"
Chronic pain and illness are certainly the most challenging things that have happened in my life. The challenge is hourly, daily, weekly and ever changing, always new and hard to predict. It is very tiring, sometimes exhausting, but brings with it an understanding, a fresh approach to pain and is definitely a catalyst which brings about new experiences, connections, learning and approaches to life. In the last two days I have had two experiences of having to help someone else deal with profound pain - one physical and an accident and the other soul pain, the hurt of hidden abuse suddenly revealed, with it's attendant guilt, astonishment, recrimination and deep anger. My own disability took a back seat, despite being hampered by lack of physical strength or movement, I managed to be useful or at any rate not an obstacle or a hinderance. Those tests don't come to me as often as they once did because I lead a less active life, sheltered from the world and mostly retired from it. I am glad of them. I would of course do anything to spare another pain, but since it has already happened, it is good to feel useful and part of their move towards healing. In living life with a disability it is so important to find new ways to be useful, to be involved and to participate in life. When we give up hope of change we stop living and life becomes a burden, a hardship and something we might prefer to end. We all have moments of misery and a good wallow can be releasing, but not when we make a lifestyle out of it!

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