muddy feet memoirs

The Chronicle of My Comeback

Month: July, 2013

Being Here Now, With Jay

We began our romantic weekend getaway with what few would think romantic.  We talked about Jay’s death.  Then we threw a few things together and got the hell out of Dodge.  No kids for 4 days – we needed some peace.

The Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square (Oakland, CA) has become our favorite “stay-cation” destination.  3 years ago we landed here in a desperate need for quiet during the window between his first round of chemo and his colostomy surgery.  He was recovered well enough that we actually enjoyed the luxury of forgetting about cancer.  We stayed indoors until evening, wandered around noshing and drinking at the few restaurants still in business, then retreated back to the room.  We had sex, watched bad TV, took afternoon naps, spent hours in content silence… 3 days and 2 nights of that is our idea of a great vacation.  45 minutes from our home and a world away.

This is our third time here, which makes it a tradition.  We are enjoying the time before he heads back into chemo – his final course of treatment.  As he says, we’re not fighting for his life anymore, we’re fighting for time.  You would think that’d make our time here feel different than the other times, but it doesn’t really.  There is something about being together at this place, in a quiet room, nowhere to go, that brings us simply to the here-and-now.  We are a blissfully happy couple in a cocoon.

Of course thoughts of the future seize us every now and then.  Jay can feel the tumors growing inside of him.  His cancer is on the move.  It takes work to discuss  what we’ll prepare for Thanksgiving dinner this year (foodies do that kind of thing in July) because cancer has made things that tenuous.  The unknown is heavy as hell.  But we always come back – this time in room 222 – and steep ourselves in how blessed we feel to have found each other.  Being here now is a fine place to be.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have made big changes to my life to accommodate our family’s priorities.  I mean to be by Jay’s side for every chemo treatment, every doctor’s appointment.  I mean to pick up our kids from school, help them with their anxiety and their homework.  As I told Jay in our pre-getaway death talk, he will never be alone.  I will be there right up to the end, and then I’ll still be there.  We are cramming a lifetime together into 5 years.  We could waste our energy angry at how unfair that is or we could chill out and revel in what we have now.  Somehow being at the Waterfront Hotel helps us with the later.

That’s it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.


Freezing Caramelized Onions

Today I am caramelizing onions again.  Since I love this recipe I thought I’d post it under a more descriptive title. It was originally entitled “More on preserving onions.”



Our mediocre onion crop has propelled me to explore how to best preserve onions when they cannot be stored long-term in a root cellar.  Many folks just chop & freeze them for use in future soup stock.  I can see the benefit in this if your family eats a lot of soup, but ours does not.  We plan on doing that with our substantial onion greens, but not our actual onions (see “Making the most of the meager”).  Tonight we tested my first frozen onion alternative – caramelized onions – and I have to say, it rocked!

To make it I filled a Crock-Pot with yellow onions, drizzled them with olive oil & “crocked” them for about 10 hours.  I started on Low but increased it to High some hours in because they didn’t seem interested in getting brown…   when I nail the timing I’ll re-post.

I then made “steak-sized” bundles on a cookie sheet and froze them as-is.  The entire Crock-Pot made 12 bundles of caramelized oniony goodness.  Once frozen into bundles I vacuum-sealed them with our food saver and put them in the deep-freeze.

Tonight we defrosted one package (two bundles) and included them in a yummy frittata with our fresh eggs.  They presented as if they were caramelized this evening!  Fresh, rich & amazing.  I can’t imagine not incorporating these delicious bundles into every meal we eat!

Author’s confession:  With the work we do through our non-profit Food Rescue we have a number of food agencies in Vallejo we serve.  One of our favorite agencies received a HUGE shipment of onions quickly going bad and had a hard time unloading them.  We experimented with those yellow onions, not the pathetic onions we grew in our own garden.

We are not ashamed to say we are a struggling family, and think this is a fine avenue for other struggling families when faced with a bumper donation of nearly-not-OK onions.

Bon-appétit and thanks for stopping by!