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QOTD: Emerson, one pet peeve, some tears about dad, and the Wednesday Recipe Club: Egg, Cotija Cheese and Black Bean Strata with a Pastry Crust

April 29th, 2009

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pet peeve: When someone says, I’m only playing devil’s advocate, only they are screaming it at you and not taking time to even attempt to hear where you’re coming from. No, you’re not “pretending” to give me someone else’s opinion, as some cat-and-mouse “devil’s advocate” thing — you’re giving me your own damn opinion and just not being straight about it.

One more pet peeve: When someone says, “You’re crazy and need therapy.” OK. 1) Love therapy, massage, acupuncture, getting laid by my hunky husband, pedicures and manicures, a good work-out, drinking enough water, eating right, avoiding meth and all illicit substances, getting enough sleep, sunlight, fresh air and… etc. Thanks for screaming something at me that I’m already doing. 2) Am not crazy, thanks for asking. Have seen a panel of experts who all said, You don’t have the crazy (and by this I mean: schizophrenia, agoraphobia, bi-polar disorder, clinical depression or any of a host of others). (To those of you who have been diagnosed with these conditions — I am sorry and you have so much empathy from this girl whose family tends toward “the crazy.” My heart and my thoughts go out to you and I mean that.) I do have a little bit of post-traumatic stress, but it’s managed (fairly) well. Mostly. I have a little bit of Vietnam vet kind of twitchiness from time to time. Un poquito de vez en cuando, if you’d like to know how to say it in Spanish. It’s mostly OK. Honestly, the seasonal allergies and bronchitis are more of an issue.

Let’s talk about my late, dear, sweet dad for a minute, shall we? He suffered from schizophrenia. He died in early April, 1974. Does that make 35 years ago? Yes, it does. His birthday is May 25, and instead of grieving for him on the day he died, for the last few years I’ve been celebrating him on his birthday (a trip to the zoo; flowers, cupcakes and a party at the cemetery; dinner at Amalfi’s; contributing some $$$ in his name to a cause he would have liked). This year? His birthday is on Memorial Day, and I’m all, Death, can we not get away from you? This time of year is rough for my family.

My grandma is still with us, but she is having the hardest time. I can’t really write about it here — I try to only share the funny bits with you. But I am sorry to tell you there is nothing funny about any of this right now. And I do have family members who read my blog, and don’t always agree with or appreciate my take on things, so I do not want to disrespect them. You know who my grandma loved? My dad. She adored my dad. She was so short and he was so tall. He was as quiet as she is loud (as she was loud — she’s so quiet now, I hate it).

My mom, who spent a lot of years grieving for my dad, missing him, resenting him — he left us, where the hell was he when she needed him — told me the other day that she was so proud of him. “He fought so hard. He fought as hard as he could for as long as he could.” That meant so much to me that she said that. So often when someone is struggling with mental illness, they get called weak or cowardly. Then if they commit suicide, it’s considered double cowardice.

If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say, “You would never catch me killing myself, I would never,” or “How could he? Leaving his children, his wife…” or (my favorite) “Such a chickenshit way out…” etc. Yeah, I know. People. What are you gonna do, y’know? Well. I would have a pretty sizable contribution to send to the suicide hotline, let’s just say that, if I had all those nickels.

So let’s say, playing devil’s advocate, that I was crazy. Would that be a kind or loving way to help me? By screaming, “You’re crazy and need help”? People are so sweet, that’s what I think.

If you would like to weigh in on this, about experiences you or your family members have had, not assess whether or not I am insane, I’m sure my little friends at Urban Mamas would have a heyday with that thread, please be my guest.

Also, am ready for a big-ass break from politics, but I don’t know how likely this is, given who I am married to and my own big mouth.

Starbase, kiss my foot. Stop trying to desensitize little kids to the military. Let them make up their own minds, once they’re 18, whether or not they want to be recruited by you.

Enough heavy talk. How about a recipe? Can you call it a strata if it doesn’t have any bread in it? Sure, why not.

Egg, Cotija Cheese and Black Bean Strata with a Pastry Crust

* Beat 3 eggs with 1/4 cup flour, a little cumin, a little garlic, salt and pepper.

* Fit a pastry crust (homemade or prepared) into a deep casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes.

* Slice half a green pepper, a tomato, and half an onion.

* When crust is done, layer vegetables on top of crust. Add a can of sliced black olives (drained). Cover with a can of black beans (drained). Pour eggs over all. Pour on a half a jar of red or green enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cotija cheese.

* Bake at 375 until it is done — 50 minutes or so. Let set for 15 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream and sliced avocado on side; a green salad with a nice vinaigrette dressing; and some sliced fruit.

Bon Appetit!



  1. edj says

    Would it be in bad taste to share a line from Vernon, Florida? The old guys sitting talking about a friend of theirs. One says, “He always said last thing he’d ever do is kill hisself…which it was.”
    I love how you are celebrating your dad’s life! My dad’s been gone for 27 years now. Long time. He died in May, but I can never remember the day. It’s like I block it. the 18th? Maybe. I like the idea of celebrating his birthday. That might make him more real to my kids, too.
    Love you, N.

    April 30th, 2009 | #

  2. wacky cousin says

    I didn’t know that was his birthday. That’s right by mine.

    April 30th, 2009 | #

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