Friday, September 28, 2007

Remember Freekah?

I finally posted about freekah (the grain dish I served Kuv when she came to visit), on LAist. Take a look!

I'm PMS'ing in a kinda unusual way. Well first of all, it's odd that I'm PMSing at all, since that doesn't happen usually; the acupunture seems to be working thank goodness. Last time, my mood didn't really change all that much, but I was in a lot of pain. This time around, I am blue as the ocean. Not about anything in particular, although it certainly serves as a good base to think about sad things in my life. Poor Bren -- he seems a little taken aback by the depths of the blue, and the way I can spike from blue to cuddly back to blue again. :) Hopefully it'll be over soon. Until then, I am going to drown myself in something naughty and chocolatey.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Taking refuge in the kitchen

After yesterday's preachy/rambling/maybe naive post, I was feeling a little sheepish about posting today. But then I received a wonderful, cheery link in my email so I thought I would share it with y'all!

I remember watching Paula Deen talk about how when she was struggling with agoraphobia, she always took refuge in her kitchen. She could forget everything else that was bothering her, and instead focus on creating something delicious and comforting. And that's how she became the Food Network star that she is!

I think Julia Child probably felt the same way. And if you've ever wondered what her kitchen looked like, well, your wish is granted. When she moved from Massachusetts to California, the Smithsonian asked her if they could keep her kitchen. She said, yes (who wouldn't?!), and the Smithsonian painstakingly broke it down piece by piece, and rebuilt the kitchen in their museum. They kept everything as it was, every pot and pan in their place on the wall, and they even kept her "junk drawer" and the rails installed in the ceiling where the TV crew hung their lights. My favorite part is her longette hanging by the telephone and bills, so that she could read fine print.

I'm nowhere near DC, or else I'd rush out to see it. But you can take a virtual tour, complete with little bits of trivia and a short recording of her owl-like voice here.

Isn't it cute? And not fancy either, although I am green with envy at the sheer size of the thing. Bren and I made pizza from scratch over the weekend, complete with a peel and a pizza stone, and we definitely could have used the space. I must say however that we have gotten very good at maneuvering around each other, employing the professional kitchen yell, "behind!" when we need to cross behind the other one (Bren usually combines the yell with a firm squeeze of my booty though, which definitely did not happen to me when I was working at Lucques! Heeeehehee!). Bren's pizza was the yummier of the two we made: it had dried coconut, fried plantains and some carne asade on it. And cheese of course. I made a classic margherita. As cheap as it is to order pizza, it really is even cheaper to make it! We used the recipe from the Best Recipe cookbook.

Of course, dumb me, I didn't think to take a photo of it. But here's a photo of the two of us at the Austin City Limits Festival, day two, waiting for My Morning Jacket to play.

Yup, Bren is wearing sequins in his hair, a Superman cape, and a kilt. How do you compete against that?!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I thought I had heard the worst humanity is capable of when I researched Darfur.

Then I started reading about the Congo (the DRC).

I confess that I was so immersed in reading everything I could about darfur, that I ignored the congo, except for a cnn piece about a small hospital where women, survivors, sang to try to comfort their souls. But I had no idea what kind of nightmares their souls had been through.

I urge you to read Eve Ensler's article in Glamour. you can find it here. Seriously. Take 10 minutes. Read it.

The atrocities committed against women in the Congo defy language. These women are the battlefield upon which the Congo's civil war is being played out. In the Congo, like in Darfur, these women are not only raped, but raped in front of their children and their husbands. They're raped by multiple men simultaneously, their insides mutilated by being gang raped and raped with guns or sticks, or having a rifle stuck up into their vaginas and discharged. Pregnant women who try to escape while in labor will run for days with a dead baby in their womb. The trauma is catastrophic. Those who survive don't know how to go on with their lives. All this before the question of AIDS enters the picture. Ensler called it "femicide". And it's been going on since 1996. 1996!

I trembled with rage and sadness and rage again as I read this article. It is hard to understand the kinds of devilish things human beings are able to do -- how they turn off their conscience, our sort of "on-star" guide to what is right and what is wrong, and not only choose to do something wrong, but choose to do something so horrifically and unmistakably wrong. I believe in God, a just and compassionate God, and yet, reading things like this make my soul whisper, "why?". The doctor in the article said something I love about how when he sees someone who is hungry or in pain, he can't just quote a Bible verse and tell them to run along -- he has to pair that with an ACTION. But since I am here, in my living room, unable to do much in the way of action, I did find myself turning to the Bible, flipping it open and letting it rest where it may... and this is what it said:
2 Corinthians 4:18
"...we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Not sure that would bring much comfort to those women, although who knows. And I don't include that verse as a reason to let your conscience off the hook, like, "well that stuff doesn't matter, because only eternity matters". It matters. We have to do whatever we can to stop things like this happening when we hear about it; I mean, that's common sense. I don't know. I'm rambling. I'm troubled. I can't get these stories out of my head, or my heart or my tummy. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that these things happen, ARE happening even as I write and as you read. It's hard not to resort to platitudes. It's hard not to get angry and just give up on the world. I've said it before and I'll say it again: PEOPLE SUCK! But I know that doctor is right -- action is the best answer. I'm going to try to find out which NGOs are best-committed to the Congo problem, and I'll post them when I find them. I think you can donate directly to the hospital in the Congo, through Ensler's vday project. I hope you forgive my grandiose tone. I'm just utterly flabbergasted by what I read and I'm attempting to understand it.

Until then, I'll leave you on a lighter note. A cat appeared on the fence today. She looked like she too had been through hell -- her fur was mangled and thin, her frame tiny and protective, her eyes darting and suspicious, but the most beautiful jade green. She didn't run when she saw me, and even allowed me to put a small tub of water in front of her. But with one sniff, she was offended, and darted away. I guess I should have served filtered water. Maybe some Fiji. I considered opening a can of tuna for her, but I didn't know if that was just one of those things that only cartoon cats (Tom and Jerry!) like to eat. I hope she comes back! I was able to snap a pic of her before she ran.

I'll be in a better mood tomorrow.


Monday, September 24, 2007

music and friends

y'all, i have been very bad about not writing in the past few weeks. but i have a lot of great excuses.

first we went to austin, for the austin city limits festival, a yearly tradition for the past four years. the festival always falls around our anniversary (in fact, the first year, it actually fell on our very first wedding anniversary!), so it's a bit of a celebration for us too.

then, on the way to the austin airport, cnn called and asked me to go vegas the next day, to help them cover the OJ Simpson arraignment. which i had to say yes to of course!

so the next day, i jumped in a cab, went back to the LA airport (where i had been not 12 hours prior), and flew to vegas. went to bed around 9p, woke up at 1a the next day, produced liveshots at the OJ circus until about 10am, had some lunch and then jumped back on a plane to LA.

however, on the way to the vegas airport, sweet cnn called again, and asked whether i wanted to produce a guest liveshot in claremont, ca (about an hour to two hours away depending on traffic), the next morning at 3am. i was kinda delirious at that point, said yes, got on the plane, got home, had some dinner and went to bed. woke up at 1am and hit the road.

so yeah - busy! blessedly so, but busy nonetheless.

i'll post about OJ tomorrow. For today, a little taste of Austin. We saw more than 10 bands, including:
- Bjork (excellent light show and wins the "what the heck does that gizmo do?" award. Also, her speaker CAUGHT ON FIRE. Oh, and of course, best stage makeup. We forgot our camera that day though, ugh!)

- MIA (my favorite show I think, despite the fact that all the South Asians at ACL came to watch this show. Ugh, I HATE being a stereotype. That aside, MIA tore it up! At the end, she asked the audience to rush the stage, much to the security guard's chagrin. She seemed especially aggro because she had appeared on David Letterman the previous night, and the show had asked her to take the gunshot sound effects out of her song. Galangalangalang!)

- Arcade Fire (energetic, seemed to be having fun themselves, encouraged an entire crowd of thousands to wail at the top of their voices)

- My Morning Jacket (my vote for "best show" although to understand why you'll have to see photos)

- Heartless Bastards, Andrew Bird, Common, Bloc Party, Ghostland Observatory, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, St. Vincent, Blonde Redhead, Spoon, and of course Bob Dylan who sounded like he'sd taking a page from Tom Waits' book these days; so gravelly. I also think it's interesting that there were no close-ups on his face on the jumbotron. Hmmm, methinks someone's face has seen a knife recently.

UGH! Blogger won't let me post photos at the mo' so i'll post them tomorrow. Glad to be back my friends!


Friday, September 14, 2007


we're in austin for the austin city limits festival, so i won't be writing for a few days. but i'll post more when we get back on monday. i'm sad that three of the acts that i wanted to see cancelled: the white stripes, amy winehouse and rodrigo y gabriella. but i'm sure it'll be fun.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Stressed Out Morning

I am having a difficult morning.

First, I am jolted from my freshly-snooz-button'd slumber by a rapping on the door at 8am, and it's a guy, who has been sent over by the landlord, to fix the water damage in our bathroom. It's nice (and of course, required) that she take care of it, but, at the time, I was appalled at the guy showing up unannounced... I later checked my voicemail and saw that she had left me a message, so... whatever.

Then, I walk into the bathroom and shriek because there's a cockroach in there (we NEVER have cockroaches) and it's being eaten alive by a swarm of those damned ants. It's still there. I am so disgusted by it I don't want to deal with it.

We head out the door to get a quick breakfast and drop Bren off at work. As I am about to return, my neighbour calls and says the exterminator, whose arrival I was even more keen on given this morning's adventure, had come and gone, and since I had left food out in the apartment, couldn't really spray the place. Which leaves me back at my apartment with a bathroom in disarray, a dead cockroach (and also now, dead ants since he sprayed the bathtub), other ants that may still roam freely in unpoisoned bliss, and Bren's as yet unpacked Burning Man stuff everywhere. Oh and technically, I'm not even supposed to be in the house because the spray is a bit toxic, but I have to wait here for the bathroom guys to return (who left because they didn't want to get similarly poisoned by the ant spray) so I can let them in to finish the job.

I think it's time for a latte.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Celebrate Yourself!

There's a website where you can find out what else the country should be celebrating on your birthday in addition to the anniversary of your leaving the womb.

Here's what I found out:
Me: Potato Day
Bren: Rubber Eraser Day (WHAT?!)

Who knew that the lowly potato and I were cosmically aligned? Next time someone calls me a couch potato, I will glow with pride and say, YES I AM! I will eat fries like a champion, bathe in mashed potatoes, sleep on a bed of tater tots! Does that make me a cannibal?

And who knew how compatible a potato and a rubber eraser are?

Go find out what your day is and tell me what it is!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labour Day Weekend

Thanks for the sweet emails and comments regarding Patte. As my mum said, "she is a tough cookie!" and I think she's planning on going back to the clinic some time this week.

Anyway, this weekend, Kuv and her boyfriend Rich came to visit. I haven't seen Kuv since Thanksgiving last year, so it was right about time for a reconnection. In fact, I had originally planned on going to Phoenix this weekend since Bren was away, and he's allergic to animals (Kuv has two)... only to have Kuv email me and say that she was going to be in LA this weekend!

It was also my first opportunity to meet Kuv's boyfriend Rich. I was charged with representing the rest of the family in analyzing his suitability as a mate for the middle sister... and he passed! Poor guy probably had no idea how I was sizing him up. Heehee. But since we have no older brothers to do that gig, it falls to me. The first night, we had Indian food at a restaurant, which was fine, but definitely not as good as I can make it (cue snooty nose in the air).

Then they came over the next day, and I made dinner. They were both pretty pooped from doing so much during the day, the polar opposite of my day, so unfortunately we didn't get to hang out as long as I'd have liked. Ah well, I suppose that means I have to get my arse to Phoenix. (Um, I haven't visited her in Phoenix ONCE! Bad me!) It was a good visit though, always good to see her and talk about the weird Sequeira characteristics; when they came over to the house, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor with a scrubby pad. Yup. Swiffers aren't good enough!!!

What else. OH! Bren's back! He has been up since 3am Monday... and he got home today (Tuesday) at about 4p. Yup. He's been up more than 36 hours. Oooh and it took all my strength not to say anything about how bad he smelled, because poor thing, it's been so hot, and it was such a tiring drive back... but ooh lord, he smelled bad!! Like, down on the farm bad. His eyes were glazed over, and he only spoke in monosyllables. I think I've been that tired once in my life, and it is horrible. Thankfully, he is showered and in bed now. Earlier, I went out to drop one of his friends off, and when I returned I found him passed out on the couch in just a towel, with some steak heating up in the toaster oven. I don't know how long the steak had been in there, but he had thought he would be able to keep his eyes open for the 5 minutes it would have taken... how wrong he was! Luckily, nothing was on fire. He is dead to the world now, so I haven't heard anything about Burning Man yet, except that it was awesome. I'm sure I will have my ear chewed off tomorrow.

Ain't he cute?


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Turn the Other Cheek?

Bren's mum, Patte, is a gentle woman, with an incredible knack for telling stories, pulling the funniest faces that leave me in tears, and saying just the right thing when you need to know which way is up. She does not shy away from saying exactly what she thinks, and exactly what she thinks is RIGHT; her eyes are firmly planted on God, and that is not always an easy lifestyle to choose everyday. She reminds me of my mum, and she has been an incredible blessing to me, since my mum is so far away.

That's why I am enraged at the moment. Patte devotes most early mornings to standing outside an abortion clinic in Orlando, where she GENTLY asks people to consider an alternative solution. She has volunteered to adopt babies, rather than see them suffer another fate. She takes women to get ultrasounds, get the medical attention that they cannot afford, help them access the resources available to them should they decide to give their baby up for adoption, helped these women find worthy families for their babies... she has courage for days.

This past week, she was beaten up outside the clinic. BEATEN UP. No matter how you feel about abortion (and I know this is a controversial subject), there is no justification for a 6-foot man to punch, wrestle to the ground and kick repeatedly, a 5ft 2" woman who is just talking to you.

Here's her account of what happened:
"Dr Nelson Kraucak is a family practictioner physician in Lady Lakes.

Yesterday morning he accompanied a woman whom he identified to police as his wife, inside the Orlando Women's Center killing place on the late abortion day. As he drove into the parking lot he stared directly into Mary Jo's face. Mary Jo then turned and asked her mother and I: "Did you see that?" Not having seen the driver, I asked Mary Jo what she meant. The 17 year old shuddered. "I just got the chills. The way he looked atme. It was strange and gave me a bad feeling."

We have been threatened with guns, had rocks thrown at us, been smacked in the face, whacked on the head with a boom box, beaten with books (which resulted in Maria suffering a broken collar bone) and we have had hot coffee and cigarettes thrown at us. We have been kicked, pushed, shoved, held and shaken. Last Saturday a father told Scott: "Hey, I just got out of prison for killing a man and I don't mind going back."

The three of us decided that it would be wise to get our video camera out of the case and keep it handy to be ready in the event that the doctor threatened us or put us in any obvious danger. Let me take a minute to explain WHY we have a video camera with us at the killing place. We keep our camera available for two reasons:
a) PERSONAL SAFETY: To lessen the likelihood of an attack (Having the camera up and running is a good way to deter violence.)
b) LEGAL:To record the threat or attack, as proof of what actually happened.

Dr Krausac and his wife got out of their car.

He smiled and waved us away when we offered him information and help. I introduced myself and spoke to them as they made the long walk from the back parking lot up the driveway to the front door: "Good morning, Doctor. Hello to you, Maam. My name is Patte. We have a special pre-abortion packet for you. Come here and we will give it to you. I see that you are a doctor, sir. It is very important that you know about this abortion clinic. You may not be aware of this, but this place is owned by Dr. James Pendergraft. His medical license has been suspended for over a year. Take a moment with us, please. Let us tell you about what happened at the sister clinic to this one when a woman just like you came for her labor-and-delivery abortion. A precious little boy was born alive. Yes, alive.The whole story is in this packet. Come here for a moment, won't you? We would like an opportunity to give this important informatoin to you and to speak quietly with you." Dr Kraucak smiled arrogantly and took his wife's hand. While he appeared cold and detached, she appeared sad and hesitant. We have seen this sad scenario before. The man taking control of the fearful pregnant woman. She was a mother who moved as if each step was fraught with trepidation.

Gesturing wildly, he said:"Oh yes, all the little babies. Adoption, adoption. Adoption for all the little babies!" We worried that something was wrong with Dr Kraucak. (He) hurried his wife up to the door and with a flourish, closed it behind the two of them.

When Kraucak came out of the front door to make his way to his BMW to retrieve something, I pulled my camera up & turned it on. I kept it up where Kraucak could see it, figuring that he would not hurt us with the camera in our hands. I was wrong.

He strode hard toward me, grabbed my camera and pulled. When I shouted; "No, don't touch me. You will be arrested" he wrapped both arms around me and wrestled me to the ground to try and steal the camera from me. Both Mary Jo and I began to scream for help. I had fallen backwards onto the cement, but he still tried to pry the camera from my hands, which I was clutching to my chest. He stood halfway up and kicked me (once or twice, I'm not sure), hoping that I would let go of the camera. The entire time he was attacking and kicking me he was smiling, a tight cruel heartless smile. There was a dead coldness in his eyes. Both Mary Jo and I continued to scream loudly, over and over again; "HELP! HELP ME! SOMEBODY, PLEASE HELP!". I couldn't crawl away (because I knew I would have to drop the camera to crawl) so I tried desperately to scoot away on my backside without dropping the camera. He finally released his grip from my camera and stood up with a snarl. He is
a tall man, well over 6 feet, and he towered over me. I continued to scream. And I think that because he was very angry and frustrated that he hadn't managed to get my camera away me, the doctor kicked me one last time as I lay on the ground. Then, Dr Kraucak slowly turned and casually went into the killing place."

This man is educated, a DOCTOR... and clearly, an arsehole. I'm not sure what I would do if I ever met him face to face.

And yet, Patte is a stronger woman than I am. Not only am I convinced that she will continue to stand outside the clinic and help women in crisis pregnancies... but she is considering trying to talk to this man and his wife, rather than press charges. I know I would not have the strength to turn the other cheek. Dr. Nelson Kraucak... you don't know how lucky you are.
all text and photographs on aartilla the fun © 2005-2009 Aarti Sequeira unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.