Living In Between

June 18th

summer cooking

I had a chance to catch up with myself this weekend. I went for a long morning ride through Ahwatukee Saturday morning, managing to return to do the hills a second time through for good measure. Just like running, it always takes me 20 minutes to find my groove. My muscles stretch out a bit, my cadence falls into the right place and my shoulders relax. The first morning light is my favorite time to be swimming, riding or running. There is such potential to a new day that starts with a heart-pounding workout while watching the sun rise.

tomato feta tart

I found some time in the kitchen too, which was also long overdue. A girlfriend decided to throw a tomato-themed dinner party. Her husband’s garden was overflowing with tomatoes and they didn’t know how they’d use all of them. I could have suggested making and freezing the best marinara recipe on earth, but instead I graciously accepted the invite and brought along a few tomato creations of my own:

phyllo dough tart

Phyllo tomato and feta tart

cheese, tomato corn muffins

Spicy cornbread muffins with diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese

Several of you have asked how I am feeling post-trip, and honestly — I’m doing great. There was some initial shock to my system, which is par for the course after two weeks in Africa. I’ll never be able to reconcile that the biggest news in Mozambique is poor families dying of HIV and the biggest news in the United States (in the same week, mind you) is Paris Hilton going to jail, being released from jail, and oh wait! There is the CNN helicopter again. She’s returned to jail.
Rather than throw my hands up and cry over such foolishness, instead I chose to celebrate the good. I took two friends to Mozambique who’d never been to Africa before. I know without a doubt, their friends and families are more connected to the issues of the poor abroad than ever before (as are mine).
As for those “stars” who can’t seem to get their DUI butts out of trouble, I highly recommend mandatory hard labor in an African orphanage (although I’m not sure I’d really want them around the kids.)

So, I’m not living in poverty. And I’m not returning to rehab for the third time before my 20th birthday. Life in this in between world is pretty darned good.


Posted in
Africa, Arizona, Journal, June Cleaver, Recipes, Triathlon
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26 Responses

  1. Both the pizza and the cornbread muffins look wonderful! I love seeing your creations (of all kinds). Yum!

  2. pretty darned good indeed…

  3. Amen, sister! Pretty good indeed. And pass us a slice of that tart, would you please?

    And I echo your sentiment on greeting the day – although my method is a little less heart pounding (and easier on the ole knees) but sweaty just the same. 🙂

  4. mmmm, the tomato and feta tart looks yummy. I love feta.

    Glad you are seeing the positive… and you are helping us see things more clearly too.

  5. Mmmm, that looks good.
    Yep, in between is good- balance in all things!
    It must be somewhat surreal though, to go from what things are like there to this.

  6. you are right, it is very good. 🙂 glad that you had such a lovely weekend, you deserve it.

  7. Darn girl! They both look fab, I hope you post the recipes.

  8. Kelli, you are so good. You just make me smile on a daily basis (sometimes through tears…but still….) 🙂

    And those tomato creations look so fantastic! Can I come over?!? (seriously…)

  9. oh, june…how i wish you’d come to my house & make these lovely dishes for moi! yum!

  10. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well!
    And the tart and muffins look delicious!

  11. Oh, and I forgot to say that those cornbread muffins look amazing. Cornbread is a favorite at my house. 🙂

  12. Both of those recipes look great! It is weird isn’t it, the headlines here in the states are rediculous. I turn on a national news network and I can’t get any headlines just silliness. Hang in there on that training, I’m going out for a walk right now, its almost 100 degrees out but what the heck!

  13. You never fail to inspire me! I love to cook, but neglect my skills. Hope you will post the tomato tart recipe. Good luck on your training.

  14. I really think wealth handicaps young people. I think it is wonderful to retire with plenty because by that time you know how to use it wisely. But youth and money seems to be a less than perfect combination. It always frustrates me to see wealthy young people with so much potential to do good, actually do anything with their lives become stuck in less productive patterns. It’s such a waste.

    Tomato party- great idea!

  15. Oh yum! That tart looks especially good; need to try that this summer.

    I love your excellent balanced perspective, by the way. Brava!

  16. Your way of handling the realities of life is much healthier as well as contributing in a positive way to improving life for yourself and others.

    All the tomato goodies sound yummy. You always make me hungry with your food postings.

  17. Three cheers for living the good life. And that tart looks yummy!

  18. I couldn’t agree more with you on Paris Hilton! It’s really sad and frustrating to see people so fortunate in life to have it all, waste their life (and our time and resources) instead of doing good!
    Could you please send me the muffins’ recipe? We’re planning a dinner with friends next saturday, and I’d really like to try them.

  19. Yum, yum. I love that you made a catagory named June Clever. how appropriate that you talk about Paris Hilton in the same post you made a tart. Your tart, however, is soooo appealing!!

  20. My, my..You have a fun summer ahead of you (I am finally getting to all my blogs!) That pizza looks yummy!

  21. Man, that tart looks yum. Come over here and cook some tomato stuff for me! I keep hearing it’s a popular fruit (vegetable? the debate continues!) over here in Italy.

  22. Amazing and thought provoking. We are in between. It would drive you crazy to try and reconcile. Thank you so much for not only doing what you do, but sharing it with an armchair traveler (or is it computer screen traveler these days) like myself. And that tomato tart – oh-so-delicious.

  23. Jennifer June 20, 2007

    Amen. Amen, amen, amen…to tomatoes, to spending time with oneself, and to counting our blessings that we are “in between.” 🙂

  24. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

  25. oh yum. and yes, i’m glad you’re not in and out of jail and rehab before your 20th b-day either!

  26. Your Paris Hilton comment makes complete sense to me.
    My husband, nine-year daughter, and I are almost at the end of a five-month stint in Port-Gentil, Gabon. Gabon is fairly affluent and safe as Central African nations go. In comparison with it’s war-torn and politically shaky neighbors, it’s a pillar of stability and wealth. It’s still incomprehensible that there is such a vast disconnect between the start-struck US culture and the real world over here.

    We were living fairly simple life before coming here and were even a little distainful of the lavish Western lifestyle for which so many in the US strive. We are looking forward to dependable running water and electricity again, but these few months have realigned our perspectives further. As our return to the US approaches, we are all having a difficult time reconciling life here and the life we will go back to in the US.

    I read about a class in Seattle (our home for 10 years) for participants and their dogs. Dog yoga? I have seen people here living in poverty on a level that makes some US homeless people look like the Rockefellers and there’s people back home paying extra for *dog* yoga?!? This level of excess is reminiscent of the time immediately preceding the fall of the Roman Empire. I think every US citizen should spend a week in Africa – helping others,realizing how lucky they are to be Americans, and getting perspective on the difference between *need* and *want*. Maybe if Paris Hilton and Britney Spears went to rehab in Africa they, and the American public, would get an education on global priorities.

    Thanks for what you have done for the people of Africa. Salud!