A moment of vulnerability: I struggle with what to write here many weeks, folks. I never want to seem oblivious to the suffering of the world, and there’s been so much of that to go around of late. I don’t want to be that equivalent by pretending the world is fine, thank you very much, because it’s not. (I recall, shuddering, that Mario Batali once responded to a sexual assault allegation claim in an email that ended with a cinnamon roll recipe. Talk about being totally out of touch.) What’s the solution, I wonder? After cancer, after the first whispers of COVID, after gun safety laws fail to be adopted by a country with endless mass shootings – why not just eat tasteless mush, see only darkness, and do nothing other than accept bitterness as our sole emotion?
The only answer I’ve got: because there has to be something to fight for.
One of our mottos at Cactus Cancer Society is “survival is insufficient.” The muggles who try to “at least” our suffering (“at least you only have to go for infusions x times a month!” “at least you can keep food down now!”) would like us to believe just being here is enough. But you, me, everyone: we deserve greater. We deserve delicious food, laughing from our bellies, beautiful moments in nature, time spent with the people and pets that love us.
I don’t spend as much time here, in Christina’s Corner, on the real, heavy, painful things, because I know that you’ve lived that now, the things we’ve shared and those we have not. I also trust that you know where to go if it’s the tough, gut-punch news or reminders you want.
Here? As for me and my house, we shall serve irreverence, silliness, and fun.
Eat: In honor of Cactus Cancer Society’s 8th birthday this month, I decided to reach into the vault and bring us back to 2015. How to do that when dealing with food you ask? A simple google of “recipes popular 2015” brought me several cooking blogs’ most popular recipes. According to Bon Appetit, avocado cream, bulgogi, and raspberry-ricotta cake reigned supreme. With readers of The Kitchn, bacon-brown sugar pork tenderloin and white chicken chili were popular. Want to shake things up even more? Imagine what folks were eating when celebrating your birth and look up recipes from the year you were born. If you were born in the pre-internet age, like me, recipes in the newspaper archives can offer some fun hints. The LA Times said baked brie with sundried tomatoes and lemon squares were tops for the year I was born- and perhaps that’s where I get my fondness for both! I cannot stand for anything called moldable Chick A Roni though. That’s just too much.
See: Watch reality television. I can’t exactly command you to not feel guilt about it, but I think that anything worth taking pleasure in is worth doing without guilt. If you’ve got cable, catch up on Bravo hits like The Real Housewives franchise or Vanderpump Rules (and then please explain Scandoval to me). If you don’t have cable but get streaming services, visit Netflix for shows like Love is Blind. Want to jump at your chance for 15 minutes of fame? Get cast on a reality show!
Do: In speaking with some of our program participants recently, I was humbled by how a few people were talking about how they have tried new skills. The conversation moved more from the skills themselves to places where you could learn them, like community centers. Consider this a plug for checking out non-credited classes offered by community or county colleges. I took a photography course a few years ago for my fancy camera and got a ton of great how-tos before leaving for a road trip around Colorado later that summer. In a quick perusal of their website, the community college near me offered online courses in sign language, interior design, and even a class entitled “Achieving Success with Difficult People.” If you’ve got some time this summer, and a little cash depending on the source, check out a class online or in-person to learn a new skill!
Have a popular, voyeuristic, and learned weekend,