These last few months of the semester have been a rough ride for me. The “end” is in sight, but I’m drawing on those last stores of energy to get through. I cannot wait to be with my family and spend time in the mountains over break. Betwixt such daydreams and the next installment of my Ph.D. Reading List and corresponding rationale . . .

Today is National Day of Tango (Día Nacional del Tango) in Buenos Aires, honoring two of Argentina’s greats: Carlos Gardel and Julio de Caro. I’ve been listening to “Volver” and “Por una cabeza” all morning. I hope you’ll join me.


Strolling through the Farmers’ Market is one of my favorite things to do. I love looking at all the produce, letting myself be inspired by what’s available and in season. I also love people watching, which makes Saturdays a uniquely rewarding excursion. But back to the produce . . .

This particular weekend, I wanted one green tomato. I decided I would get my green-tomato-fry-on and see what came of it. The result: a flavorful, veggie-packed, unhealthy treat. It has the same effect as splitting a funnel cake and a huge plate of hand-sliced potato chips at the county fair with your mom. Not that I would know what that felt like . . .

I also have to admit that I don’t really know any other way to use green tomatoes, so if anyone wants to share a recipe or idea in the comments section, I’d be much obliged!

Starting with sliced tomatoes and jalapeños.

I made three “baths” — if you will — for the tomatoes. The first is flour spiced with all-seasons salt; the second is beaten egg; the third is cornmeal with a blackened cajun seasoning mix. I dunked the tomatoes in this order as well. Then, it was into the cast iron pan for some heroic fry action.


I fried the jalapeños the same way, although they take very little time to brown, so be vigilant!

To construct the sandwich, I basically layered cheese, jalapeños, tomatoes, red onion, sliced avocado, and some spicy mayo between two slices of bread. I grilled it like a grilled cheese, and the result is the following greasy, tasty, once-in-a-looong-while meal! Not pictured: a tall glass of milk to cool the jalapeño burn. Enjoy!

I’ve left little bits of my heart all over the world. I say “heart bits” because I feel that there have been many events, places, and people to which I have connected deeply.

The Pacific Northwest, specifically Oregon, is one of these heart-places. I’m not sure how to describe the feelings of familiarity, or the somewhat restless energy that comes from a place in which, relatively speaking, I’ve spent very little time.

I was fortunate to travel to Portland for a conference a few weeks ago. It was a cool experience to hear presentations from academics whose books and articles I cite frequently. I also reconnected with some of my old colleagues and professors.

The last day of the conference, some of my colleagues and I drove to Canon Beach, known for its tide pools and the monolith Haystack Rock. Next to it are The Needles . . . ha ha, get it? :)


I decided to stay another day in the Hawthorne Hostel. It’s located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Portland, sports a green roof (literally), and is one of the most sustainable hostels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. They hold educational workshops there as well! So. Flippin’. Awesome. Here’s the street view:

My friend from “the Euge” came up to spend the day — I was so happy to re-connect with her, spend an hour or so in Powell’s, and walk about town taking in the many sights, smells, and libations that Portland has to offer. We even got to see Junot Diaz present at the Bagdad Theater and read excerpts from his new book This is How You Lose Her. All in all it was a pretty great day.

Several days later, as I was looking through the pictures I took during the trip, there was one that immediately struck me. It offers a glimpse of the amazing natural beauty that is the Oregon coast. For me, it relates an intimacy/warmth, as well as a bit of sadness. I wasn’t able to sit and meditate, like the picture seems to promise.

I know that I will always have a special place in my heart for Oregon. In the years to come I will continue to make the trip back to the Pacific NW, if only to feel that special rush from reuniting with a friend after several years and several thousand miles apart.

Con amor,


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