“Anyone want to go to Cheapo in Minneapolis today?” Christina’s brother Jesse asked, for about the 700th time. Jesse, who is a 36 year old Nordic looking man with a 70’s haircut and a 14 year old temperament, is autistic. For the past few days, Christina and her mother have been rearranging the furniture in our apartment in preparation for Jesse’s arrival. We moved our bedroom into the office and cleared out the shelves for his ET dolls, his “I Dream of Jeannie” bottles, and his back to the future toys. If given the chance, he would own every back to the future accessory that has ever been made, he would buy every Billy Joel record ever recorded, and his closet would be filled with Jeannie costumes.
“Anyone want to go to Cheapo?” he repeated, with an extra high inflection at the end. It was an unassuming tone, as though he were coaxing a little dog.
“No Jesse, we are not going to Cheapo today. We don’t need any more things. We are done collecting things. We are now going to work on collecting experiences.” Christina replied.
It seems harsh, but I was impressed. What a cool thing to say. What a cool way to live. I thought, ‘yes, I want to collect experiences too!’ Then she really impressed me by continuing with
“Do you have any sweatpants Jesse? We are all going to go running.”
For as long as I have known her, Christina hasn’t been into running. Recently she has come with me on a couple of trail runs, which is my own personal version of having my cake and eating it too. I love being with Christina. I love running. Now I get to do both at the same time. Bliss.
We drove to a paved trail just outside of the city. Jesse’s pants were a bit too short, and there was about 2 inches of exposed sock between his high top sneakers and the cuff of his blue stretch pants. His shirt was gray and said USA on it. As soon as we started moving, his eyes got wide and his hair blew back as though it were glued on at the sideburns. He bore resemblance to Steve Prefontaine. Christina ran like she has been running her whole life, with her head and shoulders back and a peaceful look in her eyes. We moved as though we were attached at the shoulder, and though we frequently needed to stop to walk, I knew this was only the beginning. Team “I Dream of Jeannie” was born.
Half moon zucchini salad
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt in a frying pan. Add 1 large zucchini and 2 small light green zucchini, halved and sliced into moons and 4 small diced garlic cloves. Add 1 tsp mirin (japanese cooking wine). Cook until zucchini are soft, but still have a little crunch to them. Add 3 garlic scapes, diced (probably my last ones of the season). Remove from heat.
Add 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar,
1/4 tsp ume plum vinegar,
1 tsp lemon juice,
1/2 tsp tamari
salt and pepper to taste
when the mixture has cooled for about 10 min, toss in 1 small bunch Swiss chard and 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil.
Christina’s vote: “This salad helped me celebrate the sunny day”