Coconut Curry Get Well Soup

I tend to make a lot of soup. It’s my go to dish when Roya isn’t feeling well, I create new recipes based on whatever veggies we get in our weekly CSA, and I seem to make it about 90% of the time when my best friend, Justin, comes over for dinner.

At our wedding a couple of weeks ago, Roya and I were blessed to have some truly excellent friends stand up and say wonderful things about us. When it was Justin’s turn, my soup even had a prominent role in his Best Man speech.

“Becky is like soup,” he said, eliciting more than a few chuckles from the room.

“Soup is humble. It does not boast, it does not brag. It is nothing more than its honest self. Becky’s soup is always homemade. It’s wholesome and made from scratch. Like the company she keeps, each ingredient is carefully selected for its unique qualities. Becky’s soup is delicious and brimming with flavor. It is rich and complex. Now Becky isn’t exactly like her soup. Her soup isn’t nearly so sweet, nor is it as salty as its maker can be, but it is thoroughly satisfying and never cloying.

Foremost, though, Becky’s soup is nourishing. It comforts and soothes the soul. Becky’s soup is a warming balm, a refuge when life turns cold. And sometimes it’s a little bit spicy.”

This is my newest soup invention – so new I haven’t even made it for Justin yet.


Coconut Curry Get Well Soup

4 cups chicken broth*
1 can coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 sweet potato, cut into small cubes
3-4 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes
3-4 large carrots, cut into small pieces
1 lb package raw chicken tenders or breasts, cut into small pieces
1 cup raw spinach, torn into small pieces
Juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
4 cups cooked rice

  1. In a large pot, bring chicken broth, coconut milk, garlic, cumin, and curry to a simmer.
  2. Add sweet potato, potatoes, and carrots and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add spinach, lime juice, salt, and pepper and simmer for an additional minute or two.
  5. Serve by adding a cup of hot rice to the bowl and adding a couple large spoonfuls of soup. Add more salt to taste.

This soup recipe is easily doubled. When I double the recipe, I cook the chicken in a separate pan with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper then shred and store it separately, adding a handful of chicken to the rice and soup in the bowl. Without chicken, the soup will keep in the fridge for up to a week. With the chicken added to the recipe, the soup will keep for 3-4 days.

A Love Not-Poem

The word “said” is usually the best choice when writing dialogue.
People choose “capitulated” or “sighed longingly” or “harrumphed”
but often the most powerful and most perfect choice is simply “said.”
That’s what I think about I love you.
I tell you I adore you (and I do)
I tell you I am completely in love with you (and I am)
but often the most perfect way to express the life-altering bliss you bring to my life is simply those three words.
I love you.

Love is

Love is driving through sickness to hold her when she’s sad.

Love is calling to sing her a song in the middle of the night.

Love is driving to spend the weekend with her family.

Love is making her dinner AND doing the dishes.

Love is doing things you’re nervous about because you know she wants you there with her.

Love is putting yourself first.

Love is going to bed too early.

Love is learning to trust that “I love you” can be something gentle and patient.

Love is holding your nephew as often as possible.

Love is answering the phone when you want to let it go to voice mail.

Love is asking for support.

Love is sitting quietly while you both take time to think and to write.

Love is learning to be patient when you want a turn to talk.

Love is listening to the soundtrack of a show you’ve never seen, just because she wants to share it with you.

Love is dressing up in fancy clothes to take her out for a date.

Love is picking him up at daycare when she needs a little time to herself.

Love is saving her the best seat in the show and sitting one seat over.

Love is telling her what specifically she says and does that makes your heart feel full.

Love is waiting for a turn.

Love is trying new things just because you know she loves them.

Love is waiving the debts from loved ones when you can afford to do so.

Love is pausing whatever is going on so you can hear her voice and say goodnight.

Love is listening to her stresses even when you’re battling your own.

Love is choosing to stay home alone when you need to.

Love is watching her eyes to see when she needs space and giving it to her without her needing to ask.

Love is finding a lucky penny and giving it to her.

Love is collecting stones and stories to remember your adventures together.

Love is setting aside your projects just to listen sometimes.

Love is saving her the last bite.


Love is, I think, a collection of moments. Most of them small and seemingly insignificant. Tiny toothpicks stacked together, reaching up into the sky. Small moments of making coffee and tidying the living room and looking at photo albums and writing cover letters. Moments of reassuring roommates and picking raspberries and washing clothes and paying bills. Moments of setting up a projector to watch the LEGO movie in the living room. Waiting for your computer to restart and looking over the top to see her tousled hair and furrowed brow and wondering at how life presents you with such gifts – such exquisite moments of loving her and seeing your life shift to become our life. Taking one small step sideways to see the view has completely changed and now an entire vista has opened before you. You’re looking at the same world through the same eyes you’ve always had but somehow everything looks so different now. Colors are brighter and more vibrant. Things that might have driven you crazy before no longer have the same hold over you.

You can breathe easier and let things go.

Suddenly I See

I prefer to draft my writing – including my blog posts – by hand in my journal, then type it up at a later point. In the time that elapsed between my initially drafting the Waiting for What post and the other day when I typed it up for the blog, my world has spun on its axis and there is more to the story than there was at first. I decided to split the post in two, and to share the original post essentially as written, and use this post to share the “and then this happened” part.

About two weeks after the Bread and Puppet performance, Anna came to visit me for the weekend. Over dinner the first night, I was elated to tell her about how that night and the art helped me finally put words to something I’ve been stuck on for so long. I talked at length about how I was waiting for all the wrong things, and how I’m determined to dive in and live my life, believing I’ll find the right girl when I stop looking for her. I talked about the hikes and walks and was thrilled that she really seemed to understand what I was talking about.

Anna and I met 16 years ago when we both attended Smith College, but since graduation we’ve mostly been connected through the interwebs. When she moved to Vermont last summer, we were both delighted to discover that our friendship translated well from online back to real life. We’ve spent entire weekends in pajamas watching different versions of Hamlet, or the entire first season of Orphan Black, debating the finer points of Doctor Who, or examining the underpinnings of our faith. As our friendship has grown, we’ve become essential to one another with almost no effort at all. When my last partnership ended, Anna was the first person I called. That weekend, while I tried to keep a brave face through family events and baby showers, her frequent text messages elicited the few smiles and giggles I was able to manage. I would smile through tears and my mother would gently ask, “what did Anna say?”

After I recovered from my break up, I realized I was interested in finding out if the connection I felt to Anna could be something more than just friendship. In true Becket form, I simply asked her out on a date, taking her entirely by surprise. She said no and we agreed to set it aside and actively make sure it didn’t affect our friendship. I placed my feelings in a box, set the box on a shelf, and we carried on with our fun and ridiculous friendship.

What I didn’t know was that this set other things in motion.

Both Anna and I have dated other quite fabulous people in the intervening months, but I placed an idea in her mind that she set aside until she was ready to ponder and consider it. When we both were single at the same time late this spring, she pulled this idea out to give it her full attention and discovered, I think to her surprise, she saw the same relationship potential I brought up last fall.

I feel the need to interject at this point – in the spirit of the Princess Bride – that the rest of this post has a bit of mush to it. If you actively avoid the kissing or the gooey lovey bits of stories, you should stop reading now. Seriously.

During the course of that evening – sharing a delicious and companionable dinner, wandering through downtown Montpelier, driving to see a movie – something very small and equally massive shifted. Not for the first time, while sitting next to her I was aware of every shift of her body, aware of how closely she was sitting, electrically aware any time she reached over to touch me or whisper in my ear. Sitting closely turned to holding hands in the movie theater, walking hand in hand back to my car, and sharing a kiss on the sidewalk. That kiss nudged us from best friends to “holy cow, no wonder none of my relationships with other people actually worked.”

In a late night conversation on Google Plus a few weeks back, I was describing the way I approach things compared to a much more conservative friend. I said something like, “I think it ties to you waiting to do something until all your ducks are in a row. I just tell the ducks, ‘hop in! Time to swim!'”

This translates well to the way Anna and I approach life – I just toss an idea out there and ponder it as I go, learning and adapting along the way. Anna waits to make sure she examines the situation from every side before she steps into the fray. I’m very thankful we approach life in these opposite but compatible ways. Neither of us was really ready to try this out last fall, but if I hadn’t brought it up as a possibility she might not have taken the time to consider it.

Sometimes life just makes sense.

The best part? It feels like it’s always been this way.

Becket’s Words of Wisdom

When in doubt, I suggest falling in love with your best friend. She knows you better than basically anyone else on the planet, and she’s already seen you at your worst and your best. You know that thing about finding love when you’re not looking for it? Yeah…that.

Not needing to be anything other than exactly yourself?

Best. Thing. Ever.

One More Moment

How awesomeWe all experience days we can’t figure out which way is up.
When we wonder just what it is we’re meant to do with this life.
When we think the stinging, smarting pain of failure might never leave us in peace.
When we assume, by looking around us, that we’re not good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, talented enough, or just plain enough.
When we feel we must be the only ones struggling with this particular brand of “not enough.”

But every single day we can stop, take a deep breath and appreciate this moment for what it is – one more moment on this planet.

What are you going to do with this moment?

A Soapbox Moment

(steps up onto soapbox)

Racism still exists in this country. If you grew up in the South you’ve likely seen this firsthand in a way many white people from the Northeast just haven’t, and it’s uncomfortable to admit a similar sort of discrimination due to perceived differences exists separate from race. My parents taught me the heartfelt if simplistic notion that all people deserve equal respect because all people are the same. It took until college for me to realize that many others of my generation grew up with similarly whitewashed notions of equality and that by layering political correctness onto this flawed idea, we effectively looked down our noses at many who were different. Comfortable in our own perceived correctness, we looked down with self righteous condescension without any acknowledgement of the way we were perpetuating the same unfounded stereotypes while feeling smug in our own superiority.

(steps off soapbox)

We are all people, yes, but we are the products of our upbringing, our choices, our family, our relationships, what we read and learn, and how we respond to things. How I was taught to think, believe, speak, and behave can be changed through force of will and years of practice, but who am I to tell you that my way is the right one? Who am I to judge you based on how you experience the world? If your language is rougher, your expressions unclear, or your vehemence inexplicable, this doesn’t make your experience of the world any less valid or “correct” than mine. I have so very much more to learn, but I’m quite content to acknowledge the limitations to my understanding of the world, and keep doing one thing I do exceptionally well; keep on reading.

There’s no wrong way

I’m not always aware of the pressure I place on myself to maintain high standards, even in self-imposed projects with no specific expectations. For this project I planned to read each book, then write some sort of response to post here on the blog before starting the next book. Life, as I’m increasingly forced to acknowledge, rarely proceeds in the way I have planned.

The same day I finished reading Prodigal Summer, I was spending time outside with two adorable munchkins – ages three and almost three – enjoying a warm splash of sunshine in an otherwise chilly November day. There were bunnies hopping around the yard with kiddos trying to catch them – I wasn’t much concerned they would succeed but it was adorable to watch their process – and the neighbor from across the street came over to chat about the bunnies. I had no idea one of the other neighbors had rescued them from the humane society about a year ago and they had been hopping through the neighborhood ever since. He meandered back over to his house and proceeded to use special leaf picker-upper tools to take the leaves from the neat pile on his front lawn and place them in large black garbage bags. By the time his project was completed, there were sixteen plastic bags neatly organized by the side of the road awaiting pick up.

With Kingsolver’s words still reverberating in my mind, I was thinking of the folks I know in rural Vermont for whom leaves are a wonderful tool used to mulch a garden, and are part of the natural flow of decomposition to help the soil provide nutrients for future generations of plants. Watching someone take those leaves and put them in giant plastic bags where they will not be able to contribute to the cycle of life made me aware of the plethora of ways we humans interfere and make things harder for this planet. I was also thinking of the domesticated bunnies allowed to roam free through the suburban neighborhood, and much to the surprise of the neighbors not only did they survive but they have thrived. Perhaps it’s a nudge toward realizing that if we, as humans, can step aside a bit, life will often find its way.

I started this post thinking I didn’t have the time to do justice to Kingsolver’s command of descriptive language and ended up writing a response after all. Who knew that by explaining how I was breaking my own rules, I would end up following them.

what we’re really doing here

Sometimes life kicks you in the teeth. Sometimes there’s a perfectly adequate explanation – someone died, you lost your job, you lost a lover – and sometimes you feel tossed upside down for no specific reason at all. My personal upside down-ness was a major reason I started this project. I’m terribly afraid of being alone – of feeling lonely, of ending up alone, of feeling distant from friends. I’ve experienced some awful situations that certainly made this worse, but really it’s something that eats away at me and, to some extent, always has. I’m incredibly lucky to have an amazing family and truly amazing friends I can call / text / email / message when I feel lost and panicked, but it’s unreasonably difficult for me to ask for help. I don’t want to be “that friend” always asking for support and help so she can stand back up again. So I tend to suffer in silence until it explodes – on a day like today. When I cry at lunch, cry at the gelato place (who can cry over gelato, you ask? That would be me), cry for hours feeling lonely and lost.

So here I am, world. I need some help. Alone is great and fabulous (so people tell me) and I need to find a way to feel comfortable with it or I’ll keep repeating this pattern. Mostly I’m hoping that reading these books and writing as I muddle through will help me move in a new direction. I am blessed in so many ways and have unbelievably fantastic things happening in my life. I also figure I can’t be the only smart, capable and devilishly fabulous person dealing with this sort of insecurity and if my journey can help someone else muddle through, that’s even better.

I am smart and capable, and I know I can do this.

Okay, maybe know is too strong, but I believe I can do this. That’s enough for now.

The Power of Puke

My memory is almost entirely unreliable. This has proven inconvenient through years of bickering with a mother and sister with equally unreliable memories, and frustrating when bickering with a succession of lovers who actually had some talent for remembering things. Somehow “I’m pretty sure that’s how it happened” coming from my mouth never had any real kick of authority behind it. Likely due to multiple family retellings over the years, one early memory I can dredge from the void is the day I allegedly saved my sister’s life.

I wandered into the living from from some other part of the house, my mother working away at her desk by the large picture window, and walked over to see what my sister was doing. She was lying still on the hideous brown couch with wooden armrests, not watching the cartoons blaring from the television.. The couch one of us would some day smack her forehead against requiring several stitches. The other of us would need a similar set of stitches from playing with keys, but I can never recall which of us did what.

“Mom, Kim threw up,” I told my mother with typical preschooler matter-of-factness.

The next several minutes are a cacophony of images absent any cohesive sense of chronology. My mother dashing over to find not only had my sister thrown up, but she was so sick the vomit stayed in her mouth and throat, blocking her airway and inhibiting her ability to breathe. My mother whisking my sister off to the bathroom and reaching in her mouth to scoop out the vomit. She would later be reamed out by the paramedic for doing so – apparently the likelihood she would push my sister’s tongue down her throat outweighed the likelihood that said scooping would be helpful – but a good plan or not, it worked. Yours truly rushing to the side door to yell to the neighbor, “Something’s wrong with Kim! Call 9-1-1!” apparently at high volume and with great enthusiasm. My mother calling my father who zoomed home at 90 miles per hour down the bumpy back road to get to my sister. The paramedic arriving a handful of minutes after the initial call to rush my sister and parents off to the hospital. Someone calling someone else to summon them to stay with me while the rest of the crew headed to the hospital.

I’d like to say my most vivid memory from this day is a measure of my brain’s coping with potential psychological trauma from the near-death experience but fear it’s nothing quite so noble. Really, four-year-old me was seriously pissed my sister had puked all over my favorite He-Man pillowcase.

Changing Direction

I have a tendency to repeat the same patterns and expect different results. I heard somewhere – probably in a Sandra Bullock movie – that this tendency is the very definition of insanity. Thankfully, I’m not an alcoholic in need of detox but I am in serious need of a mental detox. A very smart woman told me, “you need to change your story.” Taking that advice to heart, I’ve asked people I love to suggest books they’ve read that changed them; books that rocked the very foundations of their world. With a nod to Douglas Adams, I chose the 42 that seemed the best fit for this project and plan to read them and chronicle my adventures here in this blog. As a lifelong lover of books, I can’t imagine how I could possibly reach the end of this project without feeling changed.