stumbles and falls brought me here

Sometimes a break up feels like this: Falling down a flight of stairs head first, only to realize at hindsight that if you had just put one foot in front of the other, the descent would have been far more graceful, but instead you just look a clumsy disaster. And then other days it feels like you forgot to look both ways when crossing, and oops, you got run over by a Mack truck. Either way, unless you're the one slamming and dead bolting the door behind you, it can hurt. It can break you into a million unrecognizable pieces of your former, happy gooey eyed love struck self. Most of us femmes are hypercritical and self deprecating 90% of the time on a good day, but a break up just gives us the opportunity to zoom in on all of those imperfections and missteps that we are convinced have led to a bed full of snotty tissues and several empty boxes of kleenex... and thus a life of loneliness and solitude. "It was all my fault" is a phrase I know too well, and while this may be the case for some endings, it was far more likely the result of a perfect storm - with all of the right components there, at just the right time - it blew right through you.

Some days are bright, sunny, happy and full of possibility - the world is my oyster! The next thing you know your best friends are wiping mascara from your teary eyed face while you recount all of the woulda, coulda, shouldas. You of course torture yourself with the plans you had made together, that you will never fulfill, and that disappoint alone feels like an elephant on your chest. One minute you wish he was walking in the door, the next minute you can't glance at a picture of him without wanting to vomit. Fortunately for you and the gut wrenching misery this has imparted, you can't vomit because you haven't eaten in the last twenty four hours... because your appetite for food has instead been replaced by an appetite for bad television, trashy magazines, and at times, tequila. So it goes, so it goes.

I have filled my days with work, studying for the nursing boards which are hovering over my head like a black cloud, a hefty amount of knitting and cooking, of course. This is great for those of you who may have left your appetites in your last relationship and others who are just looking for something light and refreshing on a warm summer day, these two salads are fantastic and are even better if made the night before. I serve them over a bed of baby spinach.

Tabbouleh Salad

2 1/2 cups of chopped parsley (sometimes I even do more, traditionally, the ratio of parsley to bulgar should be about 4:1)
1 cup of chopped mint
1 cup of finely chopped green onion
1 cup of diced cucumber
1 large diced tomato
1 cup cooked bulgar (and you of course can use what you have on hand, whether that be quinoa or couscous, just as long as its small)

dressing: juice of one lemon, dash of salt, 2 TBS vegetable or other mild flavored oil, 1/2 TBS of vinegar, whisk together and poor over ingredients, toss to coat.

Berry Bulgar Salad

1 cup of dried cranberries (soak in hot water for 10 minutes then rinse with cold)
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup finely chopped green onion
2/3 cup chopped mint
3 TBS chopped parsley
1/2 cup of sliced blanched almonds
3 cups of cooked bulgar

dressing: juice of one lemon, 2 TBS of orange juice, dash of salt, 3 TBS veg. oil, 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar, whisk together and poor over ingredients, toss to coat.

**When cooking the bulgar (or whatever grain you choose) a thick slice of lemon peel as well as a sprig of mint will give it scent and added flavor while it cooks - make sure the lemon and mint are big enough and easy to locate after cooking so that they can be easily removed.