Becoming Tabitha

Month: July, 2013

Game Theory

Open Yale Courses.

I’ve heard about this before – the chance to listen to and watch lectures from prestigious universities – but I never made the time to do it. Until today. What took me so long? It’s so awesome. I love the idea of it. It’s free, it isn’t tied to any degree, and the reason for doing it isn’t based on what you should do or what you need to know, it is based entirely on what you want to know. It’s learning for nothing but the sake of learning.

I am, a nerd.

I think I perused the departments in this order – Philosophy, History of Art, English, and then African American studies. Listened in on a few minutes of lectures here and there, but couldn’t find anything I loved until I found … Economics 159. Who knew? But I was fascinated and I listened rapt with attention apparently, for over an hour. On a summer afternoon.

Aside from Game Theory, Ben Polak reminded me of what good teaching looks like. Surprisingly, with two to three hundred students and with a piece of chalk and a blackboard, he did not simply lecture, but he also kept everyone engaged – and that included me, who knows very little about Economics.

This, is what I learned today. Enjoy =)

Lesson 1: Do not play a strictly dominated strategy.
Lesson 2: Rational choices can lead to outcomes that suck.
Lesson 3: You can’t get what you want, until you know what you want.
Lesson 4: Put yourself in others shoes and try to figure out what they will do.
Lesson 5: Yale students are evil.

Standing Still – Pico Iyer

“Movement is a fantastic privilege and it allows us to do so much that our grandparents could never have dreamed of doing. But movement, ultimately, only has a meaning if you have a home to go back to. And home in the end is not just the place where you sleep, but the place where you stand.”

Pico Iyer is one of my favorite writers. I want to keep everything he writes. So many of his articles have been printed and then taped into my journals. He helps me remember who I am and the things that make me feel most alive: time for travel, writing, reflection, and solitude. In the next few months you will find me or rather, not be able to find me because I will be somewhere in the Big Sur, retreating, by the sea, with some Benedictine monks who, make fruitcake.

Outrage – Then and Now

We Wear the Mask
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, –
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
     We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
     We wear the mask!

Bake the Bread

It is the summer of making things from scratch!

Instead of spreading the cheese, (wink wink to my running buddies) I decided to bake the bread. Soft and fluffy asian milk bread no less.


It’s 3am. One loaf of bread, by hand, is 5 hours. But the house smells delicious. And my ladies will hopefully love it or at the very least, say they love me.

Cooking amplifies, joy. Slows it down, sharpens it, allows you to taste it.

Whatever it is I’m making, the entire process of cooking, from start to finish, provides me with exactly what I need to remember that everything is just fine, just as it is. Instead of choosing to doubt, worry, or wither, I choose to mix, knead, and rise. 

The Recipes:  Tangzhong and Milk Bread.


Cambodian Inspiration

This was the inspiration.

Danee sent me a picture of all the ingredients her mom uses to make pork curry and I was just taken by it. When her mom left Thailand, the one thing she decided to carry with her, was her mortar and pestle. She uses it to pound and grind and release all of the above into what I imagine to be, the most heavenly, aromatic, pungent, delicious combination of curry – ever. I regretted for days, that I couldn’t make it over to her house to have some. What on earth was that important? I don’t know. All I know is, I made, a mistake.

For dinner last night with Chin Chuan, Joe, Danee and her friend’s Olga and Diana – I attempted making some semblance of a curry – a Thai Green Curry. I found the most important thing I needed …


but you actually need to season it before you can use it. No wonder Danee’s mom couldn’t leave it behind – it’s a weighty and tangible reminder of home. I love the idea of it and I’ll be seasoning mine, next week.

So I made the best of what I could find – Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, Serrano chili, Thai chili, Thai eggplants, sweet basil, mushrooms, bell peppers, and chicken.

I can’t wait to use my molcajete – to make it all from scratch and to spend some time getting to know my new favorite grass this summer – lemongrass. 

Eating Nectarines

Sugar runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is nothing sweeter than this.
I have been eating nectarines.

My fiancé does not believe what he sees.
His eyes are wide
and he walks with his hands in his pockets.

The nectarines are gone.
The wine bottles are empty.
The guests are standing by the door and coming in.

Their eyes search,
their legs shake like branches.
Our poor friends begin to stamp their feet and weep.

They do not understand.
He gets on his knees and begins to lick my hand,
I scream.

I am a new woman.
I purr at them and meow.
I carry the pitcher to them, dripping with joy.

Inspired by: Eating Poetry by Mark Strand

Nectarine Sangria


This, of all things, is my first post – a sangria recipe. It captures what my summer is shaping up to be – one recipe after another, one ingredient after another, completely taking over my senses.

Nectarines must be in season because they’ve been appearing everywhere – on a roadtrip from San Francisco back to L.A. and at Trader Joe’s while shopping for a camping trip to Manker Flats. I wanted to make a white wine Sangria with peaches but all I wanted were nectarines, so after reading through a couple of recipes, I created this. I Can’t. Get. Enough.

Some cool nectar for a hot summer night, with friends.


Two 750-ml Bottles of Sauvignon Blanc

2 cups Grand Marnier

Two 12-ounce cans Peach Nectar

4 Fresh Nectarines

3 cups of Fresh Strawberries


Sitr the white wine, Grand Marnier, and peach nectar in a pitcher. Then add the chopped nectarines and strawberries. Refrigerate overnight. Serve over ice.