Monday, August 20, 2012


So I survived my day at the football stadium. It was in fact, as disagreeable as I expected. It was hot, and long and I really have nothing in common with the other cheerleader moms. I am often awkward and foreign in mom situations, but this was even worse because I actually felt little hostile (I get that way when too much energy is focused on putting make-up on the eight-year-olds). But, it was all fine. I don't know if I had forgotten, or if I was actually worried that she was changing... but my girl, my baby, is one of the most comfortable -with-herself people I know, and cheerleading... despite whatever ideas I have about it, is just fun to her. There was kind of a mean-girl situation that involved tears and foot-stamping before the girls went on (it had to do with who had been chosen captain)--my daughter didn't even notice the drama. When I asked her about it, she shrugged and said, I don't really care about that stuff mom. And then later at home, while watching TV, she complained gender normative toy commercials. I've got nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

5 observations and ceviche de camarón y pixbae

  1. Today is a holiday, marking 493 years since Pedrarias Dávila founded the old city of Panama. I wrote a little about this here last year. So we are home and it is lovely. A couple of girls slept over last night and they are all busy and still in their pajamas.
  2. The university put me on a company class this term. This means I have to venture into the banking district at five twice a week. This not in any way enjoyable. It takes an hour to get there and fifteen minutes to get home after class.
  3. Running has been weird. It's really good when I go. Pupils dilated good... The thing is I have been feeling really lazy about going and I've only been getting out there once or twice a week.  I renewed my gym membership hoping some cross-training will get my mojo back. I was hoping to run a 10 k race next weekend--we'll see.
  4. So my youngest daughter is in cheerleading; the one extracurricular I have absolutely no enthusiasm for. In fact, if I think about it too much it makes me mad. So mostly I've avoided thinking about it too much and I've done my best to be supportive. Unfortunately, the football season begins next week, and now we are actually going to have to go to games so we can watch her do what cheerleaders do: cheer on the boys. I'm hoping that in the glare of the hot sun she hates it, and sees it for what it is (demeaning, if you haven't caught my drift).
  5. One of her cheers reminded me of this song. A song that is in my brain thanks to a dear old friend (hello Eric!). The cheer doesn't really sound anything like this song, but the part where they  say, stop! and shake it! totally fired some Plastic Bertrand synapse in my brain. So, cheerleading? not all bad.

Pixbae, pronounced pibá, is in season right now. This is the fruit of the peach palm, in Costa Rica it's called pejibaye. It is a fascinating fruit that has been cultivated in the Americas for thousands of years. Here in Panama it is thought of as sustaining--like you could eat a couple for breakfast and be good to go until lunch. It is full of beta carotene and protein; any day now it will be on one of those power food lists. You normally buy it precooked.

ceviche de camarón y pixbae
I love ceviche. I learned to love it in Costa Rica. We lived on the Central Pacific Coast and the second biggest perk, after the beaches, was the ceviche. Amazing. The ceviche is good of course here in Panama, but I prefer it Costa Rican style, so this recipe reflects that (no mayo, and lots of cilantro).

9 cooked pixbae
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 large handful of cilantro finely chopped
1/2 a habanero pepper (or the whole thing if you can handle the heat!)
juice of 3 lemons
1 tsp salt
1 lb of uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp
water or stock to cook the shrimp

Peel and chop the pixbae, put it in a large bowl with the onion, cilantro, habanero, lemon juice and salt. Stir and set aside.

Put the stock or water on to boil. When it's boiling  add the shrimp and cook for a minute. Remove the shrimp and plunge into ice. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle roughly chop them and add to the pixbae. Stir and chill.