Thursday, April 3, 2014

Accidents Happen, and Ginger Coconut Soup

It's been a stressful few weeks.  Cleaning, de-cluttering, phone calls, paperwork, making (and keeping) everything immaculate, upcoming travel again for S. and visit from the mother-in-law who will be watching the kids in the house during our first week of listing ... and then I had an accident the other day on the way to work.

I remember the split second when I realized what was going to happen; it was like slow motion, watching my car come closer to his bumper, but also like fast forward, because somehow my car was moving much faster than it should have been, given that I'd been at a complete stop.  It was exactly how I imagine a real time warp might be.  I still don't really understand what happened.

The other driver sustained a mild concussion.  My car sustained some serious damage.  I cried hysterically for half an hour, particularly when the ambulance took the other driver away on a stretcher, with his neck in a brace.  My stomach has been in knots; I called that afternoon to see how he was, and the next day to leave more insurance information with his wife, but I haven't called since, because I don't want him to feel like I'm stalking him.

We have pretty good insurance, and I hope that behind the scenes they are working with the other driver to get his bills paid, and make sure that he's OK.  I worry about him.  In the meantime, though, letters from lawyers offering to represent me have starting coming in, and that makes me worry, too.  Doubtless he's getting the same letters from people offering to represent him, and what if he decides it's worth his while to hire one?

Everyone reassures me that accidents happen, that I'm not the only one, that I should forgive myself.  I'm grateful for those kind words.  But trying to do so has made me appreciate just how many social forces work against forgiveness.  There are people out there whose jobs are to prevent us from forgiving each other and ourselves.  You'll pay for this, they say, even if we already have paid.

I'm eating ginger to calm my stomach.  And counteracting that with pints of ice cream and chocolate chip cookies, which I am pretending make me feel better.

What are the things you have a hard time forgiving yourself for?  Has anyone ever forgiven you for something you felt you didn't deserve to be forgiven for?

Ginger Coconut Soup (adapted from 101 cookbooks)

12 oz. wide egg or rice noodles
2 t. coconut oil
3 large minced shallots, minced
a handful or two of mushrooms (preferably cremini, shiitake, or something else flavorful)
2 14 oz. cans coconut milk (1 full and 1 half fat)
1 14 oz. can water
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 t. salt, or to taste

4 c. seasonal vegetables:
2 zucchini, cut into small cubes
20 broccoli florets
a fistful of asparagus tips
3 scallions, sliced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well, and cook the pasta as the package directs. Drain and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Saute the shallots in coconut oil until just beginning to caramelize.  Add the coconut milk, water, ginger, and salt, and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for ten minutes.

During the last two or three minutes of cooking, add the vegetables to the simmering coconut broth, and cook until just tender. Arrange a pile of noodles in each bowl, and ladle vegetables and broth over the noodles.  Garnish, if desired, with chopped cilantro.
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  1. It's amazing that this post just showed up in my feed because I literally just came home after almost hitting a pedestrian on a busy street. Like he had to jump out of the way almost hit him. I had no idea he was there until he was careening out of my way. It was terrifying and I had to sit in my car for a good five minutes before my hands stopped shaking and my heart stopped beating in my chest. The worst part is I wasn't even doing anything irresponsible when it happened, so there is nothing I can do differently to ensure it doesn't happen again. God it was terrifying.

    I've been at least "51%" at fault in five accidents in my life. In one, I had a friend in my car and I rear ended a woman WITH A BABY in her car. It was awful. So I absolutely know how you feel. It's the worst and I'm sorry you have to go through this.

    I hope the other driver doesn't pursue it further. Abiding with you.

  2. How I wish we lived closer. I'd invite you over, make a pot of tea, and sit you down and reassure you that as long as you are well-insured, you don't have much to worry about in the lawsuit department. It sounds like you are doing everything right, and I am sorry that the members of my profession are making what is already a stressful situation more so. Hang in there.

  3. Oh hon, this is so hard. Just sending a hug and sitting with you while you breathe deeply.

  4. I'm so sorry. What a traumatic experience! That feeling of guilt and shock is such a hard one to let go of. Many years ago, I was hit by a car when I was riding my bike. I remember that super slo-mo feeling so well. There was no question of fault, since the car ran a stop sign. Nonetheless, when the car stopped, and the driver got out, he was limping (from an injury that had nothing to do with the accident). I was only slightly hurt, but I will never forget the terror that I felt that I had hurt HIM. It was irrational, given the circumstances (he was in a car and I was on a bike!), but I can still summon the feeling of horror that I might have hurt him almost two decades later. Of course he felt the same way, since I was a little bit hurt also (bruises and scrapes). I'm sure neither of us will ever forget that moment. I've been an even more cautious driver and biker since.

  5. Oh, my sweet friend. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. My heart was beating as I read your story (also, I'm sorry I wasn't able to be there more when I first heard that it had happened).

    I have noticed this, too: "how many social forces work against forgiveness." I notice how there are factions who have a stake in creating victims so that they can rescue them.

    I'm abiding with you, as well, as you explore forgiveness. xoxoxo

  6. I'm sorry this happened on top of an already stressful situation. ((hugs))

  7. The past few weeks really seemed to have had you in a knot, Justine. And meeting an incident like a car accident was pretty unfortunate, in addition to the stressful week you've been having! I'm just glad to know that you weren't badly injured. I know it was a traumatizing event, but you're a strong woman. You'll come out of this better than ever. Oh, and I love the Ginger Coconut Soup. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Stephanie Waters @ Chastaine Law

  8. Bicycle tours seem safer than a going on a tour with 4-wheeled vehicle. Also, it is cheaper for you don't have to spend for gas. Both do have pros and cons though. No matter what means you prefer, staying safe on the road depends on all sort of drivers, bikers, joggers and everyone who use it. So, I’m with your friends for saying you should forgive yourself. Anyway, good thing you know how to cook a comfort food like that after a rough day. Good day to you, John!

    Leticia Holt @ KHunter Law


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