make yourself comfortable

When I was in my early twenties, I had a fondness for LSD, but we parted on bad terms. A friend of mine gave me,  Zen Mind, Beginer’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, which saved my life by assuring me that I could not lose my mind because I had no mind to lose, I’m paraphrasing here. Although the book has been a comfort to me throughout my life, ironically, it alienated me from meditation. Zazen practice is quite rigid, and the moment I sat down, observing all the instructions for proper pose, down to the tilt of my chin, my skin began to crawl. I absolutely could not sit still. Okay, maybe it had something to do with the flash backs.

On a recent trip to Galveston my lovely friends,Cat and Sid gave me this fantastic advice. Make yourself comfortable. I was amazed when I entered their meditation room to see two big comfy chairs! Yes, Sid assured me it is okay to be comfortable when you meditate, use pillows, blankets, whatever you need to put yourself into a state of relaxation. It was a revelation to me, and I am now able to sit for twenty minutes, which is really amazing because I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to meditate for over twenty years. They also gave me Deeksha, a spiritual blessing,I am confident that has assisted me as well. This gift is definitely, vsvevg. Many Thanks, Cat and Sid.

Haiku for Cat

corpse pose eyes open

as vultures spin above me

Damn, I’m good at this

In response to interest in the umpa lumpas. They are edible and taste like what I imagine farmers are hoping to taste in their soil in the spring, sweet dirt, tilth.

I make them in a variety of ways, but this is a common preparation that translates well with other kinds of mushrooms.

1 pd mushrooms (chantrelles might be the closest in taste and texture)

1 clove garlic minced, 1 whole

1 serano chili minced

2 roma tomatoes chopped


1 tbles. epazote chopped

sour cream (optional)

Saute at medium heat garlic for about a minute,add chili and cook a minute or two more, add mushrooms tomato and salt, cover and simmer until the mushrooms wilt and release their fluid, uncover and fry at high heat until the water evaporates, depending on how soupy you like your tacos. Toss in the epazote and serve with corn tortillas, and sour cream.

The whole garlic clove is used to determine if there is a poisonous mushroom in the batch, if the clove is discolored, throw out the whole batch.


coming soon, My Bean Manifesto, and Dinner and a Swat Team

Have a great weekend, paz, Abby

This entry was posted in expatriate life, living in Mexico, Uncategorized and tagged , by vsvevg. Bookmark the permalink.

About vsvevg

Hello, I'm Abby Smith. I started this blog in 2010 to write about the pursuit of a self-sustainable life in rural Mexico. In 2015, my then-husband and I moved to Nicaragua, where we created a successful farm-to-table and in-house charcuterie program for a high-end beach resort. In 2022, with mad butchery and cheese-making skills under my belt, I started a sustainable food systems consulting business. Happily, I also have more time for my first love-- writing about food and the complexities of the simple life.

9 thoughts on “make yourself comfortable

  1. Omg, you made me laugh outloud more than once! I love this blog. Can’t wait to read more Abs!!!! I feel so fortunate that I got to visit you and see your place. A beautiful home, with two lovely people living in it. 🙂

    • Hey lex, Wormwood, so you can find it in Iowa though I hear some varieties are toxic. I used to eat it right out of the alley( I know ,yuk! but you know me) in Chicago, with no ill affects. The REALLY thorough explanation:teloxys (formerly chenopoduim) weird? princesque herb, ambrosioides. Epazote is an herb essential to the cooking of southern Mexico. You can use chopped leaves or throw in a whole stem, it is the sin qua non, I am channelling Diana Kennedy(well known Mexican cook book author) now, for the cooking of black beans, tortilla and other brothy soups, quesadillas and fresh corn. It is a must, for esquites, corn, fried with lard and chili.
      It’s name comes from the Nahuatl exspression, epatl tozil, meaning “animal of strong smell” thats a quote from Juli Sahni’s Savoring Spices and Herbs.
      You can usually buy fresh epazote in a mexican market, dont bother with dried, a bit of mint and oregeno would be a reasonable substitution. Since your not fond of mushrooms you could make this with potatoes. xoxoa

  2. The fact that you ate Wormwood out of a Chicago alley has acerbated a rampant girl crush on you! HA! Nest time you visit Iowa PLEASE let me know. Also, how is your mail delivery? If I wrote you a letter what are the chances you’d get it? And how long does delivery take? It can’t be worse than Canada!

    • Awww, girl crush its been so long 🙂 mail is good takes two weeks, or we can email, but something from another’s hand is always lovely, let me know which you prefer and I will send the info

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