Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full: Gazpacho

In this third (and long-awaited) installment of my “Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full” series, I present you with an easy recipe for gazpacho inspired by a lovely woman from Valladolid, Spain. I met Señora ‘Spacho during our 30/40 World Tour back in 2011 at VaughanTown.

Mr. HalfFull & Señora 'Spacho shopping for fruit in El Barco de Ávila

Mr. HalfFull & Señora ‘Spacho shopping for fruit in El Barco de Ávila

Señora ‘Spacho was extremely passionate about gazpacho, urging me to delve into the history of this Andalusian liquid salad. She explained how Spaniards have been eating variations of bread and olive oil soup for centuries before tomatoes were introduced to Spain! She raved about a deliciously creamy gazpacho recipe (without bread) she makes for her family to enjoy daily all summer long.

Señora 'Spacho and Ms. HalfEmpty during a One-on-One Session @ VaughanTown.  Como se dice "teach my husband how to make this delicious soup?"

Señora ‘Spacho and Ms. HalfEmpty during a One-on-One Session @ VaughanTown. Como se dice, “Teach my husband how to make this delicious soup?”

I made time to sit down and capture her personal recipe. Let me preface this recipe by saying that she strongly urged me to use both Spanish EVOO and Spanish cucumbers whenever possible!

Señora ‘Spacho also stressed that easily making gazpacho requires an extremely expensive Thermomix blender because it’s so powerful that you don’t have to sieve out any vegetable skin or seeds. Sadly, I didn’t even attempt to make her recipe until we bought an expensive (yet more reasonably pricedVitamix blender three years later. We hemmed and hawed about the price of this appliance before finally buying it, but it’s a game changer!

Ms. HalfEmpty loves my version of Señora ‘Spacho’s gazpacho. She even tried to make it herself once…

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Late to the Party

Recently, Mr. HalfFull and I attended a party where we met a med student from Philly. She started telling us about her psych rotation and how she and her classmates were instructed to offer angry people food as a first resort. The reasoning was that sometimes people are just angry because they’re hungry. In other words, they’re hangry.

hangry girl

When I pulled up this photo, Mr. HalfFull said, “That looks just like you!” (meganjo/

Hangry? I’d never heard this word before, but it’s a perfect mashup of hungry and angry.

Later as we drove away, Mr. HalfFull remarked that hangry is one of my common states. He’s come to realize that sometimes my irritable moods mean that my blood sugar is low, and I need to eat. So he feeds me before resuming the conversation. Clever man!

After hearing the word hangry from the med student, I thought it was a cool new word used in psych wards. But I didn’t realize it’s just part of the normal vernacular until I started hearing it everywhere. Perhaps I previously thought that people were just pronouncing hungry in an odd way. Boy was I late to this party!

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Schadenfreude or Justice?

It has been well-documented that I’m a rule follower. I get irritated when others skirt the rules or blatantly disregard them.

Judge Hand with Gavel

Someone has to mete out justice. (

Enforcing Rules

I’m also a rule enforcer and currently serve on two community Covenants Committees. I enjoy the power of enforcing rules and righting wrongs.

Sometimes it’s not an easy job. There are cases when it’s difficult to determine responsibility, and there is no ideal solution. But there are plenty of cases where the right answer is obvious to everyone but the rule breaker.

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Do You Have Time?

Mr. HalfFull subscribes to the Economist and often shares articles of interest with me. One entitled “Nice Work If You Can Get Out” piqued my interest. The author begins by comparing the leisure time of the rich and the poor in the past:

Sarah Bernhardt, 1890

Relaxing on a chaise is divine leisure! (Library of Congress)

For most of human history rich people had the most leisure. In Downton Abbey, a drama about the British upper classes of the early 20th century, one aloof aristocrat has never heard of the term “weekend”: for her, every day is filled with leisure. On the flip side, the poor have typically slogged.

But today, the roles have reversed.  Many wealthy people work long hours. According to the article:

Overall working hours have fallen over the past century. But the rich have begun to work longer hours than the poor.

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Who Wants More Snow?

Snow Covered Trees

Snow delicately outlining the tree limbs (Philip Halling/

Did you groan as you read that title? If you experienced a long winter with the polar vortex and repeated snow days, perhaps you did. I’ve heard nothing but complaints about this winter in the DC area.

But I may be one of the few people who wasn’t bothered. I actually found the snowfall beautiful. I love to see the winter wonderland effect of snow outlining each tree limb and tiny branch. Ah, the delicate elegance.

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The End of an Unlikely Friendship

At 4:28 AM, I awoke to the sound of my cellphone in the other room. It sounded, “Message from Dawn…” I was sick and not sleeping well, so I got up to check the text message and learned that Dawn died at 3:22 that morning.

I’ve known older relatives who died. As a kid, I attended the funeral of a friend’s mom. I’ve attended the funerals of three grandparents, including one just last fall. But this is the first time a friend died.

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The Long Haul

We celebrate those who persevere for the long haul. We admire marathon runners and Ironman triathletes for their athletic perseverance. We respect PhDs and medical doctors for their academic perseverance. But sometimes staying in it for the long haul isn’t so commendable.


For example, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. I used to love this show. The characters took me on a roller coaster of emotions and left me craving the next episode. But after 1o seasons, it’s just not that compelling. As I was watching the two-hour season premiere, it felt like forever.

So why am I still watching? For some reason, I’m in it for the long haul. I feel like I’m invested in the characters and want to see how it ends.


Since my husband is the poster boy for reading, I guess it’s good that I finish books!


I do the same thing with books.  I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally not finished a book. (Although, I left one in the seat pocket on an airplane once, which made finishing it difficult.)

Even though I’m supposed to be reading for pleasure, I keep reading despite a lack of pleasure. I suffer through until the end.

Maybe it will get better. Maybe the end pulls everything together. Generally, it doesn’t. But I still feel compelled to finish.

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The Season of Cake

blowing out candles on birthday cake

Ms. HalfEmpty blows out the candles on her double-batch carrot cake. Sorry if you’re blinded by all the candles; her age is accelerating rapidly.

September is a busy month of birthdays in my family. I start out the season with my birthday, followed by my older brother’s, and then Mr. HalfFull’s at the end of the month. After that, we have three more fall birthdays. Thus, September starts the season of cake!

Traditionally, my dad is the baker of all birthday cakes. You can choose your cake flavor, but he only makes one size — double batch. According to him, if a single cake is good, a double cake must be even better.

So no matter how many people come over to celebrate a birthday, there is always leftover cake. That would be amazing if we didn’t have a new birthday every week. But everyone gets their own double batch cake. It’s just so much cake!

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Baby, I’m Back!

Did you miss me? I missed you too. Yes, both of you!

Fantasy Football Draft

My brother and Mr. HalfFull drafted a San Diego Chargers player, so of course the jerseys came out for additional shenanigans. Too bad you can’t see Mr. HalfFull’s ridiculous championship ring in this photo. The commissioner wears three massive rings, so don’t start a fight with him during the draft!

Realistically, I knew I hadn’t blogged here in quite a while. But it really hit home last weekend before Mr. HalfFull’s Fantasy Football Draft.

He and his crazy friends do a live draft every year. One year, three of the guys (and some wives, including me) flew to Indiana for the draft!

But this year, the draft was at our house. Before the appointed draft time, I went out to dinner with the guys (and then disappeared until the following morning to spare my sensibilities). As we were chatting and catching up over dinner, my husband’s friend said that he reads my blog…or rather, he used to read it when I posted. Woah!

Two things struck me during this conversation. First, on the half full side, it’s awesome to have a third reader! Now I can address my readers as “all of you” instead of “both of you.” The second overwhelming feeling was embarrassment at my dearth of blog posts.

Posting Apathy

Why haven’t I posted more regularly? Well, there are lots of reasons.

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Exception to the Rule(r)

It’s been established that I’m a Ruler. I believe in rules, I follow them, and I think other people should too. But generally, they don’t.


Bicycle Path

Bicycles on the path, as they should be. (Richard Masoner/

The other day, Mr. HalfFull and I were riding our coasting bicycles into town when he veered off the path. We weren’t on a bicycle trail, but we were following a narrow connecting path from one neighborhood to the next. It was possible to stay on the sidewalk and enter one end of the path, but this required a tight, awkward turn that wasn’t meant for bicycles. So Mr. HalfFull traversed the nearby mulch to enter the tiny path on a better angle.

After catching up to him post-detour, I commented on him riding through the mulch, and he told me about desire paths.

In Finland planners are known to visit their parks immediately after the first snowfall, when the existing paths are not visible. People naturally choose desire lines, which are then clearly indicated by their footprints and can be used to guide the routing of paths.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

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