Sunday, March 29, 2015

When I Get to the Bottom, I Go Back to the Top of the Slide

In reconnecting with old friends I see a pattern of heartache and asswipes.  Misplaced affections for what on the surface appear to be cold blooded affection crushers.  I wonder what drives anyone to hurt another, to take more than they give, to engage so intimately with another and then drop them off on the side of the road to find their own way home, with no regard for their safety.  You grow up and figure you won't have to go through these dramatics again, as out of control feelings are connected with your juvenile self.  But it appears that no one is spared.
Do we have any control over the outcome truly?  Do we sometimes want to feel real emotion so badly that we create our own torture?  Do we need so deeply that we ignore all the signs pointing to the concrete?  Are all these folks on the other side armed assassins or worse, cluelessly and selfishly just rolling through life?  Have you yourself been one of these hoggish amour stealers consciously or not? It's easy to appraise your friends when they show their cards but if we honestly want to understand what drives the heart, it seems we need to look other places that exist no where near logic or common sense.  What draws us so closely to some people that we abandon all our sensibilities?  What do they bring to us that is so damn irresistible?  And is it even them bringing anything at all?
It continues to be a mystery if people choose to hurt us or we willingly walk into the fire and if so, does that make us brave, idiots, merely human or our own worst enemy?  Does it serve any useful purpose?
Regardless, many foods can aide the mend.  A soft scramble over bright greens.  This medallion of polenta sauteed in a bit of butter topped with cool pico de gallo can also put salve on the wounds.

Friday, March 27, 2015

How Deep Is Your Love?

One of P's homespun birthday gifts was a homemade dinner.  I took time to prepare things he enjoys, made a little theme of the night, intentionally focused on the details.  A take on surf and turf.  A better steak, cooked medium rare and topped with bleu cheese herbed butter, thyme and garlic.  We love steak but don't eat it ever and consider it a rare treat.  And then sauteed squid served over warmed creamy polenta and that topped with a fresh made pico de gallo with nectarines.  We used to get squid for a dollar a pound in SF and I loved cleaning it and cooking it with everything.  We met in SF and it will remind me of our time there, whipping all the spit and vinegar out of each other.
A side salad of Feta, arugula and red onions.  This is a too good, a little oil of choice, s&p, maybe a spritz of lemon juice.  We both love watermelon for it's light, cooling effects and it never gets old in the summertime.

For me, the gold was in the polenta and squid.  I made sure to zen out, concentrate, stirring constantly, adding just the right amount of butter, cheese and stock.  And it was good! The squid was tender and made perfect buddy bites with it's pals.

We walked and picked out 3 slices from Touch of Velvet and the strawberry and cream was the big winner, with fresh strawberries and cream cheese frosting, a light yellow cake.
After seeing the pics and realizing how much 'I' actually love everything so much in this meal, I have to wonder if there wasn't selfishness involved.

Running On Empty

When you just can't bare to get that kitchen dirty again after you cleaned it for what seems like the umpteenth time.  And putting on pants that don't just pull on feels way too much to bear and shoes that don't have fuzzy insides are out of the question.  When even running a brush through the hair is asking the world of you, then National Thai take out is the answer to your prayers!  Kang Kyo Whan Nuur sliced beef with eggplant, bamboo shoots, peppers and carrots in a green coconut curry sauce
Spicy Noodles sauteed fresh flat noodles with chicken or shrimp, mixed vegetables and egg in a chili basil sauce.
Because even people that love to cook can't get their spatulas up every single day.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

(She) Shoulda Quit You Long Time Ago

The last days of winter.  Made P some White Bean Soup with Spinach and Kale, zucchini to help with a lingering cough he's had so long, I'm gonna have to name it and have it pay rent.

The sun is out today and all the snow from yesterday's day long storm is melting. Sometimes it feels like the sun will never come back out.  And it's good we really have to miss it, makes it that much sweeter when it does return.

I recently decided to join Facebook to keep in contact with old friends and family.  I'm a major late bloomer and also prone to major mood shifts and have never been consistent with my thought patterns so for me, it's not been a great option for years.  But finding old friends is actually fun.  I found my first high school bestie and figured, hey let me dig a little deeper, find my actual very first girlfriend from grade school.  Ann A.
Ann always found me funny, so she was an instant candidate for kinship.  She also shared a major passion for drugs and alcohol super early in grade school years.  She had a gay brother, which was a double bonus! He was my sister's friend too and all helped form the beginning of my misfits social life.  We bonded early and remained friends throughout high school even though she would go on to get married.  I even visited a couple of times when I went back to the Fort.  We worked together after high school at a place called Value City Furniture where you could get a whole house load of crap financed and delivered in a day.

Ann loved so much to laugh and had an infectious giggle.  When I visited once she could not get over that I wore the exact same blouse twice in a row and that kept her amused for way longer than you could imagine.

In my defense, I was spread too thin trying to party my way through my hometown and ended up on my sister's couch the night before, not returning home.  Her and her husband had a cute little ranch house in New Haven and on the outside everything looked to be in order.  After the second visit though I realized they were both pretty strung out and maybe hadn't left the house in quite awhile.  I was there in junior high when she met her husband.  I was there to see her fall completely in love and morph like a butterfly.  She always wanted a boyfriend. He was everything to her. He looked like Jim Morrison and I thought Ann had done quite well.   He also shared the love of being in a permanent altered state and had an absentee single mother so we had this gorgeous house to trip in after school in the posh area of Blackhawk off Maplecrest Rd.  They loved hanging out with me and both found me hysterical, which was my only criteria for being buds. Ann was a scientist and from grade school, experimented with mixing interesting pharmaceuticals and common drug store items like dramamine for example with 151 Rum.  I was always game, so this continued through school and their courtship. They turned me on to all these interesting drug cocktails like crushing up a half a quaalude onto a bong hit and then washing the second half down with Blue Nun wine.  Ann found humor in everything except when she was working, then she was all business.  And by the looks of this ultra conservative appearing girl quietly doing the books in that back office, you would NEVER imagine she would finish a glass of wine let alone....I mean it was just too much.

Anyway, as you've probably guessed, I found Ann on the web.  She has passed.  At 51, she's just gone.  On New Year's day even of last year.  I've actually been trying to find her for a couple of years now but Google never rendered a find until today.  An obituary.  Come to find out her husband a couple of years before her and her brother before that.  All gone just like this bowl of soup. Sometimes the sun doesn't come back out for people and I am more than fully aware of that.  My later best friend B recently lost her own daughter to the same drug. I guess that's why I search so hard for more joy and hate when I become complacent and squander any more real moments funny or otherwise.

When I made this soup I wanted it to have everything fresh and alive and bring nutrients to P ailments, make him better so we could enjoy the day.  I think of Ann today and how I wish I would have found her Facebook page with tons of yellow smiley stickers and hundreds of friends.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

All Women Are Bad

What if all of the sudden at the same time, the whole world became extremely conscious?  Ultra aware of themselves, their own spiritual tab, of what others hold in their minds.  Would it be wonderful or too much to comprehend?  I pondered that possibility from a cluster of occurrences in my own tiny universe this last month.
A coworker who is like the most lowkey hippie type mellow guy came to work telling of an almost born again experience he had after making a very important decision recently.  He was ecstatic.  I questioned whether he had possibly discovered cocaine instead but understood after many questions that no, he'd just had a major shift.  He was so excited to tell me that everything changed overnight in his whole being and the work that he'd been doing had possibly finally paid off and quite suddenly.  All kinds of coincidental acts of good luck or will were befalling him.  As he was talking instead of being happy for him, I started tearing up and felt so inexplicably sad. Where the fuck was all my enlightenment? I've been working so hard to find answers too.  I'm ashamed to say that is really what I felt.
In reconnecting with several people lately I became aware that many had recent heartache.  Love that didn't surface.  Love duds so to speak. Non reciprocation from another individual.  Some were looking for love in all the wrong places, though where that right place is I would not know.  Love is elusive and never seems to come in full focus.
I found a lost friend who'd died and it was devastating.  I did a check on who I am as a friend and turns out I score pretty low.  I wasn't there for her and she was so smart and funny and full of life.  I knew she needed someone but I thought it wasn't me at the time.  People say you can only do what you can do and I've often wondered if that were true but instead believed it is a defect in many of us.  It is very hard to admit that what you did was not even close to good enough and it's too late to fix it.
This was an after work night dinner, rushed and invented on the bike ride home.  I had everything except the beefsteak tomatoes.  I picked out a couple beauties at the good corner market.  To save time I hollowed and baked the tomatoes while I was cooking the ground chicken.  I love when you already have items to throw in, and I did, like zucchini, carrots, cilantro, jalapenos, and pinto beans.  I didn't have time to deal with rice or quinoa so I perched the juicy filled cups on a bed of seasoned corn.  For this small task what I could do was not only enough but way better than expected.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Second That Emotion

This was not my creation but one I would definitely do again.  Got the recipe from Woman's Day, however the ranch thing was my idea. Stuffed sweet potato with spinach, cumin seasoned black beans, juicy tomatoes and Greek non-fat yogurt mixed with about a tablespoon of powdered ranch dressing.
If you watch calories a stuffed baked potato is tricky because most of the obvious add-ons are not exactly slim choices.  Fake liquid cheese, sour cream, butter, bacon.  But this takes care of all that because for one, a plain potato is bland whereas the sweet potato already comes to the party with its own flavor and benefits.  The spinach and tomatoes provide lots of moisture.  They make sure nothing gets dry.  The beans bring the substance and spice and then the yogurt is concentrated to really make it all feels so decadent.  Invite these friends over the next time you want a potato party.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

You and Me Til The Wheels Fall Off

When you're with someone for decades, you take on every role possible.  Little sister, bad roommate, best friend, comedic relief, mysterious stranger, freak in the next room, pet.  And there are cool things about much time spent together that you don't hear people speak of much, maybe because they're hard to explain.  Sure there's the finishing each other's sentences, which by the way doesn't happen to me.  P doesn't let me finish my sentences EVER! and often interrupts assuming he knows what I'm saying and he's usually dead wrong.  And I shudder to think what's gonna come out of his mouth next and would never speculate. But through time your transmission evolves to be more efficient.  At times I even fear P is not real at all but just another portion of my subconscious.  I see him walking around.  I think he's real.  I also feel he could be my male equivalent.  Like if I was a man, I would be a huge asshole I've already came to terms with that.  But I  see his struggles, even though they are very different from my own.
But an example, so this week we're both miserable about something, albeit grateful to be alive and know our plight could be a million times worse, just watch the news or listen to your friends.  We hear the song Pressing On from Bob Dylan's Saved album in a movie soundtrack or TV show, forget when.  Anyway separately and unbeknownst to each other, we both go off and listen to that album.  Fast forward a couple of days and he plays me 'Gonna Change My Way of Thinking' before work because he has to deal with so many assholes or what he perceives as such. So he grabbed onto that song's lyrics.  He talks to me about attitude and how that can change everything, something that will get him through that day.  I take that from him like a baton and try to consider his point while playing that album, 'Long Train Coming' a few times in a row mixing it with all the other stimulus that morning because I am also dealing with what I discern to be assholes.
Sometimes you need to be eased.  Sometimes your mate can't give it to you but what he gives you is a tool he found himself.  He doesn't even realize he's giving it to you because he's caught up in his own bullshit, but it does help and that's kinda cool!
I gave myself these comforting eggs with turkey sausage, tomatoes, onions, baby spinach coupled with these chili lime seasoned pinto beans with fresh jalapeno, cumin and oregano.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Very Superstitious, The Devil's On His Way

Friday the 13th. I'm not superstitious but something or someone had me spooked all day, starting with this creepy ass school crossing guard that appeared out of nowhere during the ugliest stretch of my commute to work. Just standing there in a veil of overpass rain.   I should have turned around right then and there because it wasn't raining.  That yellow ghost was a sign that the demons would track me down on this day and shatter my composition.  I had a headache anyway but my very first customer T-boned me like in the movies now where you're all calm anticipating the next scene and a car comes hauling like a bat out of hell from the side and next thing you know you're checking your heart rate because it scared the living crap out of you.  Had me one of those nights when you replay the conversation over and over in your head searching for the perfect words to send this asshole reeling.  I consider it a weakness to allow unappetizing bullies to penetrate my psyche. I try to use the experiences as a tool, but mostly I just end up internalizing it all and brooding.  Sometimes you're weak and sometimes people are just really that horrid.  
I'm gonna call this one a prick. That's my highest rank.  It's the C word for men.  Assholes are easy. Assholes are not that smart and in a way you can take them at face value.  They don't claim to be anything more.  I can deal with assholes.  They're like baby cockroaches.  I wish they weren't there but as long as they don't get all big, we can share the world.  Pricks are educated assholes with money.  Their sins are doubled because they not only know better, they use all their talents for evil and power.   This prick pressed some button that just sucked all the air out of my head.  He was privileged, arrogant, condescending, typical Manhattan- 'I get what I want and I'm not afraid to throw a temper tantrum to get it'- ite.  A ginormous reaction storm was brewing in me so strong from this little interaction.   Hell, I might just blow my entire lid like a pressure cooker right here and now.  This was after I tried to ration, talk sense. A big mistake with pricks.  But all the while reminding him that he was no one special in the least and whatever bullshit he would sell to my wide-eyed manager child, I had his number at his smirk ass grin while giving a small woman his brute forced intimidating handshake.  My feathers were ruffled, my chonies were bunched all the way up me arse.  He got his way, because that's how this world will do ya sometimes.  I couldn't pull it all back together, not even to crack a fake smile as I left the floor, not even well after he'd left.  From that moment all I could do was look out of my eyes like I was peering out of small cut holes in a cardboard box until I could turn that final lock on my front door.
Some days you wake up and set on just doing your thing, not bothering anyone, maybe have a laugh and for whatever reason, some prick comes along and pulls the plug, trips you and then kicks you again while you lay there on the ground holding your gut.  And you gotta wonder, geez what the hell did I do??

I ran in the door to make something edible before I slithered into my bed and pulled the blankets over my head. Sauteed kale with garlic and lemon with a cajun rubbed baked chicken breast.  Now that I got my heat and timing down on those suckers, I'm digging white meat chicken much more.  Edamame with sesame oil and salt.

He's gonna make me say it, and I really don't want to....damn it. Here it comes...Haters gonna hate.