Saturday, December 31, 2016

It Takes A Lot to Rock You Baby

I liked this breakfast. It was weird, off color, not what you'd expect, how I like my friends. Looking at a plate of food for the first time and knowing you're going to really enjoy it is one of life's greatest pleasures. A fresh plate is like a stranger's face.  When your dish arrives, you first spend a moment just looking and within seconds you come to conclusions on whether it is a good or bad thing.  When you meet someone the process is similar.  You look into the eyes, the mouth's expression.  It's primal, your gut tells you to react accordingly, friend or foe.  This basic communication was probably for survival earlier on but we've evolved to fine tune the signals now to probe deeper into oncoming strangers.  And once in a while you'll find a human that causes such an inner commotion and spark that you must explore further.  You feel compelled to know them in some way.  This was more commonplace in my 20's and 30's and now I am very surprised to get a signal at all.  I feed off the small bits and pieces from quick random exchanges.

This plate is friendly and fun.  That chicken mango sausage has just the right slight char. There is a lot going on under those two rivers of red and green hot sauce.  Eggs, potatoes, pepper, cheese.  All on a bed of grilled corn meal masa.  I like this, it's quirky.
In the current climate of anger and hatred, fear mongering and intolerance, I feel a strong desire to find kind, engaged, unorthodox faces in the universe and feed off of their good energy.  In turn I crave to eat more renewing food to fuel fresh creativity, positive ideas and love.  I just watched The Gut, Our Second Brain. I love how science always catches up to things that we inherently know already.  It is no surprise to me that our brain and gut are connected and along our whole body doll parts are talking to each other and passing notes of information constantly like 5th graders.  I always knew they were very close. Like McCartney and Lennon, two geniuses working together in our bodies.  Now they discovered that the stomach is as smart as a household cat or dog with just as many active neurons.  Regarding food, I definitely feel all the chatter inside that viewing my plate induces.  Or the sick feeling I get in my belly when I see a recurring irate customer at work, not recognizing the face but somehow my body remembers before my mind that the past experience was horrific.
We've barely tapped the workings of our body and mind not to mention our heart and soul. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

All Decked Out Like A Cowgirl's Dream

Pork Butt Burger with accordion potatoes
A happy meal.  This dish is a giver.  Great to look at.  Plus, I only used what I had. Bonus!  The garlicky potatoes give it UP to their maker!  Then the lemon dressed cool romaine slows you down when you're getting all wolfy eating the guacamole cheese topped burger.  I hadn't had pork for awhile.  Does it show?

This is a picture of my sister's homemade pizza that same night.  Love when I get pics of OPP, other people's pizza.
Pizza twinsies!  Had to join her so's she wouldn't get pizza-lonely.  Hey, that's a real condition!
One of those days when you eat 3 full meals, no dickin' around, no dainty flower.
Yogurt with fresh berries and cereal provided a creamy start to this beautiful day.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Eve Will Find Me

Christmas was as blurry as these potato slice pizza snacks.  I know it happened but recollect very little. But what I do was really special.  It is harder and harder to feel the holiday when you don't have children or family around you.  So we were just sitting around like, let's sing some carols country style or something, git after it, conjure this elusive magic.  We started out more of a comedy act but locked into a version of one of the classics and it felt like a gate opened.  Each song started sounding angelic suddenly, how a real choir makes you gulp hearing it in Catholic church but with an alt country beat.  We kept it going for while until it swirled around and filled the room like fairy dust.
I must have made real food but only have pics of the snacks.  Greek nachos with hummus, Feta, cucumbers, olives and tomatoes on toasted polenta squares.
Bacon and Cheddar Stuffed jalapenos with you pick it salsa and guacamole.   Yes, now I recall that edamame pesto with toasted crusty bread.
One other thing I remember is seeing Charles Osgood sing I'll be Home for Christmas as a surprise guest on the Today Show and breaking like a little girl. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

I Don't Like Riding on the Passenger Side

It's been a 'while in Rome' tradition to get Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve here in New York....
...and pizza slices basically whenever I can swing it.
I got my big chance to ride in P's new car that someone gave him at work.  Always a bit of a worry, something coming for free.  I was understandably reluctant to get in. A Buick LaSabre. It started to smoke about an hours walk away from our apartment.  That's how I was looking at it.  Some red light started flashing before it sort of jumped a few times which I found hysterical but P saw no humor in.  
 Of course it was raining.  My joyride got cut short. I was dropped off and he scurried off to find a mechanic on Christmas Eve, which he did surprisingly.  Someone's always willing to stay open on holidays if they can screw you over. It was only a few minutes but you think you know people.  Turns out P drives like one of those old livery cab drivers, taking it super slow around corners and lights. It felt more like being on one of those boat rides at the fair.....only with my dad after the light came on.  I love when we're forced to be adults and suddenly realize we're barely capable.   
Me being 14 yrs old capturing he moment the light came on
Quick breakfast burrito before the fun started.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

These are the Seasons of Emotion

This year I found the thought of the holidays and any celebration a little out of balance with the world and everyday life.  Each year actually the true meaning of Christmas fades in our society a tiny bit.  Or maybe it's just me but even the small niceties and little sweet exchanges from strangers used to be the real gift of the season.  Folks would open up on the street or in shops with a lovely exchange of some sort because it was 'the holidays' and that was a gesture that was appropriate but it wasn't fake, it was real.  I think people just don't feel comfortable to be welcoming to each that often for whatever reason.  I have to catch myself all the time and stifle my enthusiasm lest I be mistaken for prey or predator in public. All these signs of strength have become perceived weaknesses and that's a real pity.
Personally I tried to wave the kind flag but with all the Trump and his KKKlan  clan articles and mostly unimpressive journalism on either side, I was weighed down.  I felt heavy and grey.  Riding into work instead of seeing beauty all I noticed was bleak scenes for what seemed like weeks.   I was just barely making it to Christmas physically, mentally and spiritually.  You can see my lack of inspiration in my dinner plate, although I'll never turn down a good baked chicken thigh.  When I throw frozen peas on rice, you know I'm fighting those demons.
I stopped and paid my respects on the way to work at an old bike memorial that I pass each day by the Red Hook houses.  When I'm low I really like to dig my heels into the darkness and gloom because many times there is beauty and a weird soft comfort of sorts there.  And also I feel like okay I'm down here in the pits, let me take a look around.  Fun with depression. Put the color back in dolor.  Get drunk on your funk. Don't hurry your worry, Bump up your dumps.  Beauty is abundant and clearly visible when it's one of those glorious days but it's a nice lifting mental challenge to find it in the grey.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's Not Unusual

Dang I never noticed just how much chicken and brown rice I make on the regular.  We're people of habit.  P's like a machine with factory programmed settings.  I'm a huge super freak that did all kinds of drugs and alcohol but my body is so now that if I take two aspirins there need to be precautions taken. I'm like a delicate ecosystem.  The last time I ate beef I had such a come down that I burst into the room from a 2 hour zombie nap warning that love was in danger of dying.  I meant the entirety of love on the planet, disintegrating into the ether.  Who thinks these things!?  But I did f and it put the fear in me all month.  But damn them ribs were good!
I take the same route to work most everyday. I don't go changing things around if they work. Routine, tried and true, the usual, same 'ole, those are not always bad things.  On my familiar route to work, I turned to watch the sunrise and saw a whole bunch of giant pigeons that turned out to be seagulls coming right at me. A scene right out of the Birds.  But right before they became all entangled in my salad, they made a sharp dive for an abandoned pizza box, thank goodness.
A week before Christmas in New York.  I'm only present physically anyway.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Tisket, A Tasket

Bok Choy and mushrooms over Red Wahani Rice
Gift baskets given to P at his work by contractors or business ties.  Who cares, there's chocolate in the house!  And cheese and crackers.  All the forbidden fruit!  I love a good gift basket. One of those guilty pleasures.  They're corny and outdated but still exciting in some nostalgic way.  I guess I like the idea of a bunch of small morsels to pull out and welter in.  Individually, they are never as impressive but quantity sometimes makes up for that. And anticipation goes a long way with me.  I love the variety element, that each little thing is something different to explore.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

How Can I Be Sure, In a World That's Constantly Changing

I remember a long time ago the first time I realized that my recollection of an event and actually my whole life perception was my own alone and no one else shared it.  It hit me so strangely.  Reality is pliable!?  Then I thought about it for a few days and came to terms with it. Like in the dim way a 4 year old can come to terms with anything. Okay, I thought, no one is with me all the time.  So of course they go off and see other things then when we come together again, their story would be different.  I always felt so close to and had a deep connection with my sister Rach from as early as I can remember. How could she feel differently if we were both together at the same time?  Small elements would be changed but only slightly I was sure of it.  One time we were all driving in the car, me and Rach were acting up somehow and my mom leaned back from the passenger seat sort of animated faced and said if we didn't straighten up she was gonna take off her shoe.  I'm telling you like in slow motion we both turned to face each and completely busted up laughing at the exact same moment holding our noses and screaming 'no mom, not that!!'  As I was looking at Rach, I almost couldn't tell my thoughts from hers as they were surely linked.  This happened constantly. When we got bad news like our dad telling us we had to get out of the water at the lake, we'd simultaneously grimace, always in unison and our eyes were like mirrors.  Or so I recall.   Bonding I suppose, normal in siblings that are close in age.  But in my mind, that proved we then shared those memories as one. But it proved not to be so.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I still don't completely accept it to this day.  I've spent a lot of time with P, about 27 years give or take. Let him tell a story and I'm like, where the hell was he because in no way did it happen like that!  Many times we have opposite mind sets on the same occurrence but I'm always shocked. Recently we watched a movie, he hated it. Although it wasn't perfect, I definitely thought it was special and worth chatting about afterwards.  Instead I had to listen to how insulted he was by it.  That feels personal.  I was crushed....for a minute.  You live with someone a long time and these situations come along and you sort of side eye each other for awhile.  In reality I'm relieved we don't share a brain but someday it will be fun if scientists discover at what exact point our impressions take left turns from each other and why.
I have stuffed many a vegetable boat and I'm sure I'll do it again.  These were yellow peppers and summer squash with red rice.  Looking at it now, it seems like an awfully large portion and I probably ate the whole thing because I eat like a horse.  If you ask P, he would agree.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Primo Plato

Some mornings you need a full breakfast...with lots of bacon.  This is that cold winter morning.
Only really hot coffee need accompany this perfect plato.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Last Christmas, I Gave You My Heart

I love Christmas.  I love the whole story of the baby Jesus being born and the three kings sensing his arrival and following a star to his manger.  I love the entire idea of a holiday where we celebrate this story of our savior being born.  I try to keep all of that wrapped up in my mind as the month approaches the day.  It's all about the baby Jesus, it's all about the miracle, I keep telling myself.  I hold on tight as I go out and brave the season but every year, ev....ery' year! I wake up and feel like absolute shite in the final stretch.  I'm lethargic, I experience deep Boz Scaggs type lows.  I consider every freaking sad event that has happened in my life.  I regret I did not love my mother more.  I realize what a bad friend I am to nearly everyone. A virtual reel of dismal incidents that loop in my imagination.  Allllll the sad shit that I never want to think of, all there. Santa drops the whole bag right on my head for the holidays.  And then, I start to really dread what should be a lovely Holy Day.  Then out of character I resent all the beautiful family shots of fun and joy that flood the media. Elaborate tables being set with fine china, trips to exotic places, love and laughter being felt.  People looking perfect and well dressed, put together and not crying.  Hey, I'm having good times too, I mean, the quiet, low-key type that an introvert like me allows herself on these occasions. I'm not envious. I just don't want to see it, be around it, or have anything to do with it.
Gosh, when did this happen to me?  Oh right.  I've always been this way.  But I strive to crack the code and break free, stay happy throughout one entire season.  This year, I'm claiming Depressmas, the true thinking man's reaction to a complex holiday.  I know It's not entirely lost.  Sure if you have children or have close family nearby then you probably hit those big Yuletide highs.  Maybe you're a real can-do type person, super motivated so it's just another chance to fill up your awesome card.  But for some of us, it's a real mixed sack of emotions and melancholy that packs a powerful punch to the gut.
All I know is that chocolate and cookies are not good substitutes for self love but in a pinch, I wouldn't kick grass fed beef Chorizo out of bed!  My sister and I both had a vision of my mom's homemade supper dish from way back when with stewed ground hamburger, chile and potatoes.  A comfort dish with a sauce to sop up with warm torts. Simple yet entirely to die for.  Beef Chorizo packs more flavor power but it went great with Yukon potatoes. 
Depressmas is my George Costanza invention to help me make light of either my holiday impotence or my righteous unwillingness to accept this concocted depiction of seasonal bliss.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Keep it Together. Keep it Together for Ever and Ever

I saw Madonna perform on a video clip where she apparently did something to her behind.  I was shocked and horrified. And then I felt genuinely sad.  I'm not this huge fan, although I have enjoyed her career and music throughout many years of it and always rooted for her.  I admire so many aspects of her talents and bravery.  I am not one of those that feel she needs to act her age or cover up her wrinkly aging parts. But full disclosure, at times when it was no longer interesting to me, I secretly wished she'd just give it a rest.  To be honest, I've been a little concerned about her mental health in recent months.  There seem to be a succession of strange cracks in her public image foundation.   A collection of weird, sloppy, possibly drunken live performances on You Tube.  That clown act she did at her benefit was mixed with a bit of authentic koo koo.  Her benefit, by the way where she raised over 7.5 million dollars for young girls!  An incredible feat.  Her performance though, it bordered uncomfortable for me and her voice was not good. Same with her Prince tribute.  I really hate to say it but also that face!  Her cheeks resembling all those bad cat drag queen ladies who can't afford better surgeons.  And now an exaggerated rear.  She had the cutest tiny ass.

But women need to support other women and not knock them down.  Madonna has earned her high place of honor in pop music history, period.  I can't even imagine what it must be like to live on a public stage and have every move scrutinized for decades.  I couldn't do it.  I know that.  But she did do it, for so long.  She seems to get her tiny tight ass out there grinding for her audience each night and I assume having a great time displaying her art.  I didn't notice her initial surgeries much but now it's all I see when I look at her. I guess I do feel some sort of anger towards her.  Madonna and all the shelebrity's that choose to nip and tuck away their aging. I'm only 4 years younger than Madonna.  I want to see strong women my age that look like me continue doing wonderful things, but as is.  So quickly we went from a few to being hard pressed to find one star who didn't reconstruct all their parts.  Is this what it is now?  And if that's true, why put energy in getting all disappointed.  Maybe it's time to try compassion.  I just admitted I couldn't imagine going through that scrutiny.
But that's just it.  In my selfish mind, now I must imagine and go through getting older alone.  Madonna realized her dreams and success, all the comforts and pampering she wanted.  And yet she awoke one day to figure what she really needed or wanted was larger ass cheeks?  No, no, that's not the answer I was looking for!  P says she's always lived by the sword so why am I so surprised.  Maybe in my crystal ball of hope, Madonna or one of our other strong She-rahs was going to shock us all by aging in place. Still outrageous but in their own skin. And by doing that, showing us a new way of seduction.  In other words if she can't or won't live out her time in her own body as blessed as she's been, then where does that leave me?

As a woman I feel responsibility to the union.  Society needs to progress. Men and women both carry portions of that duty.  We're living longer.  That means the majority of our life would now be with a form that is fast becoming unacceptable, even at 35.  I already feel what it is like to become invisible and irrelevant just because I'm passed my shtupping prime.  I'm not looking to be ogled but never expected to be so ghostly this early on. Women need to join together to remain significant and evident.  We have so much more to give and are capable of much more than starting boners.  

Madge gave an emotional speech at the Billboard Award show as she received Woman of the Year.  And I was moved hearing her story.  I don't doubt her sincerity.  In a tough to swallow pill, I feel she stood there showing us all what we have done to her.  A decorated soldier.  A survivor of many battles.  She was strong but changed profoundly, wounded and battered, hanging on to what is rightly hers.  All her history was everything in her stance, in her chosen clothes, how she spoke and what she said.
But the war Madonna described, was so near to what many of us women have experienced as well.  Her words were timely, and truthful and she sort of looked how I feel up there most days, very vulnerable.  And why I finally felt real compassion for her.  She finally became a person to me.  We do need to watch out for each other, support other women, collaborate and work together, raise each other up.   Raising millions of dollars for young girls is something a strong person does.  Sticking around 30 some odd years in an industry that didn't even survive itself defines strength.  Giving a speech exposing yourself takes courage. I'm going to do her a solid and congratulate her on her award and accomplishments and stop worrying about her.

I think this is going to be a breakthrough year for women.  I feel a quake coming out of necessity.  Maybe Hillary put that much more stress on the fault line.

For dinner a baked Mediterranean delight.  Baked lemon chicken with black olives and roasted chick peas served alongside red quinoa with garlic spinach.  I wasn't expecting it to be so sexy looking.