Thursday, January 26, 2017

Everything is Not Enough and Nothin' Is Too Much To Bear

An Introvert's Guide to Friendship
I am a struggling introvert.  My friends usually have major down time in their life spans. I've spent time this year concentrating on how or why I drop the ball.  In the past always believing I was flawed or needed to get right.  I find myself always scrambling to resuscitate the relationship right before the light goes out.  Because an introvert knows that the humans she finds are like fine gold and even though we can be super lousy friends, we truly cherish people.  An understatement. They are what keeps us alive. Social experiences are super rich. Sometimes I feel like my sensitivity levels are turned to 11.  In general, public involvement is in fact so potent, I can only handle in very small doses.  A good visit will last me for months.  So being the accepted definition of a good friend is an overwhelming concept that has always eluded me but I do long for it. I desperately need that connection. Spending and giving of myself is difficult though. I'm like a Cornish hen. What little real meat there is to give, although tender and delicious, is barely a single serving.  Thank goodness I've discovered we are a real tribe and this is not a flaw, simply another personality type that is less celebrated and therefore highly misunderstood in society. I can deal with that. I barely get it.
I do treasure my personal time.  Hours spent with myself doing all the stupid little nonsense I love to do is important as eating.  If I couldn't do those things, I would die or certainly go into deep depression.  That's how I refuel. But I also fiercely need interaction.  I often wait too long then get so hungry for that human connection.  Equally crucial are all the little niche friends that carry small morsels of essential traits.   Every bit is used for nourishment.
Recently I concentrated on getting a couple of key people back into my life and it was successful. I am over the moon.  It feels like the freakin' morning sun on my face again and I delight in knowing all is never lost when the will is there.  In a world of bullies you're hearing more from us lately. Crawling out of our dens to try to join forces with the smart, educated, rational people.  Introverts coming to light might be like mass whale beachings, a sign that things are off balance in the world.
Roasted Mushroom Cap and Cauliflower Steak with Spinach and Sausage.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We All Got Holes to Fill, Them Holes are All That's Real

Italian Polenta Stack
Pan-grilled lemony garlic infused polenta with broccoli rabe, ground turkey, olives, fresh tomato sauce and Parmesan.  I'm saying this was unusually good for a Tuesday.  The best ideas sometimes come on bike rides home, when the juices are flowing and the brain is readily active. 
This is my brother in law's son, P's nephew, Nate.  We were visiting his family during the holidays a thousand years ago.  He was such a cool kid. Extremely bright and his focus was on dinosaurs, lizards and assorted aquatic dealings.  He was raised as a free spirit.  His parents didn't stifle his dreams and so his little brain was free to explore the world.  He made quite an impression, as most kids do if you spend at least 5 minutes with them.  But I guess I felt a kinship to his nature.  He was definitely one of 'us', whatever that is.  At least I'd hoped.  When I spend time with children, it's concentrated time.  I really feel like I know them, their spirit is so crystal clear.  Bright shining stars.  This is Nate today, brilliant as ever before.
But I share the story to remind people that not everyone is living the same life and thank goodness for that!  And this is no longer your momma's Midwest.  It's a crazy mix of living situations and racial pairings, neighborhoods intermixed with particular immigrant groups and real live true Christians (not the fake hating ones) and regular good people swirled in with I assume some if not many real racists and pinheads sure. We share some common ground in the big cities but they also have an entirely different set of issues.  Drugs are a problem in unexpected places but much is uncharted territory. This is the new frontier.  Meaning, don't pretend to know what lurks if you've never spent quality time there.  I hear so much postulating on both sides, makes me nauseous. Nate runs a mushroom farm with his dad and came up with a business idea to sell organic mushrooms to consumers at a time of life when many kids are either safely tucked into a college path or drinking and screwing their way towards oblivion.  Nate's been a silent inspiration to me this month as I struggle to pull my own head out of me arse and get on with it. It, you know, life.  Do you know how hard they worked to get a running farm up in southern Indiana through long winters and no sales. They made their own equipment.  Through no air conditioning and what I imagine many a super cold damp ass night.   And to look at him you'd think he is a little bearded hipster out of Williamsburg in a probably good band but he's the real deal.  He's living his look. He harvests fish in his own pond, he cultivates flowers and cacti, he grows herbs and has multiple dogs. He can talk your ear off about mycelium and makes nerdy stuff sound enchanting.  He cooks his own meals and lives many a day solo, with visits from his mom and dad in a business capacity.  He's so young!  I was calling in take out orders from my mom and dad's restaurant for me and my hungover fellow slacker girlfriend at 2 in the afternoon at that age. My mom would bring it upstairs to my apartment in their house which I paid zero rent for by the way.  A little numbnut rebel without a cause.
To live outside the law you must be honest.  To live today outside the well worn paths of the nice, but boring ass minions is so brave.  To wake up alone way out in the middle of nowhere spending your days in solitude in a society that pays high dollar for youth in their prime is admirable.  Their whole family is amazing actually but I didn't coincidentally find their names scrawled across a fence, so I felt it was fate today to write about Nate.  A Midwesterner and an amazing Bernie Sanders supporting human on the planet.

Monday, January 23, 2017

In This World I Lock Out All My Worries and My Fears

No Beef Crumble Broccoli over Polenta
I make many similar dishes but usually I mix it up, either the ingredients or the plating.  I do notice I put a lot of stuff on beds. In this case, a bed of Polenta. Other times, rice, quinoa, beans, and  vegetables.  Maybe it's because I love being in bed.  I love writing in bed, watching movies in bed, reading. Just lying and staring up at the ceiling is the equivalent of two valium.  I love the way my legs feel under the sheets. Basically anything I can do horizontally is a bonus and if there are blankets involved, I'm all for it.  My head resting comfortably on a soft pillow is sweet reward.  Sleep is free Wi-Fi for the imagination.  Thank goodness we still dedicate 8 hours to this magical state.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

But She Gets It While She Can

I'm not the kind of woman who claims no regrets.  I have boatloads.  Mostly over things I didn't do.  Like take the day off to take part in the Women's March in New York.  Ironically I would screw over a bunch of women had I called out.  Selfishly I really could have used the strong positive energy the world was putting out that day.  
Women are super strong it's true.  Of course we should have equal rights, duh.  I believe firmly in reproductive rights but I deeply respect the opposition on that one point if you're coming from a faith based stance. That's about the totality of my own movement.  I honestly feel very mixed regarding gender explanation.  I think it could all use some reworking or better yet, maybe we could just teach the biology of it and leave the social and cultural distinctions to the individuals.  Sort of like the separation of church and state.  

I love the huge list of irrefutable qualities defined in my young head as male. I grew up learning all of their merits and wonders.  Men were the focus in my home.  Men ate first at our holiday gatherings. Meals were made around 'what dad likes'. There was certainly a pecking order.  If an aunt had a baby and it was a boy, we all felt some sense of accomplishment for the tribe.  If it was a girl, you just prayed she was cute. Some uncles beat their wives and it was known to the kids but you didn't speak of it, nor did you treat the uncles differently.  I secretly judged though from as young as I can remember.  I couldn't look them in the eyes without feeling such a wave of disappointment inside.  But back then you had to respect your elders, no matter what kind of shit head they were. You fetched them beers, answered their dumb questions and smiled.  Smile, smile, smile!  A big requirement from me as a young girl and something that did not come naturally.  Ludicrously, I had the natural scowl of my father.  I never could understand why it was so important?  It did not go unnoticed that this was not a requirement of any of my male buds.
I loved not worrying about what was feminine in my teens and tweens and just concentrated on what seemed natural and fun.  I was in love with my car and obsessed about my sound system quality, setting up my tunes and practicing guitar. I woke up on Sunday mornings to wash & wax, Armor-All my tires and then sit and admire the sheen.  
It wasn't until much later in life now that I finally dusted off my female kit and am learning to appreciate the plethora of attributes in my girl box.  In my opinion women experience and express emotion much deeper than most men, but that doesn't come free.  Lots of highs and lows in all that. From what I can tell, women love more openly and broader but again, leaving ourselves susceptible to a little extra heartache.  We're very mysterious and magical.  If you spend any time with a kind woman she always transforms into a beautiful creature no matter the exterior.  Certainly there are many exceptions but women aren't that selfish by nature and if I'm honest I'd have to say it's been a real constant in the men I've known.  To various extremes of course.  

And more honesty is that its sad that we actually needed such a women's march in 2017.  It's disheartening that we as a whole did not completely reject and shut down all the negative rhetoric and nonsense that created it.  But here we are, all back a few dozen steps in our collective negative progression.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Don't Be Denied

I love Brooklyn. And now most of the country does too.  There are attractions in Brooklyn that I wish we could preserve, as they existed before people like us starting migrating in.  Couples from the states with hopes to somehow mingle in without disrupting the terrain. But numbers change everything. Without knowing we brought higher rents.  All the social clubs that existed just 10 years ago, older gentlemen with hats and Cuban shirts sitting outside smoking cigars, one of the reasons I fell in love with the borough.  Living beside them playing dominoes on folding chairs was such a treat.  All the amazing mom and pop immigrant restaurants that served up heaping Styrofoam platters of take out for a dime are dwindling.  The absence of anything corporate or chain related was one of the biggest scores.  We walked all the way to the end of Cobble Hill to go to our bank. Now there are so many within blocks of each other.  
With new money coming in great stuff happened too, like the dirty smelly bodegas were replaced with fresh organic markets.  We have high end pizza slices, chef run BBQ joints and gourmet burger spots within feet of our door step.
The immigrants have changed as well.  No longer the dowdy scarf wearing squat types scraping to make a living from Russia, Poland, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Ireland.  But now tall thin wispy upwardly mobile consumers from everywhere like Australia, England, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.  And lots of Americans, again, coming from a much higher tax bracket that are edging into our local spots and taking them over.  This is what New York was built upon but it never stops feeling harsh and unfair.  You can't stake a claim in sand, instead you just drift and pray you stay in the shallows without a wave taking you out to sea or worse, Jersey.
There are benefits, like Alamo Drafthouse Citypoint Brooklyn.  A chain, movie theater out of Texas but good Lord this place is heaven.  Clean, well run, huge metal bowls of popcorn to your table....fresh baked cookies, flatbreads, burgers, alcohol, $5 cans of beer, milk shakes, ice cream with liquor for the people who like to do that.  Which by the way, who are those people?

New York is this unbelievable place that seemed to have the perfect amount of people when we got here 21 years ago.  If we could have just shut the door on the city that day and put the old Studio 54 doormen to man the incoming after that point, perhaps this could have worked. A million in, a million out.  It's as if no one left and now as we continue to flow in we must fight it out.  The dollar being the muscle.  And well, you see how this will end.
Hot Hungarian Paprika Chicken with baked sweet potatoes, brown rice and a side salad.  That's what's for dinner on the 3rd floor.  I wonder what the millennials on the lower newly refurbished apartment are eating? Perhaps delivery from the Turkish corner restaurant that we've wanted to try but haven't found the occasion yet to spend $16 for a gyro.