Saturday, September 30, 2017

Runnin' With the Devil

Diablo Shrimp and Potatoes
I believe I did a version of this before but you would be so surprised just how good little seasoned crispy potato chunks taste with spicy shrimp let alone with a warm devilish sauce on top. My sister named the dish when I sent her the pic and it fits.  I love these types of meals that are born just from random life. I needed to use up my potatoes and there was a random sale on these brown tomatoes. If I had tried to invent this, I couldn't have done better.  Definitely a complete meal although I suppose a green would be good with this.
I put the effort into the homemade roasted Kumato hot sauce.  Yesterday I made a batch of sauce fresh and cold with avocado.  This time roasting made it more smoky and the flavors run deeper.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September Gurls Do So Much

Spontaneous relatively good afternoon movie with a pal.  Okay, it was Ingrid Goes West. Due to his inability to handle horror or intense drama, we had to settle on one I had been trying to get anyone to see for months. I love Aubrey Plaza and felt this could be the one that showcases her full comedic talent.  Maybe next time. Not her fault but it was trying to a darker comedy then it was.  Actually I loved her in Dirty Grandpa.  But the Thai Wings were the right blend of hot and sweet.  We also had popcorn but didn't go in for the full monty of food offerings.  It took everything I had not to get the cookie trio but the previous headache havoc aftermath was not worth it.  Well, that is debatable.  Those cookies are so amazing all hot and heavenly.  What price is too high to pay for happiness these days?
Following a very cool chat sitting in the sun, I walked home and cleaned up the nest, vacuumed, dusted, mopped, cleaned the litter box, washed the dishes, etcetera.  It's all the extra stuff you don't clean that makes you crazy. For example you clean your kitchen, you realize it's a good time to clean out that fridge.  If you do the fridge, are you gonna leave the freezer?  When's the last time you pulled out that fridge and swept underneath girl?  You see the way the mind works, it's almost impossible to appease. The list of remaining chores just keep coming. The best days are the ones I can ignore my inner Suzie Homemaker voice and get out and have some fun instead.  After all, no one talks about how clean someone's house was when they die.  Unless they were really boring.

Sat down later and enjoyed an easy taco salad with lots of homemade hot sauce as dressing. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Please Shine A Light For All These Lost Children

One of the hardest things for me to get my head around is probably the fact that everyone has completely separate thoughts.  I understood the collective universe way early on, it was division that screwed me up.  It would be easier for me to believe that we are all seeing the exact same thing but only from a different angle, which I think is how my mom explained it to me.  But it's so much more than that.  When I taste my freshly blended hot sauce its crushing to imagine that someone would think, no, that's not for me.  Logically, and practically, I can conceive it but it breaks my heart in some deep sense.

I've always felt very connected to people that I like.  It's important to me that we share pleasures.  Music, movies, food and humor.   And I can't help but feel a silent crack when they tell me horrible things like they don't enjoy spicy food for example or lemons aren't a passion.  
It's a blessing that I didn't realize all this divergence when I was younger or it would have broken me way sooner.  I assumed the folks that I befriended surely held at least 85-89% of my same sentiments. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Goes On In Your Heart, What Goes On in Your Mind

This week I don't think an hour went by when I wasn't talking or thinking about politics. And that is not how I want to spend my days.  We all process differently but I'm beginning to notice there are a lot of folks that are being affected health-wise by the current regime.  People are holding this extra stress.  In retail sometimes we become like bartenders where people will randomly share their feelings or confide in hushed tones as if you are in some secret room.  And unfortunately this week it was always about Trump.  And not once has anyone said, man what a cool thing he did there or ever speak about him in any positive light.  No, it's always some humiliating or cringe inducing comment and now, more and more manipulating hate speech.  Not to mention the actual impact he's making, good things he's undoing.
P used to tell his Union guys the only time they'd have a problem was if he had to think or hear about them.  In other words, if they did their job well, they had full autonomy.  Because he had no interest in micromanaging anyone.  That's the way I feel about the presidency.  I don't want to have to give this much focus and attention to anything, let alone something that will give me no joy, entertainment or sexual pleasure.  He is distorting all reality and coming from such a sick mindset that it is driving me to dissect and analyze all his movements and his words.  Never has anyone so illiterate had such an impact with, via tweets mind you but still, written word.  
But at some point I put the responsibility back on myself to manage my time and energy.  Not to let anyone take my joy ever again. You have to live your life and this asshole may be shortening everyone's time here if he eventually acts out of anger.  So I aim to at the very least, eat well. 
The word Kumato struck me again while shopping and for $1.99 no doubt!  I immediately blended for some fresh hot sauce to add in all my meals.   Bought two packages, one for raw and the second I will roast.

Poached eggs in sauce and pinto beans.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

All Through the day, I Me Mine, I Me Mine, I Me Mine

Lately I'm torn between believing the world is truly this divided or that we really are the same ole folks we were just last year before someone put a spotlight on our innards.  Back when we didn't know so much about each other's intimate thoughts. Or our own for that matter.  I'm speaking individually and collectively as in, on the world wide web and beyond.  There is this mental sorting of folks into piles, that you can't help but do. Bins of personality types, reactionaries, militants, passives and it goes on.  But it's fairly new, to me anyway.  We were better off before I think.  I know I loved more readily.  I'm wearier now.  I judged you by what you showed me in the physical realm and not by how I've read you feel online.  But can we go back now that we've painted a more defined picture of what lives inside our heads?  Can we separate that from our actions?  What defines who we are in fact, our opinions or our life? And who is best equipped to interpret us?  Ourselves or others?
In between all my thankin', I sort of lost the thread that helps me put together a meal idea on my bike ride home.  I considered making an Asian lettuce wrap with chicken, mushrooms, ginger and peanuts but I needed a vegetable.  I knew I had a bit of leftover black rice.  I went to the store and found they had mistakenly stickered the peas as $1.49 jalapenos so I nabbed the regularly $4.99 buggers. What I wasn't gettin' was that this needs to be easy to pick up and eat.  That would mean it's best to chop all items into small like-sized pieces.  I learned that I need to pull it together more tightly if I want to evolve as a cook.  This was really good but if given the chance again, I'd definitely do it better.  Like-wise, taking the time to consider the finest outcome in any situation, do the right thing, say the right thing, be the best version of me, that's the way I'd love to see myself eventually.  In person and on line.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

No Wise Man Has the Power To Reason Away

Beyond Meat Asian Lettuce Wraps 

Beyond meat pack
1 bunch of green onions snipped
I can Bamboo Shoots
1/4 cup Roasted Peanuts
Serrano pepper
Chile Oil
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce
Batch of Lettuce leaves rinsed and separated
Some talented writer really needs to do a piece on the effects Donald Trump is having on our psyches.  I hate to admit it but I'm having some very personal and harsh reactions.  I found myself home sick this week with a bad cold for a couple of days.  Unable to find movies, I ended up reading endless articles, and tweets.  Even worse than those, the comment sections on his twisted thoughts.  My head felt like it would surely explode with anxiety.  A prism of conflicts shooting in every direction in my mind. And mind you all the while knowing, full and well this is completely against what my focus should be right now, if I am indeed trying to understand what's happening in the world.  There are very tangible horrible realities taking place at this very moment.  A threat of WW3 with North Korea, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, entire cities without power or clean running water, healthcare.  My God I can't understand how one asshole could draw us all away from our own priorities so easily.  The man who was chosen to lead us is doing everything in his power to separate the masses and is manipulating and feeding our weakest and least educated group a full diet of their own fears and ignorance.  He doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself.  He is a narcissist to the 'nth degree.  But I have never witnessed such outright self serving behavior and I will say by definition, evil in my lifetime.  At first I believed him to be just another con job from New York.  Not particularly smart but certainly shiesty enough to weasel his way through the systems and come out with more money.  Get around all the rules.  Someone who takes things for free and feels winning is in the getting.  Like a rich Mr. Haney from Green Acres or our entire capitalistic system.  This isn't particularly interesting or new. But then upon listening further I thought, oh gosh he's a complete idiot. That brought on further anxiety as the global game has stepped up several notches and our brightest deepest thinker is what is needed right now if we can be greater.  Rational, level-headed, intelligent, worldly.  Good gosh I thought, he could be much more dangerous than I had initially feared.  This is not the devil we know.  Now more months in and several atrocities later to good judgement I fear he really does have a true agenda and it has nothing to do with us, ANY of 'we the people'.  And THAT recognition has me drowning in flight or fright mode.
I worry this is having a big effect on the day to day life here in society. People are getting so mean. Words are powerful. It's as if hate has been given a new breath of life and intensity.  And at the same time, if you're a thinking person you can't help but envision this new future of natural disasters on our doorstep and what that will look like in a world so divided.

I divided up my meatless mixture onto these big lettuce leaves and added a little chile oil before serving. One thing I learned is that if the meal is really light, adding heat makes you slow down and that prevents you from inhale your dinner so fast that you're hungry before you finish.   The crunch of the salted roasted peanuts with the green onions is a highlight.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Where Is That Happy Ending, Where Are You?

For various reasons P has been on a hiatus from our regular life. This has caused me to break out of my own coma, brush the cobwebs off my psyche and take a look around in the 'ole crawl space.  He's left on yet another road trip and that has given me many days with myself. 
I ordered a specialty salad from Lean Crust Pizza after work.  A solid choice, The Greek, full of good salty stuff.  However in the end it lacked the excitement for which I was searching.  Lately I feel there is something missing from life and it's not just my husband.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a gal that thoroughly enjoys her alone time. I don't want to go on trips, don't have kids, and there is nothing material I desire.  I wish objects could squelch my unrest.  Unfortunately though, I'm just not feeling this old world so much these days and I sense that more clearly each week.  I tell myself the usual, it could always be much worse, you have your health, appreciate what you do have, and all the similar true but annoying placating words of wisdom.  Although nothing is broken, I really couldn't be more boring or uninteresting right now and that's just not acceptable.   I don't understand how to fix anything anymore.  I lack the motivation to make my own change.  I wake up with gratitude but my heart is clogged up with the dread of being me yet another full 24 hours.   I day nightmare a disproportionate amount of my free time.  Calling it dreaming would be a huge glorification. I go through the motions of anything positive sort of waiting for that big joy to come. I expect the grand highs of the past but now gaiety happens more like my pee stream, weak and trickling in and out.  Something must shift because I also feel very ill equipped to continue on this path to nothingness.  At times like these when I was younger, I would contemplate dark solutions but depression has since lost all such romantic notions. 

Lord hear my prayer.


Friday, September 22, 2017

It's Time to Move On, It's Time to Get Going

I started my day with what I thought was a common cold until I woke up the next day and felt like I had contacted a mega virus.  I'm not a guy, so I can handle a simple cold but this was weird. It was like the exaggerated colds actors portray on bad TV.  Every few minutes I was sneezing, couldn't breathe, achy everything and miserable, had that horrid voice.  I could only get up to get more tea and tissues. I even took to rubbing Vick's on my throat and nose.  Thank goodness I had the foresight to make a huge vat of homemade chicken soup before it spun out.  When you need a medicinal soup, I like to be very rustic.  Big chunks of cabbage, unpeeled potatoes, carrots, celery, tomatoes, chicken and real stock.

P was to leave the next morning for an ambiguous trip with an unknown timeline.  I encouraged this because of his recent departure from a job of 17 years.  Anyone would need to make a permanent disconnect from that life before beginning a new one.  He needs to start again with fresh eyes and vision. Everything will change for him.  I know what it's like to do a job that doesn't suit you.  As if without your permission parts of your real self begin fading until one day you struggle to remember them or if they ever even existed.  We are not in the beginning of our adventure here on the planet however, so it was a great idea to motivate the change with a little road trip kick start.  Not many things are free anymore but gas is still cheap and as if a kept promise, the free car he obtained last year and has been reparking twice a week served as the perfect vehicle.

I'm hoping to ride the change as well and feed off the momentum to divert my retail imprisonment. In life at the onset of any major shift I've become very sick as if my body needs to also readjust and realign in order to guide the brain and soul.  I'm not one of the folks that works through their ailments and toughs it out though.  No, my body is the boss a me and I listen.  The nuns said it was temple and I aim to treat it as such now that I learned its value over the years the hard way.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Where Is That Happy Ending, Where Are You?

I had a very rare Monday off of work. P did too. As a matter of fact this would be his first in a series of time off as he has just quit his job of 17 years.  We agreed to make this very tough decision slowly and he even put it off for a year or two...or five.  I had seen a clip of this movie posted by a friend on Facebook.  I thought it would be a great kick start to a new phase of life for him and us both really.  Movies tend to lend answers to the universe for me.  I look to them when I seek inspiration and ideas, and yeah sometimes even real solutions to difficult dilemmas in life.  If nothing else, a good one will change your perspective enough to stir your own mental soup.
The movie's core ties together my current ruminations that every single thing is connected. That we are all of us linked in a deeper way than we ever could acknowledge before.   Why now, I don't know.  Perhaps openings always exist, a chance to take these leaps in consciousness.  Nevertheless in the last few years I feel very awake. However, within that same current we can also tune out and put our minds on auto pilot more easily then ever before.  Go through our days without showing we are really alive and thinking.  Just robotic-ally going through the motions of tasks and obligations, quietly absorbing media.

This movie was made in the early 1980s and was perfectly set in New York.  Just like Andre in the movie, I had found myself caught up in a week of arrows pointing to just this moment in time.  Someone had posted a clip of the movie, I watched it and felt compelled to share with P and of course he knew it and the names of the actors in it right away.  I was so intrigued that I insisted we watch it together and he set it up so that we would do so over coffee the next morning, which happened to be his first Monday not going to his horrible job, which also happened to be my day off. Then the whole movie became relevant for both of us in very different ways.  I'm assuming anyway. For me, it brought to mind a great time in San Francisco, where I met P and when most conversations with friends were thick with amazing complex ideas.  They were more than idle chats but real human exchanges.  Questioning the status quo, beliefs and challenging each other.  And listening.  In some ways I feel we've stop listening to each other.  Every one of us.

My hope is that this sets a trend to be in the moment as often as possible.  To hear friends and family and strangers.  Be grateful for everything.  Pray for people.  Reject hate speech and try to find common ground.  I don't want to have as much fear and anxiety regulating my happiness.  But more than that I want to have compelling conversations more regularly at the very least in my own mind.

Breakfast: quick migas with leftover corn tortillas and the last of my broccoli rabe bunch.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Baked Stuffed Yukon Potato

Baked Stuffed Yukon Potato
Stuffed with broccoli rabe, tomatoes, sausage and white cheddar. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Take This Job and Shove It

After 17 years at a job that he immediately thought to leave due to a tyrant owner and just soul crushing work, P worked his last day this Friday the 15th of 2017. There was no time for big celebrations, it was more of a somber themed night as they badgered him up to the final hours even though he gave them a very kind month's notice.
Friday night pizza party featuring his pick of five different selections.  All were amazing.  Here's to hoping he finds a much better match and work that gives purpose.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

So Little Warmth I've Felt Before

P went for a visit to see his brother and I awoke sensing that familiar dark cloud feeling that is the beginning of Fall in the air. I do generally love Fall as a season but with it comes a haunting loneliness that takes me back to the scary feeling of leaving my mother's womb by force as I was breach, and bursting out unto the cold, cold world.  I thought I'd live peacefully in there forever.  If you only knew the sunny days of summer you could be someone else.  Fall forces you to face dim realities.  Similarly when school started up I'd unwillingly leave the warmth of my mother's lap and be forced into the harsh world of social interaction.
Thank goodness our sister Terry introduced us to the hugging arms of pasta at a very early age.  I immediately understood the calming effects and used it as medicine whenever I needed that emotional embrace.  On this day I added shrimp, pepper flakes, lots of garlic and whole tomatoes.  It was a very quick fix.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Black Bean Tostadas

I am so in love with the flavors of cumin and chipotle chili in black beans.  To this I also smashed in a can of rinsed and drained pintos.   Instead of sour cream I topped with a big dollop of seasoned yogurt.  For the green I used Chicory.  I could easily hit the replay button on these suckers.
In a way they are the ideal end of summer Tostada because the spicy beans really stick to the gut and are all warm and creamy whilst the crisp baked shell and crunchy chicory are like the newly fallen rustling leaves.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

There's a Killer on the Road

Hurricane Irma was such an event.  I spent my day off monitoring and projecting it's route and following the news, even turning on television for the first time in many months.  The constant state of anxiety was slightly addictive but I had real friends and family in it's path so considering the possible realities for them trumped any excitement that this huge, unusual storm brought with it.

But outside of the devastation you'd be crazy not to be interested in it's size and the way it kept its eye-wall so in tact.  This was a Hollywood hurricane in graphic.  Then the way it sucked up all the water miles before hitting, even in the rivers!  That's a new one.  And I'd bet those meteorologists that said, its not unusual had not seen that before in their lifetime.  I've heard of it happening with a tsunami but not a hurricane.  And what happened to the 15 foot surge?  Not that we wanted it.  It was a huge blessing it didn't happen.  But why did Marco Island not get that massive surge on the back end and how did that tiny haven survive a Category 3 hurricane direct hit without much damage?
The other intriguing matter was where the storm would land and I don't believe any model was correct even up to the moment it hit Marco Island.  I remember looking at the radar and seeing a westward shift but they kept saying it would veer left and hug the coast.  Days before I prayed my sister would drive to the gulf side to avoid it as it was projected to hit the East Coast.  Thank goodness she has more sense and experience with these things. Then the prediction went to straight up the center.  In the end, even after landfall they were wrong as it went more inland instead of up to Tampa where they were set up live already planting the fear of worst case scenarios with every bit of certainty even though nothing so far had been accurate.  I think this time they really did believe it would be catastrophic, and it was for some.  But with all the money involved and the seriousness of the situation I think we can all agree almost everything needs to change with the way news outlets handle this new extreme weather phenomena.
I handled dinner with a sense of urgency by the time everything settled down.  I had to make chicken thighs happen so I did a quick braise with whole tomatoes, garlic, olives, artichoke hearts and oregano over Polenta.