Wednesday, April 28, 2021

And Bad Mistakes, I've Made a Few

Some of my pals and sister, got their 2nd shot of vaccine today and P got his first.  Afterwards we had another trip to Verde on Smith, the Italian breakfast spot and the service was just as good, if not better then the last time.  The water guy brought cold water in a vodka bottle and came to the table asking if we'd like a morning drink.  Silly laughter ensued and then we were like best buddies afterwards.  The food was on point again, even though I got potatoes in my omelet and fries on the side, which was spud overkill.  That was my fault, in ordering.

Isn't it funny the stuff you constantly do wrong and never seem to learn how to correct?  What causes this gross malfunction and can you fix it?  Most major issues that I become aware of, I'm able to rectify but this one has plagued me all of my ordering life.  What failed to trigger in my brain?  I have always struggled with common sense.  My therapist used to tell me I had extraordinary uncommon sense, which that and a dime will barely get you a piece of bubble gum. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

I've Seen the Saucers, So Many Times I'm Almost in Tune

I used to make these spicy, sticky chicken wings that slid right off the bone for holidays and parties.  Honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, lemon, chili garlic, & tomato paste and sesame oil.  I recreated with drumsticks for dinner and they were better than I remembered. I small chopped potatoes and spinach for a side that unfortunately, will not change the world, visually anyway. 
Unlike the upcoming, highly anticipated UFO report due out in June to Congress, that will change my world at least.  I've been over the moon in nerd-filled excitement, like a dog at the door jumping around waiting for it's owner to appear.  If you live under a rock and have not heard, there was a provision in that ginormous COVID bill passed that we would finally get a proper investigation into aerial phenomenon. I don't believe they will reveal anything huge to the public, but something will leak, someone will throw us a bone to chew on.  At least this will force journalists to cover it with some legitimacy.  Maybe we'll get a video that isn't just a grainy dot but clear, close ups of incredible crafts, because that footage does exist, per many of our trustable servicemen that made sure to carefully document their experiences.  
I've been forced to watch Tucker Carlson clips because at least he's covering this fascinating topic without one silly little green man reference.  Wipe that cute smirk off your face Obama, I'm talking to you!  60 minutes did an okay job and it was good to hear a woman's account on the CBS segment.  Ryan Graves, a Navy pilot reports he saw UAF 'every day for a couple of years' over his base!   But I'm ready for some real meat on this subject.  That incredible Nimitz story is from 2004 so it's shameful that we're just addressing it seriously in the public now because it goes way deep.  I recall how their crews were seeing objects fly in and out of the water and dipping down from 80,000 feet in seconds for two weeks!  Lawdy!  

No matter what you believe, trustworthy military have been on record professing sightings that they cannot explain, that defy all laws of physics and the US has sat on these stories for too many years.  In no universe could I imagine our Intelligence community ignoring crafts hovering daily over secured airspace.  To me, that says whatever they do reveal to us, they know so much more.  So it's a mystery, it's a compelling thriller, sort of a dark comedy in ways.  It's got everything including fun characters and it's just what the doctor ordered for 2021 and this girl for one could not be more thrilled. 
I think people are much more open to new possibilities now.  If it's the case, we can at least acknowledge we can't explain what we're seeing, and that what we're seeing is phenomenal and by no means a DRONE.   
My pal always jokes, "When are the UFOs going to come and pick us up already." Because a lot of us feel although we'll always have a deep love for humans, there is a pull to return back to our real home.

Monday, April 26, 2021

What Is This That Stands Before Me?

For a few weeks I've come out of work to notice this incredible looking piece of bike machinery locked up next to mine.  I've been in awe of the craftsmanship, the all black details and menacing look.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Ironman, Centurion, but I must admit this monster was intriguing.  I imagined this mysterious, enigmatic God or Goddess proprietor. Turns out the owner is just a kid from my own department.  I was going on about this amazing ride that I couldn't stop thinking of and my coworker overhears my admission, then goes on to describe it even more accurately, including what I'd missed, an actual Batman emblem soldered into it's frame.  The mystery was solved, it was his bike.  That same night he came blasting out of the staff doors, and seemed to be walking in slow motion like in the movies with light and fog behind, in his tight leather jacket and giant shiny, black helmet resting on his hip.  Clearly I'd blown his ego out of proportion.  I gushed a little more but only to be nice.  In reality, that immediately ended my fascination with the bike and I actually now find it gaudy.  

Never disappointing is corn on the cob and asparagus served alongside a bunless cheeseburger.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

They're Marching to (Vaccine) Day

Written on Thursday, 5/14/21
We live in a restrictive time in an ultra liberal city but also in a borough that is very diverse, which can fluctuate consensus.  Still, it's not easy to openly discuss honest concerns that may be construed as questioning the party line in regards to the topic that everyone is sick of, the virus.  I confess, the vaccine makes me a little nervous but the virus scares me even more.  I am uneasy with some of the science and information we're being fed.  I was one of those that wanted to wait until many more folks were vaccinated before I went in and got the shot.  But because I work in a super crowded retail environment, and fear the variants, I still agree, it is my best option.  I have no doubt the virus is real, but would not be at all surprised if the virus was mistakenly leaked from the nearby lab where they were creating super viruses in order to later combat what's coming down the pike, because that is EXACTLY what the virus feels like, a smart, man made intruder.  I don't want to be mistaken for one of those conspiracy kooks but I would hope there is still room in this world for questions, especially when it does not come from any racially or politically charged notion.  
For example, my work place.  The masked 6 foot rule is what the whole prevention plan was built around, and the cleaning of surfaces.  By the way, the latter proved to be impossible, bordering ridiculous by day 2 of reopening.  Now months in, we're being told 6ft or 60ft, makes no difference and surface transmission was always unlikely.  Oh, reaaaallllly?!  They go on to say, if you're inside without proper ventilation, those particles will most likely find you eventually, even hours after an infected person passes.  This now, from the CDC, but Infectious Disease experts were telling us that over a year ago.  Michael Osterholm, for one, who I used to listen to late nights, lecturing on coming contagions.   That made so much sense to me, and these were reputable studies.  But instead, I went along with the approved science of the moment and got my ass handed to me twice by COVID.   I fully believe this was all due to being in a poorly ventilated, super crowded retail space, always dodging and waltzing to meet the 6 foot distance, mind you.  And the silly temperature checks!  Although, sure it's one one way to safeguard, it's certainly not effective in so many cases.  (We know dis), yet, it is the approved order we continue to follow in my workplace and in restaurants.  

Also let's be honest, there were some fairly questionable laws put in place, when everyone was running scared here in the city.  I'm willing to chalk most up to folks doing their best in difficult times (except for the criminal behavior).  My fear of the vaccine comes from doubt that my own body is able to handle foreign intruders so soon, and I didn't see enough research on people who had the virus.  I'm in complete awe of the technological strides made to get us all vaccinated in such a short time but I don't agree to blindly follow the guidelines without questioning conflicting messages.  At some point you have to gauge your own body and environment.  Today (5/13/21) as they just announced masks can come off, it becomes even more true that we need to do what is right for our own individual situation, period. 

Last night, a large heavy breathing, man that resembled Joe Viterelli came in with his wife and kept pulling down his mask to talk.  One of those folks that spits their words out, unintentionally.  My coworker, who has virus anxiety, interrupted us twice to tell him to pull up his mask.  She walked away and he looks at me and says, I don't have to do shit!  So in trying to defuse the awkwardness I say, Well, as long as you're vaccinated, but as I go on to explain I've only had my 1st shot,  he cuts me off to say, in no uncertain terms, Fuck. The. Vaccine. Period.  I haven't got it and I ain't gittin' it. And as I watched the miniscule ball of spit fly through the air in slow motion from the P in period,  my body retracted.  In that one moment I realized, This is what we will face now in retail,  Just hours after the announcement was made, it has begun.  

I'm happy about the news, just confused.  I think we could have all used some time to process and ask final questions.  Maybe they could have set a date, like Monday, to begin so the states could have conferences and make clear what it all means.  Based on the fact that NYC has increased cases from at least 5 variants that are known to be more contagious and cause more serious illness, (3745 cases on 5/4/21 up from 4/28 by almost a thousand!), and all of these groups that are anti-vaccers will abuse the rule (we know dis), I still have lingering concerns.   
Anyway, last month I got my first shot on a gorgeous day in Brooklyn.  I had no issues.  But the bike ride there I kept hearing the lyrics to Bastille Day by Rush in my head, the guillotine will claim her bloody prize!! 

4/24/21 - The look of slight reluctance, inside Rite Aid waiting to be called

Breakfast afterwards at Verde on Smith -P's Italian Omelet

My Greek Omelet - perfect amount of everything and well seasoned.

Assorted Brooklyn Spring loveliness

Friday, April 23, 2021

So Take A Good Look At My Face

Ground Pork Vindaloo with Potatoes from
Got potatoes and ground meat but want a more incredible taste sensation?  This Easy Pork Vindaloo dish delivers! An unexpected delight!

The Incident

I admit, I am no stranger to strange but even I can get spooked.   I feel it's important to document the post COVID oddities that continue to happen, if only to process them for myself.  This one was particularly remarkable and so mind boggling that I didn't even share it with my sister and I tell her everything.  It wasn't until today that I could truly look back on it. 

Neither P nor I can recall how it all started.  I believe it was early afternoon, a couple of weeks ago, a day off when I became very dizzy and felt I had to lay down.  I was having trouble speaking and felt I was not getting enough air, which is not so uncommon post COVID.  At the time and definitely now, it all felt more like a dream.   I laid down on my bed, but was restless because my heart was skipping beats sporadically, like I had swallowed jumping beans, but then slowed almost too much.  After that I was overcome with what I'll call emotion but words can't express much of what I felt that day.  Giant waves of the most stunningly, vivid images flooded my head.  I cried, hysterically, like a confused lunatic, not knowing how to process any of this at first.   My head and hands were tingling and eerily warm but my body was so cold.   I've had mild post COVID dizziness and fuzziness but this quickly became very extra.     

P was scared, we thought I might be having a stroke.  We wrestled a few moments with calling the doctor but had no idea what we'd say.  I became very calm so in my limited way, I attempted to explain what was occurring in my body. all the while, this explosion of elation kept pouring in.  All I knew was I clearly needed to stay with it long enough to see it through and that it was the coolest thing I'd ever felt.  But yes, I also wondered if maybe I was dying.  Although physically I was in this uncomfortable state, my mind felt separated and able to watch overhead somehow.  The palpitations subsided and eventually I felt moved to go sit by the window.  My head hit like lead against the sill where it rested. like a giant dead weight, trying to take in the fresh air.  In a few short moments, a miraculous soft breeze, that was also a light and warmth hit my face and came into me.  Came straight through, and right away began speaking to me!  I was smiling and tears poured down, taking it in like a miracle. There was no way to describe this level of wonder to P but I tried my best.  All of my senses strained to process and experience this light but proved completely useless.  There were no words spoken, yet I understood everything.  There was nothing to see, yet I was shown everything within seconds.   Whatever it was, this air or light or form was the most loving, pure sensation.  And it came in the softest of wind and communicated with me, and yes I know that sounds mental.  At the same time a bubble surrounded us where every particle of space was alive and aware.  I could not even look it was too beautiful, yet I did see. Psychedelics trips from many years ago pale in comparison.   The amount of what I'll call information coming through was infinite but all so merciful and kind.  A tsunami of reassurance and love, right there in front of me, in me, around me, somehow. How incredible it was.  

I'd say I'll never forget it but I can't access most of the memory now, and have a very hard time swallowing it logically.  If it weren't for me describing every detail to P who served as a witness, I think I might easily chalk it up to illusion.  I was able to convey enough though that he was visibly moved and said he felt jealous witnessing this experience that he could not step into it but was only inches from the whole time.  He could see everything in my face as I was also in sincere disbelief even as it happened and must have appeared in shock.  And by the way, P is not one to welcome silly notions, ever.  Something inexplicable really happened that day. 

Of course, I'm cautious in many ways to share this story but also still so genuinely shocked that I don't know what to make of it and want to tell the world.  The scientist in me feels there is an explanation that is indeed COVID related.  Something about how my heart rate goes down very low and if I'm not getting enough oxygen maybe I could hallucinate.  Or I've read about neurological damage, all above my pay grade but I suspect all that bad news will show itself eventually, if it's true.  

It ended as a flickering light of the candle, out of it's lifeline wick.  In a poof, the light was gone, and I landed back in reality, breathing better but very tired.  I stayed at the window for a long time wondering what the hell just happened.  P came to check on me every 20 minutes or so, bringing orange slices and iced lemon seltzer.  I even stayed hoping the feeling would come back, but it didn't.  Later we both just accepted we had no idea what to think.  I kept it all in a little box in my mind to pull out and contemplate later when some time and distance passed.   This is that day. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

But I Digress, At Least I Tried My Best, I Guess

Soy Chorizo Lettuce Breakfast Tacos
Soy Chorizo and scrambled eggs with the smallest chunks of potato wrapped in a lettuce taco is a clean, immensely satisfying breakfast.  I'm using my stainless steel taco holders that can also be put in the oven to form baked tortilla shells!  I've needed this in my life forever but within 2 minutes of a Google search was able to bring joy into my life for just $9.99!  
The small things I have lived with with forEVER that I could change or improve with the tiniest bit of effort, but don't, are mind boggling!  I'm picking one each week and challenging myself to stop the madness.  This will include small things like, purchasing that one stupid item I need from Amazon but never take the time to order.  For example, a bike bell, popcorn salt, sandwich bags, Smoked Paprika.  Of all the weird things that the COVID-19 virus did to my brain, one positive improvement was to put logic back into alignment, making small tasks feasible where before they seemed impossible.  I could never wrap my mind around solutions to the smallest of issues.  Even ongoing chores would overwhelm me, like something as simple as watering the plants. Now it happens without stress.  

COVID affects your brain.  I go to type a word now and oftentimes the letters will be severely jumbled.  Or I will type an entirely different word than intended.  That's happened since I returned to work.  I can fix it straight away but there is no denying it's a thing.  There are other new challenges post virus, but perhaps there are some bonuses in the package. 

Because I use them daily, I have to handwash my masks each week and that used to make me angry.  Now it's a calming practice that I don't dread.  Making the bed, making coffee for the next morning, painting my fingernails, washing my hair.  There are dozens of things we do on repeat, for years and they've always been tiresome and I resented doing them.  Suddenly, and this may be due to the 'living in the moment' work too, but the stress and confusion around them in my mind dissipated.  All that's left is the thought that something simple needs to be done, period.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Leave Your Cares Behind

On this day we celebrated celebrating.  To celebrate: to acknowledge a happy occasion with an enjoyable activity.  The occasion was that no one was dying or sick, that we knew of.  That our energy is coming back.  That weather was significantly more pleasant.  Most importantly, that we were capable of being in a happy state as opposed to feeling ill, dog tired or worse, indifferent.  The activity was ordering Korean Spicy Chicken take out for dinner and enjoying every bite.  
Crispy wontons, loaded tater tots, mac and cheese and the bestest, crispiest, sweet, spicy, hot chicken pieces ever to befall our taste buds. 

For Breakfast, bacon, hash browns and mushroom egg scramble.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Why Did You Hide Away for So Long?

Youvarlakia - Greek Meatball Soup. I'd say a very Girlie Soup!

I put my mind light out slowly at night by YouTubing down recipe channel lanes and lost dog loving sites or young blonde surfers catching beefy waves in 10 minute segments.  There, that mysterious land where anything is possible I found a Greek chef who made this fabulous soup that screams Spring, light fresh flavors.  Officially called Youvarlakia, it's a Meatball soup with rice, yogurt, dill, mint, and lots of lemon.  It's very basic and clean. The wow factor comes in with the yogurt as well as not just tiny fresh lemon zest bits but full peels, that give an incredible shine to this soup.  Along with the dill it's basically sunshine in a bowl.  I never knew to use wide peels like this, which is crazy because they're edible and delicious, with no bitter taste!  I love lemons and consume more than anyone I know, so I had a moment.  Just use your vegetable peeler to pull off the entire top layer in 1/2 inch pieces. 

#tip:  They actually save well, so if you drink tons of lemon water, peel them first before squeezing and save in fridge for a tea or to add in soups.  

I made a cheese and green onion quesadilla to dip

Another incredible use of leftover rice was in these meatballs.  He used uncooked but I already had some made so in it went.  After 40 minutes of cooking the brown rice stayed in tact and didn't mush up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Something Tried to Lay Her to Waste

P went on a road trip for a week and somehow my bad planning allowed me only one day off from work.  I tried to squeeze all of my alone time luxuries into one 24 hour period.  I had this indulgent Spaghetti Supreme with pepperoni, green olives, mozzarella, fresh oregano and basil.  I made sure to have a clean apartment with mopped floors to start, and fresh candles so at night I would light them all for a warm glow.  I took a long shower before watching a gooey romance movie with Diane Lane and Richard Gere, two crushes in one.  During the day I played music that made me feel happy and snacked on fruit and yogurt.  With all of this solo foreplay, I still could not reach that gratification of the ego.  

The will was there but instead there existed this now familiar dim outlook vibe lingering in the atmosphere that I haven't been able to properly pinpoint until a recent New York Times article came out and named the damned thing. 

According to the article, it turns out many folks in the world apparently, like me, have been languishing.  We're not outright depressed but we have lost some sense of purpose. We've become dispirited.  Not everyone, some have come out unscathed from all of this disruption to our lives.  But I do agree with the Times, that the folks that have noticed change in the makeup of the air, have reached a chronic stage.   A long term recurring hoodoo like this could take it's toll.  Who would have thunk that some in-between dullness would try to drag us down and wear us out to the point of giving in.  

But just perhaps, this is all natures brilliant ploy to snap us into a better place.  Not to give up but to transform!  That this Pandemic caused so much severance from normalcy that it made a space for true change.  We don't need to 'get back to normal' when you consider the road we were headed down.  Something much better is out there, much needed and possibly attainable with a mass effort.  If enough people are allowing realness in, than I believe transformation can happen.  Could this be enough to move us into a higher state of consciousness? 

The good news is that more people are experiencing the present.  In the article they call it 'flow', where you focus on accomplishing one task, not allowing your mind to take over like a ruling toddler's chaos.  I call it living in the moment.  Eckhart Tolle calls it being in the Now.  But as he says, it's all just pointers because no one can properly describe this in words.  But, it is the cure, if people are truly looking for relief from the sluggishness, from their suffering.   Tripping the wires of your mind is the only way to halt the negativity that it's sickness brings forth.  A constant return to the safety of now ensures your continuance in the calm acceptance.  

I sat at my window this morning before most people woke seeing not much of anything, then after a few moments, I noticed a pigeon traveling back and forth from the top of my building to a fence across the street.  He must have been building a nest and made the journey every minute.  There was something so fascinating about watching that bird.  Quietly observing nature is one door to that place for lack of a better description, where there are no thoughts, but is connected to everything.  That place where if decisions were made there, we would have less corruption and power struggles, less fear, and rotten reasoning.  Less separation of gender and race.
We all have weak actions and life is not easy.  Sometimes all logic goes out the window and we act out because we're imperfect, so imperfect.  But that is the beauty of now, each moment is able, therefore is a new beginning and any negativity that exists in the moment we are in becomes just something to accept or deal with instead of diagnosing as.   Of course I don't claim to understand any of this, all I know is that it's changed my life.  I'm all for acknowledging truth and not one to wear rose colored glasses, but there is no gain in identifying with negative reflection.   The serenity prayer from AA is another useful pointer that I've used more this year.  Serenity being another entrance point.  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

So in answer to this New York Times article, I am thrilled pieces like this exist right now, they are helpful beyond belief to folks like me.  I agree naming conditions are effective in treating.  And because Adam Grant is a clinical psychologist and I am just a girl that's been depressed most of her life and who's been the guinea pig, taking many, many types of what I now think of as soul-crushing, antidepressants, I will yield to his expert advise.  My humble yet very heartfelt layman's opinion is, hear this word, allow it to resonate or fall flat but then step outside of it.  Don't describe yourself as it.  Watch it, analyze it but never let anyone tell you this is what you are. Because that is one area I do not believe science and medicine have correct yet in treatment or dialog.  Just the tweak of saying you have depression or you are depressed, to you are someone who experiences depressing thoughts could be a game changer. 
Just like in the Wizard of Oz, the reason Glinda the Good Witch could be so darn chill is because she knew the Wicked Witch of the West had no power over her when she was present, in the merry old land of Oz.  

Friday, April 9, 2021

Patches, I'm Depending on You Son

Before P left for his roadtrip, he asked me to sew patches on his Pendleton shirt.  He brought the suede pieces to me and I looked down at what seemed to be hundreds of holes.  He loves this shirt but had put a hole through the elbow.  He needed me to do what seemed a daunting task! I figured I could blow it off until right before he returned.   Instead, I ate a quick leftover chickpea salad and crackers and got straight to it.  I put on some music, dusted off my ancient sewing box and was surprised at how settling and tranquil this undertaking felt.  We do so little with our hands anymore, so this was fun and it brought me back.   

When I was a teen, every pair of jeans would need to be hemmed as they didn't make short back then, only longs.  So automatically they'd need taken up at least 6 inches.  We'd put on our platform shoes and use that length as a guide, so if you wore tennis shoes (we used to call them), the wide flares would drag on the ground creating that shaggy fringe.  I would also sew patches on said jeans and jackets to patch actual holes and just to decorate.  This was way before bedazzling existed of course. If you had a date or an impromptu party was announced (which consisted of someone buying a keg of beer while parents were gone), that required dressing up in the 1970's Midwest.  So a trip to the local hippie shop for the blouse and and a quick run through the mall for the jeans was in order.  The sew-job would be very haphazard and sloppy.   You could see light thread every inch or so and if you didn't have time to iron, the bottom would be janky.  But that's how it was done back then.  

This was 1980, where the official jean of any decent house party became the LEVI's 501 Original fit. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

I'd Have You Anytime

This was a mashup of Spaghetti Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe.  I used the rendered bacon fat, tons of freshly cracked black pepper, egg and Parmesan cheese. In the pasta water I added a bunch of whole garlic cloves.  Roasted bacon wrapped asparagus spears went on top.  The pasta water had a ton of great garlic flavor and red pepper flakes gave the extra dimensional kick.  Creamy squirmy goodness!
Pasta has been both a bestie and foe in my life, and probably for many women. It has it's similarities and benefits to that of sweets, which many can't resist either.   There must be something in women's brains that crave this simple, instant assurance, a food hug if you will.   The way well dressed noodles feel and taste sliding down your throat, all velvety and warm, you right away feel them filling you up.  It's a sensation like no other!  Well, maybe one other.  Some of us pay on the backend so normally, I would throw it out entirely but the truth is, at times I would pay any price for this indescribable comfort that I so desperately need.  I was back to work, I was feeling love impoverished, I needed a giant bowl of pasta to help me cope, to give me hope.