Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zzzzzzzzzz, I Was a Bully (and Other Truths of the World)

Earnestness is the antidote to irony and sarcasm. Read it again: Earnestness is a remedy for irony.

Just try to be sarcastic to someone who is completely earnest...it's totally wowowubzie impossible. If I have a new year's resolution, it is to be more earnest (not dingbatty, not playing dumb)---to ditch my sarcastic and shitty ironic ways and be more honest and straight-forward. Good humor can also be incredibly honest and not just some sarcastic schtick. (God, every time I listen to too much Bill Hicks, I start getting super agitated and pissed off---he is like 95% sarcasm and 5% funny. It's painful. He is a genius, though, so don't throw the baby out with the bath water, okay?)

We mock what we crave. I (historically) mock what I really want. Why did I pick on girls who didn't care what they looked like at school? Because I hated the trappings of image and peer pressure and my inner critic was so harsh that I had to look a certain way to feel safe. I tortured those girls because they could just be themselves without the pressures of upholding an image (my image.) I had to have an image (smart, slightly masculine, edgy) to exist, otherwise I wasn't sure who to be (and being "myself" whatever the fuck that means, was 100% out of the question growing up--what kind of girl without any self-esteem is okay with being a nerd?...I loved to read and write so much more than I ever let on. I wished I could have worn pigtails in 9th grade and a sweatshirt and not cared.) I became a parody, a personification of slacker teen-aganst. Someone without much drive or without many braincells. Someone who loved drugs over thinking and who was wild and crazy and cool and overly composed/controlled.

[I hate to admit it still, but I hate drugs. I hate druggies. I've never been a fan of people who abuse and use drugs on the regular. It's so, so lame to me. I have hung out with the addicts and retards of my day, babysitting and making sure that they didn't kill themselves, but secretly I resented it, resented them. I thought that major drug use was such a waste of time and brains and energy and money--a huge copout. I'm less judgmental about it now, but still prefer to drink a little (ok, on occasion, I drink a lot) but that's about it. I don't crave numbness or stupidity or "expansion"--I'm fucking expanded enough. When my friends are super high, I think they're BORING and super dumb (maybe just happy....)] P.S., I think the pot should be legal everywhere. Let's make some good old fashion sin tax off that shit and make this country some moolah lalala. Weed is good. And some people are better on it than off. It's all cool.

ANYFUCKINGWAY: Those girls in school who never gave a shit what they looked like--I envied them and then, picked on them, and made sarcastic comments and would ironically dress like them for Halloween. Mean and shitty and totally self-righteous. It wasn't just me though. The whole world operates like that sometimes. We mock and get all sarcastic about shit that we don't get or that we can't be.

Hang in There
We've all seen the poster

So, if you are a nice woman and you have this hanging in your office/house because it's a good reminder to hold on and hang in there when times are tough, and you meet some ironic hipster fuck from the city-city who has that silkscreened on a t-shirt because she/he thinks it's hilarious...who wins? The earnest woman does for sure. The hipster just got called on the bluff. The hipster wishes that he/she could be innocent enough again to get some inspiration from a cat poster. Don't you wish that too? Don't you wish that you would let yourself feel inspired by the little cute kitten hanging on up there? Yes, you do. If you said no, you might not be high enough, so smoke up.

If I could take 50% of it back, I would. I'm sorry that I forced myself into being an ironic shithead hipster fuck who thinks everything is funny and nothing is real and that there is nothing honest and earnest and true. I was wrong wrong wrong. I'm sorry for making fun of everything that I didn't understand and that I was too jealous of to acknowledge as worthy. I am an asshole. Being sarcastic is only funny 5% of the time (see Bill Hicks) and otherwise it's detrimental and usually super mean.

So, more earnestness with real humor (that is not just hard-boiled sarcasm) and let me strip the need to be ironic and all angsty--let's get real, I am way way way too old for that shit anyhow. You dig?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

All I Want for Christmas


Life is short. I need to keep reminding myself of that. You’d think that after all the grief and death in my life that I would know how short it is, but it just slips from my mind so easily. Even really long lives are short inside the scope of our minds.

Would you ever have enough time with your child? Could I get enough of S on her first birthday? Her chubby half-baby/half-toddler body…the way she wobble-walked and shook her diapered bottom to every song on the radio? Could I ever have enough time in that moment?  There is never enough time.

Without asking too many rhetorical questions, let me ask one more: do you know how many years of my life I’ve wasted?  I spent so much time worrying (what a waste!)  And time burnt letting other people drag me down—caring too much what they think or not caring enough how they feel. Too much time thinking and not doing. Thinking myself into paralysis. I missed those opportunities because I thought about it too much. I heard too many critics and not enough encouragement. You can talk yourself out of anything.

Let’s shake that off. 

I want to talk myself into this: I am amazing. I am beautiful. I am brave. And strong, and funny, and fun, and fast, and smart (as a whip) and deep, and powerful and soft and quiet and loud and all things (mostly) good and (a few) bad. I feel love and have great potential and great actuality.

Here is what I want for Christmas: Let’s be brave. Let’s show each other and ourselves just how incredible we are! And sad and funny and perfect just the way we are!

Let’s be brave enough to seize up every second of joy and happiness and hold on to each other.  We feel and fail and have great promising capacity to love and forgive and heal. We are so lucky and blessed to have health and to have each other.

Have some love and inspiration and joy for the holidays this year. Fuck shopping. Just make cookies and spend some time. Give out love and smiles and hugs. (I know I sound like a hippie, but so what? I’m feeling all of this today.) Give time to your family and time to your friends. Listen to them. Listen to yourself—the quiet self that you always tamp down. This little light of mine….

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Don't Miss the Comfort of Being Sad


How disappointingly quiet I’ve been. I’ve just been having my life to myself and not sharing.

So, how am I? What’s going on?

I am very well. I have been eating green and getting more exercise. Working from home has allowed me to have a little more time for myself.  Eating well and exercise suits me. I look better and feel great. How’s that for a report?

I am reading books and watching shows and going places, doing stuff, seeing friends, playing with S, playing Wii with DD. Life is good. I am full of gratitude and love for my family and my life. I have not one complaint.

Without causing drama or seeming ungrateful, happiness is boring sometimes.  (Remember that story you read about the completely happy people living their nice, fun little lives? No? That’s right you don’t.)

Here’s a quote: “In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It's loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Here's to more boredom and happiness. See you later. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Late for Giving Thanks

(in no order and certainly incomplete) I'm thankful:

- for Health. Mine, my families, my friends. It's the basic thing that without our health, we have a whole pile of horrible stuff to deal with. With our health in tact, we can focus on other stuff and have a good life. We can create and dance and sing and think and laugh and kiss and not worry.

- for my Daughter. She is a wonderful kid. I am lucky to know her. She has poise and smarts and a wicked sense of humor and beauty and possesses light and she is totally perfect (for our family and just the way she is.) I love her and love her.

- for my Husband. What a year it's been for us. And he has been here fighting and working and sleeping and playing and being a dad and provider through all of it. His patience is astounding. I am lucky to know him too.

- to my friends and family. What a huge heaping pile of love that is...thanks to you for your support, friendship, listening, interrupting, talking, living here in these places with me. I need you and love you and am lost without you. Thanks.

- for my job. It's better now. Less stressful. Nice work flexibility, (working from home is such a freaking awesome thing) good people there, getting stuff done makes me feel good.

- for the rest of the stuff I have: shelter, food, reliable car, clothes, nice dishes, soft bed and couch, leftover cranberry sauce, etc.

- for my (early) birthday present: Kindle Paperwhite. I might just love you. (Yes, it is unlike me to truly love an object--I feel that most "stuff" is easycomeeasygo, but a Kindle? It's a different love. eBooks are fantastic and immediate and you can rent them free from the library--and less book clutter. Totally awesome dudeman.)

- for beauty. I am thankful for beauty. I have been looking for it and finding it a lot recently. Beauty is out there.

- for you. My small and loyal readers. I left you off to the last because I knew that you would read this far. Thank you. Thank you for being the "you" that I write to. Thanks for reading and living through some of the pain and joy with me.

My heart is full of thanks. It's honest. The practice of giving thanks is a daily thing for me. I encourage you all to try it every day. For those of you that pray, it's sort of more natural. For the rest, it takes practice. It's a worthy thing to do. When I walk out in nature or when I drive to work, I list up all the things that I'm grateful for...it's a long list. I'm thankful that my thanksgiving list is long.

Give it a try. Write it down. Sing it. Say it aloud. Tell your friends and family when you're thankful for them. It's such an easy and small gift you can give and it's free.

I must be drinking the KoolAid because I have that warm fuzzy feeling this morning. I am straight cheese. I will return to normal programing later this week.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Random thought of the day.


Do you remember those cars from the 70s or maybe 80s that had back seats the lifted up and had storage underneath? Wft was that used for? Tire irons and jacks? Drug smuggling? Dirt collecting? Mouse house? What else? I think that was in Beetles and maybe Karmann Ghias. i always thought that was strange. I remember the car being small too, like it was super awkward to get in the back and lift up the seat to get underneath, but as a kid, you had to do just that.

Why when you're a kid, are secret things the coolest? Hidden treasures, boxes with locked lids, treehouses, locked diaries.

More random...here’s another good cover-off:


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And maybe if everything is quiet for awhile I can write and do yoga and read…


I think this every day. Then the day goes by super fast, hyper warp speed, much faster than a speeding bullet.

I am finally watching Walking Dead. Made it through the first 2 seasons (thank you Netflix)—it has that slightly hokey drama that LOST had---long shoots of someone’s face after overhearing some tidbit, or discovering two people together, oh wait, there's a zombie, dududun. But it makes me glad that there aren’t zombies walking around trying to eat our brains and every thing else. Zombies are boring too…nothing but mehhhhhhhhhhh meeeehhhhhhhhh mhhhhhhhh all the time. Bo-RING. But the show is fun. I like that whole, What would you do if?-end-of-the-world thing. Those shows that are all over the place right now. At first, when I heard about Walking Dead, I was like, “Wow, this will be a short-lived show. For how long can the world outrun zombie invasion.” And yet…it’s more of a survival show (like LOST and Survivor and Revolution, etc.) What would you and what wouldn’t you do to survive?  Hey, now, that is sounding more relevant, isn’t it?

Without money and “normal” ways of making money and getting food/medicine/love/happiness/shelter what would you do? Who of us are not in a similar place now with the economy and jobs and debt and bills and the future of our planet? What are you cutting back to get by?  What does it mean to get by? What about all the other stuff; the creating, and relaxing, and loving, and time for fun? It's no fun working so so hard just to barely get by. "get by" what? Get by one more day? Get by another week? Shwoo, we made it another week honey! That's fucking painful.  Where's all the joy? Where's all the life? Fun? Ever heard of it? 

Would you rather me talk about Zombies again? 

The best part about Walking Dead is no cell phone no computers no tv. They work and talk and run and fight and eat and sleep. That’s it. Do you know how much I would love to have one dinner, with one person without the cell phone/texting/email/justcheckingtoseewhoitis interruptions?  Can’t people just sit and eat and talk without checking email? What is wrong with us?

I do it too. And I do chide myself for it. Distraction is our new motto. We need to focus ourselves to get through this tough time. Focus and plan and make strategic moves, not panic and rush around doing stupid reactionary shit and constantly checking our phones.

Focus. Plan. Do. My lecture to myself. Sorry.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Something

I should probably write something.

I voted. Voting is cool.  But. Politics are such a joke. Twiddle dumb or twiddle dumber. It always feels like a double or triple bind. I greatly dislike the social hypocrisy of the Republicans and find the democrats too invasive and poor money managers. There is no party for me to join (oh, what a pity--except the pity party, of course. Join me?) Now how indeed did that turn into a silly poem? Politics aside, now (and thank you once again candidates for killing our airwaves with total horseshit. We are so tired of hearing your rigmarole. It's the best part of the end of the election, radio silence until the next natural disaster/terrorist/school shooting.)

I had fun watching Haunted Honeymoon on Halloween night. D fell asleep. I laughed at Gene Wilder, who I love, despite my cooler self. Gene Wilder is lovely. Oh, and that Gilda Radnor. What a gal?

I think I will go on a Gene Wilder binge.  I bet they are all on Netflix.

I am still not eating anything. No dairy, no meat, no wheat, yeast or gluten, super reduced caffeine, no smokes. I feel like 100,000 times better. Fruit and vegetables rock. My skin is better. I feel lighter and less ill and have more mobility and better sleep and less exhaustion in the day time. Who needs a nap when you have vegetables?

The cold is breaking my stride. It has caught me off guard this year. I feel unprepared. It went from summer to winter. Yuck.

My daughter is amazing. She is learning Christmas carols. I am planning a great holiday for us. She will really like it--the lights and songs and tree and hoopla. The first time she will remember I bet. How cool is that?



Monday, October 22, 2012

I Fall to Pieces (Thank God I am a Good Cook)


So every few months the skin around my mouth gets all red and itchy and rashy and sometimes even blisters if I scratch it. It feels like a yeast infection on my face—all burny and itchy and gross. (Any kind of face rash makes me feel like an ogre, it's super unsexy.)

And, this "rash" usually occurs when I eat too much pasta or bread or drink too much beer--also most commonly at the change of the seasons. Do I have a gluten allergy? Or some kind of wheat or yeast “intolerance”?  I can be very intolerant so it wouldn’t be surprising.

I am off to see a dietician and a chiropractor and an herbalist in the next few weeks to find out what’s wrong with me. I'm hoping that I'll find some answers and get my body up and running again. So I can eat right for my body and take this weight off. Seriously people—I look like I ate myself twice or like I washed up on shore—major bloat.

I’m still not eating dairy or meat and that is helping but after a bread-waffle-pasta binge on Sunday, I noticed this rashy weird thing on my face plus my stomach was wowwowwubbzie, and I was making sad groaning noises and holding my belly like a child after Trick-or-Treat. Last night was brutal. Off to find some answers. Please stop offering me candy or bread or anything delicious with wheat, gluten or yeast in it--at least for now unless you want a reenactment of Sandra Bullock in Two Weeks Notice after she ate 3 chili dogs at the company tennis outing. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Different “You” (No, Not You, or You Either)


So this morning on the way to work,  I was listening to a local radio station that plays hard rock and “metal” but not really metal—there’s not really one in NYC like it—anyway the radio DJs were playing a game that made me think of you. I don’t think of you often so when I do I take note (it’s seems slightly heavy when it happens like a sudden cold spot in the ocean or sharp pain somewhere that usually feels like nothing.) The game was “James Hetfield vs. James Taylor.”  I could stop typing--if I were really talking to you, you would immediately pick up the strand and run, run, run with it. But since you don’t really exist, I will go on.

The game is simple; the DJ reads a lyric and the caller has to say if the lyric was sung by James Taylor or by James Hetfield. The first caller didn't know who James Taylor is--so you would have launched into a diatribe about stupid kids these days dotdotdot. Anyway, the DJ hung up on that dude (which would've made you happy) and found another caller who knew both Hetfield and Taylor. 

This was the first one:
Mama, she has taught me well
Told me when I was young
“Son, your life's an open book
Don't close it 'fore it's done”

Chris, the caller, guessed wrong. 

Here was the second one: 
With a holy host of others standing 'round me
Still I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me

Steve, caller numero dos, also guessed wrong.

This is a game that I would have been great at playing. You would have gotten them all right too, if you could have contained your laughter and snickering. We all know that James Hetfield is a sensitive fellow—he was a pioneer Emo after all.

While, I don’t think of you often, I hope you are well and that you’ve found some peace and happiness just like James (Hetfield or Taylor, your choice.) 



Watch out for the whistling Introduction...

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Be a Vegan for Halloween and Other Truths


For what’s left of October and all of  November, I am changing my diet. It’s time to cleanse. No meat or animal products, I also won’t be eating soy “meat” or other processed foods, just whole foods (with a few exceptions—I will eat cheeseless pizza from Smiths on Fridays.) This means more cooking. Expect recipes.

I am also abstaining from alcohol. No booze, beer, or wine. I will be less fun in some ways but more fun in other ways—think about it, all those veggies….  This will be harder since I only drink in moderation now—it will be less fun to go to happy hour for me, but please invite me anyway.

This is not about the animals  and their animal feelings, although I love love love animals. This is about my body and health and taking it more seriously. It’s a thread that I can no longer ignore.  It’s like an un-funny running joke with me. I feel okay and I want to feel great. Who can help me with that if not me? I know that eating less or no meat and  no dairy will make me feel better. I do not want to go so far that I start to smell like a vegan. We all know that vegans stink a little. Sorry peeps.

I am not going to be strict about the vegan thing, but giving a good shot at eating more whole fruits and vegetables first (before I eat anything else) and making a big effort on the diary front—meat is easy for me to avoid (I just don’t have a taste for it most of the time.)  If you make something with chicken stock, I will eat it. If you put parmesan on something, it’s cool. I won’t pack my own dinner when I come to your house. (This happened to me once, story to follow.)

I have a feeling that we will end up being a flexitarian family here soon enough. All these new words to describe what people eat. How silly.

 Autumnal Truths:
-       Hubbard squash is scary looking but very wonderful tasting. Go get yourself one and hack it up and roast it or make a pie or something. Hubbard squash used to be very popular and I would like to bring it back. So do your part.
-       You can put pumpkin in anything. I made pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin bread and I am thinking about making pumpkin and black bean enchiladas for dinner tonight.
-       Black beans: soak overnight, slow-cook with onion, garlic, a little bit of cumin, even-less cinnamon, stock or water, add cilantro and salt at the end. Cook for about 8 hours. Freeze some, eat some, take some to your hungry neighbors.
-       Soup is good food. (Okay, that’s not mine, but it’s totally true.) On Sundays I empty out the fridge of leftovers and we eat them, or throw them out. Then, I make soup with all the little bits of veggies and stuff left in the fridge. This week was a mushroom, onion veggie soup. Delish, btw.


The Vegan Story
Once many moons ago, I invited a potential date over for dinner with my friends. He and I had met a few times and I thought it would be a good test of sorts. I’m a good cook and always cooked for my roommates/friends on Sunday night (kind of a lifetime running theme, no?) It was a relaxed event and well rehearsed since we did it every week. So, I carefully planned a meal (and had asked him if there were any dietary restrictions to which he said “nope.”)  I was all excited to show off my cooking prowess and see if this guy could be a friend or more to me.  

In my small apartment with my 3 friends gathered around the “table”, he went for his backpack and opened it, and pulled out some totally gross looking eggplant slop and ask for a fork. Could I stab him with it? Maybe. He brought a brown-bag dinner to my dinner party. He was strictly vegan.

In the proximity of my tiny apartment, peppered with disappointment and the shock of his rudeness, in the breath of his request for a fork (why do vegans need silverware?) I could smell his ancient veganess—an acrid stink that mixes an old man from Sri Lanka and an old bum from the mental ward with some bitter herbs and rancid asparagus—there it was: the vegan stench. We soldiered on through the meal, my friends in shock and us drinking too much wine to compensate (I was too young to kick his ass out and move forward, which is what I would do now if the same situation presented itself.)  Needless to say, he and I did not date or become friends, we never shared so much as a meal (not the same meal anyway.) And when he left, I ate a big piece of homemade chocolate mayonnaise cake with ice cream and I swore that I would never almost-date a vegan again.

In hindsight that vegan was rude (not all vegan’s are) and he probably thought he was being polite and saving me the trouble but ended up hurting my feelings anyway and he and I would never have made it because he couldn’t be honest or up-front---shit, how long can you hide being a vegan when you’re dating?  I hope he found some nice stinky girl to hang out with and I am so glad it wasn’t me.

Anyway, off to get my hubbard squash out of the oven. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Mother


 “We are unusual and tragic and alive.”

All the mothers I know that have 2 year olds want to have another baby. What is it about age 2 that gives us a new desire to make more?  Is it the child’s new found independence? Is it that a 2-year-old’s favorite word “no!” is repeated over and over like a mantra making us want to say yes, yes, yes!? Do we fear the loss of the baby and the onslaught of the teenager? I fear that No will become popular again with S in about 10 years.

Is it something else? Maybe that I am getting old, older and there isn’t much time left to make more? Maybe the other mom’s are getting older too. We see the end of our eggs as a reason to rejoice and reason to sink into a great depression. It’s the end of our youth and womanhood; the end of our usefulness; the end of our productivity; the end of a reason to desire us. Why would a man want a woman if she was unable to make babies? That’s what my mind says. This whole train of thought is irrational, I know, but it’s also heavily biological.  Why are babies so important?

I am not happier now that I have a child. Sure, my kid is amazing. And she is funny. And wonderful and spicy and sassy and totally smart and weird. But she doesn’t make me happier. Am I a better person? Maybe, but only because I have learned more compassion and patience (which I may have learned eventually without having a child.)  I keep thinking about that horrible article from NYT: http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/. It’s horrible because its so bleak and so true. Having more kids doesn’t make anyone happier. It may even have the opposite effect. More kids means, more money problems (the leading cause for divorce in this country.) Kids do not equal happiness. I know this. So, why do I want more?

Do I really want another baby? No. So what’s going on?  Is it a way for me to feel relevant?  Do I just want a bigger family later in the future? Will I feel less alone if I have two kids instead of one? Will I feel more loved? Is this all some brilliant plot to make me feel better about myself?  What a load of horseshit.

I am working through it. I love my kid. She is perfect for me. What if another kid is not? What if we get a bratty, crappy kid that whines all the time and acts like an asshole?  Don't we have enough assholes on the planet?  I think so.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Coffee Poetry Napoleonic Mystery Hour

This morning I was reading some Elizabeth Bishop poems and found this quote in Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems "Objects & Apparitions:"
"One has to commit a painting," said Degas, "the way one commits a crime."

I love the quote. And I started to research it out. I am searching for where Degas wrote or said this, the original reference/source, but I can't find it. I am wondering if EB made it up. When I first started writing, I could not resist making up quotes from famous people. Like what if Napoleon said, "I like big butts and I cannot lie." That's fantastic isn't it?

Anyway, if you can find the source of the Degas quote for real [not in your funny imagination] send it my way. I need some context.

[Back up: yes, it sounds very haughty to say that I woke up and read poetry, but know that I was reading while S was watching Shark Tale (which I dislike, but she calls "awesome") and we were chucking apple slices at each other and I had an eye out for her knocking over or trying to drink my coffee which has happened now like 10 times and man, a kid on coffee is special. Not that I am apologizing for being a poet at heart or for reading and loving poetry, but I would hate for you to be sitting there thinking what a charmed life I have. without knowing that it's perfectly "charmed" if that means full of messes and fun and apples and poop and pretty much just the way I like it.]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Tells (for KP)


I can tell from what you are listening to on Spotify that your heart is broken. Who did that to you? Do you want me to punch his lights out? I will. And are you going to be okay or should cash in my high-yield CD to buy a plane ticket and fly to you and scoop you up and hold you until you feel better? Just tell me. I will do that for you. God, remember how we used to get drunk in the day time and be blinded leaving the bar at 4 pm, our squinty eyes giving it all away, we’d climb out from the bar-cave into the brilliant sun and search for cheap food and more drinks and dancing…remember how noon brunch turned into 4am dancing on the subway platform and falling asleep on the train and waking up in Coney Island, just to laugh at the ocean until the sun came up? Remember when you loved me more than anyone else loved me and when I loved you the same way? I would certainly cash in my high-yield CD to get that back again. Too bad time is not-for-sale. Without getting all Carol King on you, if you need me, send me the bat signal, or an email, or a message in a bottle. You know what to do. Breathing is hard, but you have to keep doing it. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What You Eat When You Eat Alone


Those of you who know me, know that this is a favorite topic. I like to ask this question at dinner parties. It is a topic that absolutely fascinates me.

What do you eat or cook for yourself, when it’s just you to consider, no one else, just you? Do you cook? Do you order? What do you eat?

As a woman and as a woman who cooks, food is so much a part of my life, my fabric, my core. Women are taught to love and nurture using food. My grandmother made cookies and desserts and casseroles and popcorn and grilled cheese because she loved me (and my mom and grandpa and all of us.)  My mom makes great guacamole and  killer potato salad. She made food for me because she loved me; for both my mom and grandma cooking was an act of love since neither of them loved to cook—both good cooks, both willing cooks, neither had the love for cooking.

Maybe it skips two generations? But whatever the reason, I love to cook. I love food. I love to feed and nurture with food. It started early. My mom would give me Tiger’s Milk bars from the health-food store and yogurt-covered pretzels from the Peanut Shop downtown. It was a treat. It was a nod from her to me to say “I love you and thought of you today.”  Just something small, but little yogurt-covered nuggets of love nevertheless.

Whatever it is—and please know that I could write about food, and dig in deep and go on and on forever—whatever it is that makes food so important to me, the reason isn’t as important (because there isn’t one reason but a multitude) as the effect. I cook with love. I make food because I love you. I make my daughter and husband dinner because I love them and want them to have healthy food to nourish their bodies and minds—those bodies and minds that I love and cherish and adore.  Cooking is an act of love. (And love is an act of will, remember?)

So, then, how do I love myself? What do I eat when there is no one else to please, no other tastes to consider? When I want to honor and love me, to nourish myself a little?

These are a few of my favorite things (to eat alone)
-       tapas: sardines in olive oil, simple crackers, goat cheese, capers, red onion, tomato slices, lemon wedge, new sprouts
-       macaroni and cheese with canned tuna and frozen peas (poor woman’s tuna casserole)
-       popcorn, cxtra-sharp cheddar,  crisp apple
-       red wine
-       chocolate bar to dip into peanut butter
-       sushi (at sushi bar)
-       cold pizza or cold leftover spaghetti 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Good Is an Egg-Corn If You Are Just Adding Salt to Injury (for RD)


Until I was 22 I thought the phrase was "adding salt to injury." I had the connotation correct, just not the denotation. It was something that my grandmother said, a lesson that she taught us, "No need to add salt to injury, Heather dear." That's what I heard in my head as a child. I'm sure that I didn't know what an insult was (when I was very little) but I did know how salt stung in a freshly scraped finger. 

So, even as I grew up, I still heard salt. That's what I knew it was. I am not sure if my grandmother said salt or insult but if I had to guess, she probably said insult. She loved words and writing and reading. (Unless she was the inventor of the egg-corn---which I will start claiming now!!!) 

I think I stumbled upon the phrase "add insult to injury" in a book. It took me a minute to realize that salt and insult sounded so much alike. By that time, the Internet was invented (thank you Al Gore) and I looked up the etymology of the phrase.

FROM WIKI:

Alternative forms

[edit]Etymology

This was derived from the fables of Phaedrus in the first century AD. The story was of a bald man who swats at a fly which has just bitten him on the head, but instead hits himself on the head. The fly comments, "You wished to kill me for a touch. What will you do to yourself since you have added insult to injury". The actual wording appears in English from the middle of the 18th century. This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology.

[edit]Verb

  1. (idiomatic) To further a loss with mockery or indignity; to worsen an unfavourable situation
    As if the hostile takeover weren't enough, to add insult to injury they scrapped ninety percent of our products and replaced them with their own.

[edit]Usage notes

[edit]Derived terms

[edit]Translations

[edit]See also


I love that "rub salt in the wound" is also another related and commonly used phrase. 

If I could go back to school and study anything I wanted like for fun, I would study linguistics and etymology and vernacular. 

I also would become an architect and a detective. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Places I Want to Go (Non-U.S.)


Odessa
Prague
Okinawa
Budapest
Lille
Antwerp
St. Petersburg
Helsinki
Aix-en-Provence
Heraklion
Istanbul
Tangier
Kathmandu
Colombo
Bangkok
Ha Noi
Shanghai
Ulaanbaatar
Fiji
Tonga
Rio de Janeiro
Bogota
Havana
Belfast
Cork
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Where’d You Go, HD?


I read this:


It was great. Here’s why.
Bernadette, the mom, is a creative genius. [This should sound familiar to you already.] She is married to Elgie, the dad, and he is a patient, hard-working, nice guy who works too hard to provide for his family. [yes, yes, again, familiar.] Then, there is their only daughter, Bee (short for Balakrishna), who was born premature and blue.

When Bee was born, Bernadette made a deal with God. She promised God that if Bee would live and be healthy that she would never create again.

The glitch with making a deal with God is well illustrated by all of Greek and Roman mythology and half of the Bible. We are human, not gods. And if we are God-like (or made in his image) then we are as like God as a shadow is like the person standing in the sun. We are a likeness, a reflection, a shadow of god. We are attracted to light, love, and beauty, and creation, but also pulled toward struggling darkness, treachery, wrongdoing, betrayal, and sin. We rebel against god and his likeness. Maybe it’s just too high of a standard for any human. What pressure?!?! People love to rebel against the people/the things that we are the most like (um, the second that we think we are becoming what our parents want us to be, we start shaving our heads, and piercing things, and drinking and smoking, and driving too fast, and having teenage sex or find any way to rebel to distance ourselves from the inevitable likeness of our creators.) All over the world we have different fundamentalists fighting each other. Why? Because their sect and their neighbor's sect are equally fired up—it’s a treat when you have that much in common but have only a slight difference (be it a generation gap, or a language barrier, or a different name for the same god, town, government); see also, the presidential election.

When we make a deal with God we always use the biggest, baddest bargaining chip that we can muster up—the chip with the most enormous emotional and personal heft. As if to deal with God, we have to go all in (how else could we even contend?) What is the one thing that I have that God might want or respect? I will trade my creative genius for my daughter’s life/health or trade my soul to play the blues. The deal will never work for us. It will always backfire. God really can’t be “dealt” with. It’s our naive and desperate mistake. How could we win? It’s a terrible gamble.

How could giving up your genius or soul make God happy?  And who are we to make that kind of deal? It never works (go back and read every myth ever written); mostly it doesn’t work because we are human. We barter the most important essential thing to us (or second most), and then later we can’t keep the deal because that thing that was so important to barter with is our very essence—it is who we are. It is the cotton of our lives.

The deal is always better for the deal taker. Think Rumpelstiltskin. That fucker. He always knew that people would bargain away anything to get what the thought they wanted in that moment—we are so into instant gratification that we will trade our hair for a fancy comb. Ol’ Rumpelstiltskin will always win. It’s human nature.]

Back to Bernadette: the genius of this story is that Bernadette made the deal with God and never told Elgie or Bee. She just rotted away inside and lived in a decaying house and disappeared from herself and her family all because she made a bad bet and never told her family the truth.

The story is a great lesson (for me right now). Don’t make deals with God. Tell your spouse the truth. Let your family love you. They will love you. And if you don’t create you will become a menace to society. Do I want to be a menace to society? No. So, HD, create. Talk to your family. And stop making deals with God.


Where'd You Go. Bernadette? is a great, fun, interesting beautifully written, funny book. You should read it. 

Listening to: Violent Femmes "Fat" http://youtu.be/EmF3Ze3nKYc

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sketches of My Sweetheart, the Drunk


I am writing more. it's just happening. I am writing two stories for ePublication. They are totally shit, genre fiction--but have potential to make a quick dime or two. And then there is the longer thing (not at all even close to calling it a novel...) that is more like a response (call-and-response) to We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Then there's the blog.

Ok, so here's what's up, I need to take more time for myself. I keep getting sick and it's because my life is out of balance. I need to get more exercise and more time to write and read. 

Why is time so fucked up? When I was a yout(h) I used to burn time. Like I was always "killing" time, waiting for friends to meet me, waiting for night to come, waiting for my mom to leave, waiting for school to end, waiting for godot. Now, I never have enough time. Does time actually go faster the closer we get to death? I don't think so. I have seen people die and dying and it doesn't seem fast. It seems to drag. Maybe time is slower at the ends (if your life was a line) so, it's slower at the end and at the beginning. Do you remember being a kid and waiting for your grandparents to show up and being so excited that you would get ready and run downstairs and sit on the couch and stare out the window? those moments seemed hours. (is that just "a watched pot never boils" coming true?) Now it seems that when I'm waiting for company, that they are always here well before I'm ready for them. House still a mess, hair wet, cheerios all over the carpet.... 

So, how to get more time to/for myself? Where does that time come from? 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Take Cover (or Make Cover, or As Yet Untitled)


I like books about books and movies about books. I am fascinated by iterations. The trickle down effect (is that even the same thing?) I am interested in parent and child relationships. In things/people that come from other things/people.

Where does inspiration come from?

Why am I like this? Why are you? (Where are you? God, what inspires you these days? I know it’s not me.)

How does that story feel like that movie, song, week in the my life, etc.? It’s the same thing that lives in that old-timey call-and-response of the church folks. “Say, Amen!” and all the people say, “Amen!”

It’s a dialogue, a conversation that comes in waves, in all forms of media. What inspires you? Haven’t you ever seen a scene in a movie and it made you want to go dancing? Or heard a song that cause a craving for a real kiss—long slow lippy passionate? Or read a short story and then rushed off to bake a salt-berry-buckwheat cake? It’s not just me….

Here are some classic examples of inspired iterations/call-and-responses: Jane Eyre/Wide Sargasso Sea; Emma/Clueless; Takeover/Ether; The Body/Stand By Me; Mrs. Dalloway/The Hours; Odyssey/O Brother, Where Art Thou?; James Brown/all rap & hip hop; (the obvious) Adaptation/The Orchid Thief; Taming of the Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You; Henry IV-Henry V/My Own Private Idaho

I like cover songs. Sort of. Some covers are so good that there is a place in the world for the original and the cover without conflict or battle. These instances are rare and truly special. Most cover songs just make me want the original. Give me the real thing Baby. Covers are entertaining. The one springing to mind today is Commodores/Lionel Richie  and Faith No More performing “Easy” is one of the best:


Friday, August 24, 2012

Story

This is a true story. How many stories start that way? Does it give you pause? It should.

What kind of narrator is this? What kind of person starts by telling you that the story is true--why would it be a lie?

This is a true story. [Pause] Take a breath. Take a rest. Think it over, are you ready for the truth or not?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Life Yoga


So, Balance.

The grind. It’s daily. Some days get too far away from me too fast. Yesterday it was one thing, today another.  And tomorrow will be all new but so strangely familiar—is it déjà vu? Probably not. Time for change? Probably.

Not looking for a new love. Not looking to start a family. I have those two huge, awesome chunks of life. So, how about a new job? OOOhhhh, even better, a whole new career? What do I want to do?

I am kicking around the tires in my mind. Please don’t go out and tell everyone that I am quitting my job—I’m not, just thinking about what else I want and how to get it. How to have a more satisfying worklife. I need to be more creative. It’s what I miss the most.  It’s about balance. Right now, my job is out of balance—too much technical, to much file management, not enough creativity. Who can fix that if not me?

Right. So…now what?  Write more. Chew more gum. Don’t smoke…not even a little. Find a way to write and make money.  Think about smoking, but don’t do it. Make my job better.

Make quinoa. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Equinox


Summer is fleeting. It’s moving away from me—moonwalking just out of my reach.  I missed the heart of summer. There was so little time for fairs, and games, rides and elephant ears—I missed put-put golf, patios, and ice-cream trucks singing “Pop Goes the Weasel.”  The days are shorter, nights darker—the call of morning birds comes later and later, and more quietly as if they too sense Fall sneaking up just around the next corner and are hushed to hide in plain sight. Maybe if Fall can’t see us, then she won’t come?

Maybe I am more nostalgic now. Now that S will be two years old. Two years I have lived with her (longer if you count gestation)—for two years my life has been transformed, in transformation. Out of all the years (thirty-five to date) two seems few, seems small, seems like a blip of time. But measured against the enormity of these two years, it seems that I’ve never lived without her. How did I ever live without her? Who would I be without being S’s mama?  No one (not now that I am.)

Next summer, my dear baby, there will be fairs, and put-put, and “Pop Goes the Weasel.”  And more swimming, my fearless water-loving child. We will take swim lessons this winter and tumbling too. More fun to have, just fun inside away from the cold and rain and frost.

For now, we have sun. A few more days at the pool for you, tan and splashing in the fountains. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Talisman Banana, Daylight Come and Me Want to Go Home


I used to carry two bullets in my pocket. A boy gave them to me (along with other trinkets; a miniature decorative pill case filled with dried flowers, tiny strangely colored rocks, two broken cameo rings pressed in concrete.)  I carried the bullets with me everywhere for the better part of a year (which is like 10 years when you're a teenager) and I would rub them like a worry stone deep in my pocket. Wore them to a shine like the satin edges of my baby blanket. Without any thought to them being actual bullets, they were charms that kept me safe and brought me comfort. They were part of a series of scared objects, lucky charms that I’ve had in my life. 

[Can you imagine that now…a girl in high school with two bullets in her pocket?!?!?!? Holy fucking shit. I also had a bumper sticker that read “CARBOMB” which was hilarious to me at the time—my car was a piece—at a time when car bombs were only in James Bond movies. Times they are a changin’ baby.]

I have been on the lookout for a new talisman for myself (and one for a friend in need.) These are not things that you can just go to Target and buy.  Good talismans are found or discovered and have an emotional weight/connection that holds and harbors the power, the connection.

Do I believe in magic? I believe in healing. I believe in God and the power of the human mind. Why do I like farm-raised organic meat from the farmer’s market? It makes me feel good about myself (and it tastes better.) There is a tremendous amount of power in things/objects/ideas/mantras that make us feel safe or better or well or saved or comforted. That is organic (both "universal" and the meat.) That is healing. That is God.

So, yes, I believe in magic. I believe that a talisman can help you when you need help. It helps us focus our minds on something…gives us a place to put that thought, that energy. It is like prayer. It’s specific—it helps us direct our wants and wishes and sends all of our energy into one space. Most of us have these charms (real or imagined) in our lives. 

I am powerful. When I focus on something and really stay focused, I can make it happen. [yes, it sounds so witchy.]  I forgot that for a long time.

I remember now. Talisman or not.