December 09, 2009
Purchase: Mediabistro.com Avant Guild Membership and Freelance Marketplace subscription. $55 dollars plus $15 monthly.
Desired purchase: Down dog t's from stayhuman.com
My new goal is to either submit something to a literary magazine, or to send one query each week. Doable.
It's weird to find yourself in the same cycles. The web remembers. It was Dec. 2007 when I last had an Avant Guild membership. It's December again, life slows down, but I still have yet to accept that. I'm fighting against the freeze! What I really end up doing though, I spreading myself too thin, and taking my focus away from other important things, like the jobs and commitments I have already.
So glad to have spent most of the day with Robynne Anne Locke yesterday! We always get too deep about career and life though, going along with my mood of the last week. I think maybe this cycle is perpetuated by another - the travel cycle. I tend to travel every November. Perhaps it shortens or elongates the fall season, so when December comes, I'm scattered.
December is the prettiest month name.
like shards of thin ice
I place in my mouth,
to taste the winter.
Turned too quickly
the edge is as sharp as a knife -
the iron taste lingers
and blends with the grit
taking me further
into the darkness
of the season.
I decided not go to yoga tonight, since the truck is broken again, and I need tires. I did an experimental practice at home - though I may venture out to buy a bottle of the darkest red to first alleviate my cabin fever before I come back home to relish in it.
December 06, 2009
Canary sheets, new, clean, cool. Alone. She stood up, still holding onto one corner, and stepped through the open doorway of this room, into the sun room off the side. The front door was open too. Open to an expanse of yellow sand, and the cobalt sea that woke her. Dropping the sheet, in underwear and a tee, she sat at the small table in the center of the room. She felt the cold, polygonal shapes of the mosaic making indents in her thighs. She traced the designs on the small matching coffee table. A few wild grains of the ocre sand had pushed their way in through the open doorway, the breeze was warm, as though it was coming off a dessert, not the ocean. In the most casual way, she felt lost.
She spun around, this was real? Well, she'd "Love some..."
The woman was friendly, familiar, but she couldn't remember her name...her mother? No, certainly not. But images did not come flooding back to her. She hoped when she brought the coffee, the woman would sit down and join her.
Again realizing she was in her underwear, she decided to look in the dresser across from the end of the bed. It was filled with her clothes, things that smelled familiar. She grabbed a wrap-skirt, and tied it around her waist. She picked the sheet back up, but only to place it back on the bed, unmade. She felt lost, yet comfortable. Not quite sure where she was, or why, but at the same time, not surprised.
The woman came back with the coffee, and did join her at the table with her own small cup. "Thank you..." she trailed off.
"Lydia," smiling. "I own this small inn here. You've been sleeping for a day or so...you had a long few days of travel...Joan."
That opened a door. Joan slowly sipped her coffee, sensing conversation was not necessarily necessary. She was brought a little closer to earth, a little more of the dreamlike cloud she felt like she was in lifted. "Thank you...yes, it was a long few days...coming from LA." She looked out at the blue water again...waves continuously and quietly crushing the sand into even tinier bits. Fiji. She had known nothing about it, wanted to go on a vacation alone. Here she was.
"Thank you for the coffee, I think I needed it." Said Joan. "I am sorry if I am acting a bit loopy, I must have needed this vacation badly."
"Think nothing of it, Joan. I think you're right on - spend the day on the beach, relaxing. I will be around and we can talk whenever you'd like."
"Do you have an international phone I can use?" asked Joan.
"Yes, of course. Who would you like to call?"
Joan didn't know. She just felt so out of touch...wouldn't some one be worried about where she was? 'I am a grown woman,' thought Joan to herself, looking down at the same time towards her own lap.
Lydia rose, taking the empty cups with her, seemingly satisfied with out an answer.
Joan did not feel depressed, did not get back into bed. The coffee had not cleared her head, but had given her some energy. She went back to her dresser, and decided to grab her notebook to write down her thoughts, or at least put pen ot paper to try to find them.
There was a small, new notebook in her dresser, with an envelope sticking out the top. She picked up the empty notebook, and pulled out the letter, from her sister.
(((More to come soon...)))
November 30, 2009
With the help of The Nutty Vermonter I made some spicy peanut noodles. (she has recipes on her site, but I kind of just threw this one together.)
Package of firm tofu
a red pepper, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 c of Maple and Chipotle Triple Nut Butter
one roll of Udon noodles (for serving one, use more noodles for more people)
saute the tofu and red peppers in the oil for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients - all while boiling the udon noodles (8 mins). It's a very quick dinner. I am so happy I had all of this on hand.
It's a bit spicy, and my sauce was pretty thick actually. But it was good, and I have leftovers to put right alongside the Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge. Not really a local recipe...but you can get many local ingredients - plus I like always love to support my local peanut butter lady ;)
The Maple and Ginger Triple Nut Butter is FRICKIN AWESOME. I want to get more...
Going to pick Jamie up and work - and oh yeah, I haven't showered yet after yoga...ew.
November 29, 2009
We are going to get our Christmas tree.
I have put the turkey breast (previously mentioned) in my new crockpot - birthday present!
On a bed of:
- onion (chopped)
Stuffed (under the skin) with:
- a ton of sage
- thyme from the garden
- 1/2 stick of butter
Salt & pepper.
We'll have home-made cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.
November 28, 2009
We lay in that bed one sunny evening after making love
and decided to name our first girl Cat, we were going
to name her Cat, but now we have departed forever from our
love-making, and we will not have a little girl, nor any
children at all, and I am doomed to become the poet
in your dreams who falls continually like the evening rain.
-- Richard Brautigan
My family tells me that they consider me their 'food' person - that my ideas and attempts inspire them to learn more, or make better decisions, and cook good food. This makes me feel good. Being in Burlington, I meet people every day who inspire me in this regard, most I am intimidated to even get into a conversation with. Sometimes I feel like I am one of those people who have yet to move past the ability to spit out what I read (...what's the word?)
No matter - there is no need for me to find more things to feel guilty about. Tonight I spent probably 2 hours in City Market, 40 minutes of that conversing with a yoga friend who is also my inspiration to buy a juicer.
What all these people have in common is their attempt to be aware of their actions and decisions - in this case, regarding food, and what they put into their bodies. Ingesting is necessary, it is a requirement for life, and I think good, healthy food is a requirement to fulfill our humanness.
I am reading a great book right now called "Gardens; An Essay on the Human Condition," by Robert Pogue Harrison. I know, heady. Did you even make it past reading his name? Though scholarly and dense, there are some simple ideals in there I found and love.
He reflects on a photography book by Margaret Morton called "Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives" that features gardens created by the homeless or destitute in New York. Rather than creating some kind of shelter, which we would assume they would be in more immediate need of, these people create gardens, a place of repose. "A sanctuary of repose...is a distinctly human need, as opposed to shelter, which is a distinctly animal need, so much so, that where the latter is lacking, as it is for these unlikely gardeners, the former becomes all the more urgent."
We need good food like we need transitory gardens - our animal need can fulfill itself simply through the ingestion of calories, but our human need must be satisfied through healthy choices. Choices good for our body, community, world and yessss SOUL. We must utilize and satisfy our consciousness.
And don't worry, I'm not a super food freak...yet. I believe comfort food is just as important for our minds and bodies as any spirulina shake. We've just got to find some kind of balance and consistency...I'm on the search.
November 27, 2009
And I'm staying in.
I want skills. But more than just the skills (which are easy enough to gain) I want to get good at them, to do them over and over again until it becomes true knowledge and meditation. Like baking bread: Bread idea.
Guess that means taking the time to do something, regularly. I hope I am capable of something like that. I am comforted in some ways that perhaps this is a skill that is not mastered when one is young, that maybe as I get older, I will be able to sit still for longer periods of time, to think less, to slow and focus my thoughts. Practice. Even without much effort, and just practice, I believe one can't help but get better at something. Like blogging (which I hate calling blogging) Ill call it writing, well typing. It's easy this way.
My GOODNESS I ingested a lot yesterday...some things which I will not speak of here. (Note, the pic above is not from Thanksgiving, but from my trip to Austria in August.) We spent the night at our friends', which was the smart decision. I can't tell what kind of confusion or guilt I am feeling, but I know it's nonsense - and I feel it too often. Travel really does throw off my discipline, which is another reason I decided to stay home this weekend.
Om suryaya namaha
I chanted this often while I was gone. It's a mantra calling upon the sun, the dispeller of darkness. Dispell me from this dark cycle of thought. Dispell us from our ingestion sickness.
I am making a grocery list, and I am very bad at buying snacks, because I dislike buying prepackaged things. Any suggestions? (I want to get more of this nut butter at the next farmer's market.)
On this note, I have purchased daily multi-vitamins for Jamie and I for the winter...I'll post more on that soon.
I'm reveling in my aloneness here, your aloneness there
a bit crazy and wild-like
for me in this 1200 square feet
November 24, 2009
I am not really referring to the leftovers Thanksgiving turkey supplies us with.
I spent twice a much on a large breast (get the giggles out) for Jamie and I - locally and organically grown not far from here - as it would cost to buy a whole turkey from Price Chopper. I was reaffirmed in my decision after seeing a slide show about where Butterball turkeys come from, how they are conceived, live, and die. I wish I had inclinations to become a vegetarian, but I'll save that for my next, further enlightened life where I can survive on mostly air.
So I spent about $60 just beginning to plan our dinner for two, when we found out we have other friends in town - chef friends. Who won't allow anyone else to bring food. They're doing that to be wonderful, perfect hosts...so well, I guess we'll have our second supper on Sunday. Truthfully I was not completely organized, and I did NOT want to be trampled in the grocery store riot tonight - the night before Thanksgiving.
Back to the 'spend more, eat less, buy local' argument stuff. I narrowed my reasoning down a bit. We've all heard the gory details about tortured animals, the agregious amounts of pesticides used on our veggies, or even hormone influence growth in all of the above. Here's a more philosophical thought:
Not unlike the cannibal ideal, who desire to eat human flesh to gain the strength of their enemies, I desire to eat locally grown, sustainable, organic or handcrafted foods to infuse myself with positive energy and ideals of the farmer or artisan.
Every living cell holds a different story, knowledge or strength - life has scribbled a different note on each one, and I want to eat poems.
November 20, 2009
Travel is inspiring of course - it can expand our mind and perspective in many different ways. Spending 3 days in different airports and people-watching is part of this inspiration.
Inspiration to not end up like many of the people I see. Inspiration to never eat fast food again. Inspiration to boycott shopping forever. (I spent about an hour imagining the blogging possibilities not purchasing anything new for one year would bring me.)
The hardest part is finding something to eat that is semi-affordable, and does not make me grip my stomach in pain after eating. I made a mistake in Nadi by choosing the cheap option; veggie samosa and pakora. Cheap, relatively small, but totally deep fried. Luckily, I am not a large person by nature, but I think I understand food addiction. (Like there is chocolate cake in the fridge right now - I may not eat until I am sick in one sitting, but I will certainly take small bites every time I walk passed until it's gone.) Those samosa caused me stomach pain on the 11 hour flight into LAX...during which I ate a mystery meat chicken sandwich.
*Note: Always opt for the vegetarian option on your flight. Or simply drink juice - it is probably better for you. The vegetarian option is usually not as glamorous, but that also means it may not be microwaved. Which leads me to my next encounter - mystery meat.
"You know chicken is a chicken, right?" I saw this quote recently and thought "I'd like to think so." Most of us don't tend to think about what's in our food other than calories, vitamins or fat. But think bigger...think beyond words...chicken? Where? All I see is some pink, cushy type lump on top of my salad. It's most definitely that stuff they call "machine processed" which just makes me picture a poor chicken being ripped to shreds by 8,000 tiny, sharp surgical instruments in about 2 seconds. Or about this show I saw once, where they literally liquified a chicken, bones and all, into a sort of paste, which I bet could easily be stuck back together again into something resembling what was on my salad...that I ate in LAX, right along with the 'bacon' bits.
Ah! But it was my choice - this salad was sitting right next to a nice Greek salad, Olives and feta on top of the same creepy lettuce...and I chose the mechanical chicken.
I suppose it was better than opting for "Chili's, Too." Barf. Baby steps.
At least at home I have more control of what I am eating. I revel in buying local organic items. I had a hard time with the turkey this year - I spent 25 dollars on an organic turkey breast for Jamie and I from a local farmer...then saw entire turkeys at Price Chopper for 15, and tried not to get depressed. I don't do these things to boost my ego, (as far as I can tell) I honestly want us, people, to take pride in putting something good into our brains and bodies!
I realize this sounds rather harsh. I do NOT plan on always posting something cynical, but it's necessary at the moment. I thank the world for putting me in Vermont, a little bubble of awareness.
To be continued...
September 20, 2009
Volunteered at Rural Vermont's Tour de Farms today...more on that later.
Zucchini Polenta Chevre Tartin
Peach Bacon Bleu Cheese looks incredible salad
Ok, and two more - Carrot Cilantro Soup!
Acorn Squash stuffed with corn Pudding
September 15, 2009
OH, little striped almost-gourd-squash - it's good to see you! Thank you, Mazza family, for growing huge quantities of these little guys, and selling them for little more than $1 each.
Once the first hint of fall hits the air, I become torn between wanting a few more hot summer days, and driving out immediately in search of hayrides and or pumpkins to buy and put on my deck (and to later make pie out of!!)
I think I am allowed now - last weekend I went apple picking, and had to make apple crisp because I realized I do not own a rolling pin...hmmm.
But back to Delicata. Jamie actually eats it, and it's easy to make. I'm just going to cut it in half (take out the seeds and roast them, too, mmmmm) put some butter, salt, pepper and honey inside and roast them until they are soft! Simple simple yum yum, simply yum.
August 28, 2009
I have about 35 shiny green tomatoes sitting out on my deck, that about 30 minutes ago were happily hanging from their stems - their spotted, crispy-leafed stems.
A week or so ago, a friend came by and as I was bragging about how many tomatoes were on my vines, he casually asked if we had any blight problems, since so many people do. I did not then, but I swear, the next morning, leaves were yellow. Then brown, then I saw a nasty tomato. So today, I picked my beautiful (?) fruit.
What did we do before we had the internet to answer all of our questions?
I had been planning on months of home-made tomato sauce to carry me through winter, but it looks like the next week will be filled with green tomato recipes.
Two that I will certainly be trying:
Fried green tomatoes with buttermilk dressing
Green tomato soup with ham or bacon
I think these two are a good addition to my localvore challenge menu for September!
August 24, 2009
Since recently moving to Jericho, Vermont, I have decided to embrace the 30 minute drive into the ‘city’ and am excited to take part in things I think define a ‘country lifestyle.’
(Not completely blind to this idea, I did grow up in Maine owning and caring for an assortment of animals, but as will happen, I spent college and some years after exploring other ways of living in New York City…some things get lost in translation.)
Lucky enough to be a transplant in this area, I am less afflicted (as some neighbors my age) with the fear of being a ‘townie’ and I am able to explore and embrace my surroundings without feeling the desire to leave. At the same time, being new to the area makes it harder to know what’s good – to meet people, farmers, find even decent grocery stores or the bank, not to say even farm stands. One of my first goals is to find a place or series of farms where I can buy as much of my groceries locally as possible.
So last week I drove down River Road in search for one of these elusive farm stands (which should not be so allusive, first problem?) in hopes I would find some where that I could frequent this summer. I passed a few signs saying ‘eggs’ but stopped at one with an intriguing sign saying ‘self-serve.’
I pulled off to the side of the drive, and stepped out. A radio was quietly murmuring in the barn, and I noticed a sign saying ‘baby turkeys.’ There was no one else around, though, so I wandered through the yard shouting ‘hello?’ as to not startle anyone, and took a quick picture of the baby turkeys on my cell phone. (Their days of cuteness are numbered.) Taking a brave step around back, I came across a shirtless Steve and his wife Wendy tending to the chickens. Apologizing, I inquired as to where I could find the eggs. Steve, introducing himself and his wife Wendy said not to worry, most people can’t find them first. They are simply in a small refrigerator right under the ‘eggs’ sign. Embarassed anyway, I joked with him that I was wondering if ‘self-serve’ meant that I had to collect the eggs from the layers myself. I hoped I had conveyed the humor in what I was saying to him, as (having chickens myself growing up) it wouldn’t have been that alien to me. Driving up, I had visions of myself, in skirt and flip flops, covering my head with one arm while the other blindly searched among feathers and feet for the still-warm prizes.
For the first time I was thankful for the 94 Ford Ranger I was driving. Perhaps it provided me with some sort of legitimacy in Steve’s eyes as a Vermonter. I bought a dozen for 3.75 (well, I left a ‘5’ in the jar) – they were huge, bursting out of the recycled egg carton that Steve’s regular customers return to him. “We’ve also got extra-large, mostly double yokers…” I thanked him; jumbo was certainly big enough.
I believe these eggs are better than store bought, but does that make them so? The argument can be made that they are more ‘natural’ – they are free range (I could see the chickens running around myself), and do not under go any processing except the washing Steve or Wendy does. Then, hand, stove, mouth.
Driving home I smile, looking at the dozen sitting on the passenger seat beside me, busting from the container. I show Jamie my prize when I get home. Are they still simply a novelty for me? Natural is a term with a lot of stigma surrounding it. It barely means anything on it’s own – now every time it’s used we must define it. Despite this issue though, I think most people want more of this…natural thing.
If I feel better about serving a certain food, food with a happier story, I think it is better for those I am serving it to.
To be continued...