Monday, December 31, 2012

Review-ish

I've avoided this blog for the last year(ish). Not because I didn't have anything to say, but because what I had to say was weird and painful.

It's December though, so there's all this year-in-review tension pulling at me. In typical fashion, I want to write and photograph and document the hell out of my life.

My life has been pretty tumultuous lately, and the words still feel a bit raw in my head. I left Mr. J after nearly 10 years. Nothing earth-shattering or scandalous; to put it frankly, I was bored.

I moved out and got an apartment with my best friend, Steve, against advice from friends that he has a penis and can therefore not be trusted. Despite his penis, he is quite trustworthy. So much, in fact, that our friendship turned romantic and we started dating. A year later, we married.

It sounds a bit clinical and time-liney put that way, but I don't mean for it to. The hard parts were hard, but the good parts redefine amazing. Divorcing someone who is stable and good does not feel great; but because my existence seems to be characterised by extreme balance not long afterward I found a life that I felt like I was preparing for all along. Double-plus good.

I used to be constantly braced for impact, waiting for the thing that was going to confuse and annoy me. I don't feel so confused or annoyed now, so that's awesome.

Tomorrow, probably the first new year in over fifteen years that I've rung in without a hangover and Book of Mormon the musical (oh yeah… LDS convert. Weird, right?).

Not exactly a year-in-review, but I'm calling this a good start.

The Beach


I used to say that the only time I felt the presence of God was at the beach. Being near the ocean was one of the few times in my life that I have felt a sort of whole-ness that I related to God… if God existed.

I have a new-found belief in God, and a completely different perspective; I believe in things I cannot see or eat. I have faith in things unproven. Not in a blind way, in a promised and promising way. But being near the ocean still feels me with a sense of something important. If a thing can feel peaceful and urgent at the same time, that's what it is. I feel like I have a reason for being, a purpose that tugs at my soul and ties me up in a fervor.

I don't get to the beach too often these days. I used to go once a year with a group of friends. Among those friends is my ex-husband; someone I still consider a friend, but not someone I can spend a weekend at the beach with.

My last trip to the beach was impromptu and short, but no less amazing for it. I felt God there, confirming that I have a purpose even if I don't know what it is. I felt simultaneously very small and quite large, in a way that I often don't.

So I laid on my belly and snapped this photo, of course.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shopping is hard with a headache

I stayed home from work today with a serious migraine. Being sick like this makes me crave soup, so I dragged my sorry self out to the market for the materials for broccoli cheddar soup.

You might know how much I don't like people. Oh, I love them in that we're-all-connected-in-our-souls sort of way, but I don't like being around them. Strangers make me cranky, especially when they're in large groups that aren't a concert venue where it's acceptable to elbow someone in the throat if they step on you. They mill around in my way, they cut me off in traffic, their kids scream at a pitch that makes me want to build a cabin in the woods and never come out.

I'm working on some spiritual stuff though, and it is making me change how I think about people. So I brave the market, kids, housewives, and all. I put on my peaceful face, drawing a sort of impenetrable contentedness around me so people won't be able to piss me off. I've got a lot of practice at this sort of shielding, but it is hard to accomplish when I'm fighting a headache that makes me want to throw up.

While shopping, I exchanged a few words with a store worker while he stocked shelves of bread. Nothing remarkable or profound, just friendly chit-chat that made me feel like we really are all connected in our souls. He was nice and he made me feel good - about my headache, my spiritual growth, about being out in the world.

My head still hurts and I'm still considering throwing up, but I have a little less fear-and-hate about interacting with the world today. I will try to remember this feeling, and maybe next time it will be me saying a few friendly words to someone else. And maybe it will help them to feel less pain about other people.

Also, broccoli cheddar soup? It will be delicious, because I learned how to julienne a carrot.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Barbies

When I was a girl I had a lot of Barbies. My mom had an old red-haired Midge dolly from the 60s that I used to play with, the kind that were solid inside before their arms and legs would bend. My mom made clothes for them, and I had a giant house and a car for them.

I have no idea what happened to all my dollies; I don't think I've even seen them since I was ten years old. I hope they got left behind in an attic somewhere, and some other little girl came along and found them and loved them. I haven't thought about my Barbies in years, and I certainly haven't craved playing with them.

I'm pretty sure I would like a Barbie doll now.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Potato Soup

The weather has gotten unbearably cold and that almost always means soup. I am new to cooking, so my soup-repertoire is a little small. Since I didn't want to eat leftover chili for three meals in a row, I thought I'd work on my potato soup recipe.

Well… it's not exactly my recipe. I did steal it off the internet. I made it really interesting though, by adding cream cheese, garlic, and Italian seasoning.

The recipe is rather simple:

Saute vegetables for the base (I use onions, celery, radishes, and carrot) in butter, in a large stock pot. Add chopped potatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning (I make that myself too!), and enough chicken broth and cover the potatoes; bring to a boil then cook, covered, until potatoes are softened.

Add butter, cream cheese, and milk and mash potatoes. Today, I served my soup with delicious Italian bread and shaved parmesan cheese.

I like this soup a little chunky, so I don't smash the potatoes completely. The first time I made it too thin so I thickened it up some with some instant potato flakes; the last time I made it far too thick and it was more like mashed potatoes than soup. I think it's a good idea to have a little extra chicken broth on hand to thin it out when necessary. The nice thing about this soup is you don't ruin the flavour by experimenting with consistency, so it's easy to make adjustments at the last minute without having to throw the whole batch away.

Snow is in the forecast, so today was a great day for chunky potato soup and a fire.

Tomorrow's menu consists of pork roast and some kind of yummy vegetable, and then I'll have enough leftovers to feed myself for the entire week!

Experiments in chili

I tried this chili recipe last night, with a couple variations: dried navy beans and 13-bean combination (because I'm a sucker for not using shit that comes in cans); I also used about half a can of tomato sauce, and chopped tomato instead of canned tomato. I'm pretty sure that using the tomato sauce made it a little less 'clean-eating' than the original recipe called for, but I was happy with the results.

What I learned: the beans I used needed to soak a lot longer than I thought. I boiled the beans for two minutes then let them soak for an hour; by the time I used them in the chili (several hours later), many of them were still rather hard and crunchy.

Apart from that, I'd call the chili mostly-successful. This is only the second chili recipe I've made (first recipe courtesy of Bunny, who is quite possibly the best cook I know after my mama) and I'm looking forward to improving it.

Next on my list of experiments: marinara sauce, because pasta is proof of the existence of god as far as I'm concerned.

My fans