Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yoga


Oh, dear. My, my, have I been wound tight these past couple weeks. Full moon? Upcoming period? Wedding stress? Book stress? Family drama? Yes, yes, yes.

I had a knot in my neck that hurt for two weeks. I thought it was from falling asleep on the couch. I forced myself to swim and hike. Pain and pain. I sat in front of a jet in the jacuzzi, I stretched! Little did I know, it was merely my damaged 5th chakra.

I say this half sarcastically, half wholeheartedly. In Sedona, Mark and I got aura readings. My chakras of course were seriously misaligned and mangled, while Mark's aura and chakras were heavenly and perfect and the psychic ladies fawned all over him. WHATEVER.

I half believe that this is all new agey bullshit, and I half believe it is 100000% true. Wanna know why?
Because I said not a word in yoga today, but the whole class was ABOUT ME. She talked about the full moon (Yes! I go nuts when there is a full moon!) the change of seasons (Yes! I love fall but it makes me sad! Why?) grinding teeth and the necessity of 5th chakra stuff (Me! I grind my teeth!). Then we did like 20 minutes of positions that heal the 5th chakra. This is in your throat, neck, upper back, where I am all tensed, where all my tension has been. I felt such a release in one position that I started crying.
THEN she explained that this is the part of the body that holds stress that comes from things you can't change. Excess stress- unnecessary stress. Stress that comes from DECISION MAKING (!!! I have never had to make so many decisions in such a short time period!) and the stress from worrying about things you really can't change or fix (EVERYTHING FAMILY RELATED!)
She told us at some point to say the serenity prayer to ourselves- grant me the strength to change the things I can, accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference.
At the end, lying there in the dark, I said this to myself so many times. Over and Over. I ended up saying "serenity" instead of "strength" then "accept" then "wisdom" until it just degenerated into "serenity" over and over in my mind.
I left feeling a lightness and happiness that I have not felt in weeks. I left thinking that $7 is a great price to pay for a  90 minute workout/therapy that actually works.
I must do yoga more often!
This picture is from a wonderful day with Mark in the Antelope Valley. I CAN feel peace. I HAVE felt peace, it is possible.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Going to Arty Events With Mark

Last night, Mark and I went to go see "Los Angeles Plays Itself." I would categorize this as an "Arty" thing to do, because it's not the Arclight, and because it's one of those movies Arty people talk about. Mark thought it was absolutely hysterical, and it was. He probably liked it because it was basically a bunch of previews of movies about LA (sorry, LOS ANGELES) and that's a reason I liked it too. The Q and A afterwards, however, was the interesting part to me, because of the multitude of stupid questions people ask. One lady was offended (of course) about his lack of representation of minority filmmakers (there was plenty of representation of minority filmmakers and the whole movie was basically criticizing rich white men.)
Another person criticized  his attachment to architecture, and not to the people of Los Angeles. I get this, because half of the love you have for a city is for its buildings. I know this is how I feel about New York. I know I love that skyline. I know I love the feeling of being small among these mammoth creatures. I know I love the tunnels and the trains that go through them. I know I love the bridges that cross the rivers. I love how each apartment building is different. I love the colors and the art in the cement.
I know the devastation I felt about the World Trade Center was equally about both the people and the buildings, and my godmother died that day, so when I say I loved the buildings too, I mean it. I loved standing between them. Looking up. They created a wind tunnel and I loved standing between them and thinking that I might float away. I loved that they were mirrors, the biggest mirrors ever imaginable, reflecting the city, the water, the harbor, the bridges. I loved going to the top. Once I went up there while they were in the clouds. All you could see was white and grey. Zero visibility. Literally in the clouds. I loved it.
I think these thoughts, and Mark things whatever it is that he thinks.
He has more patience than I go at museums and galleries. I get frustrated easily. I like to look around for one thing that connects to me immediately then stare at it for a long time to see what happens in my brain. I like to follow lines with my eyes- brush strokes, pencil strokes. In all honesty, I am annoyed by a lot of art. I like the act of people coming together, not the act of alienation, which is what I think most art strives for- alienating people to make them feel stupid and apart and separate.
Mark, though, is perfectly content to wander, and wonder, and say, "Hm." He likes to look. I love this about him. He is slower than I am, wandering around, gazing, and I am crazed, my mind sputtering, judging, eavesdropping on people and laughing at them or wishing I could talk to them. But Mark seems to get more enjoyment out of Arty things than I do, or a different enjoyment, or just an enjoyment, whereas I am looking for stimulation.
*** This is Mark at our friend Samantha's awesome show: samantharoth.com

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pelicans

I went to Malibu last week with Andrew, my little brother, and his girlfriend. Many things happened. Andrew and I had an intense discussion at the foot of crashing waves, cliffs behind us, giant rocks all around, everything around me how I felt inside.
A couple was getting married on the beach and I pulled the car over. The wedding party passed right in front of my car, then the bride. I cried. Alex, Andrew's girlfriend, said it was the first wedding she had every seen.
And of course there were Pelicans. When a pelican slows down, hovers, then dives in a free fall head first PLOOMP into the ocean, I inevitably get the giggles. I can't help it- I am overcome with joy.
The first time I saw a Pelican was with Mark on a whale watching cruise off Long Beach. The guide said that their eyelids are see-through, so that the pelican can keep an eye on the fishy they are trying to poke out of the water. Awesome. It's easy to think that we are independent of the world around us, that we are these self contained beings, but of course we are not. We are all shaped by everything around us. The tiniest atoms of the pelican are shaped by the air and the water and the fishes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Big Girls

 I have a kooky story up in Jersey Devil Press, a kooky lit mag.
Here is the link:
Big Girls

LOST

I had a conversation once with a girl I used to be friends with about what we would do if we found out we had days to live. She said she would go out and wreak mayhem, do heroin, rob banks. I said I would just want to hang out with my friends and family. She said, that says a lot about who we are. I agreed, but I didn’t get it. I didn’t get why anyone would want to rob a bank. I think LOST would say that she would rob banks for a thousand years in purgatory until she realized she just wanted to be surrounded by the people she loved. Maybe this is why I loved this show, and this finale.

I'm aware of the gripes people have with the series. I've heard about frustration over manufactured mystery, and that the show was too confusing, so people stopped watching. The season finale had too many unanswered questions, and people are pissed.

Of course that was going to happen.

I experienced the first three seasons in quick succession on DVD (thanks to a friend who, thank god, forced them on me.) I loved it immediately and steadfastly through the 4th and 5th seasons (I'd wait for them to come out on DVD and plugged my ears and sang la la la when people talked about it.)
For the sixth season I wanted to be part of the zealous zeitgeist. I wanted to analyze. I wanted to DISCUSS.
I knew from the beginning that there was no way for all, or even the majority, of the mysteries to be answered. The mysteries were a bridge, to connect one episode to the next. I learned this lesson after realizing I would never know what happened to the Russian guy in what is now my favorite episode of the Sopranos- The Pine Barrens. I was was in a state of rapture after that episode. WHERE DID HE GO? HOW DID HE ESCAPE? DID HE CLIMB THE TREES? And after he never resurfaced, I learned to deal. I would never know what happened to the Russian.


So as LOST went on, I assumed that there were many, many questions that would go unanswered. From a storytelling standpoint, after a certain point, it seemed impossible to ever answer them all.
There were some that didn’t bother me- the polar bears and Walt come to mind. I was under the impression that the Dharma Initiative brought the polar bears over. And I can accept that Walt just had powers- whatever, so what. Big Whoop. Sooooo season one.

There are bigger things going on here, and that is what the finale tackled. The really big issues. The really big mysteries.

I am also the sort of person that just goes along with things when it comes to TV shows, movies, select aspects of life. I am along for the ride. If I love a show in the beginning, I stick with it. I become attached to characters. After awhile, the world seems real to me and the characters seem real and I just go along with it. (Unless it's too contrived. I stopped watching Grey's Anatomy after the whole Christina not marrying Burke season finale because I felt I didn't know the characters anymore. And Toby from the West Wing, never, ever would've did what the writers made him do in that last season.)

Whatever I do, even if it's just watching TV, I am always thinking about LIFE. I think in some way or another, every art form, even the purely entertaining ones, exist to help us get through life. It only works if there is truth behind the art form- if it doesn't ring true it just won’t work.

What rings true about LOST is that life is fucked up and crazy and we have no idea what the hell is going on. One of the best things about life is its mystery. Once you think you have things figured out, guess what? You’re wrong.
And things you thought were fraught with meaning? Like that time you had a feeling you would meet a guy tonight, then you do, and you think it REALLY MEANS SOMETHING but then he turns out to be an in-the-closet gay nurse that wasted a month of your life? Ring a bell? No? But you know what I mean.
The mystery keeps us going, even the boring myseteries of our every day lives. When I was in college I had a bad semester- I just wanted to run my car head first into a brick wall. But then I read FIERCE INVALIDS HOME FROM HOT CLIMATES and it cracked my world open and I still remember the line that really did it: “There might be red-eye gravy for dinner.” That’s what keeps us going. The little things we don’t have the answers to.

So this is a long convoluted way of saying that I am OK without answers because that’s how it is in real life. One of the main things I think about in my own writing is HOW DO I LIVE LIFE. Or, HOW DO OTHER PEOPLE LIVE LIFE, then HOW THE HECK DO YOU TELL A STORY THAT MIRRORS THE WAY YOU LIVE LIFE.
Anyway I am now going to watch LOST for the second time and write as I do. I am also going to eat fava beans.

A few General Words about LOST:
I am incredibly invested in this show. I love how intelligent and crazy it is. I love the multidimentional (literally) storytelling. I love the incredible amount of risks the show takes. I was walking around on Sunday and thinking about series finales and about Six Feet Under, little did I know how similar they would be. I still love Six Feet Under and I still love the Sopranos, but I don’t really understand anymore exactly what I saw in Sex in the City—why did I care so much about that series finale? Maybe because the movie ruined it for me. Anyway I hope LOST will always have a special place in my heart, because it weirds me out when things change too much.

1) Beginning montage of sideways world and Island world:
Both of these realities are so important to me. My base feeling is that I so badly want them to merge.
It took me awhile to understand Desmond's place in all of this. I can now see that he had to lift the cork so that the Man in Black could be killed. But then Jack had to put it back. I am quite pathetic in that I need to write things down in order for anything at all to register in my brain.

2) I LOVE the way Hurley looks at Charlie. He loves him-- his long lost friend. For the record, I knew Hurley would take over Jacob’s post. Hurley was the only pure one. The good one. The Uncorruptible one.

3) What would happen if the Man In Black left the Island? Anything? Why could Jacob leave? Is he evil personified, and that’s why he can’t leave?

4) I am happy to see Juliet. I thought she was bad news in the beginning. Ms. Not To Be Trusted. But she became one of my favorite characters-- I think because of her relationship with Sawyer.

5) Jin and Sun remembering their lives: I forgive them for leaving Ji Yeon. I didn’t understand before. Now I can see that these poor people were just desperately trying to be together their whole lives. Ji Yeon has a different fate. Jin and Sun just need to finally be together for once. I’m crying all over again.

(How is At&T not getting sued by those Christo art people? I don’t get it. That’s the real mystery here.)

6) You can’t expect the writers to know everything from the beginning. I didn’t want the writers to know everything from the beginning. I loved the idea of them figuring things out as they went along- so of course there has to be inconsistencies and you must forgive them for that.

7) HA! Jack explaining to Sawyer how he will kill Locke using Des as a weapon: “That’s a hell of a long con, Doc.” You’re telling me. But I guess Jacob and Poor Man with No Name had thousands of years to figure out how to kill each other.

8) “All of this matters.” I believe Jack when he says this, not Zenned out Desmond. What we do in life does matter, even if in Death everything is hunky dory.
It seems like it would be fun to wander around limbo sideways land knowing that you are dead. Like a lucid dream.

9) “You’re not John Locke. You disrespect his face by wearing it.” Love that line. Love Jack's reverence for Locke.

10) My mind is very flighty. I am not sure when I became so stupid but maybe I was always this way. Maybe my brain becomes mushy when out of school, or perhaps my mind was never one for details. Maybe that's why it's easy for my memory to fudge LOST details and just experience the story.

11) Another great line. “I was shot by a fat man.”

12) Kate’s reaction to her Island memories (Evangeline Lilly's acting) is fabulous. I love that Kate and Claire remember their lives during the birth scene. These women were both mothers to Aaron. And I am sorry but I love that Kate’s name is crossed off because she “is a mother now.” Maybe all this motherhood stuff gets to me so much because I believe how important it is, and how I, on a regular basis, feel my children in me somewhere, in between Mark and I, I know that they are there, and I can’t wait to meet them, and that being a mother is and will be a vital, integral part of who I am. It’s not that I want kids- it’s that they already exist somewhere. It’s like being a writer. It’s just what is. So I am a sucker for the motherhood stuff.

13) Claire and Charlie remembering each other. We all want to believe love is real. We want to believe it will save us. We want to believe it is what is important in the end because it is exactly the unknowable, unreachable thing that we can, and do grasp.

14) As a side note, on Monday I got a migraine. Mark bought me Excedrin, and shut the blinds, and rubbed my head. He watched a basketball game on mute and rubbed my head as I drifted in and out of sleep. I felt enveloped in a cocoon of love and very, very lucky. Not long ago, I don’t remember why, he asked me, “what if we can’t find each other after we die? That would be so sad.” Sometimes I kid that he is dead inside, but sometimes he is mushier and lovier than I am.

15) Right, so I can see now that after Des took the cork out, MIB couldn’t turn into the black smoke anymore.

16) John Locke waking up from surgery: I did not realize how much I missed John. The real John Locke. The peaceful and quiet way he speaks what he knows is the truth: You don’t have a son, Jack.

17) Are those real cliffs they filmed on? Why can’t they get away from the edge, for the love of God?

18) I love the way Sun and Jin look at Sawyer. It makes me want to invite everyone I have ever loved to the wedding.

19) Kate and Jack: fucking heartbreaking, and relieving that I no longer have to worry about her getting her grubby hands on Sawyer. I wish Kate and Jack could’ve made it work off-Island, and on Island, but at least they have the afterlife.

20) Juliet and Sawyer: this is what I have been waiting for. On so many levels. What she said as she was dying in his arms on the Island captivated me, and I knew it was a mystery we would come back to, and a major clue of the Lost Universe. “It worked. We should get coffee sometime. We could go dutch.” This will be a defining moment of LOST for me. Those words led you to believe that she was talking about an alternate reality- one where the bomb went off, the plane never crashed, one where they were all alive, and they would find each other again. You could never guess that Juliet was referring to her candy machine trick, and that they were dead.
It rings completely true that this moment of epiphany happened as she was dying and I totally and completely buy that there is no time, or no time as we know it in the afterlife. I think that this is a concept that feels intuitively true--that a second and a thousand years are the same thing.

21) Jack, “I am already dead.”
Ben, “If the Island is going down, I am going down with it.” If anything, if there is anything defining of Ben, it is that he loves the Island.

22) I’d love to see the Hugo of the Island. Hugo Superpowers. What Hugo did on the Island. How Hugo and Ben died. Who took over after Hugo and Ben. Can there be a spin-off? I’d watch it.

23) “I don’t know how to be a mother.”
      “None of us do. But you’re not alone. Let me help you.”
This is an integral message of the show as well- helping each other. We need each other. We need to ask for help and accept it when it is offered.

24) Cork? Light? Cave? Lame. I don’t think its necessary to make metaphysics so blah. But whatever. I forgive you, LOST.

25) Ben in agony outside the church: “I have some things that I still need to work out. I think I’ll stay here awhile.”
This tells us a lot about Ben and a lot about this world, and a lot about life and a lot about death.

26) John walking into the church, John’s smile, John’s forgiveness. I can’t.

27) On first viewing, I was miffed and freaked by the church- but I didn’t need to worry. We soon see a Buddha and a Menorah next to the cross. And the stained glass of the church is revealed to be images from all religions.
It makes me think of Selma Hayek in Dogma: it doesn’t matter what your faith- only that you HAVE faith.


28) Who cares about Boone? Not me.

29) I was angry after the first viewing because I took the tennis shoe and plane wreckage to mean that none of this was real- They all died in the crash. I was angry because I needed the Island to be real. ABC now says that they added that footage on for no reason, not knowing the hubub it would cause.

30) We all knew it would end with Jack’s eye closing. But even though you can simultaneously see everyone reuintied after death, it is crushing to watch Jack, our hero, die. I was a bawling mess the first and second times I watched Jack die and I can't write this without tearing up. I don't think I will be able to watch this again for a long time.

What I learned from LOST:
It matters. It will be OK. Mystery keeps us going. Cultivate love.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting Dirty While Hiking

I had pants on and everything. Fascinating!

My Ring


Much of the process of getting married has been a journey of discovery about who I am, who I thought I was, and who Mark and I are together. This discovery process is not of the general internal kind- it’s public. Getting married is a public statement. It is a public commitment to each other, and for this reason societal and traditional expectations come into play. Like rings.  
I was never one for jewelry. I tried to wear rings and bracelets in junior high. I remember sitting in the auditorium in agony, desperately wanting to just taking them off. It felt like I was being constricted, squeezed to death, tortured. This is how I feel about socks and pants sometimes too.  Necklaces gave me rashes and aside from that I hated the feeling of something against my skin. I had my ears pierced when I was around 8 but that was a huge, allergic, pus filled disaster. They closed up. People think I must be an insane person because I don’t have pierced ears. Whatever. My mother’s earring hole just ripped open and now she looks like an African tribesman (or, ya know, one of those super cool skater kids.) Who wants to deal with that? Ick. 

So for most of my life, I have been jewelry-less.


What would I do when Marriage Time came? Not wear a ring? That’s not very festive, and besides I sure as all hell want HIM to wear a ring. (Though I have a theory that slutty no self esteem women salivate when they see a wedding ring on a guy because it is a CHALLENGE. They think: if I can get him to cheat on his wife, I am such a hot slut. I know how girls think.) 

Wear a ring around my neck? Maybe. Necklaces, I thought, were the least offensive form when it came to my claustrophobia of the body.
Get a tattoo ring? That was particularly appealing, but I couldn’t think of anything aside from a black line. And anyway, Mark is not that type of guy. 

So I figured, ok, ok, I will try the ring thing. If it doesn't work, it doesn’t work. I’ll get the black line tattoo. 

The first ring I looked at was in Costco, our favorite store. (I'm going to have to create a Costco post.)
But I thought- I can't get a ring from COSTCO. How cheap. How trashy. How odd. But it was such a pretty ring.

My friend Kia got her ring at an antique mall in Sherman Oaks. While there were some pretty rings, and it was great fun to poke around, the rings were so tiny and might've fit me when I was 5 years old.
Then Mark took me to the Diamond District in downtown LA. 

It was like being surrounded by gypsy children, sticking their hands in your pockets while a little trained monkey goes through your bag to steal your purse. I FLIPPED out. I felt like I had been slimed. All the glass cases, all the people calling you over, all the DIAMONDS. A saleslady said to Mark as I stormed out the door, "What kind of woman doesn't like diamonds?" I should have just puked on the floor. 

After that, Mark took me to a flea market on Melrose. No rings, but they had lots of 80’s era glasses and dishes. I would like to go back and buy some, as I am not crazy about matching plate sets.
During the ring search, we continued our weekly Costco trips. Costco is literally right next door.  We would walk in and I’d tell Mark, “I'm going to visit my ring.” I’d stare at it through the glass. A gold band-I didn’t like gold, did I? Don’t I like white gold better, or silver? A pretty red stone that glittered. Two teeny tiny diamonds on the side. No one bothered me to buy it. Costco was just Costco all around.
One day, on a Costco trip for bulk coffee grinds, we just went ahead and bought it. Mark jumped at the chance. I made sure that they were conflict-free diamonds and that Costco was all for universal health care (they are an AWESOME company.)

The only one left was in the display case- the same one I’d been staring at for months. As we waited for them to bring it to us, I started crying, because I got scared. I knew it was my ring. I knew we were doing this- WE WERE GOING TO GET MARRIED. I knew, for the first time, that it was really happening and I wanted to have a panic attack. (It's ok, this is just how I work.)

Now, it's five months after he asked me to marry him at the Grand Canyon. My ring is getting resized and I feel so sad. Empty. Like my hands are lost without it. Like the thing belongs on my finger. Like it was meant to be there. I can hardly wait to put it back on. Sometimes this person I am is unidentifiable to myself, or to my younger self, or to the self I was a year ago, but this is who I am now. A girl who loves her engagement ring, and all the things it symbolizes.

This American Life: Parasites

When I drive to and from work, I listen to This American Life, Savage Love, The Bowery Boys, Stuff You Should Know (are there any other podcasts I should be listening to?)
Today I listened to TAL episode #404 Enemy Camp 2010. I wholeheartedly adore This American Life. It makes my brain cells fire. It makes me talk to myself in my car. I find myself riveted, gripping the wheel in anticipation of the nuggets of information to come.

The first segment was about a Priest whose job was to help cover up sexual abuse allegations. He thought he was doing God's work and that it was all For The Good of the Church. Of course, he could only delude himself for so long, and eventually quit being a Priest. He now works at a law firm that specializes in-- take a guess-- helping to build cases against the Church. He now sees the Church for what it is-- incapable of change. They have 2000 years of experience covering up sex scandals. It's just their way! The dude cannot even bring himself to go to church anymore.

I found this to be very sad, as I do think that religion can help people. But instead, religion tends to encourage people to twist, torture and contort themselves into this fake ass bullshit image of whatever it is that certain branch of religion wants you to be. The podcast pretty much solidified certain decisions regarding what/when/where/how we will have our legal ceremony.

There is so much evil and greed able to run amok in this world and directly prey on the innocent...
Which brings us to the next segment- PARASITES! FASCINATING!

These single celled organisms with no CONSCIOUSNESS are smarter than we will EVER BE! They conduct animal and human behavior like an orchestra! We bend to their will! For example, there is this parasite that really wants to live inside sheep. They are super happy in sheep. (I am working from my unscientific and not-detail-oriented memory here) They somehow begin as being eaten by snails. The snail pushes them out through some kind of secretion. An ant comes along and pick up the parasites from there. THEN GET THIS! Every night, the ant is OVERCOME with a feeling... a feeling to climb UP. So it climbs, night after night, to the tips of blades of grass..... UNTIL A SHEEP COMES ALONG AND EATS IT! The parasite has successfully executed its mass manipulation, because the ant is dead and the genius mastermind parasite is finally in its happy place- sheep guts. So this THING manipulates three different animals, on three totally different planes of existence. A singular parasite can manipulate the actions of BOTH fish and birds. HOW CAN A SINGLE CELLED ORGANISM KNOW THE INTRICATE GOINGS-ON OF THE WORLD OF THE OCEAN, THE SKY AND LAND?????

Jeez, ya know? We know NOTHING about the world, reality, ourselves, or what the fuck is going on in the universe in general. Sometimes I can't wait to die- maybe I'll finally get some answers?
SMARTER THAN YOU WILL EVER BE!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The WINTER OLYMPICS

I am a sucker for the Olympics. They tap into everything I love: sports, stories, cornballyness, tearjerker backstories, rooting for your home country, ugh. LOVE.

I love Bob Costas. I am so soothed by him. I would like for him to just talk to me about the Giant Slalom as I drift off to sleep.

I love that the Olympics are in Canada. I love Canada. It seems like such a happy and sane place. It seems like the country that America has always wanted to be, strived to be, but was just never able to pull off. I am almost as happy when the Canadians win as when TEAM USA wins. Almost. I am also happy when Italy wins. I think of being a little kid, and watching men's downhill skiing with my Mom, Grandma and Grandpa and everyone yelling at the TV with nervous clenched fists, and then celebrating when Alberto Tomba won. I remember looking around at them and understanding-- my family is ITALIAN. The 1000000 jars of homemade tomato sauce and the fact that I understood sometimes when they spoke to each other in Italian was normal, it was every day. The Olympics is not normal, it is not every day, and we had two countries to root for.

Back to this century- I was SO HAPPY when those Chinese pair skaters one. I, just as NBC intended, was charmed by their story. I got all teary eyed at the footage of Zhao down on his knee in the middle of the rink, asking her to marry him. And the footage of him saying goodbye to her, leaving her to sleep in the women's dorm while he slept in the men's. You just wanted them to WIN-- to retire and live together for christsake. They've probably been living in a skating factory away from their families since they were three years old. Give them a rest. And they were beautiful.

And Shawn White. Inspiring, that little shit. What a little firecracker. What a hot shot. How fucking awesome is he with the flannel jacket and his own private mountain, private half pipe, private helicopter taking him to practice his super secret bad ass snowboarding tricks. He makes it seems so easy, but he has been doing this forever. He must practice like a madman. There is nothing I like to see more than someone working their little ass off for something they love.

As I watch the Olympics every night (my life is on hold,) what happens in my head goes like this:
This is what you have to do to succeed in life. Love something and work hard to master it. If possible, buy your own mountain, carve your own personal space into it, and take a helicopter there to hide from the world and concentrate on your craft until it is time to reemerge.

The OLYMPICS exemplify EVERYTHING I LOVE ABOUT LIFE. Work HARD and you will get yours-- but if it means TOO MUCH to you, if you let your nerves get to you, YOU WILL FAIL.
There is this intricate, beautiful balance you have to strike in life, in sports, in anything. You have to maintain this balance in order to succeed, whatever that means.

I should be writing more. I should be inside a mountain writing more. I write more than I ever have in my life but I should be doing MORE.


So many people crash and burn. They fall. They wreck themselves. They slam into walls. Their heads crash into ice. The fall flat on their asses. They work their whole lives for this, and they fall in front of everyone. The whole world. Sometimes they don't even qualify to compete. Then what?
Then what do you do?
You either give up and do something else.
Or you get up and start all over again tomorrow.

It's one or the other.
For me, this reminds me that I only have one option. I can only keep trying.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Basil, BASIL

It's hard for me to pick basil from my basil plants and plop them in my food. I just want to smell these heavenly little morsels of olfactory delight permanently. Once I manage to part with these magical leaves, I can't stop sniffing my basily fingers.

I just want to roll a leaf up and stick it in my nose and smell it forever.

Thanksgiving/Here, eat this.

Long ago, we had Thanksgiving at our place. Mark and I were very serious about this. I got a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot, washed it out and used it to brine/marinate the Turkey. There was conflict concerning whether to brine or marinate first, so I just listened to my grandmother, as that is usually the best bet when it comes to FOOD. We brined FIRST--with ice water and kosher salt-- I think for 24 hours, although next time I think we will brine for longer. After 24 hours, we drained the brine and made a marinade in the bucket for the turkey. Again, I just did what my grandmother told me to do-- sweet white wine, chicken broth, smashed garlic cloves, salt, parsley, pepper, ice, quartered up lemons.

The morning of, we patted the turkey dry, stuck an halved orange up its ass, sewed it shut, placed it on a metal rack that we put inside some cheap aluminum pans (the metal rack raised the turkey high enough to collect the juices in the pan for the gravy) and cooked it for about 4-5 hours on around 400. We did use an internal digital thermometer. We covered the turkey for about 3/4 of the cooking time. It was fucking amazing. The gravy was ridiculously easy. The drippings were so good, all it needed was a bit of flour to thicken and boom, thats it, amazing gravy.
Here is the marinating process:



The night before, I spent an unnatural amount of time making stuffed mushrooms.


This was another grandma recipe. Pork and chopped meat squished with a fork into tiny little bits, with a ton of finely chopped garlic, onion, red pepper, green pepper, the mushroom stems, zucchini and also some parmesan. Really, what took so long was the chopping everything into teeny tiny itty bitty little bits.



I think they came out EXACTLY like grandma's. For the most part that is my goal in cooking- to be as good as grandma.

I get an intense pleasure from feeding people. It makes me feel like a complete woman. That's very problematic, I know. But whaddya gonna do. One of my old bosses told me never to cook for men. She said she used to cook in her first marriage, but that her new boyfriend doesn't know that she knows how to cook. I didn't quite understand her. Maybe she didn't want to attract a traditional guy? Didn't want someone to fall in love with her because she cooks? I gotta say, when I first met Mark and ever since, boy did I cook for him. But he cooks for me too. And most of the time, we cook together, which I love and think is super fun.


How else do you think we both gained 50lbs since we met each other? (BUT!! I have since lost 15 of those nasty pounds! Blech!)
Anyway. This is Thanksgiving at our place.

 


 

And this is after we ate.



Mission Accomplished!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Hoarder/Journaler

I have the flu and am watching HOARDERS. Also, I have been rereading my journals lately.
One of the therapists on this show says that HOARDING is a way to hang on to memories. That's why I write everything down, I guess, although I don't really keep journals the way I used to.
But let me tell you, you just can't trust your memories, because they are WRONG. It's so easy to remember things completely wrong and to forget entirely.
For almost all of my adult life, I had this image of my teen years in my head; I was unwanted, the ugly one, the one guys wanted to be friends with, but nothing else, ever. Then I reread my teen journals. COMPLETELY WRONG! I saw the truth (or a version of it?) I deliberately sabotaged lots of potential relationships with boys because I didn't WANT a relationship. I just wanted the ANTICIPATION of one. Guys DID like me. Who knew?
These days I am rereading the journals I kept right before, during, and after I met Mark. Fascinating! My memory of this whole time- wrong!
I am sure I am not the only one to decide on a version of events and stick to it, thus creating memories. We invent these stories of our lives that are basically fiction. At least, apparently, I have.
I have always obsessively written things down so that I could remember, so that there would be a record. It's a proof of my own existence, and that things are real.
And now I know that the journals, the pictures, and all that stuff serves as a reminder for the truth, in case people like me go ahead and make up a a totally different story than what really happened and somewhere in my weird brain decide that THAT is the memory.