Thursday, February 18, 2010


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


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.