Posted in Life

Chai tea, Matisse & Letters

There is one place on my “Must Visit Soon” (soon being, at any point in my life). It is a place that, when I feel stressed, I often close my eyes and think about.  The stark white marble awash in the colors of the stained glass: blue, greens and yellows that, when married in light, produce a purple hue. It licks the marble, dances on your skin and I’ve heard you find yourself at total, utter peace.

This place? Chapelle Matisse.

Seriously. Look:

Image result for matisse chapel france

Isn’t it the most stunning?

At the peak of my anxiety today, I closed my eyes and thought about visiting the South of France.  I thought about the chapel that Matisse built in his mid-seventies. I thought about how, when seated in this stunning chapel, there is an inner quiet. I bet it feels so nice and cool inside, especially on a hot summer’s day.  This is where I go when everything around me feels like it’s one giant dumpster fire of dog shit.

I also think about what this chapel looks like at sunset. The internet helps, see?

Image result for matisse chapel france

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s late afternoon.  Check out Mary holding baby Jesus. So abstract, yet so powerful.  I think about what my shoes would sound like on the floor. Light, airy click clacking of my heels.

There are no worries.

No cares.

The fresh air. The sweet aroma of flowers and earth.

Sigh.

So tonight, I sit here sipping my Chai tea, piping hot.

Looking at photos of the Matisse chapel and dreaming of writing letters by the sea.

Maybe I’m wearing a sundress with giant sunglasses.

Maybe I’m wearing crisp pants with a smart blouse.

Maybe I’m just sipping a pastis, in my bathing suit, without a care in the world.

Je vous verrai bientot mon amour…

 

Posted in Life, poetry

Nobody and Thursday

The past few weeks have been difficult for me. It’s an internal thing, peppered with some outside forces. The struggle is real. The sads are deep.  It’s not PMS either. It’s PMS’s punk ass step sister.

The peppered outside forces crept up onto my shoulder this morning and I tried to brush them off. I was met with resistance. Deep breathing helps, but I still feel their weight. I logged on and into my workload for the day. My mind feels empty- but full of heavy, wet, fog.

I opened another tab in my browser and stared at the screen.  I closed my eyes and this poem flashed in my mind:

the laughing heart

your life is your life.
don’t let it be clubbed into dank
submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the
darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you
chances.
know them, take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death
in life,
sometimes
and the more often you
learn to do it,
the more light there will
be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have
it.
you are marvelous.
the gods wait to delight
in
you.
-Charles Bukowski, 1993

And with that, I felt the resistance give way, just a bit.

 

Posted in Life, parenting

Well. That Escalated Quickly.

I decided to take a quick break from cleaning up the house and browse the internet. As of late, every moment of the day is accounted for. Seriously. I have an hour and a half before I need to head out to pick MD up from school, come home, whip up some supper and then hit the door to be at work for the night. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

The email came today.

The one about my “future high school student.” 

I won’t even try to mask my emotions here. I straight up cried. Then I clicked on all the attachments and started sobbing. In my mind, I thought I had more time. Like none of this paperwork/red tape/IB/AP program thing wouldn’t start till I don’t know… NEVER. Reality just bitch slapped me you guys. Whew.

The thing is, if we were zoned for a good high school, this wouldn’t be an issue. I could just show up with proper paperwork, enroll him and then promptly go home where I could bask in the glory of not having to write another tuition check. Only, we’re not even close to a “good” high school (and I’m being polite). We’ve known since MD was in third grade that he would have to go to a different high school then the one we are zoned for. Honestly, I thought I had more time. But lookie here, it’s September. In three weeks the applications for magnet programs become available. Teacher recommendation forms need to be in by early November. Then…

Oh nevermind the “then.”

Time has begun to slip through my fingers and our son will be in high school soon.

There is so much prep work and as I look at the calender, my mind doesn’t work in months or even weeks. It works in days. This many till this. That many till then. This will happen there. There will happen here.

And in between all the sniffles and wadded up kleenex, I take a moment to breathe. Handing my anxiety back to the Universe, I take another deep breath.

One day at a time.

So here we are:

Day one.

 

Posted in Life, poetry, Writing

Unrelated Objects Moonlighting As Distant Friends

One afternoon, you asked me to build up my dreams.

I assumed you were referring to brick and mortar dreams. Dinner plates and no fork kind of dreams. To be taller than the Burj Khalifa. Larger than Paris at night. Heavier than orange trees and softer than cherry blossoms. Those kind of dreams. Or as you’d say, “aspirations” with a whisper.

I tried to say, that sort of hope, it died right before I had the chance to cradle it against me. Those hazy dreams hang on like a pearl nuzzled in the mantle of an oyster. That sort of thing is gone from me now though. Yanked apart to be enjoyed on sticky summer evenings with mugs of cold beer or frozen boozy drinks that are the color of crayons.

You couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to miss half of yourself.

I wanted to whisper back that not all dreams are about words. Not all are about buildings with amber lights looking like half full glasses of beer beckoning you to drink them empty.

Not all dreams are dreams- they are just there

faint perfume in an empty room
empty boxes in the garage
dirty coins in the bottom of the cup holder
cold coffee in paper cups
time sheets with the right hours
bottles of left over wine which you thought you’d use for a rue
but decided to drink instead
and the struggle not to strangle.

All of this, lumped into paragraphs
and neatly stacked sentences
to try and make you understand-

The best parts of me are hidden.

I am the only one
who knows the rotting hell writhing up from my gut.

Posted in Cooking, Life

Part Time Foodie

For the past week I’ve been doing pretty good in the eating department.  Look, I love food. I love to cook new ingredients, buy strange things at the market (shark, octopus, goat liver, whatever). I also love sweets.  And by love, I mean a deep, passionate desire type love. WHen I cut sweets and gluten (and shitty types of carbs) from my diet, I crave it so intensely, I could cry.  Some days I give in and some days I don’t.  On the days I give in, you’ll be able to find me in a Walgreen’s parking lot with a bag of M&M’s eating them in secret shame.

Okay, there’s no shame. I feel no guilt.  I LOVE SWEETS.

So-

For the past two weeks, I’ve been eating better and going to the gym at night.  I have yet to wake up to my 4:30 AM alarm to hit the gym before work. Baby steps people, baby steps! I like the gym. It’s fun. However, I hate running. This isn’t something I decided at twenty either. I knew it the second I stepped foot on the playground in kindergarten to play dodgeball.  It didn’t get any better the older I got. In high school, I straight up fake barfed to get a pass on the one mile run.  Ugh. Not only am I not good at it (I do try, promise), but it hurts my ankles, my shins, the left side of my foot.

I know… “excuses.”

That’s not to say I don’t give it a go though.  I’ll run for a minute, walk for a minute. Run for two, walk for two. Shit like that.  That gives me something to look forward to, yknow, the walking part.

So let’s quit talking about running and move on to FOOD.  Mmmmmm glorious foods.

There are two really great websites I go to for low carb/gluten free/paleo goodness:

1. Low Carb Luxury

and

2. I Breathe, I’m Hungry

Currently I Breathe, I’m Hungry has some great sample menus up to get you in ketosis.  I’ll be planning out my menu this week.  Oh and FYI- those cream cheese pancakes she mentions are THE JAM. I’ve made them several times and they are straight up delicious. So I’m stoked about that.

The Low Carb Luxury site has some great stuff too- especially the deep dish quiche pizza.  SO TASTY. It’s my fave to make, even if it is a little time consuming.

The point of this whole damn post was to share a recipe I found online!  There’s a great website called Food 52. Which is where I found Trent Pierce’s Miso Creamed Kale recipe! I made this the other night with some roasted beef and it was phenomenal. How phenomenal? Well, my son ate the rest of it after we each had a portion. A WHOLE skillet. Yes, my teenage son ate that much kale. Here’s the photo off their site:

Trent Pierce's Miso-Creamed KaleAmazing, right? I know, I hate when people use the word amazing for everything, but it really was and quite possibly will become my go to dish of the year.  I didn’t use shimeji or shiitake mushrooms (I’m the only fan in the household), so I swapped those out for portabellas. I also was out of vermouth, so I subbed dry Sherry.  Not sure if that was the legit thing to do, but for the most part the 1/4 c cooked off and didn’t taste weird or anything.

So for all my foodie friends out there, I hope you give this recipe a shot.  And if you have a favorite recipe, hook me up!

Happy cooking my loves!

Posted in Life

Hands

Don’t you just love how you start thinking about one specific thing and it leads to a chain of thoughts and the end result is a great memory?  That happened to me today and it was of something I hadn’t thought about it a long time.

So, on Instagram it’s Throwback Thursday (#tbt) (Aslo, I can’t believe I just used a hashtag in my post). Wait, can you do double parenthesis like that? Hmmm. Probably not.

Anyway, here’s today’s photo:

This photo was taken sometime in 2001, shortly after MD and I moved back stateside from Japan. I think he’s probably six months old here. Please ignore the fact that I’m wearing overalls (this was before yoga pants as real pants became a thing).  I adore this photo for various reasons, mainly those tiny sweatpants he has on. My GOD they are so cute. That knitted cap. Those tiny chicklet teeth.  Also, his expression cracks me up. As I looked at the photo, I got all teary eyed over that little dip of flesh between his hand and arm. There’s nothing more awesomer than babies with fat limbs. Gah.

So I’m looking at his hands, remembering how I’d instinctively reach out to hold his when we were in public.  I’m not sure how it started, but while holding hands in a store one day, I wrapped my pinkie around his wrist. He jerked his hand out of mine and said, “NO. Don’t Momma!” I was like, “What the hell? Ooookay.”

But, I couldn’t leave it alone! Anytime after that, when we’d hold hands, I’d sneak and wrap my pinkie around his wrist. He’d do the same thing, telling me to stop.  One day I asked him why I had to stop doing that.  “Because A) that’s not how you hold hands and 2. It feels WEIRD.”  I will never forget his expression when he said it either.  Such seriousness. Mr. Bossy Pants.

The older MD became, the less he’d want to hold my hand.  As a mother, it’s the small things you learn to let go of, but I do miss that innocence. That I was the protector, simply by holding his hand in mine.  It’s been several years since MD and I have held hands, but recently we were walking into a record shop and I reached out and grabbed his left hand. For like three seconds he let me.

Around 1.5 seconds, I wrapped my pinkie half way around his wrist (because apparently, I am raising a giant) and he yelled, “OH MY GOD MOM! NO!”  We both erupted in laughter as he shook his hand as if it was covered in a spiders web. I followed him into the shop whining, “C’mon! Let me dooooooo it! C’MON!!”   The rest of the time I followed him around waving my pinkie.

Hey, it’s part of my job to annoy the shit out of him.

He deprived me of sleep for like six months of his life so you know:

Paybacks.

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Technology: Making You Its Bitch

Today we spent five hours in Best Buy.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

Actually, only four for me, as I spent an hour over at Michaels, buying up what farm animals I could find for some project MD has due for English. So yeah. We were there for awhile.  On Saturday morning, my husband washed his phone. I heard him come barreling up the stairs screaming, “Oh shit! Oh shit! OH SHIT!”  I figured that maybe he really was shitting himself or something close to it judging by the urgency in his voice.

I watched as he flung up the lid to our old washer, reached in and yanked out a pair of soaking wet pants. “Ohhhhhh. Shit,” I said.  He looked up and our eyes met. This felt like another huge milestone. Just like that time we got into an argument in Bed, Bath & Beyond over a comforter. Neither of us said anything for a moment and it was here that I fully expected him to have a meltdown. It’s one thing to have a smart phone and do nothing but check Facebook and play games, it’s another when you use your phone solely for business purpose.  My husband is in the latter of the categories.

There wasn’t a meltdown though. Just a long, heavy sigh.

I followed him down the stairs and into the kitchen. As he opened the pantry, I saw my husband stand there for a moment. We were fresh out of rice.  However, we did have half a bag of quinoa!  So in it went for twenty four hours. Clearly, we all remember cell phones with detachable batteries. Those golden years of being able to do nothing more than make a phone call or play snake on your Nokia.  When I was living in Japan, my cell phone was no longer than a deck of cards and no wider than a ruler.  Yet, it had an antenna and it I wanted to “text” someone, I had this mini laptop that fit in the palm of my hand.  I was only allowed to use that for emergencies (I was pregnant and MD’s dad out to sea) only, because it used up all of our minutes within a blink of an eye.  Of course now, our entire lives are based in our cell phones.

So this afternoon as MD and I walked out of Michaels, we saw Bill walking towards us.  I said, “This can’t be good.”  We all stopped and warmed our faces in the sun while trying to process which option would work best for us.  Instead of just replacing one phone, we would have to upgrade mine (long over due), add a line, get another phone and … wait. No, that’s not right. Forget it, the whole thing is lost on me.  Basically, Bill and I got new phones, MD got my old phone and we had to upgrade our plan. The girl helping us at Best Buy was brilliant and she had a beautiful ring tattooed on her ring finger. Seriously, it was the classiest ring tattoo I’d ever seen.

While all of this was going on, with phone calls to tech support and trying to figure out contacts and photos that didn’t transfer, I just sort of gave up. When Liz from Best Buy asked what phone I wanted, I told her.  Then she asked what color I’d like it in. Color? This is an option now? I picked green, as yellow was not available.  I was handed over a lighter, shinier new phone.

I immediately chucked it in my purse.

I’m tired of being connected to my phone.   For example, yesterday I was talking to my Busha on the phone.  She said she didn’t like her cell phone because it never rang, except for when she got up to use the bathroom.  Then of course, it would ring.  She said, “If I don’t answer, then they start calling the house phone. I got a damn answering machine, leave me a message! I gotta wipe my ass! I ain’t dragging my phone to the toilet!” I laughed but it got me thinking.

Remember when you’d have to take a shit and would be forced to either read a magazine or God forbid, shampoo bottles?

Oh the horror!

So with my new phone up and running, I downloaded some of my favorite apps, but then… I just deleted them.  I’m tired of being connected right now. Of feeling the impulse to check and recheck and check again.  It’s mentally exhausting sometimes, sure. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy all the laughs and debates I have on social media, because I do.

Tonight I made a choice to only keep two social apps on my phone.  I reinstalled my meditation app and even went looking for one of those interactive pet programs.  Do you remember those? Where you’d have goldfish swimming on your screen and you could feed them? I liked that, it was calming.  As of right now, there is no Pinterest, no Facebook, no Twitter and no Flipbook.  I’ve downloaded a crossword puzzle app, but really I think I’d much prefer to just buy a newspaper and try to finish one the old fashioned way: with a pencil (pen if you’re feeling like a bad ass).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to knit a hat and watch some British dramas.