Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ohhh, Sam

Tonight we had a visit from our very sincere home teacher (a man from church assigned to visit once a month and make sure we're doing okay, ask if we need anything, etc). He sat and chatted, managed to work in a message on prayer, and then asked: "Is there anything I can do to serve you guys?"

Sam looked at him, looked down at his feet as if deep in thought, and then said, deadpan:

"Well, I could really use a pedicure."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Good Eats, Good Tunes

Confession: Internet, I am no longer vegan.

Gasp.

I know. You are shocked, dismayed; you care. Or not.

I care, anyway. I've been sheepish about admitting it to my blog, since I was so, all, like, "I'm VEGAN." But whatever. I loved veganing; I feel like some day I'll go back to it, but for now I'm concentrating on other elements of my nutritional life.

I still make a lot of veganish recipes, like the following:

Raw Cinnamon Raisin Toast. I heard about it on one of my favorite foodie blogs, Heather Eats Almond Butter.

Technically, the recipe calls for a dehydrator, but I just put my oven on 170 (lowest setting) and kept the door propped open for a couple hours. I failed to buy raisins, and I couldn't really taste the cinnamon, so it's turned into just regular old bread. Well, to the extent that this can be called bread ... But it's working like bread. Today, for lunch, I brought an enormous salad, and made little open face sandwiches with a few squares of it. So so tasty.

I felt all cook-y (kooky?) over the weekend and made the bread substance, Dreena Burton's Quinoa Chickpea Confetti Casserole (which has converted me to quinoa--a miracle), vegan ice cream with coconut milk and date sweetener, and and something else. I can't recall. But it was GOOD, whatever it was. I haven't felt that interested in cooking in awhile. But I feel, lately, like I'm coming back to life, like I'm comfortable taking up space in my life, doing stuff, talking to people, taking walks, writing, reading, and, as mentioned, making healthy stuff.

Let me know if you try the bread. It's sort of a fun adventure, even if you're not trying to be raw or vegan or anything but your own self.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Larger Becoming

Since this new job involves reading all day (I mean, literally, all day. Finding stuff to put in anthologies. It's not a bad life, I tell you.), I've been posting things on the other blog that catch my eye/heart. But somehow, this belongs here. Maybe because of subject matter.

Anyway, my dad loves this book, Eternal Man, by Truman G Madsen, and he got me reading it. It's short, but fathoms deep, and I feel like I'll have to read it seven more times to "get it." But this part, I think I get. On freedom and commitment:

"We talk as if freedom consisted in having the greatest variety of options and that a 'once-and-for-all' decision coerces our initiative. But is freedom increased by every new flavor of ice cream?

"Actually, it is only when we rise above trivial options and ask ourselves in the depths, 'What do I want to be?' that we emerge from the bondage of a flitting and faceless mode of life. The most majestic wonder of our freedom is that we can make all-time binding decisions, eternal covenants. Once made, once 'renewed and confirmed,' they free us from the life-wasting torment of 'bringing it all up' over and over. The decisions, as it were, reverberate through the whole galaxy. And even the lesser roles of life, its distractions and setbacks, take on color and creativity as instruments of the larger 'becoming.'"




A "flitting and faceless mode of life" is pretty much what I'm feeling over here. Want so badly to have a "larger becoming." Working on it. Seriously working on it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Animals

Don't know if I can capture this experience, but I feel compelled to try.

A few weeks ago, when I first started taking the train, I told Sam that watching people wasn't that interesting, because in Boston everyone's a student or young professional, and they pretty much all look the same.

I've felt guilty ever since I said that.

I knew it meant a piece of me was buried. It didn't mean they weren't interesting, it meant I couldn't see them, and that made me and my writerly self feel very sad.

So last night, on the train, I was listening to a podcast (RadioLab's latest: Animal Minds), and somehow, since my ears were occupied and not my eyesight, I could see how incredible everyone was. It was a crowded train, and I was up higher than about a dozen people, and there were these three kids, three young men (student ages)--and this is the part where I'll fail to describe what happened--they had eyes. I mean, all three of them had these insanely unique sets of eyes, and I was just stunned.

When I'm depressed, or even sad or run down for a length of time, I don't look up much. I don't make eye contact with anyone but Sam. This makes it shocking when I actually look at people again, actually see them. And I think that's what's happening: I'm slowly, very very slowly, feeling like myself again. It's incredible.

This morning, this seeing thing happened again, only more intense. I was still listening to the podcast, and the last story was about a National Geographic photographer who was trying to get pictures of this enormous female seal in the arctic. He was underwater, and she put his whole head and camera in her mouth, then decided she liked him, and started trying to feed him penguins. She brought the penguin, dropped it in front of him, and when he didn't eat it, she brought him another. This went on for four days. She brought him live penguins, who darted off immediately, and dead penguins, which she placed on top of his camera, and he said he fell in love with this seal. He couldn't sleep at night, he was so in love with her.

And this is another part where I'm going to fail to explain, but I suddenly had this flash of dinner last night, or before dinner, when I brought Sam this big plate of veggies to eat while I finished and while he worked on his computer. I did this even though he was cranky, and even though I was pouty that he was cranky, and at the time I felt like sort of a martyr: Here, Man, I bring you food even if you're not so nice.

But this morning, this morning, listening to this podcast, remembering the plate of veggies, I teared up. I was so humbled, so aware of my role as animal, feeding someone I care about, doing sort of like the seal. And suddenly, again, I could see everyone, and this time, all of us were beautiful, even me, because I was a part of it. A woman with a lip stud tugged on a brown glove with her teeth. A man with a square jaw turned the page of an article. The woman in front of me in a red coat and messy ponytail rested her head on the cold window. And I prayed. Thanks, I said.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In Which I Include An Email I Sent to Sam

Don't know what to say about my days, now. I get up, get ready, walk to the train. Sometimes I get a seat, and then I read. Sometimes I don't get a seat, and then I despair and listen to my ipod. I'm starting to get aggressive about seat-getting, well, passive aggressive at least.

Then I work. And I like it, but it's work, and I doubt it's interesting to anyone not working there. I come home on the train, reading some more. I walk up the wee hill to our apartment, and discover I've missed Sam so much that I nearly follow him around, telling him how much I like him. (You'd think this would be charming, but my suspicion is that it gets old.)

We eat dinner (We've just developed a clever system that is FINALLY helping us not go out to eat every 35 seconds. The system goes like this: Sam's in charge two days out of the week. It's brilliant.)

I conduct my elaborate routine so I don't have to do much the next morning to get myself out the door: get breakfast ready, pack lunch, get out vitamins and clothes and pack my bag.

And then I sleep. Unless I have insomnia, in which case I read some more, and wake Sam up to ask him how one sleeps because I can't remember how.

And then I do it again. That's it, folks. That's the life. That, and a lot of quick emails to Sam, although I try not to write so many. Here's one, anyway, which I sent this morning:

subject line: am reading wolfy again.

a room of one's own. finally. don't know why it took me 27 years to read this. i think i thought i had. anyway, i hadn't, and it's freaking brilliant.

she even wrote something about meatsock*: "The tailless cat, though some are said to exist in the Isle of Man, is rarer than one thinks. It is a queer animal, quaint rather than beautiful. It is strange what a difference a tail makes ...."

anyway, was stifling giggles of joy all the way down here on the train.

thanks for getting it for me**.

brought a few pictures: our wee engagement photo in a silver frame; the one of you as a lad, typing; the exploded shed, and the frugal card*** you gave me. now i feel like i belong here, like i'm safe.

*meatsock: our kitty
**he brought a used copy back from new york when we were still pretending not to be in love.
***frugal card: sam got me a greeting card with a lady on the front, smirking. it reads: "frugal is such an ugly word." i like it. a lot.