Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Blockage.

I was going to write for a while today.

Instead I'm having one of those days where everything I write seems stupid.

I've made the decision to go sort through yarn instead.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

El Explosivo.

Friday I made my favorite chili for dinner.  It’s an adaptation of this recipe from Damn Delicious—I LOVE Damn Delicious.  Her food is always amazing.  Apparently her recipe is adapted from a Cooking Classy recipe, so I guess I’m adapting an adaptation.

Whatever.

It’s freaking tasty.

I’ve made a separate post outlining my adaptation of this recipe for those who are interested.  It’s posted here.

Usually Yoshi and I have what we call “shit food night” on Friday, which is also our standing date night.

We’ll go for a drive, see a movie, stay home… Whatever.  Often that’s our night to eat shitty fast food because we don’t like to spend the money to go to restaurants much and even fast food can be expensive, but it used to be a vice for Yoshi and he still really enjoys getting to have that outlet.

This week I made chili and we had fast shit food on Saturday.

This was a bad idea.

Especially since the chili was served with fries and cheese.

Okay, I used 1/3 of it to make chili cheese fries, which we devoured straight from the casserole dish with forks while sitting on the floor and watching Supernatural.

It was amazing.  While we were doing it.

The next day Yoshi wanted to have a relaxing day and maybe adventure.  Since we now live on the coast in FarNorCal, we drove north for a bit into the redwood forest.  On the way out of town we got Taco Bell.

I’m sure someone out there has already surmised this was not a good idea.

Fast food when you're not accustomed to eating it is bad enough, but this was...  It was just not good.

About 45 minutes into our drive I started to feel some gurgles and as reality dawned on me I also started to wish I had stayed at home where it was safe and there was a clean bathroom that was easily accessible. 

Sadly, I was in the car near a town called Orick, which I’m sure jumps out as two things: a small “town” in the middle of nowhere and also the potential site for a mass murder/slasher film.  It is definitely at least one of those things.

I mentioned my worrisome predicament to Yoshi, fearless leader and pilot of our adventure.
He pulled off at beach parking lot with a bathroom.  You know the kind.  Something that looks like a toilet over a shit-filled hole in the ground in a small room with toilet paper but most definitely no sink.

Just what I wanted.

I mean, it’s better than digging a hole for myself.  I guess.

Luckily it was not very busy and there were for unisex bathroom units, so I picked one on the end that I thought was least likely to be disturbed and also probably the cleanest from disuse.
It was pretty clean, surprisingly.  There was even a little vent on the floor so the room didn’t smell like most beach bathrooms I’ve had the pleasure (I used the word pleasure very facetiously here) of using.  There was even a wall-mounted container of toilet seat covers and the toilet seat didn’t have the slightest smudge of feces.

What a lucky girl I am.

I prepared the “toilet.”  I sat.  I waited. 

Nothing happened.

My stomach continued to be unhappy. 

The toilet was very tall and didn’t lend to proper pooping posture, which made the situation even more difficult and frustrating.  Like, I just wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible and get on with my day adventuring in the woods.

I sat some more.

There was a breeze from below that did little to ease my discomfort.  What if something jumped up and bit me?  What if the breeze carried disease from whatever was below and my vagina rotted off from being exposed?

I could hear people in the parking lot through my little air vent and became self-conscious.  What if I exploded and could be heard halfway across the parking lot over the screaming children?

How embarrassing.

After what felt like an eternity I did some business and was able to leave, but something told me that the perfect storm, created by some bomb (poor word choice) chili cheese fries and a follow up of T. Bell, was not over. 

I felt better, but not…  Finished.

Yoshi has been with me long enough to understand this.

We went to the beach nearby.

He expressed concern because I had been gone long enough for him to worry not just about my stomach but also that I had been abducted from the bathroom.  “I was trying to memorize the license plates in the parking lot for when I had to call the cops.  I didn’t want to look like one of those dumbasses on Law & Order: SVU when they asked me if I saw anything suspicious.”

It was definitely less than 70 degrees out and the chilly breeze necessitated a sweatshirt for me since I still was feeling sub-par.  I felt uncomfortable sitting, so I lay beside him in the sand and closed my eyes.  The sun was warm and helped ease the tension I was feeling.

Particularly the tension in my stomach.

Particularly my lower stomach.

It began to dawn on me that I was going to have an emergency situation. 

Trying to run through sand to get to a toilet that is just out of reach while in an emergency shitting situation is not really on my list of favorite things.

My hands were shaking.  Yoshi was trying to help me but I was ready to cry.  In my mind I was processing which places in the nearby sad I would be least likely to be seen taking an emergency shit from the freeway or small children.

That’s when you know it’s really an emergency situation.  When you start mentally calculating how many people are likely to see you take a public dump.

I made it, if you’re curious. 

I was very fortunate.

After I was feeling better we drove to a trail head we hadn’t visited before and wandered around in the woods by a creek bed for a while.  It was amazingly beautiful.  There were banana slugs of every shape and size.

We talked about what we missed about Santa Rosa and what we like about living here and I realized something important.

As much as Santa Rosa had come to feel like home, one of the reasons we liked it is that where we lived it was easier to escape the city and go into the country.  We never loved the city as much as we loved being able to escape it.  Being here has been a big adjustment, but there is more escape and less city.

I think it’s going to work out.  Eventually.

Hopefully I’ll manage to keep from shitting my pants along the way.

Regardless, I will not be having chili cheese fries or Taco Bell for a while.  Maybe ever again.  I think I'm done with shit food Friday for a bit, too.

You'll Love Me For My Chili.

This post is regarding an adaptation I make of the Quinoa Chili recipe by Damn Delicious.

I don’t really measure things when I make food, so it’s a little hard for me to put recipes on my blog for people.  For this chili I might at some point, because it’s one of those really great heavy heartwarming dishes perfect for cold winter nights.  It’s hearty enough that it’s really easy to forget it’s vegetarian.

I’ve always been a picky eater and my dad makes the BEST chili, but I don’t like meat that much.  I’m not vegan or vegetarian, though I’ve considered it, but I hate having to fight my way around the bits of hamburger when all I really want is the beans and sauce. 

The quinoa chili is perfect for me because I don’t have to pick my way around it at all.  I just throw a little cheese on top and go to town. 

If you’re interested in the changes I make I’ll explain the way I cook a bit.  Generally, I just throw things together by instinct; I cook like my mom and my grandma, I guess.  New recipes I’ll measure most things unless I know I can eyeball.  I just don’t see the point in dirtying measuring cups if I don’t have to.  Recipes I’ve made more than twice I don’t often measure unless it’s something like a cake.

In regards to the chili, I don’t always use onion or garlic, though I do love the flavor when I brown them in olive oil and then mix them into the chili.  Sometimes I’m just lazy.  I don’t always cook the quinoa beforehand; it depends on quickly I want the chili to pull together.  More often than not I just add a little extra water to the broth and throw the rinsed uncooked chili in.  Sometimes I use canned beans, sometimes dry.  It depends on what I have on hand and whether I remember to soak the beans or not.  I prefer using dry if possible because I don’t like being restricted to the canned portions.  I like to add about a half a can extra of black beans in particular.

I store my dry goods like rice and beans in large Mason jars for ease of access and also because I like Mason jars.  They’re easy to clean, glass, and you can put just about anything in them.  Just ask Pinterest.

So I usually end up using about 2/3 a jar of black beans for the chili.  I use about a packet to a packet and a half of packaged chili seasoning because I am lazy and can’t remember to buy chili powder.  And, most importantly, I use brown sugar in my chili.

Friday night I cooked the quinoa and just tossed all the other ingredients in the pot at the same time.  I generally like to use more than one packet of chili seasoning, so I improvised and used some Tapatio.  Then I added probably 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar.  This time it was organic because that’s what I had on hand.

Without a little brown sugar chili tastes a little too sharp to me, a little too tomato-y.  It really makes a difference.  The seasoning and the brown sugar I usually just add to taste as the chili cooks.

That’s pretty much it. 


It’s a very simple recipe to begin with and I’m not going to go out of my way to make it any harder.  

It's also pretty hard to screw up.  And it is so delicious.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Goodbye, Former Self.

Am I the only one who feels that font is an important first step to writing?

Maybe it’s because I’ve never particularly liked my handwriting.  I like to choose fonts that are sort of type-set for serious writing and for more personal venting I like fonts that look more handwritten. 

In school I used it as a procrastination technique; it would take me hours to choose the right font for a paper.  Even if I had to download a new one.  Sometimes it took so long I needed a snack or bathroom break. 

Oops.

Can’t start now.  Gotta pee instead.  

Darn.

This is not really relevant to what I had intended to write at all, but I think about it every time I start to write something because I like to write using Word and then copy and paste it into my blog.  The font is the main reason for that, even though I do just really like the format of Word.

I also like Excel.  Like, a lot. 

I love making spreadsheets. 

It’s a sickness.

I was thinking this morning about the ways in which I’ve changed over the last five years. 

When I started this blog I wanted it to be similar content-wise to Sex and the City.  The show, not so much the book.  I read the book and, to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. 

If you’ve watched the show but not read the book, the first season is very similar style-wise.  And for those of you who haven’t watched the show, the first season is the worst. 

The book was ultimately very depressing and Carrie isn’t a character that people really want to be.  It’s much less settled and more party girl than the show ends up being.

ANYWAY.

That is not what happened. 

The thing is, the person I was when I started this blog five years ago was happy and more comfortable in her own skin than I am now (weight gain), but I realize now she was pretty far into denial about how lost she was.  And she was still really fucked up. 

I bitched about my ex A LOT.

It took until around the summer of 2012 for me to really get over him.  It’s funny now when I think about it because I was afraid to let him go all of the way because I was terrified I’d end up alone.  After my first year at college ended I realized I was going to be happier without him, whether I found someone else or not.

I remember the moment I let go very distinctly, and I’m glad I do because it brings me peace every time it comes to mind.

I was going grocery shopping.  I had just parked in the lot and he was texting me (and hiding it from his current girlfriend).  We were fighting.  The whole time I knew him we were either fighting or I was letting him walk all over me.

I remember thinking so clearly that I didn’t really want to talk to him anymore.  I was almost surprised. 

Then he said we should stop talking.  I agreed.  I went inside and did my shopping with a feeling of lightness in my chest.  I went home.

Not long after I started really talking to Yoshi.

I got the bow tattoo on my ring finger.  Just in case I needed a reminder other than the Cherokee on my rib cage.

I started dating Yoshi. 

Eventually I just didn’t reply anymore when he tried to contact me and I know now it’s better that way.

Sometimes I regret the time I wasted letting him back in time after time, year after year, but I think if I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have become who I am now and ultimately that person is much cooler than who I was at 20. 

I’m not saying I’m thankful, rather that I just don’t regret.

I took a rather long and unintentional break from blogging.  I didn’t have a lot of time for it in school and the things that came to mind to write about seemed silly and childish.  When I moved to Santa Rosa I didn’t have much time for it, either.
Truth be told, I really didn’t write much after finishing school.  Because of that I think I really lost touch with myself for a while there.

It took me writing consistently again and having time with myself to figure that out.  I’ve never felt so lost and been in a stable relationship before.  It was so easy to lose myself in work and blame him for everything that felt wrong.  And everything felt wrong because I wasn’t happy, but it felt like I had no idea what made me happy anymore.

I missed feeling happy. 

I missed not feeling as though I needed the antidepressants I had been taking. 

I missed feeling like myself.

Now I watch the changing winds push and pull at the summer fog and every time the clouds move out the sky reflects on the water in the most pure and cerulean blue I think I’ve ever seen. 

I’m not afraid to dream anymore.


It’s like that clear and bright reflective blue has latched onto my heart and I can feel hope again.

Even though I feel the weight of 30 breathing down my neck, I'm less freaked out by my next birthday than I was before.  I like who I am now more than who and what I was at 20.

It's okay that I don't have children and I'm not going to be married by then.  It's only 30.  

Besides, maybe instead of kids I'll have an adventure instead.  

Who knows.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Moving Upward.

The ocean is laden with fog today. 

I know this despite not having even gone outside yet because I can see to the water from my kitchen window.

I won’t lie, this may play a part in the fact that I mind washing dishes so much less lately. 

We live in a real neighborhood for the first time in years, not in some shitty shoe box apartment the middle of town.  There are no words to express how much I hated the last apartment.  It was listed as a one bedroom but it was really a studio with a large walk-in closet.  Except the walk-in closet had a window and an adjoining smaller closet.  That must have been either for a single occupant’s storage or for the man’s clothes if it was a couple like us. 

Then entryway to the complex was beautiful because it was older, so the foliage had plenty of time to grow large and beautiful.  There were walnut trees, cottonwood trees, and one pine tree.  There were large flowers and bushes accenting the edges of the lawns, and there was a creek bed separating it from another complex of nicer and larger condos that were stratospherically out of our price range.

The creek bed was lined with trees and full of feral cats.

Somehow this place was located in a time/space jump, because it seemed like all the other tenants were Mexican families with children.  The children became a wolf pack on sunny days (which there were many of because California, despite the wet weather this year, has been drought-central for about the last five) and would run the complex screaming until darkness had firmly settled its cloak around the West coast.

The screaming was all day long on weekends, especially in summer when the pool was open.  It was punctuated by the calls of a bicycle snack vendor who used a bike horn to lure people out for overpriced chips with chili powder on them, and a woman with a bell for a similar purpose who cried, "TAMALES" at the top of her lungs for several minutes.  There were also sounds that occurred at any time of the day or night: car alarms and horns, sirens, our neighbors fighting violently, cats yowling, dogs barking, bass, mariachi music, or both from people with absolutely no common decency, homeless people rooting through the dumpsters for cans, and the miscellaneous people, not necessarily tenants, who would wander through the complex shouting at each other or themselves.

The first eight months or so there was also a group of college students across the interior lawn from our unit.  They would smoke pot in their back yard until all hours of the night and sometimes, often on Thursdays, they would have parties.  One of the partygoers would inevitably end up sick and for some reason would choose to vomit somewhere on the lawn or surrounding bushes anytime between three and five AM, which is awesome when you like to sleep with your bedroom window open, have a very specific phobia, and have work the next morning.
This person is actually the primary of about three reasons I took antidepressants for a while when we lived there. 

Between that, monetary issues because everything was fucking expensive (particularly rent for our closet), and some generalized anxiety resulting from my daily commute, I was a wreck for a little bit.  Nothing compared to how I was moving here, but nine months after moving there I couldn’t compartmentalize anymore and even though I didn’t feel particularly depressed my doctor decided to put me on a moderate dose of Prozac to see if it would help my overall symptoms.

It helped.  A lot.

But when we realized the time had come to move I had just stopped taking them and we couldn’t afford for me to get a refill, anyway.

It was all just really poor timing that I don’t feel up to digging into today.

The apartment complex was on the West side of Santa Rosa, which was great for us because it was less than ten minutes out of town and 30 minutes of beautiful forested countryside to the beach. 

I think the beach drive is what I miss most, aside from people.

That drive was where we got engaged a little over two months before we moved.  It hurts not to be able to visit it whenever we want to, but at the same time I’m so glad it was a special place and we at least still live close enough to it that we can go by when we visit his family in the Central Valley or friends/family in the Bay Area.

There are places here in Humboldt that remind me of Santa Rosa.  That helps, but I think I’ll always miss it.  That’s hard to admit because I always assumed we’d move away from there.  If we decided to have a family it would take a long time to establish ourselves there and I don’t think we’d ever be able to do it the way we want to. 

I don’t want to raise a family in an apartment.  I don’t think it’s fair to children, not to have the space to play outside.  I want to own property someday.  I’m already tired of other people telling me what I can and can’t do in my home.  Mostly I’m tired of people telling me I can’t get a dog or I shouldn’t have any pets at all because obviously I’m going to let them destroy the rental property. 
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of cat piss as much as the next woman, but if I didn’t care about my pets enough to really take care of them why would I have them?  Why would I worry about letting my cats outside enough to keep them indoors if I wasn’t going to clean up after them and make sure they were taken care of? 

It is my duty as a pet owner to provide the domesticated animals I keep with the best life possible and anyone who is not willing to do that does not deserve to have a pet.  In some cases they deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

And that is one of the few things I am truly passionate about.

I miss San Francisco being a little over an hour away, depending on traffic.  I miss the drive across the Golden Gate, though I don’t miss receiving the $7.00 toll in the mail three to five weeks later.  The thing is, we rarely had the money to drive to the city for anything other than family events.  I think in two years we were able to go for dinner once.  We always planned to go to the opera, but there wasn’t money for that either.

If we had made it a priority we could have, I’m sure, but especially after the first year when we were both starting to make decent money the other problems compounded and stacked on top of each other.  We both were working full time and neither of us wanted to do anything when we got home.  Often when I came home from work I still answered emails and Skypes from the factories in China, so sometimes I felt like I was never done working.  That meant we would get something from the store or fast food for dinner and rarely did regular grocery shopping. 

I hated the tiny water closet of a kitchen in that apartment and cooking in it was miserable because there was practically no counter space, the cooking area was a range on top of what I think may have been Maytag’s answer to the EZ-Bake Oven, circa approximately 1984, and much of the teeny tiny bit of navy blue counter space that existed was covered by dirty dishes because there was no dishwasher.  The deal was that I cooked and he did dishes.  Since I rarely cooked because of the aforementioned reasons, he rarely did the dishes.  And I wouldn’t do the dishes because I was trying to press the point that it was his chore.  Sometimes there were so many that it would take over three hours to hand was them all. 

That is why I am so happy that I’m able to keep my kitchen clean and beautiful right now.  I know it’s sanitary, I like the space, and it can be a safe place for me like it should be.

I know little pieces of my heart will always be in the North Bay, sprinkled around at my favorite places: a grain of sand at Kala, a larger piece at our beach spot, a little one at the Raley’s down the street (the most beautiful, clean, and spacious grocery store I have ever seen), and sprinklings here and there at places like Taps, Old Chicago, and Jamison’s Roaring Donkey in Petaluma, and El Patio in Santa Rosa.

I miss the happiness I was able to obtain there and the people who made it feel like home to me.

I can only hope I forge friendships half as wonderful here. 

For now, though, I am able to keep myself content with watching the fog move over the ocean and seeing ships move in and out of the harbor from my kitchen, cooking delicious meals every day in a space I love, weeding in a garden I didn’t think I’d have for years still, and taking peaceful drives up the Northern California coastline to see elk, giant ferns, and even larger redwood trees. 


And, of course, the open ocean.  Because, let’s face it, that’s where my heart really has been this whole time anyway.