11/25/2020

This morning has been a whirl of wind in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Picked up these adorable floral arrangements at the local farm store, potted in pumpkins. They used decorative cabbage, roses, alstroemeria, in these lovely purples, yellows, oranges. It is a fresh feeling I get when flower watching, I could just get lost in them. They clear my mind, until I am fresh and new again.

Listening to a new record, I just heard “drinking Coca Cola and red wine”. I wonder if this is an adaptation like rosè and Sprite, or if this is my mind playing tricks on me again. Sometimes I like to live in a world as if there were no google. It’s similar to how I felt as a kid I think, where I could with impunity believe things and just explore the world. I can remember times when I’d take closed containers of spices, a wooden spoon, and a bowl and pretend to mix the ingredients. I have a vivid memory of climbing into kitchen cabinets and holding my breath as long as I could. I must have watched an episode of Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers that talked about it. But I felt so free in that moment, I knew I could hold my breath just as long as those oyster divers would.

Waiting on a batch of three pumpkin pies to cook, I set up green bean casserole. Earlier this week, I looked online for the original green bean casserole, the one they used to put on either the can of mushroom soup or the can of Durkee fried crispy onions. This version was transcribed by a family member long ago and it now belongs to my sister. I recall looking at it a time or two as an adult, the neat handwriting on the index card. Yesterday, as I browsed YouTube, I could not find the original recipe. Many of the new renditions have sliced mushrooms, bacon, fresh sliced onion, even cheese. The only one I have ever eaten has soy sauce, I know that for sure.

I dumped them all into a pyrex dish:

1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup

1 16 oz frozen French cut green beans,

1/2 Cup heavy cream

1 tsp soy sauce

handful of French’s crispy fried onions

Stir it all together

Bake 350 degrees F for 25 minutes

Add the rest of the fried onion toppings on top

Bake 10 minutes

Let cool 30 minutes, then serve

11/21/2020

Last night a friend came over for a get together. It was a relief to get to visit for a bit. This was the second time we’ve seen each other during covid times and the first time we’d seen each other since our birthdays. Earlier on in the day I was feeling bakeful so I put together a lasagna in three layers:

  1. Instead of pasta I sliced thin steaks of cabbage
  2. a layer of pasta sauce mixed with the rest of the mushrooms sliced with a few chopped cloves of garlic
  3. the layer of cheese is a container of ricotta and a bag of three cheese blend: parmigiana Reggiani, asiago, and parmesean (usually I’d add an egg, but did not have any)

Cooked in a pyrex casserole dish on 350 degrees F for an hour covered with tin foil.

After the hour, I uncovered the dish and sprinkled some thin slivers of asiago and cooked it for 15 a final minutes to let the cheese melt and get crusty over the top

When my friend came over, we had parm crisps (zero carb cheese chips), green olives, dill pickles, caramelized figs, cheese roll, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto. We packed up the food and she microwaved a poblano bowl that she brought with her. After that, I offered her the lasagna. I was not expecting her to try it, but was so pleased when she cleaned her plate, which is high praise.

This morning, I opened the card that my friend left me. I opened it not expecting much. I had been standing with her in the parking lot of my place as she penned it before she got in her car to leave.

Earlier on that night we had been talking about advanced directives and death, and how hard it is for people to talk about death. Two summers ago when my aunts and uncles came to visit, I sobbed trying to explain how I wouldn’t want a funeral, wouldn’t want to be buried. How can you feel so bold but then not be able to say it out loud?

My friend would want a Viking funeral, and she laughed as she spoke it. “Send me out to the ocean.” And we’d shoot a burning arrow, and then you’d burn. In the instance she wouldn’t be able to enjoy life or live without medical assistance, she would want to go. She is an only child with no family and no children of her own, so she does not owe anyone anything. I spoke up and said she owes me something, and she would owe her friends something. Yea this would be if something changed and I wasn’t able to live life the way I wanted. She said she has always lived her life as a heathen, as she has made different choices in her life than others.

On the envelope she drew a fake stamp, fake postal markings with a future year on it.

11/15/2020

I was looking back on something I read recently about the pandemic and asked myself to remove the pandemic and see the behaviors that I had added or ways that I had changed throughout the year:

Stopped eating while seated at restaurants and bars

Started long distance running

Started keto

Started a best practices journal

Were it not for the pandemic, I would not have gotten to stop eating at restaurants and bars, so I am grateful for this year. I ate so many dollars. It was wasteful. Sometimes we would go out every night for months at a time, and sometimes were hemorrhaging funds, but not anymore. At times, I have not seen the good things in this year, but now I think I am coming around to see the benefit of these times. One goal I had for myself this year is to make a new friend. Although I admitted at a recent work meeting that I hadn’t, someone pointed out that I actually have made a new friend, a co-worker. I’m always skeptical about the term friends. What does it even mean to be a friend? That’s probably why I don’t have a lot of friends. I take the win of a new friend.

11/08/2020

When NIN was inducted into the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Iggy Pop cited French novelist Michel Houellebecq in saying the simplest thing you can do that contributes to success is to tell the truth. The memories I have when I listen to those old songs are beautiful and they remind me how enjoyable life can be despite the bad experiences you were going through at the time: teenage angst, bad boyfriend/girlfriend times, depression; it brings fresh excitement to your own limited world. Listening to records is a screen that has painted an existential mesh on top of the present moment that blends how you lived then into now, however flawed and incorrect it inevitably may be. Sometimes that feeling is so intoxicating because it was true for you once, and in a way it will always be true.

Iggy Pop said the first time he saw Trent Reznor he said he seemed to come from 15th Century Spain:

“If he’d been alive at the right time, I think he could have been painted by Velasquez or El Greco, and his portrait would probably hang in the Prado today.”

(Iggy Pop, 2020)

When I was a teenager, I went to Spain with my aunt to visit our family who lives there. One of my favorite artists is El Greco, a Spanish artist whose art hangs in museums. When we were in Toledo in 1997, there was a converted museum that used to be a hospital. El Greco would paint the faces of patients in mental institutions because Greco said their eyes could see God. Sometimes mental illness disqualifies you from being valid or seen, but Greco validated them through his creative renditions. Many of his paintings include self-portraits of himself, and I believe he felt he was one of the common people, in painting himself among those people, and that he was doing the will of the people in performing his art and giving it to the world.

Kitchen scrap chili

Last weekend I had a ton of leftovers and was craving chili. So, I took them all and combined them with some pantry items:

  • pan of curry seasoned, boneless chicken thighs with cauliflower and cabbage
  • container of taco seasoned ground beef
  • half container of pasta sauce
  • half can of salsa
  • can chili beans

I cooked everything in a large pot and added some salt. Served with several dollops of sour cream and tortilla chips, I had a lovely meal Sunday and had leftovers all week. The combination of taco seasoning and curry (Korma seasoning), along with the tartness of the sour cream was just right.

Note: I’ve been lazy Keto since spring 2020, which just means I add a ton of fat to whatever I’m eating. I hadn’t been in keto for a while, due to laziness and not tracking carbohydrates. That day my body had started Keto again, as I had lost 1/2 lb. by the next day and ended up catching that Keto flu by the end of the night: nausea, shaking, feeling awful

Election Day in America, continued

I’ll admit I didn’t see the value of CNN after they said Clinton “won” the debate in 2015 against Bernie Sanders and that lesser known third candidate from Maryland. When clear screenshots documented the watchers’ survey on CNN that 96% thought Bernie won, but CNN published Clinton as the winner the next day, I wondered: can anyone actually win a debate? CNN wasn’t reporting what viewers believed won the debate, but rather were a mouthpiece for whom they were supporting. I consider CNN a viable news source, with reputability in its name, but didn’t trust it to reflect what really happened.

I pretty much wrote off CNN for five years until after Election Day 2020. What turned me in particular is the vote count where Wolf Blitzer and John King interview local politicians and vote counters with ongoing vote counts in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania. They work with a touch screen and pull up a box with Trump and Biden’s pictures on them to write in the tally when a vote count or vote dump comes in, and next to Biden’s tally King writes the percentage of votes he’s won. Biden only had to get 56% of incoming votes, but was far surpassing that at a clip of 60-70% and, as was repeated through the wee hours of the mornings following November 4th, 2020, this feels like Christmas Eve for a little kid.

Earlier this morning, Georgia has Biden leading by 1,000 votes, where earlier they had Trump leading, and within the past hour, Pennsylvania’s got Biden in the lead by 5,000 some off votes. I still strongly believe that the Electoral college is a bygone, backwards thing that must be dismantled.

Gray hair

The trick to getting to the gray hair, if you don’t have natural gray hair, is realizing that gray dye presents first as blue or purple, so the mission is to push past the disappointment of initial blue or purple. You can achieve gray hair with 5-7 shampoo washes after applying dye.

Step one: bleach with volume 20 developer and bleach powder, set for 25 min Tip: keep bleach in longer to get hair platinum or as light blonde that you can which reduces the brassiness that shows under the gray

Step two: rinse out, condition, wait a day or several between bleaching and dyeing Tip: to get out the blue or purple, I’ll shampoo my hair during the day 5-7 times

Step three: apply hair dye, leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing out

Here is the dye I found works best: L’Oreal Soft Silver Blond 8S.

I had some first attempts that didn’t work as great as I wanted.

First dye purchase was too blue, and in retrospect, I could have set it 10 minutes instead of the recommended 25 minutes to set the color

Next, I went to Sally Beauty store and the girl working there suggested the developer, bleach powder, and temporary hair dye, which was blue

This technique worked for me, it’s probably going to take some time to find the strategy that’ll work for you. Good luck on your hair journey!

things you used to be able to do

On dsw, a website that sells mainly shoes, one used to be able to purchase a record player. The item is no longer for sale, but it always tickled me to know that you could buy a record player at a shoe store:

https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/gpo-retro-bermuda-record-player/443224

11/03/2020

I was waiting for my boyfriend to get ready for our walk the other day, and as I was channel surfing through the TV stations I changed it to a movie I’d seen running before but didn’t think twice about actually watching. It’s a movie with an actress that I’m not a huge fan of, but it had a rating of 84% approval, and, more importantly, there were only 15 minutes left until the end, so I figured, why not kill some time?

The footage was grainy, slightly overexposed in certain scenes, and awful. A family was driving in a car with a woman complaining about how there were no good memories, except for when her daughter was three and was looking outside through the window of a house they used to live in, and said, “Mother, don’t you just love every day?” And then a girl piped up from the back seat and said, “that was me!” This mother seemed like a sick woman. Wearing a wig and flabbergasted that there were no good memories, worried that she could not make any new good ones.

No spoilers, but this movie had me bawling my eyes out by the end of the film, and one of those cries where you’re not able to quite catch your breath because all your lung capacity is a process of pushing out the pent up emotion that has become tightness, a sort of constriction pulled over your sternum holding in things you thought you’d be better off trying to conceal or minimize by showing no reaction to. Sometimes things blow over and other times they allow you to release.

The term “zero-day” refers to a newly discovered software vulnerability. Because the developer has just learned of the flaw, it also means an official patch or update to fix the issue hasn’t been released.

us.norton.com

After I wrote this entry, I was looking for the finished title. I usually fly a working title first, one that is a sort of throw away first draft that I can improve on once the words have settled. I first had the day of, which is because today is voting day and there are things that I have already revealed too much in it, so then I started to think about zero day, and how I have felt for so long that holding things in is a way to conserve a part of myself, or to hide in order to save myself from exposure.

The longer I live the more I learn that exposing those things – your feelings and true self – is one of the most difficult things to do. I think about how this is the last year of my 30’s and how long life has been for me being middle aged. I like to think about transformation and how starting a new habit or living differently would be radical, or at least more compelling than what has become comfortable and made me soft. William Faulkner wrote, “It’s always the idle habits you acquire which you will regret.” The longer I live the more I think how picking away little by little on those automatic behaviors is the only thing I can change.

Today is voting day. In less than an hour, I’ll wake up for the day and appear at my voting place. I’ll wait in line wearing my mask and then the deed will be done, and I can go about my day knowing I did what I could to impose change the only way I can, by showing up and representing myself.