Thursday, September 18, 2014

saying goodbye; letting go; still loving

im moving again. that's nine times in the last six years. each time there is less to move. this time noticeably a lot less cookbooks. eight banana boxes less. the last time I moved was under a number of realizations (like I had too many cookbooks that I never use and that I was ready to make space for someone to share my space....[side note: thank you to all of those who have helped me move--often more than once--and never commented about the absurd number of books I have, and especially to the one someone who finally did]) and expectations (that that somebody would share my space). Now I am going to be sharing space with a very different somebody,

Somebody A, the somebody for whom a certain banana bread was made, whom adventures and music were shared with, whom stirred laughter and tears, and whom a number of current home shelves were left free for is no longer my somebody. He is my friend though. And he can use my new shelves if he needs to....

Somebody B is my good friend with whom I will be sharing different adventures and music and baked goods with. Somebody who is about to be overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I still have despite having moved so many times. Mostly food. And booze. And still quite a number of books.

This move is quite significant, firstly because I have not lived with anyone since the random moving in with three football players I had never met on the opposite end of this country (a whole other moving story full of somebodys). More significant though, because of that grand bit of expectation attached to the last move.

Moving into this little home of mine now was full of expectation: firstly that moving up a crazy steep hill out of downtown would inspire me to get back on my bicycle (im one of those "hardcore" cyclists who loves a good incline even more than the downslope--and so does my butt...)--which didn't happen--but primarily, to have M (somebody A, in case you haven't caught on yet) feel welcome in my home, to maybe call it his own. Which definitely didn't happen.

Oh expectation. how you set me up to be let myself. If we do not expect anything, then we can not be let down. This does not mean not to have hope, not to put effort into manifestations. even hope falls flat if you do not put in the work. Hope for something can be like setting a goal or seeing the outcome, but you have to be willing to make the steps towards that. For long- term -live- in- sharing- shelves- love, you need to be free of expectation but full of hope and then willing to do the work to make that hope truth.

its a lesson I continue to learn as I pack up all of my stuff and one box of M's and think about whats next. What is next? I have a lot on my plate this fall/winter, including a number of adventures almost as grand as love (who am I kidding? theres nothing so grand!). And a number of challenges not nearly as challenging as love. Including letting go of love.

but then again, as I pack I learn another lesson. That just because you let go doesnt mean you love any less. Actually, I didn't learn that from packing, I learned it from pinterest, but I am thinking about it as I pack. I am thinking also of all the good times we had, the food shared and songs sung. The talks, the laughter, the kisses, the questions, the long nights and early mornings, the good on its own and the good within what didn't feel so good then. Im thinking about how leaving this space is a significant move, a letting go of expectations, a closing of a move that was such an opening statement to my heart, and in leaving an awareness of how much my heart has yet to open. I will miss the memories the floor boards hold here (and the gas burners and my garden, and sliding doors and built in shelving... but that's besides the point...), but look forward too to being free of them. I look forward to letting go.

And being able to still love him. And still loving me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

poked and stoked

My heart has been poked at a lot lately, some a sweet "wake up," some more like prodding, others...stabbing. Yesterday, however, was a very direct poke...with a needle....or the back, shoulders, and wrists. Aimed at the heart. Yesterday was my first ever acupuncture appointment.

I don't even know where to begin in describing the magic that was yesterday--right now I am as clear as I have never been about how messy I am. I don't mean my home, my wild hair, or my car (those of you who know wish you didn't....)  I mean the messiness of my poked at heart.

This heart of mine gets poked because it is the only way into it--the four doors are shut and I am pretending that I am not home to open them. Or downright refusing too. Or using fake voices so that those poking think they have the wrong heart address--that its chica from Brooklyn (the only accent I can do consistently). This doesn't mean that I am not all for love and generous with giving it--its just the doors only swing out and then slam back shut before I can receive love myself. In fact, any sort of poke--soft, forceful, searching--is met with defensiveness, misinterpretation of the pokers intentions, and often confusion at my own response. What a mess.

A fiery mess--turns out my fire element is blazing. Pitta. This information was entirely unexpected and entirely understandable. I always thought I was more Vappa, windy, an all over the place, disconnected gypsy soul. Turns out fire and wind are connected, and those of you living in 40 degree dry BC with me right now know what wind does to wild fire. More than messy--downright destructive.

Which is why I am so grateful for the magic of yesterday. For the awareness that was created around my tendency to feel unheard, my difficulties in communicating, and how the two render me incapable of listening to my inner truth, and thus feeling like an all over the place disconnected gypsy soul when all I want to do is find the balance between joy and sorrow and let as much love in as I give out Wow what a sentence. Just wow.

You see, receiving love is the greatest from of getting it; letting people in is how you love them. Allowing yourself to be loved is opening your heart to be more pure in love. And  a closed heart results in a closed mind, or at least a closed circuit of communication between the two which only stokes the fire and deprives it of water. These are not metaphors I am creating. This is Chinese Medicine--ancient wisdom. And I am truly fascinated.

Fire. Small intestine. A twenty minute reading of my pulse that provoked very intuitive questions about my past. Magic. And for my present, what does that mean? It means a dry blend of herbs with the cutest little spoon three times a day, more pokes to realign my chi, and an awareness of my defensive responses and (not)listening tendencies; for now learning to respond to love with trust and gratitude rather than through a locked door in the Bronx. For my future? Hopefully a heart with four open doors each with their own clever welcome mat; a heart that gives and receives feedback from the mind, and gives and receives love fluidly. A little more water like.

Monday, June 9, 2014


you know when you are feeling so many different things that you cannot distill your emotions into a manageable, nameable feeling? That's me. That's this post. Hence the "untitled" title. There are really no clear words or thoughts. Emotional chaos--stop reading now if that scares you/turns you off/makes no sense at all, because it wont.

Emotional chaos. Sounds dramatic hey? it is. and it isn't. its an is ism (see last post--it makes a bit more sense at least)(focus Anderson...ok). Its just a lot, really; a lot of changes and feelings and unsure bits of life business all milling about in the vessel we call the body which is where the mind and the heart thrive in constant debate. And when there are enough different emotions and not enough agreement between the heart and the mind, the chaos eventually gets tired and winds down, though it feels more like a soupy glomming together of all thoughts/feelings/sures and not so sures/manifestations/hopes/ chia pudding. I am emotional chia pudding. That would have been a catching title...

ok. stop reading what i have to say, because i am hardly writing what i need to say. Read this instead:
i do love the chaos. i do love a roaring heart and mind. I love that i know exactly how i feel but not why, or why i might feel something i cannot exactly explain. I love being not entirely sure of anything, just knowing that i have a large amount of trust and love and hope and openness to take it as it is. I am que-se-rah'ing right now; what ever will be will be. And there are a lot of things being right now that feels like chaos but is really magnificent roaring.
I have not always been comfortable with chaos--i laugh now, when people tell me my energy is calm or zen, because those were the last words you would use to describe pre-yoga me--i have, however, always been comfortable with a roaring heart.
I am passionate to a fault. When i love something i love it with my whole being, when i don't, im not put off by it. I am not one, however, to create chaos out of what i love by pushing it on others or arguing with anyone who doesn't love what i love, but i am more than likely to talk too much and with too many exaggerated hand gestures about such things if given the space to. It is a concentrated passion though, as I fall in love quickly, and fully with a only a few things.

Same goes for people. Quick concentrated passion and love. Which leads me back to emotional chaos.

M gets back today after 45 days away. 45 days apart, and 5 hours until together again. And i am as excited as i am terrified. Reliving the last 45 days and daydreaming about the next. Grateful for the time apart for so many reasons that could go either way for building the time together. Feeling that so much time has past, but that it went so quickly. Knowing how much has changed, and wondering how little that will matter. Aware of what i need, and what is needed of me. Unaware of what i need and what is needed of me. Capable of imagining the worst, but fully trusting in what we had before he left. Sure, really, of only one thing: i love him in a passionate to a fault, roaring heart, emotionally chaotic chia pudding glom sort of way.

Like i love rhubarb cooked in beer.

i warned you. nonsensical. but you read it anyways. And now you should make this:

Beer and Cider Braised Rhubarb
inspired by Green Kitchen Stories, and M's return home, cause i put some beers in the fridge for him and baked bread to smear this all over. All the wheaty, malty, yeasty, sharp, sweet and bright rhubarby-ness. All the chaos.

1lb rhubarb, as ripe and red and beautiful as you can find
1/2 cup beer--i used a German lager, but i imagine stout would be good--ive used Crannog Ales Backhand of God to cook porridge in before and it is camping breakfast at its finest, but wouldn't be the jazziest with rhubarb...
1/2 cup apple cider, or juice, if you are feeling that is too much booze in one compote. in which case, you aren't quite understanding the chaos theme
honey or maple syrup or nothing at all, depending on your sweet tooth.

combine all in a cast iron pan (i read recently that your food absorbs iron from the pan, and you absorb it from your food which is super neat because i am super anemic right now....can you be "super" anemic, or is that implied...side note) and cook over low heat, uncovered, until the rhubarb is just tender.

Serve on oats/yoghurt/pancakes/waffles/cake/icecream/toast/cheese, whatever vessel you've got, and feel free to jazz it up with vanilla bean as they do on GKS, or get fancy with a couple sprigs of thyme, a fresh bay leaf, or some classy cardamom pods, and choose your body language to express how passionate you are about it. I find simple, though, is best in the chaos--so a double fist pump will do.

Monday, April 28, 2014

and so it is

"it is what it is---its an 'is-ism.'" This was the phrase of the season at my last restaurant job, the English version of one of the many German phrases I learned while working there: sha-be-don (that's how it sounds, not how it is spelled...though it looks like shaw-be-done (and sounds like it too), which I think many of us can relate to, and also quite perfectly fits its general meaning...)--which roughly translates as "same shit different pile" or "im tired of it, and know exactly how to fix it, but am too tired to do anything about it" or "im tired of it, and know exactly how to fix it but I would rather have a whiskey" or "FML"...the latter is my current phrase-of-the-moment (switching from "well that's neat"-- the transition of which is quite indicative of my current state.) and is translated as the universe has more control over me than I do, Fuck.

I swore a lot at my last kitchen job. I still swear a lot in my own kitchen. Sometimes I swear while teaching yoga, just to get the uplifting and inspirational point across. Right? FML.

So here is my point: there has been ALOT in the last couple of weeks. ALOT. I taught/took 54 yoga classes (47 of which were at a hot yoga temperature of 90+ degrees) in 14 days. I moved from my dream bachelorette suite to my dream bachelorette suite with dreams of my dream bachelorette suite in another country. I had the most significant, grounding, assuring visit of my life with my ma while we visited by sista and my brostar-in law over easter (and watched just enough hockey to transform me into an uber-competitive, fist-pumping, superfreak), only to end up super sick before immersing myself in a 40 day yoga commitment. Then I drove M to the airport for Mexico, for 55-100 days...or so. And so it is.

And so it is that I am left with some space. A physical space currently filled with boxes of mostly cookbooks because once upon a time they held some significance in my chefing abilities. And intimately physical space that is still fighting off the congested, fatigued cold that hit me when I finally slowed down a bit to cheer on (egg on/threaten to fight...) my brother in laws hockey team's tournament, while recovering from way too much yoga sweat. A mental space currently immersed for the next 30 ish days in analyzing who I am/want to be as a single unit, and who I am/want to be as someone very much in love with someone who is gone for 55-100 days ish.

And so it is that I am very much in love. Perhaps more so than I thought. FML.

Or perhaps more so than I was allowing myself the space to think. Absence makes the heart go fonder? Sure. But it has been three days. Perhaps absence kicks the heart...hard. Forces it to connect to something greater than itself. Greater than self love. Greater than accepting what is for what it is, and opening itself to something that is quite a bit more than the same shit, a pile of something quite new, and quite real, and quite vulnerable for a whole lot of observation with so much clear space.

Well that's neat. I feel my phrase changing again. Because I know my life is rad. That I have much to be thankful for: friends who will read this and get it, readers who will read this and find a friend because they get it, things that make me check in (like discovering a number of memberships continually charging my visa while I continue to ignorantly not take advantage of such renewals--ie Netflix which, side note, I am going to watch the movie that the quoted and attached song is a part of the soundtrack before my card expires and memberships ceases--p.s if anyone needs shoes, FML I have been paying into Just Fab for 5 too many months...I now have store credit. neat....), and things that help me check out of all that I try to control; things that keep me present with what is. Things like love. And whiskey...


Sunday, March 9, 2014

A man and a lady and a sweet sweet bread

About a month ago I went ahead and fell in love. whoops. didn't see that coming--and glad I didn't, because normally I would have ran like hell. but there is something about him that makes me want to stay perfectly still, with a lot of gratitude, and even more wonder.

(side note: he would tell you, first that it was more than a month ago, and second, that we are together because he is notoriously good at 'wooing': that he can sweep any gal off her feet and then, when she realizes what has happened, hesitates. bales. sad face. this time that is not happening. in this case--the 'wooing' is mutual...)

Staying still is the last thing we are doing. our first roadtrip together is tomorrow (god help him); and after much pondering about just what is wrong with my little bachelorette suite that makes him so restless, I have shifted and given away furniture to make room for a desk he can work at...and, more significantly, and long term, started looking for a new, more accommodating place. his toothbrush is here, as well as his own toothpaste because he doesn't like mine. and for the first time in about four years there is butter in my fridge. real butter, and real cream, and until he made an omelette the other day, there was bacon--well, house cured pigs face from the new Salted Brick, but still, it was pork--now I love all of those things and would have them in my fridge for life if I could eat them without feeling like dying instead I will have them in my lactose-intolerant, vegetarian fridge for life for this unexpected love.

I am nervous, and excited, and as I said, grateful. I am also listening to his records in a home I am reconsidering staying as long as I can in, planning our trip and much more, and baking banana bread that I cant really eat without feeling like dying after. its a banana bread for him, because, as the charmer says, he is my man and I am his lady. because, suddenly, things have become less about me, and more about us.

gentlemen's banana bread

a banana bread for kids, to me, says chocolate chips; for foodies, black and white sesame seeds to replace the classic-grandmas-house-comfort of walnuts or pecans. a gentlemen's banana bread, though, now that requires something rich, dark, and whiskey laced...

1/2 cup each butter and coconut butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (the darker the better; I used coconut sugar, which tastes like demerrara)
1/2 cup raw sugar
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
1/3 c spiced whiskey (alternatively, if you were low on spicebox like I surprisingly was, you can use regular whiskey, plus 1/2 tsp each cardamom and cinnamon, and 2tsp vanilla--or a sprinkle of vanilla bean powder)
2 cups mashed banana (approx. 6 bananas)
1 cup sourcream
1 1/2 cups each whole wheat and spelt flour
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350; grease two loaf pans.
beat the heck out of the butters and sugars until light and fluffy. incorporate one egg at a time, then all 4 yolks. beat in whiskey, bananas, and sourcream until smooth and frothy. combine dry ingredients separately, and then mix the whole lot together. pour into prepared pans and bake for a really long time, 75-90 minutes. this is especially masculine when served not in the morning, fresh out the oven, but later in the evening, toasted, with a whiskey, neat, and cigar. maybe some cream. and a fireplace. in a leather chair. enjoy.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Rolling with it

We all know about "balance": the basic concept of yin and yang. Work and play. Pride and humility. Strength and softness. A balanced diet. Balancing on ones hands, or feet for that matter. When we have balance we are healthy and steady, sure, capable, but open to learning. And we are not stressed. So basically, I am completely out of balance.....

Which is to say I am completely stressed. Ironically, I find balance to this by being relatively unproductive towards relieving that stress--in other words, I am uber relaxed about being stressed. Full circle: I am completely balanced.

Look. I could go on writing in this very confusing fashion, or I could be straight up with you: I am holding steady at completely uprooting myself from the life I have created here, seek out a new and not-entirely random adventure in a country that I do not speak the language but long for the food and sun, and settling here for time enough to start my own business and agree to a relationship on more than one level. Ok, so that was still relatively vague. Balance.

Let me try again. With salad rolls.

Salad rolls are a spring/summer meal, right? Served cold, with crisp, watery vegetables like cucumber and soft lettuces, they are picnic portable and fun to dip as most summery things are: bagna cauda (fancy Italian veggies and dip), chips and salsa, toes and more in the lake...but not very winter friendly. In the winter we crave digging in not dipping in. Hearty, rich, starchy, and--most importantly--hot meals. Hot rice noodles in hot laksa. Not cold rice noodles wrapped in cold rice paper. That is an imbalance. But it is about all I want to eat these days.

Winter weather, summer meal. There is the balance. That, and what you put in them. While currently obsessed with these Vietnamese finger foods (cant pronounce them in Vietnamese, but long for them as much as I do the sun on my skin...), I have experimented with all sorts of wintery fixings: pickled pumpkin (sneaky hint of kaffir lime, blows your mind every time), lemongrass roasted beets, sweet potato shaved and tossed in sesame oil and warm spices, heartier greens like lacinato kale, even toasted sprouted buckwheat groats. Carmelizing peanuts in a bit of honey and dried thai chilis with shallot and rice vinegar is money: sweet salty fatty nutty bits of crunchy business bite by bite. And toasting dressed Yuba skins until they are crispy is pretty much the ultimate contrast to soft rice paper and cabbage. I made my own Yuba today. That's another story. Its a good one. Its about patience. But this is (still) a story about balance.

And here is the conclusion of this seemingly random tale. My ma has always said that I am black or white--no grey. High or low. Happy or sad. I like to think that I have found my grey area by trusting that my black will lead to a white. By rooting down to rise up. By rolling with it in any direction as much as you focus on a path. By rolling up some root vegetables in an out of season dinner.

Do you see the connection? Between salad rolls and my life? Maybe it would have helped to have pictures. Sorry about that. But you see, the more random and silly this story seems, the more perfectly it balances my calculated, seriously stressed state. I feel better already.