Friday, September 2, 2016

On seeing the ending

Losing someone and getting hit by a truck must be the same thing. It's worse than anything I've ever imagined, and I've been practicing for a tragedy my whole life. Every single thing you do you have to do for the first time knowing you will face an absence that can not be distracted. Every time is like getting hit in the chest. Some days I'm just not brave enough to get hit again. In the car I blast rave music as loud as I can, begging my ears to ring and the rear view mirror to rattle. I pretend to say hello to dogs I meet and I know they can see through me. The devastation of it all is so heart-shattering, and for a while it feels like you're trapped in a movie theatre. The lights are dark, the sound is loud, and all you can do is watch the same scene over and over again.

No one at work knows what happened because I can't have people who care checking in on me. I have wine in my office these days but that sort of constant re-hashing would send me into Tuesday Mimosa territory and I have work to do. I'm finished with my house. I'm finished being in debt. I'm finished waiting for my real life to begin.

All you can do is wait. Breathe. Be gentle. Grief was made for depression, partners in crime. Ambition and frustration are stronger than ever but some times I can't move. And that is okay. I agreed to let myself move as slowly as I want right now. And if I need to avoid a situation for a while then I get to do that too.

If you've decided to spend your life with someone then they are the most important person in your life. Be the person you want to be with them, and don't rely on the benefit of the doubt, the grain of salt, the taking for grantedness of any of it. Be kind. Use that freshly cracked open heart to find the softness you're so afraid of.

My tolerance for suffering fools has all but vanished; our lives are too short to waste on the useless. No one except your spouse is entitled to your attention. Fire clients. Ignore your neighbor. Pull over and take a photo of the light shining through the clouds onto the mountain. I give so many fucks so ferociously that I'm fresh out.

Get up and leave the theatre. You don't have to watch it again, you know how it ends.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Holy Shit it's Corned Beef Season

If you are like me, and I believe you are, there is nothing finer than corned beef. Except maybe pastrami. But considering what month we're in I think corned beef is the way to go. And I think you should corn your own beef because it is stupid easy and better than anything you can buy pre-corned.
Seriously. This is all you need. I've got 2 pounds of beef brisket, 1/4 cup kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of corned beef spices.
Actually, it's only one tablespoon of corned beef spices and one tablespoon of pickling spices because I ran out of corned beef spice and know what? I don't think there's a damn difference. If there is I can't tell.
Now, we salt the living hell out of it. Seriously. A metric shittonne of salt. So much salt, it won't even stick. You'll have to stab the meat with a fork a few times and let it sit a few minutes so some juices escape so you can continue. Remember, we're salting to cure, not to season.
In fact, you will have to be creative when it comes time to apply the spices because they won't want to stick to all that salt. Sprinkle the spices all over, and I like to use the bag it will be living in for the next week to help make them stick to the meat and not to your hands. Just sprinkle down the side and rub the plastic up against the meat.

I swear I'm not trying to be vulgar.

It just comes naturally.
And ideally you have a ziptop bag to store this mess in but when fresh beef was first corned it was to preserve it and they didn't have ziptop bags either. This will leak, eventually, so I'm wrapping it up in cling wrap. Sidenote: If you buy festive red cling wrap for the holidays you will never, ever go through a whole roll before the new year.
See? How nicely wrapped your meaty present is. The next step is to keep pressure on the package while it cures. I have two big casserole dishes that I never use because there are only two people in this house and casseroles on the whole suck butt anyways so I won't miss them during the next 7 days.

Place the meat in the large dish, place the small dish on top, fill the small dish with some heavy condiments and keep everything perfectly straight and level. 

Perfectly straight and level.

Now, we wait. Let this cure for one week. If you can be bothered, turn it daily. If not, whatever. It will still be awesome. This is a good Sunday activity because it takes 5 minutes to prepare, you can do it drunk on brunch mimosas or your 9 AM Guinness, and next Sunday's dinner is not only figured out, but ready to dump in a crock pot and ignore for 8 hours.

See you next weekend. *hic*

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Don't ruin old books so you can sell shit on Etsy

Please, for the love of all that is sacred, don't cut up old books.

In the same way that you wouldn't pull a dinosaur bone from an exhibit, you wouldn't destroy a piece of history, would you? Because that's what you're doing when you cut up old books.

A book is a snapshot of where we were as a society. Once it's gone, it's gone. The people that wrote it die. The people that lived it die. The people that read it die. But a book? A book endures.

This book was published in 1967 and is a comprehensive guide to entertaining in the late '60s. Every single element of this book is of note, from the ingredients and their availability to the types of dishes and table settings, from the assumptions about living situations to involvement in your neighborhood. The brilliant Kodachrome photos, the kitschy illustrations. Every single thing about this book is worth treating with respect.

This book is also a snapshot of expected family roles in 1967. What your husband can do while the reader--a woman--is hostessing, what to do with the children during a get-together, how even the single gal can throw a party. Take a look at the page above: "Keep the menu light but make the most of it with the little flourishes so dear to the female heart." This innocuous little line was completely average when this book was printed. Yet today it would draw a storm of feminist outrage.

This is important.

Here is another gem from 1967. Every letter, illustration, photo...everything is noteworthy. Notice the smart sleeves and red nails of the female shopper. Look at the beautiful font on the signs. These pages even feel precious. Like a secret. Like something left behind.

Books are fragments of who we used to be as a society. It's all we have left.

Buy Photoshop Elements and learn to design your own works of art using these books as inspiration. Stop at the craft store and buy some illustration markers and develop your own, copyrightable handwriting and artwork. Please. Consider the fate of our society if everybody out there with a gung-ho Manifest Destiny delusion and an antiques store bought old, important books and cut them up without prejudice to paste onto some "vintage" item to sell on a website. Simply because these books aren't under glass doesn't mean you should feel no compunction about decimating them.

Our lives are temporary. When we're gone, we're gone. But for as long as the page endures, who we were survives.

Please think twice before you destroy a piece of history.
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