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Do other people worry about becoming a hugging person?

31 May

I sometimes worry that if I lose my job and get out of the rat race, I will end up as a hugging saint. I also worry that I will not be able to pay for my iPhone and have to rent out my basement, so it’s not like I have achieved enlightenment. It’s just that sometimes I feel like that is a shadowy other-life. Anyone else ever feel that way?

(P.S. I have hugged Amma, and may again. She is in Toronto June 28-Jul 1, check out her site. She is actually a very cool feminist in her way.)


Love with cinnamon on top

21 Apr

Dear you,

I woke up this morning so happy to think about you. Not, of course, that my every thought is consumed by you because that would be over the top ridiculous. I am a well-rounded individual and in the past ten minutes I have thought about civil liberties and their place in the face of sociopathic activity, ice cream, the role of laundry in history and whether my poor old cat is losing weight. But I also did think about the way everyone in the entire world, throughout history, who shares your first name, saint and sinner, misogynist and activist alike, makes me smile just a little bit because, well, it is your name. 

I want to share everything — well, that is everything except a little bit because really I do have to come first in my own life, as much as I want to go through it with you; the fact is if you were to crush my soul, lay an unwanted hand on me in a violent or coercive manner, or become a negative in all my days I might well end things and so there will always be a small private island within the ocean, a little place of independence upon which I could be shipwrecked, a host of private thoughts like coconuts…. Well, this metaphor sucks and what’s more, let’s not kid ourselves, I am kind of independent and I suck at sharing, and what’s more, I am not even sorry about it. But, I wouldn’t mind getting better at it with you, which is what really actually surprises me.

Your kisses are amazing, and sexy, and I love being a sexual agent with you. Let’s do that at the earliest opportunity, contraception and all. 

Lentils, rice and onions: Why peasants rule the earth

13 Apr

From time to time I post recipes. It is not your job to cook, but it’s not a terrible thing either.

IMG_0470 1Ingredients:
olive oil

Rinse about 2/3 of a cup of green lentils and put them on in about 5 cups of boiling water with two whole cloves of garlic. Do not ever add salt here. Set timer for 20 minutes; reduce heat to simmer.

Slice a whack of onions (4-5 medium) into thin slices. Or until the crying gets to you.

Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a pan.

Cook the onions slowly enough that they mostly caramelize, but not so slow that at the nth hour they don’t start to crisp up brown a bit. When they are crispy-ish, pull about a half a cup of the crispiest ones (depending on tolerance for selecting) out of the pan. Just turn the pan off ’til you get there again.

Once the 20 minutes are up with the lentils, add 1.5-ish cups basmati rice to the boiling water. You can use other rice just adjust the cooking time below. You can adjust all these amounts for how many people you are feeding. You can add salt here if you are not concerned about salt and if the lentils seem to be coming along nice and soft, but if they are old dessicated ones The Way They Were That One Time you may want to hold off. (Otherwise just add it to taste at the end, but it is a bit better added here.)

This feeds 4 where one is a child that loves to eat, and one is a child who eats as little as possible. With leftovers, usually.

Continue simmering the lentils now with rice for about 15 minutes or until the rice is done. If there is still water, drain. If you were running out of water, you should have added some that was still hot from tea. Weren’t having tea? What is wrong with you? Unless you were having wine. In which case put on the kettle when you pour the wine, just in case you need some warm water.

Ideally you would cool the rice and lentils down but we never do, that would mean planning the day ahead.

Heat that pan up again.

Pour the rice and lentils into the lovely oniony oily goodness. Add more olive oil, it won’t kill you. Add salt and pepper to your dish to taste, and you really do want to.

Serve with the crispy-ish onions you pulled out before on top.

Mom friends: Fellowship of the Ring

1 Jan

I have a group of mom friends that I made in the traditional (more-or-less) manner. When my eldest son was 4+ months old, in early 2006, I was going bugfuck in my house, still leaking milk, whacked out on sleep deprivation and my old “single” friends (single = without child) were upset I was not coming out for dinner with them.

The One Cookie

The One Cookie

So I looked on the Internet for help and found a mom’s group kind of sort of starting out as an email list. And the organizer of that group invited us all to show up for coffee at the mall. And I did. Getting there felt like Frodo taking the One Ring up Mt. Doom, but I met some friends there. The group expanded to insane proportions, split with dramatics, split several more times without dramatics, and I ended up with some great friends.

I started off cleaning my house from top to bottom every playdate and making elaborate finger sandwiches and ensuring three kinds of fruit. I ended throwing cheese on a plate and crackers in a bowl and shoving the laundry in my bedroom. And this path was a good one, because life is not like Pinterest…not every day anyway.

(A Pinterest rant will arrive. Love it. Hate it.)

When I went back to work I fell out of touch with them because I was having a hard time making sure my underwear was not inside out and talking to people who, you know, sleep through the night. And I was a little defensive and busy freaking out that I was Ruining My Child With Daycare and who needs a playgroup when your child is in daycare because they are just going to tell you you are screwing up? But luckily for me the same organizer ended up with her son in the same Montessori and I hooked back up with them.

By this time (this tale is starting to feel like Tolkien) playdates had become Friday night whine/wine night and I was so in. And it is amazing. It is like Friends. Here’s how it works: After the kids are in bed, whenever that is, we congregate at someone’s house for food and drink. It rotates. We use Facebook to do it. People drop out, come late, leave early, whatever. We stay up on each other’s lives, more or less, and we love each other.

We are a fellowship. Posse. Whatever. I have other friend groups…the same people who put up with me as a nerd in high school, work friends…and I truly do love them all. There is no trade and no hierarchy.

Royal iced eye of Sauron

Royal iced eye of Sauron

But these mom friends…here’s the thing. When I started off with them, I was so intent on doing this playgroup thing under my new identity as Supermom. Not weird. Not too different. Clean. Great cook. Loving and consistent mother. And it was mostly for the good of my child – support, as we say, as a parent, to be a good one.

And what I got was those people in my life who show up with casseroles when someone is hospitalized and who come over at 2 am if someone is getting divorced and is crying uncontrollably. (I have been the first and so far, not the second.)

Over time I have even let out my inner geek…that part of me that formed so much identity in high school as a loser, a loud obnoxious fantasy-book-quoting person who felt she had to cover that up, a bit, For The Good Of Her Child And Career. And in some ways I really am not that person any more. Except…I am her too.

And I do own and love the extended Lord of the Rings.

And so does that Chief Organizer.

And this holiday, we organized a watch-it-all party. And we hung out and ate and drank hot buttered rum, while our spouses watched our children, and watched all 12 hours. And talked about good and evil and Orlando Bloom’s ass.

And I made the cookies you can see in the pictures here. As well as Mt. Doom in meatballs: Mt. Doom meatballs

Pin that.

Art love: Frida and Diego

29 Dec Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera shrine at the AGO exhibit

I got down to the Frida and Diego exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario last night. It was a great exhibition. I don’t think anyone paints suffering like Kahlo does. I was struck again how different it is to be in a room with the real paintings. Not just the texture and details; there is something (to get a little flaky) about the energy of being with the same material the artist actually held and breathed over and shaped. For me books and prints are great, but there is a vast leap to the real thing.

I also really liked Lola Alvarez Bravo’s portraits.

I have a thing for women in different time periods who were not afraid to really be themselves: Passionate, hungry, artists. Frida Kahlo focused on herself, her body and her suffering and was still acknowledged at the time as an important artist.  And yet, I don’t remember having discussed her once in high school (in university I didn’t take art, so I will give them a pass).

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera shrine at the AGO exhibit

Frida and Diego are dead (exhibit at the AGO)

One of Kahlo’s later works shows her portrait with a portrait of Rivera on her forehead. The notes said that she was portraying her increasing obsession with him towards the end of her life. I have such mixed feelings about that. In some ways I think the mutually supportive artistic marriage is almost an ideal, for me, support and creativity and love and passion and fire all together. It seems in some ways like theirs was as good as it gets, even with the divorce-remarriage and all.

And yet, another part of my brain thinks she was so young when they met, and that her obsession with him — that our obsessions with our spouses and lovers — is something women in general need to get over. I suppose it’s that second-wave feminist ideal, that a real woman is independent, slightly cynical, and a little removed. And then I had to laugh, because Kahlo was so successful in expressing who she was, taking herself and what was close to her as her focus and bringing it to the fore as quote-unquote legitimate art. Who am I to worry about it? And why can’t you have both?

I’ve been married a long long time and if I were in increasing pain I would probably want the people I love around me.

But I still had to walk away from that painting with Rivera placed in the middle of her forehead like a Buddha eye. It was too raw.

It was not just good art, but a good exhibition, because that was the point: To have Kahlo and Rivera’s art together and use their relationship as the lens.