It can be about what you make of it afterward.
It isn’t that everything is simple; it’s just that sometimes things are much simpler than we anticipate. Allow me to point out the obvious and state: I have made a lot of poppyseed things lately. You’re welcome.
I picked a date on a calendar. I set up my phone to e-mail and text a reminder:
This is your Feel Better By Date.
I really don’t like when people assume fault for things they shouldn’t; there’s an overt sense of power there. Similarly, I think it’s unfortunate when we disempower ourselves by letting other things get the best of us.
I suppose the reminder helped me to work toward some place in-between.
A place in which I bombard you with poppy seeded sweets. In which I recognize all the fucking laughter I encounter all the damn time [thank you for that, friends]
side note: I ran errands last Monday, and I found at my final stop that all but the bottom two buttons of my shirt had been undone for who-knows-how-long. The fellow ringing up my groceries asked a friendly question and looked up. He saw: me, buttoning all of my shirt and answering as if everything was normal, lolol
I don’t know, it made me realize that I’ve gotten to this place where I’m not embarrassed. I’m tickled. Like, how? How did I get here.
A few pointers from lately: listen to this song. Fly to Canada for two days, if the opportunity arises. Do everything you worry might be awkward. Go for olive oil sea salt ice cream in the middle of the night by yourself. Chop up the season’s best ingredient-peaches-and plop ’em into buttermilk batter and sprinkle it with sugar. Bake.
You know, you start to watch the way the light hits things differently over the course of a period of time. That might be the most prominent thing in my experience of this blog. The light. Perhaps a plate is moved to the left a bit, or the table gets edged farther from the wall. The vase is repositioned so as not to create unwanted shadow. Not that shadows can’t be interesting, of course.
But, aside from the time of day you choose, and the level to which you open the blinds, and the speed at which you prepare something–
You do not control the light.
I think I mostly started noticing in the last year and a half or so, the way it changes as the recipe unfolds on the table before me. I suppose it’s a bit of a metaphor, isn’t it?
The way we reflect and refract and reverberate.
I keep thinking about how my dad used to sit in front of his huge fish tank for hours. He was mesmerized by them. He would call me out of my room to search for one, if it was missing. The phone calls stopped months before he died, but I hope he never lost interest in those fish of his.
His simplified taste (think: Little Debbies, Oscar Meyer, and creamed corn) would not have lent well to cherries-let alone roasted ones-in salsa. They are excellent this way, nonetheless. Especially paired with the red peppers roasted alongside, and tomatoes and scallions and lime.
I can picture him next to me these days. I think it is because he is these days. And I think that is because of the love you helped me to send to him this winter. Thank you for that.
Let’s dig in, with chips or tacos or haloumi and also this mixtape of memories and miscellaneous.
She read it back then, and she pointed out to me that she knew it was for her. I felt dumb, because I had been caught.
I have consciously added my old contacts to my new phones for years; each time, my grandmother’s information is included. The number doesn’t work anymore. But it’s in there.
I once called her as a kid because I was aimlessly baking cookies that had gotten away from me. It was so simple, she said. Butter and milk and vanilla and confectioner’s sugar make glaze.
She called later to see how they turned out. And she reminded me each time I made cookies thereafter. She gave it as much care and attention as she did the more serious subject material. And, of course, she was no longer present when things did and didn’t continue to happen.
And eventually, I did get my shit together. And I did tell a bunch of people I am queer for the first time in my life. And I did end up with a really challenging job I didn’t think I could acquire, let alone actually do. And I did end some friendships and mend some friendships. And I don’t flip out over dumb stuff anymore. And I have words now when I need to talk. And I have people who listen, like she did. And I think I listen a little bit better, too.
I have wanted to call her so many times in the last however long. The phone doesn’t make sense to her anymore. I suppose in some way [like this way] I could still talk to her. I am seeing her this month, you know.
Last year, she held my hands and we walked to the cafeteria together. She told me my hair was beautiful. She doesn’t worry so much anymore, because she doesn’t necessarily understand what there is to worry about. And she eats her dessert first.
This week, I followed suit: without pants at the kitchen counter yanking at my hair mouth full of cookies while dinner cooked finally texting people back and wondering how on earth I could make time to worry because everything will turn out okay always please and thank you because last year’s mountains are this year’s molehills even though some mountains are still mountains and I made it this far and once upon a time there was someone in the world who loved me enough to transcend years of missing her presence to remind me to enjoy what I do have and maybe the point is we are lucky to ever have anything at any point in time regardless of how long or short we can have it and
maybe it’s the marshmallows or the opiates in the poppy seeds or the bright yellow color and the sweet lemon tang
but I am glad that something reminded me.
To be fair, I stepped out for a little while. Aiming to stop at home, I weaved through rush hour traffic in the familiar maze I have found avoids construction. I was a mouse behind a wheel, seeking the fanciest of cheese in the way I had been conditioned. Except the cheese was Time, and there isn’t always a whole lot of that. Is there.
The three cars ahead of me will begin to signal a turn. As always, it will not be clear whether they mean to get gas or join the freeway until I have either had to slow too suddenly, or not.
I have heard that the blue whale is three city blocks long, which is about as far away as I was when I noticed. At the curb–a man with legs spread, straddling an office chair. Also, a large bag of chips, getting sprinkled over the pavement as his knees bend and wobble and mould and stand and sit and stretch and step and backstep to drag the chair along with him. It would likely be easier to abandon. Isn’t it interesting to think of the ways we adjust to accommodate unnecessary collateral.
It wasn’t clear until I passed him that the bag of chips was not a bag of chips at all. It was a large, green container with a spout and a tube. Contents unknown; I did not stop. Preoccupations: ten minutes of jammed traffic, fifteen minutes of meditation, and a warm bowl of soup.
Savory steam above liquid dyed orange from fresh turmeric and aleppo pepper. Marked by the odd, peak-of-season speckle– dark, little flecks of fresh herbs / sweet, sunken yellow corn half moons / red, fresh tomato hunks / little, green earth peas, all stirred with the dip of a spoon.
If only we might similarly suspend in our moments of warmth. Ten minutes of brothy quietude, and then the drive back. I do not remember the route I took home that night. I was irritable and I was tired. But I do know I did not see the man with the chair and the fake chips a blue whale’s distance away.
It’s funny how things change when we aren’t looking.
I suppose that isn’t all I learned to do over the course of this most recent revolution around the sun. What a life.
Oats and peanut butter in bendy, sweet rounds.
Crumble the chewy cookies, mounds through cold vanilla cream.
And in crushed graham heaps, pressed into the sides of a dish and baked.
Peanut butter sweetened condensed milk ethereal fluff.
Punctuated with additional crumbs
[but let’s be real, thank goodness there is ice cream pie]
The stuff you didn’t expect might be what is floating on top. Think: pasteurizing milk. There might be more waiting.
You might notice you come across lighter sometimes. Again. You might enjoy being alone. Again.
/ wandering off in the museum / down the street as the sun sets / playlists playing / you find a monument you know was destroyed in a war and put back together here / trace the slashes where it pieced back together / probably meaningful / early mornings spent with the inhabitants of trees / bus exhaust poofs / sleepier because you were painting at night /
You might be totally fine. With yourself. Great, even. Then, you get locked in a parking garage someplace and it is late with no one answering phones.
You might realize you are human again in that moment. Being alone kind of sucked right then.
Remember, you have new acquaintances and old ones. The kind that order an extra plate of hummus without the crispy chickpeas, because they know that those would kill you.
Other notes on plucking heartstrings: bright florals, watermelon dresses, popsicle stick jokes shared next door to the business you manage, <—that last part of that sentence, tres leches, upcoming birthdays, making new + releasing old.
Not so bad. Go listen to Outside with the Cuties.