Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Edge of Crazy

I've always thought that I could feel the edge of crazy. Standing on a cliff, looking down to how far it is below, how free and clear the air is, I can understand why, if I was crazy, I might jump. Not to kill myself, although that would be the unfortunate result, but to feel what it would be like to back up a few steps and then run until there wasn't ground anymore. Thank goodness I'm not crazy. But I get it, is what I'm saying.

Today I feel the edge of what it would be like if I had OCD about kitchen cleanliness. I'm already pretty clean in the kitchen, not crazy, but cleaner than most, and today I had to part out a chicken. I made the mistake (last night as we were brushing our teeth and we realized John hadn't parted-out the chicken for the soup I'm making) of saying, yeah, I could probably figure out how to take apart a raw chicken. Officially, no, I do not know how to do this. Today I taught myself how to hack one to bits, but it cannot be as hard as it was. People do this all the time. In many (most?) parts of the world chicken does not come in little pre-parted packages. My mistakes were many. First, I made a bad knife decision, but I was so disgusting with chicken goo that I didn't want to open any drawers to get a sharper one. Second, the giblets, which are gross to begin with, were really really gross. I think there was something included that normally isn't included. It was green. I won't say more. Third, I was trying to get the skin off also (so the soup isn't greasy) and that's not as easy as I thought it would be. There was a lot of pulling, some tearing sounds, fingernails were used. Fourth, a raw chicken is really slippery and I hadn't bothered to put a dish towel under my cutting board (and I couldn't exactly open a drawer of towels in the state I was in) so I was chasing the thing around the counter trying not to cut my finger off.

I could go on, but the point was that it made me a little crazy because when I was finally done (I had to throw away the wings, they were just too much) and needed to clean up I couldn't get rid of the little pieces of fat and membrane that were embedded in the cutting board, stuck in the drain trap, under my fingernails. I felt, for sure, the edge of what it would be like to have a cleaning compulsion. I found myself thinking, if only I had an old toothbrush, I could really get rid of this stuff once and for all...

Why I was parting out a chicken at 7:30 in the morning?

1. We don't have real blinds in the (east-facing) bedroom yet, so I was up.
2. Chicken soup tastes better if you use bone-in chicken, simmer it all day in the slow cooker, then remove the chicken, take off the meat and put that back into the soup. It's just better.
3. Normally, I would have used breasts with the bones in, but the grocery stores around our new house are lame. It's one of two things that I'm not happy with in my new house (the other thing is the long commute to work). How is it possible that neither of the 2 big stores by our house carry bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts? How is it possible that a Safeway on the edge of Seattle's biggest (I'm pretty sure) Hispanic neighborhood only carries one kind of salsa. I had to think for a second, am I just (bad) stereotyping by thinking that a Hispanic neighborhood would have more salsa selection? NO! It's a staple of their cuisine. We need to go a little deeper into our neighborhood. I bet Safeway only needs one kind of salsa because only white people shop there. Probably, everyone who needs salsa around here knows a better place to go. I need salsa. In our fridge growing up there was often only salsa, cheese, and tortillas in the fridge.

I am the closest I have ever come to being a vegetarian. And that includes when I used to be (in college, of course) a vegetarian.

Here is a picture of our kitchen, where this all occurred (except there's stuff in it now):

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Paint Chips

This is the color I'm going to paint my new living room. This isn't a picture of my living room, just the color. My new living room has wainscoting and a fireplace, but it also has acoustical tile on the ceiling. It's our first house, we had to take the good with a little bit of bad. We officially close today and get the keys in the next day or two. I am nervous and scared and devastated all at the same time. We bought all of the paint yesterday. We were only at Home Depot for about 45 minutes. That's too fast to spend almost $500 dollars. I haven't written on the blog in so long, but I'm having a reach out and touch someone kind of morning. I found a pile of greeting cards Mom had given me over the years. They were in with my crafts because I liked the pictures. That's the devastated part. I could hardly look at her handwriting. I had to squint while I read. I found these cards in the midst of packing. Every one of them felt like a good bye. Every one has a different meaning now. There was a page from Sendak's In the Night Kitchen when the boy is flying a plane made out of dough, and all she'd written inside was "I wish this was me, flying to see you. Love, Mom."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This picture has nothing to do with what I'm going to write about, but I just really like to have a photo with every post. This is the living room of Gina's lake house the morning of her wedding. I couldn't find a photo that related to the feeling of Fall in the air this morning. I woke up in the night and needed to pull my comforter over me and I was instantly, yes, comforted. It makes me think that I am truly a Seattlite (not Seattleite, stupid magazine) because the warm weather gets to me after a little while. Of course, I'm not having anything close to a normal Summer. It's hard to be sad when the sun is shining so brightly, when the flowers are at their best, when the rest of the world is pursuing Summer fun. It's easier to burrow down in a blanket and let sadness take its course when the morning is grey and the air coming in the open windows makes me curl up so I can cover my feet with the edge of my robe. Soup Season is a greater comfort than Salad Season. There's no comfort in a taco, but there is in a roast that takes 4 hours to cook and fills you to the point of needing to shut down and sleep. I predict this will be a Winter of Weight Gain, but I don't really care. Maybe I'll buy a house and live on Ramen for 6 months and that will hold off the comfort pounds.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Home Again

I love this picture that John took at the first of the two weddings we went to. This is taken over an elevated pool and then the tent was down a little slope. Beautiful evening. It is strange to be back, traveling was a complete distraction. Now I am on the lookout for other distractions - hallelujah, the internet is a great one. Maybe I'll just starting sitting here all day, every day, writing down my thoughts as they come. Perfect. Except that I don't have a really comfortable chair.
Instead, I'll just try to get back in the swing of writing new stuff and posting a couple times a week and generally trying to be too busy to think about things too much. Think about things some = good. Think about things too much = bad.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Me and Mom

scan0040, originally uploaded by talldrinkawater3000.

Hanna is getting all our old pictures on the computer. It's so great.

New Blog

Well, there aren't many people who read my blog, maybe because I don't tell anyone about it, so I don't think I'm breaking news to anyone when I just say that my Mom died one week ago today. I'm all cried out for now, so I feel a little better. I think my brain got used to the sad thoughts floating around in there and after a few days of tears tears tears I finally stopped crying so much. Now I'm trying to figure out if I'm just in denial about everything (very likely) or if might really be feeling a little better one week later. Probably what's going on is that the news of it, the sudden shock of it, is wearing off a little and now the next bad thing will be in about a month when it is really weird that I haven't talked to her. We've gone 10 days without talking before, so it's not so strange yet, but when it gets to be Fall, when it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, her birthday... I don't even want to think about it.

But I am starting a blog for my mom. I put a link on the side. She was the cool mom that everyone loved, so it's not a terrible blog to visit.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Is Paperwork False Comfort?

I am going to meet with a different mortgage lady today and, I admit, her request for tons of paperwork makes me trust her more already. Is that a false comfort inspired by the bureaucracy of government? She needs tangible things in front of her, so her loan will be more accurate. I feel like that's the thinking that makes me vulnerable to internet scams. Except that I am actually more skeptical that I should be - not that I am full of conspiracy theories, but I think I believe too much in "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." That was the problem with the other loan we were offered, it sounded too good to be true.

Here's something equally important: I AM READING THE BEST BOOK RIGHT NOW! Of course, she might completely blow the ending which happens so often, but so far I love Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. It's one of the only books I've read that succeeds in being both a great novel and a great detective. Read it NOW! (okay, not now actually, wait until I finish it).

Nubbin update soon! You will be Shocked and Amazed.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lament to a Chicken Enchilada

Barbacoa is gone. It just disappeared. It was home to the best chicken enchilada I've ever had, to a cheese trough that ridiculously good, and to a great great mint julep. I guess it just closed up, the owners are doing other things. A new restaurant will open soon that's Euro/French/Northwest. I'm not excited.

Where will I ever find another Ibarra Flan? I'm so sad to see Barbacoa go. Damn them.