Day 314 of Project 365: Wonder Hummus

Day 314 of Project 365: Wonder Hummus

I was skeptical about this hummus-crusted chicken recipe, but it was wonderful. Instead of making my own, I used a small pot of jalapeño and red pepper hummus, which added a nice kick and complemented the caesar salad too. Experimenting with this basic idea will be fun.

Day 314 of Project 365: Wonder Hummus

gratitude: visiting two different libraries today · the first pumpkin spice latte of the season · Torgi’s checkup bearing positive news

grateful for bad jokes

So this mushroom walks into a bar, sits down on a stool, and orders a martini.  The bartender looks at him and says, “Sorry, we don’t serve your kind in here.”  The mushroom looks up at the bartender and says, “Why not? I’m a fungi!”

That is one of my favorite bad jokes, although I am pretty fond of just about every bad joke I have ever heard.  I don’t know why this is, and I don’t question it.  I just laugh.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for manners

All I ask is for a simple “please” and “thank you”.  That is all I ask.

Okay, that isn’t true.  I ask for a lot more than that.  I ask for turn signals and “pardon me” and eye contact and door-holding (from any gender, for any gender) and all of the tiny ways in which we communicate to each other that we know our own priorities are not the only priorities in the world, that we know our lives are very small and our concerns for the most part petty, that getting anywhere on time is not worth anyone else’s life, and that a genuine smile makes someone else’s day suck a little less.

Thank you to those of you who make the effort.  I notice, and I am so grateful to you.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for nightmares

Initially, this entry was about dreams, but most of my dreams are neither terribly interesting nor helpful. My nightmares are usually both.  Granted, I do not look forward to having nightmares, but I often learn something about myself from them.  Sometimes I don’t learn that something until I have related the plot and characters to my beloved, who is exceptionally good at sifting through my subconscious.

Most recently, I had a nightmare that meshed coworkers from several different workplaces, a near-accident involving 3 small children playing in the road, and an old friend of mine who didn’t recognize me.  In each chapter of the nightmare, I tried to convince someone of my identity, of my place in the world, or of my story.  In each chapter, I failed.

My least favorite recurring nightmare is something I call “Vanilla Sky” because I “wake up” (while still dreaming) to find that my current life is not my life, but rather some elaborate delusion.  I don’t learn anything about myself from that nightmare except that the movie creeped me out on a soul level.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for pens

The awkwardness of typing about handwriting is not lost on me as I write about writing instruments. While I have always been a fan of the written word, my fascination with fountain pens is only a few years old.  I do not remember how it began, although certainly it was fueled by my penchant for anachronism.  I needed almost no nudge at all to begin collecting beautiful pens that afforded excellent writing experiences.  Since I write most of my first drafts longhand, I have an excuse to continue to collect them.  At least that is what I tell myself.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for scents

This is a strange one to put into words, but at this moment I am enjoying a complex experience of scent.  As I ponder this, it occurs to me that I spend quite a bit of time smelling things or remembering moments of my past via scents.

The scent experience right now is a combination of the fragrance of a pumpkin candle and the pages of a book open in front of me. It has transported me to my little apartment in the Tendernob, right around Christmastime, when my beloved and I first found these particular candles at a bookstore. In my little apartment, I would light the candle and read by it, drifting off with my nose in the book.

It isn’t all charming vignettes, however.  Once I purchased the exact same deodorant brand I used in high school, and what ensued was two months’ worth of mornings bristling with hormone-fueled insecurity.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for the internet

Tonight I am grateful for the Internet, as without it I would not have attended my friends’ wedding today because I wouldn’t have met them. As I am exceedingly poor at distinguishing the subtleties of the theory of causality, I shouldn’t make suppositions like this one: I wouldn’t even be in California were it not for the Internet.

Ah, determinism!

Philosophical concepts aside, I have been blessed with a richness of friendships and careers through the ease of interpersonal connection provided by the Internet, and my life is all the better for it.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for san francisco

Nine years ago, I had no idea what to expect.  I moved to San Francisco, sight unseen, with a tenuous job and a temporary apartment.  Through perseverance and luck, I was able to parlay a series of complications into a stable life in one of the most idyllic places in this country, although that last opinion is firmly in the camp of liberal conjecture.

My relationship with San Francisco has not been without blemish.  I certainly war with the notion of personal freedom winning out over common decency, and I hardly take advantage of some of the city’s more striking features.  (Somehow, my presence at the multitudinous Web 2.0 happy hours, bondage dungeons, and Burning Man fundraisers has not been missed.)  Regardless, I visit her beaches and parks, wander her curious little neighborhoods, and spend each workday in her beating, bleeding heart.  I have come to know her somewhat well, and come to love her.

Yet I am not a native, and will never be.  Those who were born here are rather clear on this fact.  I stopped worrying about it a few years ago when I was gently told that no matter how long I’ve lived here, I am not a San Franciscan.  Most people aren’t.  In such a transient city, no one much cares.  Except I do, because I want to belong to the place I call home.  It might seem like such a silly little care to have, especially since I have been embraced for the time being by such loveliness.

San Francisco, to me, is the beautiful, enthralling, emotionally-distant lover I know I will one day leave, all the while never regretting one second spent in love.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for poetry

Exultant, drunk with the little victories:
remembering to bring a homemade muffin
only slightly less glorious than right out of the oven,
flashing my usually-cloistered bus pass
to prove my city citizenship,
consolidating paper trails
into one gleaming paper superhighway.
The hangover is quick, severe.
Blurry comes into focus with a “fuck you bitch”
and I am at work. Because this is how it is
in the building of books and lost people.
We who work here are the serfs,
and all the jesters are kings.

— Halsted M. Bernard

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)

grateful for being alone

This is a subject I have struggled with for most of my life, so it is a challenge to write about it in terms of gratitude.  However, I don’t want this exercise to solely be about enumerating all these fantastic things that anyone would be ridiculous not to want.

Over the years, I have sought out solitude, preferring relationships, friendships, careers and hobbies with a high degree of low maintenance. I have thought of myself as a loner and an introvert, and always questioned my ability to be around anyone else for more than short periods at a time.  “I never have enough alone time” became my psychological motto and mantra.

Some of this is still true, but some things have changed for me internally, and I owe the change in part to living alone last year.  Initially, I was happy to have my own space and my own schedule.  I was also so withdrawn from interaction that I would hyperbolize any communication from the outside world.  “I don’t want to talk on the phone right now” would turn into “I hate you and never want to speak with you again” and “I miss hanging out with you” would turn into “you’re a bad friend and never there for me when I need you” … you get the idea.

To remain sane, I forced myself to do a lot of recalibration, some of which is still taking place, about belief and trust.  I also forced myself to be more social than I had ever been, and discovered that I actually enjoyed it.  Old perceptions of myself were sloughed off, and although I still recharge by staying home instead of going out, I go out twice as much.

Nowadays, I get plenty of alone time all day long; despite working in a building full of people, and commuting on a train full of people, I have remarkably few connections in a usual workday. Information is exchanged, but that’s it. By the time I get home from work, my energy is depleted but I usually don’t want to be alone.  My next recalibration will be adjusting to more alone time than I need without backsliding into old anti-social habits.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)