Sep 17, 2010

phone numbers

What happens when you realize that you can't remember a phone number that you had for thirteen years?

You remember the prefix and those first three numbers and even the next two - and possibly the third. It's that last digit. It's either 1 or 2, but something nags at you that it might be 3. Really, it's probably just 1 or 2. But you aren't sure.

And that's the thing.

Then you remember how at some point the phone company did something strange. And how you started getting messages from people saying, "um, thanks for telling me your new number, asshole.."

And how that was ten years ago. Somewhat mid-way in the overall history of that phone number. That phone number that had suddenly changed without your knowledge. Back then.

I mean, when exactly was it that your number changed by just one digit? Because there is no record of this.

Was it a Thursday? A Tuesday? Had you on a skirt? Was it pants? Was it overcast? Because I think it was. I recall, for some reason, (in the very reaches of my mind) a leaf. This one leaf. Just one leaf fallen on the ground.

So, I ask (almost forensically), was it Autumn?

Because everything in my being says it was. Of course, no one really knows for sure. And all the court documents suggest that no one knows for sure. And I'm all out of ideas.

But, no matter what, one thing was for sure: the very last digit of your phone number was, without provocation, without any prior notice, changed by the phone company. For no reason whatsoever.

But, still, you got on with your life (as evidenced by many things, not the least of which is this blog post). Fact: The last digit of your phone number was (at some point) changed by the phone company. About ten years ago. For no reason whatsoever. And you never found out why. But you are, at this juncture, more concerned with what you might have been doing or wearing at the time more than anything else.

Which is not only okay, but completley predictable.

Do carry on.

No, really, do - do carry on.

No matter what.

Sep 14, 2010

Pay-Cuts, Paper-Cuts & The Tiniest of Violins

We get inspired.

We take out some paper and scissors and sit at the big glass table with all of our supplies and rip fabric into pieces and paint a piece of paper blue. We start downloading funny things to cut up into a tiny, secret, joke-related confetti to sprinkle onto this, our multi-media thing.

And it's working.

But then we walk away. We work for a while. We become all business like. We wear the other clothes. We say the other things. Those things we say only in business. And then, at four o-clock, at the big important meeting, they tell us about our 15% pay cut. And we had expected cupcakes.

Hours pass.

I come back home. On the train: And everyone, I mean everyone is wearing braids. We get home. We drink. We listen to the old music of yore. And, finally, we add the black grease crayon.


To, this, the old blue and fabric thing. And It means something. No, we don't stop. Not until it's finished. And, at one point, we do get all righteous about it. We recall it like it was yesterday: The holding things up to mirrors just so that we could see them again. All the swearing. All the tears. All the money. All the vodka. All the cheetos. All the heavy scarves worn during summer months.

So, we started acting like this other person.

Add more black-grease wrought iron swirlything.

And more ink! Add more soap! Just simply breathe on it. It's what we do. We think of sky writing. Of people we've known. Of screens and faces and email and actual conversations: I told her a story this morning that made her keel over in painful laughter = I win.


You know, this dress is a clown's dress if you think about it.

I went home. Really home, that day.

I made a multi-media collage. And ate a wrap sandwich that did not stay wrapped and learned a couple of things: It's the ingredients that must, no matter what, be flat and skinny. It will not roll up otherwise.

Also: toothpicks. Toothpicks hold things together.


And make them the kind with the colorful flourish of plastic fantastic-ness on the decorative end.


Sep 4, 2010

a roasted chicken with a side of acorn squash

It was 36 hours that I ate like a modern-day Paleolithic human being before it began to mess with me.

The problem is that, unlike my hunter-gatherer counterparts, I already know about things like legumes, dairy, grain, and nightshade.

About things like bread and cheese.

About things like staying put and going nowhere and the magic of microwave pop-corn.

And I mean it literally when I say that I love bread.

I will admit that I didn't know how much bread meant to me until these one and a half days.

I knew where grain, dairy and legumes fit in my life, yes. But I had no idea what such meant to me in the scheme of things.

Then, quite innocently, Tom made a pizza.

This while I made myself some broccoli with steak.
I used crushed white, black and red pepper as an impromptu dry rub and there were herbs involved. And lemon. And love.

And I had zero problems.

But then twenty minutes past, and the whole world began to smell like cheese. Several kinds of cheese melting as though from high atop a fiery mountain, then sliding down some crazy, food related volcano somewhere right beneath my nose.

All of these cheeses melting at different rates per their wildly varying (yet genius as a mixture) types. Such variables as (for instance) how long the cheese had been aged, its softness, its dryness, or its mildness vs. its sharpness - all now coming into play.

I just kept getting up and walking into the kitchen then wondering why I was there.

And then the baking of the crust made itself known. And smelled as though I had been removed to that ancient bakery that exists (no matter what) in my heart of hearts. That ancestral oven. You know the one. Brick. Rock. Clay. It doesn't matter. Bread was baking. Alongside the stew. Alongside the meat. Alongside the mash.

And, as a wholesome entity, that every-thing's-going-to-be-okay aroma, it can't be broken down. Not, at least, for this Post-Paleolithic person.

No, I was home.

The home situated deep in the snow-drifted Steppes of my mind. Bread (pizza) was baking in the oven. Right here. Right now.



Bread being the staff of life. Bread being the very reason we are so weak and fat. Bread being everything good and bad all rolled into one (the history of it being first a wonderful story about feeding the starving masses, then, not an hour later, about epidemic obesity in America).

It's the hearth. The kitchen. Where the old stories were told. It's the little stone villa with wine and song and the music of a stringed instrument going late into the night somewhere deep in a snow hushed hamlet, where, somehow, a light still burns (where, somehow, a loaf of bread still bakes) despite these cold, unforgiving centuries.

Yes, the harsh weather came blowing in. Yes, they worried about so many things. But was there not laughter? Was there not a sense of the ridiculous? Was there not love?

And, even if there was no money left, and all the crops had died, was there not still a little bit of bread?

This baking bread was, after all, what people who held down the home force were surrounded by all day long.

And it smelled so good.

It was a sign to those who ventured out that they were again, back home.

I cite the modern-day Pilsbury commercial: Everyone has their eyes on the oven. Something magical is occurring. It's hearts, home, full tummies.

No bread was the bosom of existence. The thing that kept people sane and returning. The goal was to venture out, yes, but to then get back home. Not to be sheltered, not to be safe, not to procreate, but to eat bread.

(if not a nest of angel hair pasta, a side of basmati rice or one perfectly roasted ear of corn)

Even, and perhaps especially, when those that had ventured out had been away at sea for years.

Why else would a loaf of bread and a fish (cooked simply in a pan with lemon and butter and a few sprigs of dill) be ubiquitous as a coming together? One that, though elementary (just add wine), can take on near religious properties for the bread and fish eater?

loaves and fish

This the part of my Lutheran schooling that always sounded so delectably savory.

So, was it a pizza (of all things) in all of its bread-y, cheese-y, nightshade-y goodness, that turned my world upside down last night?

Oh, yes. It was.