lifetoast

Month: July, 2012

netted in fluorescent green

Mat announced that we would be crabbing this weekend. I had never crabbed before so he regaled me with stories of his youth and his father who could catch sixty crabs with one piece of bait. Crabbing- Galveston (3 of 23)

So with friends Ben and Yuxuan in tow we set off to Bolivar Peninsula on Sunday.  Crabbing- Galveston (5 of 23)Crabbing- Galveston (18 of 23)

At eight high tide had left the pier bordered by water-bogged sand ; we continued down the craggy concrete path to pursue the elusive slack tide. Crabbing- Galveston (9 of 23)

Though heaving a pallet of water bottles, sure-footed Ben pioneered ahead to find us a spot. When Ben waved his approval, we set down our bags to prepare the traps: chicken drumsticks knotted at the base with fishing twine. Crabbing- Galveston (11 of 23)

The bait was tossed in and the wait began.Crabbing- Galveston (12 of 23)

I fidgeted impatiently, straining my eyes to see the pale pink flesh in the murky waters. Eons passed before I spotted it: a sudden movement in the water. I held my breath until I felt a quick yank of my string. Mat, brandishing a monstrous steel rod netted in fluorescent green, darted over at my cry of excitement. We talked in low voices as if the volume would vibrate through the waters and alert the crab to his impending doom. As I gently pulled the string closer to Mat’s submerged net, I prayed the tugging mimed the currents’ movement. And then, with a quick whoosh, we had ensnared our first crab!

It was an exhilarating moment but the crab was a mere thing.. Mat persuaded me to toss it back into the water so, with a sigh of disappointment, back it went.

Our next attempts were more successful.Crabbing- Galveston (16 of 23)

Since our arrival, we heard a booming noise in the distance; within an hour the sound deepened and increased in frequency. Sprinkling began. Fearful of the rocks becoming too slick, we hurriedly gathered our things and trekked back.

We tallied eight crabs-and five hermit crabs. Our cooler may not have been brimming with full-bodied crabs but it was fun and worth repeating. In a week perhaps?

In other news, congratulations to Mat who has joined me in the 24-30 age bracket. Happy birthday, love.

in exchange

Sarah has a home! The process has been an excruciating saga but she has secured one at last: a roomy, three floored townhouse shuttered in pale pink. The place is lovely and I know this because, relieved of work duties, I was quickly recruited for move-in day with bribes of coffee and food.

Reader, I feared that day. Sarah is a stealthy bargain shopper, a true fashionista, and a handy craftswoman- a fearsome combination for packing. But she has been slowly streamlining her closet; the move took only three trips in the spacious Armada, one with a small U-Haul van in tow. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Always one to keep her promises, Sarah plied me with food throughout the day: Chik-Fil-A in the morning; a towering burger with bacon, an over easy egg and avocado aioli for lunch; OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
and, for dinner, an unwieldy cream sauce pizza topped with thick strips of grilled chicken, a blanket of mozzarella, provolone and romano cheese, marinara sauce and finished with a sprinkling of basil. The chicken was so-so but the tip of each slice was titillating, capturing the perfect blend of cheese, marinara and shreds of basil.

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An unequal exchange on Sarah’s part- all this food for so little work!- but I dutifully tucked away two slices and,come bedtime, I slept as if I had eaten for three.

abstinence and surrender

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I have consumed an unconscionable amount of Chinese food.

Today was my last day of work and I will miss my boss who napped on a lawn chair with a cap tipped over his eyes and the driver who often complimented my slender wrists but mostly I will miss the kitchen staff, the cast of five men that prepared my meals.

After abstaining from the restaurant’s more sinful fare, I surrendered to my desires in my last days: egg rolls crisp from the fryer, steaming bowls of beef fried rice.. And the condiments! Truly they are the core of Chinese take-out: a vivid vermilion sweet and sour sauce for crab puffs, a union of peanut sauce and hot sauce for my spring rolls, syrupy sesame sauce coating lightly fried chicken bites, and pungently addictive fish sauce for everything else. My stomach reveled. These dishes are not refined but oh are they gratifying.

There’s also something to be said about being addressed as bonita and serenaded with deep-throated ballads about mi corazón.

oh, idle time

Readers, I like to believe I’m an adult. I worry over fixed versus variable interest rates for loans.  There’s a studio that has my name, and only my name, on it. But these are material aspects. My mind is firmly rooted in a simpler world. I shy away from news; my primary source for breaking headlines is Mat. This makes me naïve about matters of the world but it works for me. News makes me doubt our ability to care for one another. From child sex abuse cover-ups to bullying the elderly to the recent Colorado shooting, I am thrown by the perversity that taints our society. Mat and I have discussed this ad nauseam: the desire to inflict pain upon others, the rationalizations one makes that allows him to crush others and rise from their ashes. How can we protect ourselves? Our children? Our lives feel naked, exposed to chance. We do not know how to reason these moments. They deflate our optimism and harden our hearts until we become increasingly desensitized but, senseless as it may seem at times, we can only turn the tide by being good to others ourselves. Value our family and friends but also share that kinship with others.

There’s no easy way to segue from such earnest discourse to the minutiae of my everyday life but to say that I hold each moment with the people I love, no matter how trivial, dearer. Let’s forge ahead.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASarah and I met up with intentions to make a fruit tart today but opted instead to trek to Ikea for Swedish meatballs and too-sweet cinnamon buns. To justify the drive, I picked up a white trimmed terrarium house and a ceramic pot for a boxwood I’ve had my eye on. Heading home, sleep began to press insistently on us but Sarah had a class to attend and I wandered off to hang out with Jin who had just gotten off work.

Jin has returned from Taiwan, a vision with her newly honey-colored hair. We scoured for makeup at a pharmacy store- Jin’s favorite activity- before traipsing off for iced drinks and gossip. Neither one of us were particularly hungry and opted instead for manicures and pedicures in Big Apple Red. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Feels fitting since I’ll be moving to the East coast soon.

as of late

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Today was a quiet exit from my career as a wedding florist. After a quick setup, my coworker Ebony and I returned the delivery car to boss lady Laura who has been restlessly padding about her home accompanied by a Little One underneath her stretched shirt.

After returning my work apron, a pair of slightly rusted shears and my key to the shop, I am now just a waitress. And after this Wednesday I will just be a first year dental student awaiting orientation. I am horrible at goodbyes. I aimed for nonchalance to prevent bawling but I did manage to eke out a hug for Laura and Ebony. I’m more sentimental about this then I probably should be.

In the meantime:

After calling banks to discuss private loans for school [sigh], I will be diving into this for the rest of the day. I’ve heard great things about it and will hopefully learn some helpful tidbits.

And this is an amazing compilation. I’m already anticipating the next issue.

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Mat showed me this the other day and I couldn’t stop laughing. 2:05 is my favorite moment; it reminds me of Dave Chappelle.

Steph has a recipe for one of Mat’s favorite foods. I’ll have to try my hand at this soon to reward him for keeping me entertained with videos.

Heidi has amazing taste. I’m anxiously waiting the restocking of these tumblers.

I have fallen in love with home improvement. If I had the car space to move this to Philadelphia, I would make it right now.

I haven’t thought much about babies but here’s an announcement so precious it may have jumpstarted my biological clock.

Lastly: Here is my current laptop background. I love mantras.

a campaign against my body

The numbers that blink back from my scale have teetered in the plus/minus five range for the past ten years, which may seem fortuitous to some, but has been a source of much angst.

Throughout my youth, Mom often reminisced about her willowy figure with pointed looks at my child-bearing hips. I was not offended but equally outraged at my body for rebelling against me, yanking me from the uniform petite stature of my forefathers and peers. I would glare at my mirrored self, longing to be skinny like my beloved heroine Anne Shirley even if “it sounds quite romantic to be ‘slender,’ but ‘skinny’ has a very different tang.” Semantics to the curvaceous.

So I began a campaign against my body, attacking with a blitzkrieg of dieting strategies. I allied myself with grapefruit and cabbage soup while that treacherous double agent bread repeatedly seduced me to enter enemy trenches. There were many battles, all in hopes that one would win the war.

Yet my loyalties did not lie with superfoods. I reminded myself of their good attributes but yearned to answer the siren call of all things deemed bad for me: triple cream brie on lightly toasted baguette slices, perfectly salted French fries pulled from the depths of searing hot oil…I go weak in the knees.

I could… I should continue my fight against the pounds that have set camp on my body but, if I were to follow the guidance of Mat, it would entail endless meals of chicken soup and hours at the gym, agonizing each minute. There’s a certain satisfaction after completing a workout and I enjoy lifting weights as a feminist stance-a story for another time but cardio…I am no gazelle. So, after much mulling, I have trekked to the DMZ, a safe haven uninhabited by extremes and will be living my days in quiet moderation. Which brings me to happy hour.

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My old friend Connie and I met at Mia Bella Trattoria to dine on calamari, baked goat cheese and bread. We haven’t seen each since freshman year of college (!) and I was delighted to commiserate about boys and graduate loans as well as do some mental drooling over Channing Tatum in Magic Mike. (The latter may have been primarily me. Stubble and washboard abs undo me.) 20120717-LR-1

And, the reason most attend happy hours, there were bellinis and sparkling wine. I haven’t acquired a love of red wine and just tolerate whites but sparkling wine is divine.

molten gray skies

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Is it aging that causes talk of the weather to become more commonplace? I could go on for hours about it. Houston has been blanketed with molten gray skies harboring mercurial rain that lashes out in fury and vanishes with the same haste in which it arrived. Though the vegetable garden has been greedily drinking it in, I don’t feel the same warm affection as I am sans umbrella and the post-pour mosquitoes have taken a liking to my legs.

During a brief respite from the summer showers, Melissa and I braved the long line at Breakfast Klub for wings and waffles. We both arrived not hungry but whiffs of grease and syrup prodded our appetites from their slumber.

photo 1Doused in hot sauce and leisurely dipped in hot maple syrup, the wings and waffles were a perfect accompaniment to talk about wedding fever, online dating and humorously inappropriate mentor conduct.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the rest of the weekend busy. Being preoccupied with parties, snuggles with Chibi and a bawdy book has been fantastic. I’m putting aside my lofty ambitions to plow through Restorative Dental Materials before school for more of the aforementioned activities.

the witching hour

Hello out there.

Time has tiptoed into tomorrow as I write to you. After hours of Korean dramas, Mom has finally drifted into slumber. The dogs too have flung themselves onto the bed, overtaking more than half of my miniscule mattress, and every few moments Chibi will sigh heavily as if contemplating the most burdensome thing. (Dogs are such curious creatures!)

This is my favorite part of the day, this witching hour. Save the low hum of my laptop, the silence has frozen time for me. It’s a beautiful thing: an island untouched by change.

Today I endeavored to stretch the witching hour into the day. From morning to night, I lounged in my pajamas, letting time trickle through my fingers, but I felt an increasing anxiety as a loud ticking countdown reverberated in my head. Doing nothing is much too luxurious. The days must be carefully planned with errands and work and social calls. Despite the growing to-do lists, I am rooted. Because to do things is to admit that change is near. No, it is happening. And so I shuttle between a breakneck pace and stagnancy, which is yet another reason to cherish these wee morning hours: here I can collect my thoughts.

I cannot block the flow of time no matter how deeply I wedge myself into the ground. When the light sneaks through my curtained windows, my surroundings are illuminated. I am on no island and change is inevitable.

Ah, dear reader, these are twilight thoughts. So melancholy, no? I will write to you in the morn with a-hopefully-less addled mind.

state of dining

This morning I dragged myself from the warm cottony womb of my bed to work out. Thirty minutes later, I pulled out a breakfast cookie from the refrigerator. I adore Gina and her sweat-inducing workouts but this cookie was a sham. I know that it was inaptly named a cookie so I would associate it with one but my mind was still lingering on the chocolate chip cookie from Tiny Boxwood’s that I ate last Sunday. A buttery pillow of a cookie that yielded perfectly melted chips. So pardon that these breakfast cookies were not embraced with open arms.

What I’ve decided upon since my encounter with the faux cookie is to no longer feign enthusiasm for foods that I do not love. This includes: kale, goji berries and vegan cheeses. And now breakfast cookies.

My stomach is my ruler and holds no regard for the flitting whimsy of food trends. On a slight tangent, dining has become a pretentious affair these days. I am immensely tired of gastro-elitism. Food is no longer a source of delight for our taste buds but yet another way to assert status. It’s a poor turn of events. Perhaps when I’m well-to-do I will feel otherwise.

Until then, tonight’s dinner was:
-pulled pork enchiladas with queso fresco, salsa verde, and my newfound love Choula
-black beans and rice

Many mark a true Texan by his or her ability to wear cowboy boots with any outfit and breadth of Tex-Mex experience. Since my love for this particular culinary fusion resides at Taco Bell, I have never counted myself a true Texan and cannot confirm that the above were made with authenticity. However, Mat and I both found the rice to be flavorful, hearty and complementary to the so-so enchiladas.

So to be made at your own risk:

black beans and rice

I chopped a green pepper and sautéed it with ground thyme, sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder until tender. Tossing in a can of black beans, cup of canned diced tomatoes in juice, and a generous dollop of salsa verde, I let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Then I added two cups of white rice, one and a half cups water, and a tablespoon of beef bouillon to the mix. Served with a lime wedge squeeze.

all too real

I spent a few hours the other day cleaning Mat’s apartment. Not because I’m a sweet and dedicated girlfriend, I’m afraid, but because my things had exploded throughout the entire place. Mat has a pretty high tolerance for my mess but he finally scolded me and so cleaning had to be done.

While doing the dreaded dishes, I realized I should begin some packing for moving. So I found some boxes and luggage, which attests to how much I have here, and began sorting away clothes and makeup. As I reached for my photography linens underneath the coffee table, I looked up and sadness flooded me.

A heap of my things lay near the door. Otherwise, the apartment was tidy and infinitely more masculine without high heels strewn on the floor or bouquets made from leftover wedding flowers.  The cleanliness made leaving home, leaving Mat feel all too real.

It’s six plus years now with four spent in different cities. These past two spent together have been blissful. And now there’s at least a year we’ll have to spend apart. A year isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things but I’ve been spoiled by seeing him so often now. There isn’t a particular course of action we plan to take to make the time pass more painlessly except to use all forms of communication and prowl the internet for cheap airplane tickets.