Posts Tagged ‘split pea soup’

Perfection

April 14, 2014

You are not my friend.

“I just realized, I mean, truly, deeply, madly, how insane my need for perfection is,” I said to my friend on the phone today.

I mean I am off my rocker with needing it.

It could just be that I am über aware of it.

I see it’s roots so deep in my psyche and I wonder will I ever extract it.

“Gratitude, you get be grateful about this, and laugh, have fun with it,” she said to me yesterday as I was letting it go and surrendering again.

Surrendering this old, old as the hills, old as the age spots on the back of a bent old man pate, old as the sun, old as the rain, old, old, old, idea that I am unlovable unless I am perfect.

And in the pursuit of that perfection I isolate myself, not the perfect body, not the perfect job, not the perfect outfit, certainly, not the perfect hair, no matter how many different filters I use on Instagram, it’s still just hair, it could use a trim too, and I will continue to be on my own until I let myself get vulnerable enough to not be perfect.

To let go my pride, my vanity, which is ultimately some warped kind of self-loathing, that too, does not serve me.

Whew.

Where did all this come from?

I am not a great scooter rider yet.

Bwahahahahaha.

That’s my brain.

I can’t get it down, I am not smooth off the start,  I am still awkward with the brake, I had to re-start it twice, I had to let people pass me at intersections, I am just so not good enough, why did I ever bother?

Oh.

Good fucking times.

Ha.

I had gone out and practiced today, and it’s a practice, let me remind myself.

Practice, not perfection.

A slow, gradual, sustainable learning.

I don’t need to be whipping across town on my scooter, yet.

I can take it slow.

I have options.

There wasn’t even anywhere for me to go.

I had an idea I might, might try to head over to Stonestown.

I wanted to see how close the YMCA was to me and I am interested in getting a membership there.

They have a pool.

I like to swim.

I made it to Kirkham and knew that I was not going to go to Stonestown.

I live between Irving and Judah.

If you’re not familiar with this part of San Francisco, the streets run alphabetical.

So, ugh, yeah, not even a couple of blocks and that goal shattered.

However, I did get it into gear and I did ride and though I did kill it, I also was out on my longest solo ride to date.

And remember, I have only taken out the scooter, including today, five times.

I was out on my own for an hour.

I did swing back by the house and grab a quick snack and throw a Japanese sweet potato in the oven to roast for lunch while I was out making the neighborhood rounds.

I rode up Lincoln to 41st, turned left, rode past Chain of Lakes in the Golden Gate Park, so pretty, so pretty, so pretty, and then wound my way through to the other side, the Richmond side of the park, then dropped down and rode to La Playa and down and back a few more times.

I went around my block a bunch, up the hills a bit on Irving, down to the beach and just around and about.

I got pretty good at the shifting between second and third and a few times dropped into fourth as well.

But, like when I was learning as a kid, the lowest gear, 1st, is my nemesis.

And not an evil bad nemesis, but a kind I don’t quiet understand yet.

That’s all.

I wasn’t sure if I was not letting out the clutch well, or if it was sticky, a couple of times it seemed that I was struggling turning the clutch to 1st gear.

I am actually going to ask my friend to come out and do another ride with me this week.

And I found out I won’t be working this Friday again, so I am going to practice that day as well.

“Before you know it, you will be zooming around town and it will be old hat, and you’ll be a natural,” my friend gave me a little pep talk as I down loaded my experience as well as my insight around my crazy pursuit of perfection.

Which, thankfully, is not so bad that I didn’t go for it, ie, didn’t try to learn how, didn’t bother to get my motorcycle license or try to learn something new because, unless I can do it perfect, why try at all?

This attitude used to stop me.

I wouldn’t even get out the gate.

The old idea is still there, but I can see it.

I am aware of it.

I have to accept it.

Ah, acceptance, there you are again.

Because it’s not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance.

And allowing myself to fail at stuff, get up, try again.

Roll the scooter through the intersection, pull it up on the kickstand and kick-start it again, wait for the old lady to cross the street, roll the throttle, squeeze, slowly let out the clutch, let off the foot brake and scooter on.

I spent an hour practicing.

Then I took a walk to, well, walk it off.

Walk off the attitude, the adrenalin, and to laugh at myself a little.

I came home, had a great lunch, then made some homemade soup.

This weeks flavor?

Split pea soup with brown rice and organic chicken, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, celery, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, Spike, and onion.

It is sooo tasty.

I had some for dinner when I got back from my later afternoon adventures, which included a successful trip to buy a few new things for my wardrobe and going to see a friend who was celebrating a big anniversary in the Mission.

I rode my bike there.

But I can see riding my Vespa there soon.

With a little more practice and a lot less perfection than I might want.

But with the perfect spice.

Humility.

With a dash of acceptance.

And a big pinch of self-love.

Recipe for a successful day, month, year.

Hell, probably my whole life.

 

Hoppin’ John

April 5, 2014

My way.

I am not sure what possessed me tonight to decide to make a pot of black-eyed peas, but possessed I was and did become and now there’s this big pot of peas on the stove that needs to cook for another hour and a half or so.

So, come round my place about ten p.m. for a late dinner, it should be just about ready.

I don’t normally cook on a Friday night, I am either eating out with some folks doing that fellowship thing at Squat and Gobble in the Upper Haight, or I have a commitment elsewhere.

But I fulfilled my obligation this afternoon, making my way over to 23rd and Capp Street for a bit and then hitting it back to the Castro where I was nannying.

I got done with work and really couldn’t quite decide what to do.

Then intermittent rain was an encouragement to hie on home as was the need to watch my eating out, I can spend too much too quick and I decided to ride home, throw a Japanese sweet potato in the oven and go grocery shopping while it cooked.

I popped over to SafeWay, where I bought no meat or vegetable products.

Only toilet paper and yogurt and some tea.

Then back to the house to on load and go do the real market shopping over at Noriega Produce on Noriega and 46th.

Carrots, celery, apples, bananas, all organic.

One bag of Stumptown coffee–they have just started carrying it–unfortunately not the Holler Mountain, just the regular house blend.  Which still smells way better to me than  Sightglass or Four Barrel and definitely better than Ritual.  Although is there is no Stumptown I will happily drink any of those.

Heck, I’ll even buy some Philz now and again.

But Stumptown is my favorite and my go to.

It has been for a few years now.

After I got back from shopping I prepped some things and I debated about cooking up the peas but I have never done a pot of black-eyed peas before.

I have never eaten black-eyed peas either.

Something possessed me, like I said, and I bought a bag of dried black-eyed peas at Other Avenues Co-Op on Judah at 44th last week.

And then a piece of salt pork at the Whole Foods in the Castro yesterday.

I don’t frequently make one shopping trip in the week, I make three or four, I have to carry it back on my bicycle in my messenger bag, so when I see something I want, I tend to grab it.

I also will stock up on things that I think I might want to try.

A few weeks ago it was split pea soup.

But I made it my way with organic chicken breasts and carrots and Japanese sweet potato and carrot and broccoli and bulgur.

Split pea soup Californian style.

I think that my black-eyed peas are going to be about the same.

An amalgamation of Southern style peas and my own interpretation of how I want them to be.  I looked up a bunch of traditional black-eyed pea recipes on-line and after sifting through the recipes, just decided I was going to do it my way.

I took the peas and flash soaked them, brought them to a boil with some sea salt then let them sit for about an hour while I ate my dinner and balanced out my check book from the shopping trip.

Then I rinsed them off and covered them with three cups of organic chicken broth, added a few florets of cauliflower, rough chopped fine, some Spike, some chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, and some more sea salt.

While that was starting to simmer I chopped up some organic white onion and garlic and five stalks of celery and then diced the salt pork.

I sautéed that all down till it was lovely and brown and delicious smelling.

While the pork was browning and the celery was soaking up all the juice I minced up two carrots, added a cup of edamame to the pea mix and about a cup of white corn.  Then I took about half a cup of bulgur and stirred it into the salt pork/celery/onion/garlic mix and browned it lightly.

Once brown and toasty, I took the pan of pork and tipped it into the black-eyed pea and vegetable mixture.

Now simmering on my stove top.

I have no idea how this is going to taste, but I hazard it will be good, it smells fantastic.

I also put on a pot of brown rice to cook.

And voila!

I will have black-eyed peas with rice for the next few days.

My version.

I am half expecting a knock on the door from a friend to lay out a bowl of peas and rice.

Oh, there’s an idea, I should can up a jar for my friend up the street who is laid up with his foot surgery.  Nothing says neighborly like dropping off a jar of homemade soup.

I like doing things like that.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to start-up my own little soup label, I would make homemade soups and deliver them on my scooter or bicycle to you.

A little basket of love.

Paula Dean is probably rolling over in her kitchen with the liberties I took making the black-eyed peas, but I find that I have some sort of knack for making things mine.

I am not a chef, just a decent home schooled cook that likes making soup.

And other things too, but something about making a pot of soup soothes my soul.

This one needs to simmer for a bit longer, but if you’re hungry and in the hood, you know where to go.

Soup’s on.

Sunshine and Horses

March 24, 2014

Rainbows and Unicorns.

Walking hand in hand on the beach with you my love.

Or horseback riding as the case may be.

Today I went to Mar Vista Stables out by Fort Funston here in San Francisco, down by the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean, and went horseback riding with some dear and darling girlfriends.

“Like lady friends, like romantic?” My housemate’s daughter queried me, later after they had all left.

You know you’re in San Francisco when a seven-year old girl is making those kinds of assumptions.

“No, friends who are girls,” I said, “girls who I love, although not in a romantic way, woman who are very dear to me.”

“Same thing,” she said and went back to her chalk drawing on the cement patio in the back yard.

And she’s right, it’s all the same love.

Just a different facet of it.

I am blessed with some amazing lady friends, not only did I get to go dancing with a great group of gals on Friday, I got to have a second wild adventure today with another wonderful set of women.

I really am lucky.

And I got to cook for them due to unsuspecting events that unfolded on the ride.

Our time at the stables ran over, there were incidents.

My horse bucked a bit, nipping the hindquarters on the horse in front of me who promptly kicked back, causing my horse to rear and startling the hell out of the rider in front of me.

Who admitted while we were riding down the cliff’s edge to the beach, “I am terrified.  If I wasn’t over the weight limit I would have asked for the pony, I am only doing this for my girlfriend who used to ride.”

Brave boy.

He wasn’t the only person shaking.

One of my friends got tossed out of the saddle.

I did not see it happen, but suddenly the horse was galloping and then another was running and the guide behind us dashed forward slapping the side of his horse with the leather reins bunched up in his right hand to spur her forward.

She was fortunately not injured, but very rattled.

Who wouldn’t have been?

And amazing, cliché as this sounds, despite the nerves and adrenalin, she got back up in the saddle.

Bravest act I have seen in some time.

I would have probably walked back.

Fuck that.

Another incident occurred shortly thereafter with another rider who slipped out of his saddle–it hadn’t been well secured and he just slipped right out and suddenly the horse is running wild and galloping with out its rider.

It was intense.

And somber and I believe we all realized that we were on huge animals, 1,000 lb beings that could have tossed any of us over at any time.

There was more than one sigh of relief when we crested the cliff’s edge on the way back to the corral and shakily climbed out of the saddles.

We all sat and compared notes, noticing that the group was really too large for the number of guides we had with us, the horses were exhausted, and that it was not the experience we had been expecting.

No one, ultimately was hurt and we all left hungry and ready to relax.

There had been birthday reservations made at the Beach Chalet, but after all the separate stops and starts and the getting back on the horse, literally, we had overshot our time and the reservation had been lost.

My friend was quoted a forty-five minute wait and I piped up that I couldn’t make it that long, it was close to two pm and I would be an idiot and not friendly with anyone if I had to wait another hour for food.

Split pea soup to the rescue!

My friend asked the car load of ladies what we wanted to do and I suggested we could come back to my house, I had just cooked up a big batch of soup and would happily host, or their were plenty of restaurants in my neighborhood.

My dear friend opted for soup at my place and we are back to my little studio having tea and chatting and I whipped up a big kale salad with all sorts of goodies and heated up the split pea soup and we all had a meal together.

I felt like not only did I get to help my friend celebrate her birthday, but I had for the first time had a little lunch party at my house, it felt like a housewarming.

I had bought flowers yesterday and I had a room full of ladies who lunch and it was just divine.

Soup and salad and tea.

Sounds sort of suspect and silly, and normal.

Perhaps it sounds bland to you too.

But to me, it was joyous and uplifting and I felt surrounded with love and I was able to provide sustenance and nourishment with love for my friends.

I got to reflect back to them the kind of women I felt them to be and feed my friends.

I used to host great big house parties and dinner parties, and I wouldn’t change those experiences for the world, they were fun and I will always savor the memories–the big jambalaya feast I threw one summer at the house on Willy Street in Madison, or bbq in the back yard at my place on Gorham Street, all the Thanksgivings and Christmas dinners–but this was sweet for its spontaneity and cheer.

We all got cozy and the drama of the horseback outing sluiced away to be replaced by warmth and laughter and sharing about our lives.

The clock ticked down and ladies left and I had leftovers later for dinner, savoring the food that I had gotten to provide my friends with, the spice that I like the most is salt, but this was flavored with love and it blew sunshine all the way through me as I sat outside in the quiet of the back yard with only the ravens overhead and the sound of the ocean shushing in the background.

My life.

My love.

My ladies.

All down by the sea with me.

What a spectacular little weekend I got to have.

It might not have been rainbows and unicorns.

But it was damn close.

Horseback

Horseback riding, Mar Vista Stables

Split Pea Soup and Sex

March 23, 2014

I don’t actually believe very many folks are going to bait into this blog with that title, but you never know.

I mean, I imagine that the first thing that comes to mind is having sex with split pea soup in the equation, but split pea soup is not necessarily a sexy soup.

I mean it’s green and sort of mushy.

Delicious.

But mushy.

Then I think, is that soup hot?

That would burn.

Maybe you’re kinky?

Hot mushy soup instead of candle wax.

Then I thought, well then, how about cold, like that nursery rhyme: peas porridge hot and peas porridge cold, peas porridge in a pot nine days old.  Some like it hot and some like it cold and some like it in the pot nine days old.

Now first off all who the hell likes anything nine days old?

Nine day old peas porridge sounds like salmonella poisoning to me and nothing says sexy like vomiting.

But cold pea soup, is not sexy at all.

Not even like I am wearing this as a mask to get sexy.

Sexy foods are chocolate and whipped cream, sticky though, let’s be honest, who has had sex with whipped cream?

Raise your hands you kids you.

Uh huh.

And it’s sticky.

Unless you’re hopping in the shower right quick sexy with whipped cream is not sexy.  It makes a good visual, I will grant you that, but otherwise it gets tacky and kind of gross and then you have like lint stuck to you and who wants that?

Or dog fur.

Or gack, cat fur.

“Don’t post a photo of you and your cat!” My friend said over the phone today.

He was asking me to help him look at a few things on his OkStupid profile and I immediately went to you need to change your profile pix, not a good one, take off the sunglasses, show a current photo, you don’t have a beard and the hair cut is much better.

And he replied with the cat insight.

Not that I have a cat photo on my page, but apparently girls do.

“Oh and no kids, even if they’re your cute nieces and nephews,” he added.

I know that one too and told him to do the same, except not with kids, with other women.  I don’t want to see the guy with another woman, whether it’s a co-worker or a sister or an old friend, only pictures of said dude.

As soon as I see another woman I think ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, and it sours me whether or not it’s true.

All this talk about sex and soup and whip cream.

Where is this going?

I basically did my shopping and cooking today, is where it’s going and I was trying to make it sound sexy, and self-care is sexy, split pea soup can be sexy, as long as it’s not cold and nine days old, and I was filled with a kind of warmth, and yes, I dare say it, love of self when I saw my full fridge with healthful stuff in it–homemade soup in canning jars, fresh veggies and fruit and it’s all organic and good and yay.

I suppose that’s where I sort of left it.

I got up late today, almost 11 a.m. before I rolled out of bed, but considering I went to bed at 3 a.m. last night, it makes perfect sense.

I knew I would be busy tomorrow–Joan’s birthday party–and I wanted to get all my stuff dealt with today.  So soup making and food shopping, laundry, and fresh sheets on the bed, flowers in vases, check book balancing, bill paying, and tidying up.

And voila, my day.

No, there was not sex in my day, but you know, as a friend recently commented, I have been baiting my reader with sex in my titles to get a read.  I don’t usually have high readership on Saturdays anyway, so I thought, why not.

I mean, I have sex on the mind, why not put that out there too.

Or at least body contact.

Out at the club last night I sat by my friend for a moment in between dancing and he put his arm around me and I threw a leg over his lap and we hung out.

I have to say, it felt good.

And I wondered, how come never this?

But, he’s a smoker and that’s not a match with me and I know from some experience that guys will let you know if they are interested and I don’t think he is, but we are messaging back and forth on OkStupid to help out both of our profiles.

Apparently the more often you reply the more you get asked out.

According to some blog he read about the site.

I have never even thought about that.

Then when I told him he could use better profile photographs we actually started talking, joking, but I think it could actually be funny, about going around and fake doing things to have that perfect profile shot.

So basically now we need groomers and photographers and more media manipulation on our social sites to get what we really want, personal contact with another human being.

The internet is great, don’t get me wrong, but when I am blogging I am alone, so too when I am on my FaceBook page or OkStupid or Twitter or anything else.

The interconnectivity is awesome some times, although I did not need to see the post my sister just put up about not wearing underwear anymore.

TMI.

Then again, seeing photographs of my niece, pretty cool, especially since, when will I see her next?

Could be awhile.

But I feel that I need to see people face to face and not just over the net to really connect.

I need to watch people too.

I am an artist and I observe.

I take.

Like the small Asian man on the MUNI tonight, with age spots and a mole the size of a quarter on his face the skin on his face sagged and his eyes weary closing against the overhead lighting on the train.

His shoes were worn down and he walked with a bow-legged swagger that made me immediately think sea man and he was far shorter when he stood to get of the train than I thought he would be, almost diminutive in his navy suit and rumpled white dress shirt that was baggy out of his pants, pulled askew on the left side where he had been  scratching his ribs.

And the hat.

Slouched down, yet dapper, a fedora in tweed with flecks of brown and mustard.

That hat said so much.

Would I have noticed that hat had I been engrossed in my Facecrack feed on my phone?

I don’t think so.

I don’t know where all this is going, but I am grateful for these powers of perception whether they are reflecting on soup or sex.

Or hats.

I am writing and that’s the sexy in my soup any day.


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