I Smell Meat

 

 

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this or not, but Mister and I have been abstaining from alcohol and meat. We felt we’d overdone it the last week or so of December, and figured it would be good for us to keep it lean and mean during the month of January. The plan was to stay away from alcohol entirely, and to be “Veg-Aquarian” where food was concerned. We’ve pulled it off. We’ve had nary a drop of liquor and we’ve not eaten any cow, fowl or pig. (We do have fish once a week, though, and thank goodness for that. It’s saving our lives!)

 

It was a good idea. And for the record, both of us lost that end-of-the-year bloated feeling during the first week of 20 and 13. That’s a good thing, y’all.

 

But now it’s starting to drag. Everywhere I go, I smell meat. Specifically, I smell the fat of meat as it sizzles in some nearby restaurant/backyard/kitchen. And y’all, meat am be smelling good, um-kay?

 

As for the drinking thing, I don’t know what to tell ya. I’ve wanted to have a drank here and there, especially during stressful moments. But the truth of the matter is, I often forget to drink even when I’m allowing myself the privilege. I guess when it slips your mind, it’s one thing. When you deprive yourself, it’s another.

 

So here at the end of January, I’m looking forward to chewing a big old piece of meat and washing it down with a big old glass of wine. Here’s to dining well, yo. May we all be so blessed.

Painting

 

 

I know I haven’t shared any paintings with you in a while, and there’s a reason for that: I haven’t photographed any of my newer paintings.

 

Living here at the hotel presents a lot of different ways of going about things. One of those differences is not having a place to seal my paintings. Sealing a painting is what preserves and protects it. But it does so much more. It also heightens the paint colors and gives the whole work a uniform sheen. I don’t actually consider my paintings finished until I’ve sealed them. As it happens, I’ve got 2 paintings in my line of sight right now – paintings that are just begging to be sealed and shared. Patience, Grasshopper.

 

I am still painting, and I’ll keep going. I’m hoping to be able to seal a few pieces in the next 6 weeks or so. I wish I could tell you more. Because if I could tell you more, then I’d actually know more. Funny how that works.

 

In the meantime, skedaddle on over to my Painting page and look at what I’ve managed to share thus far. And know that I’m creating away. Pinky swear.

Prime Factorization of Food

 

 

Remember grade school math? Remember “Prime Factorization?” For those who’ve forgotten, prime factorization is the process of taking a number – such as 12 – and breaking it down into its lowest prime factors. For example, the number 12 is achieved by multiplying 2 x 6. 2 is a prime number already, but the number 6 is achieved by multiplying 2 x 3 (both of which are prime numbers). Therefore, the prime factorization of 12 is 2 x 2 x 3.

 

But this ain’t about math, y’all. It’s about food. In particular, it’s about my palate and how I only just now noticed its longing for a prime factorization of food. I was eating a sourdough english muffin for breakfast yesterday. I smeared one half with Earth Balance spread, as I typically do when eating toast. (Earth Balance is a vegan butter substitute. It’s low in cholesterol and, in general, not bad for me.) But I only had enough Earth Balance for half my toasted muffin. As I didn’t want to eat the other half dry, I grabbed some good, old-fashioned butter. It didn’t smear as easily as the fake stuff, but the toasted muffin’s heat soon melted it into a lovely stream.

 

I ate the Earth Balance-laden muffin-half first. It didn’t surprise. It was exactly what I’m used to. And I enjoyed it.

 

Then I ate the buttered half. Oh my. It was pure. It was chaste. It was a near-holy revelation and I relished each and every morsel.

 

As I enjoyed that buttered toast, I thought about why my taste buds were hallelujah-ing in praise. And it occurred to me that perhaps my enjoyment of food is subject to some sort of prime factorization. Could it be that the foods I enjoy most can be broken down into simple primes? Steamed broccoli with butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper? Love it. Fresh tomato slices, stacked with gooey burrata cheese and chopped basil, drizzled with good olive oil and balsamico? Yes! Roasted wild salmon, with nothing but olive oil, salt and pepper? In a heartbeat.

 

What I’m getting at here is this: my favorite foods can be explained with very few words, all of which are understandable. I don’t deny enjoying the occasional dip made with a cheese-like product, but more often than not, I respond most favorably to foods whose ingredients are basic.

 

Prime factorization of food. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize it. Now that I’ve seen the flavorful light, I won’t be forgetting it. I may choose to eat less (for my health and fitness), but I won’t be deprived. Because ya’ll, I’ll be eating better.

 

The future tastes so  bright, I gotta wear shades.

Thank You, Mr. Robbins

 

 

Dear Mr. Robbins,

 

I’m a lucky gal.

 

I’ve been dealing with stress. Skyscraper shaped and two-ton Tillied. I do not like stress, sir.

 

At some point, I looked over at my bedside table and eyed a copy of Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates. I cracked the spine. In-between repetitive emails and blistering phone calls, I read sections of your book. And lo and behold, your wonderfully whack-job world took me right out of my own head. Hallelujah and pass the gravy. Excuse me, pass the Red Eye gravy.

 

Your work showed up just when I needed it most. So I thank you, Mr. Robbins. For reals. Not for play-play.

 

Later, gator,

Your fan, Mikki

After the Rain…

 

 

It’s been raining in Los Angeles. I’m fond of rain, but that’s just me.

 

After the clouds stopped crying the other day, the sky was beautiful, with a near-full moon. In broad daylight. It took my breath away.

 

I’m fond of my breath being taken away, but that’s just me.

You’re Never Too Old To Become Younger

 

 

The above photo is a jumbled still-life, assembled on my bedside table. I love that Mae West quote, and it means a lot to me. It seems to present its meaning on a fairly regular basis, too.

 

The other morning, I was telling Mister I needed to get to the store as we were out of toilet paper. He asked about the rolls beneath the counter. I told him those were there when we moved in to the hotel, and that I had resisted using them. Without so much as taking a breath, that guy said, “Poo-session is nine-tenths of the law, you know.”

 

He’s mine. And I’m keeping him.

Just an Ordinary Day

 

 

Some days are marked with gold stars on our calendars. We know they’re coming, and those days bring expectations. Sometimes joy, sometimes sorrow. Those days are imbued with plans, with action. Because those days warrant notation on our calendars, they stand out.

 

But what about the ordinary days – the ones without a note of expectation scribbled in their squares? Those days make up the majority of my calendar’s space. And believe it or not, those are the best days.

 

Ordinary days are wonderful not because there’s nothing planned during their hours, but because anything is possible. It takes an ordinary day to offer the unexpected. A run-of-the-mill day is the one that allows us to throw caution to the wind and accept a surprise invitation. An ordinary day may hold the gift of meditation while tinkering in the garden or garage. A regular old day may allow us the blessing of mind-travel while reading, or peace while watching a sleeping child. The quiet of an ordinary day may provide space for a perfect cup of tea, or the abandon of dancing in one’s living room.

 

I don’t know why we don’t schedule those things for ourselves, but we generally don’t. And that’s a shame. I’d love to look down at my calendar and see an appointment on a given Tuesday – an appointment with myself, with Mister. I think it would look like this:

5:45pm: 20 Minutes of Crazy Dancing

Rain or Shine

Excuse me – I need to go write on my calendar.

Saying Yes

 

 

I’ve been trying to figure out what’s causing the tension in my neck. I have a lot to do, but it’s all do-able, so that’s not it. I could use a workout, but I can carve out just enough time for it, so that’s not it. I’m in the middle of an avalanche of contracts, but that shall pass (eventually). That’s probably part of it. I don’t know. I suppose it all adds up to “it” – whatever “it” is.

 

There are a lot of unknowns right now. And I guess that freaks me out. So much of my life has been established as routine. So much of my life is predicated on predictability. Straying from that sometimes throws me for a loop, which sends me running back to my little cocoon of perceived safety.

 

But is that really living? If I know exactly what each coming day will bring, if my routine is so managed as to be expected, is that a life? What about change? What about spontaneity? What about the damned monkey wrenches that get hurled around by, well, monkeys? Am I so afraid of the unknowns as to want to forgo them entirely?

 

I think I know the answer to that last question, but my frazzled nerves tell a different story. And that’s my conundrum. How do I calm the frightened child within while also challenging the lust-for-life junkie? How do I protect the girl who wears sunblock every day of her life, while also cheering on the gal who’s jumped out of an airplane?

 

Right now, I don’t have an answer. And maybe I never will. Maybe I just keep moving. Forward, hopefully.

 

And maybe it’s okay to be terrified of life’s dark alleys, as long as I don’t shy away from life’s invigorating street fairs.

 

For the honest truth is, I don’t want to miss out on this ride. I don’t want to say no to living my all-too-short life when I could be screaming yes-yes-yes!

 

The sun is trying to peek through – outside and in. I want to say yes to its rays. And so I clear my throat…

Muscle Memory

 

 

I painted last night, and I am happy to report I have re-acclimated to the studio environment.

 

After last week, I was wondering. But last night found me comfortable with the brush and the paints. I was able to relax and just enjoy it. It felt like my muscle memory kicked in.

 

At one point, my teacher said something about how I have a tendency to complicate my paintings. He didn’t mean anything cruel, he was just telling the truth. The painting I’m working on now is a city-scape, with lyrics painted across it. My teacher’s comment was directly aimed at my choice to “complicate” the painting of Los Angeles by having to get those danged words just right.

 

What-evs. I was just happy to be back to my detail-oriented self. I was happy my buddy Nicole was there (and working on a stunning portrait, I might add). I was happy just to be there.

 

I was happy.

Counting My Blessings

 

 

There’s a lot going on around here this week. Inaugurations, deadlines, wheeling & dealing. Mikki is one busy girl.

 

And there’s something else: I’m one blessed girl. Aside from breathing, my therapist also suggested I write in my gratitude journal each night before going to sleep. I started keeping it over a decade ago, but at some point I stopped writing in it and began just mentally listing each day’s highlights. I’ve been beyond consistent in this nightly ritual, but my therapist thought writing my list each night (versus thinking it) would lead to a greater appreciation for my life experience. And you know what? She was right.

 

Like you, I’ve still got a lot of life to deal with. But greeting each day from a foundation of gratitude is sweeter than I might ever explain.

 

If you’ve never kept a gratitude journal, I highly recommend it. It doesn’t have to cost anything and it takes very little time. A spiral notebook works great! Just grab it before you go to sleep at night, write 5 things you appreciated from that day then hit the hay! It’s that simple. (Of course, you can get a fancy notebook if you want. Personally, I use a blank-paged journal a friend gave me eons ago. Free!)

 

I want to tell you something more about keeping a gratitude journal: some days it’s hard to think of something you’re grateful for. When a day like that happens, I write “I’m grateful this day is over.” There have been days when I wrote that sentence 5 times, as I couldn’t think of anything else. But believe me when I tell you those days are few and far between. Really.

 

Most days, I find it hard to stop at only 5 moments of gratitude. If you decide to give this a try, you just may find yourself in the same happy place. And just so you know I’m for reals here (and not for play-play), here’s my list from last night…

 

  1. I’m grateful I saw the sunset reflected on the mountains. They were all pink and purple and it was a beautiful sight.
  2. I’m grateful I got to watch the Inauguration. It reminded me of how truly blessed I am to know the peaceful exchange of power we take for granted in America.
  3. I’m grateful I had awesome pizza and salad for dinner!
  4. I’m grateful I got a spreadsheet done today. It’s important, yo!
  5. I’m grateful I finished all the laundry today.
  6. I’m grateful I got to spend the day with Mister.
  7. I’m grateful for being grateful.