I get like…intensely intrigued by things. SUCKED into quirky worlds where then I physically can’t stop staring at these little wonders. I picture tiny lego men that have made my eyeballs their home, constantly on the hunt for something random. Once found, they stop navigating and get hooked. It feels like prying away an Elf-on-the-shelf doll from a screaming 4 year old. It doesn’t happen. Transfixed. For someone who is super easily distracted this presents a big problem. Especially when I have to talk to people all day long and be a professional human being. Oh hey, you have something huge in your teeth….and my eyes are literally krazy glued but you have no idea. You must think I love your teeth. Although they’re very nice, that’s not the case right now.
Our lives are currently characterized by sheer abundance. Of food. Cars. Money. People. Lovers. Friends. Restaurants. Malls. Music. Socks. Hangers. Books. Dutch ovens. Spatulas. Deodorants. Planners. Pillows. Rings.
If you pause for a sec and contemplate this, our minds are confronted daily with millions of options.
Studies have found that when our crazy complicated human brain is presented with more than seven miniscule choices, (which nowadays is nada…have you taken a look at Cheesecake Factory’s novel-like menu lately? How am I supposed to choose anything there within its ocean of options without going through a state of utter mind blindness and menu-choosing anxiety?) it basically goes numb. Give the mind two or three options, and the choice can be a cinch. But seven-plus and the mind basically morphs into a Jabba the hut then goo, devoid of any and all reasoning. (The brilliant Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich at Radiolab did a podcast about this.)
It’s inevitable that we’ll go through things we don’t want to go through. We’ll eventually have to face these dark happenings, happenings that will fill your eyes to the brim with tears and fall down to your cheeks like mini waterfalls. During these moments, we might question how such a thing can be occurring or if we deserve it. Perhaps they’re things that you see in movies or books or in surrounding people’s lives that you never think will actually happen to you. Like a loved one dying unexpectedly. Because although we know we’ll meet death we’re always surprised when it comes. Your good friend might be involved in a car accident on a whim because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You might lose all your money or you wife, husband, or children unexpectedly. Your parents, while having done their absolute best to raise you, might have given you some hurtful scars that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. You could have been totally in love and expected to be with someone forever, and then your eyes see them with someone else, figuratively crumpling you up like a flimsy brown paper bag and throwing you in the trash.
Olives snuggled together remind me of the roundest animal scales or tiny picturesque ruffled mountains and hills. You see them at the specialty store in their little bins, with their confetti flecks of spices and seasonings oilily clinging to them. You see them in the condiment aisle, fat or miniature but always bursty and filled with firey red pimentos or jalapenos, or plain. Sometimes I see these usual suspects in the always questionable food aisles at Marshalls or TJ Maxx, a discounted price label slapped upon them haphazardly because these lonesome jars of olives from Smith & Wollensky stuffed with blue cheese not desired wherever they were previously sold. There’s the prized “fancy” olives that are dubiously high priced. But are you going to throw down $20 for a scarce, Oliver Twist style portion of olives? I didn’t think so.
Dogs will occasionally bark at me while I run. When I’m laying down parallel to the sunrise mirroring its tranquility, my desire to rise from my feather laden bed and pound the pavement, swiftly swooshing my legs and feet back and forth goes hand in hand with getting a colonoscopy. But I do it anyway, and like a Scrooge I huff and puff and grumble on the onsets of my run, filled with…not negativity, but wanting to leave the moment that I’m in, waiting patiently for that feeling I get once it’s over. In a spiritual sense I should enjoy this, because the moment we’re experiencing is the one we should always soak up, take advantage of, and experience fully.
Do we realize that when we agree to host Thanksgiving or prepare millions of potentially complicated dishes how stressful it can be? All we currently yearn for is a time to relax amongst the sandstorm that is known as Thanksgiving prep. Amidst this hurricane, what could be better or more seasonally appropriate than a pumpkin chocolate chip loaf. This loaf is overflowing with practicality in the sense that it’s a breeze to whip up, it feeds my pumpkin obsession/compulsion, you get two for the work of one, it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it gets better as it ages. Think of it as your sustenance. Moist, dense, chocolatey, pumpkiny sustenance. As you cut a piece(s) of this, you’ll find yourself taking the edge off. If you’ve been looking for a solid pumpkin bread recipe, this is your match.
Desserts lovers oppose each other. On one side of the boxing ring, we have people who prefer fruit. On the other, people who prefer chocolate. Unfortunately, desserts with fruit as the star get lost on me. I’d die happy with towering pieces of cake with cream cheese frosting or anything with chocolate beside me. Additionally, there’s a million recipes and variations for how to handle fruit desserts, desserts that attempt to take something the earth provided us with that is perfection on its own, ie a good Honeycrisp apple, and transform it into something indulgent. Sometimes it’s not necessary. But sometimes I guess we’re in the mood for a little butter, a little more sugar, a little heat, and a little crisp action.
My family has resided in the USA for decades, but I wouldn’t consider us entirely America. Within our bunch, we hail from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Cuba, and we’ve admittedly become more and more Americanized as each year slips beneath us. The most obvious proof of this is demonstrated by our hefty, voracious, and food-pregnancy inducing Thanksgiving feast. Every year I wait for this meal with nail-biting anticipation, because the gluttonous plate I serve myself is consistently worthy of my last meal on earth. And if you know me, you know I’m one of those crazy people who shuffle through their mind for selections.