Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Salts - And One Very Paranoid Man

My personal peanut gallery is for the most part extremely receptive to my culinary escapades. I might even flatter myself by suggesting that they enjoy the results of my efforts more often than not.

With one exception.

My father is a man who does
not appreciate culinary adventures. He does not enjoy the results of the majority of my efforts. He will eat: my pizza, my pasta with tomato sauce, my empanadas (as long as I refer to them as meat patties in his presence). But that is about the extent of it.

In fact on many an evening when I am cooking he will ask what SeaBass might eat if I am making "that stuff".

Beyond this general avoidance of anything I've cooked, he also fears many of the new and exotic ingredients I've brought into the house. He is afraid I might be sneaking them into his food - trying to convert bring him over to my side. Take different salts for example.

Allow me to demonstrate the kind of fear and paranoia I'm dealing with.

Here we have a picture of the typical selection of salts available in my pantry:

We have kosher salt in the box, my father's table salt in his shaker (the shaker is a totem of my father's hold on his traditional, trusted food items), sea salt in the salt pig, and in the silver shaker - more of my father's table salt, as filled by mother (who he typically trusts not to attempt any kind of sneak attack conversions on him).

It was the other night at the dinner table that the depth of his paranoia was revealed.

We were laughing at my dad's refusal to use this salt shaker:

which, since it was a gift bought for me, he assumes is filled with one of the exotic forms of salt, ergo "not real salt" and he refuses to go within 10 feet of it. No matter how many times we've assured him that no one is tampering with the salt or trying to mess with his seasonings, he will not be swayed. No fancy, new-fangled, unknown salt shaker for him.

He reached for his trusty shaker

when SeaBass said, "hey, how do you know somebody didn't fill that shaker with sea salt

or kosher salt

when it was empty a couple of days ago?"

To which my father replied with an exultant look on his face, "Ha, I knew someone would try that, so I emptied it into the garbage and refilled it myself."

He was very pleased with himself, and pleased that he was given the opportunity to share with us (his opponents in this battle of ingredients) that he was on his guard, wary at all times.

The rest of us? Well we were just plain shocked....amused, and impressed that he thought we would go that far to convert him, and pleased that he thinks so highly of our creative abilities in thinking up ways to convert him.

But mostly just shocked.

This is what I'm dealing with people.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dog vs. Geese

This is a daily occurrence.

We're enjoying our leisurely, mostly obedient stroll on the beach when Dolan suddenly notices geese overhead.

She considers her options. She's at the point where if the birds are too far away she won't waste her energy. But, if they're close enough, and they often are, I'm pretty sure they enjoy the chase as much as Dolan does...

Then the action begins and the chase is on.
Dolan hits full speed within a few strides while Sugar and I stand back and watch it all play out.

She's a little hard to see here but that little splash in the middle distance is my puppy, still focused on the geese.

The chase continues pretty much until the geese get tired of messing with Dolan and fly off into the wild blue yonder, at which point Dolan turns abruptly around and runs back to me, still at full speed and looking ecstatic.

Dolan seems pretty sure that one day she'll be able to fly, or maybe that the geese will just stop flying and play fair with her. I figure there's no harm in letting her continue to believe it. Both she and the birds seem to enjoy their little game.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Incoming Storm, Outgoing Slobber

No you're not seeing spots.

What's that? No, no I'm sure you're screen is not smudgy.

An explanation? Sure, I guess I could come up with one of those. Does this sound believable?

The photographer (read: trigger happy picture snapper) in question was too enamored of their surroundings (and too oblivious due to continued involuntary consciousness) to notice the extremely visible dog slobber/canine induced splash marks covering the camera lens.

Very symbolic of the level of (non) professionalism of said photographer (read: trigger happy picture snapper).
I had NO intention of taking pictures yesterday evening. I was exhausted and bleary eyed and really just wanted to get the chore of dog walking over with as quickly as possible. I took one look at the skies over the beach however, and was suddenly wide awake.

The dogs and I ran back to the house, grabbed the camera and for about an hour I totally forgot how tired I was. wasn't until I put the pics on the camera that I noticed the spots splattering all the images.

Do you think I could pass them off as artistic effect?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunrise and Sleeplessness

My good pal insomnia visited last night...on some occasions I spend these sleepless hours curled in bed - eyes glued shut, mind spinning in an ever tightening spool of anxieties and incoherent, disjointed thoughts.

On other occasions I haul my fidgety butt out of my cozy bed (not so cozy in these dark hours - a little suffocating in fact) and work until my mind numbs itself into doziness.

Last night was one of the latter. At the darkest hour of 3 a.m. I reached the ultimate point of frustration with my madly twirling brain and jumped out of bed - figuring an hour of staring at the computer screen would do me in...

...2 and 1/2 hours later I decided to make the best of my continued consciousness and head to the beach to shoot the sunrise.

I know it was gorgeous, I've got the pictures to prove it

Unfortunately I still haven't I don't really remember being there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Peace and Poop

Directly following my little whine here about how I've been feeling lately I thought I'd take the dogs and go searching for some photographic inspiration. We ended up clambering (Note: I clambered, fearing for my life, the dogs strolled gracefully) down the hillside to a popular local fishing spot

Once I made it down the slope in one piece (note to self: next time I go on a photographic adventure...real shoes not flip flops) I released the hounds so they could wander and I could focus on picture taking

pretty, huh?

We were all having a wonderful time exploring. The dogs were running around, sniffing and darting in and out of the water and I was trying to take decent pictures without losing my flip flops in suctioning mud.

Of course, being a responsible pet owner, I called for the dogs every few minutes and kept my ears open for sounds of trampling through the grass and trees.

I looked up from shooting at one point to see both dogs sniffing around in a meadow on the other side of the stream. I stopped to watch them and soak in the moment of peace and solitude. It was one of those unexpected instances when I am reminded of how lucky I am to live where I do and I am completely satisfied with the experience of my life. Unfortunately the moment ended abruptly as I watched Sugar suddenly drop to the ground and begin to roll ecstatically in the grass.

All you dog folks out there will have an idea where I'm headed with this, for those of you unaccustomed to dogs and their body language here's something to keep in mind when dealing with canines in general: Rolling around on the ground in great abandon means one of two things...

a) "Yay! This sunny, warm ground feels so damn good on my fur! It's great to be a dog!" or

b) "Yay! There is some seriously gross stinkiness right here on this ground. I must roll around and spread it all over my a puppy mudbath! It's great to be a dog!"

Can you guess which of these Sugar was experiencing? I'll give you a hint...

That would be Sugar - joyous in her coating of horse poop. How do I know for sure it was horse poop? Because I spent the 10 minutes after snapping this pic trying to hold Sugar still in the stream in order to clean her off as best I could, while at the same time getting intimately acquainted with the substance.

Thus ended our peaceful afternoon by the stream.

If it wasn't for those moments of peace and gratefulness I wonder if I would find it so easy to laugh when faced with a pet covered in poop? I hope I never have to find out.

Where I'm At

I'm not going to whine, just want to explain where I've been and why.

I've been feeling pretty poopy lately, physically and emotionally.

At the time of the nervous breakdown I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and though I'm doing a gazillion times better than I was at the time of diagnosis, I still have my moments (or, more accurately, my days or weeks).

It's always hard to identify what precipates these swings into low energy, sleepiness, achiness and general inability to function. It seems that any change to my day to day routine has an effect. I try to prepare for these instances but it doesn't always work.

I get very frustrated with myself for feeling this way, which I think escalates the problems and turns the whole downslide into a kind of cyclical whirlwind in which physical symptoms cause emotional distress, causes my body to shut down...causes me to want to scream! But of course screaming would take too much energy and so I just sit and wait it out.

It's especially frustrating at this beautiful time of the year when I want to be out, enjoying the sun, taking pictures of everything around me.

When I'm in this state everything seems dulled and I feel like I'm wasting moments and days of beauty.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring - More and Less

It seems that spring has been a bit slow in arriving here in cottage country this year. Of course my perspective may be skewed by the visit to upstate New York last weekend. Damn those blossoms! Allow me to demonstrate.

Here we have the barely opening blossoms in the yard...

Here, the beautiful fully opened blossoms declaring the fully arrived springiness of New York.

And now the sad, struggling blooms of my fair surroundings.

Damn you upstate New York, damn you and your early arriving spring! Our poor trees here don't know what to do with themselves. They've started blooming on multiple occasions now, only to have Mother Nature laugh in their fragile faces and rain down with the nasty weather. Trying hard not to get my hopes up this time.

p.s There's a chance I'm a little obsessed with bokeh. Forgive me in advance for many more pictures featuring artistically blurry backgrounds.

Thank you.


One week ago I turned 31. Now, I typically enjoy birthdays. I enjoy presents, love cake and as a kid I was the type who couldn't wait to turn a year older in order to reach the next pinnacle of maturity. Even turning 30 felt great. I couldn't wait to say good-bye to my 20s, a decade that was already mostly lost to substance induced haze anyways.

But 31, um well, it has knocked me on my ass and I have yet to pick myself back up.

30 for some reason felt safe. 31 feels like something major has changed. Or maybe more correctly, it feels like something SHOULD change and I just can't seem to figure out what or how to make said change, or to do any of this fast enough to solve this looming crisis of identity.

31 feels like grown up is no longer something to achieve, something awaiting me around the next bend...IT'S HERE! And now I can't find a rock big enough to hide under.

I feel a little like Mr. Wheels here looks,

like reality has just awoken me from a wonderful sun soaked nap and I am super unsure about what the hell is going on here in the real world.

People keep saying things to me that include words like "marriage" and "children". These are things I was sure I had all the time in the world to consider. Now apparently my proverbial clock should be ticking.

Perhaps I've already lost my hearing due to old age but I can't hear any ticking anywhere.

There's so much I want to do before all this stuff people are yammering about but now it feels like the pressure is growing to the point of overwhelming. The more pressure I feel the more likely I am to run and hide. Of course there's also the reality that overwhelming pressure is what won me a breakdown in the first place.

So now I feel more like this,

Screaming at myself in my reflection and still I can't decipher a damn thing.