seek and find

Friday, December 31, 2010

ending the new year with rom-coms, coffee and delights

i woke up alone but happy; cozy, with Nugent on my chest, purring like a Porsche, warming my soul as much as my body, keeping me company amongst my sad dreams. with the internet down and glitter polish on my fingernails, i decided to hit the town early. earlier than i have in months, seeking coffee, connectivity and confections.

instead of heading downtown, consequentially down the hill to the waterfront, i went up the hill, figuring, since this entire year has been, yet another, uphill battle, why not psyche today out and head towards the sun? not two blocks from my house, i had one of those eye-contact moments that makes you believe that you're being followed by a romantic-comedy camera crew, complete with the soap opera lens and warm, fuzzy music.

alas, i kept going, looking back once as he was too, and i smiled, flushed - from sentiment of sunshine, i don't know. but either way, it was warm and fuzzy indeed.
the sun hit my face and i was happy.

that little spark of life put a little fire under me and i hit the hill with vigor: i was, after all, in search of coffee and, if its really my day, donuts.

not three blocks from my apartment, i found a little europen bakery, complete with sweet smells, sensational souffles and absolutely decadent desserts.

and: old fashion donuts. 

i was going to photograph my donut delight, but, i dipped and dunked and, just like a snap, it was enjoyed and then it was only a memory.

a sweet memory.
see ya later, 2010.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

thirty-six, or thirty-eight, it depends on the day

my darling, generous, beautiful, adoring, adored parents, 
Bob and Mohanta Schalit, 
have been happily and whole heartily married for 36 years, 
together for 38, today. 
i'm so proud to have these people in my life, 
to have these people to look up to, to model myself after, to enjoy time with and to always cherish. 

their spirit, natural beauty and authentic personalities light up people's lives - especially mine.

to 36 more!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

a shel for you, a shel for me, this shel stood near a tree

this reminds me of the simple, sweet solitude that only true and good poetry can

hope it does you all 
a little bit of good; 
to remember 
sweet times. 

of loved ones.

of loving one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

the mud always settles in the water. it just takes time.

as lovely as it is to be healing from home, warm and cozy in the comfort of my parents company in Salida, Colorado, embracing the sunniest winter in history, enjoying the delights of home (food, laundry, kitten-puppy bromance, sleeping in, napping hard, always clean and nice and lovely) and the embrace of sweet Salida friends, there is still a very raw, broken heart that lingers these hills... two of them, actually.

one belongs to me
the other, to Ryan.

there is a fresh life out there in the world, waiting for me... or so i'm told. its hard, though, to give up on this one. to let go of the love, of the distress, of the fairytale first half and the tragically flawed second. how hard we tried. how hard we try...

it isn't to say that the waters between Ryan and i are irrevocably muddied, but more, that we're both hoping that with the (slow, painful, arduous, seemingly impossible) process of mending our broken hearts, calmness, not calamity, will aide us in our paths.

i want, so dearly, to talk with, to sit with, to be near, to see Ryan. but, to be as unlike that thorn that grew so cooly, so invasively, so wickedly from the rosebush that was our life, i am dedicated to respecting his privacy, respecting his state, respecting his (situational) wishes.

the healing of a broken heart, of a broken spirit, undoubtedly takes time, effort and a gross overdose of positively purposeful living. i know he and i will one day be true and dear friends. but until then, we must maintain our singular selves and all that is linked therein, so that when we do come to that sunny place in our future, we'll both be better, to each other and most importantly, to ourselves.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

brain farts vs real farts

yesterday was a busy one for this sleep laden gal. i had to get laundry done (thank god for wash'n'fold), get the kitten his travel sedatives, call southwest, clean the apartment, do the dishes (the mt. rainer mound of dishes), send all my christmas cards and, whew, remember to rest.

today, while still suffering from my exhausting yesterday, i'm plagued with brain farts left and right;
Nugent, my kitten, who flew today, sedated and cool (like most of my cohorts on southwest flight 196), seems have his own issues: with real farts.

at first, i just thought it was Tacoma, an infamously stinky city, but as we passed through and beyond, towards the Emerald City of Seattle, the odor lingered, to my dismay. lucky for me, the shock and awe of airport security ruffled the goods right out of my now droopy-eyed black cat and he lay his head down and rested. although the turbulence did wake him, only to remind him to reposition himself and fall back asleep.

while my brain farts continue to plague me (i would like to blame them on my fatigue and general malaise, but, lets be honest here - i can be somewhat of a scatterbrain by nature), i'm so terribly grateful that his real farts do not.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

easy recipes for the down and out

mono, compounded by cat scratch fever, a playful kitten and an insatiable desire to leave my apartment without the capacity do so, would leave anyone too tired to cook.  and, aside from my one incident (yesterday, i tried to make myself some oatmeal, and i sat down on the couch, and three hours later i woke to the fire alarm... oops), this week with mono has found me more adventurous in the kitchen and although that's probably due to my less frequent trip to the grocery store, i'm happy for it.

please do remember, these are not meant to be eaten all at once, in fact, it took me a week to get through the three things listed below, but, i have been sleeping like 18 hours a day, so, you know...

when down and out, one needs to eat and eat well. 
the body heals best when its sleeping and sleeps best when its full... 
so, here's what i've come up with so far:

first, the garlic and jalapeno pork chops with cream-cheese'd rice
     a) here piggie piggie
  • set the oven to 375/400
  • finely chop a fresh jalapeno and garlic
  • place half of the choppings in the middle of a cookie plate, douse with olive oil
  • place a pork chop atop the pile of green and pale yellow
  • rub the other half of the choppings on to the pork chop, adding olive oil, a dash of salt
  • cook in the center of the oven for 6 minutes, pull out and flip for another 5 or so
  • top with grated cheese 
     b) always add cheese
  • in the final stages of making rice, when there is only a slight glisten of water left simmering and swimming, add a dollop of cream cheese, stir well
  • after you've mixed in the cheese, turn the heat off and lay a towel across the top of the pot, securing it by laying the lid on top of the towel

     serve a) on top of b) with a side of green beans or some salad - enjoy!

second, the pesto steak with goat cheese and crispy broccoli (not Pilli's favorite)

     a) don't skirt the steak

  • on low heat and in a skillet, saute some chopped garlic, salt and pepper with olive oil 
  • smother your steak in pesto sauce
  • turn the heat up slightly, lay the steak on the skillet 
  • flip after about 5 minutes
  • flip again after about 3 minutes 
    • (i totally cheat here and slice a bit in the middle - i like my steaks to be medium and this usually does it)
  • once its cooked to your liking, top it with a dollop of goat cheese and a dab of pesto 

      b) "um, excuse me, waiter, this broccoli is burnt"
  • heat the oven to 400
  • toss fresh broccoli in a dish with large garlic slices, olive oil, a dash of red wine (merlot) and pepper
  • add a few cherry or sugar plum tomatoes, toss again
  • ensuring that ever bit of broccoli is lightly bathed in the oil mixture, put in the oven
  • about 10 minutes later, check to see if the leafy parts of the broccoli are browning - you want them to be brown before you pull them out

     serve a) with b) and drink lots of water with this salty and delicious meal

third, the roasted garbanzo snack
  • drain and rinse (well!) a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • set the oven to 375/400
  • in a baking dish, toss them with sugar plum tomatoes, flax seeds, golden raisins, baby-pumpkin s seeds (aka: pepitas), salt, olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • bake/roast for about 15 minutes or until browned 
  • this dish is meant to be crispy but if you over do your olive oil (like i always do) these go great on top of a salad, with just about any pasta dish, or on its own with a side of grilled veggies and some goat cheese

my mama knows me well

knowing that retail-therapy is one of my most successful ways out of the dumps, and, taking into consideration the fact that i'm too tired to go prescribe myself a new sweater or some cute lacey tunic, my darling mother, Mohanta, took it upon her self to apply some new purchase ointment to my wounds and sent me a perfect-fit, precious wool/cotton blend, cinched at (my ever shrinking) waist, all-the-rage plaid coat!

i absolutely love it and love Y.O.L.O. for carrying it and Loni Walton for assisting in the purchase.

i feel better already.
although, now that i wrote this post, and posed for a photograph, 
i'm exhausted and am going to lay back down.

thanks Dr. Mama; your Rx hit the spot!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nuge for Short

Marlowe, aka Kit'en, aka Killer, has been formally renamed: Nugent (Nuge for short).

the Fever still plagues me and was the only cloud on my otherwise sunny and fun weekend home for the holidays. my enlarged lymph nodes are still grossly golf-ball like and tender to the touch.

off to the doc in the morning, though, so no worries, no frets, just kitten scratches in the end, right?

i arrived home after a four day vacation in sunny Salida, only to find him ready for me, purring, running, jumping, bounding and devouring whatever i put in front of him.

he's a happy cat, which is fantastic. and now, finally, his name fits his crime.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

lumps... don't worry, it's hilarious

a few days ago i noticed that my left arm was particularly sore and weak, especially around the elbow. a day or so later, the deodorant stick set me off in tears upon application under the same sore arm.
today, i discovered that these two sore spots were protruding like golf balls from said areas - my left elbow and under my arm (arm pit). i decided to call my insurance's nurse help line. they quickly made me an appointment and i went in this afternoon.
this is Marlowe, stuck to the screen in the kitchen.
it took three doctors to diagnose my lumps, but, after about 30 minutes of medical jargon filled discussion, and a few interjections from yours truly, we discovered that Marlowe had scratched my left hand last week and whatever bacteria he has on his tiny little paws made its way into my blood stream, up my arm, and has nested in my painful, golf ball sized lymph nodes.

that's right - Marlowe infected me with Cat Scratch Fever.

no kidding. no joke. i have Cat Scratch Fever, aka, Cat Scratch Disease - treated with an antibiotic and some laughter. because if you can't laugh at that, there really is something wrong.

go to work? or stay at home with the kitten, hot tea, and slippers?

Monday, November 22, 2010

heart the zipper

"it's a tough world out there.. but, we rule, so it'll  all be okay."

thanks Zip. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

3 years later, he's 4!

happy happy happy happy birthday sweet FisherFace. 
although we're no longer linked directly to one another, he'll always have a place in my heart and be part of my purpose. 
i love and miss this little man.
 hope today is great for everyone, especially Fisher O'Brien!

i get by with a little help from my friends

probably to my dad's dismay, i am infinitely happier when i'm with friends. you see, he is a solitary man: a cowboy, a pilot, a motorcyclist, a horseman, a thinker. it's an attribute i've always respected, revered and been woefully jealous of.

i, to my dismay*, am a social butterfly. although i am not too great with crowds anymore (thanks, PTSD), i do enjoy the company of friends, family and even the occasional frenemy.

this is no revelation. i've always enjoyed company, but, over the past few years, i've lived a life of solitaire and found that it is not my cup of tea. after college, i moved to the little mountain town of Salida, Colorado. the move was strategic to surviving my upcoming life in Africa. i knew that it would be nearly impossible to leave 25+ friends in Austin all at once, so i left Austin early for a baby-step towards the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer - alone and in the wilderness.
there, as you all know, i met a man named Ryan O'Brien and his boy, Fisher O'Brien; those two changed my life, incalculably. i fell in love with them both and believed that my life, before and after Peace Corps, was going to be happy-ever-after there in the banana belt of the Rockies.
in Africa, i was isolated but quickly made friends with a handful of the best people i've ever known. Megan Pilli in particular. we met in Philadelphia, two of the prettiest and calmest people at the staging event, and shared a dinner we'll never forget, cocktails we wish we could remember and, although we probably already forgotten who was with us, we never forgot about that moment when we knew.
we were placed 100s of miles apart in Mali; it took days to arrive for a visit and days to recover from the journey, but it was always worth it. she, too, changed me. my perspective. my heart.
then, in village, i was quick to befriend my my host family and one in particular, Dabi Sidibe.  he held my hand, stared at the stars with me, learned to speak with me, learned to eat with me. he woke me up in the mornings and walked about the hills of Africa in the afternoons. we chased goats, got chased by birds and saved each other's lives on more than one occasion. Dabi sparked in me something i hadn't felt before - that animal instinct to be a mother. it is a beautiful, overwhelming feeling. i'll forever be indebted to Dabi and my host family. the beautiful Sidibes of Mourgoula.
after the attack in Africa, i withdrew. from everyone, including myself. trust was difficult, as was an everyday trip to the grocery store. i fell apart and with me fell my engagement, my mind and my life.
at the first chance to leave Salida, after healing from all my medical woes following Peace Corps, i jumped and took off, blindly, for the Pacific Northwest. i live alone, i work alone, i eat, sleep, walk, talk, read, cook, smile, cry, am alone.

i spent the first part of this weekend with a dear friend, Vicki. we met through "work" and since our first encounter, have been tossing wry and witty remarks back and forth, laughing at those we find sufficiently funny and enjoying the company of just another hilarious heroine.
the middle part of the weekend was spent having lunch with Davey and his girlfriend, Kaila. we ate at the most famous clam chowder shop in Seattle and enjoyed the delights of laughter and planning for New Years.

the train was delayed by nearly 2 hours and i couldn't have been less troubled. for the first time in weeks, months even, i felt ok. happy.

i do, truly, get by with a little help from my friends.
thank you for keeping in touch, for keeping me afloat, for keeping me in mind.

this holiday, i hope you know that i am thankful for You.

*i have dramatically feared butterflies since a very early age - the age of toddling about.

flip phones take photos, too

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the blues

daylight saving stinks. i'm ok with my wake-up hour (5am) being dark. but i am not ok with my quitting time (5pm) being just as dark.

to top it off, my neighbors-across-the-hedge have made this oddity of darkness worse by putting in the most amazing flood light. normally, one would think, oh great light! not this time.
this flood light which happens to be aimed at my bedroom window, illuminates everything: my bedroom, my eyelids, my bed - flooding it with an unnatural, uncomfortably bright blue light.

this blue light permeates everything - standard blinds can't hold it out, so i hung up a sheet, a dark purple sheet, and still it comes through, so then i rigged a comforter... still, blue light comes flooding into my room of slumber (no more).

so not only am i not getting any sunlight but the little light i am exposed to (at all hours of the night) is blue.

perfect. just like me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

that's all

sometimes, people just happen upon blogs. sometimes, people happen upon blogs that make them want to write and say:

Just a random person, leaving for the Peace Corps in January, who came across your blog tonight. The way you articulate yourself is beautiful. It's tinged with darkness, but remains positive and uplifting. That's all :)

and when i'm depressed, i eat well... in large amounts

shitake mushrooms, snap peas, onions, water chestnuts, broccoli, garlic, red and yellow peppers, baby corn and carrots, thrown into an un-greased fry pan with three strips of bacon... with cheese, of course. 

i'm not illogical, i'm just depressed

i'm taking steps to get myself back to where i smile just because.

for now, though, i smile at things that make me happy - like Marlowe, my friends, my dog Saul who is in Texas keeping my Dad happy, my photographs, my future, my past.

today was sunny and so was i.

Blame It On Kit'en, Naturally

i woke up late today and in somewhat dramatic fashion, naturally.

partly due to the warmth of my new flannel sheets (thank you, Aunt Tootsie!) and partly due to the cold of my apartment and partly due to the re-set alarm clock (both thanks to the Olympia-wide power-outage), i rose and shone at 7:50am.

after a few moments of watching my breath and reminiscing of mornings like this with Ryan when he lived in the camper, i put on my slippers and a cashmere sweater Daddy shrunk years ago in the wash and shivered while making my coffee.

after scooping the coffee into the camp percolator, i realized i hadn't seen the kitten yet, so i peaked around in the usual spots: the bath tub - where he obviously thinks that because he can't see out no one else can see in, the closet - all jokes aside, under the couch and atop the bookshelf.

while rummaging around in the living room, i heard him squeak and realized he was underneath my diploma! which was on the floor! along with everything else that was once on my walls in my apartment! gifts, photographs, art and posters! all strewn across various pieces of furniture and floor.

my initial reaction was to blame it all on him - obviously. all 10lbs of shiny, black, precious fluff and might, had in my mind (pre-coffee) jumped 5-6 feet in the air, up the walls and maliciously took down some of my heaviest pieces.


after cleaning up this mess of a mess, still in my coffee-less haze, i got ready for work, called in to tell them of the outage and hustled out the door... forgetting my coffee but not forgetting to turn off the stove - thank god.

at around 9am, my insurance agent called and said, "so, are you ok?" prompting an immediate vision of the apartment being on fire and Marlowe leaping from the second story window to sweet freedom - when i said, in a very worried tone, "yes, why?"
he snickered a little and said, "welcome to the Northwest - you survived your first earthquake!"

what a way to start a Tuesday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

waking up to a warm (tiny) body

Marlowe, the enigmatic, has found just one more way to drive me bonkers and, simultaneously, warm my heart. These sunless mornings, he slips under the covers and snuggles himself, seamlessly, against my back - as I am a side sleeper. The early morning issue is that I'm also a flipper, a kicker and a squirmer. Rarely do I wake up in the same position much less on the same side of the bed, so he is setting me up for murder and himself up for trouble.
Alas, waking up to a warm, tiny, smooth, purring body is a pretty sweet way to rise (with no shine: the sun doesn't come out until 7am here!).

Good morning friends.