Archive for the ‘tasting’ Category

“Beziehung ist eigentlich Energie, etwas, was zwischen zwei Menschen entsteht, wenn sie aufeinander treffen und zwar ganz von selbst.
Es lebt sich das, was leben will, wie immer das aussehen mag.
Aber wir rennen los mit Vorstellungen im Kopf davon, wie eine Beziehung sein soll.
Statt zu spüren, was uns in diesem Moment anrührt, suchen wir mir dem Kopf - wir zwängen unseren Geist in ein Korsett aus Werten, Normen und Regeln.
Und wir glauben, wenn wir finden, was dort reinpasst, wären wir glücklich.
Aber wir wären glücklich, wenn wir den Mut hätten, all das fallen zu lassen und einfach zu spüren, was jetzt ist, herauszutreten aus dem Gefängnis beengender Vorstellungen… das ist es, was ich für den Weg halte, für den einzigen Weg, Liebe zu erfahren.

Sex ist eigentlich Energie, etwas, was zwischen zwei Menschen fließt, wenn sie aufeinander treffen und zwar ganz von selbst.
Da lebt sich, was leben will, wie immer das aussehen mag.
Aber wir rennen los mit Vorstellungen im Kopf, wie Sex aussehen soll, zählen uns unsere sexuellen Vorlieben auf und meinen, sie müssen erfüllt sein, um Befriedigung zu finden.
“Was magst du?” Mir ist die Frage zuwider.
Ich mag alles! Und nichts! Denn ich mag nichts immer und nichts nie.
Es geht nicht um die Vorstellung im Kopf, es geht nicht um die Form, es geht um Energie und die produziert ihre ganz eigenen Bilder, wenn sich entladen darf, was sich entladen will.
Wenn dieses Loslassen gelingt, dann ist wirkliche Ekstase möglich… das ist es, was ich für den Weg halte, für den einzigen Weg, Befriedigung und Erfüllung zu erfahren…”

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Sitting smack in the middle of 2009, I wonder.

Slowly, slowly, the ugly head of doubt is beginning to wipe the sleep out of its eyes – as messages filter through that drowsy, still-flooded sea of dreamworld impulses that are all too captivating – giving itself the last little nudge into wakefulness… slowly, slowly. It has, quite clearly, no choice.

Is doubt the right word, I wonder, again? Perhaps we could term it “reality” - or simply the “is-ness of now” or perhaps even – dare I think this? - “awakening”?

There are things to be done, places to go, people to meet, choices to make. Every little, last relationship, big or small, minute or grand - the taxi driver, the stinging bee, the lover, the sister, the cashier, the sunny day - weaves in and around us and affects how we go about our “NOW.” Each day, every day, every second, these interactions shape who we are. We shape who they are. It’s a non-stop dance that we are always, always in the middle of, patiently watching. Stoically bracing for the next twirl, the unexpected twist, the uplift and a tango-ic sink. Without this patient, clear and passionate observation from a mysteriously unflappable center, life would be painful, even unbearable today. These days.

Are we indeed learning that “Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature.” Nature being everything around us, everything we plant, destroy, walk upon, breathe, touch, see, eat. Agreeing with all of that is obviously not a small task. Especially with challenges like this:

I posted two short tweets back-to-back a few weeks ago. The first one was a very stinging article related to torture. Pertinent and timely. I would link back to it, but due to internet posts now rapidly becoming a “let go” phenomenon, the link is lost to posterity. Whatever you do, don’t try to hold on to what you say. Or what other people have said or written. It’s very zen, actually. To give an impression, though, this link works just as well for more on the topic of torture.

Everyone has an opinion about torture. Some are very vehemently opposed. Others have a more blasé - as long as it doesn’t affect me - attitude. Others are all for it in the name of whatever sees that route as a means toward a cause (stopping/fighting/ridiculing terrorism, for example).

I rather expected the response I got. People looking up. People re-tweeting.

What I didn’t expect was that the tweet that followed, one about a family that was forced to choose between keeping their home or paying for their cancer-stricken son’s medical treatments, got virtually no response. You could hear the virtual pin dropping in the great void of buzzing digital activity.

My point was, and still is, that torturous situations are rampant this year. Perhaps it was that way EVERY year from the get-go of becoming humanoids. You don’t need to be a prisoner of war, or a prisoner at all. You can be a very normal human being, going about your business and WHAM! it hits you. The leather belt of foreclosure from the right. WHACK! The steel-studded whip of unemployment. Or BOOM! the din of debilitating illness coming upon you or yours that you cannot find appropriate treatment for because you cannot afford it - despite having sustained so much pressure, for the profit of others, for so long.

In agreement with nature means, for me, in agreement with human nature. There are, of course, common-sense charters and proposals (from the United Nations, for one) that agree on some basic premises like the fact that all people should have enough food to eat. Which is, quite obviously, not the case. Isn’t hunger a form of torture? Doesn’t it make sense that now would be a good time to take a look at making sustainable humanity more than a buzz word? Making that “virtuous will” a basic skill set for going from “politically correct“ to “human(e)ly correct”? 

Failing that, it’s all anyone can do - myself included - to focus on the unflappable center. To stoically brace while the madness whirlwinds around your ears.

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Greeted by Alfie! Fun talking to his wife! Wonderful dinner, nice light wine...

and now lessons in WordPress and blogging…
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It certainly was a bit like “those with severely impaired vision leading the blind” – but we had fun and I could do a bit of quality petting.

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Today was the meteorological beginning of Spring. Blue sky and above-zero temperatures were reason enough to have a go at de-hibernation. Strapping on the “Supernovas” (I hadn’t noticed the name of my new jogging shoes until this morning!), I was ready as ever - no, really eager to have ago at a decent round in the park. It started out fine. Then the cramps started. Then slippery slush, mud, puddles full of both. Worse than slush and mud, however, is trying to jog in tandem with someone who has such a completely different rhythm and condition that frustration is part of the program literally from the moment “go.” And so it ended, a leisurely walk in the park, alone. 

Next try at de-hibernation: changing eating habits. Whereas hibernating bears work up their fat reserves in the fall and then literally sleep them off over the winter - we just keep eating throughout winter. So how about cabbage soup? One of my most cherished childhood memories is the blissful reading of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” - I still think about the fact that cabbage soup was always dinner for them. Thankfully, we can have a very fancy cabbage soup, and we proceed to tackle the Witzigmann “Asian Cabbage Soup.” If burning calories with aerobic activity wasn’t so successful today, surely burning them with a chili-cranked up metabolism can’t hurt. 

This soup takes a good hour to get together. The list of ingredients (spices alone: cardomom seeds, caraway seeds, bay leaves, curry, lemongrass…) is intense. I was especially fired up by having watched the film “Wall-E” on video for the first time the night before - just in case anyone missed it: a spaceship colony of humans (the only ones remaining after the planet was literally and figuratively “trashed”) that are cared for by robots. So thoroughly, in fact, that they never leave their bubble beds and are constantly entertained by the screens only a few inches from their faces. They literally do not feel the world around them anymore, they don’t as much as touch another human and are fed liquid somethingness more or less continually. (If it tastes like chocolate-chip cookie dough… I know a few today who wouldn’t resist!) The time to revolt is well before 3D-film worlds creep eerily into reality. 

But the soup was perilously spiced with two full and decent-sized chili peppers. Red-hot!

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The only way to get it down was diluting it with 1-part bread, 1-part soup. Not exactly a lo-cal experience. The only solution was: cook more soup. The entire refrigerator sacrified what it had to create a soup that wouldn’t cause immediate crying and sniffling sessions. And… it worked! An entire head of cabbage, five carrots, seven tomatoes, five stalks of celery, a head of cauliflower, one kohlrabi… and I’m sure I’m leaving something out. Point in fact is: I feel a bit less like a bear tonight and can go to bed satisfied. That’s quite a bit right there to kick off spring.

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If you could somehow chart the nutritional years of your life, what would it look like? Would there be a continual line for meat consumption? Or would it peak here and there? What about fruits and vegetables? Would there only be small spurts or big bars? Milk and milk products? Grains? Beans? And how specific would this get? Should there be a line for cookies in general or cookies, Oreos; cookies, holiday, sugar? Where would chocolate be? Pralines vs. banal KitKat bars? And sodas, juice, wine, shots of Baileys with ice? It could get complicated.

My life would – I would like to think, anyway – have lots of good statistics. Years of absolutely rock-solid vegetarianism, even dabbling as far as veganism. (My kielbasa-infested childhood years had to be offset somehow!) Yet there are plenty of loopholes and sad dips into not-so-great eating behavior. The hardest thing to achieve in my life has been any sort of regularity. 

I’m onto this today – albeit indirectly - because of Obama’s inspiring speech the other day. His bold steps and plans to go where the nation (world?) patently needs to go sent shivers up and down my spine. One of the major obstacles to the success of his plans is health care. Something that concerns, needless to say, every human being, not just Americans. The issue is, however, as complicated and diverse as the human condition in general. 

If one could take a big step backward, and try to first get a grip on the developments in medicine in our day, we can rightly and proudly say we have come quite far. The thing that begins to murk up the picture has something in common with the trouble in the financial markets: greed. Greed across the board, across all markets and industries. (Just in case this wasn’t clear, this includes insurers, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, etc.) The entire world could have enough fresh water and high-quality, safe food if we had our priorities straight. If individuals and businesses were responsible in the Obama sense of the word. Lake Erie would not have been a chemical dump and biologically dead by the time I was seven years old. Erin Brockovich would never have had reason to work up a sweat at Masry & Vititoe. No one would have to worry about peanut butter. This list goes on and on and on…

Preventative medicine is, in my eyes, primarily: clean water; decent and sanely grown/produced, non-toxic, hormone and antibiotic-free, unprocessed food; clean air; clean spaces to live, work, play and move around in that aren’t toxic; consumer products that are in no way toxic (take synthetic fibers as one significant example), personal transportation that isn’t inundated with toxins (it’s not just the tailpipe that spits out toxins, the dashboard, seats and interior are emitting unseen gases, too) - and so on. The list is too long and I get too sad thinking about my own experience with toxins and poisons.

Getting all bases covered seems almost too much to ask for. Surely one has to find this fact shocking. These are the sorts of things governments must regulate and control because corporations, let alone with their goals and interests, simply have not been responsible (with singular, laudable exceptions) in the past. If that were the case, many things would be different on the planet. They have acted as if they are not human, don’t have children, will never have to worry about cancer. Or dementia, or other debilitating diseases. I have hope that this will change. It may take another hundred years, time for seeds of initiative now being planted to blossom and several leaders more that have the same strong, just, human backbone Obama is so wonderfully exemplifying.

The one choice a person can make, day in, day out, on a personal level – and a powerful statement indeed – is the answer to “What’s for dinner?” Making it more of this is, in my experience, a good start:

 

dinner

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breakfast2

 

This was breakfast. It may seem like an ordinary pastry and coffee, but I assure you, it is not. The coffee is ordinary enough, though the machine at the office that produced it cost about the equivalent of a compact car. The pastry was done by a little shop that makes all of their delicacies by hand, the good old French way. Little tarts and perfect croissants, brioche, and this little spiral beauty with no, not just raisins, but Black Corinth raisins. For the few minutes it takes to devour this, a person is transported to a seventh heaven you would never think possible in an office environment - and with witnesses to boot. It takes a few extra minutes to walk the extra mile to get to the shop (parking isn’t available), but the road to ecstasy often involves detours…

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Roundish, fragrant orbs of mythical dimensions  - there is something to be said for savagely biting into and devouring them, but… doing so while performing other tasks, while thinking of completely different things is a loss that cannot be measured. Try this instead: begin by smelling the unique fragrance of a specific variety, the one that has just now entered your life, touch it gently, exploring every nuance, every bump, every curve, place it on a nice dish with a beautiful knife and savor the view before you do anything else, enjoy the still life in front of you. Start by halving  it gently, unwrapping  its fragile peel like undressing a silk night gown, very slowly,  following it slow and gentle fall to the ground  while observing the different colors and patterns it pleads into. Continue by smoothly cutting slim slices of the barren fruit, placing each slice close to the next onto the plate. Choose the first slice with intent, then really let the tongue and the nose* explore all of its flavors, textures, its delicate perfume …

(* did you know that we’re the only mammals on this planet – so far – that can smell what is inside the mouth?)

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Tomatoes are my personal favorite, imagine a sun-ripened, bursting red tomato with a few basil leaves and very aromatic green virgin olive oil, a few specks of salt and a quarter turn of a fresh peppermill. Just that.

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Sensualability
Imagine
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