Archives for the month of: June, 2013

Almond Joy, a Hershey bar with nuts, a See’s Candy walnut square–these are a few of my favorite chocolates. I don’t have a sweet tooth. Salty foods are my weakness and most of the time I prefer my palate to be finished not with a sweet but with a salt or vinegar note.

Now there is an exception.

Two year’s ago for my birthday dinner, my signifiant other and I went to an Italian restaurant. When we were done with our meal, we studied the desert menu. He loves chocolate and we saw the perfect dessert: Chocolate Sin. It sounded divine. my mouth began to water reading the description aloud, so that we could both hear and relish in what was to come.

We went back to this restaurant for a second time, this time, we had already had dinner and were craving Chocolate Sin, so we asked if it would be alright if we just ordered dessert and a couple of drinks. This time we were actually celebrating my significant other’s birthday. The gentlemen who brought us the dessert also brought the check and asked the occasion and then said, “well, you shoudda told me.” He picked up the check and took it with him. “I’ll be right back.” We looked at each other and finished the last of our cocktails. He set the check down and bid us a good night. We looked. He had taken the dessert off the bill. “That was nice of him. We can add it to his tip.”

Then came Valentine’s Day and I wanted to prepare dinner at home and also prepare a dessert. But then at the last minute, I decided I wasn’t going to make dessert, even though I had found a recipe for what sounded a possible match for the Chocolate Sin. My dear signifiant other, when he came home for dinner, had gone to the restaurant to bring us home that dessert for which we fell in love. Surprisingly, it was not on the menu that evening, so he had brought something else.

So since this past Valentine’s Day, I have been waiting for the right moment to prepare the recipe I found online. The description on the menu was that it was a flour less chocolate cake served warm, with strawberries and a small dab of vanilla ice cream.

Really, I don’t know why I procrastinated. Maybe it was the amount of butter. Maybe it was all the chocolate. Maybe it was going to be too sinful!

This past weekend I told my significant other that I was just about ready to make the cake. He was eager for me to follow through. I also finished the book by Joanne Harris that was made into the movie: Chocolat. And that is what brought Chocolate Sin back to the forefront of my mind. I devoured the book, setting aside the other books I’ve been nibbling away at, and read it in a couple of days. I want to see the movie again. But the way Harris writes is so sumptuous and the story and characters are so real–and there is sin (according to the priest); oh yes, there is sin!. And the irony of it all.

And so, here is the link to the recipe for what I will always think of as Chocolate Sin and I will gladly enjoy every bit of it.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Flourless-Chocolate-Cake-14478

It turned out just as I was hoping. Served warm and just as good cold.

The warm, thick, yet airy chocolate, melting in your mouth, then a small spoon of vanilla to compliment and balance the rich chocolate goodness, followed by a strawberry to clean the palate; pause to take in the deliciousness–warmth, coolness, creaminess, freshness–and then start all over, bite by bite, savoring each morsel. Heavenly!

I read through some of the reviewer’s tips and hints first and followed a few.

This is the easiest dessert recipe I have ever made. I decided to make it really easy and did not use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate. Instead, as a reviewer did, I placed the butter and chocolate in the pan directly. I have a nice set of teflon coated pans and didn’t have any sticking problems. I used a 4 oz. bar of semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate. I didn’t have a 8 inch round pan, but remembered that I had an 8 inch square pan and used that. I took the cake out of oven about 3 minutes shy of the 25. I didn’t sprinkle extra coco on the cake. I prefer it plain and served as described above.

Simple
delicious
warm–
chocolate goodness!

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Moody Day/Moody Moment: A Day in May carries over to June

Sitting at Wendy’s, staring out the window. Class will be in two hours. Conversations start and stop.

Two times this week I drove past where I wanted to go because I was in my thoughts so deeply. In one case, I had to keep going and go around the block. In the other case, I had to turn into another street and back track. Both times, I was headed to a fast food joint. It’s not like me to be so out of it.

Today feels like a mentally hazy day. The weather’s in between–wanting to be hot and cold and that’s how I feel at the moment: in between–in some sort of limbo, trying to stay focused, in the now, but being pulled toward: what could be and when.

I keep looking up, aimlessly placing pieces of food into my mouth, staring out the window, cars driving somewhere, always cars, people trying to get somewhere. Where? Why? How? When? It seems that we spend so much time going back and forth, back and forth like water lapping on the shore. So many people have a clear direction, a clear purpose and can actualize that; others of us are in some sort of spinning inner tube, a little less direction, hoping the tube keeps afloat and…well…

**

And today is today; so far a good morning, a new day, yet with remnants of that May day. But that’s alright, it keeps me thinking, keeps me moving forward, keeps me wondering, and exploring.

birch trees
stand like white ghosts
their leaves sway
whispering secrets to the wind

&

A little brown bird swoops in, pecks daintily at the earth, scratching his feathers, not minding my presence one bit.

&

A crow off in the distance staring into the grass, looking for some treat.

The trees continue their conversation with the wind.

The crow swaggers along the path to a different patch of grass. His beautiful, black body holds my gaze, he shimmers in the sun’s light, as the image melds–the breeze, the grass, the little bird, the stranger who has joined me on this bench. We sit in silence.

the silence breaks by the caw-caw of the crow;
he flies to his tree,
sounds his siren again,
echoes ripple back;
the scent of dry earth and bark perfume the air–
caught by the breeze.

hummingbird zooms in
drinks nectar–
all thoughts vanish

I never imagined that I would part with my desk, but then again I hadn’t anticipated that there would be two of us living here at the time. It happened so quickly. It was a sign–a sign that I had been asking for, a sign that I was ready for love after having lost…I was prepared to live a solo life; then one day something shifted within my very being and I sat with myself and I spoke to my late beloved and I asked him for guidance–and the signs–they came.

One day, I decided that I was ready for love, that I was open to the possibilities and I set my intentions, I kissed it to the wind, didn’t brood on it, only let nature take her course. And I feel blessed, blessed to have gotten through the grief, to have a strong spiritual foundation and strong connection to nature, held together by something beyond myself, yet very much within my reach. Everything that I had ever come to believe in life–everything that I had become was put to the test. Losing a mother at a young age, then my grandmother, grandfather, two uncles. The most confusing and shattering to my very being–that tested me to the very core was of losing my late beloved to a sudden and unexpected death.

But, I got through it. His death brought me closer to myself, life was held up to me, offered in the palm of my hand, and pushed me to do a few things that I may not have had I not seen the fragility that life is and how moments must be seized.

It’s not something that I talk about very much, of course, and when I started writing on this page this morning, it was about the desk, and somehow he slipped into the page. I’m not sure what it is about the day; perhaps it’s the grey clouds–the contemplative rustle of the breeze against a primed sky, ready for anything–for any thoughts to reveal themselves.

I wasn’t using the desk. It was becoming a clutter magnet and so one day I stood there looking at my options, what could I reshuffle that I hadn’t already reshuffled? The only option I had never considered was parting with the desk. It was the constant. It was supposed to be my writing desk, but in the years we’ve lived here together in this cozy apartment, I can count on my two hands how many times I’ve sat at that desk to write. I need my own space when I write, and that tends to be in the living room, so I make do. Sometimes I sit on the couch, but I seem to do most of my writing on the low coffee table. I prop myself up on a pillow, lean back into the couch and write away. I’ve been sticking to my paper journals lately and have not been doing much computer writing.

Death is a strange creature. The very word, death, seems to conjure negative images and feelings, but as far back as I can remember, I have dedicated a small portion of my life to befriending death, of welcoming him into my life, of learning what I can of him–death in its many guises. Death not only of human flesh and beingness; death as parting of something or someone, death from the past–parting with anything that has such a hold on you that it makes you sick to think of what it would be like without it.

My older brother used to cause me great stress in my twenties when he would tell me how he wouldn’t know what he would do if anything ever happened to me. “Move on. Live life.” That is what I would tell him now, but back then I just told him that he would be fine and that we can’t dwell on these things. And now I’m thinking, if we do dwell on these things, it’s best if it’s in a positive light. It’s best if we ask ourselves how can we live life, so that death, whenever it/he/she arrives is greeted in peace.

I’ve always had a fascination with death, not in a macabre way, rather as a way of life. With life comes death and sometimes death is life.

The desk is gone. I miss what it symbolized, but in its place we have moved the chest of drawers and it brings the needed order and balance that was lacking in our bedroom. Since then, over the past few weeks, we have let a few other pieces go and have found new ones–again bringing harmony to our little abode. I still have a bit of work to do, to work through some more of the clutter, but it feels as though, it’s coming together and I feel that the first step was imagining the space without a desk, without an object that I so identified–that represented a part of who I am.

I realize though, that what that desk represented is within me and that it can manifest wherever I am. I carry the symbols and the signs within me.

This weekend was filled with thrift store shopping, garage sale perusing, and a peek into a few antique stores.

I don’t usually shop for clothes that often, but when I do shop, I forget how much I really do like clothes. Yet, everyday, when I ready for work, I choose the same few things, pieces that are showing their wear in their fadedness, and in some cases, in the thinness and frayed edges of a few pants. There are so many choices, yet I continue to select those that are in this used up state that express my tom-boy side.

It started on Friday. I went to a thrift store during lunch break, and really I had gone in to look at books; looking at books always recenters me and excites me. But when I entered the store, I saw a man standing at the small alcove of books that did not provide enough room for two. An intimate space for a single person and those books–a small slice of heaven. I decided to look at some of the clothing racks. In a short period of time, I found a cute skirt, a pair of jeans, a sports tank top, and a t-shirt style dress with stripes and 3/4 length sleeves. I went into the dressing room to hurriedly try everything on; and to my surprise, everything fit. I didn’t have time to loop back to the books and spend time fingering through them like I wanted to, but I did take a quick look and nothing caught my attention.

I haven’t worn a skirt the way your supposed to wear a skirt in a long time. I have summer dresses that sit on hangers, skirts folded away; the rare occasion I do decide to wear a skirt, it’s usually over leggings or jeans. I used to wear them more often and they’re so comfortable, light, and airy. I also haven’t had a pair of flip flops for a couple of years. I’ve been living in my crocs. But my toes are ready to come out into the air and so are my legs.

I think that being on the brink of summer is really getting into my bones and I think that’s what inspired this weekend to end up being all about shopping. I didn’t plan it; all the stores we shopped, where I found my new summer clothes and more comfortable pants were in thrift stores. I kept finding cute things and I love colorful clothes.

At one point when M. was waiting for me while I was in the dressing room, I opened the curtain to show him one of the skirts I found, and a woman must have seen me, but I didn’t see her. When I closed the curtain, I heard her speaking to M. and she said, “These would look cute on her. She’s so tiny, I think they’d fit.” I peeked out and he handed me the pants. They were a pair of cargo pants, size 0. But you know how that goes: Each maker’s size is not what it appears. I never fit into size 0; this was an exception, and they were not snug. They were loose and comfortable. I loved them! She said a few more words to M. and I said, “Thank you,” so she’d here me. Then when I was dressed, I peeked out at her and said to her, “They fit and I really like them. Thank you sooo much!”

Part of the reason that I haven’t worn a skirt or shorts in a while is that I am a lazy leg shaver. I actually once had an argument with a good friend–may he rest in peace–about me and shaving legs. I wouldn’t classify myself a feminist, but that’s sort of how the argument unfolded. He thought it was highly unattractive for a woman to not shave her legs when she’s wearing things that reveal all that hair…anyway, I had my two cents and my personal reasons for why it shouldn’t matter and that I wasn’t going to let him dictate to me, etc., etc.

When I do decide to shave my legs, it’s mostly in the summer months and when I don’t, I wear pants. I actually agree with my old friend about the unattractiveness of not shaving, but back then, it was about he principal of it all. I don’t mind walking around the house with a full leg of hair and M. jokes with me about it and pretends to cut himself when he touches my legs. We both laugh. But he never tells me to shave it off; he doesn’t tell me that it’s unattractive; even though, I know it is, and I personally prefer shaving my legs. It’s just a lazy thing with me. So, this weekend, I shaved all the hair off and a little bit above the knee and hope to maintain my legs for this hot weather. I even painted my toe nails! I haven’t painted them in about 15 years, so it was a novelty. I had forgotten how nail polish can gunk up when you apply it. The color I chose is a translucent pink, so you can’t tell the poor painting job I did. And now I have a new pair of flip flops to walk around in.

I’ve continued with some spring cleaning and organizing and decided it was time to part with an impulse buy from an antique dealer long ago. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m not a collector and it wasn’t the type of toy that I played with. I suppose I was simply swept up in the moment. It was a metal Dick Tracy toy gun. It was really cool and it wasn’t in perfect condition, but I had to have it. $50 dollars later, that gun came home with us and stayed in a plastic bag in a corner for about a year and a half. I was going to donate it to the thrift shop, but then I thought I’d try to see if this one antique store we go to would be interested in possibly buying it. I ran the idea by M. and he said, sure why not. I at least wanted it to be somewhere where someone who might really want it would find it and be able to buy it. And we really like the owner of this antique store. He is always really nice and friendly. Before we left the house, I said, if he isn’t interested in buying it, we’ll just give it to him. We also noticed we had these little pewter coasters that I had impulsively bought at a thrift store. It was such a small item. We brought it along to offer to him as well. It turned out that I found a pair of pants there. He was not interested in buying the items, but said that he would gladly take them. He said next time we came to the store, we would see the Dick Tracy displayed right there and he pointed to a spot on the wall behind the counter. Splendid!

I suppose if there was a theme to this weekend, it was about give and take and of random acts of this or that, it was about a lady who was paying attention and who clearly also loved clothes and had a sense of what I might like based on observation of a few moments; and of a young man whom M. recognized from the previous thrift store we were at and he asked him what he was looking for when he walked out and he was taken aback, but then when he realized that we were just at the same store, he understood, and M. directed him to another goodwill that might have what he was looking for; and it was laundry Friday and noticing that an elderly couple was having trouble understanding how the dryers worked and then I turned to them and asked it they needed help and they said yes, and I walked them through how they work because it can be confusing when you’re not used to these stacked dryers and electric push pads right next to each other.

And I suppose this was also a weekend for me to reconnect with my feminine self because sometimes I’m at odds with her. It was about admitting to myself that I have a lot of clothes, more than I realized. It was about realizing how much I love clothes as a means of self-expression, and yet I hardly ever take that expression out into the world. I have clothes that I admire, nothing fancy, and mostly from second hand stores, but each piece is like a book to me and those are the two things I have the most of: books and clothes. They share shelves and closet space, sitting side by side, looking back at me as if to say, “Pick me, pick me. Don’t just let me sit here and be pretty. Wear me. It’s alright. I’m not going to last forever, but you may as well enjoy me while you’ve got me.”

I’ve been doing my share of reading and re-reading as well. Finally, I’m finding my reading groove again and have found some enjoyable gems on two separate occasions to the library when I decided to go to whatever letter of the alphabet called to me and then just looked until I found something I hadn’t seen before, something I didn’t know anything about.

Today, I will embrace my feminine side. I will wear a skirt or maybe shorts. I will don my flip flops and take the airiness and lightness that is spring on the brink of becoming summer and I will savor the moments, each one as it comes into my periphery. The big, the small, the seemingly inconsequential; it is all sublime to the one experiencing it and that can never be taken away…and I feel that I’ve written these same last words before, but I can never tire of hearing it, of reminding, and being reminded.