not to be morbid, but it’s beginning to hit me that nothing in this life is permanent. i don’t mean “hit me” as in i’ve never known this & am suddenly just starting to understand, but more in the sense that typically i prefer not to think about such things & lately the thought’s been creeping into my hyperactive brain at night more often than i’d like to admit. you guys think dark creepy crawly thoughts when the rest of the world is slipping blissfully into the space where reality & dreams blur together, too, right? please tell me i’m not the only person who sits in my century-old apartment building with ancient wood trim & parched hardwood floors thinking about how fast the place would go down in flames were a fire to take to it, before briefly reminding myself that none of my smoke detectors are in their proper places due to the frequency with which i burn things while cooking.
i don’t know what spawned the increase in depressive hinking on my part. i’m a happy person. i count my blessings every day: the couple extra minutes i stay in bed burrowing my face into the lavender-scented fur on my freshly bathed dog’s neck, the number of genuine, don’t-ever-want-to-let-go hugs i get from the people i love throughout any given day, the deep sense of relaxation i unshed while slowly propping myself up from every savasana i take, my high school sweetheart’s palm on the small of my back when he wanders into the kitchen to see what i’m making for dinner. these are all things that make me feel glowy inside. then of course, there are the more basic comforts we all take for granted living in a first-world country. the fresh running water we use to make our morning pots of coffee, the comfortable heat that envelopes us when we barrel into our apartments to thaw after walking home in the bitter midwestern cold, our basic rights to live in a way that serves our truth – although for us women, even these come under attack quite often. still though, we have it better than so many others. all these things feed my light.
so what feeds my dark? what gets me thinking about death at 2 a.m. on a tuesday when i should be sleeping? maybe it’s a picture on my facebook feed of my brother as a baby. i remember i was seven when they brought him home from the hospital & placed him gingerly in my stick-figure arms. even then, he knew that he could trust me. i remember looking into those trusting & gorgeous dark coffee-colored almond-shaped eyes & falling in love instantly, wondering if i could ever love anything more. now, he’s twice my size & asking me which colleges to apply to. my, how time flies. i think about my parents, healthy but aging still: how i stoop to pick up papers my dad dropped because i’d rather not see him wince as he travels down into a squat. i sweep aside the inevitable truth that they won’t always be here to share their wisdom with me, t0 catch my crazy on the other end of the telephone line. i hug the same friends i’ve seen each day for the past three years a little more tightly now as change draws near, not knowing where i’ll be a few months from now nor how often i’ll see them as we delve into our futures. will they fade into the abyss of new lives & busy silence like my old friends? of course i still hold old friends close to my heart, but only as they were back when i knew them. no matter what i like to think, i don’t know them now & they don’t know me. that’s okay, though.
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maybe it was these brussels sprouts i discovered in the depths of my freezer, frozen perfectly in the state i bought them in on a november saturday at the dane county farmer’s market. i took them for granted when i tossed them in there. freezer translates to forever, doesn’t it? i reached for them at some point last week, even though i had come for something else. might as well use them now, i thought. now – that’s all we have, isn’t it? the meaning of life, some say. i’m not sure i disagree.
ingredients (feel free to add or subtract ingredients, or increase or decrease amounts. this isn’t a recipe that requires the precision of a surgeon, just the easy-going instincts of the artist in each of us):
-2 cups thinly sliced brussels sprouts (about 16 individual sprouts), frozen or fresh
-1 cup thinly sliced kale or other sturdy greens
-4-6 slices pre-cooked bacon, finely chopped (i suppose you could use uncooked too, but i’ve never tried)
-1 tbsp hot spicy mustard, or mustard of your choice
-salt & pepper, to taste
-2 tbsp blue cheese crumbles (or cheese of your choice)
-1 avocado, chopped or sliced
-sriracha or other hot sauce for garnish (optional)
1. grease a large frying pan well & heat over medium-high heat. add first five ingredients (sprouts, greens, bacon, mustard, salt & pepper to taste). cook, stirring infrequently, until sprouts begin to brown & greens have wilted & mixture is fragrant.
2. transfer to oven-safe dish & sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles & avocado chunks. at this point, toss the dish into the oven on a “warm” setting (ya know, to keep it warm).
3. re-grease your frying pan over medium high heat & crack two eggs directly onto your pan, if you’re confident like that (otherwise you can do it in a bowl & then transfer it to the pan – me, i like to live on the wild side).
4. cook for 3-4 minutes, then carefully flip each egg (if they’ve fused together like mine tend to do, just cut the egg mass in half with a spatula edge so it’s easier to flip successfully).
5. turn off the heat & let the egg sit for a minute or two, but not too long, because you want that gooey yolk if you’re like me.
6. retrieve your hash mixture from the oven & ever so gently shimmy each fried egg from the pan to the dish.
7. let’s end this the classy way: squirt it all over with sriracha then tear into that sucker. it’s normal to live alone & go through multiple bottles of the stuff per year right? k, good.