Thursday, May 20, 2010

kitchen party

Last night I was thinking about Otis Redding. I was also listening to him, to his music, coming out of my brother's mp3 player and my speakers. Otis Redding is damn good kitchen music, you know that?

I was cooking. Supper for my brother and I, and lunch for the next day, also for the two of us. It's easier that way, actually, to cook enough that you can share it, and then eat it again the next day. I was having a little kitchen party, Otis Redding, the onions, and me.

Food is where I can let go of the stress of the day. At least, when I remember that it can be that way, and not get stressed about the fact that I just got home from a FULL day of work, and I really don't want to cook. When I remember that I can turn on some really amazing soul music, have the kitchen to myself, and slice slowly. Dance around. Let my mind wander.

These days are the kind where there actually IS more planned than you can actually do - and you kind of go from one thought/planned thing/thing you want to do, to the next, optimistically thinking "oh that will get done" and at the same time thinking "how on earth is that going to get done?"

Then back to cooking - slicing the onions, in delicate yet strong rounds, rings, cooking in olive oil, then adding cabbage. Red peppers from the freezer, the color a punch in the face. The whole thing reassuringly hissing, sizzling, letting off steam in the cast-iron pan.

This is going to be or already is a stream- of-consciousness post - kind of the way life is right now. Writing down what comes into my mind as it comes. Dressing it up slightly, after the fact. Presenting it on a plate, to you.

These days (this past week, this past month, yesterday) I have an overstimulated mind but I'm also kind of liking that, maybe addicted to it? I woke up last night a few times, my brain a frenzy from thoughts about work - where I will put the Viking coats we just ordered, what I might do with the quarterly newsletter I've taken on writing for the company, and also picking my nose in my sleep. Picking my nose is how I relax - and I woke up doing it! WTF?!

(Funnily enough - these dreams were not STRESSFUL so much as just constant. I used to have dreams when I waitressed, and those dreams were hella stressful. I would be half-naked and having to serve people. Not good. No, these dreams are more like my brain is going, Well, we still have stuff to do, so we're going to do it while you're sleeping, ummkay?)

Fertility and creativity - big time right now - that sense of overabundance, that there are more impulses and possibles than you have room in the garden bed for. Every plant eventually dies - and to have a productive garden you have to weed.

Maybe it's the Internet's fault - everything is just a click away - or so it feels. We click on something and if it doesn't instantly appear we get frustrated. "GAH! This link is taking TEN SECONDS to load. My life is wasting away!"

Do you ever notice holding your breath when you're online? Or breathing shallow?

The thing is, I'm not sure how to overcome this. Except for the obvious, hard, slow way of trying to be aware of it, trying to take deep breaths, trying to look away from the screen every now and then and focus on something else.

Perhaps all of this is to say that anyone who thinks life in Cape Breton for a young person is slow, boring, devoid of stuff, is DEAD WRONG. There is so much to do here and be done that I honestly wish there were two of me. Or five.

Let me clarify, too, about STRESS. I don't actually feel awful, for the large majority of the time. What's at my core is calm, is peace, is happiness and excitement about my life and where it's going, both at the micro level (today, tomorrow) and the macro (next month, next year). And I'm pretty amazed at that. It's like I dug a little bit at the topsoil on my lawn and found a solid vein of gold.

When I'm talking about stress, at least in this post, what I mean are the logistics of fitting it all in, or at least as much of "it" as I can. Activities, work, sleep, seeing friends, my extracurriculars, all of that. Trying to be conscious of each moment as it comes and passes - and not living all the time in my head, in my dayplanner's version of the future.

Creativity is an amazing thing. I suppose I could also say LIVING is an amazing thing. And both are equally hard to stay in the moment with.

Also - I went to my first-ever yoga class, and LOVED it. I'll be going back, for sure.

That's all for now. Now I must dress and be off to work. And another day. Moment by moment. Right, Otis?

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