Romance Gone Sour

Lemon Marmalade

Lemon Marmalade with Mr. Wasabi

CAN YOU PINPOINT WHERE IT ALL FELL APART?

HE SAID
Very, very nice profile. I think we have a few things in common. I like Kafka’s writings especially In the Penal Colony, the Metamorphosis and one short story about strange people in a roadside ditch. Forget the title.

I loved how you described your love of cooking and how it’s your art. I can definitely resonate with that, not the cooking, but the passion. I love to paint, draw and write. Very surreal work. But I do love good food very much so and believe it is a definite art. Even though I’m vegetarian, I don’t preach about it nor does someone who eats meat around me bother me in the least. I think people should eat what they want. What are some of your favorite dishes to cook?

I too am a huge Iggy Pop fan, especially when he was in the Stooges. But he has a some great solo albums as well. Ever see him live? Such amazing energy.

Many of your favorite things are some of my faves too: crackling fire, nutella (god so good!), oak trees, first kisses, coffee in bed etc. I would personally add to that: chimney smoke on a cold autumn evening, the smell of fresh basil, hot showers, walking in the rain etc. Yeah, I’m a bit of a romantic

Ok, on that note…take care. Hope to hear from you.

SHE SAID
Iggy? Let’s talk about John Foxx! I love(ed) John Foxx back in the day – no one knows who he is – and it almost makes me wonder if our paths haven’t crossed during our youth.

I’m sitting here, in the Seattle Airport, on one of those airport pletherette ( my new word) chairs waiting for my flight home. I wish I could say this waiting creates the perfect canvas for a creative email in response to yours, but my surroundings are bereft of inspiration.

Penal Colony is one of my favorites and, well, Gregor Samsa and Metamorphosis introduced me to Kafka, so it will always be close to my heart, but I don’t think I’ve read about roadside ditch people – I must seek it out. Please let me know if you remember the name.

I would love to hear from you again – please do write back if you’d like.

HE SAID
Ah yes, John Foxx. His solo album Metamatic is excellent. In fact I like it better than his stuff with Ultravox. It’s a wonderful, cold, visual album. It’s on my iPhone right now in fact! ha! It’s funny how much another of my fave musicians, Gary Numan, took from him. Numan has actually said Ultravox was a big big influence on him. God, I love music.

So you were in Seattle. Business or pleasure? I hope your trip went well regardless. I always find airports to be excellent places for “people-watching”. I’ve seen soooo many characters during my times waiting in terminals. I’ve also filled up many sketchbooks with art while waiting.

Yeah, I’ll have to track down that Kafka short story. It had an impact on me. It was deeply atmospheric. I’m drawn to atmosphere in writing or art or film very very much so. Another of his stories that I love is The Hunger Artist. I think Kafka wrote that–it’s about a “thin-man” in a carnival from what I can remember. I love to read and write 🙂 How about you? Do you do any creative writing? I can tell that you already have a way with words.

SHE SAID

(Sent Story about Mr. Polka Dot – see June 1 post)

I love Metamatic, too. I never realized Gary Numan credited John Foxx for his work. I always thought he was heavily influenced by his early stuff. I was looking at my vinyl the other day, trying to determine how best to sell it (sob!) , when I came across a 12” Gary Numan (with Bill Sharpe) called “Change Your Mind.” While doing a quick online search to determine its value (not much), I found the video on YouTube. If you don’t know it….I highly recommend you watch it. It was cutting edge at the time – oh, those dot matrix printers! Regarding Ultravox, I’m a full-fledged Midge Ure fan. (God, I wish I was as in-tune – pun intended – about music in 2015 as I am about the 80’s).

So, you write, paint, drawn…is one a profession and the other two hobbies or all hobbies or ??? If you could only do one, which would you choose? What do you like to write?

HE SAID
Ok. You are an amazing writer! Your tale of Mr. Poka-Dot Sock Guy was hilarious!!! I loved the line, “he OJ Simpsoned through the terminal”. HA! Genius and so damn funny 🙂 But wow, what an adventure. I think you did the right thing so I wouldn’t worry about your traveling karma points. His socks, oh Jesus, so funny! So surreal. Your experience sounds like something that would happen to me. Seriously, I think my life is one long David Lynch film. That is of course both awesome and scary but oh well. I wish you could’ve taken a pic of his socks. It’s like you found some strange mythological species out in the wild. Heh.

Ah so for your question about whether or not I write/paint/make art as a profession. Nope would be the answer. The notion of being a starving artist, especially with the work I do, holds very true for me. And that’s ok. I don’t make art for others or for money. I make it because I enjoy the process and exploring different sides of myself and how I see things. Thankfully I have a full-time 40 hours a week job. I’m lucky to have a job in this economic climate so I’m not gonna complain especially since my life-path to this point has been anything but linear.

As for the type of stuff I write: it comes down to two areas. 1. poetry and 2. novels. In terms of subject it’s all very heavily atmospheric and surreal stuff. I wrote a small poetry book about the atmosphere of autumn. Specifically, for that project, many of the themes dealt with ideas concerning small spooky coastal towns, chimney smoke, secret meetings inside sleazy motel rooms, night drives through old neighborhoods, ancient Victorian houses, ghosts, people going missing etc. etc. It was a fun project. I’m currently working on a first draft for a strange, I suppose existential horror novel, that’s both erotic in parts and deeply disturbing in others.

All of these themes can also be seen in my drawings, collages and paintings. If you’re mildly curious to see some of my art, my Tumblr site is: xxxxxx. It’s very strange stuff, but I make no apologies for it even though it’s not everyone’s cup o’ tea. That’s ok. I just love doing the work.

It would be difficult to choose just one passion to do be it either art or writing. Each is so damn unique. And I can do things in art that I can’t in writing and vice versa. I guess I’d choose visual art. Tough choice.
Anyways, enough of my babbling. How has your day been? Are you re-cooperating from your trip? I always find that I sometimes need a vacation from when a trip/vacation is over 🙂 Tell me more about yourself. Anything random 🙂

SHE SAID
Thank you for the compliment but, I really don’t deem myself a writer. I have friends who are Writers (capital W) and I consider myself more of a dabbler – in most pursuits. My use of the term “dabbler” frustrates a friend greatly. He says I should either do something or not do something and he finds dabbling apathetic. At least I’m resolute in my apathy.

I’d prefer to play rather than focus. Technically, I’m a classically-trained Chef, but I would never use that term. In addition, I write about and photograph my food, but I don’t consider myself a food writer or photographer. I see stuff on LifeandThyme and realize how far I have to go to produce my vision. At one point, I took a ceramics class to make my own bowls/plates, but never became serious about it. It was fun to play with mud. I’ll probably pick it up again at some point, although never earnestly.

I checked out your Tumblr site. I’m a huge fan of German Expressionism as well as of Francis Bacon, so the fact that you stuff isn’t classically pretty and is a bit unsettling doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I prefer art that arrests the thought process (hmmm….no wonder she likes Kafka). I have a painting in my dining room that I’ve nicknamed “Angry Man” – he disturbs most of my dinner guests. My favorites of yours are Queen and Make a Wish. Tell me about them.

I’m convinced that whatever esthetic draws me towards outlier art is the same that makes me find scars so fascinating – there’s more to it than meets the eye, there’s a story behind it, it’s interesting. I’ve always wanted to do a B&W series of scars lit in the style of George Hurrell. Something else to dabble in.

HE SAID
Oh don’t sell yourself short when it comes to your skills as a writer. I for one think you’re excellent and you have a wonderful way with the written word and are very articulate–kinda sexy in my book. Do you have a blog where you write about the food you make? I’d love to see it if you’d be willing to share [Phoren: Ha – if only he knew he’d be a topic].

I personally find nothing wrong with “dabbling” in this or that. I think it’s good to explore. Why not? Life is short. I’d like to see the ceramic bowls you made sometime. I took a few ceramic classes here n’ there but I was never good at it. But I’d try it again. I did enjoy getting dirty with the wet mud. I enjoy getting my hands dirty when I make my art. When I make acrylic paintings, I don’t even use a brush but my fingers instead. I love texture and literally feeling my way through the process. The dirtier the better . Geez that sounded perverse. ha!

Thank you for taking a look at my Tumblr site and for your nice comments. Francis Bacon is one of my heroes. A truly wonderful artist. The two pieces you like, Queen and Make a Wish, were made at the same time if not during the same day. I can’t remember. It’s difficult to explain them in words–after all they’re purely visual and exist beyond the logic of words. But I’ll give it my best shot! Queen is yet another in a long long obsession I have with re-configuring the beauty of the female form. I also like to create strong, almost dangerous women. I get the sense of defiance in her expression mixed with beauty. There’s a sharp elegance to her lips and chin. She has the type of lips that I could spend hours kissing and toying with.

As for Make a Wish, that’s a spooky one alright. I like the texture in that one. It’s of a man who, like almost all of my figures, is either physically damaged or going through some sort of transformation. I’m not sure. But there’s also an elegance to him as well. I like that. I’m constantly exploring what others deem “ugly” in a more beautiful way.

It’s much like you said about scars. They tell stories. And I love stories. I love experienced people. All my figures have gone through so much, but have survived and it’s their wisdom that makes them wholly unique and compelling I think. And I think your idea of doing a b&w series of scars would be excellent. You have wonderful ideas.

Ok, switching topics for a sec. Would you like to get a cup of coffee or dinner sometime? Something casual. Or maybe talk on the phone beforehand? I’m very open and flexible.

SHE SAID
I’m afraid my schedule is very odd the next few weeks. We could meet on Thursday for coffee or a drink, but then I’m traveling for work again and won’t be home until the 22nd. Could that work?

HE SAID
Sure that might work. How much traveling do you do for your work on average?

SHE SAID
During the busy time, which is Spring, I travel 50%. The rest of the year, about one week a month. July and around the holidays, travel is strictly saved for my own enjoyment. Traveling for work is decidedly different than traveling for fun, and I’ve never quite been able to combine the two.

HE SAID
I see. That’s quite a bit.

SHE SAID
And…

HE SAID
Well I was just wondering if you have the time to date someone. I’m kinda looking to develop a deep meaningful relationship with a woman.

SHE SAID
I’m not interested in dalliances, either. I’ve had serious relationships in the past with my travel schedule but I won’t say it’s always easy. I find that we spend quality time together when I’m home and the time I’m away can be used for laundry days and errands. But, at this point, I think you may be over-thinking things a bit – we haven’t ever met for a drink yet. You may find my travel schedule the least of our shortcomings.

HE SAID
I’m like totally suffering from writers block right now in how to respond 😦 Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era with all this email and internet stuff. I’m better on the phone and in person I think. Who knows. Sorry, I’m not making any sense. But please know that I’m not over-thinking things. I just was curious about your schedule and what you’re looking for. You’d be surprised by how many people don’t know what they want or need and beyond that, aren’t able to express that.

Well, I gotta go nurse a stomach ache. I think I drank too much coffee earlier. Uggg 😦

AND THEN SILENCE…

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Please, Stare at Me Ucomfortably

Chocolate Cherry Bars

Chocolate Cherry Salted Caramel Squares

I should have stayed home and played with the kittens. The night would have been more satisfying. But, instead of staying put, I shaved my legs, whitened my teeth, and switched glasses for contacts – all for another dud of a date.

Isn’t it the rule on a first date that each person is mutually responsible for maintaining the conversation? Instead, I sat with someone who answered my questions willingly, but only asked one question after fielding ten of mine. For me, the gift of gab does not come easily on a first meeting, yet I was solely responsible for the mind-numbing conversation (can I even call it a conversation?). Otherwise, we would have found ourselves blinking, mute, with nothing to break the tedium. He divulged the intricacies of his family’s various residences, his kid’s ages and hobbies, where he’s traveled, and what his younger brother likes, does and where he currently lives. Two questions were asked of me in kind.

The effort to keep the conversation moving was beyond my skills. At one point, towards the end of the lackluster night, he remarked that I appeared ‘distracted.’ I’m afraid he caught me daydreaming about my escape.

Next (again)…

Chocolate Cherry Salted Caramel Squares (because I deserve it!)

150 gr.  butter (softened)
50 gr.    sugar
25 gr.    brown sugar
½ t.      salt
½ t.      vanilla
1          egg yolk
185 gr.  All- purpose flour

227 g.  Salted Caramel Sauce **
170 gr.  Tart Dried Cherries
Cherry Juice or Cranberry Juice
57 gr.    sliced almonds
85 gr.   dark chocolate, chopped

Make Shortbread Crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 8×8 baking pan with two layers aluminum foil with an overhang to help remove the cookies. Grease foil with cooking spray. Cream butter and sugars to form a paste (not until pale and fluffy). Add salt and vanilla and combine. Add egg yolk and combine. Scrape down as needed. Add flour and mix until dough just comes together. Do not over-mix or too much gluten will form and base will be tough. Press into bottom of baking pan and just slightly up the side (to stop filling from oozing). Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.

Make Topping
Cover dried cherries with juice and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Let rest 5 minutes to soften cherries. Drain juice and roughly chop cherries. Pour salted caramel over baked crust. Do not allow caramel to overflow down the sides of the pan or you will have difficulty removing the cookies. Sprinkle softened and chopped cherries over caramel. Sprinkle almonds over cherries and return cookies to oven. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until crust is light brown, caramel is bubbling, and almonds are slightly toasted.   Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped chocolate.

Rest cookies on counter for 10-15 minutes to allow chocolate to melt and then cool completely (I put my pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes). Remove cookies from pan using foil. Cut into 16 squares.

** While store-bought salted caramel sauce will do in a pinch, David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Sauce is worth it. His recipe makes 1.5 cups, more than you need. I usually eat the remainder straight from the pan.

Body Language

Married life can be challenging – but dating life can be just as tricky.

I recognize this evening as a non-starter before I even order my Sauvignon Blanc. I realize before my ass has warmed the bar stool. There’s no chemistry – no spice. I’m more interested in the cute, tattooed bartender (alas, wedding ring) than the man beside me. Before my first sip of wine, my date has managed to “casually touch” my thigh and arm a half-dozen times during conversation. I don’t need my body language decoder ring – I get it; you’re interested, now back off. Our tactile evening continues with me receiving a demo of his co-worker’s hugging techniques followed by an unsolicited and awkward one-handed back rub. He has unquestionably grabbed or stroked me at least three dozen times. Body language hint – if your date is slowly sliding away to regain her personal space, stop with the hands! Ten minutes into the conversation, he declares that he wants to “claim” me as his own and our next date should be in my neighborhood. Next date?! I’m squirming through this one – and I’m beginning to believe you’re stalker material as well. Okay…polite conversation, polite conversation; I can do this; just finish my wine and leave – fast. I’m out the door in 40 minutes flat – but he insists on walking me to my car. Please don’t try to hug, kiss, or molest me at my vehicle. Not surprisingly, I receive his text on the drive home: “Good night Sweetheart.” Sweetheart?! Disturbing.

Reaching the safety of home, I’m amazed I don’t bee-line for the kitchen and bake up a batch of David Lebovitz’s chocolate chip cookies. This type of dating debacle deserves an edible pacifier – a dozen warm, gooey cookies or even a chocolate cake with thick chocolate frosting – devoured in one sitting. I content myself with a 6” turkey sub from Subway. Probably the smarter choice, since the holidays have made their mark on my bathroom scale.

I SUCK!

You would think, after four decades on this planet, I would have mastered the art of the breakup.  I envision one where we act like adults, say what needs to be said and no one walks away hurt.  Sadly, I think this resolution is possible only in my dreams.  Instead, I took the spineless way out and ended it with a text.  I’m appalled at myself. With my 20/20 hindsight, I realize that I should have at least done it over the telephone; 2.5 months does not necessarily require a face-to-face, but it does warrant more than a 3 sentence text.

Everything I wrote to him and the feelings I have today are more than a little reminiscent of my Ex’s breakup with me.  Am I no better?  There really is no good way to accomplish the task.

This guy SHOULD have been a good catch for me.  He was attractive and fit, kind and considerate, virile and gainfully employed, but I just never fell head-long for him.  I should want to see him the last moment before I depart on a trip and the first thing when I return.  We were apart for 2.5 weeks and I almost canceled on him this Saturday (I had already cancelled twice earlier this week).  I should be begging for him to spend the night so I can wrap my body in his when, in fact, I felt relief when he said he had to go home.  I know the depth of affection I’m capable of feeling – and I just couldn’t evoke it for him.

I realized that it’s not fair to continue – not to him by faking feelings as he becomes more entangled nor to myself but cutting myself off from other possible alternatives, convincing myself that “this” is better than nothing.

Regardless of whether I think I did the right thing (which I do), I still feel awful for having to do it.

Softened

I’m dating a new guy and I’ve been feeling uncertain about our longevity.  He’s not my typical ‘type’.

A tire blew on my car on the freeway at 9 o’clock last night.  It was harrowing waiting for the tow truck, alone, in the dark, with cars whizzing by at over 60 mph.  I took care of business (single girl self-sufficiency) with Highway Patrol, AAA, tow truck driver and taxi, but found myself spent and exhausted this morning for ‘Part 2’ – getting to the tire store and ordering a new tire, waiting for the repair and, finally, driving to work.

New guy offered to help – and, contrary to my typical stanch self-reliance, I agreed. He left work and drove 30 miles to my house, picked me up and shuttled me to the tire store.  He waited with me and, when we discovered it would be over an hour before the car was ready, drove me another 20 minutes to work – in the opposite direction of his.  It felt comforting to be taken care of, for a change.

This is the kind of guy I should want in my life.

About two years ago, after lunch with my then-current boyfriend (my Ex), we left the restaurant to find my car with a flat.  My Ex added air to the tire and then had me drop him back at work.  From there, I was on my own.  I ended up driving to a few tire stores (on a leaking tire), finally spending a few dead hours at Costco waiting for my repair.  It probably took four hours start to finish.  The whole ordeal left me feeling deserted by him.  And just a few months later, he did desert me.

Today, my heart softened.