Culinary Sand Mandala

“…and then they released it into the ocean.”

 A man I once aspired to date – I often seem to be trying unsuccessfully to date someone unavailable– was describing the Buddhist sand mandala painters he had watched the previous two afternoons. These monks painstakingly labor over their sand painting for days, only to destroy their art in the end – a symbol of life’s impermanence.

 “I’d be heartbroken to devote all that time creating artwork only to see it demolished,” I declared.

 “Isn’t that what happens with your cooking?” he wryly replied.

 We never did go out. I can’t even recall his name. Our exchange, though, has remained with me. Cooking IS my art and it took a nameless man to show me that. My kitchen is my studio where I practice and play. At its denouement, my art is devoured, demolished. My passion lies in the crafting, my delight in the sharing.

The incidents and experiences at my stove echo my life of savored successes and grieved failures. My kitchen is bomb shelter and Band-Aid, my respite when I’m overwhelmed and my surefire reason for procrastination. My artwork bribes my coworkers and seduces my lovers. It’s my voice, my meditation, my pleasure and often my vexation.

 A graduate of culinary school and (most recently) gelato school, I call myself neither Chef nor expert, but a mere dabbler in all things gastronomic.

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.

You seemed so happy!

“You seemed so happy!”

“Well, I WAS happy.”

“So why aren’t you dating him anymore?”

“Well…”

I’m having this conversation with my 10-year old niece.  She’s asking me about my Ex.  How do you explain to a child that just because one person is blissfully happy doesn’t mean the other is feeling the same – or even if both people are happy, it still doesn’t mean there’s a happy ending to the story?  How do you break it to them that life’s not a fairy tale?

I have a new guy in my world right now.  We’ve been dating about two months now.  I like him, but sadly, I don’t LIKE him.   Always respectful,  I would never lead him on or toy with him, but I’m also aware of this relationship’s limitations.

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.

Decision Time

source: somecards.com

source: someecards.com

Dating Translation

We could go see a movie:  innocuous night spent hand-holding in a darkened theater with a post movie make-out session.
Or
You could come over and watch a movie: let’s roll around, sweaty and naked, in my bed!

I’m seeing him again on Wednesday.  He gave me these choices.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve “come over to watch a movie” – a very, very long time.  I really need to come over and watch a movie – in fact,  I need to watch a dozen or so movies.  I think that’s why I haven’t been sleeping well.  If I mess this up, I may not get a chance to come over and watch a movie again for a while, but yet I hesitate.

I agreed to go see a movie – not to come over, yet.  My body says “YES! Right now!” but my mind wants to wait.  I’m concerned that I’m postponing for unrealistic reasons, waiting for a certain someone to come around –  who never will.

p.s. when TG asked me what I did this weekend, I told him the truth – I went on a date.  Suppressing what looked like surprise, he didn’t ask questions. It probably hurt me more than it did him, but he looked like I had just punched him in the gut.