Friday, October 26, 2012

I've recently retitled my manuscript as: Edison's Ghost Machine. It's taken me many years to replace the original title [Alice] which was obviously a placeholder. It's the perfect title. When Edison was a little boy he performed many experiments in his basement. Every spare penny he earned would be put towards chemicals. He labelled all of his chemical bottles as "poison" to ensure no one took his precious belongings. A carved pumpkin is rotting downstairs, and so-- nectar fueled flies are slowly multiplying. I've always wondered whether fruit flies are merely drawn to rotted fruit, or if they are born from the fruit itself. Speaking of food sanitation and pests, I, as of today, am officially licensed as a food handler in the state of New York. One more victorious step in the tedious line of food bureaucracy. I do understand the need for all these regulations for public health, but part of me adores the thought of the old days, when peach cobblers were sold straight from a sunny kitchen. God, lately I've wanted a house so badly. A porch, a yard, a quiet, a warmth, an herb garden, and a million little hiding places all my own. A large part of my motivation lately is the thought of saving up to buy the cutest little house. I was sitting in Starbucks today and writing my usual to-do lists that ramble off into several intimidating pages. A man approached me to compliment how lovely my script was. How rare and nice to receive a compliment from a strange man that I can actually acknowledge with gratitude, turn my head to and smile. I was derailed tonight from productivity with some unsettling personal news. One thing I've learned and put into practice (most of the time) is to wait to write a letter or make a phone call until you've calmed down and dissolved yr histrionic state. And although that may breed inaction, it more importantly prevents over reaction. Lastly, I am on my 17th day of a new diet. I'm attempting to last 30 days total, and it consists of: no meat, no fish, no milk/cheese/eggs/any diary, no white bread/rice/pasta/sugar (only whole grain versions), no chemicals/diet soda/artificial sweeteners, and limited oils/fats. I've watched an abundance of documentaries about nutrition and have been scared off of many things. I am also running a 5k 6 days a week. While I am being strong on this new diet, I'm a bit disappointed in the meager weight loss I've achieved, and the fact that I still seem to require 8 hours of sleep a night. Out of all things I am desperately craving fish, and to satisfy that I've found myself nibbling on dried sea kelp, to get a taste of the briny ocean. Perhaps this is the inner Pisces in me, desiring this, or the fact that I descend from island women, or maybe just the fact that salmon is absolute tastiness. One interesting thing I heard about in the documentary Food Matters [watch it for free online here], is that a super high dosage of vitamin B3 (Niacin) can aid immensely in reducing depression symptoms. While vitamin therapy is highly discredited in the medical community, I think there is at least the possibility of a positive result, and with the worst possible scenario being little to no side effects with no results. I detest medicine and don't even like taking the occasional tylenol unless I am doubled over in pain. Perhaps this is the rebellious side of me, having grown up in a medical family, but as much as I adore scientific advancements, I cannot get on board with chemical concoctions ingested into my system. The human body seems too perfect a system, already, maybe. Anyway, this B3 vitamin therapy has made me want to hold down all of the severely sad people in my life (of which there seem to be many) and feed them it until they are better.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chapbook Publication and I Got & Lost a Cat

In my happiest of news, my chapbook "The Case of the Missing Lover" was recently announced to be forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. They are a jewel of a press, publishing such innovative collections from only female poets, whom I am now honored to be in company with. During the period of my life in which I wrote this mini book I was accustomed to scrawling poems with a black sharpie onto balloons and releasing them into the sky above my apartment in Bushwick. I am so delighted that in Spring 2013 you can all get your little paws on my chapbook, so you can read some of my work without having to wait in your backyard for a shiny red balloon to land in your sprinklers. I found this news out 30 minutes after I discovered my semi-adopted stray pet cat Priscilla dead in the porch. Another 30 minutes later I discovered she was alive again, but very sick. All night I tried to comfort her-- told her stories about my day and put ice packs by her head in case she was feverish. I used one of the syringes my mother had left behind in the house, (she is a nurse who always keeps me supplied with bandage cutting scissors/sanitation gloves/saline filled syringes etc. for the day I may have to perform surgery on myself? I'm not sure why...) filled it with water/warm milk, alternatively, and tried squirting it into kitty's mouth. She refused to eat/drink and made death moans all night. The next day the vet put her to sleep. Priscilla, a Cat Who Came to Me One Day to Keep Me Company, When I Was Very Lonely: She is out there somewhere, incinerated, with her blanket and toy and hopefully a good wad of catnip she's licking leisurely and a bird opera playing in the background.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Publishing and Confection Training

I've set myself a schedule of all the book publishers and their deadlines, over the summer and fall, that I'd like to submit my book to. I've just stayed up all day and night long in order to get the manuscript in shape, but it is officially off into the ether traveling speedily towards its first potential publisher. Breathe. I must remember breathe. I've been terrified for so long to send out my ms, Alice, but it feels so wonderful and I wish it were not such an odd hour right now and that people were awake so that I could celebrate and share the news! A heavy, 56 page weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Of course my little poet-brain will soon spin in a million directions about new edits and different ordering and etcetera, but for right now, while the summer birds are chirping and I'm delirious off of stimulants, I am content and optimistic. Also, I've just finished a Techniques of Chocolate course at the Institute of Culinary Education. We made caramels, barks, truffles, nougats and many other kinds of tastiness. My instructor had worked for the esteemed Jacques Torres (he's the reigning king of chocolate), and she had a lot of a helpful insider tips and constructive suggestions for more efficient techniques. The most convenient part of the class was that I could go wild making confections, coming up with creations and in the end I didn't have to wash a single dish! I did have to go to the ladies room to soap off sugar smears and dust cocoa powder off my shoes, but I adore not having to fuss with clean up.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 3!

Day 3

Breakfast: Green juice
Lunch: Black coffee
Dinner: Warm Summer Salad
Dessert: Organic wine and dark chocolate

Recipe for Warm Summer Salad
I came up with this tonight because I wanted something hearty and satisfying for dinner tonight, after running on empty (poor planning!) all day.

Peel and dice a sweet potato and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Dot sweet potatoes with 1-2 teaspoons of organic butter, and scatter a few peeled cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of rosemary. I use organic butter in lieu of oil when baking/cooking (during this program at least) because of assertions that oil mutates when heated-- must be another reason why fried food makes me feel sick! Wrap the foil up to blanket the potatoes and then bake this tasty orange bundle at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely dice 1 ripe avocado, and toss together with a few handfuls of grape tomatoes, 1/2 package sliced portobello mushrooms, and the corn from one cob. I LOVE raw corn off the cob, it's so sweet and crunchy and perfect in this salad. Once the sweet potatoes are baked, toss them in as well (minus the rosemary sprigs!), and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper. This salad has such a cheery color, and would be perfect for a bbq.

Serves 1-2 people or 1 very hungry girl!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Detox

I've decided to commit to 30 days of a raw food detox diet, guided by the many books on the subject by Natalia Rose. Now, don't fret, I'm not going 100% raw, but more like 75-80%. I will be eliminating all packaged/processed and artificial "foods", and will eat mainly vegetables with a small bit of fruit (organic whenever possible). I'll also eliminate all dairy (except goat cheese and organic butter) and all animal products (except wild fish and organic, free range eggs). Sugar and sweets are also out, except I am allowed dark chocolate. Oh, and wine! (thank god!). Bread, pasta and rice are cut out too, but I can have carbs in the form of quinoa, buckwheat and sweet potatoes. The most difficult thing about this program, in my opinion, is not being able to combine "fleshes" with "starches". Also, I will be drinking my beloved freshly made green juice every single day, and will aim to get in exercise every single day (whether in the form of running, pilates, dance or swimming).

My main goals for doing this are: 1. to generate happiness in my life and mood stability, 2. to increase energy, 3. to improve my skin, 4. to lose those last unwanted pounds, and 5. to keep my body young and healthy! I am a firm believer that preventative measures are infinitely easier and more effective than damage control.

For my own records, for accountability and in case anyone out there wants to see what you could eat on a program like this, i'll be *trying* to post my daily intake.

Here's what I ate for day #1: (I did not eat nearly as much as I ought to have, that will improve I promise!)
Breakfast: Green juice [in a juicer, process 1 lemon, 1 apple, several handfuls spinach, 1 inch ginger or as much as you can handle, 2 stalks celery]
Dinner: Guacamole salad served in little endive leaf boats [combine 1 diced avocado with a quarter chopped sweet onion, a handful of chopped cilantro, 2 squeezed limes (less if you are not a citrus junkie like I am), a quarter chopped bell pepper, and 1.5 chopped roma tomatoes. Scoop 1-2 spoonfuls into each dainty little endive leaf.]
Dessert: A nibble of Ghiradelli's 72% dark chocolate and some white wine

Day #2:
Breakfast: Green juice
Lunch: Fresh arugula salad with goat cheese [combine 1-2 handfuls of sweet grape tomatoes, a couple cups of spicy arugula, 1 whole squeezed lemon, 1/2 thinly sliced cucumber and 1 oz. of goat cheese]
Dinner: Creamy zucchini pasta [slice up 2 zucchinis into spaghetti like strips, chop up half a container of portobello mushrooms and combine in a sauce pan with 1 cup of high quality, all natural, organic pasta sauce (I use Muir Glen brand). I then stir in 1 oz. goat cheese which turns the sauce creamier almost like a vodka sauce. Only heat until it's all heated through, to retain as much of the vitality in the veggies as possible!
Dessert: Organic red wine and more dark chocolate. Mmm! Who says a diet has to be miserable!

Exercise: Ran a 5k on the treadmill and did some light stretching

I feel like the revolution of more conscious eating is upon me, wish me luck!

Love,
Jenny

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A World of Tiny Love Notes...

... from the living to the dead

I've fallen in love with the book The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier. Less than a week ago I was taking a walk along the East River. It was exceptionally foggy that night, so I ducked into a bookstore and was drawn to this book which has a picture of a bandaged hand on its cover. It tells the story of a world where everyone's wounds (both physical and emotional) become illuminated so that others around can see, whether it's a cancerous lung, a toothache or a broken heart-- it lights up. The idea is that perhaps our pain is a beautiful rather than monstrous thing about us all. A deceptively simple concept, in my opinion, and he illustrates this concept with such magnificently spoken metaphors and imagery. I've nearly devoured it in less than a week. My absolute favorite part of the book is its epistolary aspect. One part of the story is told through a journal kept by a wife whose husband writes her one tiny love note each morning (she records each note diligently in her journal). Here is a splice of my favorite bits:

["I love those three perfect moles on your shoulder--like a line of buttons. I love the sound of your voice over the phone when you're trying to hide the fact that you're doing a crossword puzzle from me .... I love the feel of your hands on my cheeks, even when they're " 'cold as tea.' Hot tea?' 'No, iced tea.' " .... I love the last question you ask me before bedtime. .... I love the way you shake your head when you yawn. .... I love how disgusted you get by purees: "Who would do that to a poor defenseless soup?" I love waking up on a wintry morning, opening the curtains, then crawling back under the covers with you and watching the snow fall."]

God, there is no jewel or gift that could come close to a thoughtful and honest love note from a lover!

Today's Intake

Breakfast: half banana with perfectly ripe strawberries and blueberries, few spoonfuls of cereal and coconut milk
Lunch: baked pear tart with a slice of white cheddar cheese
Dinner: roast herb and lemon chicken with fingerling potatoes + english cucumber salad

Output

50 minutes walking briskly on the treadmill

While on the treadmill today I watched the majority of this documentary on my little phone's screen: Hungry For Change. You can watch it online for free through that link until March 31. It's about nutrition (or our societies lack thereof) and is very informative so far. Even though I am rather well educated on this subject, I was shocked and awakened to many atrocious things that food companies are doing in the manufacturing of our "food". I can't wait to finish it up before bedtime tonight.

In poetry news, it's nearly that time of year again, when the poets of the world stumble around happily and sleep deprived; churning out a poem every single day; fueled only by literary adrenaline and the love of words (okay and copious amounts of coffee too!). In a few days it will be National Poetry Month, 2012! I've set up a blog with a fellow poetess friend of mine and we will be posting daily there. Please feel free to request an invite if you have any interest in reading our poems (it's kept private for the sake of avoiding sticky situations with future publishing opportunities).

I heart making fruit tarts! It feels so wholesome and French, as though I were living in the countryside in Provence and watching birds tweet "oui oui!" at me as I kneaded dough. I decided to make a tart this afternoon because when I was hiding in the fruit aisle of the market (avoiding someone) an Anjou pear tumbled right off its precarious pyramid of pears and into my basket! Since it wanted to come home with me so badly, I thought I ought to make something special out of it. Here is my recipe (I know a tart sounds intimidating but its really quite easy! It would be perfect for a weekend brunch with friends, or even gobbled up with your sweetheart whilst reading the Sunday newspaper in bed, as you will be left with kissably sweet and buttery lips!!):

10 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter (cut into tiny cubes)
1 tablespoon ice water
1 ripe pear cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon of jam or preserves (I use whatever I have on hand, in this case it was lemon curd)
half a lemon

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly (use a food processor if you like, I use my hands because I like how dough feels and I hate washing the food processor). Add ice water and form dough into a ball. Let this chill in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. Then, grease a pie tin and spread dough out evenly, bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Take crust out of the oven at this point and luxuriously swab the sticky jam on top of it, then fan the pear slices atop it as artfully as you can muster. Squeeze the lemon juice on top for a bright citrus finishing touch and bake for 20 minutes more.

This makes 4 servings at 170 calories a piece. Serve with a slice of white cheddar cheese, mmm!

And in fish news, Edison got a girlfish named Marguerite. She is an exotic coppery color, has long pretty fins and is very sassy but plays hard to get at times. They ignore me now since they're in their honeymoon phase, but anyway, they are madly in love and I couldn't be happier for them.

I hope you're all enjoying the early spring blossoms and reading plenty of e. e. cummings!

Love,
Jennifer

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost"

I've been enchanted with the contemporary dance choreography of the late Pina Bausch for many, many years. I still have not gone to see a live performance, because it's difficult for me to sell the idea of contemporary german dance to anyone in my life. She was a pioneer of Tanztheater, and a documentary about her was in the midst of production when she received notice from the doctor that she had cancer. Five days later she was dead. The film, "Pina" is now complete, and I think it to be just the thing to tide me over until the day I can see one of her dances in person. I really ought to be cultivating a greater sense of independence, and should just go see a performance by myself. How silly to deny myself pleasure just because I don't want to go alone!

Here is a snip of one of her love dances. Like all her work, it is magical loveliness, emotionally raw and slightly unsettling.

I badly want to go back to my dance classes, but some fear has been holding me back. They make me feel so happy and full of life for days afterwards, and my body begins to move more artfully.

Tuesday's Intake

Breakfast: 1/2 cup Seven Grain oat cereal with 1/2 cup almond milk + coffee brewed at home
Afternoon snack: green juice

Lunch: 1 roma tomato with basil, italian burrata cheese, splash of vinegar and tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Dinner: 4 oz. roasted herb-lemon chicken with 3 oz. fingerling potatoes + sweet english peas, slightly steamed

I had to drag myself through my workout at the gym, and felt severely dehydrated, but managed to get done:
30 minutes elliptical [-308 c.]
2 miles run [-192 c.]

It has been so sunny the past couple days, that I've been in such a springtime mood. I woke this morning with the birds chirping and my solar powered bee dancing in the window. The sunnier it is out, the more he dances. When it snowed the other day, for instance, I did not even hear his plastic wings clicking, but yesterday (and today to a lesser extent) he was clicking like mad! Even though I know it's not nearly spring yet, I couldn't help but cheat a little, and put on one of my flowery dresses, and wore spring perfume that smells like poppy flowers and honey.

I must go be productive now, so I can play tonight (bowling with my darling sisters in Williamsburg).

love,
jennifer

Monday, January 23, 2012

Overdue

My, it has been nearly 5 months since my last update! Also, I currently have the hiccups.

Since I was last here I settled into my new/old home in Queens. The walls got re-wallpapered, the carpets got replaced and an entirely new (youthful and cheerful) energy came through. It is much different living here than when I was younger and living with my whole family.

I've gotten a new goldfish, named Edison.

He was won at one of those carnival games in Coney Island where you try to throw a ping pong ball into a fishbowl. When I first got him home he had damaged, discolored fins and swam around very lazily, and I'm certain he was depressed. He refused to eat for most of the first week, even! Over the past 5 months I've gotten him an aquarium, and medicated his fins until he was as healthy as can be, and now he swims around energetically and has the appetite of a shark! I am considering the possibility of getting him a ladyfish for Valentine's Day, though I have never owned a female fish, and have never owned more than one fish at a time. The thought of it makes me very anxious and uncomfortable, so I try not to think about it.

Also, three of my poems have been accepted for publication at Literary Bohemian. I haven't gotten a publication in a while so it's a huge relief, and a great source of momentum to send out more work!

I've been doing very good with eating breakfast lately, and have my spiritual nutritionist Marina in mind when I must force myself to eat first thing in the morning! It *is* the best thing for me though. Today my eating was exceptional!:

Breakfast: 1 fat free coconut yogurt + coffee brewed at home
Morning snack: Coffee at a cafe while I sat outdoors to build up my winter tolerance and looked up healthy recipes on my phone
Lunch: Tomato and basil salad with burrata cheese and 1 tsp olive oil


Dinner: 4 oz. roasted herb-lemon chicken, 1 cup arugula and 3 oz. fingerling potatoes + 1 glass white wine



I had to bake boxes and boxes of chocolate sweets for my part-time bakery, and I'm proud of myself for not taking a single nibble!

I also ran 4 miles at the gym, did 20 minutes yoga/strength training and 5 minutes on the elliptical.

The new year is off to a healthy + joyous start!

love,
jennifer