Channeling part deux

I couldn’t sleep and needed to channel a lot of energy.  Here is the result, a drawing for my father (with metallic Sharpies and a black Sharpie).  It’s called “The Tomita Planets”.  A wonderful musician named Isoa Tomita performed a number of classical pieces on the Moog, which (if you’ve never heard about it) is a bizarre early synthesizer.  One of the pieces he played on the Moog was Holst’s musical suite The Planets.  It’s my dad’s favorite rendition of the piece so I thought I’d create a weird, abstract visual version of it.  Obviously very abstract.  There are far more “planets” on the canvass than we have in our solar system.  😛

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Be well, friends.

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Coffee + Depression

When you have chronic pain, you often struggle with depression. It’s important to face it head on. Don’t ignore it. Depression is real, it’s serious, and it can be deadly. It can get out of control. Depression caused by chronic pain can get particularly ugly, because those of us with chronic pain often know that the pain will not be going away–ever. There’s no relief in sight. Or, if we get relief, it is fleeting. That’s a depressing thought. It’s difficult to get around that, and one has to figure out how to make some kind of peace with it. Once, I wrote this short piece describing depression, and what it feels like to me. I hope if you suffer from depression, you know two things: 1) you are not alone. 2) you need help… get it.

Depression is seeing a cup of coffee.  Saying to yourself in your mind, pick up the coffee.  Pick up the god damn cup of coffee.  What’s wrong with you?  You can do this.  Pick up the coffee.  It’s not that hard.  You can do this.

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Then you pick up your stupid cup of coffee and say, hold it by the handle.  You can do it.  Turn the cup around and hold the fucking handle.  Just hold a cup of coffee like a normal person, god damn it.

Okay now move your arm up and put the cup up to your mouth.  Just get it in the proximity of your face.  It’s 100 pounds but you can do it.  Look at everyone else, they bring cups up to their face all the time.

Touch the cup to your lips.  Get it to your god damn lips, you lifted it up near your face, now get it to your lips.  Or move your heavy head towards the cup so your mouth meets the cup.  Or both, whatever it takes.  Just get the cup to your stupid lips.

Alright you did it, open your lips.  Very good.  Take a sip of coffee.  Take a real sip of coffee.  That’s not a sip of coffee, that’s like one droplet of coffee.  Take a normal-sized sip of coffee that counts as a real amount.  Okay, it’s in your mouth.  You did it.  Swallow it.  SWALLOW IT.  What is wrong with you, you usually do this every day.  Swallow your fucking coffee.

Congratulations, you’ve swallowed some coffee.  It tastes mediocre.  I guess, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s good.  I don’t know what’s good right now.  Put the mug down.  I’ll try that again in a half hour.

East Village’s Very Own Green Tongue Lady

A phenomenal view on the South side of East 10th Street between 3rd and 4th avenues.  This is the kind of thing I live to see here in the East Village.  I tried my best to capture the image in the same perspective as I saw it while walking by the wall so you can get the real impact of it.

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Cooking with a Disability. I: Reasons for Cooking

I live in the East Village, so it’s like, BAAAAAAH I can eat anything I want by going to Delivery.com or Seamless.com or Grubhub.com and just find it.  So I did.  And surprise of surprises, given my low salary and the high cost of food around here combined with my never-ending medical bills, I became totally broke.  And gained a lot of weight.  And my blood pressure went up.  Simultaneously, I became aware that MSG in moderate to large quantities was a major migraine trigger.  It was a logical conclusion that I should begin cooking my own meals.  When I lived alone I used to cook for myself, but that usually entailed making pasta and then putting butter and grated Pecorino Romano cheese all over it.  Yes that is really delicious but it isn’t exactly healthy (but good for a treat…).  I thought, okay FINE fine fine I’ll start cooking.  And it turned out to be one of the more pleasure-giving experiences of my time as of late.  Also I lost a few pounds.  Here is a picture of some homemade chicken penne soup (with homemade broth straight from heaven, I swear):

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If you are disabled in any way, it is likely that cooking and/or baking will be a godsend to you.  Here are some (hopefully) convincing reasons why:

  1. It gets you physically moving and the blood circulating.  If you are immobile a lot of time, you know just how important moving around for a few minutes can be.  You’ll avoid blood clots and fight off muscle atrophy.
  2. It forces you to do something, thereby increasing your self-esteem and decreasing your feeling of being a useless slug.
  3. It affords you an opportunity to express yourself artistically (e.g., “I added an extra tablespoon of tarragon to the recipe and it’s delicious!  I’m a GENIUS!”).
  4. You will show up your able-bodied or -minded friends who are too lazy to cook or bake.
  5. It will almost always be more healthy because you have more portion control and a say over exactly what goes into your food.  This can’t be understated.  If you have an emotional issue, there are a number of reputable studies suggesting that a healthy diet (full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and few preservatives) help maintain your blood sugar levels, thus decreasing mood swings.  It will also help your body physically in that better foods in your body give it better nutrients, which will make your body work like the finely tuned machine you want it to be.  Everything from your digestion, cholesterol, immune system, and cardiovascular health can be dramatically altered by what you eat.  So essentially eating well and knowing exactly what you’re eating gives you a better shot at being the healthiest you can be with whatever physical condition you have.
  6. Over time, even if you cook with a lot of healthy produce like fruits and veggies, it will be less expensive than takeout unless you only eat fast food (which you really shouldn’t do often for health reasons anyway–you know I’m right), which means you’ll save money for those endless doctors’ bills… ugh.
  7. If you live with people, they will love you forever for it.
  8. If you don’t live with people, you can freeze leftovers and have easy meals to warm up in the future.
  9. You will taste more of what you eat and feel more connected to your meals, which adds joy to life.  I’m depressed often.  Squeezing out a little bit of happiness when I can is very important, and if cooking has this same impact on others as it has on me, please do it!
  10. Need to lose weight?  No problem.  Need to gain weight?  No problem.  Need to have a low-sodium diet or a gluten-free diet?  No problem.  Yaaay you get to control what you eat and I can tell you now from experience that it isn’t actually difficult to make low-fat food and low-sodium food taste amazing if you have the right spices, and I really mean that.  You can learn how to finagle your food to taste like normal food when, in fact, it’s gluten-free hippie low-fat low-salt food (or whatever you need).  And there are a number of ways to gain weight without eating unhealthy fats too often.  Nuts, avocados, and many fishes have good fat.  You can also buy oil to cook with that contains mostly or all good fats (my favorite is safflower oil, which is pretty much tasteless and can be used with nearly anything, or sesame oil for Chinese meals).  That’s something well worth looking into and there are many wonderful websites that list healthy oils and unhealthy oils.  This way if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, you consume mostly good fat, and if you are trying to gain weight, you can do so with healthy fats that won’t clog your arteries.
  11. If you mess up, who cares… seriously, who cares?  It’s a learning process.  But if you make something amazing, totally take all the credit and force feed all around you so you can bask in the glory of your accomplishment.
  12. You don’t always have to “cook” to prepare a meal for yourself.  Once a week I have what I call a smorgasbord night where I just chop up some fresh organic fruits, vegetables, some yummy cheeses, some local bread, homemade salad dressing (not hard, I swear, I’ll post the recipe sometime) and some honey or preserves.  It’s easy and it’ll make you feel fancy.  See below for a plate of one of my last smorgasbord nights (pic of the bread not included).  This is a very filling and satisfying meal and you can throw in whatever you want, including any kind of pre-made salad or pickles or whatever.  Hey it’s your smorgasbord.  You do what you want!

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I hope this will convince some of you to embark in the glory of cooking for yourself, become empowered, and take control over something in a healthy way.

P.S.  Don’t worry, I still order from Delivery.com sometimes.  I have to have Iggy’s Pizza on occasion or I might die.

Quickie/Hiatus Explanatory Note

Dear All,

I just wanted to say that I was very sick for a time with colitis (oh BOY!!!) and was therefore bedridden and very much not in the mood to write.  I apologize for such a long break in blog posts.  However I have many new ideas for you and am excited to share.  Here is an adorable picture of one of my cats as a symbol of my apology for the wait.

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For the record, that is Stevie, our Maine Coon mix, reclined on a cake-carrier lid.  I am not entirely sure how he procured the lid.