Pour Out A Little Love

This semester has been awkward for me in terms of my family life and my role in that scenario. Wasn’t a problem last semester but just with my schedule and commuting to campus from the Rez. I’m tired always. It’s just exhausting trying to stay on top of things. And I know my house projects are piling up as I put them to the side because I have class or a paper to write. I just know I’m missing out on things happening at home.

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I’m a best of both worlds kind of guy. I want to be here on campus doing my thing although I also want to be at home hanging out with my two year old niece, and you know just living my life. I mention my niece right away because it is the main relationship that I know is getting neglected. She has a bedtime so she needs to be asleep when I’m still awake. And I’m out of the house by the time she is up. She knows I’m at school; everyone tells her. But she still asks, “Where’s uncle?”

So when I do finally get time to spend with E-girl it is all fun. I try to keep it fun. Easier said done. I try not to get on her bad side, but there is nothing to stop what they call the “terrible twos.” She gets mad from time to time. But who doesn’t? A lot of times it’s because she didn’t take a nap all day, and if everyone is up then she’ll fight her sleep till the dad has to come in. And she just wants to be up with everyone else. It’s so cute because she can use her tone and words in the most pleasing way. The way she says “please” when she wants something. She makes my heart melt, that innocent voice. I could never be mad at her.

A few weeks back during Spring Break I got the chance to spend more time with her. My Mom and I were watching Elexis while her Dad was out and about. Elexis and My Mom have their little connection too. Grandma time. So like I said E girl can be very sweet and her ability to use language right after we teach it to her is like magic.

So it’s a Saturday evening and she asks if she can drink her cup of milk in the living room while she plays with her toys. I don’t have a problem with that. I trust her. But this wasn’t my call. I said, “Ask grandma.” And I’m not sure if my mom ok’ed the milk in the living room. But Elexis did get to have her milk on the living room carpet, somehow because she was being careful and I knew she would be ok. So she was in a good mood and I was happy to be home and with her. She was doing it.

I leave the living room for a second to get something in my room. And then I hear that innocent voice say “Uncle I spilled my milk.” Like she spilled it right when I left the room.

I felt my head spinning.  Not because I was mad about the milk. I was baffled by the honesty. I know she is only two but if I was in her position I’d probably be running around trying to clean it up. Or keep it a secret, hide it from whoever. Of course someone would probably tell on me so I do get how honesty is the best solution. I just expected E-girl to be the terrible two’s child making a mess and not asking or apologizing for it. But instead she confesses because she has recognized that notifying an adult is the right thing to do. I don’t know, it just made me not understand her for a bit. Like I was unable to comprehend her motives. She was like an alien from another planet. She impresses me with her choices and her joy for animals but the unpredictability is what intrigues me the most.

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But then I stared to think about her approach to the situation. She didn’t tell her dad, or her grandma. She told me. She went to me with this two-year old dilemma. Maybe she knew I wouldn’t get mad or that I would understand. I didn’t want to get mad. Putting my self in that situation. I began to think of it as if I was the wild kid that spilled milk on the carpet. I’m pretty sure I would get in trouble or scolded.

Although the times have changed. I’m on the other end of the scenario. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. Big fricken’ deal. Get over it. Again analyzing the situation too much maybe. I started to think of how my brother the dad would feel with this problem. Of course he might give a lecture about why we don’t take our drinks into the living room.  How the drinks should stay on the table. Again I’m not in that role. I’m the fun uncle and we are going to act like it never happened. I don’t even need to tell your dad. And deep down inside I’m hoping that this is the reason why E-girl told me first. She knew I would handle things smoothly. Yeah right. I wanted her to know that I’ll always try my best to show her things that she might need in her life. But if I have to get mad it’s only because I care.

The food idiom of the post is “It’s no use crying over spilt milk.” It matches perfect to how I felt about the spill. Some things in life are not always worth getting upset about. And as the uncle this saying is like a mantra for analyzing situations like this. Is this something worth getting mad about? Could I tell her in another way to be more careful? But who doesn’t spill a drink in their life? I’ve spilt several drinks, most of them probably in my adult life. Pobodies Nerfect.

Growing up is knowing where to draw the line. I hope someday E girl will help me cover up my spilled milk. She will probably say, “Quit your crying.”

Holding Down The Fork

A couple of posts back I mentioned how I’ve been slacking in the kitchen. There is a hard truth to that statement. I write a food blog, so why I am not able to focus and get in the kitchen. On the weekends I don’t want to cook because that’s my catch up on sleep time. I’ve just been out of it.

The food saying for this post is a fairly common one, “Wake up and smell the coffee.” It’s just a saying that reminds you to pay attention to what’s happening or going on. Reminding whoever to be alert about the situation they are in. Nothing wrong with being aware with what is actually happening. Sometimes things can get routine and mundane so that you need to remind yourself to be aware of what is going down.

I enjoy the smell of coffee but sometimes I’m just not in the mood for tasting. But I still get my caffeine on from time to time. Coffee breath.

Back to the not cooking thing, I know I’m not always going to be in this rut. I know the kitchen is calling me. We still eat as a family when we can. And I know once I’m done with school. I will be without a job and I already know that my job will be to cook. Mainly dinner, but since I’m not working, the family will need me to get in there and make some supper. It will be my contribution.

I like to cook but what I think is the worst is cleaning up the mess after the meal. But that comes along with the gig. Probably my most un-favorite thing about cooking is cleaning up the kitchen. Washing all the dirty dishes, clearing and wiping the table. But I’m not a Gourmet Chef so it’s not like I can hire help to clean up my mess. So even though the family is fed, there is still the kitchen that needs to be straightened up.

It’s very metaphorical because you’re the first one on the field and the last to leave. The job requires several skills and not only skills but how well you utilize the skills to make your creations unique or great, the hardest part of the job may be something  as simple as washing the dishes, so clean up your mess ASAP. Pretty please with a cherry on top.

A clean kitchen is a kitchen that has something “cooking.”

Borrowing Sugar: Good Neighbor Recipe

As I examine my life and the things that have happened, the people that I have lost, and the people that are here helping me now. There is just so much that happened that I didn’t expect. And the one food saying that almost embodies this feeling is “That is how the cookie crumbles.” Life is at times is difficult. But that is how it just has to be. We suffer and learn.

I’ve been thinking back trying to remember the memories of my childhood that involved food. I think I’m just struggling to tell the memories but still incorporate food. It’s becoming a challenge. Thinking about the blog and the way the posts have been sounding. It seems like I’m giving advice to myself but the concept of food keeps it relevant or real. But I also know that I could be more consistent with the blog too. More posts and more food. I see all these ways of improving the blog but I just want to make sure I myself am getting something from it. I remembered when living in South Komelic at my grandma’s house as a child. She has a neighbor by the name of Philisitne.

Phlisitine lived like a hundred yards west of my grandma. There was a path that was sand that took you to her house.  She lived there with her husband Jose. They both were hardworking but kind to us kids. We would go over there to visit. We were young but I remember walking to their house from my Grandmas.

They had a wooden door with a bell. Their fence was connected to the garden where they planted different fruits and vegetables. The door to their house was painted a baby blue. I rang the bell till somebody came out. 

Philistine always was there to answer the door. She would invite us in. Tell us to have a seat. Delighted to have company. She would give us juice. Ask us how our grandma was doing.  Sometimes I would go with my brother but I also would go alone after school before I went home. Philistine had grew grapes. And when they were in season, she would let us pick them to snack on.

Those tiny green grapes had so much life in them. And Philistine was such a kind person for her sharing with my brother and I the fruit she grew. We had nothing to give her but our smiles. She was more than happy with that.

I remember those days walking to her house. It wasn’t much but it was everything that could make me happy. Grapes and juice. Such a simpler time for me.

We lost Philistine a couple years back. It was such a surreal time. It was so quick and sudden. I felt that I never got to fully show her how much she made an impact on my life. I always will feel that connection to her. The grapes and juice.

In life things get difficult. And thinking about how I could be so comfortable with Philistine talking about her garden. Asking her the names of her cats. She was so easy to be around. So young at heart.

The things we can’t do anything about. Sometimes the outcome is not what you expect. I know Philistine is no longer here but in spirit and in memory, she is very much here. I see how even your neighbor can play a huge part of your life.

If I get the opportunity in the future I hope I can be a fraction of the neighbor she was to me. She set the bar in hospitality definitely. Such a sweet treat of the good old days.

Day-Dreaming About What To Cook

The common food saying “bigger fish to fry” is one that I seem to be wanting to say but my actual real life scenario is not so definite, so saying it sounds foreign. The great gigantic fish that needs to be fried but can’t because there is something slowing the down the process. In my case I have a fish that is frying already maybe nearly done, but it is still cooking. It won’t be actually done till May. I hope.

The fish still cooking is my graduation of course. But I know I have work that I need to put in, in order for me be comfortable there in May when the semester is done. I have been so fixated on what the future holds and how my life is going to change once I’m done with school that I distract myself from the present. This spring may be my last at U of A but in order for me to justify anything that I’m doing in life or on campus. I will need to rise to the occasion. This fish is almost done and I want fry something else.

It just amazes me how time seems to be never moving in your direction.  When you need all the time in world there is never enough, although when there is not much to do you have so much more to ponder with. But it is always ticking.  Does time help you stay on schedule? Or does time order you around like it’s superior?

You know I have never cooked fish before. And honestly I have been slacking in the kitchen. I’m not talking metaphorically. The actual kitchen, I have been not using it. Not as much as I should. I have been busy. Excuses, am I right? But when I say “Bigger fish to fry” I do think in the literal sense I should learn how to extend my culinary skills. Graduate in the kitchen as well.

“You can’t know anything about life and suppose you can get through it clean. The most monstrous people are those who think they are going to.” –James Baldwin

I hope I don’t sound like a broken record. I don’t mean to. But the kitchen is life. And you are the chef putting something on the table. The kitchen gets dirty. We make due with unfamiliar ingredients. There are always critics critiquing what we do, the challenges we take on with confidence. We do also have to recognize our limits and ranges both in the kitchen and in life. That doesn’t mean we’re limited. It does mean that everyday is a chance to learn and gain some kind of experience and to enhance our skills and abilities. Food and arts are very similar. They go hand in hand.

Art inspires new art.

Food is the same but I think it is the cook that needs to be influenced or inspired. By other cooks of course but also by what has already been completed. Taking time to reference what has worked in the past, but also planning new ways and attempts to try new things in the kitchen.

Maybe I should actually learn how to fry a fish. The hardest critic is one that will never be satisfied. They want things to be precise and to have flavor. They will always find ways for the meal to be better. The one critic that is never satisfied with the way things turn out is me. And by me I mean you. I mean that our own thoughts and critiques on our choices never measure up. I’m not saying that things will never be good, I’m sayings that there is always a need to want to be better and sometimes we need to make mistakes or weird choices only to experience something new but also recognizing that chefs sometimes need to take risks. We learn from those things we thought we did wrong. And I guess that is what I trying to say. Things don’t always turn out the way we want them.  Sometimes things that are out of our control may leave us with a new opportunity that would be too intriguing to pass up.

Never stop learning and continue find new ways to incorporate that knowledge into your everyday life. The fish I’m frying now is done. The only real thing holding anything up is my impatience. You can’t rush art right? So one day at a time is what I tell myself. This fish has been cooking for thousands of days. But it is almost done.