I am writing this on July 4th. The house is still quiet because The Child worked late and is still sleeping, plus in the summer-sleepy holiday neighborhood very few people are moving around yet. The heat is sluggish and heavy, even before the sun is fully awake itself.
This is weather for contemplation. I have written recently on my lack of belief system, but sometimes it seems like there is some kind of message that is trying to come through from somewhere/thing/one. These past few weeks have been a series of minor disasters, in my life and in the lives of the people close to me.
And when I say “minor disasters,” I mean a cluster of annoying events that are like pesky fruit flies: hard to swat away, lasting usually for a few days, and coming out of nowhere.
- A stand mixer dropped on my toe, resulting in an epic bruise and a toenail steadily rising up off the nailbed. #Barf
- A neck injury…from sleeping…that is persisting over several weeks.
- A cat with a broken wrist, right after the dog with tumor surgery.
- Another dog with a suspicious bump.
- My particular friend’s beautiful moss garden vandalized by a person with mental illness, at a time when my particular friend could use some stability.
- A friend whose job has suddenly turned on her, using her as a scapegoat for something she has no control over.
- The watermelon I bought yesterday was completely rotten inside this morning. #ThatsAFirst
- Likewise, a bag of small, sweet, organic peppers I bought were moldy and rotting also.
- And I nearly killed my family by using an obviously bad batch of pickled green beans in today’s slaw.
Sounds like life, yes? Like the things that just happen? Nothing deadly here, nothing permanent.
And then the dreams.
- Dreams of teaching again, three in the past few weeks.
- Dreams of loss, specifically of my beloved horse, Sadie.
- Dreams of people I haven’t seen in a long time, crossing through my mind and interacting with people I see every day.
Plus writing work, very little of which has made it onto a page/screen but is floating in my brain.
I am trying to pay attention to these things – the accidents and mishaps as well as the thoughts of my unconscious mind. I think this is what creative people in any field are: noticers. People who think about connections and the ways in which the world – all of the world – works.
But I get the sense over the past few weeks that we are not any of us in control of anything. Not even our own selves in a sense; my brain has made it very clear that it will have its way with me while I sleep, producing intense overnight emotions that have set the tone for each day of the past many weeks. It’s deeper than not sleeping; it’s literally like I have been wrestling something overnight, which perhaps explains my neck injury.
In these instances, I get the feeling that really all I can do is hang on. Make lists. Ground myself. Go to water.
I write lists of the things I have to worry about, and then methodically proceed to worry about just the one thing at a time instead of allofthethingsatonce.
I write lists of all of the things I need to do, make categories, and then attempt to do something about them. This includes mostly writing work, either paid or my own, and if you are a regular reader of this blog you will notice that my own writing has not been at the top of the list, which is a shame and probably not helping my overall psyche.
Usually also I do more yoga, but between my neck and my toe the most I have managed in the past three weeks is two Kundalini classes and maybe a bit of stretching here and there.
This is hanging on. This is getting by.
This ain’t living.
It’s a slog. A trial. An awareness that even though I am so much better off than much of the world, hanging on isn’t really “living my best life.” #ThanksOprah
It’s not particularly socially acceptable or fashionable to ask “Why bother?” on a food blog. This may not be the medium.
“Just get to the damn recipe,” you say.
I will. Spoiler alert: It’s a cocktail.
As Janis Joplin would say, it’s all the same fucking day, man.
Is that enough? The same fucking day, every day?
Maybe the pesky fruit flies are designed to wake us up out of our stupor, to remind us to stop living in such a rote fashion, to help us stay awake and aware and in the world, not dazed and living in a creamy-filmed soporific filter of simply putting one foot in front of the other every day without ever really questioning why beyond adding to our 401k and getting the kids the fuck out of the house as not-too-horrible adults.
It’s the 4th of July, and I need a drink. Specifically a drink that allows me to go all day, thinking about the things that matter without getting morose.
My particular friend and I did a lot of research on this drink. It started out as a variation on a Dirty Shirley (without the Sprite) but he didn’t love how sweet it was, and I didn’t love the plain vodka.
So here we are. I made my own fruit-infused vodka, which is really all for the best, but that could take weeks, so if you want it now, skip the flavored vodka.
You can drink this and not get hammered, perfect for a hot, humid day. It also has very little sugar, so should you miss the mark and end up getting hammered, your hangover shouldn’t be too bad. Plus, the seltzer keeps you hydrated.
The Fruit Fly
2 oz. fruit-infused vodka (see Recipe Notes)
2 dashes cherry bitters (or any bitters you like, really)
Lemon seltzer (not sweetened, or use plain seltzer)
Lime/lemon for garnish
Fill a pint glass with ice. Add vodka and cherry bitters. Top with seltzer. Garnish with lime or lemon, as you like, and maybe a few springs of fresh mint.
Fruit infused vodka: I packed a pint jar with overripe strawberries and blueberries and covered them with vodka. Steep for at least a week, then strain into another clean jar.
Bitters are, in my mind, largely a matter of preference. Cherry bitters give this drink a sweetness without adding sugar, which keeps it light and not syrupy.