An Unwind at Day’s End

 

I was excited for this. My first  Sex in the City type blog post. A drink in hand, in this case a mimosa made with orange and pineapple juice and a classic movie…in this case The Avengers I was ready to pen or in this case type the things I learned today. Ask the questions I sketched down. Vent the things needed. So as promised, here it is.

I’m always amazed at how quickly I’m adjusting to grown up life in the big city. But there are certain things that always give me pause. The garbage cities that litter underpasses and dot the landscape in a great trail of human tragedy, the impoverished that daily question me for the remnants of my lunch or pocket change, the age of this city and the long since faded legacy and shadow that loom over the landscape of this place I now call home. I’m amazed by city life.

On the other hand, I am struck by the beauty of some aspects. Old buildings, tasteful murals, the upbeat lively nature of a city anxious to grow and step out of its shadow. I am enamored with this city. With the life I’m building here and plan to continue to build here. The tourism board should really pick this up.

But in embracing the city, I realize that it has further encouraged my misanthropy. Now, there are plenty of good reasons to keep to yourself. There are terrible people out there that would easily take advantage of a chatty young lady. Sly con men that can make a girl do just about anything. So I stay quiet. I answer almost no one’s random questions, refuse nearly any flyer and walk at a steady pace. On my bus ride to and from work I build a wall between myself and the world between my shoulder bag and my mp3 player. I drown out the noise of the day, the would be rapper in the back. The noisy child with the inattentive parent. The young lady yelling at her boyfriend du jour. The old man who fell asleep as soon as he sat down. I build a wall against all of it The constant chatter of the day encourages the already massive introvert that I am.

I’m learning the city. I’m finding her ways interesting. Learning quickly how to adapt them to my own. I’m still learning. I have a lot of growing still to do. And I don’t think there are things I’ll ever outgrow. Habits, traits, patterns. But I’ll make it. I’m excited to see how I grow in this city and how I’ll change this city, and I will one day.

So until the next post, stay well. 🙂

As The World Mourns

Insignificant things make the news all the time. Bigfoot Marries Local Woman. Bird Pecks Elderly Man in Park. Snow: It’s Cold. 

Really insignificant. Especially in the long run. But this isn’t meant to be a critique on the news media of the day. (That’s coming later, rest assured.) this is about mourning. 

Not too long ago, I was met with some very sad news. Colonel Meow passed away. Now, a great bit of referencing is required. So here it is, and don’t expect it again. Everyone lucked out this time. Colonel Meow is a cat. Not my cat. But an Internet Cat. Made famous by memes, blog posts, Twitter Pictures and Youtube Videos. He was striking. He was intense. He was fearsome. And a Guinness World Record Holder. He was fabulous. He was terrifying, but he like all of us, was mortal. He met his fate not long ago. 

Now, I’m not here to bash this event or trivialize it, an owner lost a beloved pet and the world did lose something that connected countless individuals over one single cause. I was genuinely saddened by this myself. As one of his dedicated ‘minions’ a title I only share with that of Mr. Spike Spencer, I did too feel a certain loss when Colonel Meow passed away. It was like I lost someone, too. It was like I as well lost a beloved pet. And I’ve felt that pain before, it’s all too real. 

What struck me though, was that I was not alone in this grief process. The Colonel had millions of other minions. And we all lost our valiant leader one that day. I was amazed by some of the comments people left. And as much as I wanted to be a cynical judgmental person, I couldn’t be. I mean, this was the death of a cat that made it to most of the major news outlets. CNN reported on this, CNN! No matter how badly I wanted to judge. To snark. To tease. I couldn’t.  I was in the exact same boat. I was upset, too, over the exact same cat. 

Loss is loss, we learn that early on. Everyone experiences it, we all deal with it differently. It is written into the collective unconscious of the world to know that loss affects us greatly. We attach to things for different reasons, each of which is our own to have. And it shouldn’t be judged. When a life ends, everyone loses something. The Six Degrees of Separation that connect us by a gossamer thread of chance, luck and happenstance only shrink as we further connect ourselves to others in this Wide World. 

The passing of Colonel Meow reminded me loss doesn’t alienate us. It reminds us who we are still connected to. I was one of many grieving minions who through support was able to continue to move on through my day. The Colonel would prefer things that way. He wouldn’t want us to mourn. He’d demand scotch. 

Rest in Peace, Colonel Meow. You have plenty of loyal minions here to keep the mission alive. 

A Mother’s Beloved Recipe

My mother was famed for many things. Hailed as a great chef and one of the pillars of my family, she was known for her total lack of recipes for really anything. She had learned many of them and kept them committed to memory. She was a magician that way.

One recipe my mother was most known for wasn’t a confection, it wasn’t a cake, cookie, or casserole. It was a treatment. An egg and olive oil treatment for hair.

Now, some background information is more than needed. Winter hair is a terrible plague at times to deal with. And the cycles of wet/cold then dry/cold has absolutely done a number on my hair. So I sought treatment to remedy the frazzled mess I was still attempting to call my hair.

In theory, an egg and oil treatment is very sound. Egg yolks, rich in proteins, fortify the hair while the oil moistens the scalp and adds shine. In theory, it’s a great idea. In theory.

I had performed this ritual once before while in school as an in-shower treatment. The ghastly concoction of oil and egg that swirled into my shower drain was less than appealing. But as an in-shower treatment, made sense. And the end result was very shiny hair with great body.  I enjoyed it so much I did think

Certainly, I will try this again.

So I did.

I recently tried this famous recipe again. Adding a little more research to my mother’s sound recipe. And with the collective amassing of knowledge, I found out a key difference between how I used the treatment and another more “proper” way to do it.

According to research, it was meant to be a pre-shower treatment.

Let me spell that out for you.

You are to take a mixture of raw egg and olive oil, comb that into your hair, and leave it there for at least  30 minutes.

It sounds great, doesn’t it?

So I mixed the needed ingredients together and did my best to apply said mixture to my hair.

It went about as well as it sounds.

Imagine trying to intentionally comb into your hair thinned honey.

But I managed.

The entire process was a slimy mess of shame and the continual wondering of

Why am I doing this?

But I prevailed.

Once the mixture had made it safely to my head, albeit having to sacrifice part of my bathroom sink, I was instructed to wrap my hair with a shower cap and let the mixture set.

Made sense enough. So I did so.

Now, physics reminds us that things like slimy plasma-like substances don’t like to stay in one place.

As a result, within minutes of securing the cap, I was awash with runny, oily egg yolk.

It is about as attractive of a mental image as it was.

This is clearly a look for someone who hates themselves.

Yolk dripping, I took it all in stride. What I won’t do for my hair. I grabbed a towel, dabbed away excessive yolk spillage as I could catch and and decided to hell with the rest.

I sat for my 30 minutes. All while hating myself, hating eggs, hating oil. Basically, hating everything.

Once I rinsed, I did feel a lot better. And I do feel it was a good idea to treat my hair in such a way in preparation for stronger winter cold ahead.

The massacre of towels needn’t be discussed, they fought a good fight. And it was all worth it.

In the end, when I replicate things my mother did I feel like she’s there with me. It’s like taking a step back in time. It connects us. Some have stories, others rituals. I have egg and oil treatments.

This one’s for you, Mom. I look fabulous.

A Sip of Luxury

It’s been cold here. 

Very cold.

Like 20 degrees outside, cold. 

I dislike it a lot. But that’s not why I’m here.

Because I started a new job, I’m consuming now a dangerous amount of caffeine. I’m easily going through 4-5 cups of coffee a day. Not to mention energy drinks and pastry in between. Needless to say, I’m rather popular at our corner Starbucks now. Hobnobbing with Baristas, because they make the best friends, it’s the metropolitan girl’s dream. 

A Double Shot, Extra Hot, Skim White Chocolate Mocha with Whip.

My order. My perfect drink. 

It sends me into a bliss-filled caffeine dream. 

As I prepared to cross the street with my drink and cinnamon roll in hand, a homeless man stopped me and asked a question.

Do you have any change for a cup of coffee?

I was very quick to reply “No.” and the truth was, I didn’t. I’m not a cash-carrying girl. But I realized then the terrifying irony of sitting here bundled up with 2 scarves, 2 jackets and a hot cup of coffee while this man only asked for the bare minimum to warm up. Again, it’s damn cold. 

As I waited for the light to turn green, I made a choice. 

Instead of taking my drink back up to the office, I gave it to him. I sacrificed my perfect drink. I didn’t need it. There’s coffee in the office, and this is literally empty sugar calories in a cup. Things that someone who is cold like that…needs desperately. And if I could give him something that would make him feel special, then I should and would do that. I get this drink because it is expensive, because it does make me feel a bit luxurious. If I can share that with someone else, I think it’s my obligation as a human being to do so. 

The man was excited, said “God bless you.” and I went on my way thinking this drink may be a little sweet for him. I should have just let him order something he’d like. 

Now, I’m not a part of some “Pay it Forward” initiative. I’m in fact rather cynical to the homeless issue in urban areas. And I’m not on the other end of the spectrum that thinks poverty is a myth, but in cities like San Antonio where a homeless man has more resources at his disposal than some of the college students, I’m a little hardened to the idea of the helpless homeless. There is in fact a shelter or two very close to where we were. And the idea of charity has always been a little faceless to me. We’re told to give. And I do. But I’m suspicious of the perpetually youthful children in Africa and the blanket causes that line more wallets than they do shelters.

But in that moment, I decided giving of myself this way was easier. I hope he takes the energy and warmth from that drink to do something to change his life for the better. Visit a shelter, get the help he needs. Because I know he needs it. If my constant bellyaching is any indication of the drastic climate change here, I can’t imagine dealing with that and having no where to go. Despite my issues in my tiny apartment, it’s a roofed in place with a heater and food. And if he doesn’t, I don’t regret giving up my drink. I hope it warms his heart.

It warmed mine this morning.

Stay well, everyone. It’s cold outside. Take care of each other. We’re all in this madcap race called “life” together. Let’s act like it.

Sharing Gummy Bears With Strangers

Public transit is amazing. To think of how many people it brings together for the common goal of getting from Point A to Point B to me is mind-boggling. I really love it.

Now, that being said, I keep to myself. I’m a girl in the city. I know that the big city isn’t always the safest place. And I happen to be a bit of an introvert. I’m much happier listening to “The Killers” than I am striking up random conversation with people I never will meet again.

Today while waiting at the bus stop, I saw a man with a bag. A pouch of Gummy Bears to be precise. I noticed the obvious packaging and was immediately transported to a happier place. A place where Gummy Bears are a shared experience. Friends exchanged them as loving tokens. They connect people of all ages, races and faiths. Gummy Bears should be a part of our New Foreign Policy. Things would get done. Bottom line.

I wanted a Gummy Bear.

But I didn’t know this man. This man didn’t know me. We are not friends. We aren’t even acquaintances. I’m another passing face. One of many he’s encountered in the day. As he was to me.

There were two ways to handle this situation.

1) Ignore him and his tasty sweet confection.

2) Ask the stranger for some candy.

What could go wrong?

But then I paused. I couldn’t well ask a bizarre man for candy. He’d think I was a loony. And he very well could have done something terrible to those ursine figures of delight.  And my skepticism was well founded.

Now keep in mind, I’m a 90’s kid. The famed generation known for over-protective parents and an attitude about life that is…to put bluntly unique. We grew up based on the fear and paranoia our parents instilled in us. Danger was around every corner. Nothing was sacred. Everyone was a threat. Things, even nice looking things, can and will kill you. This is the age of razor blades in Halloween candy, after all.

But I don’t believe things were always like this. We millennials are a bit egocentric in that regard. We struggle to imagine a time before ours when you could accept something from a stranger and it not clearly be laced with something deadly or vile.

An apple given to you by a kind neighbor only a few years ago was accept with glad tidings. Not the item of immense speculation only to be discarded.

The moral of the story? Yea, obviously don’t take candy from strangers. And use some honest common sense. But not everything need be met with such great suspicion. Maybe good people really do exist. Honest people. People who wouldn’t want to cause you harm just for the sake of it. And not to say that there aren’t people out there that would. Yes, keep that in mind always. There are bad people out there. It’s a tragic reality of the human condition But this has made me consider some of my barriers.

What do I off the top of mind label as “suspicious” or “not trustworthy”.

If the man had only offered me a Gummy Bear…

Oh well, a girl can dream.