edamame + corn quinoa salad + a trip to ps1

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The scariest moment is always just before you start. –Stephen King

Yesterday was a photograph worth shredding. A day worth tearing to pieces and setting the scraps of paper aflame. Right now I’m writing this from a friend’s apartment, surrounded by her beautiful zoo of cats and dogs, creating some distance from it all. A few weeks ago, someone regarded me with interest, said, I don’t know what to think of you. I can’t put you in a box. I want to put you in a box, because it’s easier that way, but I can’t. At the time, I laughed when the person said this, felt proud that I couldn’t fit neatly anywhere, but as time passes, this notion that I will never be simple, be easy, starts to fill me with dread. And I think that’s what I keep evading — the fact that I consistently deviate toward a box in which I’ll never fit. Invariably, I’ll squeeze and adjust and won’t breath for a bit, and as soon as I find myself lodged halfway in, it’s only then that I’ll panic, want to climb out and run as fast as my legs will take me. It’s only then that I regard the box as a coffin, trying to pull me under, under.

I’ve always been a difficult woman.

Finding my next leap has been an exhausting process. I’ve met with many companies that are settled when I crave the unsettling, while many others talk a good game about an open culture, use all the buzz words so acutely, but then they ignore the cowering girl at reception, they whisper that they envy me my trip to Europe because, they too, want to get out. To run. After a dozen of these instances, I start to feel as if the days repeat themselves with minor variation. Photocopies of boxes stacked up neatly in open workspaces. People sporting headphones, music blasting, miming sleep. Phones that never ring because the idea of a voice is irksome when we can email our passive aggressive state. People who moan about Monday and Sundays much like how one would regard an apocalypse. The week has been reduced to five days where only coffee and Spotify will save.

I’m difficult because I want none of this. I don’t want to be complacent, to punch a series of memorized numbers that will grant me trespass to a place that I will inevitably grow to hate. I don’t want to befriend Seamless. I don’t want to spend every day inching my way toward the dying, the final box and its heavy lid and the earth that will usher us back from where it is that we’ve come.

I’m difficult because I refuse to except anything less than extraordinary in a market that’s below ordinary, at an experience level where people feel as if they can get mediocrity and inexperience on the cheap instead of making the investment, instead of thinking about the long haul. I’m difficult because I want all my children — my food, writing, friends and business work — to have equal time in the proverbial playing field, rather than reduced to a changeling, some strange, ugly thing relegated to dark corners and hidden under blankets.

I wonder if what I want actually exists, and this is the thought that keeps me up most nights, bleeding into day.

Every day I try my hardest to remain focused and positive. I fixate on creating. I try to spend time in the company of others, desperate to turn the beat around. But I’m scared of being crippled by real financial obligations (student loans, debt) to escape the ordinary.

Yesterday, paralyzed, I spent the day with art and food. Here’s hoping that I’m soon able to walk, leap, run.

INGREDIENTS: Edamame + Corn Quinoa Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
For the salad
1 lb frozen corn (fresh, shucked corn will also do)
1 lb frozen edamame (fresh will also work)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
Salt/pepper to taste

For the dressing
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white (or red) wine vinegar
1 tsp ground mustard
Salt/pepper to taste
–Whisk all together to make a delicious vinaigrette

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DIRECTIONS
I know what you must be thinking — there’s a lot of contrasting flavors here, but somehow they work. Somehow, they’re harmonious and coalesce. Trust me on this. However, if you are the mistrustful sort, you can always dress this in a simple olive oil (3 tbsp) with the existing flavorings, and the salad is equally divine.

In a medium pot, boil 2 cups of water and the pre-rinsed quinoa. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large pot, cook the frozen corn and edamame (if using fresh, just shock for a minute in the hot water) on hight heat for 5-7 minutes. When done, drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, add 2 tbsp olive oil, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir for 30 seconds, and then tumble in the corn and edamame. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the cooked veggie mixture to the quinoa. Toss gently with a spoon. Add the carrots and stir. If you’re rocking the vinaigrette, dress the salad with it, otherwise, feel free to indulge in olive oil to keep the mixture fragrant and delicious.

Serve lukewarm or cold.

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10 thoughts on “edamame + corn quinoa salad + a trip to ps1

    1. Ken, Thanks for the note. Not every post will be uplifting and positive, as this is my space to be honest with my readers about what I’m going through. I don’t feel as if I should censor myself in this regard. I always tell folks that they can choose to read my space and enjoy the journey, or simply scroll and enjoy the photos.

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      1. That comment was mispunctuated. It should have read: Great–if slightly depressing–narrative. (Emphasis on the great.) It was intended as a stroke of complimentary recognition, not a criticism. I always enjoy your writing, regardless of the tone. Ken

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  1. I often feel this way as well. If anything, maybe feel solace knowing you are not the only one who wont settle for a complacent life, who stresses over obligations and financial responsibilities, and who wants to create and live wrapped up in passions and purpose. Sending positive light and vibes!

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    1. Leslie – This brings me extraordinary comfort. I think this is one of the reasons that I’ve decided to share my journey as honestly as I possibly can. It’s both an effort to inspire others in creating shapes and lives of their own, on their own terms, but it’s also to ferret out others who are also on this strange journey to feel as if I’m less alone in the trip.

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  2. I can totally relate. I think so many of us feel trapped by our lives and our choices, long for levels of freedom and fulfillment that seem impossible to find, much less attain. Some days I wonder how I would reshape my life if money were no object, if I didn’t have to worry about paying bills and satisfying other people. I believe we can find some answers in that sort of thinking, but translating them into a financially stable life is infinitely more complicated. Some days I think there are no answers — or the ones that exist require more courage and vision than I can muster.

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    1. Cheryl,

      I agree! However, I’m remembering someone who started a business from nothing (a second act, if you will) and said the worse reason for starting a business is money and the best reason for starting a business is money. Which is to say that money is always omnipresent, but it shouldn’t be the thing that propels all of our decisions. Sounds lofty, sure, but I’m trying to be pragmatic and architect a life that takes me closer and closer to what it is that makes me happy. So if that means taking on projects I’m meh about because 20% of that time will fund 80% of my creative life, then I’m cool with it.

      I’ve also been thinking about how I carve out my day + time. I often find myself WASTING so much time on the web that I could be efficient in terms of how I complete projects that will bring in the money so I have time for my creative pursuits. Granted, this is still all in-progress, but the idea of living this ONE life dictated by money is unimaginable.

      There HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY!

      xoxox

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