an awakening at moma: there is a method

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The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.Stanley Kubrick

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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love.life.eat. of the week: inspiration, everywhere

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Can I tell you that it feels as if I’ve been in a deep sleep from which I’ve only just woken up? All bleary-eyed, arms outstretched and groggy, I’m feeling my way through this new, strange world, trying to make sense of it. Trying to bring it all into focus. So imagine the magic that I’ve recently uncovered only because I’ve open my eyes to it.

When I was small my world was the anthesis of magic, so I would close my eyes and try to knit together a fantastical world that inspired. From Canadian pen pals to collecting colorful Lisa Frank stickers to writing stories likening my mother’s voice to thunder, magic was solely of my invention. I had to seek it out. Decades later I’m realizing that this is true too. You have to do some of the work to ferret out beauty, but when you find it, it’s truly a site to see.

love.: I always complain about going “uptown”, but I shut my trap and made the trek to the MET, and it was worth it. From the Matisse and George Bellow exhibits, to marveling over digital photography, my day was an invigorating one, and today’s post has a few of the photos from my visit.

Inspired by these 10 Essential Feminist Texts (Maxine Hong Kingston’s classic is a must-read). Friends have also recommend Karen Russel’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman, and Sheryl Sandberg’s much-hyped Lean In. Forever an ardent evangelist of literary fiction, I’m starting to creep out of my comfort zone by tackling smart non-fiction (btw, Reading Going Clear {an expose on Scientology} is infinitely more frightening than any horror movie).

life.: Karina’s simple + vividly fashioned post on taking risk; Frankie’s glimpse into the magic that is Marrakech; Windward’s post on magic, visualized; and the journey of one lawyer to travel writer and nomad is awe-inspiring.

eat.: My doctor gave me some woeful news: I have to cut down on carbs. But! But! What will I eat? How will I live? He responded to my usual dramatics with reasoning. Don’t cut them out completely {of course!} but just balance. A coworker pointed me to this yummy Turkey Quinoa Meatball recipe. I’ve also learned about Underground Eats {exclusive haute dining experiences}, City Grit {a store that converts to a culinary pop-up} and Cook + Go {culinary classes for the newbie cook}. This is what happens when I open my eyes and my heart to new friends and experiences.

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