Ever Upwards

•June 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m in one of those moods where you sit, and reflect on your life, and realise that all of the bad, all of those negative things, all of the things that seemed insurmountable and impossible at the time were in fact simply catalysts in the formation of you. All those moments and milestones, good or bad, have led into the shaping of who you are, how you see the world, and how you relate to other people, and for all the pain and heartache, for all the dizzying ups and horrific downs, I think I have finally come to a place of being happy with who I am, of being content with it, and of simply being.

Of late, my life has been a lot like an old lock. The kind with all the tumblers in it, and as you spin the dial to the right place, the tumblers fall into place with a solidity that a practised hand can feel, a knowledgeable mind can sense. There have been moments of watching that dial spin, and feeling the tumblers of my mind falling into place; of locks within my mind opening as the right tumblers fell. There are parts of me laid bare that I have never been able to fully explore, and I am revelling in the exploration of them. Other things within me that were sleeping are now awake, vibrant and alive, and giving my world all new colour, as if I were seeing it all for the first time. Parts of me that I had thought long dead, things I had laid to rest, not ever expecting them to be resurrected, have sprung to life with a vigour that was never there before. It is an amazing thing, and it constantly keeps me in awe and wonder as I see the world with brand-new eyes.

So now, as today draws to a close, I look out at this world that lies at my feet, and wonder what tomorrow will bring, but I know that it will be worth seeing, worth experiencing, worth living.

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Good Enough

•April 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today has  been one  of those days  that  are so brilliant and rare. It’s been so many things, and all of them good. I’m sitting now, waiting to pick up Katie, in a   shower of flower petals from a nearby tree, and it’s just  beautiful.  It may be cliche, sure,  but today, I don’t care. I  am, right now, in this moment, incredibly happy, at peace, and content, and I’m  going to revel in those feelings for as long as they  stay, which I hope  is  a good long while.

dark undone

•April 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

i just need a few more moments
time to find the warm embrace
lost within a distant voice
searching for a darker place

screaming crying drifting lost
here is where i ever am
dance where angels fear to tread
run where daemons cannot stand

walk the lines and stack the walls
safety only in the dark
fight the moment let it take me
fear the love that craves the mark

silent howling drags me under
pulling past the last reserve
hear the wailing voices whisper
never surrender beg to serve

curl close within the night
all the people lost become
see them whisper, softly offer
i will be your darkness
within me come undone

Moments In The Sun

•April 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A breeze whispers through the grass, and the sun streams down, warming my skin. I missed this, the sun. Birds sing softly, a gorgeous symphony with the sound of the fountains in the distance. A bee alights delicately on a flower, and buzzes away moments later. People pass in the distance, too far for their conversations to intrude on my solitude. A bird sits on a nearby root, watching me, it’s bright head and shiny eyes sharply turning to remain aware of its surroundings, abruptly taking furious wing at some danger unnoticed by me. The sun passes momentairly behind a cloud, but returns to once again caress my skin, so pale from the shackles of winter, now  freed, warming, slowly coming to life again. Today, the Spring is soft, gentle, and full of promise. Today is a moment in the sun in the storm of life.Life

Scarborough Cream Chicken and Rice

•March 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The finished product

I embarked on a cooking adventure tonight, after unsuccessfully trying to find a recipe that I had ingredients for and sparked my appetite. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own dish! Bear in mind that I’m the type of cook that rarely measures, if ever, and cooks to taste, so feel free to vary the ingredients, but please respect my work and don’t claim this as your own recipe.

Scarborough Cream Chicken and Rice
Cook time: Appx 30 minutes
Prep time: Appx 15 minutes
Serves: 4

**All measurements for seasonings are best-guess approximations. I don’t measure spices. I put measurements in here for people still learning their way around the kitchen. Taste your food often and season to taste!**

4 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 pkgs (8oz) cream cheese
2 cups long-cook rice
veggies of your choice
heavy cream
milk
kosher salt
oregano
basil
parsley
thyme
rosemary
sage
cayenne pepper
fresh garlic
butter or margarine
olive oil (type doesn’t matter)

Cream Cheese Fondue Sauce
Pour 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into a medium sauce pan. Add 1 tbsp of garlic, sauté. Turn down heat, and add cream cheese, cut into chunks. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup milk. Add 1 tbsp each of oregano, parsley, and basil. Add salt to taste. Stir CONSTANTLY over medium heat. (If you do not stir this constantly, it will burn.) This takes appx 10 minutes to do, so you can either make it before starting everything else, and put it aside (but keep it warm, I used a small crock pot) or make it after everything is ready. This is a modified fondue recipe, so for those new to making fondue, I’d suggest making this last, after everything else is ready.

Scarborough Chicken
Cut chicken into 1 inch chunks. In a sauté pan, sauté 1 tbsp of garlic in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add chicken. Lower heat to medium high. Add 2 tbsp each of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Salt to taste. Add 1 tbsp of butter or margarine if desired (nice for flavour). Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and leave to simmer. Keep an eye on it. As the water boils down, it will steam the chicken and help blend the flavours of the spices together. Once the water has reduced, you will be left with a small amount of oil in the bottom of the pan. Turn up the heat, and quickly brown the chicken. This needs to be done carefully so that you don’t burn the chicken or seasoning; this step is really just for presentation and colour on the chicken.

Rice & Veggies
I use traditional, long grain white rice. It’s a simple 2:1 ratio and 20 minutes to cook, which I like. I can start it and then do everything else, and the rice just happily cooks away. For this specific recipe, I used 4 cups water, 2 cups rice. Once the water comes to a boil, you add the rice, IMMEDIATELY cover, and reduce heat to a steady simmer. DO NOT OPEN THE POT UNTIL THE 20 MINUTES IS UP!!!! That is the trick to perfect rice, every time. I did not do anything other than add about a tbsp or two of butter to the rice. You don’t really want to season the rice heavily, it’s there to complement the chicken and cream cheese and veggies.

I made green beans tonight, but this would pair well with any veggie, and the cream cheese would taste well on any veggie you usually serve with cheese on it. Just be careful not to overseason the rice, or season it with contrasting seasonings.

Serve the chicken on a bed of rice, topped with the cream cheese fondue sauce, and the veggies on the side, and enjoy. I sprinkled a TINY amount of the cayenne pepper on top for colour and flavour. Pairs well with a white zinfandel or blush wine if you’re inclined. Enjoy!

Early Morning Thoughts

•January 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So, it’s now 5:11 am here, and I can’t sleep. I’m in so much pain. The demerol they sent me home from the hospital with stops having any effect after about 2 hours. The muscles around my navel (where apparently the majority of instruments and largest incision of the three for the laproscopy) are really firm to the touch, bordering on hard. Not warm to the touch, so that symptom isn’t there at least. I’m hoping that it’s just swelling, which is to be expected. Once the new dose of demerol kicks in I’m going to try putting some ice on it, see if that will help. If I can’t manage to get some decent relief by around noon I think I’m going to call the doctor and see what he says.

It’s been interesting keeping the cat off my stomach. She has been surprisingly delicate around it though. When I first came home, she walked up to me on the bed and nosed my stomach gently, sniffing at it, then moved around to my leg and laid there, with her head on my knee. It was so cute. I think she knows (probably can smell it, it’s not infected, but still an incision that’s been sterilised and all) to be gentle, that I’m hurt/healing. She’s laying off to my side now, her upper body across my chest, lower body carefully to the side. She’s a good cat.

I vaguely remember someone at the hospital telling me the first 48 hours are the worst, and after then it’s supposed to be much better. Here’s hoping, right?

Alright, I’m going to settle in with the TV, my demerol, my cat, and my water, and try to get some relief from the pain.

Oh, and I’m posting this from my Pre. 🙂 I love my phone!

Cast your soul to the sea…

•October 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So, I’m still awake. It’s 4.30 in the morning, and while I am tired, I’m not sleepy, therefore, I cannot sleep. It sucks, but it’s life, so one moves along. Thus, I shall inflict upon you all a late night music analysis.

My latest musical obsession (for those who don’t know me, I frequently get hooked on some song or another, and I will listen to it ad infinitum, usually to the point that other, normal humans, are ready to stab their eardrums out with the nearest object smaller than their elbow) is a song by the astounding Loreena McKennitt. If you’ve never heard of her, or her music, I pity your deprived existence. Links shall follow at the end of this post. I digress. The song I am currently running on repeat is called “Dante’s Prayer”. It’s a beautiful piece, rather transcendent and ethereal, opening with a simple, haunting, and powerful unison choral harmony in what I’m fairly certain is Latin. It follows with an equally simple yet again powerful piano and violin duet, the piano taking the main melody line, the violin playing counterpoint in its lower register.

I think one of the more potent things about this song is its simplicity. Ms. McKennitt has the wonderful ability to communicate something that is frequently soul-moving in the most subtle ways, without drowning her artful composing in a massive cacophony of noise and frills. She seems quite well in control of the concept of less is more, and employs it most effectively often. Since I first discovered her back in the late 90s, she has remained one of my favourite artists. Meh, I’m wandering again. Back to the song. There is much debate among devotees of her music as to the meaning behind them, and this song is one of the more hotly debated on web forums and lyric site comment boards. The most common thoughts seem to be that she is either singing about the God of the Christian faith or her lover. Ms. McKennitt’s music tends to cross into just about every major religious institution extant, however, so one is frequently left wondering.  Honestly, none but the composer could tell us who she had in mind when writing it, but I think more important than what SHE was talking about is what it means to any given listener. Hence, as I am the current listener in question, I’ll give you my take.

This song comes out, on cursory listen, almost mournful. However, for me, it’s simply entrancing. I love the notes (no pun intended) of sorrow, regret, peace, quiet joy, love, and inspiration this song draws from me. At any given moment I have one, all, or some mix of the preceding emotions (and many more that I cannot adequately name out) evoked by the music and her voice. The song flows effortlessly, running over one’s soul as a balm, cool water over a river stone, worn down by time and the current, and if I am quiet, I will drift, my mind wandering over the normal things I see when  I listen to music that touches me. Colours, images, memories; they all play behind my eyes like a silent movie, the soundtrack provided by the music and the richness and depth of my memories.

This song also touches a spiritual note for me. Now, I am not Christian. I’m generically pagan. I don’t follow any one path; most would know me as an eclectic solitaire. This song touches on the calm of meditation, of sitting by the edge of the ocean under a full moon and clear sky, the endless and infinite spread of the stars overhead, and the feeling of oneness with the Universe at large that comes once I’m past realising how very small I am. Those moments, of oneness, I treasure those. They are among the few times that everything within me is quiet and peaceful, content to simply be, and leave whatever worries I have for later. They will still be there when I’m done with my zen moment. There are a few other things that create that peace for me, but they’re for another post.

The things I think of at stupid-thirty in the morning. So, without further ado, and with this rather abrupt ending, I give you “Dante’s Prayer”, by Loreena McKennitt, from her album The Book of Secrets. I cannot directly embed them in the post as yet, so I’ll give you links to youtube. This is not an official video, as she doesn’t really make music videos often, but I like the artwork in this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60g7gvBLIoQ

And lyrics here: (This is Loreena McKennitt’s official site. You can explore all her myriad of wonderful music, in something like 6 or 8 languages!)

http://www.quinlanroad.com/explorethemusic/bookofsecrets.asp?id=109

And, with that, I bid you all valete, until next time the Muses drive me to write…

~Kelly