First and foremost, throwing this out here (more on my latest rescue mission below):
PLEASE HELP WITH THE RESCUE AND VETTING OF THE VARET ST. CATS!!!
For the first time in a long time, there is an actual recipe featured on this blog (scroll down, if you don’t believe me). I love cooking and I love writing as two separate pastimes, but writing down the recipes from my head is frankly, rather tedious and time-consuming, and I find no pleasure in it. I wish I had someone to take notes as I cook and then translate the process into instructions and a list of measured out ingredients (I don’t use measuring tools when I cook, and this is why I hate baking – precise measuring is required).
Christmas has now come and gone (how many other blogs have I started with these exact words?), and it’s almost February – one of my favorite months of the year. Christmas this year was pretty great for me – I was able to work from home the entire week between my nephew’s birthday on the 19th, right up until a couple of days after Christmas when I decided to curtail my binge eating and head back to the city (I ate non-stop for an entire week while I was at my parents’ house… and you could certainly tell). We had snow before Christmas, and after Christmas while I was upstate, but not ON Christmas, unfortunately. Christmas day was about 53 degrees and rainy (thanks, global warming!). I took both cats out for a stroll on their leash in my parents’ backyard to test out the snow – Peeper loved it and didn’t want to come back inside (despite the fact that it was cold and windy), and poor Tuna hated it.
Christmas Eve dinner took place at my sister’s house. I made a delicious cocktail with a limited edition Hendrick’s gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and fresh thyme. After we came back from dinner, I helped my mom finish up some gingerbread man cookies and chilled. I did a whole lot of chilling for a week, which was exactly what I needed (maybe, without the sedentary days and non-stop potato chip consumption). I truly love being home – although maybe not for periods of longer than four days. Despite hating life in the city, I was itching to go home after a full week under my parents’ roof (no offense to my parents).
I feel like every time I write a blog here I extol the virtues of being surrounded by nature and quiet, but if you are living in a major city and haven’t left your urban metropolis recently, I encourage you to do so. Especially if you’re stressed or suffering anxiety (or anger issues, like I do from time to time) – getting out of the madness of the urban jungle and listening to the sounds of birds chirping and silence at night is what we all need for a hard reset sometimes. Find the cheapest hotel or Airbnb you can and just spend minimal time there; take advantage of your family or friend’s offer to let you stay with them if that is an option. Even if it isn’t the “nicest” or “coolest” small town (lord knows my hometown in Chenango county certainly is no Woodstock or Hudson), getting out of the city is better than not getting out at all. I am hoping to go home next month, maybe after my birthday. I also think I’d like to go to a salon while I’m home and go back to red hair without paying a fortune in order to do so (I am so over being this blonde – it just isn’t me).
I am thankful that I spent as much time at home as I did this year. Usually, work and the combination of my boyfriend’s work schedule mean that I am never home for more than three days and do not get to see all of the family I hope to see while I am home.
My plan was to return to the city so that I could celebrate NYE here properly, since everything was cancelled last year. However, my plans were once again foiled. My boyfriend, who assured me he would be out by 12:30AM at the latest, did not get home from work until 3AM. Naturally, I was passed out on the couch, and he was exhausted from having worked a 15 hour shift. It sucks since we bought tickets to a party that only went on until 5AM. We decided to go out the next night, but that also turned out to be a dud. It was pouring rain, and the party we decided to check out at The Good Room in Greenpoint, turned out to be a gay party. We stayed 20 minutes before peacing out and going back home. Nothing against the gays, but it’s not really fun to be at a gay party unless you’re a gay man looking to get laid.
Before wasting more money on party tickets for another party we wouldn’t stay at, we had dinner at Maison Premiere. That was the highlight of the weekend for me. They reopened a few months ago, having been closed for all of 2020 and most of 2021, and I was so happy to be back for the first time since February 2020 – it is one of my favorite Williamsburg staples. The atmosphere, small plates, and cocktails are the best (although the prices are not).
The food was just as great as it has always been. I had the steak tartare (It’s my weakness and uncannily enough, my favorite food ever, despite my best efforts to NOT eat meat….). We also had oysters, mussels, and the cod toast (another favorite). This place is such a gem – I am so happy they’re back in business! Would definitely not recommend if you’re on a tight budget and very hungry though… there are much better paces to go if you’re ravenous or want to get lit (cocktails are too expensive to get lit here).
I am honestly kind of relieved that our NYE and NYD were so low-key. Every time I party now, I basically need a whole 48 hours to recover. Partying honestly isn’t as fun as it used to be – the prices they charge for tickets these days should honestly include a gram of the drug of your choice, since they are so fucking steep. I also think I have an allergy to alcohol. If I have more than two glasses of wine, I wake up looking like Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster. I digress ….
My aunt and uncle gifted us a certificate for a shop in Greene, NY, that I had never heard of: Hymn & Hawe. I was expecting a gift store or some sort of country store akin to the Masonville general store (which I love), but my expectations were far surpassed upon entering the store. Not everything was necessarily my style, but they had a lot of very nice furniture at what seemed like very reasonable prices. They also had a really nice selection of art from estate sales, and we ended up buying both a print-on-canvas, and also a small painting of Venice! I definitely am looking forward to going back to this store, and highly recommend to anyone living in the area.
I must say, I am very sad I no longer have my little Christmas tree to brighten up the apartment. I milked it for all it was worth, and left it up until a few days after epiphany. The poor thing was dry as a bone and shedding like crazy. I was truly tempted to buy a light-pink fake tree and decorate it for Valentines day, but let’s face it – this apartment doesn’t really have room to spare or storage space. Plus, I am against buying more plastic, if I can help it (although I think the concept of a pink tree is really cool, and the idea of a Valentines tree is still tempting).
Work has slowed down to the point where I am once again questioning the security of my position. There is truly no in-between for this industry: it’s either a balls-to-the-wall, 55-hour grind of a work week, that makes me feel absolutely psychotic and explosive, or it’s a radio silence, bare-minimum 35-hour week, that I treasure, since I can actually live my life, but also makes me worried I’m about to be “let go” at any given minute. A happy medium would be nice. When work is slow and I fear losing my job, I just make sure to tell myself to enjoy each day, since I am still able to get out for walks, cook leisurely meals, and chill after 6PM without my email notifications blowing up all night. Thankfully, the week of Christmas wasn’t crazy and I was able to enjoy my time home.
I truly love that week in between Christmas and the New Year – even though I haven’t had that week off since I was a college student of 20. I love that everyone seems to be in a happy, laissez-faire mood. No one at work is in a rush to get things done, everyone is happy and satiated from Christmas celebrations and the abundance of high-fat foods, sweets and chocolate in their lives. People are jolly and good-spirited. I wish every week could be like this week generally is. The world would certainly be a better place. I am happy January is almost over – it is the most depressing month of the year, once the Christmas decorations come down and everyone resumes work and daily life again. It’s also so dark and dreary in January – snow would definitely help to brighten the situation, but we haven’t really had any that has stuck so far in NYC. We had a snow the week after New Year’s Day, but it had melted almost fully by the second day after the initial snowfall.
I am hoping that we have some more snow in time for Valentine’s Day (not that I celebrate) and/or the week of my birthday. I’m sure If I am able to go upstate following my Birthday, there will be snow – there usually is in late February/early March.
Other than working my day job (that’s how I like to think of my job… as a “day” job – it helps put life into perspective), I am currently focused on getting healthy (when am I not?) and also rescuing four cats that are trapped across the street. I’ve been coordinating with Greenpoint Cats and a couple of other local cat rescues to set things up, and we will be trapping them this weekend. Long story short (because I could certainly go on a rant of epic proportions right now), the cats are not and spayed/neutered and have never seen a vet. They are not exactly spring chickens either. These poor cats do not get direct sunlight and have lived their entire lives in the shade of a building and the confining walls of some shoddy courtyard where they are confined. I have no idea what the bottom/ground of this courtyard looks like, and I am kind of scared to find out (I hope it’s not cluttered with litter, garbage, broken bottles, trash, etc., but something tells me it is). They’ve also had litters of kittens that have died from lack of care and exposure over the years, and the worst part, is that they have to climb a 6-story fire escape (in all kinds of inclement weather) in order to eat. The guy who has been feeding them isn’t the one who brought them in – apparently the building super brought them in as rodent control for the basement of the building. I’ve been told that they have “access to the basement” (whatever that means), but I really do wonder how they get in and out and if it is at all warm in the basement. I highly doubt the poor cats have bedding down there.
Anyhow, we will be trapping them this weekend and then they’re off to see the vet on Monday. I started a GoFundMe to raise money for the cost of their vet visits/spaying/neutering surgeries, which will undoubtedly add up fast considering they are senior cats and have had no preventative care up until this point. If you’d like to donate, please see below link. All leftover donations go directly towards helping other cats in need.
IF YOU’D LIKE TO DONATE:
HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THE VARET ST. CATS (GoFundMe)
The shittiest part about living in a low-income neighborhood surrounded by projects, is the abundance of strays and the neglect/abuse of animals that seems to be rampant. I don’t care about the mentally ill, possibly dangerous homeless men smoking crack on the street, or the fact that gangs sell drugs on the street corner two blocks down, or even that someone was stabbed to death in a local deli a couple of years ago. I’m a grown woman with pepper spray, a taser, and a hot temper, and I can and will fend for myself. What I care about, are all of the animals suffering on the streets here, without a voice, with no choice in the matter of their circumstances, and their daily suffering, which is overlooked by almost everyone passing by. I know it hard for people to care about animals when they are struggling to feed and house themselves and their family and living in poverty. But it blows my mind that these people, the same ones who struggle to put food on the table for their kids and themselves, think taking in a kitten is a good idea. These kittens are the ones that end up un-spayed or un-neutered on the street 8 months later, when the family decides they can no longer afford to take care of it, or they abandon their 6-year old cat in a crate in the middle of winter, when the cat keeps peeing on the couch because it has a UTI they left untreated (don’t even get my started on the people who hoard animals, or get dogs they keep confined to a kennel). I know that people of all income brackets are capable of animal abuse and neglect, but it is way more prevalent in neighborhoods like mine, where the majority of families struggle to live day-to-day life and keep their human kids clothed and fed. There are stray cats all over my neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and most people do not bat an eye at their suffering, because they just don’t have the time, energy, or resources to care or help. Oftentimes, they do not even know that sources are available to help, at no cost of their own. Sorry… I could keep going, but I’ll stop.
Onto the recipe! Sorry for the very long-winded diversion…
CURRIED LENTIL SOUP (to feed the soul)
Warning: lentils are high in fiber and therefore can make you extremely bloated (especially if you’re like me and finish the entire pot of soup in two days). I would not recommend eating this soup if you have a hot date the night of, plan to wear a body-conscious dress or crop top, or plan to have sexy times (if you know what I’m saying). The great thing is, that because of the high fiber content, this soup will also make you go to the bathroom (I don’t need to get into specifics), and you’ll have the flattest stomach ever after your morning coffee the next day. LOL.
- 1 and 1/2 cups of dried red lentils (green lentils or French lentils could also work)
- 2 medium-sized carrots (chopped)
- 1/2 of a large white/yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
- 2 stalks of celery (diced)
- 1 pack of frozen spinach, or 1 box of fresh spinach
- 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
- Approx. 4 cups of chicken, vegetarian chicken, or veggie stock (I use the “Better Than Chicken” bouillon and just add it to the boiling water!)
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 3 TBS (yellow) curry powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1 TBS granulated sugar
- 1 tsp granulated/powdered garlic
- a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and black pepper to taste (salt usually isn’t needed since the curry powder is salty and the stock may be salty if using bouillon as the base)
- **Feel free to add in the following if you have on hand, or need to use up: Mushrooms, potatoes (1 or 2 max), arugula, any other veggie you think might go well!
- Prep the veggies – Wash veggies where applicable and chop the onion, carrots, celery and mince the garlic (carrots and celery do not have to be chopped finely)
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over low heat, add in the onions stirring occasionally and cooking over low-heat until translucent and yellow.
- Add in the celery and garlic and continue to cook over low heat for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the dried lentils, the carrots, all of the veggie/chicken stock, and raise temperature and bring to a gentle boil.
- Cook at a gentle boil until the carrots and lentils are almost tender – about 10-12 minutes (I think?)… occasionally sample a lentil or two to see how tender they are..
- Once the lentils are softened, add in the crushed tomatoes and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted (or, in the case of frozen, is no longer frozen)
- Turn down the heat and add in the spices – tasting as you go along to make sure everything is coming together nicely. You may need to play around with the ratio of spices (I do not measure with measuring tools – just taste testing)
- Continue to cook over low heat until the lentils begin to break apart (that’s how soft they should be!)
- Finally, add in the can of coconut milk, stir in so it’s incorporated, and if necessary, add 1-1.5 TBS of sugar and any additional spices you think it might need to reach its best potential
In other, more superficial news, I am so over my blonde hair. I thought it would bring me joy – it brings me none. I thought it would make me feel pretty – it makes me feel trashy. It’s been almost 2 months now since I bleached it. I think I will go back to a nice strawberry-blonde shade sometime soon. I just worry that my hair is not healthy enough to fuck with right now, since I’ve been experiencing a lot of breakage since the bleach. I was warned – I should have listened. Live and learn I guess, right?
I feel like having COVID and living through 2020/2021 in NYC had added years to my face, aesthetically speaking. I was tired of looking tired, even when I didn’t feel tired inside, so I decided to take time back (at least, aesthetically speaking, since we can never get that time back), and so I tried botox for the first time in November at the age of 33. It’s a decision I am happy I made – I no longer wake up with lines on my forehead that don’t go away during the day. And, despite the fact that I used to talk mad shit about girls with obvious lip fillers (*I regret having this attitude*), I also decided to take the plunge and try lip fillers in November. The real deciding factor in both of these decisions? EVERYBODY’S DOING IT. That sounds terrible – and who the fuck wants to be a follower?! Not me, although, I guess now I am to some extent… Honestly though, I live in NYC (I assume this is the same scenario with any major city) and *almost* EVERYONE from the age of 27 on is having work done, if they can afford it. Most people just don’t talk about it openly, but if you scroll back a few years on their IG account, you can tell.
I have always liked the shape of my lips, but in recent years (maybe the past 5), I feel like they’ve deflated significantly (kind of like how a helium balloon looks, 5 days after the party has ended), and they look perpetually dry, even when I am quite hydrated. The only time my lips have looked truly luscious in recent years, is after a night of drinking and/or high sodium intake – I would wake up and hate that the rest of my face and body was bloated and puffy AF, but I’d admire how full and pouty my lips were. I feel like it’s still taboo to some extent, to talk about shit like this (that’s why I’m writing about it here, where only a select few will read). But, if you know me and see me regularly, you can probably (scratch that: DEFINITELY) tell when you see me (in person), that they’re bigger… so I thought I’d just throw it out here (for anyone who reads this). It was actually kind of another spur of the moment decision (kind of like this blonde hair… I told you, I am clearly going through some sort of crisis…), but one that I do not regret. I had them done at JECT when I got my botox.
I should have taken into account how long I’d be bruised from the ordeal – I had them done the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and they were still bruised and swollen AF when I had to go home and face my family five days later. Naturally, I had to admit what I had done to my sister and my brother, who both separately confronted me. My parents played it cool, but my sister told me that my dad separately brought it up to her and my mom, saying “I think she may have had her lips enhanced.” Apparently my mom, ever oblivious, replied “You know she always likes to over-line her lips, Tom.” This actually makes me chuckle, because that much is true. I spent the ages of 19 – 28 over-lining my lips in an attempt to make them look bigger, before I realized how obvious it looked in broad daylight, and then stopped doing any sort of lip color altogether until now. Side note: you can totally get away with over-lining and clever lip gloss placement in a dark restaurant or nightclub, or even a photo, but in real life and in natural light, it looks not-so-good (especially up close).
Anyhow, after the swelling went down (which literally took a full 2 weeks for me), I had a couple of unsightly lumps which were a dead give away that I’d had injections, and also made me super self-conscious when talking with people. I went back to JECT and they dissolved the lumps (free of cost, since it was their fault), and I am now completely happy with the results. I am happy that my top lip no longer completely disappears when I smile (which is honestly probably part of my endearing charm to those who know me (JK), but also something I’ve been self conscious of for most of my life). I am also happy I no longer feel self-conscious when my face is in its natural, resting bitch face, which always gave my mouth a particularly stern and thin appearance.
Anyhow, I feel lucky to be in a place in my life where I can finally afford to finance these endeavors… I probably would have done this years ago if I wasn’t struggling financially. I hate myself for giving into the pressure, but at the same time I feel so much better when I wake up and assess my face each morning. I wish I didn’t care so much, it goes against all of my feminist ideals… but I always have cared and sadly, I always will.