I can finally wear what I want “to work,” but I never realized how fucking bored I’d be working from home. Holy shit. I guess I am a type A in a lot of ways (***mostly not… honestly, I hate type A people… they’re boring and annoying). But, I guess I thrive on routine (at least during week days). I am only on day two (2) of working from home/”quarantine” and I am already going crazy from not leaving my apartment. If I can’t take my daily walks, I don’t know how I will survive. I am trying to do floor exercises and refrain from eating, if not hungry, but I’m ALWAYS hungry, since I’m fucking bored. I always imagined it would be awesome working from home, but I guess not under these circumstances.
This was me on day one of quarantine (aka, yesterday). I woke up and had time to ACTUALLY take care of myself. For once in my life, I had time to do a face mask… in the MORNING. I was still so full of hope…. I had the whole world ahead of me. I woke up at a decent hour and did a face mask and some push ups. And now? I’ve realized we are fucked. We’re not going back to what we had.
I’m scared of job security. I’m scared of my parents or my boyfriend’s parent’s getting sick… I’m not scared for myself. I can take anything. I probably actually honestly already had the virus. I just don’t want my family to be sick, and I don’t want to lose my job as a result of the market crashing. My boyfriend works in hospitality, so sadly, he is currently unemployed since all restaurants, clubs and bars were mandated to close. I just don’t want it to get worse…. how much worse can it actually get though? I just imagine food shortages, riots in the street, and people being turned away from already-full hospitals would be worst-case scenario.
I mean, I survived the great recession… I feel pretty confident I can live on a bag of rice or some lentils for 4 months and be fine. I just worry about our future. The future of us. My generation has been so so so fucked over, and the generations below me, even more so. Humanity made this mess though – between over-population, mass agriculture, factory farming, all of the shit we have done that contributed to global warming, and now eating endangered, wild animals which has led to this pandemic (“allegedly”… I believe this virus was manufactured in and released from a lab)… we brought this on ourselves.
I don’t know – I guess be careful what you wish for. I’ve been wishing for more time off with my boyfriend since we have one day a week (at best) and totally opposite sleep and work schedules. Well kids, we finally have some time off together – locked inside our one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment with no where to go, nothing to do, and even if we could go out, nothing is open. It fucking sucks. But I am thankful that we’re healthy, our families are healthy, are friends are healthy, and I still have a job (for now).
Switching over to food (I’m sure we’ve all been bombarded with enough news about corona to last three lifetimes now…), I made this delicious eggplant parm on Sunday. The key to good eggplant parm is breading with flour instead of breadcrumbs. I don’t have the ambition to write Any recipes right now, since I don’t really care about food right now. Just kidding – I always care about food. It is the only thing that drives me and inspires me in these dark times. And also tortures me when I am trying not to eat to much of it as I am trapped inside and sedentary….
I also made this focaccia the other day (Saturday, when I still felt sick). Food is the only thing that is constant. Food is important regardless of what is happening. It is what unites us, feeds us, comforts us, or, in my case, makes us suicidal when we’re trapped inside and can’t stop eating it. And soon, we may not have enough of it to go ’round. #cheers
Here – my cats. They’re cute, right? I know. It’s the only thing cute and welcoming I have going for me. Hopefully they can add some joy to your day as well. Shameless shout out if you need some cute cats in your life: instagram.com/peepsandtuna.
Well kids – I have nothing else to say. I’m just hanging on here… taking shit day-by-day. I hope everyone reading is doing the same – staying safe and healthy, and trying their best to also stay mentally and emotionally healthy in these trying times.
Annndddd … I just spilled hot coffee on this keyboard…. #WINNING!!!! <— This actually just about sums up my last two months, if not my entire life…
Despite the title of this blog, there isn’t really much to catch up on to be honest… the last two months have flown by at lightning speed, as all months tend to do once you’re over a certain age. I never believed my parents or grandparents regarding ‘how fast time goes the older you grow.’ It wasn’t until I hit about 25 that I began to experience this strange phenomenon first-hand. The last seven years are a blur, punctuated only by precious moments and mental stills – both good and bad – nights, sunrises, people, lessons learned, the highs and the lows; experiences and memories that I wouldn’t trade-in for anything else. I feel like the last seven years basically happened in the span of one or two.
I think we finally become our “true self” around the age of 25-26. Before this age, you’re still a kid and don’t really know what’s up, because you just haven’t lived long enough or experienced enough or even met enough people to shape you yet. I think our personality kind of solidifies by the time we hit 26 or so…. I still feel like the same person inside at the age of 32 that I did when I was 26. I guess this is also the sad reason that elderly people look in the mirror and are shocked by the reflection they see once they hit a certain age – because even though their body is betraying them by aging physically, they still feel not a day over 26 on the inside. Such is life. My mom always says that ‘youth is wasted on the young’, and she’s not wrong.
This is 32. I figure I’ve only got a few decent years left in me before I start resorting to fillers (**if I can ever even afford them) and healthy living (i.e. green juices, yoga, no more partying, actual work-outs…). I’ve been wearing SPF all these years and avoiding the sun, so at least I have that going for me. It’s definitely hard being a woman and getting older though. I know we hear female celebrities saying this all the time… but it is SO SO true, and I’m not even technically “middle-aged” yet. There is so much pressure to not only stay young (literally impossible to do), but also to stay looking young (which takes effort and possibly money, if you have enough to spend on treatments, the best skin care, etc.).
Despite society telling us that as women, we are only valuable when we’re still young and attractive (and given how shitty that can make you feel inside once you start getting white hairs and fine lines), getting older is a blessing. I feel more confident and more grounded than ever. I know who I am and who I want to be, and I am less selfish and foolish than I was in my twenties. To grow older is a gift and an opportunity that many people will never have. So remember that next time you bitch about turning 30, or whatever age. Some of your peers didn’t get a chance to turn 30.
We all have this idea in our head when we’re younger, of where we will be at a certain age. When I was 25, I definitely thought I’d be married by my current age, possibly a home owner, and definitely working at a more fulfilling and creative job. Even if I am not where I once thought I’d be, I am happy to be where I am. Even with the outside pressure that is put upon me by others and by society, I am OK with where I am right now in this time and place. I sometimes feel like it is easier to grow older in a major city like NYC (at least up until a certain point), especially when you have failed to meet the stereotypical “milestones” set by society. If I were this age and living upstate right now (or in any small, rural town in America), I think I would be bored out of my mind, since almost everyone I know or went to school with is married and has kids now. I don’t think I’d have any friends to go out with or who share the same interests as me at this stage in life given the fact that I am unmarried and child free. I also feel like it would also be 10x harder to live in a small/rural town and be single at this age, since everyone is either married or divorced with three kids. Slim pickings for singletons for sure. Not really sure where this train of thought was going….
I think that what I’m saying, is that even though I ‘hate’ this city and want to move out someday sooner than later, this city has allowed me a chance to flourish as an individual and come into myself fully. This city does not put same pressures to marry and have kids on me that life in a small town might. I guess turning another year older has had me thinking of all of this recently….
I had a relatively low-key birthday this year – stayed in our favorite Airbnb in Woodstock and a nice dinner with my sister on my actual birthday. Tuna also celebrated his birthday (1st birthday, to be precise!) the day after mine. Here we are, together, basking in that birthday glory and, in my case, basking in copious amounts of sugar.
I was also spoiled with sweets at work – cupcakes and macarons. I am not being sarcastic when I say that I feel so loved when people go out of their way to get me food or presents for my birthday. I never feel like I deserve these things or the effort or thought that goes into them … it literally made my entire day, even if my skin paid the price for a full two weeks (major acne flair-up thanks to my diet of Cadbury creme eggs for breakfast, cupcakes and macarons for lunch, and funfetti cake for dinner for a whole week straight).
It’s been so long since I posted that I haven’t even posted this amazing dress/robe I got on sale at Victoria’s Secret. Who knew that one of my favorite brands, For Love and Lemons, did a special line of lingerie and clothing just for VS? I know VS is tres gauche these days, but fuck it. I get a gift certificate for VS every Christmas and it’s just about the only time of year I treat myself to overpriced underwear, etc.
As per usual, one of the only things that gets me through each work day or lonely weekend where my BF works a 12-hour shift on a Saturday, is planning what I will cook for dinner and then executing it. I’ve cooked some really time-consuming things in the last couple of months, including, but not limited to: homemade pasta, homemade gnocchi, Focaccia and French-style baguettes from scratch, and recreated the amazing shrimp etouffee dish that I had on my birthday at Maison Premiere.
I truly hope that Maison Premiere never closes their doors. They’re a Williamsburg institution at this point, serving oysters, cocktails, and a variety of raw-bar foods and plates in a cozy and cool atmosphere. If you live in the greater NYC area, I would highly recommend for a nice date or intimate dinner or drinks with a good friend/couple of friends.
Anyhow, I’m too fucking lazy to write out any recipes, but here is some food porn…. use your imagination and go wild:
I’ve been so bad at finding/making time to write food posts here these past couple of months. If you want to see the process and ingredients behind my recipes/meals, feel free to follow my Instagram (instagram.com/lilywhitedaydream). I usually post stories to my IG while I am cooking, as long as what I’m cooking seems note-worthy enough to warrant as such. I mean, if you’re even reading this blog, you probably already follow me on Instagram… since that’s the only way I think anyone can find this blog ;p Anyhow, I digress…
[Insert long rant here about the current state of world affairs, animal liberation v animal subjugation, why humans need to go extinct, why I want to get the coronavirus, etc.]
[Delete long rant, after realizing I sound like one of the preachy types of A-holes that I hate and realizing no one gives a shit… ]
Side note: I am a work in progress and actively working on my anger management skills.
I started writing this post like two or three months ago (I want to say right around Thanksgiving), before Australia had totally burned to the ground and before Trump decided to provoke Iran, thus destroying any chance we have at all for a future. Let’s be honest here, I don’t think humanity is going to make it another five years.
Since this post was initially written, the holidays have come and gone, the New Year has arrived, and I have decided to stop buying fast fashion, or any new clothes at all… yes, I will continue wearing the same damn shoes until I receive warnings from HR about how my foot odor is offending people at work.
I have also decided to become a vegan (not sure how long I can last without cheese or eggs, but I will try), and give up alcohol and other illegal substances. I am also going to try to be more consistent with this blog. Cheers, kids.
Daydreaming about Robbie Williams….
TIPS FOR SURVIVING A RECESSION (Blog entry from November, 2019):
I wanted to write this blog a few months ago when I started reading about another oncoming recession all over the news. I figured I have some viable tips for those of you who were too young to really experience the recession of 2008 firsthand, or those of you who weren’t affected the first time around (consider yourselves very lucky). I survived the great recession of 2008 – just barely though: I haven’t touched my student loan debt, I don’t own a house nor can I afford to, I work just to pay bills, I throw money to the wind each month, renting an apartment I will never own, and at this rate (and given a number of other extraneous factors such as global warming, imminent nuclear war / terrorist attacks at the hands of Iran, and societal collapse on the horizon…) I doubt I will ever have children. C’est la vie…. at least I’ve got my cats.
Anyhow, I’m currently sitting here browsing slutty clothes and 7-inch platform boots on DollsKill.com. Hey – life is short, and no matter what, I’m not going to be able to afford a house or kids, so I might as well purchase some cheap thrills while I’m still semi-young (not that I’m young) and decent looking (not that I am that either). I can honestly say I never spend money on lunch or coffee… I don’t even eat lunch. I think I deserve some frivolous party shoes once or twice a year to compensate. The press is always bitching about Millennials wasting money on Starbucks and avocado toast, but when you’re $50K in the hole with no future in sight, you kind of have to live in the moment and treat yourself to the tiny luxuries that you CAN afford. If we never went out for a night of drinks once every month, or bought a new winter coat we desperately need, our quality of life would be even more miserable than it already is, just trying to save and pay our bills.
I digress though. I graduated in 2011 when the recession was at its’ worst and the unemployment rate at its highest. The times were basically rock bottom in terms of available jobs/work. I have two worthless degrees in fashion merchandising and theatre. I still sometimes hate myself for not swallowing my pride and my passions, and just going to school for engineering or to become a doctor. At least then I would have a lucrative career. JK…. I would never. I’d rather continue to struggle and live paycheck to paycheck with enough time to still pursue some of my passions on the side (i.e. this blog, a social life, cooking, my cats, etc.).
When I graduated, and I’m speaking generally here, one was lucky to even find a part-time RETAIL job. I’m being serious. This isn’t a lie or exaggeration, kids. Even jobs that required no degree and minimal experience were extremely scarce and hard to come by. And finding a job in your own home town (if you came from a small, rural town)???? FORGET ABOUT IT. I started working at the Shiseido makeup counter at Macy’s, which was a 30 minute drive from my parent’s house where I lived after graduating. I got “lucky” (I use this term very loosely here… ) to have a friend who worked for Abercombie & Fitch as a manager and hooked me up with an interview there after I’d spent the summer of 2011 playing with makeup. I thought I’d scored big-time, because at least the job with Abercrombie required a 4-year degree, had benefits like a 401K and insurance, and paid time off. Little did I know, I was in for a real ride….
One day, when life affords me the luxury of no longer having to work a 9-5 day job, you can read all about my days with Abercrombie/Hollister on my old blog, which is currently incognito on the inter-webs. I had to make the blog private for the purposes of my current, corporate job…. since I didn’t hold back in terms what I wrote about or discussed online back then. I could write a book about my time with A&F/HCo., and one day I truly hope to do so…
Enough about that though. I eventually saved up a decent chunk of money and moved to NYC with no job lined up in the fall of 2012. This is where the struggle truly began, and how I learned to thrive (or just barley scrape by, rather) in the midst of the economy’s worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1920’s.
It took me three whole months to find a “job,” and then, the job I had was working only part-time at a night club/concert venue as a cocktail waitress and weekend hostess. I never knew if I’d be working 5 seated-shows a week (the most lucrative type since people would order food and drinks), or only 2 standing-room-only shows with an audience of underage kids (the least lucrative shows… obviously). My paychecks ranged from $120 on a terrible week (i.e. 4 dark days and 2 nights of hostessing) to $480 on a decent week, working 4-5 seated shows. Of course there were take-home cash tips, but those were usually spent going out for after-work drinks at the Irish dive bars on 14th street with my fellow co-workers, where we would commiserate over how little we’d made that night, how awful the crowd was, and how depressed and poor we were working at this shitty venue when the lot of us aspired to so much more in life (i.e. artistic endeavors, full-time employment… sugar daddies…).
My rent was only $650 when I first moved to NYC (don’t ask… I literally had the most baller apartment for what is the BEST DEAL ever heard of). My rent quickly increased to $800 after a couple of months, and then to $1,000 after a year. My fickle work as a server wasn’t allowing me to even make rent, so I swallowed my pride and went back to HCo. on fifth ave, working as a manager, where at least I had a consistent paycheck and health insurance.
Between 2012 and 2016 when I finally landed a decent job, were the toughest four years of my life, financially speaking. This is when I really honed in on my skills as a chef, learning how to survive on one bag of frozen peas a week and a handful of uncooked rice. I learned how to scrape together just enough money to pay rent doing whatever it took – whether it meant counting spare change, taking on babysitting jobs in the morning before working closing shifts at Hollister, or forgoing what most people consider household essentials, like coffee creamer, paper towels, and well…. food in general.
Given the current state of the economy, and the fact that things have been slow as hell for me at work in the last month or so, I’m growing nervous that it’s true that another recession is on the way. This time, I’ll be prepared though…. bring it on baby. Nothing can hurt me now. You know what actually makes me feel even more carefree these days? The fact that we’re probably all going to die in a nuclear war or from complete global destruction due to climate change before I ever even begin to pay back my student debt….
MY TIPS FOR SURVIVING A RECESSION
There is no such thing as job security. Never get too comfortable – it can be taken away from you at any time through no fault of your own. Never take your job for granted either, even though you hate it (we all do). You need money to pay rent and bills and to purchase enough food to survive and/or enough alcohol and drugs to make you occasionally forget how fucking shitty and pointless your life is. No job is permanent and any job can be taken away in the blink of an eye (usually when you least expect it to). You could be laid off if the economy tanks and your company can no longer afford your position. This happened in the last recession… workers who’d been with the same company for 25 years and were only 3 years away from retiring lost their jobs and their 401Ks. Pretty shitty, right? This is why I wake up each day with the fear of God in my heart. It’s better to be scared about losing your job then it is to be too confident that it can’t happen to you. It can happen to you, and living life with anxiety over job security simply prepares you for the worst. It happened to me once and it wasn’t even the recession. The start up company I worked for in 2016 tanked after five months and couldn’t afford to pay me. No notice… no nothing.
Girl, you better WORK. One does what one must to make rent and put food on the table. Even if this means selling yourself short of your credentials/qualifications/education/desired salary, or, in some cases, literally selling yourself (I’ve never done it, but I know girls who basically have sex with someone they’re not really into, in return for having their rent paid or fancy dinners here and there or like, a Mysterland ticket and nice hotel). I’m not saying this is noble or respectable, but sometimes desperate means call for desperate measures. If you’re young and attractive and don’t have a family to hurt, stripping is always an option too. In a major city it will definitely be much more lucrative than elsewhere, and people less likely to find out if you’re trying to keep it on the down-low. If you’re attractive and young, in fact, I highly suggest capitalizing on it while it lasts – because it doesn’t last forever. You might as well make a decent living off of what your mama (or your plastic surgeon) gave you. There are always ads out for bottle servers, hostesses, bartenders, etc., and in this city at the right venue, you could make a SHIT TON of money doing any of those service jobs. You don’t really need experience if you’re young and hot and/or know the right person. It’s also good to be flexible in tough economic times, and willing to do shitty work. I mean, if your standards are too high and the economy crashes, you’re not really going to survive if you’re not willing to do some less-than-savory jobs to make ends meet. For example, I cleaned houses and a church on a weekly basis at one point in college, because it was impossible to even find a part-time retail job. I’m not making this up. In 2008-2009, I cleaned a church rectory on a weekly basis, and then a few older ladies at church inquired about me cleaning their personal residences, and I did. It honestly wasn’t a bad job – kind of gross to clean someone else’s toilet and bathtub, but the money was decent and not taxed, and old people are generally very sweet and lovely to talk to. I would do it again. Hell, I would probably do it now, if someone asked me if I had availability to do so. Could always use some extra spending money…
Learning to live on a bare-bones diet. Have you ever cried because you’re so hungry and all you have in your house is some white rice and mustard? I have. Have you ever had to choose between buying paper towels to clean your counter tops, or some coffee creamer so you didn’t have to keep drinking your coffee black? I have. It’s all about priorities – and sometimes we think that we can forgo food, or at least eat minimally to save money, especially when we also prioritize thinness. Well, when your parents already put some extra money in your bank account but you used it to pay rent and then foolishly bought a couple of $5 vodka sodas at McKenna’s (because you don’t know how to tell your friends that you’re broke), and now you don’t even have $6 to buy a box of pasta and some Prego at the local grocery store, shit really hits home. You’re going to have to learn how to get creative with some frozen white bread and a couple of teaspoons of Parmesan or how to make a meal out of lentils, curry powder, and some frozen corn last you three days. On the plus side, you won’t have to worry about the next time that you can afford to get drunk and order a pizza at 2am, since you’ll likely be malnourished as fuck.
Interviewing: It’s not you, it’s THEM. Just because there isn’t a real availability of viable, living-wage paying jobs, doesn’t mean there won’t be hundreds of listed positions and interviews which you’ll desperately go, on trying to make something work. You’ll probably apply for jobs you have no interest in whatsoever, just because you need a paycheck: part-time retail positions at a shoe store that sells ugly clogs, a dog-walking position, a nannying position, even though you hate kids…. the list goes on. If you’re like I was (and still am), you’ll apply for and go on hundreds of interviews and you won’t get offered any of the positions, even though you are mostly likely A) qualified, B) experienced, or C) could easily do whatever is asked of you. I started to think it was me and beat myself up. I decided I wasn’t getting hired because I was too old, too ugly, too short, too fat, too nice, etc., etc.. I honestly probably wasn’t getting hired, because they were saving the position for the assistant manager’s brother-in-law who just graduated and wanted the job. Jobs go to those with the personal/family connections when there aren’t many jobs to be had. Don’t take it too personally or it will really wear away at your self-confidence.
FML… this is me, starting over, after I just wrote almost an entire blog and then accidentally deleted it and couldn’t recover it. This single action sums up my week in a nutshell.
I’m staying in tonight, and so happy with my decision to do so. I am mentally and physically exhausted and need a night of no-drinking, going to sleep before 1am, and some alone time with my thoughts. It was a long week (as every week spent working a corporate job seems to be), and I need some serious beauty sleep, as I am currently looking haggard AF. At the start of each work week, all I look forward to is making it to Friday again, with the intent that I will use the weekend to catch up on sleep and relax for once. That never actually happens though, since I also have to use the weekend to run errands, clean the house, and have a social life. Then I end up feeling as exhausted as ever by the time Monday morning rolls around again and like I need another weekend just to recover from the weekend. It’s truly a vicious cycle. I start to feel extremely unhealthy and ugly when I don’t take care of myself the way I should (i.e. drinking water, NOT drinking alcohol, getting more than 6 hours of sleep each night, etc.).
I drank way too much this week, ate really crappy, didn’t get enough sleep, and therefore needed this night of solitude as a means of repentance (not that I can undo the basket of sugar cookies I devoured, or the 6,000 calories in alcohol that went down my throat over the course of the week). I went over to a friend’s house on Wednesday night for dinner. We grilled squid skewers and skewers of baby potatoes. She also made a delightful beet and dill salad:
As is par for the course, I consumed excessive amounts of wine, and then some half-assed blueberry martinis I tried to make. I woke up on Thursday with only 3 hours of sleep under my belt and spent the day at my work desk wanting to die and eating sugar cookies in a futile attempt to feel normal again. Will I ever learn my lesson? Probably not, if I haven’t by now.
Last night, I had another friend over and also consumed more wine than I should have as well as more cheese than I should have in such close proximity to hitting the hay. I can’t consume alcohol or heavy food before bed, because my metabolism goes into overdrive and my core temperature skyrockets to the point that I wish I could crawl out of my own skin because of how hot I get. How is it that a person can be sleeping in just their underwear, with NO covers on, when it’s only 45 degrees outside, and still wake up boiling hot? It’s uncomfortable… I can tell you that much; and it greatly hindered my ability to get quality sleep last night, so I’ve been looking shitty all day.
I started this week with every intention of cooking and eating healthy, but that plan went down the toilet as soon as a tin of cookies arrived at my work desk, courtesy (cough *SABOTAGE* cough) of one of the service companies we use. That coupled with my alcohol intake and lack of sleep has me feeling rather unhealthy as I sit here typing this.
I started my week with a broiled salmon fillet, some mashed potatoes (<— not particularly healthy, but damn good), and steamed spinach and kale.
For the Salmon:
Start with one or two large salmon fillets; make sure there are no bones before cooking (skin on is fine, as it will come off when cooked)
Heat the over to 375 degrees
Generously oil a baking sheet with some olive oil and place the salmon fillets skin-side-down on the baking sheet
Drizzle and brush more olive oil onto the tops of the fillets and squeeze fresh lemon juice over them
Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic
Cut another lemon into round slices, and place a couple of slices on top of each fillet
Bake for 15 minutes (give or take depending on the size and thickness of the fillet
Serve with a wedge of fresh lemon and sprinkle with fresh parsley
For the Mashed Potatoes:
Start with a sack of yellow or white potatoes, or use 3-4 large Yukon or Idaho potatoes; potatoes should be scrubbed thoroughly and cut into halves or quarters depending on their size
Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until they are penetrable with the tines of a fork (usually 20 minutes of boiling)
After the potatoes are cooked through, reserve about 1/3 of a cup of the potato water (you can ladle it out into a measuring cup if needed)
Drain the potatoes (apart from about 1/3 of a cup of the potato water which you will mash them in)
Add a generous amount of butter (I’d say about 2 TBS.), salt and pepper, and granulated garlic and give them a good mashing
If they are to dry (which they really shouldn’t be if you added enough butter and left in enough water), feel free to add some cream or even a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche
Make sure you taste test them to see if they need more seasoning!
I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed having slept for 10 hours straight. I want to go off on a political tangent right now about the state of the world, but no one needs that since we’re all inundated with tragic news 24/7 these days. I guess when times are bad and it seems the entire world is falling apart, we have to make changes and make a difference where we can, and that means starting with ourselves (queue Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”). I’ve been trying to be more conscious of my plastic use as well as my use of palm oil products (hello Nutella …. looking at you). I can’t change the world or reverse climate change or animal extinction as a single person, but I can certainly do my part to help.
Another week has come and gone, and what a week it was! I saw Elton John perform Saturday night with my mom and sister at Barclay’s Center which was literally a dream come true. I am so happy I had the opportunity to see him on his farewell tour since I have wanted to see him since I was 12. I know what you’re thinking – what kind of weirdo, freak 12 year old is obsessed with Elton John? Me. That’s who.
I found an Elton John “Greatest Hits” cassette tape the summer that I was 12 in the upstairs bedroom of my Grandma’s house, and she said I could have it – which is what my grandma always said whenever I found something I liked or wanted in her house. The tape had belonged to my uncle Bill, who had passed away six years earlier due to complications of AIDS. I brought that tape home and listened to it front and back and on repeat all summer long. I memorized all of the lyrics to every song and found myself wanting to know more about the life of Elton John, since all of his songs seemed to be deeply personal and I, as a deeply emotional, 12 year old girl entering puberty, related to them on so many levels (or so I thought at the time…). Little did I know, I would end up relating much more once I had actually experienced real life…
I was never particularly close to my uncle Bill when he was alive since I was young and I didn’t see him that often. When he passed away, his life (and then subsequently his death) was kind of shrouded in mystery to me. He was an openly gay man and brought boyfriends home to my very-Catholic-grandmother’s house for holidays etc.. No one had an issue with how he lived his life, but no one ever really talked about why he died – in fact, I didn’t find out until I was much, much older. I do remember making him a ‘get well’ card when he was sick with a picture of Marilyn Monroe that I drew on it, which is pretty awesome in retrospect… he really loved that. I also remember a couple of times he took me grocery shopping with him when he went to the store for my grandma, and all of the ladies would coo over me and over him pushing me in the shopping cart, and he seemed to eat that shit right up. My memories of him are very few.
Anyhow, I digress. The point I am getting at, is that I finally felt some sort of connection to my uncle through this shared love of Elton John music. I was only 7 when he died, and grew up feeling like I really missed out on a relationship with him. As I’ve grown older and heard some of the stories relayed from other family members about my uncle’s love of partying and the practical jokes he liked to play on people, I’ve also realized that perhaps we have much more in common than just the mutual love of Elton John :p I think we would have gotten on quite well were he still alive.
It really does mean so much to me that my mom, who I’m pretty sure was quite concerned with the fact that her 12 year old daughter was obsessed with Elton John, bought me these tickets. I don’t think I can thank her enough or tell her how much it really means, but I will try regardless. The concert was a solid three hours of Elton John entertaining – singing, playing the piano, and talking to the audience about his music and his life. It was awesome. HE was AWESOME. Such a good singer and piano player, even in his 70s. He played ALL of my favorite songs (minus ‘Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word’), which really surprised me. I didn’t think he would play ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ or ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues.’ The concert was surreal.
I finally filed my taxes yesterday… all I can say is ‘someone please come put me out of my misery.’ It ended up being worse than I thought. I legit think I’m going to be destitute forever unless I start stripping or something. I really can’t catch a break in this life. I also had a severe case of cystitis last week, having not had it in like 4 years. I was sitting at work on Thursday morning when it started to feel like someone was beating my kidneys with a baseball bat. By the end of the day I knew I was totally f*cked for many more reasons which I won’t elaborate on here – let’s just say if you’ve ever had it, you know what I’m talking about. Brutal. I don’t know how I made it through the work day.
I’m back to normal now (as normal as I’ll ever be), and trying to figure out what to look forward to now that EJ concert is over. You know when something seems so far away, and then before you know it, it’s over? I’m the same way with vacations, parties, etc. – I just look forward to something for so long and put all of my stock into it, and then once it’s over, I’m so emo and empty inside. I remember my mom got tickets to this concert last February for my birthday, and I kept thinking “wow, that’s so far away!” Well, here we are, over a year later, and now it’s over. I guess I’ll just look forward to paying off my taxes and being poor now and hopefully getting shredded for summer. JK… but not really. What else????
I used to make these balls all the time and haven’t in a while. It’s honestly easier to just make fish, seafood, or pasta than it is to try to create a ‘meatball’ without meat. These balls are time consuming, but totally worth it if you have the time, or if you just cook the lentils in advance, so that they’re ready to make into ballz when the time comes! This dish is super healthy, super filling, packed with protein, and if you’re anything like me, will also make you super bloated for a solid two days (I love legumes… but my gastrointestinal tract begs to differ). Whatever… it’s choc full of fiber, delicious, and cruelty-free… it’s worth being bloated.
I made the same vodka sauce I made last week, since it’s a real hit in this house. You can find the recipe HERE by scrolling down. These balls also match well with any store-bought or homemade marinara, or pesto. I guarantee you that if you cook this dish for someone (whether they’re a vegetarian or not), they’re going to love these ballz and be very impressed.
INGREDIENTS (FOR THE BALLZ):
1 cup dry (uncooked), brown (“french”) lentils
3 cups vegetable stock (you can also use beef, but then it’s not really vegetarian)
1 cup chopped mushrooms (or carrots, if you’re in a pinch – which I was when I made these… mushrooms are better!)
1/3 finely chopped yellow or white onion
3 cloves finely minced garlic
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbs. olive oil
***Sauce of your choice*** (tomato/marinara work best!)
***Pasta of your choice to serve with***
Cook the lentils in the vegetable stock until soft; this means cooking for 20 – 25 minutes at a rolling boil… taste test to make sure they’re soft and all liquid is absorbed.
While the lentils boil, in a large saucepan, add 1 Tbs. of olive oil, and cook the minced onions, garlic, and mushrooms (or carrots, if you went with carrots)… cook until onions are translucent and veggie is cooked through:
After the lentils are cooked and liquid has been absorbed, dump into a large mixing bowl and let cook until malleable (should be ready to handle in 5 minutes or so)
Mix the remainder of ingredients (apart from the olive oil – which you will use to fry the balls in) into the bowl with the lentils:
Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly and by hand.
Heat the remaining olive oil (plus more as needed) in a large saucepan over low-medium heat.
Form the balls by hand, packing and rolling the mixture into golf-ball sized balls, and dropping into hot oil
Rotate the balls so as to lightly brown/crisp on all sides… these balls will fall apart if you simply plunk them into hot sauce, whereas balls made from actual meat will be fine to cook by submerging into boiling sauce, these will not.
Once balls are browned on all size, add into sauce, or set aside, and then top your finished pasta with the balls and sauce.