Sunday, March 16, 2008

The absence of heat

The sky is an icy blue. There is snow on the roofs, cars and yards but none on the sidewalks or streets. It is a brittle, arid day and the cold seeps through the sealed windows to wrap me with frozen fingers. As I sit here at the computer typing, I am wearing my quilted jackets with socks on my usually bare feet and I love it. Winter is asserting it presence, demanding to be seen and experience, demanding we revise our fantasies of an early spring. Phil is never wrong. Spring has taunted and teased us into a sense of comfort in the promise of warm scented breezes redolent of blooming lilac and the balm of golden narcissus and forsythia. It's a lie, a come-on, a bait and switch, and it's okay. I'm not ready to let go of winter yet, at least not until I have had my fill of snowy landscapes and cloud shrouded mountains and frosted pine trees wreathed in winter ermine.

More chores to do today and I am reluctant for the wind to spank my cheeks pink, but I need some ingredients for another delicious and satisfying meal. I look forward to cooking and improvising from the bins and shelves in fridge and cabinets. I'm also hungry for some homemade hummus and I don't have any tahini. Must have tahini. And blue corn chips would be nice, too, especially since it keeps my fingers clean. I think I'll use some of the hibiscus sea salt in the hummus to see what dimension that adds to the whole lovely concoction. I may even break open the bottle of Merlot I bought a few days ago for the peposo and polenta. Now, if I can only work it in between work and writing up reviews and working on a submission or two, I'll be one very happy camper.

I received a surprise in the mail yesterday, actually a drop-off from UPS, a box full of goodies from the cooking club. I have a real apron (not the frilly girly kind -- you should know me better than that by now), steamer basket, a lovely razor sharp paring knife, ceramic spoon rest and trivet, gorgeous new cutting board and a weird set of collapsible silicone measuring cups I need to review. Could be interesting and I'll use them to measure out the tahini, which has a tendency to stick to the cup. I coat the cup with olive oil before adding the tahini because it goes in the recipe anyway, which reminds me I should roast a couple of the peppers and add them to the hummus. I'm getting hungry and I need my morning fruit. I think I'll have a pepper, mushroom and onion omelet with the fruit, some bacon and maybe some crispy fried potatoes. It's Sunday after all. I don't think I'll have room for yogurt, but I can have that as a snack later.

I'm nearly finished with the book on narcissists, identifying and dealing safely with them, and I'm reminded how like dangerous beasts they are, one moment playful and friendly and the next rending and devouring their prey. Believe me, if you are friends with or an admirer of a narcissist you are not a friend, you are prey -- like cat and mouse. Make no mistake, you are nothing more than extension of them, a hive creature serving the queen bee without any purpose than to minister, stroke, adore and cater to her demands (that goes for the lion kings, too). The narcissist is charming with a magnetic and appealing personality, the consummate actor feigning emotions with an Oscar winning performance. Beneath the charming mask is a ruthless dictator who will invade every corner of your life, take over your emotions and deny your dreams and aspirations unless they can be used to further their aims. Narcissists are devoid of emotion, empty inside and full of rage and despair. It's best not to get involved or to extricate yourself as quickly and safely as possible when you realize you've encountered one. A narcissist will never keep their promises and will continue to string you along as long as you are useful, either as a bolster to their ego or can help them achieve their goals. Fail in either position and they will chew you up and spit you out, but not without first destroying your ego, your health, your emotions and your professional credibility with cold and heartless precision, using lies, half-truths, deceptions and malicious claims.

In order not to end on such a negative note, I'll offer this instead: The world is a complex and wondrous place full of dangers and pleasures. The world, like power, is a neutral force that can be used to heal, help or harm and even when it seems to harm we emerge from the fires tempered like steel and more capable of handling whatever comes as long as we are open to the possibilities. Like the frozen realm outside my windows, it is cold and forbidding, but it is also hushed and peaceful, a sleeping world biding its time, waiting for the sun to come closer and kiss it awake from its winter dream to bloom and blossom and flourish for a season. And it is beautiful.

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