Archive | Cat Lady Matters

I, an Alarm

Ever since I moved my bed next to the window, the first thing I do upon waking is open the curtain. Then, settled against the pillows, I join the sun as she slowly rises, drifting back from the heavens where we’ve both been traveling all night. After decades of living in New York, I’ve become so attuned to my environs that my mood shifts right along with the indigo streaking into violet into rose into orange across the sky. Outside is inside, and on most mornings I find that fact beautiful.

I’ve had a melancholy week. My birthday was a disappointment and that was mostly my fault, which only makes me more melancholy. But each day brings a new sun, and I’m just easy enough to let her magic work on me. Tonight helped, too. I was crowded into a rush-hour subway, ogling a woman’s mermaid afro and fuming over a man standing too close, when I spotted a Poetry In Motion sign that was like another glimpse from my predawn bedroom window. The poem nailed the aloneliness* that develops when you are unwilling to mingle your sourness with others’, and reading it among so many strangers’ private smells and worries made me feel grasped by something better than my past. As did the quiet blue rooms to which I was gliding and which I’d built myself. It was the sweet knowledge I could begin again. Continue Reading →

Space Crone at the Movies

All week I’ve been in a low-grade bad mood about my upcoming birthday. Normally I don’t mind aging; I consider my age a badge of honor in that way that 18-year-olds lord their senior status over freshmen in high school, and I’ve happily anticipated the stylistic and intellectual freedom of the self-realized space crone. But this has been a challenging year full of problems I’d hoped to have outgrown by now, and it’s given me a case of the What’s-It-All-About-Alfies. Anyway, last night I had to pay to see a movie whose press screenings I’d missed–a movie I was ambivalent about reviewing even when seeing it for free–and I decided to take back the whole situation. So I requested a senior citizen discount from the snotty-looking 19-year-old in the ticket booth, and, without blinking, he gave it to me. I know, I know. Members of the AARP would justifiably bludgeon me for such deceit but in that moment I needed a tangible payoff for getting older. The universe, g-d love it, gave me one.

In Praise of Penny-Saving Stew

As I type this, I am clad in flannel pajamas and slurping a bowl of stew for the third night in a row. It surprises me how often I make stew, especially this time of year. But it shouldn’t, especially since I’m the original penny-saver. Stew cuts of meat are really cheap; stew uses up every vegetable malingering in the larder; stew freezes beautifully if you (g-d forbid) tire of eating the same thing for a week. Not to mention that it’s the best food in the world after a tiring, cold day; it can cook for hours while you attend to the rest of your life; the witch in me adores the cauldron it requires; and my mother’s side of the family is about as working-class UK as you can get so I’m genetically predisposed to all soft, brown food. (Don’t laugh.)

This week I threw together beef bought on sale at Whole Foods with the rosemary, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, red wine, mustard, worcestershire sauce, and kale left in my otherwise-bare kitchen, and lo! it was good. I love stew not only because it is cheap and efficient but because it connects me to so many hearths in so many moments in time. People have been making stew as long as they’ve known how to make fire and trap an animal or dig up a vegetable, and as I cook I like to think about all those other stews made throughout history, as well as literature: I’m obsessed with what Meg’s mother made over a Bunsen burner in A Wrinkle in Time as well as all the mysterious mutton messes of 19th century literature. Here are some of my favorite stews to make: green chile pork stew, spinach-chickpea curry stew, Provençal chicken stew, Guiness beef stew, Moroccan lamb stew. And here are five handy tips for making a mean stew–or, better yet, a stew for keeping those mean reds at bay.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy