Malaysian meditation technique for cold weather

Yesterday I posted a Holiday leftover poem for a cold day. Today it’s really cold, subzero windchill and Malaysia is in my mind.

We have dessert called ice kacang, which is shaved ice with lots of good sweet things on it, like aduki beans and palm sugar and coconut milk/cream. The meditation is as follows: like in bed under a lot of covers. Visualize the excess of winter around you piled up into giant mounds in a field. Now, drizzle it with your favorite sweet things. Take your time. Let the warmth of the covers sink into your bones and the visualized taste of the sweet sink into your heart/tummy (the two are closely related!). Tomorrow, or the day after or the day after that, once we’ve sweetened and eaten all the winter, it will be spring. My parents and grandparents got through living under foreign invaders in WWII (the Japanese Occupation) by devising a hundred thousand tasty things you can do with tapioca.

Speaking of which, drizzling sweet things on tapioca pearls is a wonder also.

Images: Ice kacang and sago gula Melaka.

Holiday leftover food poem for a cold day.

On a bed of bitter greens, layer leftover poultry (or beans and mushrooms, I’ll try that tomorrow) drizzled with good wine-vinegar and topped with some sort of interesting cheese, lightly melted. Probably good with any squash soup and those extra rolls from the back of the freezer. Stay warm. NYC is getting a break today, but I’m practicing warming food for tomorrow.

soul food

First home-cooked meal underway since before I got the flu. ‘He restoreth my soul.’ My cup isn’t running over, but the pot on my stove is content in the moment. Italian-ish pork stewed with tomato, eggplant & capers, seasoned with rosemary, bay, thyme, oregano and garlic.

There is also tofu in the mix. The pot asked for chickpeas, but my larder had no chickpeas and my fridge had tofu. Somewhere here there is a moral. I will think about it after lunch.

politics, rice pudding, & the ocean: also, science 101

I’m going on holiday soon and was thinking what to take to read. This morning, I decided: mathematics. A long time ago, I was a math/physics student, and then a NASA science drone. Mathematics, unfolding, is as beautiful as the ocean, alive, intricate, complete in itself. Physics unfolds mysteries, and I don’t mean the God-particle nonsense that people have been getting excited about but the even more wondrous daily mysteries: wind, weather, why there is that odd-shaped shadow on my ceiling, how to park on a hill so your car doesn’t roll away…

Physics enchanted me, as a girl, because it the fundamental rules were essential simple, and clear. Water rolls downhill, ALWAYS. Stuff like that. Studying physics was a way to allow my mind to be simple, and clear. It does not contradict itself. Subtlety exist, but there is always the real to measure against.

For some years now I’ve been a writer. Fiction, mostly cross-cultural, dealing with social, political, and emotional issues. My community is now mostly writers, artists, activists, and nothing is simple, or clear; or rather, much of it probably could be, but people cultivate complexity. To include ALL the data — by which I mean all the facts, not all the opinions — on something, or as much data as one can get, and look at it all in balance, is not a popular sport. Balance, as best I understand it, requires calm. But the troubles of our times, from tars sands to Islamophobia to economic class warfare, call for concern. And most people don’t find concern and calm coexistent within themselves, especially in American culture, which says, subliminally, that we should be able to fix anything. So there is tumult, and shouting: a noise of long-winded thoughts and exhortations that seem to be saying, ‘Care more, care more! Don’t relax, don’t spin down, not for a minute, the world will cease to be if you do, the battle will be lost…’

I’ve tried to get people to care about some of these issues, particularly the race-related ones, without stirring anxiety. I think I have failed. Caring deeply while being staying as calm as we can is an emotional reality in daily life for most people, else we’d never let our loved ones go out the door, never mind become skydivers or firefighters. I think it’s okay, even essential, to deal with political issues the same way — do what you can, everything you can, and then let go and fix dinner. I talk a lot about politics, but I’ve never said this before, and I apologize for not doing so.

I am going to read, on my vacation, not a novel, full of sculpted emotion, or a nonfiction book full of argument, however just, but mathematics: to find a state of clarity in my mind again. It will be like eating fresh fruit, or rice pudding, after too rich a diet. Cleaning, and strengthening. In-between, I will go to California farmers markets, which are a paradise of grounded goodness, and I will cook dinner. I will look at the ocean.

I will be simple.

Pickles and prose and poetry(?)

Just realized I’ve eaten 1/2 bottle (2 cups) of Laxmi brand carrot pickle in the last week. coincidentally I’ve also done more work… chili+vinegar apparently = words.

and now, having worked:
I am going to the park
I will do it for a lark
I shall leave before it’s dark

Dance and free association

Dance practice is better with a belt (just arrived). Now a mirror… and, for writing, a non-computer/printer covered work table with luxuries such as many colors of paper clips. and pens. and highlighters. and erasers… Early childhood note: white erasers with tiny multicolored dots embedded, did anyone else think the dots tasted like candy?