This is my first post inspired by another’s blog.
A beautifully written account of death and how one can react to it was published here by rabbitheartedjo. It was about a decomposing rabbit that she offhandedly saw in the road. It really opened my eyes to how different people with different minds, thoughts, even disorders…think so much differently than I do in incredibly similar situations. Do we choose how we react? Do our brains all intrinsically work the same but we program ourselves to react positively/negatively/indifferent to certain things? I do know for certain that I programmed my own disorder and I can program myself out, but what about others? Is it deeper? Harder? More complicated than that? How do our minds work?
I once was going on a walk, as I very very often do during the summer. I hear a terrible thud in front of me and watch as a beautiful black cat (much like the one I have now) is thrown from under the tire of a car in the middle of the road. Another passerby, who’d also witnessed the entire ordeal, asks me if there’s anything we should do. We walk out into the road, damn any car who wants to get by…they can go around us. We lean down over the cat. He’s gurgling, barely breathing. I think he can see me, but I’m not sure. It seems almost as if he’s looking through me. I ask the other passerby if we ought to move him. I touch the cat’s head, letting him know someone was there. His eyes glaze over in a way I’ve never seen before…the light literally fading out of them. His stomach goes flat. His last breath. His head hits the pavement, slowly, sadly. He dies under my gentle touch. We don’t know what we should do. He’s gone. So we just leave him. He was hit far enough to the side that people will probably just avoid his body.
It was by far the saddest thing I ever witnessed in my life. I was happy though. Happy to know that in those last seconds, if he couldn’t see me, maybe he could feel me. He could feel that someone was there. That someone gave a shit that he was dying. Someone cared. The person who hit him didn’t bother stopping.
In the weeks to come, I would go walking. I walk to the post office pretty much every day, it’s a great way to get exercise. I would pass by the cat every day. Nobody bothered to move him . City workers never came to remove his body from the road. I watched him decompose. Deteriorate. Little by little, day by day. I wished I had brought a camera. I wanted to take a picture of him every day to remind myself how the cycle of life works. Dust to dust. Eventually, he was nothing but a small smear on the pavement. He was gone. Again.
It was the first time I’d ever witnessed real death. Yes, I’ve been to funerals. I’ve seen dead people. Dead things. Dead animals in the road. I’ve seen animals get hit and die. But having something basically die in your arms is so much different. Watching their eyes go from alive to dead. It was heart-wrenching.
And it was a most poignant and beautiful reminder that I was alive.
This experience was one of the first indicators that I had a problem I needed to fix.
Life is so wonderful. I adore being alive. I fear death. It’s pretty much the only thing I fear at all. I cannot let that affect how I live though. I live life every single day to its fullest. It’s incredibly difficult for me to sit and do nothing. I have to squeeze everything I can out of every minute of every day. I have to be HAPPY, there’s no time to waste one more damned second being depressed. Because you never know.
You never know when you’ll get hit by a car.
serves 6 to 8Taken from: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-apple-cinnamon-whole-gr-137484
2 cups 1% milk
1/3 cup organic cane sugar OR dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pounds whole-grain loaf, sliced 1/4″ thick crosswise
3 medium firm apples (about 1 1/4 pound), cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
For the glaze
3 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Lightly butter or oil a 9×13-inch casserole dish. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Whisk in the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
Cut the crusts off the bread slices, cutting each slice into a rectangular shape. Layer half of the bread slices in the bottom of the baking pan. Layer all of the apple slices on top of the bread. Top apple layer with the other half of the bread slices.
Pour the egg mixture over the layered bread and apples. Cover refrigerate overnight. (Note: The casserole can be baked immediately, but expect it not to be quite as dense and uniform in texture.)
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°F. Cover the strata with aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. (Note: If your strata is coming straight out of the fridge, still cold, add an additional 10 minutes to the covered baking time.)
For the glaze, warm all of the ingredients together in the microwave or on the stovetop until quite soft. (I microwaved mine for 45 seconds.) Whisk thoroughly in a fork, then drizzle over the warm strata. Dust lightly with cinnamon.
Let the strata stand for 10 minutes to firm up, then serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit.
*I’m not certain why this was only mediocre. It had everything in it that I wanted, I don’t think I let it bake long enough, the eggs weren’t completely set. I would suggest that if you make this you let it bake a bit longer than instructed. Otherwise, it wasn’t terrible. Just not what I’d hoped for.
“Matar Paneer” inspired Soup with Peas, Goat’s Cheese and Chickpeas
2 cups home-canned crushed Tomatoes
2/3 cup Chickpeas
1/2 cup Peas
1/4 small Onion, diced
Fresh grated Ginger
1 oz Goat’s Cheese
1/2 t Coriander
1/2 t Paprika
1/3 t Cumin
1/4 t White Pepper
Fresh chopped Parsley
Salt to taste
1 T Olive Oil
Bring the crushed tomatoes to a simmer and let the chickpeas cook and soften in that for about 10 minutes. Add the corriander, cumin, paprika and white pepper. A bit of salt. Blend all that in a blender. Add the puree back to the pot and keep warm. While that is cooking, sautee the sweet onion, peas and fresh grated ginger in the olive oil. Add all that to the puree and let that get warm together for about another 5 mins. Melt in about an oz of goats cheese. Served with pine nuts on top and another little drizzle of olive oil for taste.
*This was incredibly delicious!!! I actually feel incredibly smart for coming up with this. A friend and I were having a discussion about a certain Indian restaurant that I just love. The Matar Paneer is my favorite dish there (there’s lots I haven’t tried, but the last time I went, this was my favorite hehe.) So I came up with this to sort of match those tastes. Just….wow. I was blown away with how perfect this came out. Very much made up for my disappointing breakfast! And PACKED with protein and good things for my body!
Black Bean and Spinach Tomato Sauce on Whole Wheat Linguini
Ohhh heck if I remember how I made this. Crushed tomatoes, 1.5 diced Romas, 1/3 can of drained black beans, handful of spinach, sliced mushrooms, garlic and onion (caramelized first in some olive oil and butter) and 1/4 cup parmesan melted in. Fresh chopped parsley, basil, some crushed red pepper, lime juice, a little sherry vinegar, S&P…put that on some whole wheat linguini. VERY good, very good for you and VERY filling! I didn’t finish this entire bowl. I just tossed the rest when I was full.
I’m learning now that I go to the grocery store and don’t even look at the candy. I feel for a split second before I walk in that I might want something sweet, and that its ok if I do. But then my mind wanders, I go into “I’m out of this” and “Do I need that?” and “How much is this compared to the other place?” mode and it completely slips my mind that I wanted candy in the first place. That never used to happen. I used to have to actively avoid walking by candy so it wouldn’t torture me. Now I think about it so little that I don’t even realize I’m standing right by it. I walk out and get in my car. Halfway home I remember “Oh yeah, I wanted to get something sweet…oh well, I forgot I guess.” My mind and thought processes are changing.
And it’s wonderful.
Exercise: 1 hour at the gym (husband woke up early and was here all night, so no yoga)