Monthly Archives: January 2014

And the third theme of 2014 is…GROWN(-)UP.

I’ve been keeping a deck of tarot cards on my bedside table (Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck, for anyone interested in knowing).  It’s been a source of inspiration sometimes, as well as a starting point for much-needed introspection for me.  Also, oddly enough, it makes me take the time to pray.

I haven’t been a prayerful person in years, and I’m still trying to work out what prayers are and whom they serve, but it has always been my habit to say some sort of prayer before drawing a card, doing a reading, consulting someone (or something, in this case) for better perspective.  It all started when I bought my first deck of tarot cards.  I was in middle school, I think, and my mother took me to Seven Stars (back when it was in Harvard Square).  After poring over many beautiful decks I chose one that was painted in watercolors, big fat lines and blurred edges.  I had three favorites: the Star (a naked woman in a lake, surrounded in varying shades of black and green), the Six of Cups (two chubby-legged children playing with the fairies and rainbows that spilled from golden chalices), and Death (partly because I felt badass to know it wasn’t a negative message, partly because it was a skeleton with a butterfly floating from its pelvis).

In the car, my mother reminded me to put on my seat belt, then asked me to promise her that I would always take a moment to say a prayer before a reading, for the benefit of the seeker, of myself.  In deference to God or some other higher power as I dabbled in esotericism.  I took this tarot thing very seriously, and I always said a prayer.  Something solemn but perfunctory.  God, let this go well.  Or, God, I don’t mean to offend.  Something like that.

The other night I asked the air for advice, for insight, before drawing three cards to see what I needed to know at this stage in my life.

Tonight I held the deck to my heart and thought of all my fellow Kindreds, some whom I know quite well by now and others whose expressions in this project give me a better understanding of who they are and how they work.  I wished for you, specific wishes and vague, but always concentrating on you.  I drew this card:

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I had never seen the Six of Cups reversed before!  Upon reading some more about what this means, I learned this card can suggest that one is clinging to one’s past in such a way that you inhibit yourself from experiencing the present and moving into your future.

This particular guide said something that really stood out to me:

“The Six of Cups is a card of nostalgia, childlike love and generosity, and a carefree, naïve outlook on life. Reversed, it suggests that you may have had unrealistically rosy ideas about a particular stage of life, based on your dreams and ideals from when you were younger. For example, you may have always pictured yourself as married with children by 25, only to realise that once you hit 25, you had other goals in mind. Or you may be disappointed that you have reached a particular age but have not fulfilled your childhood dreams just yet.”

When I said it stood out, I mean it sang to me.  I keep making fun of the idea that, at age 30, I’m still not an adult.  My expectations of myself as a child were so huge that I may never be an adult.  And the more I complain about this, the more I realize that most people feel this way, at one time or another. But it’s not that we’re all living in the past, and it’s not that we haven’t matured (do you see how my tarot prayers and uses have changed?) – we just aren’t living the lives we expected.  And frankly, who does?

So I ask you all kinds of things: are you living up to your own expectations? What have you wanted for yourself?  Has that changed over time?  Do you feel like you’re moving forward?  How might you be holding yourself back?  And if you’d rather this weren’t so introspective, tell me this: what is a grown-up?  Who are your favorite grown-ups?  Make one up for me.

I say this as a person who just bought a Little Prince sweatshirt, as a person who just caught up with her best friend from elementary school (over drinks!), as a 30-year-old who lives with her father, as the girl who first stood up for herself because she wanted to be Peter Pan in the school play, as the college dropout who is taking an acting class simply because it is impractical.  But also as the woman who just bought a juicer, as the woman who is trying to commit more to yoga…

That’s actually all the adult stuff I’ve been up to of late, but you get the idea.  But good luck!  And let this go well.

Jess Mullen

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The Kitchen Witch

There are many types of witches, some get the best returns for the energy they expel through ritual, casting spells, setting charms, and calling the corners. Other witches find their energy is best spent on the mental/spiritual realm through meditation, and astral projection. Still yet other witches find they draw the most power from nature, and so use botany to create living vessels of will and energy…….and then there’s the kitchen witch. The Kitchen witch really puts a new spin on “you are what you eat” when preparing a meal, by pouring energy and intent in with each and every ingredient added in the recipe. While the witch may add enchanting ingredients from the harvest of another witch(or even their own…there is no rule saying you can only be good at one kind, you know), or charm the dishes, or cook the meal for a ritual for an added boost, the kitchen witch does the real magic with preparation. Finely slice this, chunk that, simmer this over here, broil this down there….these are the rituals of the kitchen witch, focusing energy on the preparation, and keeping one intent in mind. Once the meal is prepared, and served the kitchen witch relishes in the work accomplished, watching as others partake in the food and drink prepared. Those partaking in the meal of a kitchen witch are sure to feel the intent cast unto the dish and drink. From happy, to loved, to tired, to ill….the dishes cooked are always with purpose.Image

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Foodie in Italy

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In Lucca my pants size shrunk a size without me even trying. In Lucca I ate pizza every day and gelato at least once a day. Sometimes I had chocolate filled pastries for breakfast and during the weekend in Rome I insisted we seek out a bakery to find Cannoli – they’re more of a southern Italian pastry – and ate two for breakfast. I was at a sit down restaurant, sitting outside in the lush weather of Italy when I had my first official true authentic Italian pizza. It was a margherita pizza and it came with an olive in the middle as if to identify itself. In Italy the olives on pizzas are whole with pits and they roll off the slice when you pick it up. There are gelato shops all over Lucca sucking you in. I ate hazelnut milk chocolate all of the time and drank Diet Coke light. When you order water it comes in glass pitchers with or without bubbles. There are sandwich shops with Panini pressed fresh for you. I find myself wishing I remembered terms for words I’ve long since forgotten, but I remember that the hot chocolate was thick like pudding and Limoncello tasted amazing. The tomatoes were the most flavorful I’ve ever had. The bread served before dinner wasn’t as salty as what we have in the United States. We would ask for olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper before dripping chunks of fresh bread in it. I didn’t take so many food photos seven years ago. But I tasted. And I still insist that in Italy I ate the best food I’ve ever eaten.

Xo
Melanie Kristy

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foodie: some notes on food and memory

1.         1. There is the desert  and  food stand and the expansive blue sky like a bonnet holding it all in.  We are in Mexico.  It is probably 1990, one can just walk straight across the border, no passport or fuss, just “American” to get back in, the password into the party. We are visiting my Nana Nati—short for Natividad—and we are at a food stand in the market.  We have a lunch of pita pocket filled with ground meat and sauce (a gordita) and green glass bottles of orange soda,  there are vats of horchata (milky coconut, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberry) and the smoky aroma of  grilled corn is a fine mist.  The cool of the glass bottles and plastic cups and the wrinkle of foil are tastes my hands still reach for.

t       2.The dead of summer 1999. I am cupped by my Nana Nati’s death (We go back to Mexico for the funeral. In the market I feel like an observer this time around instead of obliviously in the thick of it) and my freshman year of high school. I spend the summer mostly by myself and reading. I read Francesca Lia Block, Shakespeare and mythology books over and over. I have a summer job at a daycare in a women’s shelter. I only eat in the afternoons. I drink coffee and fix myself peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I order fruit and salads at restaurants. I read cookbooks and make muffins and kolacky and take them to my room and read some more.

2.    3.. 1989. My abuelo’s  funeral. Us kids have to stay with my Madrina.  I am small and the grown-ups are so big and I don’t understand death. There are hotdogs. Buns and ketchup and paper plates. I don’t understand why no one feels  like cooking.

3.       4.. 2011. J.’s funeral. There is a brunch of fried chicken and sweet things and bread and eggs and bacon.  I eat none of it. I want to stuff my face but the thought of it makes me sick. We go home and make tamales and red rice and pintos and eat that instead. I finally understand the true and absolute essence of comfort food: the child I once was still nestled in my stomach and screaming for something ancient and familiar.

4.      5.  I am 16, it is 2001 and I live in an apartment with my friends. We are 16 and 17 year-old cast-outs and runaways and we have schemed our way into a $275/month 2-story apartment. There are no parents to tell us what to eat! I cook us Ramen with broccoli and some kind of dollar seasoning. We fill plastic goblets with ketchup and potato tots. There is cheap beer and cheap vodka. We are the kings of our castle.

5.      6. Sunday. 2014. I visit my mom on Sundays. We have split-pea soup, and spinach lasagna, and oranges. The times have changed. There is a brightness like a bonnet holding it all in.

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Week 2: foodie

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Oh baby. I am always so excited to photograph delicious meals and gush about new favorite restaurants that when I dated a picky eater for three months I was surprised by how much I missed the excitement of tasting new flavor combinations. I filled up on pizza and love instead (and it was a whole different kind of satisfying). Now I have more free time for restaurant adventures, experiments in cooking and instagramming my meals. I’m even thinking about starting a mason jar herb garden this year. Why not, really? So tell me about your favorite cuisines, why you are afraid to try any food that’s write and creamy, vinegary, etc. I want photos and recipes, restaurant reviews, poems about love affairs with food. Anything!

tastefully yours,

Melanie Kristy

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synchronicity.

A blossom in my chest when it happens my heart

like petals and a breeze

Breezing through.

A call. And an answer.

A knock in my solar plexus wake up

Sleepyhead and an opening.

A breath caught with arrival.

Skin on fire and  blood reaching like hands

In child’s pose in gratitude and like new.

Each time an awesome exhale of thank you. So much thank you.

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I look for you everywhere

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Once you know you want something, you start to see signs of it all around you.
This is the year I’m going to see the northern lights.
In Iceland.

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