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shibori

getting knotty with a remnant of taos pueblo

In preparation for the dye pot, I’ve been tying and knotting hundreds of small beads into the fabric panels for a kimono top.  The largest pieces are complete, but there are still detail areas on the sleeves that need to be tied.  My hands can only tolerate this work for about an hour each night because it requires the use of coarse upholstery thread that must be bound exceedingly tight.

I view this part of the shibori resist process as a meditation.  Last night, however, all I could obsess about was how much I hated the word, flesh.  And, the texture of flan.

Squirrely brain.

Fit

iron woman, san francisco harbor

Yesterday, the first Monday of the year was “tourist” day at my gym.  I overheard one regular guy acknowledge this annual phenomenon to a friend and end with, “that’s ok, they’ll all be gone by Valentine’s Day.” Snark.

It’s true, though. I’ve belonged to this gym for over 11 years and I don’t need to look up the statistics to know that the vast majority of yesterday’s newcomers will be gone in a month.  It makes me sad.  Oh, sure, the extra people make everything more crowded, there are lines at the locker desk, waits at the weight stations, extra bodies circling the track.  But, there is also a general air of excitement and promise each January that comes with those shiny new resolutions to lighten and tone and sweat.  I want every one of those newbies to still be there next to me come June and July.  You won’t hear any snarky comments from me, nosiree, ’cause I remember my first day and what it took to come back on day two.

I’ve noticed a good number of female bloggers taking up the “fat and fit” banner as a feminist issue, and I agree with what they have to say about bowing to societal pressure when it comes to body image, shame, standards of what’s sexy and what’s not, all imposed on us by a patriarchy invested in harnessing women as the sex class.  I even buy the criticism of the arbitrary guidelines that purport to tell us if we actually are overweight or not.  I get it.

But, why stop the discussion there?  Forget about your dress size, how many push-ups can you do?  How fast can you run a mile?  Walk a mile? Can you touch your toes? How many minutes of sweat-inducing exercise do you get each day?  Compare your answers to current CDC guidelines for physical activity.  Good health is a lot more than the absence of illness.

Since I’m not aware of any feminist theory that professes my right to die sooner rather than later, I plan to continue sweating  in hopes of living long enough to annoy every conservative I’ve ever known for as long as possible.  That’s all the motivation I need to get to the gym each day.

Bisque

frost, New Year's Day 2010

My New Year’s gift to all ThreadingWater readers – the recipe for Shrimp-Crab Bisque.  Fair warning, this is not for anyone watching their caloric intake.  It truly is a once-a-year treat, especially for those of us in the cold, snowy north who can stand to pack on some extra winter weight.

ThreadingWater’s Shrimp-Crab Bisque

Stock:  You will need approximately 6 Cups of good seafood stock.  I make my own with the following ingredients:

  • 4 Cups water
  • 1 Cup white wine
  • 6 Cups shrimp, crab and/or lobster shells
  • 1 Cup clam juice

Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 45 min. to 1 hour.  Strain solids and reserve liquid.

Bisque Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 medium onion or 3 medium leeks chopped fine
  • 1-2 stalks celery chopped fine
  • 2 carrots chopped fine
  • 1/4 Cup flour or gluten-free flour mix (approximate)
  • 1/2 Cup cooking sherry
  • salt to taste and white pepper to taste
  • 4 Cups half & half
  • 1/2 lb. lump crab meat
  • 1/2 lb. shelled shrimp
  • lemons and limes
  • TW’s secret bisque dry herb mixture, minced together in food processor
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tsp. sage
    • 1/4 tsp. basil
    • 1 tsp. thyme
    • 1 tsp. marjoram
    • 2 tsp. fennel seed
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1 tsp. savory

Melt butter in large pot and saute vegetables until soft.  Sprinkle with flour, adding a small amount at a time and whisking into butter and vegetables until it forms a roux.  Stir constantly for 1-5 minutes, then stir in stock, sherry, dry herb mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.  Season with salt and white pepper.

Add half & half, simmer for another 10 minutes but do not allow to boil.  Stir often.

When almost ready to serve, add crab meat and shrimp.  Heat until shrimp is pink, approximately 5 minutes.

Serve with lemons and limes.  (I always use both because I find the combination is dynamite!)

Yum!  Love-in-a-bowl.  Happy New Year.

Space

Great Sand Dunes, Colorado 2009

I don’t believe in New Year resolutions.  A person can wipe the slate of their life clean at any moment, and on any day begin new and fresh.  For me, the end of the calendar year is more about making room for what lies ahead and listening to the “crackle” of “the things I didn’t do.”

Just another excuse to clean house, the true measure of peace for any true-blooded Polish girl.

Burning the Old Year

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

Dressed

Mr. DeMille? I'm ready for my close-up.

It’s been a great Christmas, even though it was nothing like the Christmas celebration we had originally planned. Before I started packing up for home this morning, I spent an hour on the floor of my son’s office going through some old family photo albums.  Turns out there’s a good reason why I spend so few days lounging about in my pajamas.

I like fancy.

Merry

Time to lighten up with this classic from 1954.  Merry, merry everyone!

Gift

Just when you thought the ThreadingWater depressive’s guide to Christmas couldn’t possibly get any lower, I present you with “The Gift.”