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Insomnia haiku

Awake
When the world is sleeping
Watch morning creep in

Curried Seafood Soup

This is a super rich soup with a coconut milk base. I made it on the fly and it turned out AWESOME! I had a small bag of salad shrimp and a bag of Kroger frozen Cod in the freezer, so that’s what I used. Use whatever you’ve got. As usual, I forgot to get a pic! Sorry! You can make this Pescatarian by using veg or fish stock and skipping the dairy.

1# cod (or other dense white fish), 1″ cubes
8 oz small salad shrimp (or any kind of shrimp, cleaned)
1 med onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/3 – 1/2 pound mushrooms, diced
olive oil
1 Tbl all purpose red curry paste (this stuff is powerful; 1 Tbl gives a good flavour with little heat, +/- to taste)
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
S/P
1/2 tsp white pepper
1.5 cups chicken stock (+/-)
1 can coconut milk (not sweetened)
1 can chick peas, drained
1/2 cup red lentils (optional, they help thicken the soup)
zest and juice of one lime
1/2 tsp garlic oil (optional, you can find in Asian stores)
1 Tbl soy sauce
few dashes fish sauce (optional, adds umami)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sour cream or greek yogurt for serving

Cover bottom of wide soup pot with olive oil over med hi heat and add onion, carrots, garlic and mushrooms to sweat. Watch heat, you don’t want the onions/garlic to burn or brown. Add curry paste, dried cilantro and lime zest, stir. When veg have softened, add the seafood and stir for a couple of minutes. Add about 1 tsp of salt and half tsp of black pepper and the white pepper. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, lentils and chick peas. Bring it all to a simmer and check your seasonings. Add garlic oil, soy sauce and fish sauce. Simmer soup for about 15 minutes to cook the fish. Before serving, stir in fresh cilantro (reserve a little for garnish) and the juice of the lime.

Serve in large bowl with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and fresh cilantro.

Life OTP, so far…

It is odd living OTP*. I’ve been saying, “We are trying to learn the language and customs of these odd and different creatures”, and I mean it. It is very different in Tucker.

For one thing: there’s nowhere to eat out. There’s a Longhorn, Applebee’s and Los Hermanos and the rest is fast food. There are no bars that I will go into. Tucker is all about the High School – it’s the prominent feature of Downtown Tucker. Families are the norm OTP, I know, but it’s still weird to me. Oh, and NO LIQUOR STORES. What is that about? I would think with all these kids around, the adults would NEED some liquor! LOL Driving all the way to Oak Grove for a liquor store? Really? I must be missing them…

The sounds are different here, too. It’s mostly very quiet since MARTA does not run on Norcross Tucker and there are no firehouses nearby. But there are noises, typically very early in the morning. There is a train crossing nearby, apparently, I hear the train’s horn every morning in the wee hours. Then there are the white people noises: yapping dogs, heavy equipment, howling dogs, chainsaws. Unfortunately, the yapping dogs are our next door neighbors’ who let them out so they can sit under our bedroom window at FOUR fucking a.m. and bark endlessly. There is a dog that howls 24/7, who we thought had been shot, but is back, so no luck there. The other morning, I was serenaded by equipment and chainsaws from the house behind our asshole neighbors’ house. ::sigh::

White people make very different noises than black people. In the old ‘hood, sirens, hoopdies with bass that rattles the windows, people honking at the curb and loudmouthed black people were the typical noises. Oh, and the copious gunfire every weekend and more so on July 4 and New Year’s. I got used to it and learned to sleep through most of it, so I assume it’ll be the same here except for the goddam yappy dogs. THAT can’t be slept through, we know, we’ve tried 3 times now. Gotta speak to the asshole neighbors about it. Bleh.

It was odd to be home on July 4th and hear NOT A SINGLE gunshot. Not one! Weird! I wonder if New Year’s will be the same?

I also feel safe enough to leave my radio in the car. I just read that there has been a string of older car thefts in Decatur. Can’t say I miss that shit. No MARTA makes a big difference, I’m starting to see why people really don’t want it.

The weather is different here, too. I’m serious! The city dome effect is VERY real and I can tell I’m not in it any longer. It rains a LOT more here. In the summer, the city dome typically diverts afternoon showers around it and I can tell it definitely rains more outside that bubble. THAT is very odd.

There is a Kroger right up the road, but no gas station. They are trying to convince the Shell station to sell to Kroger, but the owner won’t do it. Which sucks. The shell would be fine IF they gave the same discounts, but they don’t, only the 10¢ gallon discount. I think I’ll still shop at “my” Kroger in Decatur a bit. Both are being renovated, so I can’t catch a break. The Northlake store really sucks, but I still stop there for small things.

The 10 minute commute is making Nick VERY happy, so I guess it will all work out. I really do love this house and yard, but the rent is soooo high ($1300 for a $1100-1200 neighborhood). We went down to Decatur last night for a meeting and it was SO FAR. We are about 9 miles from downtown Decatur now (as opposed to 3 miles). I don’t think I like that much. I feel very removed from everything here. But it’ll do for now.

It’s not that I miss the ghetto, I DO NOT, but it’s more of a distance thing. Even DragonCon will kind of suck this year because we are so much farther out. It’s going to take about twice as long to go back and forth which will be a real drag. Plus, I don’t know what we’ll do with the Chernik Traveling Circus vehicles. They can’t get up the drive, I’m sure. Gotta work on that.

So, that’s my impression of OTP so far. If the asshole neighbors would keep their little shithead dogs INSIDE until a reasonable hour, I think it’ll be swell here. For now.

Lake Ivanhoe!IMG_0759

*Outside The Perimeter for non-Atlantans. I-285 is the circular bypass of ATL which we refer to as “The Perimeter”. OTP is where the uncool live. Or just those sick of ghetto and gunfire like we are. ITP (Inside The Perimeter) is rife with hipsters, homeless and thugs. You know, the Cool Kids™. ;)

Idle minds…

So, I was in the shower exfoliating my face and legs when I thought “exfoliate” would be a GREAT Dalek word. Then I got an image of a Dalek at a salon with scrub and a pouf saying “EXFOLIATE!”

Then this happened.

EXFOLIATE!

EXFOLIATE!

For someone with zero drawing skills, I thought I did an OK job! LOL You’ll never exfoliate again without thinking this, I promise you! :D

What you get when you poke the Universe.

We decided to move, as you all know. We needed new energy and a new base of operations. We started moving stuff the last week of May and it all culminated in the movers showing up on Sunday to get all the big stuff. We used Big League Movers (Excellent, big shout out to them on Yelp.) We’d wrangled Comcast on Friday the 13th with a full moon during a Mercury retrograde without incident and staged all our crap on Saturday. Sunday went well, but it was a long day. We were exhausted in every sense.

Monday we had DirecTV coming out in the afternoon, so we decided to go get the fish tank that morning to get it over with. Moving a fish tank is a royal pain in the ass. We stopped at Chick Fil Hate for some breakfast and that’s when my brother called me. I knew it was bad news because he’d never call me during work unless it was. He told me that his best friend had been electrocuted on the job that morning. We’d known Aron Pack since 1978 or 79. Aron and Ricky were like peas and carrots.

I cried off and on most of the day Monday. My poor brother had lost his one solace from his shitty life. He and Aron would work on their Harleys together and Ricky would go to the lake with them. My brother was closer to the Pack family that he was to ours for sure. He and Aron were brothers in a very real sense.

On top of all this, Rob went on vacation for two weeks, leaving me “in charge” (HA HA!) of the bills for the taqueria. Of course, this normally would be no big deal, but with all the exhaustion of moving and the emotional upset of Aron’s death, it’s been VERY hard. The girl that is basically in charge of the store has fucked up all the orders and keeps asking me for checks EVERY GODDAM DAY. We just got back last night from the funeral (in TN) and she’s calling me asking that I drive over there to bring her a check for some beer that “just showed up”. I told her to send it the fuck back. We’ve never gotten along and she is being a total bitch to me since Rob isn’t around. Ugh.

Aron’s funeral was a typical horrible Southern affair. Open casket (even though he’d never wanted that), receiving line, public display of grief, wails from the wailing room, the whole thing. I refuse to approach the open caskets in general, because I want to remember the person alive, not dead. If I see the body, that’s the only thing I’ll remember. I know, because it’s happened with my cats. I didn’t see my granny and I’m not sorry about that. Anyway, I sat next to my brother for the funeral service and felt the hurt and sorrow flow from him. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m actually very empathic, but I tend to keep it turned off as much as I can because I find it clouds my judgement and causes me to take on others’ drama. But in this case, I turned it on and tried to take as much of my brother’s pain as I could. Probably not the best thing for me, but I did it anyway. I’ve never seen such hurt in his eyes. Never. (I did pay for it, as I completely broke down last night, again. Nick did his best to comfort me. Thank the gods for xanax.)

My poor brother is a very good guy. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he would (and does) do anything for anyone who needs help. His life is a shit sandwich. He’s got a job he doesn’t like and is low paying. He’s got a 17 year old daughter that is hell on wheels, who has done nothing but cause drama for the last several years – especially since her drug dealer mother was murdered. She got knocked up on purpose and is now shacked up with some idiot 20 year old that she’s known for, oh, three months. My brother lives with two parents in their 70s who are in declining health. My father has dementia and emphysema. He remembers nothing. He’s asked me at least a dozen times where I’ve moved to, if it’s a bigger place and if it’s more expensive. My mother has been hospitalized for several weeks for an as yet unnamed neurological disease that has rendered her 75% immobile.

And now my brother lost his best friend. It is heartbreaking. As we stood graveside in the boiling heat yesterday morning, I looked up at the clear blue sky and heard birds singing. It made me even sadder. The world goes on. The most horrible things happen and the sun rises and the birds sing. We adapt. But it sure does HURT.

Aron’s death has scared me, badly. Aron’s wife Tina has lost her husband of 17 years. Just like that. In the blink of an eye. She said goodbye as he left for work like any other morning and now he’s gone. I can’t help but identify with that. If I lost Nick like that, I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t have family support. I’ve got a few close friends, but I am pretty self contained. I tend to not rely on people very much since I’ve had so many people fuck me over (especially the family). I can’t help but be afraid of what would happen to me if I lost Nick. I think I’d sell everything and move overseas. I’d be lost, that’s for sure. Or maybe I’d choose to check out as well. It’s a definite possibility, I won’t lie.

So that’s what’s been going on the last couple of weeks. It’s been hard. I’m physically and mentally spent. We are missing Heroes AND the Atlanta Gaming Expo. I still feel emotionally fragile, like tears could happen any minute. ::sigh::

So, be careful when you poke the Universe, folks. You just might get more than you bargained for.

We’ve got to go to Maplehurst today for the final items: fans, plants, bird feeders, etc. I just want all this to be OVER. We’ve not even touched the boxes here. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me much for the next month or so. I just need to regroup and set up my house. Please don’t call me. You can text or message on FB, but just don’t call. I’m over the phone right now.