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3/20/13

The Day When Theory of Relativity Sank In

February 7th
Contribution To The Bettering Of Humanity

Bestowing into the Facebook stream of consciousness: How to eat a pomegranate.
[If it is pomegranate that I've been eating. I confuse it with passion fruit.]
Clip a bit from the fruit skin with a pair of scissors. Don't cut it into halves! The red juice surrounding the million seeds splashes on your white blouse, you unfortunate no-apron-wearing person. So clip away a bit, then peel it, then tear the groupings encased in the inside skin on a plate placed in the sink well, so that even if the ruby juice splashes, it won't shoot beyond the sink walls. Then clean apart the seeds from the tearings of skins, put them in a glass bowl, sit on a chair, take a fistful of seeds, chew them gently so the juice trickles in your mouth, but don't crunch the cardboard-like core of the seeds. That done, spit it out.
Now you are good to go on Facebook with it. And if they think that, yes, that's helpful, you’ll be glad you’ve contributed to the bettering of humanity.

February 16th
Kitchen Ado

In our family, culinary talents skipped my generation.
That is not to say I kill my guests with my food, but I’m a far cry from my mom.
That’s all.
Still, I chug along. I even have fits of pride when I pour my frothy strawberry and mango smoothie in a goblet for my son and he slurps it all up, or the pumpkin bread loaves come out fat and shiny, not in the least burnt! Well, I used my common sense when the delicious smell wafting from the oven signaled, ‘Burning! Burning! Charcoal!’ I switched the button to 325 degrees from the initial 350 recommended on the box the ingredients came in, canned pumpkin included.
Well, this morning my son wants three scrambled eggs with onions. I chop the onions, pour oil in the skillet, and stir the bits of onion in. My son complains there is too much oil. He has lately discovered I have no clue whatsoever what I’m doing in the kitchen. That is, I don’t follow recipes accurately. Right now he says, ‘You’re deep frying the onions, instead of just having a film of oil between the onions and skillet. You don’t want to have soft onions when you pour the eggs on them.’ So I drain the oil without further comments, though why shouldn’t I want soft onions?! They are sweet when they are soft, and they lose their sting. But okay.
Later in the day, we’re to decide if I should make stuffed cabbage or cabbage á la Cluj, both ancestral dishes. Same ingredients, but the difference is that in order to make the cabbage rolls, I have to first boil the cabbage heads so the leaves become flexible and I can roll them into stuffed cabbage rolls. In cabbage á la Cluj, all I have to do is chop the cabbage and stew the entire mix. I ask him if he is in the mood for assisting me with the cabbage leaf boiling and rolling, while hoping he says no. Yesterday I was about to make spinach with sausage patties when he saw the raw meat rounds and declared they are disgusting. Well, what does he think hamburgers look like naked?! So, now, a problem! The cabbage dish includes minced meat and if he sees it uncooked, he’s gonna refuse to eat it and he does need to bulk up a bit. Luckily, he says he’s not inclined to roll cabbages on President’s weekend and that I should decide which meal I’m cooking. Well, I say, ‘I’m about to write letters to presidents so I’ll just chop the cabbage and while the pot simmers I’ll write my presidents, both American and Romanian, my law-abiding citizen’s two-cent advice.’
Well, it turned out splendidly. He’s in the kitchen, now, eating it with gusto.
I bet cabbage á la Cluj was invented by some other busy mom like me.
It tastes the same, just looks different.

February 17th
Crunch

Advice to those who are entrusted with waking up sleepy loved ones: Take a bag of Tortilla Chips [It's A Cracker Too] made with sweet potatoes. Stuff your mouth with chips. Lower your right cheek close to the sleepy head and crunch! crunch! crunch! until he turns horrified on to his other side and then take another mouthful and crunch! crunch! crunch! again. Repeat until he’s up and running.
If later in the day he boasts, ‘I did it! I finally woke up timely!’ remind him it was teamwork.


February 24th
Tech Genius Ideas

On a Saturday morning, one should not, could not, must not share gross things such as the following: I’m determined to clean all the fluff from the new wool carpet that, after only one week of wear, sheds brown hairs. Oh, vacuum cleaner suction mighty feeble. Have you checked if the bag is full? No. So, check. Bag still half empty. Oh, more feeble vacuum suction.
Genius tech idea: Must be the fluff stuck along the goose neck blocking the flow. Unscrew the long affair, look thru one end, oh, clear accordion tunnel. Look thru the other end. Oh, the nozzle is crammed with compact tufts of wool.
2
nd tech genius idea: Pick at them with a knitting needle. Get them out one by one in rounds like cat fur-balls. Gross. Oh, still suction feeble.
3rd tech genius idea: Let the tap water run thru the entire coiled goose neck. More wet wool balls amble out one by one. Hose clear! Alas now waiting for the contraption to dry! Warning label says: To reduce the risk of electric shock do not use on wet surfaces.
4th genius idea: Share it on Facebook. It's afternoon by now, anyway.
‘Hi! I just wonder how long it shall take for the hose to dry. Should I start blowing it inside with a hairdryer?!’
Klebby Weeb, a Facebook friend who’s been thru it on account of her dog hair, responds, ‘Can't hurt. Blow-dry until there is no drippage upon shaking. As long as it isn't dripping water and seeing as how it is only a hose sucking air into a canister, I don't see electrical issues. Dust and dirt clinging to an inside moist surface and crustifying, now that’s a different matter all together.’
Crustifying?! The plot thickens.
Hose still dripping water if shaken. I wish I could turn it inside out to speed up the process. Or push and pull thru it a string of colorful handkerchiefs like a magician pulls out of his sleeve.
Klebby Weeb again jumps to the rescue, ‘This may sound out there, but can you pop it in the dryer?’
No dryer. New York City apartments too tight for such appliances, the corner Laundromat we use! But I can try the kitchen oven.
I didn't think drying the hose insides would be such a lengthy process. I'll wait it out and occupy myself with purging the kitchen cabinet. Oh, too much china, too many single pot lids. Maybe that would give me a feeling of control and I can proceed cleaning my computer archive files.
Then onto the clothing closets!

February 26th
The Turnip Penance

Well, yesterday I was a hero. I wrote and edited and wrote and edited some more. Today, when I said I should, I would, I could write more, I started my day by counting gray seagulls flying by on a gray sky. Then I made turnip salad, to punish myself. That turnip was lodged in my crisper for ages! Since October! I didn't know how to cook it. The Joy of Cooking book doesn't take much interest in this humble vegetable so I thought it's a doomed one, and I proceeded to aggress her, that helpless, useless turnip that won’t sit and write. Who ever heard of turnip salad, right? I grated her fleshy rounds. This is what you get for not writing! I looked forward to getting my well-deserved punishment. What kind of writer is one who does not write?! That turnip must be utterly inedible.
Well, wrong again. I mixed it with boiled potatoes and eggs and olives and sunflower seeds and mayo and it turned out delicious. I couldn’t wade my son off of it.
Then I started to sweep since the vacuum cleaner hose is still wet. Then I luxuriated in a hot bath. Then this and that. But now, it’s almost 10 p.m. I would, I could, I shall, I must write.
An hour later: I must say, an utterly unexpected ending to my turnip self-flagellation attempt! I ate another helping with mayo and pastrami. I who never eats after 7 p.m.! Delicious!
Thus fortified, I head straight to writing.
Or go to buy more turnips.

March
1st
Basil Dumping

My bathtub is full of basil leaves. My kitchen is so fragrant from the four fat bunches of basil stems I hung on wall hooks to dry, that it gives me a headache. Like white lilies, such heavy scent. But one does her share of saving the planet. Plus it’s so gray, this first of March. So dull, no spring in sight, that one is color starved.
That’s how I ended up taking home a crate of basil plants, roots and all. The lady preacher at the church nearby was harassing people, ‘Take it! Take it!’ ‘What is it? Spinach?’ ‘Don’t know,’ she says grumpily. She knows too well, but has a truckload of crates blocking the sidewalk filled with basil courtesy of City Harvest Stop the Hunger in NYC. Were I to have too much time on my hands, it would be interesting to investigate who donates tons of basil on a Friday afternoon. Perfectly fresh basil, 12” long stems, and healthy roots!
I sit on my cow-milking stool and take out bunch after bunch from the plastic bag that holds them in the crate. I cut each stem off and throw it into the sink. When I finish severing an entire bunch, I take off the rubber band twisted around the root ball; I shake the dirt off the roots in an empty flower pot. My fingers feel the root hairs. I miss my parents’ garden, the earth. I kick of my slippers filled with dirt. What if I cover the entire apartment floor with a thick layer of dirt? Or with sand! Walk barefoot in it!
Or grow grass.
When I’m done with shaking all the dirt off, I throw the roots to the garbage, feeling guilty, feeling guilty. I don’t have a garden. The apartment is tight. I can’t raise a basil field on the windowsills. At least I’ve saved the stems and leaves. I don’t know what to do with the poor roots!
I wash the dirt off the stems and pile them on a large tray. I then take fistfuls of stray basil leaves and hold them under running water. The touch of their snappy freshness takes me home to my mom’s garden when I picked sorrel two summers ago. The fragrance intensifies. First I remember the Romanian Orthodox churches and the faithful ones’ homes who always had dry basil bunches. Then I get drowsy.
Too much of a good thing.
I shall drink basil tea forever now. The large flower pot is filled with the castoff dirt. It would have ended up in the garbage dump in plastic bags.
I wash all 20 rubber bands. Someone’s hands tied those roots together! What a wasted effort!
I mop the dirt off the floor. I wash my slippers, my feet, darkened by the soil.
The excesses of America. Where else in the world would crates of basil pile up on a city sidewalk?!
I line the bathtub with clean paper and place the leaves in a thick layer until morning.
I cannot comprehend this surreal situation.
Do you?! Who engages in basil dumping?! As if, they used to throw grain in the ocean to keep the prices low and now they moved on to basil?!
Criss from Canada says, ‘This is a sign, you’ll find the answer one day. Everything is happening for a reason.’
Note to basil leaf tea makers: don't put your crop in a bathtub. Not enough ventilation. I take mine to the living room. I place a gauze net over a grid, and spread my leaves on it. I stir them often, as I worry about them rotting.
My house smells like a church now. I'm utterly dizzy.
Good sign. I’m protected, says Criss from Canada.

March 10th
The Day When Relativity Theory Sank In

Here is the first 2013 Art Street Performing Dépêche.
Besides indulging fellow artist, Juan, I also aim at documenting my activity as an Impromptu Romanian/Transylvanian Cultural Center on the streets of New York City. I noticed we're quite a few unsung Romanian citizens who are quietly doing positive deeds for our old country, so I document it for the record.
*
Well, I saw two
documentaries last night, one about Einstein, and then one about nuclear energy. My head pounds. Sure, I knew a little about it, but it never sank in. Can you imagine that time is not a fixed dimension like the one set on my wrist watch, but is elastic?! If you travel at light speed, you don’t get old so fast?! I just can’t imagine it… Anyway, if so much energy sits in an atom then why the hell don’t they make atomic power plants and end the race for oil?! I don’t understand humanity.
I also read about nepotism, here and in Romania, and I don’t understand for the life of me how in our little lives we struggle to survive financially while others take advantage of us, gorge on money and political power, when there could be enough for all of us. As if we want to outdo ourselves with discriminating against each other and killing ourselves. Lives wasted in political squabbles when we could be luminous, illuminated, we could have advanced science and we could see the universe.
Can you imagine traveling in space?
This year, 2013, Ashton Kutcher, Russell Brand, and such luminaries will fly in space for a mere $200,000 a ticket while we twist ourselves into pretzels here in NYC about the subway ticket price escalation.
What nonsense, what smallness. How is this possible, I don’t know! I feel that my life was wasted on nonsense, on futile efforts, on running around in circles, instead of being put to real use by society. I don’t know how so much stupidity, so much aggressive backwardness is possible.
Yesterday I participated in a show celebrating Women's Day. I read two stories about my mother. We were artists from different countries and the audience would vote by buying $1 paper flags of the country represented by the artist they liked most and the gathered money would be sent to a women's organization in the country that gathered most flags.
Well, the artist who brought along more guests had more votes, obviously. I, who had no one, still fetched three votes [it was a small party, about 30 spectators] but the money went half to Germany and half to the U.S.A. since it was a six-flag tie. Really, do they need our little pennies in Germany or the U.S.A.?! Whereas in Romania, that little money would have helped the girls in Bucharest who protest in the streets and no one listens to them, the media even laughs at them...
Suddenly I wish I had more money to help people. I'm tired of my old bohemian self.

Well, Sunday afternoon, day saving time instated, glaring sunshine, must be spring, I take my art store on wheels to the Fifth Avenue Plaza. No more hibernation.
On the bus, I ask a guy who sits on my preferred chair to scoot over to the window seat. I always sit in the chair by the middle door, so I don’t block the way on the aisle with my art store suitcases. He kindly obliges. He tells me I gave him a heart palpitation when he saw me coming down the aisle, I resemble his ex-wife, actually not ex since it’s been just a long separation. See, he has been in a coma for 10 years. I ask him how he got into a coma. He says he mixed coke with alcohol. I show my sympathy, but actually I’m fed up with stories of recovery. You spent half of your life on whatever drugs you selfishly gobbled down and then the other half on getting off them?! Well, you’re rather dumb and boring, not a hero!
Meanwhile others contributed to society. Raised children.
But I listen, being stuck between him and my suitcases. He doesn’t remember anything when he was in that coma, since it was a long sleep. Parents, his wife came to see him, but after a while they got tired of it. He can’t blame them. Ten years. Then, one day, the machine he was hooked on started to beep that he was back to life. They let him go home. Now he is in an SRO, he lucked out, he says, gratefully. He used to sleep in parks. In Prospect Park two horses almost stepped on him. Recreational horse riding, though it was two at night. Now he has his own SRO room, gets $200 in food stamps. He shows me an old ID. I notice he belongs to an organization I worked for long time ago. I managed their art studio catering to mentally ill clients for six months. Then they shut it down. He asks me if I liked it. ‘Well, there were several artists I loved, one drew with poems, that is, she’d make a cat out of written words about that cat’s thoughts. Another one… I remember her black hair, her fringe covering her glittering eyes. She had a child’s voice. But they were mean to each other. Drove me crazy. Oops, 56
th Street bus stop. Time to get off!’ He wishes me good luck.
I, for the first time ever, ask for help from an incoming passenger to hold the bottom of my luggage cart, otherwise I’ll get stuck with it in the gap between bus and sidewalk. I smile, he smiles, holds, done! Easy breathy!
Rolling across the avenues. On one block, toothpicks wrapped individually in plastic make a trail on the pavement. Oh, uneventful Fifth Avenue Plaza arrival. I expected trumpets, ‘Spring has come! Look, our artists take their spots.’ But the New York City social machine didn’t even notice our winter absence, or our spring arrival.
Kinda deserted, even though it’s Sunday, hotdog vendor day. I say hello to the young Russian man who sells stock images of New York by the entrance of FAO Schwarz toy store. He says I haven’t missed much not showing up over the winter. I leave my caboodle with him and go to scout the sidewalks around the plaza for a place to settle my table, especially on the Apple Store entrance side. Too much smoke from the Nuts4Nuts, and the shish kebabs. The Apple store is overcrowded as usual.
Corporate business is booming.
I shall settle on Fifth Avenue. I always wanted to try it. Now is the time. They allow you there only on Sundays. Right off the corner, Sergey, of the Russian dolls fame, reads his newspaper unphased by the low temperature, noise, pollution. I say hello, expecting a hug. He raises his eyes, looks with serene indifference at me only to ask me why I’m so late! Three months late. He’s droll. I shrug. I tell him I’m less late than Juan who still suns himself on the beach in Puerto Rico. ‘That’s a good move,’ Sergey approves. Why am I deferential, like he’s our Godfather?!
I set court between a shiny food truck and yet another New York City picture stand catering to undiscriminating tourists.
Jesus, all the people walking by chatting in all the languages in the world! I need to install a hidden camera. An unbelievable variety of faces, clothing, pimples, baby strollers, dogs, sunglasses, phone conversations. Oh, how they tenderly lean on each other, mother and daughter! Behold the low dragging pants on young fathers, followed by their awed babies. This endless street spectacle is better than any movie! Perhaps I over hibernated, so pleased am I to see them walk by again. Some stop, some finger my leather bags, some ask about my pictures and I tell them stories they find charming, though I’m a bit puzzled how my three old folks with injured eyes sitting disgruntled on a bench in a dilapidated old folks home seem charming and not heart breaking to them, but so be it.
In between my infomercials, I read my National Geographic magazine. The splendor of Earth, of America. Somewhere in Yellow Stone Park there’s a rainbow-colored lake. So vibrant are its colors you’d think it’s photoshoped.
The food vendor next to me interrupts me shyly with a $5 bill in hand asking for change. I fish my singles out of my pocket, not sure if I have enough, and I hand them counting, ‘One, two, three, four, and oh, look, five!’ He thanks me.
After a while I get my Greek yogurt out of my bag and with its tin foil cover in hand I go to his stand and ask him if he can put it in his garbage bag. Sure, he smiles eagerly. I eat my yogurt while we chat. The usual, ‘What country are you from?’ ‘Egypt.’ ‘When did you come here?’ ‘Three years ago.’ He asks me if I’m married. ‘No. Would I then be here on the Plaza on a Sunday afternoon?’ I laugh.
When I finish eating he takes the plastic cup, puts it in his garbage, and I go back to my stand. As I sit on my chair I still wonder what I have just said. Were I to be married I wouldn’t be doing street performance any longer? I won’t be an itinerant Romanian/Transylvanian embassy anymore?! Well, would I? An odd thing to say.
I see his reflection on the marble wall in front of me. Perhaps he’s been watching me reading all along?! I take my National Geographic to show him images from a desert, camels, then a splendid mosque. He enjoys himself, tells me these are Arabian. Well, I don’t quite understand his point, I thought Egypt is an Arabian Country?! I then ask him where does his stand go at closing time? ‘Oh, a car comes, the stand gets hitched to it, and puts it in a garage.’
Egyptians stick together it seems.
I want also to belong to a clan, to a mafia. Romanians have no mafia here. I just read how, actually, Romanian kids hacked into the NASA computer system, and CIA. How Romanians scam people in the millions on eBay. Terrible, but the Romanian papers seem to be proud of this infamous international acknowledgement.
I want to belong to a clan.
This is strange since my entire life I yearned to belong to a place and society governed by a meritocracy. I severed all ties to achieve living in New York City, in my family of choice, the innovative artists. Well, some family. There’s no solidarity. Either they got crazy after struggling for so long to survive in this city, or they were already crazy to begin with to come here. But they are certainly not a family to fall back on, to have them cherish your talents and nurture you. They nail bite enviously most of the time, and, since they constantly think their next big break on Broadway, or on Oprah’s Book Club, is just around the corner, they drop you like hot potatoes at the first imagining of glory. Of course, the big break is not around the corner. But it takes them some ten good years to realize that and leave the city. Then they write you apologetic emails from Minnesota when they get to their whatever step number in their AA program, which requires asking forgiveness from people they had hurt.
I suddenly want a family with lots of nepotistic tendencies, please.
Mighty weird thoughts on this first day of spring.
I go back to my post. The food vendor then comes with a $10 bill to break. I luckily have two $5 bills. Then I switch to reading a how-to book about creating mischief. One can put plastic bugs in ice cubes. I shall try that on my son!
I pack and I say good bye to the Egyptian. He wants to exchange phone numbers! Oh, well, isn’t he in for a treat! I pass him my business card, Ella Veres, writer/performer, and leave him punching my phone number into his cell.
In the bus stop, as I head to the machine to buy my ticket, a blonde lady in a black coat says she got two tickets out of the machine, so she laughingly tears one and gives it to me. I thank her kindly, ‘I made no sales today, I’m an artist, so I do thank you.’
I suddenly ask her, ‘Is it just me, or this winter is the longest ever?! We wish it to be spring. I saw a few guys in T-shirts, only, and a girl with a summery red polka dot mini skirt and no stockings, but it’s still damn cold. I communicate with friends around the country and when I hear them say, ‘Oh, crocuses are blooming here!’ I see red.’ She says her sister up in Connecticut was going on about her crocuses too, but now she’s shut up. They have snow again. 12” of snow.
The bus arrival interrupts our chatter. When I get on, in my seat is another blonde lady in a black coat. I ask her if she wouldn’t be so kind as to scoot over to the window. She snaps irritated that she wants to sit in that particular chair. Alright, I don’t bother to elaborate on my blocking the bus door and aisle, so I think of crocuses and spring. She is just one catty, stressed-out fellow woman, though she thinks she’s hot Park-Avenue, old-money, Ivy-league shit. When the next bus stop lurches us about, I’m gonna be dealing with disgruntled passengers. But right before the bus stop, she says suddenly she’s gonna move to the seat in front. I thank her very much and sit down then take out my booklet on mischief and chuckle at the possibilities. My lady with the crocuses waves her gloved hand at me as she gets off. Oh, won’t you be my family, dear lady?
I arrive home. I tell my son, alas no sales today, but I got hit on by the hotdog guy.
My son guffaws.
And what if this Egyptian guy is an astrophysicist lost in the shuffle of America?
Then Ethan, a Facebook friend from England, said, ‘Oh, Ella. I spent all day, yesterday, thinking this, ‘I want to belong to a clan', and I'm always thinking this, 'Won’t you be my family, dear lady?', but, instead, all we have is the clan of separation. Sometimes, I imagine joining a church, but I have no belief and the deceit wouldn't sit well with me.’
Well, I told Ethan, ‘I just don't know how we arrived at this 'clan of separation' status. I assume initially it was a good thing, a good idea, to belong to the larger family of humanity, or that the state is the father who protects all its children equally, gives all equal opportunity, you redefine yourself and seek your own spiritual kin, but only to find out that in that new adopted family there's no such thing as equal opportunity, but still the old rules of nepotism function. I read this book on nepotism in America. It’s harsh to see the parade of family names in Hollywood's Who's Who, in politics, in publishing. It’s a feeling similar to the confusion, the disbelief I feel after reading about Einstein's discoveries and their applications, I realize that for so long I functioned on dated information, though the knowledge was available to me, theoretically, that time is not set in stone, but flexible, yet it feels fixed to us.
‘Righteous indignation, or bitter resignation, are no solutions.
‘I’m plopped in a puddle of powerless bafflement.
‘I guess I'm waiting for the sun to regain its heat and dry it all up?!’

*
March 16th, and again snowing diligently here in New York City.
Well done. Congratulations. Keep at it. To many more.
Now I understand why they have Hummers and Jeeps driving about on the flat avenues of Manhattan. Snow shoveling heaven out there. We're preparing for the worst. As we create it with said oil guzzling Hummers and Jeeps. Come June, we shall have ice mountains on Fifth Avenue Plaza. Then we shall get out our tanks.
Well done. Congratulations. Keep at it. To many more.



Half of these stories were broadcast on Thursday, March 21st, 3 p.m., and the second half shall be delivered on April 4th, as part of the Sixth International Support Women Artists Now Day! SWAN Day

http://www.womenarts.org/events/network/eventhome.php?action=searchevent&subaction=list&eventid=1085

on my radio show: blogtalkradio.com/ellaveresshow
Proofreading by Ethan Black blackroads.org

If you’d like to throw a bit of money my way to keep my endeavors going, and also enable me to spread the money to my various social causes, I’d be ever so grateful.


March 28, 2013
   New York

4 comments:

  1. ha, as fi votat pt tine Ella de Women's Day! Ai dreptate,Romania ar fi avut mai multa nevoie de niste bani pt bietele femei, decat Germania sau Sua.

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  2. Ella,in prezent, in Romania sunt multe clanuri mafiote, baroni de judete, etc, asa ca daca tot vrei sa te afiliezi unui clan, poti sa o faci de data asta,haha. You're lucky today! Nu stiu in schimb ce o sa trebuiasca sa faci ca sa fii in clanurile mafiote romanesti. Probabil va trebui sa iei o bata si sa te duci sa le dai in cap celor care au datorii la clanurile mafiote? Ma rog, mai conteaza? Important e ca am intrat in rand cu lumea, avem si noi clanuri mafiote, Ella(ce mandra sunt)!;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. multumesc, iulia ptr. vot. o sa le spun ca sa introduca votarea prin skype data viitoare :)
    aoleu cu mafia. ceva nume de baroni?

    ReplyDelete
  4. da, votarea prin skype ar fi o idee buna:)

    Nu stiu nume, dar stiu ca-s mari si tari, fac ce vor prin Romania. Cred ca astia, Nuta si Sile Camataru ar putea fi un exemplu.

    ReplyDelete