Stress Addict: Green Tea-Peppermint Popsicles & Raspberry-Yogurt Popsicles

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

-Better than cocaine, right? Plus, it's a natural high.-

I’m addicted to stress.

I only recently figured this out. I was looking in my mailbox freaking out over why a new kindle hadn’t arrived yet. Did the mail lose it? I needed it soon! What if it doesn’t show? It’s hot outside, so what if the heat breaks it? The roads are bumpy and so it could shake apart. I’ll open a box of shattered glass and plastic! How do I even use it when it gets here? It seems so complicated! But?! Oh no!? AUUUGH!

Oh God, I think I’m gonna die…

-I am Anxiety Man. Able to leap to the worst conclusion in a single bound. (I hope I didn't stain the tablecloth for this photo.)-

My friend, Janelle, who was on the phone with me as my poor little heart ran so fast you would think I overdosed it with ecstacy and Pixy Stix, finally brought me back to earth. “Garrett. Stop. Why are you stressing this? It’s not solving anything and nothing can be done right now. Just stop." Her voice was so firm and each word given so much importance and stacatto she sounded like a female version of Allen Rickman.

I paused a moment, more because my heart skipped a few beats and caused me stroke out for a bit than because of what she said, but I thought about it.

Why was I? It was in the mail. There was nothing to be done except wait.

I realized then that I wanted to stress out about this. The adrenaline would flood my body. A neurotic electrical storm would rip through every memory and thought to find any shred – any damnable hope – of a solution. Muscle cells would fire like pistons raging against whatever dilemma was at hand. Stress, for me, was my power. Fuel for destroying my enemies be they human, situational, or, apparently, the United States Postal Service.

You see, in my experience stress brings about solutions.

The saying goes that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. The people who say this, usually have a gross excess of time and money, or a sugar daddy. When you sweat the small stuff it’s because the small stuff usually has a solution. Something can be done to remedy the problem at hand.

-Like have a panic attack. I hear mint calms those down.-

For example, when your flight gets cancelled you go into overdrive. You run like a greyhound after a mechanical bunny to the next information booth. You fight everyone else at the airport. They are your enemies; competition for a limited number of seats on the next flight out. They must be destroyed. You plead, yell, cajole, seduce, bribe the poor kiosk lady for the shittiest, leftover seat. Simultaneously, you’re on the phone with a booking agent looking for a backup to that as you e-mail a competing airline for an opening just in case. In the end you might get a flight out and still get home in time to watch a new episode of True Blood.

Sweating the small stuff gets things done. It gets results.

Many of you might not call something like missing a plane small stuff. My belief is anything not world ending is small stuff.

My house burned down? Screw it. I’m going to Mexico. Nothing to be done about it. (This is an example my own personal world ending.)

A meteor careening towards Earth? The end of the world is inevitable and no Bruce Willis on a shuttle with an atom bomb to save us all? Screw it. I’m spending my time at a drug induced orgy and having unprotected sex with strangers. Not like I have to really worry about the long term consequences, right?

Brouhaha: Sautéed Nectarines

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

-Sometimes a little inspiration - and frustration - comes knocking at your door.-

Some Mormon missionaries just dropped by the house. I was bemused and excited. Mormons! We hardly get them in these parts of Sacramento. Curious to interact with them outside their native habitat of Utah, I opened the door.

"Hello!"I said, chipper as ever. "I assume you're selling religion?"

The two of them stood there and beamed in their pressed white shirts. Their matching backpacks fitted neatly and neither one wore them carelessly slung over one arm. Their pocket protectors and neatly printed name tags identified them right and proper.

The one of the left, a blonde teen who possessed a nostalgic aura of All-Americanism that was up there with apple pie, smiled back. "Well, not selling. It certainly doesn't cost you any money," he said.

"It's totally free," said the one on the right. His skin was tan from so much bicycling in the sun, in a clear bag he had a bunch of nectarines and a few extra copies of The Book of Mormon.

-Peddling faith with fruit. How novel!-

I smirked at the bag of nectarines. Farmer's Market preaching; Joseph Smith, you clever devil.

"Mormonism, yes?"

They nodded and began their spiel before I could really stop them. I decided to give them a chance to get it all out. They must, I assume, get the door slammed in their face plenty so why the hell not show a bit of sympathy?

To be honest, I have respect for missionaires. Being sent somewhere strange and told to march up and down each and every community preaching faith can't be easy. It requires chutzpah and a type of dedication I'm not sure I can say I've fully ever given to many things, let alone God. The closest thing recently was my thesis, though, when I was young, the desire to know everything there was to know about Power Rangers instilled a certain dedication within me. We all have our priorities.

Still, after two or three minutes I decided to stop him. I didn't want the two getting their hopes up. "You know, I'm sorry, but I'm Lutheran and very, happily, gay. I also know the church isn't too keen on that - the Lutheranism or the homosexuality - so I'm gonna have to pass."

"Oh, no, that's totally not true!" said Apple Pie.

I perked up and wondered if suddenly there was a new form of liberal Mormonism spreading across the land. Had I missed this piece of information somehow?

Appreciation: Peach Barbecue Sauce

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

-Because if you aren't slathering your meat in peaches then how else will you appreciate summer?-

As a child, I never really knew where to place my appreciation when it came to my parents and their summer grilling. My mom was the one who went to the store and bought all of the ingredients. She would be the one to make the marinade for our flank steak using her family's recipe. It was mom who would dote over it for the next three days and turn it when necessary to ensure the steak had absorbed all the flavor. On the grilling day mom would put together a salad and a side while my younger brother and I set the table.

After all this Dad would take the meat and toss it on the grill. He would watch it with a certain intensity usually only reserved for work and shotgun enthusiast magazines. In summer he saw grilling as his testosterone-inherited duty.

When dinner was served we would all thank Dad for the amazing work he did at the grill. Mom would be thanked as well, but always second to dad. After all, from my young point of view all I really saw was dad sweating over the blaring heat of the grill. Plus, I didn't like salad so I never really thanked mom for it.

It wasn't fair, but then life seldom is. Mom wasn't about to put down her children's father right in front of the whole family in order to get her proper due. She was reserved and very self-sacrificing that way. She still is. (Well, most of the time. If she's going to get a jab in it'll be a good one; "Mom! I can't believe you just said that!" "Well, it's the truth," she'll say nonchalantly.) As kids, though, nary a peep.

The Temperature Inside: Blueberry Pie with Thyme & Honey + Fearless Chocolate Winners

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

-When your karma turns sour, make it sweet with pie.-

I have terrible apartment karma. Faulty buildings seem to lie dormant in my life like a virus, occasionally flaring up with all the intensity and rage of full blown outbreak. No, wait, karma assumes I’ve done something bad to deserve this. Maybe in a past life I was a Saxon who toppled some great tower or other architectural testament to man’s vanity and artistic nature? I’m not sure, but I'm pretty sure I haven’t done anything in this life to warrant this string of luck.

Maybe that’s it? I just have bad luck. A dark cloud of doom and asbestos plaguing me with bad wiring and old pipes.

“Then again,” I said to myself while standing in my bedroom looking at the giant water-filled hole that had been jackhammered in only hours earlier, “maybe it’s just freak coincidence.”

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