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This fucking pasta

Cooking is a serious hobby of mine, and I’d like to post this recipe I recently put together for Butternut Squash Pasta. I’m quite proud of it because it was delicious and gave me that “oh-my-god-I-made-it-by-myself-and-it-worked!” feeling.


Butternut Squash Pasta

1 butternut squash

Shell pasta

Olive Oil

Milk

Parmesan Cheese

Cinnamon, Fennel, Pepper, Salt, Cloves, Nutmeg, Garlic Powder

Halve the squash and scoop out all the seeds and stringy gunk

Cover in olive oil, cloves, nutmeg, and salt

Bake at 375 Degrees Ferenheit for 50 Minutes (or until soft)

Let the squash cool down a bit to save your poor fingers. I did this part earlier in the day and saved it in the fridge for later.

Remove the skin and place the mush in a blender with whole milk in this ratio:

1 Part Milk : 2 Parts Squash

Blend until smooth.

While you’re doing this, get your pasta ready. Boil until soft, strain it, add butter if you want, etc.

Put the mushy squash concoction in a pan and heat it on low heat. (Otherwise it will spew everywhere and burn you and that hurts and turns your clothes orange)

Add a good handful of Parmesan cheese to the warm mix and stir it in. Then add a good dash of:

Cinnamon, Garlic Powder, Fennel, Salt, Pepper

All this is, of course, to taste. I like really garlicky things. Make sure you make it somewhat strong as the pasta will dull the taste a bit.

Add this delicious mush to the pasta like a sauce. Serve with garlic bread. Do a dance because your pasta is awesome.

Plant People

Hopefully I don’t need to say that reading in the grass is fucking amazing. It’s wonderful. You’re outside. You’re reading. You’re comfy. All this aside.

My boyfriend is very into comics and has me reading Alan Moore’s run of The Swamp Thing. Despite its very vintagey imminent doom sort of title, it’s actually really gorgeous. He’s a plant who thinks he was a man once – a sort of haunted creature with delusions of humanity. And he’s gorgeous. No, really. Look at this person:

It just makes me think about what make a person human. The sort of selfish gratitude one feels reading it cannot be ignored either. For some reason I can’t explain, I’m completely entranced with the idea of being made of plants.

One night before bed, I am asked “What if you woke up and you were made of plants?”

And for no logical reason, I think I would burst with joy.

And I figure out the reason why the comics have me so transfixed.

I think, growing up in a small town, raised by new age pixie people and intense, old men, I’ve developed a connection to nature that I assumed most people had. I’m now realizing it’s a thing to be grateful for. It is also worth gratitude that I have a body at all – it works and it creates and it will stick around for a while. Today’s beautiful thing was realizing that life force, whatever it is, does not end at the human experience, and that people need not alienate themselves as much as they do. I, of course, include myself in that.

3:45 AM

Toast after sex.

Toy Story 3

Long story short – My childhood is ending. The toy story movies are over, and to top it all off, it’s about letting go of childhood. I thought I’d gotten off easy. Smoking a cigarette in front of the movie theater, waiting to get in the car and cook my own dinner and figure out my own finances, it sort of hit me. I’m a person. What? Gorgeous. It was terrifying in the loveliest way.

Mall Rats

Malls and the people that hang around them tend to put me off. Today, though, I found myself in the middle of quite a large mall (for the area) with my boyfriend when we decided to go outside and smoke.

We ended up hanging around these fifteen year old boys, circled around the trash can. We swapped virginity stories. The universal awkwardness of the event seems to bring people together. Jesus it was good for something.

Mine was pretty typical, as far as virginity stories go. 3Am, in bed, trying not to wake anyone. Girl I thought I loved, sex I thought I enjoyed. Etc, etc.

Realizing, though, that I’m growing old, and that there is a gap that is slowly becoming evident between my own generation and the next, that’s a beautiful thing. Also the universality of awkward sexual experiences. We are all awkward, affectionate beings.

Snapshots

After taking a long absence from this project in order to sanely and safely graduate, I’m reading to live life like this again. Since so much time has passed, I want to reflect many of the things that have stuck in my mind and made me go all warm and grateful and tingly inside. In a few sentences

A boy sees lightning for the first time in ten years sitting in the passenger seat of my car. It must be heartbreaking not to be able watch the sky churn and thrash. You must get the illusion that the sky is a dead thing. It must send shivers through your body to realize it’s living.

My snake tries to eat my thumb and the bite, though startling, doesn’t feel like anything. Aww, constrictors. You’ve been bluffing the whole time.

I memorize three Mary Oliver poems, all about birds: “Wild Geese”, “The Swan”, and “Mockingbirds” (All available here: Poems) Realize that most people need to hear these poems.

Tattooed a tarantula onto my thigh and fully realize the feeling of loving something you once thought was horrifying. To adore your own skin. Whoah.

Being confronted, nicely, by a Christian man at the Wildflower bakery about Jesus and God. Being treated with respect and genuine human-to-human love, despite disagreements in our belief systems. No, I don’t want to live by the Bible, but what balls. I wouldn’t sit down with strangers and tell them about poetry or chickens or nebulas or any of the things I think can save you.

The summer night sky in small-town Southwest America. So many stars the sky is terrifying and gorgeous. The stars do not interrupt. They are being contained.

And of course, the blues. Oh the blues.

Neighbors

The most beautiful thing I saw heard today happened as I was emerging from a much-needed shower after a run. I cracked open my bathroom window to let the steam out. I heard a girl somewhere in the dorm, singing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” slowly, sensually, and with great vocal skill. I love overhearing people singing when they don’t think anyone is listening. Especially when they take themselves really damn seriously.

Crunchy

In all seriousness, I feel compelled to write about water chestnuts today. Water chestnuts are just really fucking fantastic. I like to cook and I also like avoiding the cafeteria food here, so occasionally I poke around the salad bar and try to find something new to eat.

Perhaps its the complete lack of zest in the school menu, but I’ve found a number of things that are made more delicious by water chestnuts.

1. Eggs. The crunchy coldness with salt and pepper is delicious with scrambled eggs.

2. Mixed in with baked potato, topped with cheese, sour cream, broccoli, salt, and pepper. A dash of balsamic vinegar is good with it too.

3. Boiled in soy sauce with tofu, broccoli, rice and mushrooms.

4. Stir-fried in anything salty, really.

5. With cottage cheese and raisins, on top of a salad or by itself.

And today I am going to try them with something sweet : maybe honey or over spinach with some honey mustard dressing.

Just look at that vegetable. A badass vegetable? A badass vegetable. Why is this beautiful? I will tell you:

As far as I’m concerned, there’s no good reason for vegetables to be delicious. Unlike fruit, the seed isn’t spread via animal feces. It is kind to our taste buds for absolutely no reason other than enjoyment. Why is that? Though a bit of a stretch, how is that not beauty for the sake of beauty? (read: nature is cool)

Poetry and God

I found an infinite amount of beauty today reading a book of Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry in my boxers before class. Yes, I do believe in God. For me, God is (in a very very very small nutshell) the existence of beauty and love for the sake of beauty and love. Gerard Manley Hopkins was very religious, and after reading some of his poetry, I think he believes in God for the same reasons I do.  Here is a Hopkins poem that particularly struck me. Even if you don’t believe in God, I think that beauty like this (of the poem and of what the poem is describing)  is worth acknowledging.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

“God’s Grandeur”

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; Bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Hugging Lorrie Moore (and other things I want to do)

Today and yesterday, I spent time reading through Lorrie Moore’s “People Like That Are the Only People Here : Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk” It’s a gorgeous personal essay that does what I’ve been trying to do with my nonfiction for years. The sense of reality in it is astounding. I find that, when reading or writing personal essays, things get to be too summarized, downplayed, or simply put, boring. This story is today’s beautiful thing as well as the inspiration to start writing nonfiction seriously. It can be done realistically and without sounding like a diary entry. An exciting thing for me, since I’ve sort of avoided the whole genre for most of my writing life.

Here is the text of the story. It’s a little long, at 44 (book) pages, but definitely worth it.

(Paste this link into the address bar to start the download):

http://jordansebastianbonner.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Moore.pdf