#17 Containment

Cage fight, desert, lame stew

Hey. Let me tell you about what happened on Friday.

I woke up before the alarm or the neighbours.

The birds were singing on the tree. I was watching them at my balcony with a double expresso and homemade toast with three different types of toppings.

Then the kid next door started yelling. I darted into the flat for ear plugs while the upstairs have unleashed theirs running like elephants. On top of ear plugs, I added industrial ear muffs, and turned up music with a deep bass.

Soon, trucks and lorries started coming into the estate for deliveries, adding to the ambient noise, lowering the impact of any single source.

I then made myself a crunchy salad to create sound inside my head. I mixed an essential oil combo and kept sniffing it. My heart rate lowered again.

A few more things rattled me subsequently on the same day. I can't remember them because they no longer have a hold on me.  

Near sunset, I felt... this was the day... I was not at the grips of my emotion, I was aware, and truly believed I deserve wellness as much as the person next door and did something to attain it.

The lock down feels like I was thrown in a cage, fighting with different versions of myself. Then I realise, I could live in harmony with me, me, and me. I contained myself. chose stillness. And stillness came and stayed.

Left: cage fighting ; right: stillness


I wonder how or when I will travel in the (near?) future. Paul Theroux on the future of travel writing, and how he's living now, pretty much like before.

Map feels more like data than fiction. This article on distortion of maps says otherwise. Map making is simplifying, therefore a choice on what to leave out. Read it before looking at the next covid map.

A 1968 Q&A with James Baldwin on the need to teach the police to 'cool it'.

Johnathan Haidt on pandemic and polarization. Also relevant for what's happening in the states this last week. He is the author of Righteous Minds: why good people are divided by politics and religion. I read the book some time back, but remember the key idea is 'morality binds and blinds'. 

The friend of the desert by Pablo d'Ors is a short little book. Reviews on goodreads often mention how unlikable the protagonist is, and I agree. But I think that makes him real. A person as weak, as vile as him can be contained by the infinite desert, and writes:

"This is precisely what the desert teaches: to walk across the land and stop where there is water, and to do so day after day until the moment comes when you discover that not only do you live the oasis but also the walk itself. That you love the sand, the difficulty."


Listening to The President plays with Oscar Peterson Trio. Initially selected as 'background music', but the infectious sounds took me away from tasks at hand, made me feel like there is beauty there is fun there is respect in this world, if only we stopped to listen.


Cooked up a not-irish-lame-stew for my husband who used to love Irish stew. In place of lamb, plant-based recipes online suggest seitan, button mushrooms, or even tofu?!? Come on, that's just wrong, in spirit and in flavour. I used kidney beans and dried willow mushrooms. The deep reddish brown from the two ingredients boiled down can fool anyone's eyes, and the mineral-y flavour is strangely familiar. Beans for the protein and bite, while the dried willow mushrooms introduces an earthy musky bitter sweet flavour. I didn't use guinness or pre-packed veg stock either. The water from boiling beans and mushroom soaking water combined with a generous soffritto is enough yum. Demolished in two days. First, with curdled soy milk soda bread. Second, added a dash of soy sauce and rice vinegar to be had with rice in Japanese-western style.

Textile art

I saw a cat. I wanted to take him home but I couldn't. So I am making a cat.

On that day—mentioned at the beginning of the letter when I was so disturbed by things happening around me, to me, and my inability to change the situation— I took out a beakie I started pre-covid whose progress I paused because I didn't want to 'ruin' perfection.

I slashed the tightly stuffed beakie opened in several places and reshaped him. He was born in a time of great difficult, both global and inevitably personal, and it shows.

Have you met Winson? I love talking to him. He has so much to say about everything, but mostly about identities/ authenticity, and climate change.

Time for dinner. See ya next week, marn.

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