Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday: Cookies, lazanki and poetry

T.J is back - a couple of weeks in Montana was enough for her to decide she didn't fit there:  seems a bit too far from civilization for her liking.  What about your boyfriend?  'He is not my boyfriend, although he likes to say that he is; he likes it in Montana, so I helped him to pay for necessities and came back here'.

Thursdays in Nickelsville:  Lynnda bakes cookies or brings Brooke's cupcakes since she started coming over a month ago - by now that feature also must feel like 'Thursday usual'; last thursday delicious chocolate cookies.  I keep wondering if making things 'usual' is bringing comfort or discomfort if one is homeless; there is certainly some level of comfort when we create routines or traditions, as there is a comfort of things repeating themselves in the ever changing storms of life.  But if you move often like Nickelsville does, or if you are there only a few weeks like some do, is 'usual' maybe just a burden if so fleeting?  I mean, perhaps it is better not to expect routines than later miss them?  I guess I should ask people of Nickelsville what they think about it. (Note to self: also ask about who the new sponsor is).

Lazanki with cabbage and sauerkraut
Lynnda now plans Thursday meals, but was out of town to plan ahead, so we turned to an easy comfort food, lazanki - a recipe I brought along from my old country.  It's a close cousin of lasagna, but more-leftover based and not requiring special type of pasta; basically it's just any short pasta mixed with onion, cabbage and sauerkraut, everything else added is optional -  tomatoes, cold cuts, sausage, etc.   When we were  looking for kitchen assistants in the nearby TV room, one man (he and I never met) turned directly to me, smiled and  said:  'I want to chop for you';  Ramon's simple statement  had such a comical effect (obviously intended) that everyone burst out laughing and in no time we had a small army of chefs slicing and knifing fast and furiously.

While noodles were cooking in one pot, we fried onions and sausage in a small amount of oil in another pot, then added some water and two chopped heads of cabbage + some extra veggies we found lying around; when this was cooked (10-15 minutes) we added industrial size (5lbs) can of diced tomatoes, then same size can of sauerkraut, salt and hot pepper flakes and cooked some more.   Jarvis offered his help with just perfect timing:  combining the content of two big pots was a big man's job, and so was the job of mixing it.  Well, even Jarvis couldn't do the mixing because by now the restaurant size spoon was too short to reach the bottom of the huge vat the noodle dish was in.   So Jarvis divided the noodles again between the two pots, mixed them separately and again combined.  As if on cue Richard showed up with  his expertly fine-chopped 2 heads of garlic;  we turned the stove off and added it, along with chopped parsley and cilantro (not needed, but a nice vitamin injection to go with any meal).

Dana, a new kitchen manager, had a huge apple cobbler (made from scratch!) in the oven when we arrived - it was done and cooled by the time lazanki were ready and she was serving it with ice-cream for a dessert;  it was scrumptious.

Garret with a bowl of lazanki
Before leaving I asked if anyone feels brave enough to have their picture taken for the blog - that is how Garret and I met; Garret said he doesn't mind sharing his story either, because anyone can become homeless anytime and knowing something about it beforehand  might come helpful.  He also added that that if we humans keep on the direction we are going, pretty soon Nickelsville's experience will be sough after type of organizational knowledge and skill (paraphrasing here, didn't record or wrote down his exact words). Garret said he is a network engineer, and interested in collaboration on this blog!  So next time my laptop goes to Nickelsville along with the soup ingredients.

Seattle has one of the best in the country homeless people's paper called Real Change -  it offers an interesting mix of local and international politics, cop-beat regarding homeless people, philosophy and even poetry - my personal favorite to start the reading with.  Below is what I just grabbed from their on-line edition - I do not know who Mac Crary is, but I like his the images he creates a lot (google turned up a vet with disability, originally from Pittsburgh,  a poet who currently lives in Seattle, not sure if the same person):

Poem: My Girlfriend

Jun 23, 2010, Vol: 17, No: 26

Tennis shoes suspended in space
dangling from telephone wires
absolutely delighted deaf Jeannie.

It was as if some perfect stranger
had sent her an extra-terrestrial postcard
and she had fallen immediately in love.
I, her boyfriend, was put aside
to her rapture.
Try though I would, I could never make her laugh that way.

As we walked down the north side of the riverside
Ray said to me behind her back in sign language,
“She’s beautiful!”
Coming from Ray that really meant something.

—Mac Crary

If you read that far, here is your dessert (4/12 is 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's  flight into the outer space):

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