Underboob and Vegan Cooking

I am not a good cook. That’s a lie. I’m an awful cook. There are fires and the possibility of stomach pumping. With this in mind, it does seem odd that I would sign up for a meal delivery service. Let me explain.

I am tired of eating frozen vegetables. I need fresh food, healthy food. I need healthy food for one person. I need healthy food for one person with detailed instructions. Meal delivery systems! I choose Purple Carrot. I would like to be able to say it’s because I had some noble vision of sustainability and global freedom from servitude for all livestock, but it was because they offered the largest discount to sign up.

I won’t review the service. If you want my opinion then you can ask. However, I want to share the spectacular disaster that I am in the kitchen. Some background, these kits come with all the ingredients portioned, grouped, and labeled and have a recipe card that includes photos. This story is about Kale and Quinoa Bowl with Tahini Drizzle.

Step 1– Heat the oven to 425ºF. Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven. Rinse, trim, and peel the root vegetables. Cut them into 1/2 to 1/4 chunks, carefully spread them on the heated pan in one layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and return to the oven. Roast (and get to work on the rest of the recipe), undisturbed, until they’re golden brown and easily release from the pan when gently pried with a spatula, 8-12 minutes. Once they can be turned, toss them every 5 minutes until they’re tender and browned all over, 10-15 minutes more. Remove pan from oven.

What actually happened: Find pan. Coat with oil. Put in the oven. Rinse roots veggies and remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Remove cat again, rinse veggies cat was licking, wash hands. Decide you will need wine. Open a bottle and let it breath. Peel carrots. Remove cat from counter and wash hands. Peel sweet potato. Yell at cat for licking the turnip. Rinse and peel after washing hands. Start chopping veggies. Grab towel and wave in front of smoke detector. Return to kitchen, call cat an asshole, remove him from the counter, wash hands, and rinse veggies cat was licking. Take towel and step stool to smoke detector and remove battery. Turn heat on oven down and open a window. Chop remainder of veggies. Get pan out of oven and too late remember that the pan is hot. Call yourself a moron. Take a swig of wine straight from the bottle. Put veggies on pan with salt and pepper. Put in oven and forget to turn heat backup.

Step 2– Rinse the quinoa in a strainer and put into a small saucepan with 1 and 3/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and bubble gently until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

What actually happened: Look at your strainer and realize there is no way to rinse that without all the quinoa going through the slots with the water. Skip that part and put directly into the small pot. Put on stove and forget about it. Realize that the temperature of the stove was turned down. Shout profanity, drink some more wine, and turn up the heat.

Step 3– While the vegetables and quinoa cook, rinse and juice the lemon into a bowl. Rinse, dry, and destem the kale. Chop the kale and toss in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of oil, and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale between your palms until it’s tender and a deep green color, 1-2 minutes.

What actually happened: Completely ignore this step for no good reason. Perhaps due to all the wine you drank. Wash all dishes from prep and congratulate yourself. Have some more wine. Skip directly to step 4.

Step 4– Mince 1 clove of garlic, put in small bowl with tahini, 2 tablespoons hot tap water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk or stir with fork until it’s as smooth as possible. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve, toss the kale and quinoa together and divide among bowls. Top with roasted vegetables and drizzle with tahini sauce over everything.

What actually happened: Hunt through kitchen for the garlic. Realize the asshole cat is running around the house with it in his mouth. Wrestle away from asshole cat. Wash garlic and hands and start chopping. Mix with tahini and ask Siri to explain to your ignorant ass what tahini is. Realize you never tossed the vegetables or checked on the quinoa. Turn down heat on quinoa and decide veggies will be ok. Stare at the lemon and wonder what you are supposed to do with that. Read instructions and become grateful it’s not asking you to do something obscure like zest the lemon. Realize you skipped step 3. Swear loudly and drink some wine. Take quinoa off stove and go to step 3. Realize halfway through cleaning the kale that your largest bowl is not big enough. Decide you can work through this and add the quinoa. Spray quinoa all over the kitchen trying to mix with kale. Tell yourself you don’t need all those carbs anyway. Remember that the veggies are still in the oven. Take them out, turn off the stove and decide they look edible. Attempt to divide kale/quinoa mixture and come to understand this is more than 2 servings. Dig out storage containers. Put leftovers in fridge and hope you like this recipe because you are going to be eating this for days. Find your largest glass and fill with more wine. Plop down on the couch with bowl of food, huge glass of wine, and eat.

The finished product. It was pretty good.

The finished product. It was pretty good.

Things I learned:

  • My cat is an asshole
  • Cooking with a cat ensures good food safety
    • you wash your hands and the food often
  • I can’t multitask. I need to do things in order or I forget about them
  • What tahini is made from
  • Apothic Dark pairs really well with tahini
  • The people that write the instructions have no comprehension of my dysfunction

VWW-Unclubbable

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Unclubbable

having or showing a disinclination for social activity : unsociable

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And this pretty much sums me up. It is spotlighted during the holiday season with all the parties and mad rush to celebrate. I have no interest in any of it.

Yes, Christmas is great. So is Chanukah, and Yule, and Festivus, and probably Kwanza (I’m woefully ignorant about Kwanza). But it’s getting cold and it’s dark at three in the afternoon. My circadian rhythms are flooding my body with signals to hibernate, not celebrate. I want to crawl under a warm, fuzzy blanket and whisper words of devotion to my pillow.

Lets not even start with the New Years parties. I get it. Out with the old, in with the new. But why? I mean, it’s just some arbitrary date on a calendar. It’s not really a good starting point. I mean, it’s not really mid winter since winter only started on the solstice a few weeks ago. That marked the shortest day of the year. There would be a good place to start over. When the days begin to get longer and the sun returns. I could have a party for the return of the light.

But I probably still wouldn’t go. I hate small talk. I really don’t like socializing. I loathe having to repress my thoughts, opinions, and expression in favor of a socially acceptable mask. Standing in a room full of people I hardly know, holding something I most likely won’t consume, and attempting to be mildly pleasant so no one is offended is exhausting, not entertaining. On the flip side, drunken revelry isn’t appealing either. Who wants to drag themselves out of the house only to be surrounded by strangers with no impulse control? That doesn’t seem fun anymore.

So I am unclubbable.  And I think I am alright with that. You go have fun for me.

Indoctrinations

I have never been a fan of romance novels. It always seemed like granny porn, something older women read to fantasize. At one time I would buy used romances based on the absurdity of the cover at a thrift store, read them with a group of my friends, and make fun of the passages. Nothing like hot, moist, loins ignited with the flames of desire to get us all into a good belly laugh. If we ventured beyond that we would poke fun at the horribly simplistic depictions of interactions between the genders. The men were always in a position of power, often some sort of misunderstood outlaw or unjustly vilified criminal and the women were always some sort of victim, either a hostage or a forced marriage or some sort of dilemma that implies subservience. At some point the female protagonist always attempts some show of defiance or independence in an attempt to remove herself from the situation at hand only to find that she is really in love with the man and thus succumbs to her fate proving that love makes everything better. Apparently, even Stockholm Syndrome.

Tell me this doesn't send a message!

Tell me this doesn’t send a message!

So why do so many women read these things? I think the bodice ripping romance has become the modern parable in that it reinforces for women the lessons we are taught as small girls about accepting rape culture. That’s a bold statement, I know, but hear me out. Remember being very young on a playground and a boy teases you, pulls your hair, pinches or hits you? Remember crying because either your feelings or actual body were hurt? Remember being told by an adult that the boy did that because he liked you? Remember thinking that made no sense at all? I’m pretty sure we all remember that.

This is probably our first indoctrination into rape culture. Being told to accept physical and emotional abuse from a peer as a sign of affection is ludicrous. If an adult woman said a man was hitting and belittling her we wouldn’t say it was because he loved her. We would tell her she deserves better and to get away from him. But little girls are taught to accept that kind of behavior and encouraged to do so with as little objection as possible. Not only does this encourage girls to internalize that boys will cause them pain if they are admired, but also that boys are not capable of processing emotions. Has anyone ever stepped back and thought about how insane this is?

This is just one big self-fulfilling prophecy. Boys will be boys is a permissive encouragement to young boys to continue to be more physical and less verbal in their expression. Not only does it give boys license to be more physical it also discourages them from verbal expression. Additionally, it enforces a sense of male privilege in allowing boys to solve their problems by corporeal means. Girls are taught to accept this as not only a matter of course, but a compliment. They shouldn’t cry or make a fuss when they are hurt or bullied by boys. That’s just what boys do. It’s how boys express themselves. Girls need to learn how to change their instinct to protect themselves from assault, be it verbal or physical, because the nature of boys can’t be overcome. And that’s just the way it is.

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This belief is so pervasive in our culture that it is perpetuated without thought. Sure, we say things like “Use your words” and “Don’t hit girls” but we don’t really back that up. “Use your words” is for situations when being combative is frowned upon. Like the classroom or the grocery store, places even children know they have to fall in line. But once they are let loose on a playground, the natural habitat if you will, those rules no longer apply. “Don’t hit girls” is generally given to mean don’t hit them in anger. You can indeed use physical force to express your superiority, because boys will be boys after all. And children understand this, even if they can’t articulate it. They see hear what we say and see what we do. They learn the lesson by witnessing who gets rewarded for what specific behavior regardless of what the rules are explained to be. They learn very early that the game is rigged.

Sooner or later people become more self-aware and gain critical thinking skills and the ability to question. Here is where the romance novel comes into play. It’s not alone and I don’t mean to get down on a single genre of writing. There are several cousins that assist romances in reinforcing the cultural code of male privilege and rape culture. Romantic comedies, fashion magazines, television, music, and on and on. There is always a subset that works towards sustaining the status quo. But the general form of the romance novel as stated earlier is simply that men are in positions of power, they take what they want, women will grow to like it, and it’s sold to us wrapped up as a love story. So how is that different from telling a five-year old he punched your arm and ripped the head off your doll because he likes you?

VWW- Velleity

Velleity

the lowest degree of volition

a slight wish or tendency: inclination

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With the New Year celebrations almost upon us we must also prepare for the onslaught of resolutions. In a combined state of nostalgia, optimism, and drunkenness citizens of the world will decree their desire to change in the next twelve months.

It’s all bullshit. We all know it. Most people don’t desire something different enough to put in the effort. No, resolutions are simply things we wish would change magically, on their own, without the sweat.

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It’s not laziness. It’s not falsehood. It’s simply that change is scary. Change is difficult. When you change there are unknown ripples in the pond, and what if you don’t like those. On some level everyone realizes that there is no going back. You can only move forward. Or stay put. And that’s the option most people take by February.

But at that precise moment in time, on New Years, millions of people will look at their lives. Millions of people will think it isn’t what they want. Millions of people will wish and hope for something more.  For just a brief moment the population starts to wake up and acknowledge it is raw truth. But then….

 

 

VWW- Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

  1. the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
  2. an expression of thanks
  3. a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.

That is the Merriam Webster definition of Thanksgiving. However, in the USA we treat it less of a day of gratitude and more of an expression of all the things that are detestful about American culture. I know that seems harsh, but let’s break it down.

First there is the food. Not only is it a prim example of how much abundance we have but also the level of gluttony we are capable of performing. And it’s a point of pride. We gather around a table and try to one up each other about how many calories we can consume. In what other situation is it socially acceptable to brag about the number of servings we stuffed into our gullet? Or how many piece of pie we can eat?

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Then there is the sin of sloth. After consuming enough food to feed most families for a week we then waddle over to the sofa to participate in our favorite thing. Watching other people be athletic. Traditionally it’s football. However, if they keep expanding the season I predict we will soon have the option to watch baseball as well. No matter. So long as we can sit there and marinate in the tryptophan and shout at the television.

While we are watching that television, we can also prepare for the worst part of this holiday. Black Friday. Just a few short years ago there was an outcry because the stores were opening earlier and earlier. Some of them are now open on Thanksgiving. I find this heartbreaking. It was one of the last secular holidays where everything was closed with the small exception of gas stations. Thanksgiving was for everyone. Now it’s for everyone who doesn’t work in retail to shop.

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Who are we kidding? Soon we will be sitting in a line ordering pizza with an emoji on our smart phones.

And shop we do. To the point of violence. Every year someone gets seriously injured at a big box store on Black Friday. Not even 24 hours after we were pretending to be thankful our citizens head out en mass and do battle with each other over material goods. This under the guise that we will graciously give said items as gifts to commemorate the Christian savior. Someone who was purported to preach that we love our neighbor. Just not the one who also wanted to buy the Dr. Dre Beats headphones.

What happened?

Of course, we tell each other a fairy tale about Pilgrims and Native Americans, but I think we all know that the truth is far from the social studies lesson taught to us. So let’s not even go there unless we are gonna’ be honest about the horrible things our ancestors did. OK?

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It could have ended much differently. We should remember that.

Abraham Lincoln was the first to set a date (the last Thursday in November) in 1863 to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation” after the civil war. Prior to this each state had a different celebration. FDR changed it to the third Thursday in November in 1939 as an attempt to bolster holiday spending during the Great Depression. That wasn’t popular so it was changed back in 1941.

So how did it go from a day of gratitude to a day of gluttony, sloth, and violent consumerism? How did we become so vapid and narcissistic that we can’t take a day to look around and say, “I’m doing pretty good. I’m glad I have the things I have?”

Some of us are so removed that we don’t even know where to begin. So let me tell you my list. I am thankful for:

  • My house- for keeping me warm and safe
  • Air conditioning- during the summer there is nothing so decadent as not being sweaty
  • My Job- It was a long, hard road but I finally found where I fit
  • My debts- yes, really! Because it means I have (or had) credit and a resource of funds not available to so many, even if I misused that privilege.
  • Being fat- In our culture it’s frowned upon, but I have access to an abundance of food while others go hungry
  • My car- it gives me freedom and mobility that is denied many even in our own country.
  • My savings account- I have money in the bank and it makes me wealthier than many people in the world
  • The First Amendment- I’d be in jail or dead with out it because, wow, can I run my mouth
  • My friends- I always know that there is someplace I’m not weird or that I am, and it’s embraced
  • My pets- they keep me company and I am affluent enough to afford to care for them
  • My health- fat I may be, but I am healthy. I’ve been seriously sick, I’ve seen disease. I’m so grateful I am healthy
  • Clothes-I have too many and there are too many people who don’t have enough

It’s not an extensive list, but it’s a start. I have a house, electricity, plumbing, a job, a car, and some money in the bank. While I still struggle, as many do, in our economy and there are many things that need to be fixed, I try to remember that on a global scale, I am wealthy. Then there are the intangible things that make me rich. The people in my life, the experiences we share. There is no way to wrap that up in ribbons and bows. It can’t be bought at any price. maybe we can put the fork down, step away from the TV, and look at each other and just be happy we aren’t alone, cold, hungry, and sick.

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VWW- Drapetomania

 

 

Drapetomania:

an overwhelming urge to run away
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The strange thing about adulthood is that I have had the urge to flee more once than I ever had when I was younger. At least once a week I fantasize about bailing on my bills, my house, and my career packing some clothes and the pets in the car and living like a nomad. As time passes I am slowly coming to realize that I don’t own anything. All the things own me. And I just need to break free from the suffocatingly stiffiling cage I have locked myself in. I can’t be alone in that.

Harridan Hissy Fit

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I’m showing early symptoms of becoming the cranky old lady that shakes her cane at random people and calls them whippersnappers. I feel like it’s too soon. I am only in my forties. That’s only the halfway mark. I shouldn’t be symptomatic yet.

I’ve found myself commenting negatively about the college graduate generation. Millennials? Is that what they are called?   I thought that was just a slip of the subconscious. Like all those times I opened my mouth and my mother’s voice came out. It wasn’t really me. It was a combination of repetitive auditory input coupled with a stimulus. Add in a bit too much stress and the weak and flawed human reverts to its classical conditioned responses, despite lots of effort to overcome. However, the reaction can no longer be discounted as rote since I am often completely baffled by their behavior. Nope. I am not part of the youth culture any longer.

The symptom of greatest concern is my inability to deal with new technology. I found myself thrusting my phone at a random teenager in the food court because my app stopped working. I didn’t even introduce myself. I just walked up and said “You’re young. Help me.” They did. And they were incredible gracious about it too. But that isn’t the only time. These incidents are becoming more and more frequent with each passing day. Here is a short list:

  1. I had a breakdown because I couldn’t figure out why a document suddenly changed font type and I couldn’t change it back.
  2. A file that I needed to edit was in .pdf and I had no idea how to edit it. I told everyone in the office they had to listen to my profanity because I was channeling Samuel L. Jackson.
  3. Google Documents doesn’t allow you to merge cells in a table. No one under 35 thinks this is a problem.
  4. An intern submitted a document with all the bullet points in a table. When I converted it from Google to Word I couldn’t figure out how to correct the formatting.
  5. I spend far too much time on websites looking for the sign in link. Why do they hide that? Why can’t it always be in the same place?
  6. I don’t understand why all the checkout machines can’t be the same. Why do they ask so many questions? Just take my money.
  7. Why do stores need to email me coupons when I check out. Can’t they just give them to me in the bag?
  8. If we can have WiFi why can’t we employ Tesla’s wireless electricity system?  I want to be done with the Gordian knot of cords that lies behind furniture in every room.
  9. Why is setting up a video conference still so challenging? The Jetsons made it seem like it would be so much cooler than it is.
  10. I declined a key less entry system because I couldn’t understand how it worked and I was afraid of locking myself out of my smart home.
  11. Windows 8: The icons were in the same place for 25+ years, Microsoft decides to move them for no damn reason, tells no one. Bill Gates is still laughing at those of us trying to locate the Control Panel. I just gave up on adding a printer.
  12. Everything needs to be touch screen or nothing at all. I forget which piece of electronics needs a controller. Try adjusting the volume on your TV using your finger or pointing the remote angrily at the tablet to change the YouTube video. It gets confusing!

I am becoming obsolete!

The downward spiral to fiber supplements and adult diapers is imminent. Soon my driving will terrify people. I’m not ready!

VWW-Alharaca

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Alharaca:

an extraordinary or violent emotional reaction to a small issue

 

This is taken from Spanish and I think we need to incorporate it into the vernacular. Because who hasn’t done this? Be honest!

At some point, more often than we would like to admit even to ourselves, we have all lost it over something silly and inconsequential. Oh sure, we know there are mitigating circumstances that lead up to a total meltdown of an adult over an out of order air pump but the other people don’t see any of that.

No one sees that you got up a half hour early only to be treated with a vomiting cat, a broken coffee maker, a dryer full of wet clothes you forgot to turn on, a misplaced report you need at 8 AM, and a lost shoe all before getting in the car to discover the tire pressure monitor is lit up. No one saw that you drove to three gas stations before this one and none of the air compressors were working. No one saw that you were now running late despite planning ahead.

What everyone saw was a middle aged woman dressed in business clothes kicking the air pump, shouting profanity, and acting like she was off her meds. They get a great story and you get to be a combination of frustrated, defeated, and embarrassed. You’re lying if you say you haven’t done it.

So let’s take this word. Let’s use it and make it we’ll known to all. That way when everyone is staring at your socially inappropriate reaction to something small and seemingly minor you can just say Sorry I went alharaca, bad day.” And everyone will understand. Continue reading

The Baron Sends a Minion…

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Too often is this in my head!

I recently encountered one of Baron Von Fruitroosters minions. Oh, he seemed normal enough but that was only a facade meant to draw me in.

The dialog was polite and slightly witty. He explained that he was new in the area due to business and was looking for suggestions for food, etc. That quickly devolved into him expressing his desire to attend a swinger club and demanding requests for my sexual preferences.

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Starts off well, then this happens

This loser got a strong dose of the radioactive nipples! Of course I had to monologue first.

Really asshole? You are a 55 year old man, not some college kid. Show some class! In what universe is a grown woman going to listen to your slobbering, mouth breathing demands for sex and just rip her clothes of and give it to you? Why do you think that your existence and the fact that you paid me attention should equate utter gratitude and acquiesce from me? I’m a person, not some convenient hole that exists for you to get your dick wet. Manners!!

He then became indignant. As if he was owed something for the initial two minute conversation that wasn’t offensive. Clue-by-four asshat, you are not owed pretty, or my time, or access to my body. You are owed nothing but the common courtesy you have failed to show me.

I’m busy. I don’t have the time or the patience to deal with your inability to interact properly with other adults. Hitting him with the nipple lasers was a public service, really. He has been shrunk down to binary code and captured on an app on my phone. I still haven’t figured out what to do with these bottom feeders once they are in the phone. Suggestions are welcome!

VWW- Haptic

Haptic:

  1. relating to or based on the sense of touch
  2. characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch

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I live alone. I’ve lived alone since my divorce eight years ago. Independence is something I value immensely and most of the time I would be hard pressed to compromise. Nothing is ever perfect though and one thing is missing. That is touch.

Harlow’s experiments with contact comfort were done in the 1950’s and have been replicated multiple times over the years. That said, it’s generally understood that lack of contact can result in adverse behaviors both socially and sexually. The experiment showed that contact and comfort will be chosen even over food. This is a gross simplification of the study, but suspend your disbelief for a few moments and indulge me.

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Photo of Harlow’s monkey’s

Because the majority of my friends and family live on the other side of the state I can go a very long time without any physical contact with another human being. I feel this contributes to my ability to manage stress and anxiety. It also has an impact in my decision making process.

I’ve always been a sex positive thinker. Live and let live was my motto. That said, casual sex was never my thing. Flash forward a few years post divorce and now there is a different attitude altogether.

Not because I had some mental revelation. Not because I’ve grown into my sexuality. Not because I’ve thrown off conventional models of appropriate social behavior. That was not a part of my journey. No, I engaged in casual sex because it supplied my need for human touch.

Prior to my divorce there was touching. Of course there was sensual touch, but also the more casual forms of affection. A hug, a hand on the back, arm around the shoulder, or head in a lap. There were more playful interactions like snapping towels during the dishes, slaps on the backside on the way out the door, raspberries, zorbits, and even wet willies.  If you share a domicile with another human being think about how many ways you touch each other. It’s much more than you might believe.

Then one day it was gone. At first I didn’t notice as there were so many other things to attend to that took priority. As time went on I noticed its absence. Friends encouraged me to date, to meet people.

So I did. Anyone dating knows how frustrating that endeavor can be! That’s a novel in and of its self. Let’s just say it wasn’t fulfilling. And I wasn’t in a place to open up let alone commit to anything.  So what’s a highly analytical girl to do? Apply logic.

I wanted touch, they wanted sex. Sex involves touch. Lots and lots of touch. Let’s be honest, I wanted sex too. Problem solved!

Well, temporarily. As anyone who has engaged in the practice of casual sex can tell you, it gets old. It’s empty and eventually you realize you want more from a partner. And that is where I am. I miss the affectionate comfort that comes from rapport. Touch is soothing. It conveys a level of closeness, tenderness, and warmth. The touch of passion and desire don’t always satisfy in the long term. I can find an outlet but it won’t achieve a level of playfulness, equanimity, or inclusion that develops with the openness and conviction of trust.