Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

A while ago, I woke up, bleary-eyed and generally unrested because my sleep patterns are irregular at best, to a golden fall morning, crisp and sweet as an apple. Dingo was, as usual, instantly wide-awake and raring to go out. While he pranced and downward-dogged and panted around me, licking my feet to hurry me along, I pulled a sweater and some jeans over whatever I wore to sleep in, plus my socks from yesterday, and shoved my feet into clogs. Hair unbrushed, glasses on, I put his leash and collar on him and a coat and scarf on me and took him out through the mudroom to the back alleyway and off we went.

I let Dingo trundle me around our block, jerking my arm as he suddenly stopped to pee, making me wait while he sniffed a drooping plant with full concentration. I scooped up his neat turds with a long-practiced swipe of the bag and carried it in the hand that didn’t have the leash. Never do I feel more clear about the power dynamic of our relationship than on the morning walk.

Back at home, I fed him his breakfast – grain-free salmon super-expensive kibble with homemade stew that contains more nutrients in one serving than the average human adolescent consumes in a month. Then for dessert I cut up part of an apple and threw each little tidbit at his head. He caught each piece in midair with a snap of his jaws like a piranha and chewed joyfully. In Dingo’s world, everything is always just fantastic, unless I’m packing a backpack to go somewhere and leave him behind, or there are scary noises outside, or he doesn’t get to come in the car with us, or he has to go to the vet. In Dingo’s world, that’s as bad as it gets.

A huge mug of coffee in hand, I came upstairs and subsided into my desk chair and checked the news. It’s Election Day. It’s a “razor close race.” How can it be that Romney has a single supporter, let alone half this country? How can that be? The gulf between us feels unbridgeable. I don’t even want to talk to them to try to understand them, although, like a five-year-old, I do wish they’d all be struck by lightning and suddenly agree wholly with my own views.

I would characterize my political stance as Pollyanna socialist libertarianism. Why the hell, my stuck-phonograph-needle political thinking-track goes, can’t we all marry whoever the hell we want as a matter of course, be treated and paid and respected equally no matter what our sex, color, or belief system, and get, among other things, a good free education, free medical care, decent jobs with excellent benefits, especially for parents, and GMO labels on food? Why the hell not? It makes no sense to me that we can’t. I am clearly naïve. I should move to Norway.

Anyway, tonight, as the election returns come in, booze and food will be my refuge and comfort and distraction from agonizing stress, as always.  We’re going to drink strong Dark and Stormys, and Brendan is making fettucine Bolognese, which is one of the best things I know of in the world. If Romney wins, I’ll have seconds, then thirds, and then I’ll move to Norway.

Brendan’s Election Night Bolognese

Make a soffrito: 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks diced finely and sautéed in olive oil on low heat for about 15 minutes, until very soft. Turn up the heat and add a pound of ground beef or veal and sauté, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Add 1/3 cup red wine and cook for another minute or two until it cooks off. Then add a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and generous amounts of salt and pepper. Let cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Toss with 1 pound hot, freshly cooked gluten-free fettucine (Le Veneziane is the best brand we know of) and serve with grated parmesan and a crisp, lightly dressed salad.

Eat as slowly as you can, allowing this comforting, savory, luscious food to coat your esophagus. Works to alleviate biliousness and anxiety, at least temporarily.

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About Kate Christensen

eater, citizen, enthusiast, curmudgeon
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8 Responses to Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

  1. Ann Tracy says:

    I’m with you, although aren’t we closer to Toronto? I’m making a cassoulet w/leftover roast chicken and lots of wine and hoping that I don’t end up whining.

  2. Karen says:

    Agree with you! My comfort food is left-from-a-party bean soup and cornbread. Also leftover wine (as yet uncorked). A friend just returned from Norway. Perhaps I should interview him. Just in case.

  3. timothynh says:

    Sushi and tequila, lots of very good sipping tequila.

  4. Sarah says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while (and thoroughly enjoying it! -my friend molly of orangette introduced it to me). I am in 100% agreement with you, even down to the morning dog walks. My husband is out of town on business. Tonight it’s me, the dog, the cat, hashed brussels sprouts, roasted squash and cauliflower with a poached egg, and copious amounts of wine.

  5. Julie says:

    Kate — I’m a big fan of your writing, both this blog and your novels, especially The Great Man. What a gorgeous read.

    So, this situation doesn’t make sense to me either. I awoke this a.m., as I usually do when my plucky smoke-grey kitten-cat Huck begins pouncing on me and biting my face to inform me that it’s breakfast time for himself and his cohort Rosie, a more demure and Garbo-like feline creature. I was very relieved to open my eyes to a world without President-elect Romney, but it seems logical to me that “the richest country in the world” could somehow manage to provide a reasonable base-line for its inhabitants. I’ve been working in NYC public schools since dinosaurs roamed the earth, and when I see the hash that’s been made of kids’ lives by a society that so often just doesn’t seem to care, I still feel despondent, although I also still keep plugging away with the hope that we can make a difference.

    Just to stay with the “what we ate” theme, the husband and I had roast organic chicken (Thomas Keller method) and pan gravy, stuffing with apples and sage and sausage, broccoli with pecorino cheese and roasted apple sauce. Trust me, I don’t cook like that on a week night — it was all leftovers from the weekend, reheated and almost better than the first night. The cats had grain-free tinned food, with copious amounts of luscious chicken tidbits, some of which Huck stole shamelessly off our plates…

  6. I’m emailing the link to this post to my mom (a Norwegian) – she’ll be tickled pink!

  7. Well, at least there are a few of us around. Not sure when we will be in charge, though. I was thinking of moving to Maine, because I like that they approved same-sex marriage!

  8. Deborah Lang says:

    Hi Kate,
    It’s well after the election and thank God it turned out like it did–but I’ll bet you had 2nds and 3rds of that pasta anyway, right? It sounds molto bene!
    deb

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