A wise friend first recommended to me the bloody mary as a hangover remedy the day after my 21st birthday.
That morning I woke up, texted my friend to ask if she had seen my chapstick and then proceeded to throw up. In class, I gripped the edge of my desk and chided myself for being so goddamn irresponsible (although a small part cheered that I finally had a reckless college moment). When I finally slunk into work that afternoon, Ms. Linda looked surprised that I had showed up.
"You didn’t have to come in today, dear!" she exclaimed. "Katie’s been gloating that she got you good and drunk."
"Want a beer?" Steve offered, opening his fridge and holding out a Heineken. "It’ll make you feel better, HA."
Since my employer had encouraged (and helped fund) my birthday drinking binge, I guiltlessly pretended to fold boxes the entire afternoon while letting the girls suffer the consequences of their peer pressure the night before.
"You need to go home and make yourself a big bloody mary," Kacie said at the end of the day, and began to indulge me the delectable yet remedial ingredients that combine to create this elixir, this magical potion that could cure cancer (if cancer were a hangover, of course). Intrigued, and fighting death, I made a quick Publix and liquor store run before racing home to investigate this allegedly curative formula.
My roommates thought I was nuts when they saw me with a bottle of vodka and Worcestershire sauce, but so started my addiction to the delightful drink- on Christmas Day, my father refused to let me be seen sipping my bloody mary on camera while opening gifts (this year, my sister and I slipped the alcohol past him with her homemade Irish cream). I fear the day when this remedy somehow fails- or, when tomato juice, Crystal hot sauce and vodka are not readily available.
The pounding rain that stings your skin and doesn’t allow you to see two feet in front of you. If it isn’t blowing at an angle, it feels like a thousand hammers on your umbrella and it takes every ounce of strength to hold it over your head- if you’re stupid enough to use an umbrella, considering it isn’t worth your life to stay partially dry. Most of the time when you race through the parking lot to your car it isn’t so much to avoid getting wet as it is to avoid the lightening that fills the sky and crackles in the atmosphere, and to find shelter from the deafening roar of thunder.
I miss those storms, those real storms. Afternoon summer shows that you can rely on between 2:30-4:30PM. And you know they’re coming because deep, angry clouds suddenly blanket the sky and you can feel it in your bones. And then the rumbling begins, a low warning to seek shelter, to get indoors, to retreat from the beach or the poolside, and to unplug anything of value.
In New York, rain is just a menace, an annoyance; the wetness is inescapable. The air is never teeming with electricity, and there is never the thrill of what the storm may bring.
I’ve been wondering what makes me such a happy person.
I haven’t always been this relatively carefree and blissful; when I think of the minor stresses that currently exist in my life, I shudder to imagine how I would’ve handled them two years ago. Maybe it has something to do with the alleged love of your life shitting on your face, discovering wine and then losing your faith in a span of about three months, and the rebirth that would undoubtedly occur in a 20-something year old in the wake of those events. But as ridiculous as this may sound, what certainly kept me grounded when things began to shake, and then glued it back together when it fell apart and finally elevated to me to this level of blithe indifference, is the one thing I have not wavered on in six years:
Today, I realized that the people in my life that have some sort of fixation with exercise are easily the happiest I know. My sister can barely go a day without climbing a boulder, and while she is not nearly normal, she is also infatuated with life. The individuals I encounter that have a passion for pushing their muscles and testing their physical limits are some of the most lighthearted and radiant people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting; they make happiness appear to be so simple and straightforward (which it really is).
If only everyone could become so enthralled, so addicted to something that it jolts them out of bed at 6AM or sends them hurtling towards the office door in the evening. I only hope that even just once, through the salt stinging their eyes and their burning thighs and flashes of pain in places they never knew could ache, they can suddenly smile and feel that glow in their stomach- even just once.
Set the water over medium high heat and stir the sugar until it dissolves. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the simple syrup from the heat and add the mint leaves; allow to cool slightly before refrigerating for about three hours (if you have it).
To serve, strain the mint leaves and pour a bit of the mint simple syrup into a highball glass (if you are a baller with highball glasses). Top with bourbon and crushed ice, as well as a sprig of mint to garnish.
You’re a selfish bitch and we despise you. Without us, you would be confined to a wheelchair. You depend on us to make your obsessive workouts possible, to bike to work, to walk to the train, to function, for God’s sake. And yet when we’re screaming in pain, aching, desiring nothing but a little love and relaxation, you pushpushpush.
You are not an athlete, you are not getting skinnier, so CHILL. OUT.
Can I really not rub you once without you getting all itchy and watery? Really, it’s not like I have cat hair or pet dander all over my hands. I haven’t run my fingers over a row of flowers, getting them nice and dusty with pollen, and then pressed them to my bare eyeballs. I make sure my hands are nice and clean, but no, that isn’t good enough for you now is it?
AND WHY DOES ONE OF YOU SUDDENLY TURN RED FOR THREE DAYS AND DRIP LIKE A NASTY FAUCET? Seriously, that is not an attractive look, and I’m beginning to check my body for feathers in case shit starts to get all Black Swan. I’m not stressed, I get plenty of sleep, I haven’t smoked, so why the hell are you blood shot??
It’s just a little annoying that I can’t even lie down for an hour without returning to the mirror to a normal reflection. I literally just realized I have a double eyelid right now, because for some reason my left eye is all pissed off and decided to swell up. Thanks eyes, thank you so much for screwing up any chances of me ever being able to sob romantically on a lover’s shoulder. Because if I cry for thirty seconds my face suddenly blows up and I look like Mrs. Parkus from Dr. Dolittle.
I understand you’re sensitive- why else would I spend $20 extra bucks on Acuvue Oasys lenses? But can you really not suck it up for one night if I don’t take my contacts out or wash my make-up off? I can’t carry emergency solution with me everywhere. Clutches are only so big. If I somehow end up in someone else’s bed at the end of the night, thanks to you, that lucky fellow has the pleasure of waking up to a crusty-eyed little lady that can barely open her eyes because either a.) her eyelashes are sealed together or b.) her eyelids are swollen and it is physically impossible to lift them from the bottom lids. Hey, he may even hit the jackpot and I’m afflicted with BOTH.
Eyes, I know you have a tough job. You’ve served me well. I do my best to keep you safe, avoid poking you, rubbing you after I’ve just handled a pepper, etc. But if you could just toughen up a LITTLE bit, just a hair, I would sincerely appreciate it. Because sometimes, you’re kind of embarrassing.
Butternut Squash with Black Olives, Capers, and Couscous
Medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp garlic, minced or finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Thyme (dried or fresh)
1 half fresh squeezed lemon
1/4 C water
1/2 C- 1 C Black olives
2 Tbsp Capers
Couscous (amount per servings)
Spinach or rocket (optional)
Sautee the garlic and olive oil until the garlic is lightly brown; toss in the butternut squash, and let it sizzle while you season with salt, pepper and thyme as desired. Add lemon juice and water, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and let stand, covered, until squash is tender (about 15 minutes). Uncover and raise the heat to evaporate the juices and eventually caramelize the squash.
Guesstimate how much time the squash has, and about five minutes from being done prepare the couscous (I prefer whole wheat, but to each his own). At that time, add the olives and capers to the butternut squash. I used nicoise olives purchased from my bad ass local Middle Eastern grocer (also picked the capers up from there as well), but I would highly recommend a small to medium sized pitted olive. Also, rinse the brine off- the saltiness overpowers each bite otherwise.
To serve, spoon the couscous over a bed of spinach or rocket, if desired. Top with the butternut squash mixture, and enjoy.
of ripping guys apart when I’m drunk and they’re hitting on me. For some reason I think it’s hilarious to be a massive, obnoxious bitch, and for some reason guys actually enjoy it. As I continually become more and more insulting they think I’m being increasingly flirtatious. Bored, and thinking of how much bad dating karma I already have piled up, I usually walk away mid-sentence.
Last night while my friends were on a cigarette break, my wine and I were having a grand time, just the two of us. Suddenly, a skinny child attempts to swagger up next to me; his glass, which he places next to mine as he takes a seat, is clearly watered down remnants of some vodka cocktail. I give him one those really-what-the-fuck-do-you-want looks and he says, with a jerk of his head, “Wassssup.”
"Hi," I finally offer.
"Where your friends at? You alone?" he asks.
"Smoking," I reply. He continues to introduce himself, and then asks if I’m a student. For some reason I decide it’s a good idea to say snottily, "Uh, NO." As if being a student is like, SO. GROSS.
I also decide it’s a good idea to tell him I’m 24 when he asks how old I am. Drunk Bekah has an alter-ego named Jill (who is usually the massive bitch monster that emerges after a few too many drinks), and I guess last night she was 24.
Anyways, Jill enters the bar when the kid slouches deeper into his seat and jerks his head again. “I can do that.”
"You are 19," I tell him.
"No, I’m not," he protests.
"No, you’re 19. Don’t even pretend otherwise."
"I’m 20," he lies. But I have cut to his core, oh, I am about to rock his world by having a semi-intelligant conversation with him, at a bar.
So I start critiquing his posture and tell him to sit up straight. I also tell him to uncross his arms and never consciously cross them again.
"No girl of value wants to be approached with a ‘Wassssuppppp.’ Enunciate, and project. Be confident, and don’t shrug your shoulders like you’re unsure of what you’re saying…" etc., etc.
After my sermon, he stares at me. “Damn. What did you study? How can you read people like that?”
"I’m female," I reply. "We observe and judge. A lot."
Inevetibaly, you reek although I know everything that has been tossed into your Seventh Generation bag. Yet still, I am continually disgusted by you and no matter how determined I am on a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday evening, I cannot be rid of you on trash pick-up days. Something happens. I am distracted by painting my nails on my last weekend evening and turn in early, or am doing one hooligan thing or another during the week and come Thursday morning, realize I am stuck with your nasty shit until Sunday.
But then there are the glorious days where I am on top of it, I am winning, I am a responsible, mature adult and I put my trash and recycling out the night before. I am so proud of myself for being so fucking adult, until I head to the gym the next morning and realize the trash I disposed of is still sitting on my curb.
But it is raining, so I think, “Poor sanitation workers. This shit must really stink when it’s wet. They must be behind schedule.”
And then I return home two hours later and it is still there. And I ponder, “Hm, are they cutting their route short today? Are they not coming? Well, fuck that anyways, some bum cut the shit out of that bag and I’m not picking that smelly white shit off of the sidewalk.” And I enter my apartment, shower, have a French press coffee, do my thing.
I leave for work, ready to be all empathetic and supportive and whatever, and on my door is a fine obviously printed on extremely expensive paper from this piece of shit Corey Thompson, explaining some nonesense about three gallons bags on the sidewalk on non-collection days blah blah blah, etc. etc.
Well, Mr. Thompson,
a.) Suck my dick.
b.) Correction: I don’t have a dick, so suck your own.
c.) PICK THE FUCKING RECYCLING UP WHEN YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO.
d.) Here is my $100, take that and shove it up your ass because you are obviously not getting anything up there, you worthless waste of space.
I like Earth, hell, I love it. I like recycling. I feel good about buying “green” products. But City of New York, do me and everyone else a mother fucking favor: on days where you are depended upon picking up garbage, pick that shit up. It smells, and I don’t want to pay $100 fine because you don’t do what you’re supposed to do. It pisses me off, and guess what? I’m sticking my five Ezekiel cereal boxes in an opaque garbage bag, what now, mutha fucka?!