From My Kitchen Not A Book
Today was one of those days where I could not leave the house. My PTSD had me homebound. This did not overwhelm me as I decided to try and unpack the rest of the books and see if they would fit on my shelves. The sadness, depression and anxiety lifted slightly as I figured out how to free all the books. And they sighed and sung to me.
The problem with unpacking after being incarcerated is that memories and losses are stored along with possessions. As I stroked and removed my books I found cards and pictures of friends and my son. I came across a post card my best friend E sent to me while I was in prison. E and I have been arguing a lot lately. Mostly I believe it is because we have not seen each other in almost six years because we live on opposite coasts (and I was in prison for so long), and we are both struggling financially and with our own trauma.
On Sunday evening E and I had an argument and I said, “Maybe we should take a break.” And she responded with, “Maybe we should,” and hung up. When I found the post card tonight I phoned her and knew she would answer. This is love between us of the purest kind. We are each other’s Lifetime and I always want to take the long way home with her. Many people have thought over the years that we are lovers—sexually—but we are not. Yet we are lovers. We love one another unconditionally. We love one another with all our gifts and flaws and I know she will never leave me and she knows I will never leave her.
Before I phoned E I had sent out a text message to my new lead caregiver and to my former co-worker/friend/ former lead caregiver—that read, “I need soup!”I was feeling a particular type of sadness and I always crave soup in this state of mind. (Truthfully, what I need is a service dog and I have been investigating “pooper scoopers” as this is the only issue for me (along with the cost)—but I digress).
I phoned E and I said, “Can I make chicken soup? I have chicken, snow peas, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, fresh basil that I froze and garlic and onions.” Erin asked, “Is it a whole chicken or parts?” I responded, “Thighs. I have thighs.” She then told me how to go about it. Then I said, “I have four chicken thighs. They were on sale.” “That’s a lot of chicken,” she said, “That’s going to make a lot of soup, but you can always freeze it.
Then I went about making my chicken soup for this Returning Citizen’s Soul:
-Boil a soup pot 2/3 full of water and add lots of salt (“It really takes a lot of salt,” explains E)
-Add your chicken and boil for 15 minutes (E says, “You don’t want your chicken tough”)
-Remove chicken and then add diced potatoes to the broth
-Reduce heat to a simmer
-Finely chop red onion and garlic (I used the Cuisinart) and sauté in a tablespoon of Olive Oil
-Add diced tomatoes to broth (I used canned because I didn’t want to blanche tomatoes—lazy me)
-Debone chicken and add to broth mixture—add more salt!
-Add fresh snow peas that are trimmed and cut in quarters
-Add onion/garlic mixture and sliced mushrooms to what is becoming your soup
-Add fresh basil, oregano, and lemon pepper, more salt
-Throw in a couple of dashes of red pepper flakes
Then stir it all together and hold your heart with compassion and hope; have one bowl for yourself and then give the rest to a Returning Citizen.
My books are breathing, I set up my writing desk, my chicken soup is cooling, my heart is a little heavy, but I do not want to die. This time of year is a challenge for me, but I am learning to take care of myself in spite of it all. I am fighting to live because so many are holding me in their hearts with compassion, faith and love.