roamin' catholic: karin rosner

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Staycation

It’s been 14 months since my last bit of real time-off.

I’ve been through a blizzard, a hurricane, a fire, an office move…

I have barely written anything creative, and haven’t finished any of the poems  whose opening lines and draft stanzas I’ve managed to jot down.

My dirty laundry is piled sky high.

I haven’t had a meaningful conversation on the phone or in person with many of my best friends unless they have physically led me into their light, warmth and   quiet, and sat me down across the diner booth to enjoy their company. (Thank you, my dear ones!)

Occasionally, I feel that God wants to grab me by the hand and do the same thing… when prayer becomes rote, rushed, dry… bah.

I’ve been asked to organize social things, church things, things in general, and I feel that I can’t even organize my way out of a paper bag.

It’s time to quiet down for a week.

Pray while washing dishes and sorting darks, whites and brights.

Pray while sitting with a hardback print Bible open to Scripture not explored for a while.

Write a little.

Rest a lot.

Tune out a lot of electronic distractions.

Have some fun.

Enjoy the smiles of my dear friends.

Be still.

Be present.

Organize the inner and outer KayKay.

Clear out some clutter.

Make room for more quiet, peace, life.

Hello.

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ImageNew Yorkers believe that ketchup always goes on hamburgers, and never belongs anywhere near a frankfurter. (New Yorkers also usually do not call this same sausage a “Wiener” or  Hot Dog” or any other variant than by its first name, “Frank”).

I’ve started avoiding ketchup (or catsup) altogether except on french fries, unless there’s a bottle of brown sauce available in an irish pub, or malt vinegar.

Traveling outside of New York City when I was a kid, I encountered a weird habit that I and my family thought was disgusting: putting mustard on fast-food hamburgers. When we drove on summer vacations, McDonald’s and Burger King topped their burgers either with mustard-only, or with a squirt of the both mustard and ketchup. New Yorker food neurotics, who don’t like different foods touching each other on the plate, would not do well here.

Mustard on anything except a hot dog or a ham sandwich was weird. New Yorkers do not like their normal foods to be made weird.

I made a huge dietary change this year. I tried mustard-only on a burger (which I got at the tiny Steak-n-Shake outpost in Times Square) on a whim. I just had a thought. The counter-actress gave me a choice, and I chose mustard.

Oh my goodness.

Mustard on a burger was… amazing. The tiny grains of mustard brought out all of the flavor of the crusty meat.

I tried it again at a diner the other night known for their perfect burgers. The counter guy handed me a an unlabeled squirt bottle of deli style mustard he used for sandwiches.

I’m hooked.

I also believe that a genuine Chicago-style hot dog made with a genuine Vienna Beef wiener has one or two advantages over a New York frank with sauerkraut and mustard, unless that sausage is from Grey’s Papaya or Papaya King and is covered in onion sauce, accompanied by a Papaya drink. Papaya  always wins, just like you know the Samoan wrestler will always pin the other guy, wherever he hails from, to the mat.

I also really like deep-dish pizza when it’s executed correctly (not available in New York City). I like New Haven-style pizza, too.

So shoot me. Line me up against the wall and shoot me for the traitor to my City that I am. I have embraced the common sense of Other Places.

Mustard. Amen.

Darned Twitter Cut me off! Here is the whole thing (refined a wee bit)

I’ve warmed myself with a hot Scotch Toddy
My eyelids droop, my head is noddy
And so until the morn’s first light
I bid ye all a fond goodnight!
BURNS-A-SHAVE

(Burma-shave article here: http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/Departments/hpolscrv/mthomas.htm. )

Two years ago, I misplaced my New York State Identification card. I’ve never been too concerned because it is _somewhere_ in my apartment, probably in a box of legal paperwork that I need to go through but have not had the time.

I’ve been in denial about replacing the stupid thing until last week. “It’s here somewhere! It will turn up!” My mantra failed me.

I have to attend a government vendors work thingy, and I won’t be let into the federal building without a current photo identification card. I haven’t had the time to stand in line at the DMV all day to get a new card, but I learned that _finally_ New York State has set up a way to order duplicates online! What would’ve taken hours in person took a couple of minutes on the PC, my debit card number plus ten days processing and delivery time. I can keep my old photo! I really liked my photo on my old I.D. My hair was long and sleek. Anyway, my duplicate card arrived in the mail yesterday and I am now able to live like a normal adult American citizen:

– Buy a bottle of wine anywhere.

– Take a plane or a long distance train

– Sign in and go upstairs to most offices in New York City with tight security.

– Do stuff.

I am now super-motivated to clean my apartment and organize my crap.

I need to renew my passport, next. I wonder where I put that old one.

Before I complain about being a crime victim for the 2nd time in 30 days (and ask for more prayer!) I am praising God for his amazing power and protection, and for the women in my apartment building who raised prayer to heaven for me.

I was robbed at knife point by two boys in the hallway of my apartment building tonight. They got my handbag which was mostly empty except for my empty wallet (literally, I had about $1.75 in there) and some unusable credit cards, my checkbook, identification and my iPhone. (Can’t run JCIR without my iPhone! Do you guys know that almost everything gets scheduled on that thing?) They ran off, I screamed bloody murder, ran inside my apartment and called the police right away. Cops immediately swarmed the neighborhood, and the neighbor ladies started praying. The officers who showed up at my door, whisked me away in the squad car… and we got them. I got everything back, except for the iPhone Case and one earring that I had stuck in my bag.

Please pray for me that when I go to press charges in the morning, that I have a clear head and memory to identify these kids in the lineup. Please give thanks and pray for protection of the amazing men and women of the New York City Police Department, and all police officers everywhere. Pray for two young men who really need help.

God bless you all.  I promise, I don’t make this stuff up.

Merry, blessed Christmas, everyone!

Abraham Bloemaert, “Adoration of the Shepherds” (1612)

ImageI love Brussels Sprouts. I really, really do. I can eat them all year ’round. At lunchtime yesterday, I went to one of the Korean Salad Bars near my office, and scooped up a little cold angel hair pasta, a cupful of roasted Brussels Sprouts, some mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, a little mozzarella cheese and  and a little chopped hardboiled egg, and I was perfectly content for 30 minutes and created a absolutely delicious and healthy Midtown Lunch for under $7.00.

Brussels Sprouts come in to season in the USA just as the weather turns colder, Thanksgiving appears on the calendar and we light the first candle of the Advent Season. In the northern hemisphere, in the UK and throughout Europe they are a feature of the Christmas table. If they’re cooked properly, the major turn-offs to this tiny member of the cabbage family go away. There is no smelly kitchen, and no smelly eater of the little green guys, either.

Here’s my observations on  Brussels Sprouts and how Jesus acts in our lives. Can you add more?

  • Brussels Sprouts can get dirty, so you need to soak them in water. (Baptism)
  • When cooking them, it’s really helpful to slash their cores with a cross. (Conversion)
  • Fire-roasting them makes them loose their bitterness and they become sweet. (Release of the Holy Spirit)

Transform your table, and get to know my little green friends. Here is Nigella Lawson‘s great recipe that I haul out on Christmas and Thanksgiving for Brussels Sprouts. Pancetta is an Italian bacon-ham thing and you can substitute a really good quality, thick-cut American premium bacon if you can’t find Pancetta. You can find vacuum-packed chestnuts in gourmet shops, and I’ve found frozen ones in Trader Joe’s. The jarred ones do not work as well, but they will do if they’re all you can find (compare sugar content on the label; there should be no sugar added!). If you have time, you can carefully roast fresh chestnuts; they also need a cross hatched into them!

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley (Nigella Lawson from Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen, 2007)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 9 ounces pancetta, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • About 8 to 9 ounces vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 2 fluid ounces Marsala wine
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Slice the bottoms off each of the Brussels sprouts, cutting a cross onto the base as you go. Place the Brussels sprouts into a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Cook the Brussels sprouts for 5 minutes, or until they are tender but still retain a bit of bite.

Remove the pan from the heat and drain the excess water from the Brussels sprouts.

Heat the oil in a large clean saucepan. Add the pancetta cubes to the pan and cook until they are crisp and golden-brown in color, but not cooked to the point of having dried out.

Add the butter and the chestnuts to the pancetta saucepan and with a wooden spoon or spatula, press down on them to break them up into pieces. Once the chestnuts have been warmed through, turn the heat up and add the Marsala to the pan. Cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened slightly.

Add the sprouts and half the parsley to the saucepan and mix well. Season the Brussels sprouts with freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, place the Brussels sprouts onto a warmed serving plate and sprinkle the remaining chopped parsley over the top.

(Serves 8 )


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