Two things happen when family comes to visit.
1. I eat too much.
My sister, Uncle Mike and Auntie Robyn came to visit this week. Cathie likes food, Mike is a chef and Robyn is a nutritionist. Everyone likes food. So that meant stops at Lil’ Frankie’s, Keste, Dirt Candy, Cafe Condessa, Apizz, Ma Peche and Anissa. I have a refrigerator full of fancy leftovers but I think I need to drink nothing but green juice for a week. But eating with them, it’s not just about the food. It’s about the company. The time to catch up and talk after being apart for so long (they all live in Honolulu). A little bit of waxing poetic. When you are a theater artist or generally busy NY’er, it means you are usually eating pizza while you walk or powering down an egg sandwich in 5 minutes on the subway. It’s eating for survival. And there’s no one to talk to while you’re stuffing your face. 3 hour meal? Never.
2. I ask myself why I have planted myself in a city that is 5-10,000 miles away from all my family.
Why? Why can’t I be in LA or Honolulu where the climate is milder, my people are around and life is a little more gentle.
Why am I here? Theater. Did you say Theater? What are you doing? Trying to chase a green unicorn down a rabbit hole? Make Theater? That’s why you’re here?
Well, that’s a lot to walk away from. Easier life, family, temperate weather.
So, as I said my goodbyes to all of them and hopped the subway towards my little apartment, I sat there listening to the hums/screeches/bumps of the train, thinking, “Better make some theater, then. Better make it damned fine.”
I have been working on a play where one character is making ramen in the kitchen. Another fellow walks in and they start talking about the soup and what makes a good soup. What goes into it.
I want to model this soup off the broth of a beloved New York noodle shop and scoured the web looking for the broth recipe. Nowhere that I can find. I am bummed because I can’t finish the scene until I get the soup right.
I finally found this recipe for oxtail soup which he was willing to give away. My mom used to make a soup like this when I was growing up except she put peanuts in hers (Chinese style) and she cooked it in the pressure cooker. It was one of my dad’s favorite things. But, I wouldn’t eat it because it was, well, an ox tail and it freaked me out.
Now, I am a vegetarian of 17 years so I’ll probably never know what it tastes like.
But the characters in my play do. And it’s delicious.
The Vampire Cowboys are very funny people. This is their Holiday card.
I think in these times, I need to laugh more than anything. That and brain candy. I am 199 pages into Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live: A True Story. He is traveling to the sites of the demise of great (and not so great) rock stars. I probably shouldn’t find this to be candy, but I do. I have to buy a new copy because I had to give mine as a stolen gift for the Ma-Yi Writers Lab’s 2008 Yankee trade. We could only use stolen gifts. I stole it from my friend Lloyd. Sorry, Lloyd.
In these times it’s hard to know what to get people for the holidays too. I was just given a Trader Joe’s gift card, which I think I’m very grateful for. I know I’ll be eating. Well. Thank you, L&M.