1. July 2013 11:00
Who really knows you?
Seriously. I've been asking myself this question a lot lately. Who REALLY knows you? I mean really, truly knows you.
If you have an answer for this question, I'd love to hear it. AND, I am completely humbled and awed by your bond to this person or persons. True, deep connections are the very stuff of life, what life is all about. Is there something you do everyday that brings you this deep knowledge of another person? Is it the time and attention you spend with them, day in and day out? Time and attention are, of course, the only thing, the best thing we have to give.
I ask all these questions because I have spent, over the last two years, almost every day with my mother and father, taking care of them. I moved home to Chadds Ford, PA (where I grew up) when my Mom was diagnosed with primary peritoneal carcinosarcoma in October 2011. This was a month after my Dad had an emergency quadruple bypass.
Over the last year and a half, I have spent more time with my parents than I have since I was an adolescent. And the time we spend together is different now: I am an adult, I am quarter-backing a complex health-care situation for them both, etc. We can talk about so many things now that I am an adult.
I have gotten to really, really know my parents in a whole new way. I am completely and totally humbled, grateful, and priveleged to have this time with them to get to know them so deeply, to help them in such a fundamental way. My parents are fantastic, hilarious, deep, deeply caring, compassionate people. I KNOW I am a lucky person to have this time with them. I count my blessings every single day. Every. Single. Day. It is the gift I get for the sacrifices I have made to be with them.
And yet ...
And yet after all this time with my parents, I still feel I don't know them. I still feel they are a mystery to me and I a mystery to them.
Yesterday, I went on an hour long walk with my Mom. We were both in our heads, clearly. Usually on a walk like this, we would be talking and questioning and going over the details of the day, the week, the months ahead. We would skim the surface of topics and dive deep. I usually ask hard questions and questions about her life I want to know, now that her time is limited, my window to ask such questions closing before my very eyes. But yesterday, almost nothing. Not a word. A few wonderful exchanges about the misty, mysterious weather and the scenery. But other than that, we walked along. Alone, together.
I believe being alone together is a wonderful thing. Don't get me wrong.
But I had already been thinking about this question of who really knows you and the topic of being alone and this walk seemed an interesting illustration.
Here I was with my Mom and she didn't ask me any questions and I didn't ask her any. Did we miss the chance to KNOW each other deeper? Or was this just one of those times where we needed to be alone together. Was she suffering, wanting me to speak up and break the silence, to give her the opportunity to be known? Was I? I was.
Last night, on the way to visiting some cousins for dinner, my Dad began to ask me about some of my close friends in NYC. He and I talk and have talked over the last two years about my close friends there, the ones that have stood by me as I made major sacrifices and deferrals in my life to care for my family. He knows these people; he's seen me play with them, write music with them, had dinner with them.
And yet ...
He couldn't remember their names and didn't remember what it is they do for a living.
My Dad doesn't have the best memory, it's a known fact. And his health problems of the last two years have definitely affected his memory. Since I was the one who helped him through all those health problems and took him to all the appointments with the neuro-Doctor to ask questions and get some answers about his memory, I have deep compassion for his mind, his memory, his brain. I worry about his brain. I wonder about it. I worry some more.
But his questions and inabilty to remember some fundamental details of my life in NYC was a bit unsettling. And coming on the heels of the afternoon walk with my Mom, it underlined this question that was circling in the air above my head: who really knows you?
I don't have an answer to this question. Obviously. There is no answer. Obviously.
Maybe the answer is: No one really knows you so know yourself. The Delphic maxim. Socrates. Etc.
Know yourself. That's the answer that keeps coming up.
No one else really can or really does. Family comes and family goes. Friends come and friends go. Lovers come and lovers go. People are busy, are trying to know themselves in whatever way that means to them, for them.
22. May 2013 10:34
Who knows the origin of this parable? Who the F cares?
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that
it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows that it
must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve.
It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle; when
the sun comes up, you had better start running.
This pretty much explains why I get up at 3am every morning. I am serious about making life a meaningful journey.
Life is finite. URGENCY. URGENT.
You have no clue when your number will come up, when your time will run out.
Life is also competition. No matter what the situation, you are competing with other human beings.
You are competing in races you didn't even know you were in -- for a prospective spouse (love is really just a foot race), for attention from others (eyes, ears, words), for money, for jobs, for space, etc. Blunt? Yes. True? Yes.
Take action and make positive progress in your life every day.
Now. Find the courage to DO. Dreaming is important. But DOING matters most.
21. May 2013 00:09
WTF is a salad dressing recipe doing here. I know. I know. Absurd.
But seriously, anyone who has spent any time with me knows that I eat A LOT of salads. In fact, I think I am addicted to salads. But that is another blog post.
I make monstrously huge salads. Why? A calorically restricted gal's gotta fill up on clean, green foods. Usually, I am doing calorie restriction or intermittent fasting as I talk about here.
Plain old oil and vinegar gets boring after awhile. Eat two salads a day every day of your life and you know what I mean.
Awhile back, I started combining ridiculous ingredients to create interesting and -- let's call a spade a spade -- weird salad dressings. Since I mainly cook Indian and Asian foods, I have a lot of chutneys and spices and hot sauces and stuff like that banging about my fridge. Not to mention a pretty awesome selection of vinegars. Nothing fancy, just a solid collection of vinegars for any occasion or persuasion. (Vinegar is my favorite food. True.)
So this is installment #1 of my kitchen hustle.
I can imagine doing posts about how to make a few of my epic salads, a post about my vinegar shelf, a couple other posts about the other salad dressings I've perfected, etc.
Whatever. I can imagine doing none of this as well and dumping all that time into my guitar … or my songs, or my voice, or my bass, or my pandeiro, or my piano, or, or, or.
Most of my friends don't cook. I often invite these friends over to eat at my place and, after a few insanely good meals cooked on my BOOTY stove and in my tiny, poorly-lit kitchen, they start to express a desire to learn to cook. Best way to learn to cook is to cook with someone. How do you think I learned? Started cooking with my aunts -- Reeve and Ellen. Watched my Mom cook great, basic food my whole life.
#1 thing I notice about my friends who say they want to learn to cook: They're wimps. About cooking. They think if they don't have the EXACT ingredients the recipe calls for, they can't make the dish. WTF?! This comes from people who are HUGELY successful in ALL other parts of their lives. WTF?! They would never let a minor detail like that stop them from doing their other kinds of work. They'd figure it out. WTF?! So, why, when they try cooking do they get hung up on the details? This is a whole other blog post -- the psychological barriers we see, we let stop us when we are out of our element. But you can hire me as a life coach if you want me to go deeper into this question and into YOUR psychological barriers … that is, why you let obstacles stop you in your life. Seriously. I study this shit. Have been for years. And now I coach people on how to blow those barriers away. But I digress ...
The most important thing about kitchen hustle and cooking is: don't get fussy. 80% right is better than 0% cooked. Do something. Action in the kitchen matters. Don't get so hung up on everything. Simplify. Substitute. Improvise. Think laterally. Notice. Pay attention. Make changes. Mess it up. Start it over. Just do something, for crying out loud. Cooking for yourself is political. It's good for your moral fiber. It's sexy. It can be cheaper or it can be expensive. It can be whatever you want it to be. That's the whole f*cking point.
Enough ranting …
Tang Shebang Yogurt Dressing
1 teaspoon Chunky Chaat -- i use MDH brand
1 cup Acidophilus yogurt -- i use Erivan kind
1/4 cup (or less) seasoned rice vinegar
Black pepper to taste
Adjust the whole thing to taste
Put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake it around. If you're mason-less, whip it real good.
Go easy pouring it on your salad; a little goes quite a long way.
You could substitute the seasoned rice vinegar for regular rice vinegar, thereby cutting down on the saltiness (overall) and cutting out all the sugar.
I like the sugar in the seasoned rice vinegar -- it adds to the tang shebang of the whole thing. If you wanted to be in control of the sugar, use the regular rice vinegar and add sugar to the dressing yourself. Don't be fussy -- just add whatever you have on hand: honey, agave, regular old white sugar.
You can find Chunky Chaat at an Indian Grocery Store. My favorite one in Manhattan is Dual Specialty Foods on 1st Ave at 6th Street. It has everything those fancier ones have up in Curry Hill, at half the price, and the guys that run it are super helpful. I got hip to Dual Specialty from the chef Hemant Mathur at Tulsi. I took a cooking class from him and have eaten at Tulsi many times since. He is the man; that place is legit.
This salad dressing is kind of reminiscent of a salty lassi. I just had it on a spinach salad with sprouted sunflower seeds, avacado, and raw chopped cabbage and it was delicious!
The best deal is to make this and then put it back in your fridge for a few hours to let the tastes marry. It is definitely not as tangy if you let it rest for a bit.
I make a double batch when I make it and use some right away and some later (for my second salad or the next day or whatever).
Troubleshooting -- before you start whining about not living in Manhattan and how you don't have access to special ingredients and whatnot:
Order Chunky Chaat online at Amazon
Learn how to make your own (but that is WAY harder than just buying some)
Use any yogurt you want … 80% right is better than 0% cooked, fool!
Taking it further:
Steam some broccoli and pour this on top.
Spread this on crusty, chunky bread and make a sandwich or an open faced sandwich with it.
Make a dip out of this for raw veggies and such.
Make a kind of cold soup out of it. Garnish it with cilantro and eat it out of a small bowl as an appetizer.
Make a popsicle out of it. Not kidding. Doing it right now. It's already in my freezer in a popsicle mold.
This post is ridiculous. I know it.
A lot of shit is going down in my life right now: Mom still on chemo, aunt Ellen getting back on chemo … Traveling back and forth from NYC to Chadds Ford, PA to be with them both, etc.
Go easy on me.
I mean it. And let me know how I can help -- with your kitchen hustle, with blowing away the barriers in your life, with your salad dressing, with whatever.
And a little visual for the folks at home. I have no effing clue why these pics are SO large, and I don't feel like making 'em smaller at this point.
Cheers to my iPhone camera and zero food-styling knowledge and effort. Enjoy!
Also, this first one is really a picture of my rugs.
24. April 2013 18:14
10. April 2013 18:08
That's what I want to know.
How can I help?
I really want to know. Is there something I can write about or make a YouTube video about or something I can do for you? Is there someplace you want me to play? Some song you want me to cover? Some piece of artwork you want me to draw?
I bet it sounds like I want to do anything and everything. It is not that, really ... What I want to do is help.
Tell me how I can. And be specific. Tell me a story. Tell me why.
Leave a comment below or email me at assistant dot kateschutt at gmail dot com. I read all my email and I will respond.
Or you could always write me a letter. All the details on how to do that are here.
3. April 2013 15:30
Someone asked me what I am working on -- besides the things I am always working on (guitar, voice, songwriting, music, how to art, meditation):
In no particular order, here are a few of the things I am currently studying (and btw I get no kickback from these sites or authors ... these are just places I've stopped along the way):
Minimalism / minimalist --> you might start here and here and here or any other place you want to start
Habit formation / replacement --> some ideas here and here and here
Bodyweight exercise --> i.e. no gear, no membership, no contract, no list. lots of self-motivation
Fasting / intermittent Fasting --> do your own research. think for yourself. enter the slipstream here or here
Drawing / figure drawing / sketching
A few simple, pocket magic tricks
10. March 2013 15:26
Been a little while.
I spent the last week down in Vredenburgh, Alabama volunteering with an organization called BAMA Kids. How did I end up in this place? Back in February 2010, I lived in Vredenburgh for around five or six months and served as a teacher, mentor, guitar teacher, art teacher, all-around friend to the kids in this amazing program. Every weekday afternoon from 3pm to 6pm, I would go to BAMA Kids and read, help with homework, make snacks, play basketball, jump rope, play guitar, make art, and generally hang out.
Ever since then, I come down once or twice a year and do a week or so of work. I try to bring as many friends with me to volunteer as well.
This week, I brought my dear friend Lucas Rooney and his crew Zara Aina down to create an original theater show with the kids. I'll write more about our incredible time together, but for now check out this awesome picture I took of the whole cast of characters:
Big thanks to my friend Jesse for letting me borrow her camera for the week. More pictures to come!
5. February 2013 23:04
Have you totally forgotten about the Postcard Project?
(I know for a fact that some of you have not.)
But for those who have forgotten or have no clue, let's review what the Postcard Project is.
The Postcard Project is an exchange of postcards (or letters) between you and me.
You write me; I write you. Simple as that. If you write me a postcard, you get a postcard back. If you write me a letter, you get a letter back.
I triple dog dare you.
Write me here:
319 Lafayette St, #159, NY, NY 10012
For fun on Instagram, I often post pictures of the postcards I receive the moment I get them. Later on, I post pictures of my outgoing mail. Find me on InstaG: @kateschutt
POSTCARD PROJECT FAQ
Is the postcard project for real?
Why, yes! It is.
Do you really, really, actually write me back?
Why, yes! I do. As long as you include your return address and your handwriting is legible, I will write you back.
How long does it take for me to receive a postcard or letter back?
Depends on what country you live in, the vagaries of the postal service (yours / mine) and the hecticness of my life.
Will the Pcard Project make me a better person or the world a better place?
Why, yes! Indeed it will!
4. February 2013 20:33
30. January 2013 21:38
Right on, right on.
Mr. Freidman gets it right on, right here.
Now is the time to get serious about your idea, your hunch, your innovation, your product, your start-up, your strip-down, your curiousity. After all, the time is going to pass anyway.