Saturday, May 12, 2007

Making It Myself

Diving In - So ... I'm feeling comfortable in Kansas City, finally diving into the pile of miniDV tapes compiled over the past four months. I have a few boxes like the one pictured here and ... well ... I feel great when I see the results in hard form like this. When I took off on February 1st, I wasn't all that sure how this was going to work out and, while the move was bold, I was feeling pretty apprehensive. Sure, I love meeting people and seem to do it pretty easily but I didn't know if people would take to the stranger from the Northeast. Now, those worries have been pretty much tucked away for good. Up to this point, I've met a lot of truly wonderful seniors as well as some incredible people in the seniors' field. But for the moment, until I head on up to Nebraska and Iowa, it's now time to digest the collection. And that's the good news.

There is something special about having the chance to now go back and re-visit these folks. Just today, I was in the library, earplugs in, three programs open on the laptop desktop and, once again, it was just me face-to-face with another human being. Each person talked as I watched. In a way, I've found it's better the second or third time because I'm not worrying about the camera, the questions - it's just about listening to the words, watching the gestures. One by one I'm now putting something together which I can only hope translates into something extraordinary. Is this stuff interesting? Well ... obviously I certainly think so. But will others see it that way? I've thought about that question a lot lately. I actually asked my mom the other night, "Do you enjoy reading this material when you're on the site?" Now how's that for an unbiased respondent? What the hell was I thinking!? What's my mother gonna say?!

But the thing is, I've asked her and other friends that same question over the past few weeks - I get concerned that people may not enjoy or find value in what I'm doing. But then my Mom said something so very simple and poignant. "Just do what you're doing. Soon enough you're gonna find out if people like it. But don't try to create something just to please everybody out there. That doesn't usually work." Wise words. Eldercation at work.

"And besides," she added, "If only two people buy your book one day, you'll have your answer then, won't you?"

We shared a good laugh when she said that, acknowledging what I know is my truest fear with this whole project. I've put myself on the line here going with my gut, giving up a great deal to pursue something I feel is very important. So, if it doesn't work? Hmmm. More on that at another time. I can't allow my head to get into that place.

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Making It Myself - Staying with the theme of creating things people will like - I utilized my ExtendedStay Deluxe kitchen in a productive way this week. And it quickly reminded me, once again, just how much I love to cook. All those years of struggling to cook in that 2x2 foot, West 87th Street kitchenette. I know, great apartment. But c'mon. There was no way to prepare a decent meal there. I had to prep veggies while balancing the cutting board on a couch arm. Anyone who had a chance to visit my upper west side place, had the chance to also see my closet refrigerator. So you really understand this - there really was a refrigerator in my only true closet. To make room for a semi-full size fridge, they had to literally put it in the closet. Sad, huh? Now, that's something I don't miss about the city, let me tell you.

Anyway - after experiencing the wonderful Mediterranean food in Wichita a few weeks back, a particular craving has been gnawing at me and it wasn't quitting. I love curried chicken salad. And I swear to God, I was thinking about it for about 80% of the drive from Columbia to Kansas City last week. Interesting mind at work, huh? So, what else could I do? It was time to act on the urge.

I didn't even take time to unpack when I walked into my KC hotel room, heading straight up the road to Whole Foods. Sweet red seedless grapes, Fuji apples, sliced almonds, scallions, chopped chicken breast, celery - all mixed together with Hellman's, curry powder and a few other spices. It's not rocket science, to be sure.

"This looks familiar," I thought when I saw the yellowish mayonnaise color. And the smell ... My Interstate 70 fantasy had come to life. And the taste? Mmm-Mmm-Good, I have to say. Five cuts above the $8.99/pound Whole Foods' deli version. And the best thing is, I made so much of it, I was able to store some for repeat performances. Tonight's version was so much better, the mixture having had a chance to marinate and blend. A far cry from Braum's and Sonic, I need to keep the TV tuned the Food Network to get more ideas.

So no more basic lasagna, mixed or fruit salads when I head to future pot lucks. I'm now armed with a new weapon; something to really knock 'em dead.

Now - all I need is some friends around to invite me.

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