Three Things, Issue Twenty

I saw Santa today. Not the mall-variety Santa, but SANTA. The white-bearded guy was roaming the tree farm from where we cut our Christmas tree and the sight of him evoked nearly the same giddy reaction in me as it did in my five-year-old self. “Santa’s coming!” I hissed at my 18-year-old daughter as we stood under the cover of the snack shed in the cold, hard rain. He was round, he was jolly and he had candy canes. I felt my heart quicken. What is it with this Kris Kringle mythology? I’ll tell you what it is: it was enough to brighten the most cynical, achy, cranky, sad soul of this believer on a cold, wet December day.

SOMETHING I’M LISTENING TO: PUBLIC THEATRE

There was a time in my life when not going to a seedy club on a weeknight for a bit of local, live music meant that it was a very, very slow week indeed. These days, it takes a bit more coaxing for me to venture out in the chilly bite of a Seattle night in November, but I’ve rarely regretted doing so.

Such was the case this past Tuesday when I agreed to meet my daughter and a few of her pals at The Funhouse in Seattle. The Funhouse is a tiny little space–the stage is actually in the front window of the venue–connected to the larger (and iconic) El Corazon. When The Funhouse hosts all-ages shows, the over-21 drinkers are relegated to an even smaller, caged area at the very back, by the bar. It sounds worse than it really is and it’s a place I’m happy to reside if it means I can stand back and take in some up-and-coming new local music in an intimate setting.

The podcast I’m a part of, Somethin About Nothin, likes to feature local music, so I considered it part of my job responsibilities to go check out a band called Public Theatre. From Snohomish, Public Theatre is a four-piece, alt-rock group that’s managing to make a bit of an impression on the Seattle music scene. Fronted by lanky, dynamic lead singer Logan Britsch, they are tight and energetic, with a good selection of originals to showcase their talent. “Grim Reaper” is their most recent and most musically complex track to date. When listening to “Fixated” it’s hard not to make comparisons to The Orwells and notice the hint of Kurt Cobain influence in Britsch’s vocal range that glides from sweet and melodic to raw, rough and emotional by the song’s end. Public Theatre was the second act of a four-band bill that Tuesday night which included two nationally-known, more established acts. Public Theatre was, hands-down, my most favorite band of the night.

These guys are young and ambitious, and with a solid foundation to build from, I can’t wait to see where they go in the next few years. They’ll be playing around town–both Seattle and Everett–so this is your chance to get out of your jammie pants and that pesky comfort zone of yours and support your local artists. You won’t regret it.

You can follow Public Theatre on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify and listen to them here on Soundcloud.

SOMETHING I’M COOKING: BRUSSELS SPROUTS

About this time every year, I crave green. Following the heavy, decidedly beige and brown feast from last week, all I can think about is vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables, preferably green ones.

Cruciferous vegetables are the bomb. Be it broccoli, kale, cauliflower or brussels sprouts, this group of veggies is my fall and winter go-to when I need an infusion of nutrition. It was at a local happy hour when I first experienced some of the most tasty brussels sprouts I had ever come across. Caramelized and charred with smoky, thick-cut bacon, garlic and soy sauce and finished with a sweet-spicy glaze of an Asian chili sauce, the swooning began immediately. I went home that night and the very next day began my quest to recreate this most heavenly dish.

I think I got pretty close. If nothing else, I have one more delicious and reasonably nutritious cruciferous veggie recipe to pull out on those days when I need a boost of green and something that isn’t draped in turkey gravy. Chili Garlic Brussel Sprouts could easily be a light meal in itself, or served with a side of jasmine rice or with your protein of choice.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. But definitely eat something green today.

SOMETHING I’M DOING: CHANGE

The top five most stressful changes in an adult life are: 1.) the death of a loved one, 2.) divorce, 3.) moving, 4.) major illness or injury and 5.) job loss.

I’m pretty sure mine aren’t even in the top twenty.

But as change goes, I’m like that root-bound plant you picked up from the grocery store nursery at the end of the season, hoping to save a few bucks and bring it back to full and vibrant life. You tip the bucket upside down to free the root ball and it takes more than just a few sharp slaps to its side to loosen the soil. Pruning shears in hand, you go to work, slicing through the thick, black plastic of its container and out plops the mass of intertwined roots, married as tight together as the most intricate Celtic knot.

That’s me. Root-bound.

I was having a conversation with a friend recently, bemoaning my lack of grace in the face of change. I mentioned my tendency to be the most rooted, most reliable, most consistent human I know. “Well, isn’t that a good thing?” she asked. Yes, and no.

When you dump that hard lump of root ball to the ground, any good gardener knows it’s necessary to snip away at the fibrous mass in an attempt to create new shoots of life once the plant goes into the soil. If not, the plant may not thrive and might even die, entangled in its woven legs. But snipped free, some of those roots can begin to burrow and grow again and with a little bit of nurturing, result in the most beautiful and vibrant specimen.

So that’s me right now. I’ve snipped away at my solid root ball these past few months–not with pruning shears but with tiny little fingernail clippers. It’s almost laughable at how small the changes I’ve made and the resulting stress they’ve had on my body and mind. Another (less-rooted) person might sail through their life, whacking away at their roots with a machete and revel in the subsequent growth and adventure.

But not this girl.

I let go of a yoga class I’ve taught for a dozen years–one of my biggest, often filled with forty or more yogis. I’ve taken on the challenge of something new–a podcast. It’s scary, uncharted territory. I might fail or look foolish. There’s growing pains, those 3:00 am wide-eyed wake ups, gripped with worry, flush with imagination of the worst possible outcome. There’s risk, but because it’s me, that risk is negligible at best. I’ve made sure of that. Even still, I can’t ignore the gnaw of unease in my gut, the flutter of my heart in my chest. I’ve lost my footing.

So I practice. I fall back on what has always helped in the past. Yoga. Meditation. Writing. Get back in my body, touch what’s tangible, watch my breath. Acknowledge what’s there–the fear, the doubt, the discomfort of those tiny, necessary lacerations in my roots.

And yeah, I like the fact that I’m dependable. It’s taken me far. Reliable is great until you realize you’re that decades-old Toyota with the oxidized paint and the muffler held on with duct tape. Roots are good and important to have. Too many roots can suck the living life right out of you.

Water me, feed me, watch me grow.

 

 

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