Doing some new thing every day seems to be having a cumulative effect: today, day 15, brought one thing after another that I’d never done before in my life. It started off with a set of Chinese meditation balls that meandered into my hands as a gift from my daughter. I think the acupuncture the other day created in me a new ability to meditate, and the Chinese balls, with their lovely chime, helped me sit quietly with my mantra for five minutes without all the usual interference. It was quite easy and very lovely, and I hope to do it again tomorrow. Since the acupuncture I have also slept more soundly, and felt all the lost strength come back into my legs. I was skeptical about the needles but now look forward to my second appointment.
A second new thing today was that I finally bought an expensive bottle of balsamic vinegar and had a taste test with my daughter. I’ve always loved the $7 kind and thought why pay three times as much when the cheap kind is lovely. I couldn’t bring myself to pay all that extra money for something about whose superiority I was skeptical. (There’s that word again – skeptical.) Making this resolution to do some new thing each day made me think again. There’s a reason, I thought in front of the balsamic vinegar shelf, why the expensive kind exists. I asked the shop owner about the two bottles in the photo below; what was the difference. His face turned dreamy and he said, “You’ll like the expensive one more. It’s sweeter.” I sprang for the black label. At home I shut my eyes and my daughter poured two samples into an egg cup and a glass. She turned away as I poured each into saucers with a little olive oil. We tore a baguette and mopped the saucers. One of those puddles was a lot sweeter than the other – the kind of sweetness from which there’s no turning back. Spoiled forever? Heh heh.
Then I went with Dear One to Pho Little Saigon, a peaceful little restaurant I’d never been in before across from my regular writing haunt, Café El Mundo, at the corner of Jean Talon and St. Hubert, and what the hell, I ordered Tonkinoise fish soup, which I’ve never ordered before. I’m finding out that once you start breaking your patterns of action, you see new places to go all around you. Things that were invisible become visible. Tonkinoise fish soup happens to be delicious; noodles, coriander, sweet fish, bean sprouts, a little hot chili oil...
We bought potatoes and were lugging them toward the Italian café on our own streetcorner; a café I’ve never been in because in our two years on this street I have not seen one woman among the Italian patrons. “Let’s go in and have a café au lait,” came out of my mouth. Dear One was surprised but those potatoes were heavy and he didn’t mind laying them down in front of the Napoli Firenze soccer game one little bit. The barista brought us the coffee in tall glasses. The coffee was piping hot, intense and smoky, with a sophisticated froth and a lingering kick, and that description just about sums up the whole of day 15 in my year of breaking the daily pattern.
Yay collard greens! A friend told me about the epicurious website - I found it great for finding out what to do with vegetables I've never met before (celeriac, for instance, now one of my favourites, grated raw with a nice dressing). Good luck and let me know how it turns out! I'd love for you to keep me posted with your finds and also with what you do with them, and how you felt about the results!
I love how your entries make the fantastic out of the everyday. Reading your blog has been so inspiring -- thank you for your words, and for making Montréal seem like the most exotic of cities. (Not that I needed to be convinced of that, but still. A snapshot of a smoky, tall coffee is most lovely indeed.) I hope that every day in 2011 brings you this kind of magic. xo