I made this amazing dinner tonight that I can still taste: raw mild Italian pork sausage meat, mushrooms, red bell pepper, tarragon, and lots of black pepper, fried in a saucepan over medium heat. Add half a can of diced tomatoes and let cook for a bit. Add back the liquid from the can, let simmer. Add a handful of fresh basil, remove from heat, put the lid on. Mix with a little bit of swanky dried angel-hair pasta.

I've been enjoying cooking a lot more recently, both as a practice and as I learn more about using Ayurveda to keep my body functioning well on my own. Dinner tonight more than made up for my failed attempt at making a quinoa cracker--I'm going to try with regular wheat flour to make sure I've got the principle down, then try quinoa again, and barley. It's nice that I can give myself time for it; if I can get back to doing aikido 3-4 times a week, time will be a little tighter. But for now, and especially on weekends, I'll take what I can get.

The tribe had a birthday party last night where a lot of people were on various substances, and it was lovely to be sober around them, to pick up bits of their energy and to be able to participate in their experience. Early on in the evening, one of my friends, Todd, a guy I like and respect a lot but haven't actually spent a ton of time with, was talking about some negotiation in his marriage surrounding him coming to this party while his wife and daughter are out of town--during the conversation his wife casually mentioned some yoga lessons she's been wanting to take, and the married guys I know seem sensitive to how these discussions are conducted. I made my usual self-deprecating joke--"You crazy people and your relationships that last longer than six months"--which started a short but interesting conversation about why six months is often this magic number when relationships either continue on or don't.

Later on in a more private settings, Todd was talking about his marriage again, and the need in a marriage or long relationship to really accept each other as whole individuals. To me, he said, "I see you as being very inwardly-focused, and that being the case, for you a relationship is basically an intrusion on that inward focus, which you allow in exchange for relationship things, like fucking." The conversation got more disjointed from there, but obviously that sense of intrusion doesn't lead to a long-term arragement. It was interesting to hear him say that, because of course I've been inward-focused for many years now, and it certainly determined the flow of my last couple relationships; it's only this year that I'm really at peace with that (or anything else, really). It's fascinating to hear my friends describe me, though, and to be so right in a straightforward way that I would not have allowed in describing myself. Relationships are an intrusion on my introversion, and since the one in 2003, there's certainly a sense of restriction or measured allowance; to make me seem less shallow, the trade-off hasn't been just sex, but also good company and generally someone to play with and tell me when I'm being remarkably stupid.

That will change, of course. I always do, and eventually I'll open up more outward again, after four years of...I don't know what you'd call it. Being stuck in a minor hell, I guess, where my longstanding Great Sadness was amplified by a sense of failure over the One That Got Away. But now the sadness appears to be gone, my mind is quieter than I thought it could get, I'm a different person again (and still myself, and more myself than I have ever been) and now I'm off to do the same adventures, with a new way of seeing.