Weekends with Pat (and Jen)

Thumbnail: Marinating pork and lamb chops
Thumbnail: Pork and lamb chops, Vietnamese style
Thumbnail: Godiva hot chocolate
Thumbnail: A pasta dish
Thumbnail: Spice rack
Thumbnail: Steeping tea
Thumbnail: Woven trivet
Thumbnail: Woven trivet

A sense of hedo­nism has the bet­ter of me late­ly.

I remem­ber feel­ing this way once. It was about five years ago, soon after I lost my grand­moth­er and job in the same week. I’ve come to under­stand that such is a pass­ing phase, and that I should sim­ply enjoy such guilt-free things while it lasts.

As a result, I’ve been self­ish­ly monop­o­liz­ing Pat these last few week­ends.

An exor­bi­tant amount of plea­sure comes from the mot­ley assort­ment of foods he pre­pares.

A friend who cooks as a hob­by is up there with the oth­er friends with sim­i­lar sorts of prac­ti­cal, eso­teric knowl­edge: the lawyer friend, the car mechan­ic friend, the com­put­er geek friend (so I’m told).

Over the course of a few sum­mers he per­fect­ed his grilling tech­nique, and has now moved onto a mas­tery of cold sal­ads. We have an agree­ment when it comes to prac­tic­ing his cook­ing skills, where he gets a record of his con­sum­able accom­plish­ments, and in return I get a mem­o­rable meal and some great pho­tos. He often men­tions that he’ll have to join forces with Karen, an accom­plished bak­er, to pro­vide the desserts. Baking abil­i­ty is some­thing that’s admit­ted­ly elud­ed him, as he focus­es on entrées.

The oth­er, less tan­gi­ble yet tru­ly sub­lime form of plea­sure comes from our con­ver­sa­tions. Pat’s a per­son who lis­tens and con­tributes to a top­ic in equal mea­sure. Someone who does­n’t just wait for his turn to speak. As a result, I’m com­fort­able open­ing up to him, some­thing that I shy away from with most oth­er peo­ple.

Lately though, it’s clar­i­ty that I’ve been look­ing for. Too often, I over-ana­lyze my life, and it’s no secret that my emo­tions affect me more than I’d like.

When I need to sort out my life, Pat’s the per­son I turn to. I don’t seek guid­ance or coun­cil from him, only per­spec­tive.

In the end, noth­ing clar­i­fies and refresh­es like a cou­ple mugs of tea and some good con­ver­sa­tion.

I’ve been hog­ging Pat these last few week­ends, steal­ing him from the rest of his friends and fam­i­ly, but I don’t care.

Hedonism is the new rule, and I’m giv­ing in with caprice.


  1. If he were clos­er, I’d ask to bor­row him…

  2. yeah, my hus­band becomes real pop­u­lar with his friends when their com­put­er breaks down (he’s a sys­tem engineer/admin) He’s learned to say ; NO because oth­er­wise he’s always being asked for favours

    I do a fair job at cook­ing, but I excel as a bak­er
    LOVE bak­ing, hate cook­ing, fun­ny hey?
    must be a com­fort thing

    I enjoy read­ing your blog entries, I love your can­dor. Most blogs (includ­ing mine) are often filled with : I did this, then that, then we did this, here’s the pics.
    Your blog is an out­ward expres­sion of an inner diao­logue.
    I have an anony­mous blog that I use for that, but for the most part, my (pub­lic) blog keeps dis­tant fam­i­ly and friends abreast of what we’re up to and how the kids are grow­ing.
    Lately though, I find I’m not even writ­ing in my anony blog.
    Since read­ing Eckhart Tolle’s books, I’m find­ing I need that out­let, less and less.
    I high­ly rec­om­mend them to you.
    As one who grew up with all sorts of abuse (phys­i­cal, sex­u­al & emo­tion­al)
    his books help me put my past and present into per­spec­tive.
    He has helped me over­come the ‘dis­ease’ of com­pul­sive think­ing.
    “The Power of Now” is a good book to start with.

  3. OH
    sure­ly you’ve tried Rooibos tea? (trans­lat­ed: red bush …I speak dutch)
    a southafrican vari­ety that is caf­feine free and has MORE antiox­i­dants than green tea, and tastes WAY bet­ter AND with­out the caf­feine nat­u­ral­ly
    it’s been my favourite this past year!
    the flavour is so full it nev­er needs sug­ar or milk (nev­er liked sug­ar or milk in my tea)

  4. @Xibee — And there’d be no way you’d get him from me. :)

    @amy — I’ve also learned to say no to help­ing peo­ple with their com­put­ers. I think that some take advan­tage of it, like get­ting free legal advice, some­thing that stores charge $60+/hour for.

    It’s not that Pat does­n’t enjoy bak­ing, I think he just finds it dif­fi­cult. One time, at a par­ty at Aaron and Karen’s, he told us that he tried to make a pineap­ple upside-down cake for the par­ty, but it end­ed up so bad that he had to throw it out. It’s inter­est­ing that some­thing that comes eas­i­ly to one per­son is much more dif­fi­cult to oth­ers.

    You flat­ter me with your kind words about my writ­ing. To be hon­est, writ­ing does­n’t come nat­u­ral­ly to me. I find it’s often ama­teur­ish and con­trived. I don’t think I’ll ever be as wild­ly lyri­cal as Vladimir Nabokov (whom I admire most), but read­ing his words still inspires me to try.

    Your blog may sim­ply be about your every day goings-on, but it serves a pur­pose as you said: to keep your friends and fam­i­ly informed. There’s noth­ing wrong with that.

    I find my writ­ing has changed a great deal as well. Reading back on the entries I linked to in this post made me cringe. I used to do a great deal of blog­ging on my dai­ly life, but after a while I felt like I was­n’t real­ly say­ing any­thing.

    It’s inter­est­ing that you say Eckhart Tolle has pro­vid­ed you with an out­let. I don’t think I can ever lose blog­ging as an out­let. Even when I gain a cer­tain amount of seren­i­ty, wis­dom, or knowl­edge that helps me, I still need to express myself. The Power of Now is 3rd on my list of books to read.

    And I haven’t even heard of Rooibos tea, but it sounds curi­ous­ly deli­cious. I’m a per­son who would only drink tea with lots of cream and lots of sug­ar. Right now I’m strict­ly on Oriental tea because of caf­feine issues, but the Rooibos alter­na­tive sounds like a great idea. I’ll have to read more about it and try to find it in my city.

  5. Jeff, I’m hav­ing caf­feine issues too, which “ori­en­tal” teas did they choose for you? I miss my jas­mine and bo guk.…

  6. @Xibee — No one chose a spe­cif­ic tea for me, although I’ve received many as gifts. I have no prob­lem with any of the Oriental types.

    My accept­able lev­el of caf­feine stops at orange/black teas, but it’s dif­fer­ent for every per­son. There’s a handy chart on the lev­els of caf­feine in cer­tain types that you may want to check out.

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