disease of our time

prickly pear sorbet

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prickly balloon

i first had prickly pear sorbet around 1997 in southern california when i worked at a southwestern restaurant for the salsbury family. it was so deeply sweet and had a magnificent mad magenta color. it completely vexed me. i have it now and again to this day. it remains a treat and a special occasion when i do.

i love the dichotomy of the prickly pear- hurtful and hideous on the outside yet tropical and vibrant like a gaugin. as i have distilled this concept over the years, i have come to understand that it is the hidden beauty in each of us that holds the real allure. so often i see others (or they see me) as the thorny beast that hides the sweetness within.

here is a recipe. try it out for yourself..

This sorbet is a revelation. The taste is floral, reminiscent of watermelon, but really it’s a flavour all of its own. It’s like sunshine, both the colour and the taste are so bright. It’s an unusual fruit, but once you’ve tasted the sorbet you’ll wonder why it’s taken you so long to discover it.

Prickly pear sorbet

5 large prickly pear fruits, scrubbed (see instructions above) and cut into quarters
¾ cup of water
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup raw caster sugar

Prickly pear
It all starts with prickly pears. Photograph: Lauren Bamford

Blitz the quartered prickly pears in a food processor, until a pulpy liquid. Strain through a sieve, removing the tiny seeds. What you should then have is a thick, fleshy, prickly pear juice.

In a small saucepan bring the water and lime juice to boil. Add half a cup of raw caster sugar. Turn the heat down and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

Add cooled sugar syrup to the juice, and if you have an ice cream maker, churn. If you do not have an ice cream maker, freeze mixture in a steel tray.

When frozen, remove, chop roughly and blitz in a food processor. Freeze again, and repeat this process two more times. The sorbet should then be a lovely smooth consistency.

the disease of our time

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i googled the phrase “the disease of our time” after having heard dr. drew refer to narcotics addiction as such.  click here for the result.
disease of our time

this concept has definitely activated my imagination. firstly, on a personal note, i would think of AIDS as being of our time. but upon further inspection, cancer would easily fit this bill. ignorance, denial, technology, pollution, science, as well as many others make great arguments in their own way. but for me, apathy seems to be the winner. i think addiction and AIDS are the personal diseases, but apathy is what leads us to the road where this question lies….your thoughts ?????

on an alternate disease note, here is a quote from a conversation with alan downs ph.d. who wrote the book i love “the velvet rage”

“We’re all wired to seek emotional validation. For those who’ve experienced shame-based trauma (and I believe this applies to many of us, not just gay men), the emotional invalidation can lead us to develop unhealthy methods for obtaining the validation we crave.

At the core, it’s the pain of not knowing who you are; I call it “the diminished self.” It’s about not knowing what your passion is in life, not knowing what brings you joy, ultimately not knowing the real you. If you’re living life only to please the people around you, that pain ultimately makes life painfully unlivable. You have to retreat into an addiction to compensate for the pain.

Though substance abuse is a major problem among survivors of shame-based trauma, many other behaviors aimed at alleviating the pain of shame can also become addictions. In clinical terms we call them process addictions. These are destructive behavior patterns linked to sex, gambling, shopping or pornography that people use to experience relief from their suffering. In my book, I talk about how gay men acutely struggle with these issues, but this is not unique to gay men—shame-based trauma impacts every part of our culture and its effects are far-reaching.”

i have spent the new year struggling with being average, imperfect, and even over-reactive- especially at work. sometimes i find validation in questioning the status quo and playing devil’s advocate. not always desirable traits when working in a larger entity.

i continue to find that empathy and caring are needed tools in my trade. and i am repeatedly reminded that i have much to learn when working with others. the pain and the distortion that encase people are complicated and separate from my personal experience. often, counseling is walking blindfolded and i am still learning to use all my senses as i move forward.

someone i had never met before told me they had heard of me- not just from the person who introduced us. he then said – “you’re a rock star”…. i am embarrassed to admit that i am amused at this… partially because i work with a computer program named ROCC. additionally, though, i know that my ego is delighted that someone talks about me- and maybe not in a negative way as i always imagine.

someone confided to me today that they were sexually abused at 3 and removed from the custody of their parents. they lived as a ward of the state for almost 10 years. i am still wrecked from the sheer terror of this tale- let alone surviving it.

in rereading this post, perhaps ADD is my disease of our time…

kiss kiss.

the first time i heard this song was at a house party in 1975 …. my first gay house party… platform shoes…. shoulder length hair… i think low-rise hip-huggers, too.