Not sure why I keep this alive. I think I’ll treat it like my first attempt at journaling – random thoughts, nothing profound; at the time I was unhappy with my life and decided rather than seek professional therapy I’d speak to a counselor at the state employment office. Turned out he was a professional in his trade; we discussed job options, this and that and he told me to start writing down my thoughts and focusing on little stuff. Huh. Thought it might be wasted time but with no other tools of my own, I started at the beginning. The writing part was drivel, I’m sure but I began to try to pay attention to bits during my day that made me laugh or feel good. We had a newspaper delivered at my work (paving company in New York’s Southern Tier). Part of my job was to look in the classified for posted bids for paving in the small surrounding townships. The boss would submit a bid and most often it was accepted. Along with the classified ads (never any enticing job listings, I had moved from Kentucky and a well-paying bank job in the real estate dep’t of a major bank) but they had a good comics section. I started clipping the ones I enjoyed – Opus, Doonesbury, Calvin and Hobbes, those with an ironic twist or some sarcasm. The workdays and life moved along and then I found out I was 3 months pregnant.
Not to say that was the cure as these mental moments returned many more times as life happened. However the son was born and after a few rough months life became happy again with new adventures, fears and looking forward once again to the future.
Originally I thought I’d be the author of a witty, popular blog; my first post was a bitch-fest about my hatred of packaging. That was at least 20 years ago LOL. I’m not going to blame my age on the troubles I encounter daily attempting to open any fucking thing but between physical ailments (arthritis, carpal tunnel, curmudgeonliness) I rage daily at the manufacturers. I’m sure it’s my imagination but since the pandemic, seems like there’s been a huge bump in the strength of adhesives used to package our goods.
My favorites are food product shrink wrap and blister packs. Wait, how about any health products sold in a box, tight plastic wrap around the bottle neck, glued-on tab on the bottle top, cotton in the bottle.
I do have tools in my arsenal;
an oil filter wrench for jar opening:
stainless needle nose pliers to grab the miniscule tabs on every bottle or jar or the plastic film on dairy products:
and my favorite, the Open-it tool to chomp through blister packs, zip ties and the like:
I’m winning that war but it continues to piss me off.
Two decades later I thought I’d be a recipe blogger, inspired in the early days by A Year of Slow Cooking by Stephanie O’Dea, Smitten Kitchen, Deb Perlman and Homesick Texan, Lisa Fain. I also liked Tasty Kitchen, I think started by Ree Drummond. I have an amazing recipe file that lives in the Google cloud, I discussed it’s humble beginnings in a previous blog. I don’t want any paper in my life so I spent a year digitizing my life after a brush with cancer and a negative complication. At this writing my file has 4k plus recipes culled from all the best (IMHO) websites in my personal word document format. I edit heavily, don’t like the use of the word ‘your’ i.e. ‘your dough’, and remove any anecdotal comments by the author. I thought I could blither away about my day or an event and intersperse the account with the day’s recipes via link. What I didn’t know at the time was I would have to make the whole file public in order for someone to open said link, or give permission which would allow the reader access to my whole cloud account that also stores a lot of personal and financial information. Also, I don’t write in a witty or professional style and don’t take the time to learn all the pretty tricks and tools of penning a blog.
Creating this giant compilation of old recipes from snippets of paper, in cookbooks and online became a hobby. At the time I was once again in a negative mental space (mostly job related, family issues etc.) . One piece of self-help advice often suggests to find something you like – problem was, there wasn’t anything in the world that excited me (also, no meds helped, every one I tried caused a different bizarre side effect). My world was meh. The eureka moment came, however, when I realized every morning while drinking my coffee and reading email I was reading food blogs or recipe sites, copying and pasting them into my file, and dare I say enjoying the process. A decade later I’m still at it and I don’t seem to get bored.
I do have to note that I cook and bake all the time (mindless activity, sort of meditative sometimes) and feed my family every Sunday. Thing about that is the aforementioned cancer and subsequent radiation treatments left me with hammered taste buds. I have to rely on taste memory and smell. According to the fam, I do well. The Sunday meals tend to be vegetarian (for 3 of the kids); we don’t eat a lot of meat ourselves but creating a protein besides beans can be a challenge. I make my own seitan and tvp products since i have a million herbs and spices but it’s hard to emulate the texture of the commercial products. I need some of those chemicals they use.
I do sense flavors, some are intolerable (citrus) and texture is important – need chewy, crunchy stuff. luckily some my favorites (coffee, dark chocolate and beer lol) are still enjoyable but it’s a bummer to bite into a smash burger and taste not much of anything. That begs the question how did I put on 15 pounds since I retired and survived the pandemic?
I think this time around I’m going to try to use this as a personal platform to try to once again drop a few pounds. I’ve done Weight Watchers in the past, still have a gym membership and walk a couple of miles most days of the week but I’m obviously going in the wrong direction. Need to keep a food diary for starters.
I also stopped doing yoga while quarantining. Why? I’ve practiced for 50 years and the last few have enjoyed classes at Gilda’s Club. The instructors offered virtual classes and I know the routines well so what happened? We didn’t have the hardships of many folks, I still was able to keep up my shopping and walking routines, took small trips to Air B&Bs, visited with the family (outside, distanced, masked).
One time suck is Instagram and I’ve returned to reading. Sounds like procrastination to me (the thief of time, said Edward Young, 18th century poet.
This year I began loading the day’s recipe links and possible chores and errands into my Google calendar – kind of a to-do list for the anal. Or the retired and not liking it too much person.
I am so enjoying the changing of the season; I seem to mentally wake up when the weather cools, leaves begin turning, the yard finally begins to leave me alone but the house beckons with items needing to be mended, cleaned, tossed, etc. We sealed the driveway, sidewalk and patio this past week. That required edging the landscape, moving all the furniture from the surface and refreshing all the outdoor doo-dads beaten to death by the sun. I love my Halloween décor! It’s been up since the beginning of September.
Amazon driver has a sense of humor 🎃
Tonight’s fallish menu is spicy vegetarian chili, slaw, zucchini muffins and a tomato pie (tastes like apple!). I need an appetizer even though I made a snack mix with chile crisp. Maybe just hummus and veg. I have 9 crockpots.