Not here, not now.

 I totally don’t get it but I know it’s just me. 

We get home delivery of The Washington Post and because of that I get surveys, via email, to participate in. This morning I received a survey about adult activity books that the Post is thinking about providing, as a subscription, for a fee.  So – adult activity books to be completed online. 

The survey started off with a poll – one of those ‘how often do you…” and the list included sudoku/word searches, adult coloring, a few others I can’t remember plus crosswords. I wish now I had screenshot the survey – because the choices included online and in-print. I checked off never for online or in print, for every category except crosswords – which I NEVER do online, I always print them.  Maybe because I’m old and will always prefer paper and pen.

I don’t get Sudoku at all. What is the point to it? My husband says it’s a logic puzzle, well there you have it then. My trips down logic lane and anyone else’s trip are going to be wildly different. My trip will involve hops, skips, jumps and many, many off-road excursions. Plus it involves numbers which are no friends of mine unless they are occupying bookkeeping territory. I love columns that balance themselves out. I like 1+1=2. 

The coloring book thing – why? I do actually understand where folks might find it soothing. Me? I find it pointless and tedious. And then what do you do with it when it’s done? I don’t recall having coloring books when I was a kid, maybe in kindergarten? Giving a toddler a coloring book might help with their fine motor skills – stay inside the lines. Maybe I’ve just always been an ‘outside the lines’ person – even as a kid. Who knows.

I’m trying to think of some activity, either mental or physical, that I find soothing and I can’t think of one. That is a disturbing thought. Am I never calm? Am I never at peace? Am I never soothed? 

I do get lost in time – when I’m working on a poem or editing photos or researching some arcane topic or doing a genealogy search or just trying to solve a problem (like yesterday with my husband’s computer) but those are hardly times of calmness – my brain is going a mile a minute even while I may be totally divorced from the here and now. 

I can be laser focused but I can’t be calm and peaceful. It’s a little weird.

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Do I or don't I?

I am in a bit of a dilemma about holiday cards, or Christmas cards – howsoever you wish to call them. 

I create my own cards every years and then have them professionally printed by Vistaprint. 2020 has been the anno horribilis to end all anni horribilis and folks who do the Christmas thing are going to be curtailed in how they celebrate this year, tho I have no doubt they will if only to maintain some normalcy. Other friends have suffered losses of loved ones and they will be remembering happy times surely but do they wish to be reminded to be ‘happy’ and ‘merry’ when grieving. 

There is the possibility of sending New Year’s cards instead – depending on the outcome of the election – a particular result of said election would most definitely not bode well for a happy new year. 

Plus I’m just not feeling it. So how shall I acknowledge my friends and acquaintances this year? How to say – “Hello, thinking of you and wishing you well” Perhaps that’s it – a sort of holiday-ish Hello card – it’s a thought.  

What do you think?

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Please permit me to dump my anxieties

 I am feeling so overwhelmed that I just want to stop everything. Stop all the healthcare responsibilities – they have become overwhelming and scary. The visit to the pulmonologist didn’t allay any fears and what is on the horizon is frightening me even more. All this juggling and managing of so many doctors appointments.

Plus my husband’s health seems to be taking small turns for the worse. My cat definitely needs vet attention. I haven’t managed to find housekeeping help yet because that too is just too much to deal with. 

Everything is just too much to deal with. Mental and physical fatigue has rendered me immobile. I just can’t seem to find the energy to make a decision about anything.

I just want to sit and cry. I just want someone else to be responsible for something – anything. I don’t have the physical or mental or emotional strength to manage all this.

I just don’t.

(Comments are off. Thanks for listening)

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Peasant cooking

 I often rant on about how I hate to cook. That doesn’t mean I can’t or even that I’m bad at it. I just hate doing it. I didn’t always hate to cook it’s just something that has evolved over 60 years or so. I started ‘cooking’ when I was 5 or 6, shelling peas, making cookies from left over dough and progressing as I got older. By the time I was 12 or so I was doing entire meals for a family of 5. Not a big deal really. 

My parents still made the ‘big meals’ on the weekends and I was the helper. I learned to cook by watching and helping my parents. My mother was a peasant cook, my father was a much more elegant cook, like with that damn sauerbraten – meat must be marinated for at least a day, stored in a cool place and turned frequently – that was my job. Or when fettuccine alfredo was on the menu, mother would make fresh pasta and my father would make the sauce, just enough for one portion at a time, it was a little weird, only one person being served at a time but that’s the way my father said it should be done, and so it was.   

So the thing is – I have no hard and fast recipes. Ask me for a recipe and I’m lost. “I can show you, I can’t tell you” is my answer. Aside from baking, which is science, ingredients having to be in exact proportions, I do everything to taste. How much seasoning? How much do you like? Or what I happen to have in the fridge, throw it in a pan, every time is different. Nothing is complicated or sophisticated. Just peasant food. Poor people’s food. 

Which brings me to pickled squash.  Jean, of Cheerful Monk posted about squash, and I mentioned pickled squash in my comment. Now pickled squash is NOT pickled but it is so damn delicious that people ooh and aah over it. And then ask for the recipe. And then I’m stuck because there is no way I can TELL you how to make it. Folks think I’m being snobby or snotty or whatever – thinking I don’t want to share. I do. I’m fine with sharing recipes but when I try to tell them how to make pickled squash their eyes start to glaze over. 

How thick do you slice the squash? Well, you now maybe just this thick (thumb and forefinger just so wide apart). How long do you fry it? Well you know till it’s golden brown and soft enough but certainly not crispy. Squash can get crispy? Yeah, it can. You can burn anything. But what’s that about not draining all the frying oil off? Well, as you take the done pieces out of the pan you tap some of the oil off but leave some on the squash.  But how much do you leave? Eh, I don’t know, just enough. How much oil do you fry it in? More than saute but certainly not enough to deep fry. Of course we won’t even go into how much vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes etc to put in. There is just no way to say. I can SHOW you how to make pickled squash but I can’t TELL you.

Now I am totally craving pickled squash. Will I make some? Hell, no. It is tedious and time consuming. Slicing the squash, which by the way, it’s zucchini, is the least of it. Frying it is the killer, takes forever. Never mind the mess or the lingering odor. Smells great while it’s cooking, not so great after it’s done and the smell lingers. Lordy but I hate lingering cooking smells, except for baked goods. 

I can’t tell you how to make spaghetti sauce, or manicotti, or meatballs or even ravioli much less pickled squash but I can show you.  Anyone want to come over and make a mess in my kitchen?

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Idle thoughts

 ~ There are a lot of folks who would benefit from psychotherapy, I know I certainly did, unfortunately it was later in life when the benefits were not as great as they would have been if I had had therapy much sooner…Anyway. I’m thinking of a particular person here – who, when it was suggested they might benefit from ‘talking to somebody’ responded, quite angrily, “I’m not crazy”. No, not crazy but hurt, angry, depressed and just generally unhappy and making the same interpersonal mistakes over and over. 

Now I wonder if this person, or any person resistant to ‘talking to somebody’ would be more receptive if it was emphasized that in therapy THEY get to be the center of attention. THEY get to talk about themselves for those magical 45 minutes. That therapy IS all about THEM. And that their therapist is on THEIR side. 

Would framing it that way make someone more amenable to getting the help they need?

~ I love technology, truly I do. In the early days of personal computing I was an early adopter (as much as my budget would allow). Back in the late 1980’s I had an all-in-one word processor/printer. I believe it was made by Brother, and if memory serves me right, it saved work on a diskette. That was replaced by a combination typewriter/word processor made by either Sony or Panasonic which also used a diskette to save work. I didn’t get a real computer until 1991 and I didn’t get onto the internet until maybe 1994 or 95 (ah, dial up and pay by the minute.) 

My first introduction to computers was back in 1969 and it was IBM, all the way, all the time. I had my very own stand alone desktop computer at work in 1982 – also IBM – also marvelous. We didn’t have internet/wi-fi back in those days and my computer wasn’t linked into the mainframe but other “terminals’ in the office were. Yes, back in the day when you had a ‘toaster’ into which you inserted a floppy disk (and yes, they were truly floppy!) 

Where is this mini-history lesson going? My 6th generation iPad Air is wonky as all hell and making me crazy and I categorically refuse to buy another. I remember when the first iPad came out – 2010 – I pre-ordered it and I thought it was just the cat’s pajamas. I think I have had 4 iPads – the newest was a mini which was a replacement for the one I am using now since I gave the mini to my husband because the ereaders and tablets he was getting from Barnes&Noble were total crap. 

And where is this all going?

I can afford a new iPad but last July (July!) I pre-ordered a Re-Markable, which I won’t be getting until November (so they reassure me). Now the Re-Markable is a whole different animal. It will allow me to write, actually write, not type. It does a whole bunch of cool stuff and I am antsy to get it. The stuff in my head will be more easily converted to stuff on a page with it – I hope. With that on the horizon I am super reluctant to spend any more money replacing my techie toys. 

Going old school with new technology…it better be good! In the meantime, I’m ready to throw this old iPad through the window! 

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Moving right along

 Yesterday was a lovely day – a fun day actually, being remembered and cared about – Oh so super nice.  

Today I’m feeling less than wonderful, perhaps a reaction to the flu shot I got Thursday. My husband felt a little wobbly on Friday and Saturday, I may be reacting a bit later. We got the regular shot because every time we showed up the super dose for seniors was out of stock and then, don’t ya know, the supply came in the next day…We just can’t be going back and forth to the pharmacy day after day so – regular flu shot it was. 

I was going to post pics of the beautiful flowers I received but – most of you have seen them already. I know some folks think cut flowers are a waste but I love them. I don’t need any tchotkes or jewelry or clothes. While I love chocolate I shouldn’t be eating that either. House plants you say? Well I’ve nowhere to put them. I live in an apartment with very narrow window sills, butting up to the window sills are various cat perches so even if I were prone to buying a plant stand, no where to put it. I think our apartment is too chock-a-block with stuff now, adding more stuff? No. 

But the flowers delight me, truly. Tho I do wish folks would just send me a card…I know that sounds ungrateful but their money is better spent on their families and themselves. Me, just a card or a call – all I need.

And speaking of calls – this is so funny. I have a ‘friend’ who I met on-line, oh maybe 20 years ago? On a board called “Da Brooklyn Stoop”. Originally there was a “Queens Stoop” and when that closed down all the old timers who were left moved on to Da Brooklyn Stoop. For many and various reasons, mostly old age and some serious disagreements, Da Brooklyn Stoop is on it’s way out. I haven’t posted on that board in years BUT I stay in touch with one person via Facebook. Last week this lovely lady asked for my phone number. “Sure” I said.

Yesterday my phone rings and lo and behold – dear Joyce calls – and I think we talked for 2 hours! 2 hours~ Who tawks that much? I guess 2 old ladies from New Yawk City do. It was a most delightful surprise. 

If one must have surprises in one’s life then please let them be flowers and fun and frieneds.

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The problem with our now old, new

 eating schedule is that there are foods that take some hours to prepare. If you eat your main meal around Noon-ish anything that takes 4 or 5 hours to cook must be started, well, 4 or 5 hours before Noon – so that would be, what – 7 or 8am? Of course you have to factor in prep time so we’re talking more like 6am. Cooking at 6am? Me? NOT!

Except for this morning. 

(So multitasking this morning- it’s 6:50am and I just popped up to put some laundry on – community laundry room – want an early start).

I was vaguely awake around 5am, and since I knew I wanted to make beef stew today I got out of bed ’round 5:30am, had a bit of coffee and then set to browning meat and peeling potatoes. By 6am the slow cooker was bubbling away…with any luck at all lunch will be a bit late today, say 12:30 but – a nice beef stew ala Grace with biscuits for lunch, leftovers can be had for Sunday lunch and there you go.

Thing is – I’ve never been a morning person. I have no idea how I functioned in the 9 to 5 world for so many years. I’ve always felt that 5am was the perfect time to GO to bed, not get OUT of bed!

This morning, sitting sipping my first cuppa cawfee I glanced across the room, still bleary eyed and noticed this – 

I rather like the shadows. Also – this is crooked. And has been for some time. And I haven’t straightened it. How’s that for a change of attitude? Me, the obsessive straightener of all things crooked, shrugging and just letting it go…

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