May 2011

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Sometimes, as you’ve likely read, I believe that I don’t have enough, that I am not enough.  Time, love, money, friends, clothes, flowers, patience: insert a noun here and wonder how to multiply it.  Thankfully, most times, I realize that I have plenty, more than enough even.  An abundance to share, put out at the curb with a “free” sign, and send out to the rest of the world.  I am rich, if only in my own mind.  That’ all that matters.  This weekend is a perfect example of that.  Three perfect days, almost endless, with fun, food, friendship, laughter, and hard work.

To start, we rose early on Saturday for a splendid outing, caravaning to Hood River for glorious vistas, one cool car (a Ford Cobra), books (I bought two: Dashiell Hammett and Aravind Adiga – hoping they are good), sunshine (I wore sunglasses and actually felt hot for a moment!), the best company (Lori, Bert, and Beanie), and, of course, super yummy food (thanks to Lori’s family – Apple Valley BBQ – plus honey and jam for home).  As if this weren’t enough, we made a stop to wash our dirty car before heading across town to Old Town Pizza.  We sat in chairs worthy of napping, sipped beer, an Arnold Palmer, and ate a rather fine pizza pie (most of it, anyway).

Sunday we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.  Huzzah!  (The photo is actually from a couple weekends ago.)  A blur of not much, we ate leftover pizza for breakfast.  We went for a walk.  I baked bread (as a delivery vehicle for the honey and jam purchased Saturday) and hot dog buns and must admit they look rather, ahem, phallic before putting in the oven.  They were yummy, despite the imagery, though not as soft as Franz.  We watched a movie (Jack Goes Boating – very good) and ate a bowl of popcorn.

Yesterday called for a fancy looking breakfast, which I made (recipe below).  It was also dry enough to mow the very long lawn, so the hubster was in charge of that.  I dead-headed the iris, pruned the glory bower, weeded (we have some very healthy clover), moved a few plants in the garden, and planted two agastache (hyssop) for the pollinators.  This was followed by a long bath to clean my farmer feet and hands, another hot dog, the finishing of a book (That Old Cape Magic – just okay), the baking of a batch of cherry walnut brownies, and an early bed time.  Plenty, all of it good.

Saucy Breakfast Sandwich

equal amounts butter and white flour (rice or wheat)

milk (I used rice)

grated cheese (I used a jalapeno gouda.  Any soft cheese that you like will do.)

salt

pepper

cayenne pepper

Sliced bread (I made a variation of this bread {1/2 whole wheat flour, rice milk, no herbs or raisins}, use an English muffin if you like), lightly toasted

egg, prepared any style to go on top (I made ours my favorite way)

bacon, sausage,  sautéed mushrooms (or see ideas below)

This can be adapted  to serve as many people as you like and the reason I’m not specific with the ingredients.  Since there were only two of us, I used 1 tablespoon each butter and flour.  Melt the butter over medium heat, whisk in the flour.  Allow this mixture to cook for a minute before slowly whisking in the milk.  I used about 2/3 – 1 cup.  It thickened, but was still a little runny.  Sprinkle in the grated cheese (I used about 1/3 cup), and stir until it is smooth.  Taste it, and add as much salt, pepper, and cayenne as it needs.  Cover and keep warm (very low heat, if any) while you cook your eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, whatever you like.  Place a slice of toasted bread on a plate, pile on the goodness, and pour the sauce over the top.  The sauce was enough for three sandwiches, with very generous portions.  Look at that pool!

Some ideas:

Mexican:  jalapeno jack, sliced avocado, roasted peppers (jalapeño, bell, poblano),  pinto or black beans.

Italian: fontina, tomato, fresh oregano, red pepper flakes

Spanish: Petit Basque, roasted tomato and red pepper, smoked paprika instead of cayenne, a splash of sherry in the sauce

French: gruyere, finely chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, tarragon, a splash of white wine in the sauce

Enjoy!

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Knowing

To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul.

Linda Solegato

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I fell down the stairs a few years ago.  It really hurt, and I got a nasty bruise on my back, but I didn’t really think about it much.  I do that, move right along once the initial pain subsides.  I’ve got things to do, places to go, people to see!  The trouble is, my back never really healed properly, even though it felt okay.  It got itself in a bit of a jumble that’s caused other problems, more irritating and insidious.  I’ve tried visiting a chiropractor and acupuncturist to get rid of it, but nothing seemed to work.  I’ve recently been working with a massage therapist, and she said, rather casually, that problems like these, ones that should heal but don’t are often the result of not being able to let go of something painful.  This idea gave me pause.  Is it true?  Is there something I’ve been unwilling to loosen from my grasp?

I talked to my former student, now friend, Daniel last night.  He’s coming for a short visit and wanted to be sure we saw each other, which we will.  It’s nice to be thought of like that, wanted.  I like it.  Anyway, during our conversation, we talked about life and what we’re doing, and whether the work we do means anything or is going anywhere, despite the hours, days, weeks, and months we’ve been at it.  In particular, I was thinking about my blog and the fact that my last post was the 500th (Zowie!).  I’ve come to this space five hundred times, put myself out there as honestly and earnestly as I can, yet what is it doing, really?  Where is it going?  What is it about? What kind of blog is it?  Honestly, I have no idea.  I only do what feels right at the time.

I was at the library the other day, in a section I don’t normally browse, and found a sweet little book called Start Where You Are, by Pema Chodron.  It’s about meditation and how to practice and cope with whatever life brings, mostly by letting go.  I brought it home (along with a giant stack from the sections I do normally browse – libraries are awesome), and I’ve really been enjoying it.  She writes in a very accessible style, with many personal anecdotes.  I find myself laughing a lot and agreeing with her words, especially these: Give away what you don’t want.  Give away what you most want.  Nothing is concrete. There are no definitive answers.  There’s only this moment and this breath.

Then, yesterday, I popped in a bonus Shiva Rea DVD, again, like the book, something I wouldn’t normally browse, and watched an interview with Shiva about the practice of yoga.  At the beginning she said, “With yoga, you start where you are.”  Well, the light bulbs went off friends.  I thought about how true it is, especially in reference to Pema Chodron’s book.  Nothing is concrete.  Each moment is new.  With each yoga practice, I start where I am.  Sometimes, I am strong and steady, moving with grace and ease through the postures.  Other times, like yesterday, I fall on my ass doing what is normally pretty simple.

Then I got to the big picture thoughts that have been weighing heavily on my mind.  I’ve written five hundred blog posts and am nearly forty years old.  This is a big deal, isn’t it?  Something significant, concrete, should be happening, right?  Fireworks?   I should know what I’m doing, where I’m going, what I’m going to be.  I should be making money.  It’s about time.

Then, finally, it’s back to my massage therapist’s words and the book.  Letting go.  Everything is a passing memory.  I’ve had these ideas and expectations my whole life.  I’ve been holding on to the notion that I should know what I’m doing, be successful, that my back shouldn’t hurt, that I should like everyone.  It’s all very concrete and solid, like the knots in my back.  But what if I looked at life differently?  What if I allowed a space for softness, for not knowing, not grasping.  What if I let go of all the stories?  What if I start where I am right now, again and again, no destination, no need to be anything different than what I am.  What will happen then?

I guess I will see.

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500

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

E. E. Cummings

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