Monday, April 19, 2021

But I Digress, At Least I Tried My Best, I Guess

Soy Chorizo Lettuce Breakfast Tacos
Soy Chorizo and scrambled eggs with the smallest chunks of potato wrapped in a lettuce taco is a clean, immensely satisfying breakfast.  I'm using my stainless steel taco holders that can also be put in the oven to form baked tortilla shells!  I've needed this in my life forever but within 2 minutes of a Google search was able to bring joy into my life for just $9.99!  
The small things I have lived with with forEVER that I could change or improve with the tiniest bit of effort, but don't, are mind boggling!  I'm picking one each week and challenging myself to stop the madness.  This will include small things like, purchasing that one stupid item I need from Amazon but never take the time to order.  For example, a bike bell, popcorn salt, sandwich bags, Smoked Paprika.  Of all the weird things that the COVID-19 virus did to my brain, one positive improvement was to put logic back into alignment, making small tasks feasible where before they seemed impossible.  I could never wrap my mind around solutions to the smallest of issues.  Even ongoing chores would overwhelm me, like something as simple as watering the plants. Now it happens without stress.  

COVID affects your brain.  I go to type a word now and oftentimes the letters will be severely jumbled.  Or I will type an entirely different word than intended.  That's happened since I returned to work.  I can fix it straight away but there is no denying it's a thing.  There are other new challenges post virus, but perhaps there are some bonuses in the package. 

Because I use them daily, I have to handwash my masks each week and that used to make me angry.  Now it's a calming practice that I don't dread.  Making the bed, making coffee for the next morning, painting my fingernails, washing my hair.  There are dozens of things we do on repeat, for years and they've always been tiresome and I resented doing them.  Suddenly, and this may be due to the 'living in the moment' work too, but the stress and confusion around them in my mind dissipated.  All that's left is the thought that something simple needs to be done, period.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Leave Your Cares Behind

On this day we celebrated celebrating.  To celebrate: to acknowledge a happy occasion with an enjoyable activity.  The occasion was that no one was dying or sick, that we knew of.  That our energy is coming back.  That weather was significantly more pleasant.  Most importantly, that we were capable of being in a happy state as opposed to feeling ill, dog tired or worse, indifferent.  The activity was ordering Korean Spicy Chicken take out for dinner and enjoying every bite.  
Crispy wontons, loaded tater tots, mac and cheese and the bestest, crispiest, sweet, spicy, hot chicken pieces ever to befall our taste buds. 

For Breakfast, bacon, hash browns and mushroom egg scramble.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Why Did You Hide Away for So Long?

Youvarlakia - Greek Meatball Soup. I'd say a very Girlie Soup!

I put my mind light out slowly at night by YouTubing down recipe channel lanes and lost dog loving sites or young blonde surfers catching beefy waves in 10 minute segments.  There, that mysterious land where anything is possible I found a Greek chef who made this fabulous soup that screams Spring, light fresh flavors.  Officially called Youvarlakia, it's a Meatball soup with rice, yogurt, dill, mint, and lots of lemon.  It's very basic and clean. The wow factor comes in with the yogurt as well as not just tiny fresh lemon zest bits but full peels, that give an incredible shine to this soup.  Along with the dill it's basically sunshine in a bowl.  I never knew to use wide peels like this, which is crazy because they're edible and delicious, with no bitter taste!  I love lemons and consume more than anyone I know, so I had a moment.  Just use your vegetable peeler to pull off the entire top layer in 1/2 inch pieces. 

#tip:  They actually save well, so if you drink tons of lemon water, peel them first before squeezing and save in fridge for a tea or to add in soups.  

I made a cheese and green onion quesadilla to dip

Another incredible use of leftover rice was in these meatballs.  He used uncooked but I already had some made so in it went.  After 40 minutes of cooking the brown rice stayed in tact and didn't mush up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Something Tried to Lay Her to Waste

P went on a road trip for a week and somehow my bad planning allowed me only one day off from work.  I tried to squeeze all of my alone time luxuries into one 24 hour period.  I had this indulgent Spaghetti Supreme with pepperoni, green olives, mozzarella, fresh oregano and basil.  I made sure to have a clean apartment with mopped floors to start, and fresh candles so at night I would light them all for a warm glow.  I took a long shower before watching a gooey romance movie with Diane Lane and Richard Gere, two crushes in one.  During the day I played music that made me feel happy and snacked on fruit and yogurt.  With all of this solo foreplay, I still could not reach that gratification of the ego.  

The will was there but instead there existed this now familiar dim outlook vibe lingering in the atmosphere that I haven't been able to properly pinpoint until a recent New York Times article came out and named the damned thing. 

According to the article, it turns out many folks in the world apparently, like me, have been languishing.  We're not outright depressed but we have lost some sense of purpose. We've become dispirited.  Not everyone, some have come out unscathed from all of this disruption to our lives.  But I do agree with the Times, that the folks that have noticed change in the makeup of the air, have reached a chronic stage.   A long term recurring hoodoo like this could take it's toll.  Who would have thunk that some in-between dullness would try to drag us down and wear us out to the point of giving in.  

But just perhaps, this is all natures brilliant ploy to snap us into a better place.  Not to give up but to transform!  That this Pandemic caused so much severance from normalcy that it made a space for true change.  We don't need to 'get back to normal' when you consider the road we were headed down.  Something much better is out there, much needed and possibly attainable with a mass effort.  If enough people are allowing realness in, than I believe transformation can happen.  Could this be enough to move us into a higher state of consciousness? 

The good news is that more people are experiencing the present.  In the article they call it 'flow', where you focus on accomplishing one task, not allowing your mind to take over like a ruling toddler's chaos.  I call it living in the moment.  Eckhart Tolle calls it being in the Now.  But as he says, it's all just pointers because no one can properly describe this in words.  But, it is the cure, if people are truly looking for relief from the sluggishness, from their suffering.   Tripping the wires of your mind is the only way to halt the negativity that it's sickness brings forth.  A constant return to the safety of now ensures your continuance in the calm acceptance.  

I sat at my window this morning before most people woke seeing not much of anything, then after a few moments, I noticed a pigeon traveling back and forth from the top of my building to a fence across the street.  He must have been building a nest and made the journey every minute.  There was something so fascinating about watching that bird.  Quietly observing nature is one door to that place for lack of a better description, where there are no thoughts, but is connected to everything.  That place where if decisions were made there, we would have less corruption and power struggles, less fear, and rotten reasoning.  Less separation of gender and race.
We all have weak actions and life is not easy.  Sometimes all logic goes out the window and we act out because we're imperfect, so imperfect.  But that is the beauty of now, each moment is able, therefore is a new beginning and any negativity that exists in the moment we are in becomes just something to accept or deal with instead of diagnosing as.   Of course I don't claim to understand any of this, all I know is that it's changed my life.  I'm all for acknowledging truth and not one to wear rose colored glasses, but there is no gain in identifying with negative reflection.   The serenity prayer from AA is another useful pointer that I've used more this year.  Serenity being another entrance point.  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

So in answer to this New York Times article, I am thrilled pieces like this exist right now, they are helpful beyond belief to folks like me.  I agree naming conditions are effective in treating.  And because Adam Grant is a clinical psychologist and I am just a girl that's been depressed most of her life and who's been the guinea pig, taking many, many types of what I now think of as soul-crushing, antidepressants, I will yield to his expert advise.  My humble yet very heartfelt layman's opinion is, hear this word, allow it to resonate or fall flat but then step outside of it.  Don't describe yourself as it.  Watch it, analyze it but never let anyone tell you this is what you are. Because that is one area I do not believe science and medicine have correct yet in treatment or dialog.  Just the tweak of saying you have depression or you are depressed, to you are someone who experiences depressing thoughts could be a game changer. 
Just like in the Wizard of Oz, the reason Glinda the Good Witch could be so darn chill is because she knew the Wicked Witch of the West had no power over her when she was present, in the merry old land of Oz.  

Friday, April 9, 2021

Patches, I'm Depending on You Son

Before P left for his roadtrip, he asked me to sew patches on his Pendleton shirt.  He brought the suede pieces to me and I looked down at what seemed to be hundreds of holes.  He loves this shirt but had put a hole through the elbow.  He needed me to do what seemed a daunting task! I figured I could blow it off until right before he returned.   Instead, I ate a quick leftover chickpea salad and crackers and got straight to it.  I put on some music, dusted off my ancient sewing box and was surprised at how settling and tranquil this undertaking felt.  We do so little with our hands anymore, so this was fun and it brought me back.   

When I was a teen, every pair of jeans would need to be hemmed as they didn't make short back then, only longs.  So automatically they'd need taken up at least 6 inches.  We'd put on our platform shoes and use that length as a guide, so if you wore tennis shoes (we used to call them), the wide flares would drag on the ground creating that shaggy fringe.  I would also sew patches on said jeans and jackets to patch actual holes and just to decorate.  This was way before bedazzling existed of course. If you had a date or an impromptu party was announced (which consisted of someone buying a keg of beer while parents were gone), that required dressing up in the 1970's Midwest.  So a trip to the local hippie shop for the blouse and and a quick run through the mall for the jeans was in order.  The sew-job would be very haphazard and sloppy.   You could see light thread every inch or so and if you didn't have time to iron, the bottom would be janky.  But that's how it was done back then.  

This was 1980, where the official jean of any decent house party became the LEVI's 501 Original fit. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

I'd Have You Anytime

This was a mashup of Spaghetti Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe.  I used the rendered bacon fat, tons of freshly cracked black pepper, egg and Parmesan cheese. In the pasta water I added a bunch of whole garlic cloves.  Roasted bacon wrapped asparagus spears went on top.  The pasta water had a ton of great garlic flavor and red pepper flakes gave the extra dimensional kick.  Creamy squirmy goodness!
Pasta has been both a bestie and foe in my life, and probably for many women. It has it's similarities and benefits to that of sweets, which many can't resist either.   There must be something in women's brains that crave this simple, instant assurance, a food hug if you will.   The way well dressed noodles feel and taste sliding down your throat, all velvety and warm, you right away feel them filling you up.  It's a sensation like no other!  Well, maybe one other.  Some of us pay on the backend so normally, I would throw it out entirely but the truth is, at times I would pay any price for this indescribable comfort that I so desperately need.  I was back to work, I was feeling love impoverished, I needed a giant bowl of pasta to help me cope, to give me hope. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

You Know You Shook Me Baby

I guess it's as good a time as any to declare Sheet Pan-demic Dinner month! Actually, March would be better because turning on the oven doubles as a heater.  I advanced to pre-seasoning in a large bowl in order to properly coat each party member in all the spices, oil, herbs and acid.  Get your hands in there and really mix it in, shake it up and down.   But you can certainly do this on the sheet pan to save clean up, it's just easier and more thorough.  This time I prepared buddies for a festive brown rice bowl, with chicken, red bell pepper, mushroom and my beloved Chickpeas.  This is also an excellent idea for a packed lunch meal.  You know if you were smart enough to buy a microwaveable bowl ahead of time instead of taking it in a glass jar that everyone who owns an appliance knows will blow up in said machine.  But no one told this girl who is a stranger to the world of the microwave.  

Thursday, April 1, 2021

I'll Be Here in the Morning, I'll be Here For Awhile

Um, yeah! Sheet Pan-demic breakfast!  Cabbage, potato, red pepper, onion and chicken sausage were tossed in a bowl with balsamic vinegar and oil, salt and pepper, laid on a sheet pan and baked.  A fried egg on top seals the deal! Simple and better than expected.  The side bonus of a full sheet pan of roasted vegetables is it makes a nice little lunch box meal for the next day as well, or a second breakfast the next day, just add an egg.