Archive for July, 2006

“Sit Down a Spell. That Can Wait”

My husband and I were sitting on our porch the other evening, having a couple of beers with some friends after the kids had gone to bed.  From where we were sitting, we could see neighbors walking their dogs, people arguing in their backyard, kids playing in the street….  It seemed like the most interesting place to be at that moment. 

Later that night, my husband made a passing comment about how someone needs to write a book about porch sitting and it’s rich and varied history - especially in cities in the south.  Along the same lines, I found that there is (believe it or not) an actual “Professional Porch Sitters Union” in existence in Loiusville, Ky.

If there is one thing that I can, for sure, say I’m good at - it’s sitting on a porch watching people go by.  I don’t know that I qualify for the Professional Porch Sitters Union, but there might be a book idea in this somewhere……

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Is Something Missing In My Life?

When I see articles like this one, I feel like one of the most passion-less people around.  How come I don’t have something that I have latched onto as strongly as these people.  I don’t yearn to be a trekkie, but their absolute commitment to their cause is something I stand in awe of. 

New Voyages

On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Port Henry, N.Y., James Cawley works on what looks like a Hollywood set. His life-sized replica of the USS Enterprise bridge sits in what used to be a used car dealership on the outskirts of town.

“My day job as [an Elvis impersonator] has paid for ninety percent of this,” says Crawley.

Cawley and his crew of volunteers have gotten so good at making episodes — they’ve finished three so far — that they’ve started luring Trek icons to Port Henry.

Doesn’t it make you feel like you waste a lot of time?  Ok, maybe not.  But the point is that, as silly as it may seem to most of us to recreate a Star Trek episode, it still takes a lot of… something.. what that something is, I’m not sure.  But I admire anyone who works this hard for something they love. 

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Hmmm… Interesting

So my husband got hit up by a panhandler today in a grocery store parking lot.  He had a hardluck story about his pregnant wife being stuck in a car (which was not visible to my husband), in the horrible summer heat, out of gas and not able to get home (which was, according to this gentelman, forty or fifty miles away). 

It is entirely counter to my husband’s nature to give away our money, as we have none.  But, in a feeble attempt to possibly right our karmic scales (as demonstrated by recent events listed in previous blogs: dying pets, car accidents, ailing parents, etc.) my husband emptied the change from his pockets and happily gave it to his new friend, let’s call him “Louie”. 

The result: 

Louie - “That’s all you got?? Man, it ain’t like I’m just tryin’ to get around the corner!  You sure you ain’t holdin’ out???”

Husband - (to self) “How did he know I had three dollars in my wallet?”

Hmmm, interesting… What does it mean when a weak attempt to create karmic equity is openly ridiculed?  Is my husband enjoying this?  Is he sewing the seeds of karmic disruption by holding out on the panhandler with nice athletic shoes and knee high, green stiped tube socks with an invisible wife/out of gas car??  Only tomorrow will tell.

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I am going to have to put on my mean face for the next few days.  Once again, my theory that people don’t take you seriously unless you are a complete hard-nosed bi#!* is being proven correct.  I have been patient with our insurance agent for almost two weeks now - she just isn’t doing her job.  It seems that she could, at the very minimum, answer her phone - but even that seems like it is out of her ability.  It is beyond ridiculous to me.  The part that irks me is that I feel like she has taken the route of inefficiency because we came off as friendly and nice (apparently the indicator to use as a doormat). 

As much as I don’t like it, I am afraid that I am starting to become one of those people who is immediately brusk and quasi-ugly to anyone whom they do business with.  Insurance agents, credit card companies, car salesmen, utility companies - they all seem to think that if you are a genuinly nice person that that gives them license to shat on you left and right.  What is that??

So, time to put on my game face, I guess.  I just hope that I don’t have to put it on so often that it becomes me regular face.

Posted in Mental Health, Poison, Insurance | No Comments »

Sweet Peaches and Spicy Beans

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day learning how to can vegetables and fruit with a chef-friend of mine.  We started our day picking the freshest fruits and veggies we could find at the farmer’s market and then went to my house to begin the labor-intensive yet wonderfully fun task of canning.  We made some glorious peach and basil preserves and several cans of garlic/chili pepper pickled green beans (can’t wait to use them on a bloody mary!).

Canning is not something I ever thought I would want to learn - I had always just looked at home canned foods as a mysterious occurance that I would never be capable of.  Yet, yesterday, there I was water-bathing and sanitizing jars as if I had been doing it for years.  There is always something very gratifying about doing things by scratch.  It reminded me of my lifelong affection with bread baking.  It is theraputic and meditative and as close to something historically/genetically wired within us as you can get.  The feeling I get when creating food, whole food that has to be tended to and worked on to be edible, is very similar to the feeling I got nursing my children.  It feels right.  It feels like a very natural thing for me, as a woman, to do. 

And it is just plain fun for me.  There are very few things I enjoy as much as cooking. Canning is a very different variation on cooking, though.  It constantly makes you think of a different time.  It made me think of my grandmother, even though I am pretty certain she may have never canned in her life.  How different things used to be in our world.  How different we are now.  How we do things like can fruits and vegetables now, not for survival, but for a connection and a link to our past and our family that we might have never known.  It was one of the most symbolic cooking experiences I have ever had - even more-so than baking bread…  What occured to me was that our history as women is quite interlinked with our relationship with food and the history of food in itself.  That’s a whole ‘nother article though.  If you have never tried canning, I highly recommend it.

Posted in Cooking, Healthy Living | No Comments »

My Two “Only” Children

Both of my kids seem to think they are only children.  I can understand it from my six year old, who went for four years being, indeed, the only child.  I suppose my daughter is just mimicking his behavior and, thus, I have quite a conundrum on my hands.  Two kids who believe they get should get full attention and full rights to everything in the house is quickly becoming my worst nightmare. 

Then again, it could just be a symptom of summer wearing thin on us.  We are, officially, out of activities.  We are, officially, bored (read: annoyed) with each other.  We are, officially, wiped out.  The part that is distressing for me is that when my children are one on one with me or my husband - it is the best time in the world.  But add a sibling to the equation and it is utter chaos.  We cannot all be in the same room together without someone breaking into hysterics.  I have tried patience and redirection but, what I am realizing it breaks down to is the simple fact alone that my kids don’t like sharing the limelight - even if equally distributed.  I hate that I am wishing away the rest of the summer but, the reality is, I really (really) am.

So, at the advice of my mother, I have planned out this week and, until the end of the summer will spend each Sunday night scheduling our days as if I were a summer camp director.  I have noticed that the worst days are the ones that don’t involve a lot of direction from me or my husband - those days when we just want to “get stuff done around the house” (i.e. lay around and read a good book).  So, I have planned two outings for this week, one strategically placed in the middle of the week to get us over the hump.  Then, throughout the week and in between the big outings I have scheduled playdates and picnics and trips to the YMCA for swimming.  Staying active is the key, my mom says.  If it doesn’t work out the frenzy the kids are in, it will - at the very least - distract me from the nervous breakdown I am about to have.  So, this is what they call ”being on the verge”, eh? 

Posted in Activities, Daily Living | No Comments »

You Say “Potato”, I Say “Damn It, Stop Being So Difficult”…

There are times in a marriage when you wonder how two people who are usually beaming with love and admiration for one another can be living in the same house with each other.  Occasionally it is unclear who is being the fussy one, perhaps it’s both of you, but the fact remains:  sometimes you just want to “accidentally” elbow your significant other in the face - or is it just me?

What is occuring to me is that it is never the big stuff that we get worked up about.  Perhaps that is the sign of a good marriage, which I know I have.  My marriage is impressive - even to me.  My husband and I manage to balance the important things and work through the tough things pretty remarkably well.  So, I guess it is perplexing to me when we have those days when something as small as a schedule change becomes reason for us to stay in seperate rooms and brood for most of the morning.  If we can stay strong through poverty and sick children and car accidents and career changes and dying pets you would think we wouldn’t be irked by the little stuff, no? 

It’s a funny thing.  People get married and they grow and they are forced to face who they are and who they aren’t in the presence of this one person for their entire life.  Basically, by getting married, we are challenging ourselves to be open to someone else owning a huge stake in our emotional landscape and in our future potential as a human being.  We are opening ourselves up for frustration and amazement.  We are saying “even though I can live a spontaneous life, I will respect the fact that you like to plan everything a thousand days ahead of time”.  And sometimes it’s irritating and sometimes it makes you roll your eyes so far back into your head that you are certain you can see your partner sitting behind you doing the same thing.  But, in truth, those days are few and far between.  Those days make you thankful for the other days - the days when you can’t take your eyes off of your husband as he gives your daughter a bath; those days when you come home from work to bottles of wine and etta james playing on the stereo; those days when you seem to laugh from morning to night.  It’s true that those days are the best and the most frequent but, on days like today, I can’t help thinking of a quote I once heard.  I think it was Rita Rudner.. It went something like this:  I love being married.  It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. 

Aaaaaand, sometimes, that about sums it up.

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Something Fishy

So, after thirteen years as a devout vegetarian, I have decided to incorporate fish into my diet.  The steps of this vegetarian journey have been interesting for me to be a part of:  the young, idealistic, revolutionary-minded fifteen year old that started it all, the turn to becoming an introspective college kid who was more interested in saving herself than the world, the woman with kids who wanted to make sure her children weren’t suckered into our horrifically un-nutritious culture and, now, an almost-thirty year old wanting to insure my own longevity and health for many, many years to come. 

I don’t disagree that a person can live an ultimately healthy and long life as a pure vegetarian.  I’ve seen it in many over-fifty friends of mine.  Something changed in me, though, about two years ago.  I am not certain what it was, but, somewhere along the lines I started having an insatiable urge to eat fish.  It struck me as odd because I have never eaten fish in my life - with the occassional popcorn shrimp or fishstick my mom would fry up when I was a child.  I wasn’t craving something that I missed - I was craving something that I have never had before.  I started to think that maybe my body was trying to tell me something - maybe my body wasn’t so interested in the taste of fish as much as it was interested in what the fish could offer in nutrients.

Here’s what I have found:

Fish are nutritious and good to eat. When properly prepared, fish provide numerous health benefits, especially for the heart. The American Heart Association recommends eating two to three fish meals each week. The benefits of eating fish include:

*Fish offer high-quality protein with fewer calories than a similar-sized portion of meat. For example, both catfish and ground beef are about 18% protein. But, for an 8-ounce meal, the catfish will have only about 232 calories, while the regular ground beef will have about 640 calories.
*Fish are low in sodium and are good sources of potassium, vitamins, and other minerals.
*Fish are generally low in cholesterol and saturated fats, which have been associated with high blood pressure and heart disease.
*While the benefits of fish on nutrition are still being studied, much of the current research is focused on various kinds of beneficial fats in fish, particularly a kind called omega-3 fatty acids which are in some fish and fish oils. Some studies have indicated that these fatty acids have favorable effects on health conditions such as hardening of the arteries, high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Granted, you can get all of these nutrients elsewhere if you work really hard to incorporate them into your diet.  I used to use a lot of flax seed in my cooking but, since having children I don’t cook as many things from scratch as I used to.  I dunno.  Also, I guess I am just tired of feeling guilt - which I hate to admit is a large part of my deal.  I can’t stand the thought of anything dying because of me.  I want to find balance in my life that can reconcile the fact that,indeed, I may want/need some other proteins and nutrients that I am not getting due to my lack of diligence with my diet with my need for a clear conscious.  I want to find some maturity to my ideals and find that balance.  I want to explore the next step of my progression as a human being. 

Posted in Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition for Adults | No Comments »

Understanding What “Together” Really Means

So the bus ride yesterday was somewhat uneventful - fun, but uneventful.  I was hoping for more characters and more harmless incidents - you know, the kind that make the day more interesting… But what I did notice was that taking our normal library trip - which usually consists of getting in the car, fighting traffic to get into the garage, finding parking and all sorts of other business - was much more enjoyable and much more of an event than before.  We got to talk and walk several blocks from the station to the library itself.  We enjoyed scenery that we often miss because we are too busy and stressed out to notice.  We had an actual outing.  It wasn’t work.  It wasn’t riddled with stress and rush. It was just us - enjoying being driven around town, enjoying each other’s company, enjoying the ride. 

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Get On The Bus

So, a wrecked car is a perfect reason to go exploring your city on public transit.  I used to use the Marta in Atlanta when I lived there - it was a great way to get around.  Nashville doesn’t have the best bus system, but it should be fun.

Check back later today for tales from our carless journey today - it is bound to be interesting!

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