Tuesday, February 23, 2021

In the grey of a February day.....

 I may have hit my seasonal nadir. Hmmmm Feb. 23, 2021, a day after thinking day. Twenty years and a day, after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. How does one measure time? Certainly the highs and lows of the human experience come to mind. Do you..

1. Measure time, as a distance from birth - obviously your own, your siblings? your children? your parents, a favourite author, celebrity, friend?

2. Measure time, as relative to significant events - world wars, moon landings, pandemics, inventions and interventions.

3. Measure time, as data projections - the average life span for a woman is 82 years. My mother died at 83. My father died at 104 - defying all odds, but that in itself defined him.

4. Measure time as the objectives you have set for yourself and accomplished, or nor, as the case may be. I have set many goals for myself - travel, family, vocation, self-employment, creative pursuits. I'm probably 85%  realized in this measure. Does one every reach 100%? It may be a reason to keep moving forward.

5. Measure time as your contribution to the human condition. How many lives have you saved, enriched, fostered?

6. Measure time as your contribution to nature. How many endangered species have you preserved; how much have you reduced, recycled, reused, repurposed......this in itself is a life's work.

7. Measure time as the constant change of the seasons, the neighbourhood, the government....this is something that is on-going - change is the only constant. How do we become a meaningful part of the "constant?"

8. Measure time as diary or log entries. Do you record what is meaningful or not in the day-to day rhythms of life?

9. Measure your life in daily challenges. I try to do as many as I can...or remember to do. However, over the past week or so, I have undertaken the painting of my daughter's room. She has flown the coop and I have been left with the "poop" - so to speak. To save some money and to rise to a challenge, I have patched, sanded, primed and am about to paint ceilings, walls and woodwork of an average sized bedroom. This is a therapy I would never have imagined I needed. Say naught that the challenge not availeth!!

In the grey of a February day, there is something about the white of a primer that clears the mind, covers the scars and leads the way to a new and peaceful place to be.

Oh and did I mention, I have new windows.....there is something about windows that lets in, not only the light, but the life on even the greyest of February days!!

Monday, February 01, 2021

Up for the Challenge?

 I spend a good deal of time reading articles on self improvement. I'm sure I read them years ago, as well. Then it would have been to get a better job, perhaps, or to dress a little trendier, look a little smarter, keep a cleaner house, raise healthier children....the list goes on.

Now, I read posts to just keep me going, recharge what faculties I have left and maybe make a few more, if I try a lot harder. This is how I came to read a post that summarized a book on productive ageing. Mercifully the post condensed a lot of scientific data into 5 basic principles. You will add years and richness to your life, if you:

Friends from elementary school.

1. Keep up meaningful friendships. I'm a little weak in this area, but I will try to push myself even more to keep a close circle of friends.

2. Exercise. I walk and bike often. But I know I could do both, more often.

3. Sleep. Yes, having a good night's sleep is critical to repairing those bits of the body that may need some mending. I'm pretty close to having a routine to get back to sleep, if I wake up. I rarely have trouble getting to sleep.

Biking over the Golden Gate Bridge

4. Eat more berries. What could be simpler. Buy a box of blueberries and eat a bowl a day. I add them to muffins and pancakes, but I think I should get back to the steel cut oatmeal in the morning covered with berries.

5. Do something everyday that challenges you. I could do more of this and I am working on it. My writing partner and I will get back to giving each other word challenges for blog writing and I am working on some longer writing. I have decided to learn to play the piano properly - if there is an improper way to do anything, believe me, I will find it. 

Says it all !!

I have also been working on challenges with house cleaning and organizing. My garden is a challenge every year. This year I may add winter sowing. I still run a small distribution company, with its daily challenges. When the weather is better, we will look for new bike trails as challenges. However, I don't do these everyday. I need to start a daily challenge.

Here is a synopsis from another post on actually adding to your brain's grey matter, rather than watching it shrink.

1. Fast for 16 hours everyday or one day, once a week. I'm not sure I could do this.

2. Read novels. I do this, but I could read more.

3. Travel. I do, but I could do more (not during the pandemic). I could travel closer to home more often, rather than waiting for the one big trip.

Eros at Piccadilly Circus for anyone who loves to travel

4. Learn a new instrument. I have tried guitar, but I wasn't very good. I do play the piano a little, but this wouldn't be a new instrument. Maybe I'll just have to settle for learning a new or more complicated piece of music, more often.

I do follow a group on FB called "Growing Bolder" as opposed to "growing older." They are enablers. They are the ones who post about the 100 and somethings who run marathons. I should be so lucky - never say never.

I'll posts my challenges.

Collected Wisdom......

 .....or not as the case maybe. Yesterday I spent the day cooking. I actually like cooking. I do it in Winter and garden in Summer. 

I didn't really intend to spend the entire day cooking, but it is better than cleaning and way more satisfying. In fact this cooking marathon actually started on the previous day, when I went grocery shopping for the food, that the stores, who deliver groceries, always screw up. It was there that I saw a pork loin roast for a little over $7.00. Now it had a bone in, but it was a substantial size and I thought - for the price I couldn't go wrong. Well, of course, I have and could go wrong with anything in my hands or my head. Here's what happened:

1. I bought the roast and made roast pork with roast potatoes and French green beans which were on special for $2.50 for a week's worth!!

2. After dinner, half the meat was still on the bone. We had the roast again with gravy and fried potatoes for lunch the next day.

3. I balked at having it again for dinner, so I made chicken pot pie.

4. My husband cut the pork off the bone and I decided to use the bone in a soup stock with dried white beans. However, we still had the rest of the cooked pork to use up. Google gave me more recipes than I could read in one sitting so I chose two that sounded interesting and left the rest for another marathon. I did, however, smile at the pork tagine recipe - whatever were they thinking?

5. The bone yielded masses of meat and the dried beans grew to almost fill the pot. I now have pork and bean soup to last me until the Spring.

6. One of the "use up pork" recipes was easy - a lot like turkey "a la king" only with pork. The other one needed "black eyed peas." I thought, I'll just pick up a can at the grocery store. Not that easy. We are obviously too far north for canned black eyed peas. I was frantic. I checked my phone for substitutes, while a line formed behind me. I was now one of those irritating people who spend too long in one area of the store. I was blocking all purchases of both tinned and dried beans. Wait, what's this? - dried black eyed peas. Extra work, but why not?

7. Hence, I added to my cooking day, the preparation of black eyed peas. Did you know that two cups of dried peas, when soaked overnight, will fill a 2 quart pot to the brim - neither did I? I now have black eyed peas ready for half a dozen "use up left over pork meals." Fortunately you can freeze them.

There, I have now passed on what I have learned from trying to use up leftover pork loin. I'll not go into details about the muffins I made to use up the apple sauce, that was bought for the roast pork...sigh.

Sorry, no pictures. I was too busy cooking.

Have an awesome day!