Monday, May 03, 2010
Hot weather arrived this weekend. It blew in on a fierce southerly wind and began drying up everything in its path. It also brought out the dread Mayflies - which any entomologist will tell you is really a dear fly - but we know better. These are biting flies and they usually show up sometimes after May 12. If you are going to put in a garden around here you better have it mostly done by May 12 because after that those wicked little pests will chew and chase you right back indoors. They hate shadow and cool so they won't try to fly into your house, but they love warmth and sunshine. In a few weeks the snake doctors (You call them dragon flies) will be out and put an end to the torment but by then it's really too hot to be doing anything but weeding and harvesting in the garden.
Even though we get snow and ice in the winter, this is TheSouth and we know heat. The only difference between Virginia and Mississippi is the number of months that qualify as Summer.
So it's all about what to make when it's 90 degrees outside with 90% humidity. I had been wanting to try a new breadcrumb crust from the McCormac spice people called Crusting Blend, www.mccormick.com/Products/Herbs-and
on baked pork loin so I cranked up the oven on Saturday. (it was very good, btw)
Needless to say, the upstairs bedrooms that night were hot hot hot. Our house is naturally very cool, especially downstairs, so we don't have A/C. Don't need it most of the time but then ... I also don't bake in the summertime. We grill out often. I have a number of quick fry recipes and then there are the no-cook ones - like tuna fish salad. Which I made last night with a dash of dill pickle relish along with the ubiquitous mayo (I prefer the olive oil mayonnaise) onion, celery and chopped hard boiled egg. Placed in large dollops onto spring mix greens it made the most delicious summer supper.
So. What are your favorite no-cook recipes and foods for eating in the hot hot hot summertime?
Saturday, May 01, 2010
If I were in charge of the world, there would be at least 3 Mays every year - and maybe even as many as 5. May in Virginia is so beautiful I could weep. May skies are so blue your eyes sometimes have to blink. And Scarlet Tanengers flicker their redness across that blue background on a daily basis. May mornings are often crisp like some juicy fruit and are perfumed with roses and honeysuckle blossoms and every now and then, the rare swamp sweet bell, which is like a buttery lily of the valley. May afternoons are usually only warm but even when the temperature climbs into the 90s they don't feel brutal because the ground is still cool from winter's frosts. May evenings chirp with frogs and insects and lilt with owls' calls. I always manage to take time off in May.
May is also the month my son was born, so there is a sweetness to it that stirs up memories of that long ago day when we all got to meet face to face. And do you remember Julie Andrews in Camelot, singing "Tra La, It's May, the lusty month of May" ? Yeah.
I am sitting here, thinking about where I am this May compared to previous Mays. I am a little lighter - that's good. And I have some familiarity with yoga - that's good too. I have a week's vacation coming at the end of the month and by hook or by crook or by our family car - I am going to spend some of it at the ocean. And that brings up the question of how will I look in a bathing suit this May? Hmmmm.
I have about 3 weeks till we toddle off to VaBeach or Nags Head or wherever we decide to go. I believe I will see how far below the 160 mark I can get between now and then. I think an image of me in that really cute red polka dotted bathing suit (Not a bikini, please) is what I need to keep before me. I know where that suit is. I could even pull it out and hang it inside the wardrobe door so that every time I get dressed in the morning I will remember what I want to be wearing this summer.
Yes. A cute red bathing suit is just the inspiration I need.
What do you need for your May inspiration?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Thank you all again for sharing this powerful journey with me. I was of two minds about discussing such family stuff here and yet I was unable to hold it all inside. Also - because I did share things with you I felt compelled to keep trying to find the way out of a very sad Monday instead of just staying in TheBluePlace and feeling sorry for myself with Mr.Chocolate and MsCheese, though I will admit, we've had a few meals together this week. Let us hope they have been brief enough that there won't be any dismay on Sunday's weigh-in.
But here is something ELSE that comes from putting down defences, resentments and hurt feelings and looking for the love. It opens your ears and heart so that you can recognize an apology when it comes. Sometimes people can't actually say words but they can make gestures and if you've opened up to that loving possibility - you can hear what's not said.
You have to admit - that's mighty sweet.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Thank you all for your kind words yesterday - they were enormously helpful.
I admit it - I was really cranked yesterday - nervous and anxious and sad all rolled into a big ball. The truth is, yesterday was not about food or nutrition or health at all - it was all about family dynamics and old hurts and Other Stuff. The back story isn't too different from that of other families with aging parents - a little dysfunction, a little creativity, a little jealousy, a dash of fun - oh - and half a century of memories. There could have been more kindness, there could have been a whole lot of better choices made along the way - they could have made the decision to move a heck of a lot sooner. Whenever I hear people say "We kept mama home as long as possible I want to shriek "no No NO! Help them move while they can still put down new roots, make new friends, form a new life!" Alas, it didn't happen with mine. At the moment, after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, my parents are living in separate elderly situations about 70 miles away from me. Everything is twice the burden because there are two situations to deal with - two places to visit, two sets of nurses to talk to, two cleaning ladies to get to know.
There are other issues too - sibling issues - division of labor issues - Martha and Mary roles to play, some that fell upon us by chance, some by design. The long and short of it is yesterday looked to be a day of tension and sadness and ...
I don't do tension and sadness very well. In fact I flee from both - oh not in any denial sort of way. I just like to solve my way out of sadness and tension. I hate fights - though I will cary my weight in one if I must. But I would a whole lot rather make it work than be right.
You all know I have been working with finding my Place of Thinner Peace but the truth is, that peaceful place has a lot to do with everything else in your life too. I've been doing the right hand/left hand writing most every day since I first tried it last week and it's been a real eye opener. First off - you have to really slow down and concentrate on what your non-dominant hand is doing ... just to form any letters at all. That's why the first question you should ask yourself should be a polite formality question - How are you?
You have to slow down so much and focus so hard on a physical activity just to answer that your subconscious has an opportunity to let clear emotions float through the clutter of our word dominated organized thoughts. By the time you've scrawled out a "Fine, Thanks" everything seems to be in slow motion.
And yesterday, when I went to that quiet, slow place and asked how I felt, all the truth bubbled up to the surface and when I asked what I could do to help myself through the day, the word LOVE floated to the top - almost like that little triangular answer die in the Magic 8 Ball.
Remember the love.
Act with love
Know there is more love than anything else in the world and all you have to do is pick it up, put it on, accept it's warmth.
And once I did that - everything else fell into place. I could talk about IT to my husband. I could call my sister. I could be gentle with my dad. We had a totally fun day. My mom was home from the hospital and even up and dressed and looking herself again. Even the cell phone worked ... which, if you knew me ... would be the biggest miracle of all! I am singularly cell phone challenged.
So. There you have it. When the BIG UGLY looms in front of you, trying to scare the bejeezus out of you, just remember. There is more love out there than anything else and it's flowing onto you all the time. Just open up to that and suddenly that scary thing will just shrivel up into the big nothing it is and crawl away.
May you feel it today.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
As is so common when there are aged sick parents, our family dynamics right now are very tense. While little frustrations and tensions flutter around the edges of my life all the time, they can be a challenge and fun to work with. The big guys that are sitting on my head right now are Not fun to deal with.
And yet they must be because responding to them with chocolate or butter or something else in the fast fat food category, will not just make me fat. It'll make me sick. So there is nothing for it but to pull out every tool in my bag and use it to the best of my ability.
Today I will be deeper into the scene than other days as I take my dad out to do some much needed shopping. An unplanned visit to the hospital to see my mother and find out what the coming days will look like - she is quite ill but not with something fatal - will be added to the mix. I guess I had better do some serious preparations - yoga, pack lots of water, check in with the inner self, who is probably afraid - afraid to say good bye to parents and afraid of the demands ahead till she has to.
Funny how roiling emotions can make us do such stupid things, say such stupid words, feel such stupid feelings. Wouldn't it be good if we could look at those emotions - nod - acknowledge them, and then put them in a box somewhere to deal with later? Perhaps at Tara?
Gonna be a hard day.
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