Monday, February 25, 2013


Picture from a blog called Wind Blowing

I drive by some
until they exist
no more.

Who knows if I'll
have another season?

I pull over,
leave the door
hanging open,
gather those odd
chartreusy orbs

like the wildflowers
when I was in love,
running in the
ditch laughing,
arms full,
pollen on my nose.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Idea of Fast Food #4

Today was one harried day, booked solid and punctuated by a sputtering car that couldn't be driven home and gifted wagyu ground beef that I had foolishly allowed to become of questionable safety.  My precious dinner, that restorative of my soul planned with loving care, was threatened.

Then I remembered a good trick for times like these:  the Italian egg sandwich.

I found it on some strand of the world wide web attributed to Giada De Laurentiis. She's way too beautiful to be credible.  Her super easy open-face sandwich is far more approachable.  Especially speedy and useful with leftovers around the house. A slice of crusty bread, a bit of tomato sauce, a near-rind of Parmigiano, a clove of garlic.  Odds and ends really, that become the stars of the plate when introduced to an olive oil-fried egg.

With some dressed greens on the side, a balanced and satisfying meal is on the table in 15 minutes or less.  Now that's real fast food. Or real food, fast. Good red wine and snappy chocolate only made it better.

The car will have to be towed and possibly expensively fixed.  I have to be out of town all day tomorrow if the impending ice storm doesn't imprison us.  Saturday is claimed.  All of no consequence when a good dinner was on the table, and I had my love with whom to share it.  Sitting down to a good meal in a snug, warm house, I was happy anyway.  And quickly.

Italian Egg Sandwich
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 1

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large egg
Salt and pepper
1 slice rustic white bread, 1/2 inch thick
1 garlic clove, cut
1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano
1/4 cup tomato or marinara sauce

Heat the oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat.  Crack the egg into the skillet. Cover and cook until the white is firm and the yolk is almost set, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile. toast the bread until golden brown. Rub the cut clove of garlic over the toast.  Sprinkle with most of the Parmigiano. Spoon the tomato sauce over the Parmigiano. Top with the egg.  Sprinkle remaining Parmigiano over the egg. Plate and serve.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tools Chosen and Found

Well, the first month of the new year is well over, and it's time to assess my resolutionary progress, because monitoring helps, according to Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, the authors of a book called Willpower that jumped into my hands at Half Price Books over Christmas break.  In some studies, folks who regularly checked on their behavior or received regular feedback about it made more significant changes than those who didn't.  So here goes.

I planned to:
  • Intervene with action whenever I felt my mood slipping
  • Take a 5 minute calming break in the middle of my work day and at the end if necessary
  • Send a hand written note to one person a week
  • Awake half an hour earlier to allow for more morning self-care
  • Add deep cleaning duties to the weekly schedule
  • Plan two quarterly dates with my husband
How have I done so far?

Being more active, particularly on Saturdays, which had been my most difficult day, has helped my mood control.  I am apparently not meant to sit around too much these days.  Been there; done that; had enough of it.  I slipped a bit last Saturday with a little too much leisure in the morning, but righted myself soon enough.

I have managed my 5-minute calming break at work exactly twice.  Or was it once? Not winning at this one, but then I haven't needed it much.  The whole point is to maintain functionality.  If I have that, I may not need the break.  However, if I do need it, I know, having tried it, that it works and is available to me.  

I have prepared and mailed two notes thus far.  My mother really enjoyed hers. This past Sunday was a weird snowbound day that threw me off, so I forgive myself for that.  Actually, I forgive myself period. I was two for four for January, two more notes than I've written in past years.  I'll just get back to it.

We're still rising half an hour earlier than before and still don't seem to be suffering from it.  I have time to write, stretch, and sit, except for the occasional extra-work-duty morning, which hasn't ruffled me much.  When there's a daily habit, there's always another day to get round to it.  No harm, no foul, no reason to worry. Working so far and very welcome.

I have done a little extra deep cleaning in my zones of responsibility each week and haven't found it burdensome.  This kind of piggy backing is a relatively easy way to add accomplishment without piling more weight onto a full life.  I get the gleam of a truly clean range or sink without dreary hours of effort. Success so far.

As for the dates, I am preparing to book the first of mine.  With next weekend being my birthday, I'm extra determined that we are going somewhere special, of my secret choosing.  Unless the weather trumps my intention, this one is in the old hip pocket. (Promise, honey!)

There are two little changes that I didn't even list, but that have been surprisingly effective so far.  In my efforts to keep my calm at work, I felt led to carry a small stone in my pocket as a tangible reminder of my intention.  It's an amethyst, which is my birthstone, given to me by a friend.  It's smooth and soothing, reminding me of times equally so.  The phrase that continues to pop into my head when I take it into my hand in the morning before I put it in my pocket is: "I remember who I am."  

I didn't plan that mantra.  It just came to me, as they usually do. Without consciously deciding that it should be so, the stone represents the power I now know I have to sit peacefully and let all fuss and worry fall away and become like voices overheard.  It reminds me that I am capable of peace.  I begin to know how to claim it and how to let go of what blocks it. A daily reminder of all that has been powerful.

The other change was locational.  Instead of reading in bed before lights out, we now sit in our living area. It may be a coincidence, but I have slept better since we made that small change, I suspect because I'm physically more comfortable. Reading while propped up in bed was creating tension that cozying on the couch doesn't, which was probably not conducive to relaxed sleep. It's too early to tell yet, but I'm hoping for causality.  I need all the relaxo help I can get.

Over all, not bad.  It's only the first month, but still.  Positive reinforcement works. If I'm a very good girl, maybe I'll give myself a massage. Reward is another effective tactic, according to the Willpower authors.  I'm open to using it and every other positive tool I find, both chosen and found.