Monday, May 25, 2015

Bending the curve

An angle of progress...today is a bit better.

Three things that went well since 3 pm yesterday:

  1. I went to the Saver's 50% off Memorial Day sale this morning and found all sorts of cute clothes for G. Hard to guess what she'll like, but it was fun.
  2. The barbecue at J and A's was all lovely air, sun, on the new, creative deck built by their dad. I had a wonderful conversation with V. who got back from a trip to Africa a few weeks ago. It had been very different what she expected, laden down with illness for part of the trip, but she was full of interesting observations.
  3. I walked 40 minutes last night. Again at almost sunset, by the river. I plan to do it again this afternoon.
Three things I'm grateful for:
  1. Steak. I brought steaks to the barbecue--I haven't had a steak in months--and it was delicious. It cut like butter.
  2. People who continue to love even as I am empty and difficult.
  3. A day with a bit more activity in the real world. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pulling out of the hole

2015...missed my annual blog post last year. Oh well! 

I'm in a spring slump, or a bipolar (undiagnosed) slump, or something, and it's been months now. I don't know why I just settle into a hole like this when it happens. Why I scratch around in the dirt, make myself a little nest, pull a thin blanket of dust over myself, turn on Netflix, and lie inert. I don't know why I don't fight harder. There are beautiful people in my life, people I don't deserve but could enjoy time with. There are interesting and beneficial things to do out there. Everyone around me is living their life, and I should be doing that also, if not for myself, at least so that I can be a fun person for the people I love. But right now, I just can't. 

My relationship with God is silent right now because I'm horrified by Deuteronomy 28 (last half) and don't know what to do with it. I discovered this passage at the start of April (perhaps I'd never read it before?) and I just don't know how to process it. I've talked to a few people about it but so far nothing seems to help.

But wait! This entry is about PULLING OUT of the hole. None of this whining will help that. So, after a mostly unproductive day in my comfy hole, I am listing:

Three things that went well today:
  1. I had a great conversation with my dear brother Harold this morning.
  2. I looked up a lot of resources for a friend who is struggling with how to help a family member with a disability.
  3. I walked for 40 minutes, maybe 45.
Three things I'm grateful for today:
  1. The amazing clouds this evening--pink and slate and purple--with the sun setting over them.
  2. The fact that after being stuck and unproductive watching the entire fabulous Parenthood series (all six years of it in the past few weeks) I'm finally done. I promise myself I will not start Friday Night Lights.
  3. The knowledge that I've gotten out of holes like this before--well, maybe not the God hole but the empty depressive hole--and this gives me hope that I will again.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Just a tester

A dear friend wants to start a blog and would like some help using Blogger. I'm a novice and want to remind myself how to add a post, so I can help her. I told her I have a blog that I post in maybe once every year. Actually, this time it's been two years. The durability of this green box never fails to amaze me, I just say. No rust, no letters, just silence on the corner. I'm adding a post before 2013 winds to a close!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Look. This green mailbox is still here. STILL here. Waiting for a letter. Who would have known?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kitchen Miss Adventure

I am not a skilled cook. So I usually make easy, spartan meals--salads, rice & beans, roast chicken (the store actually makes that), sandwiches, crockpot soup. But occasionally I get an urge to do something more, preferably something healthy. I was inspired by eating with my friends this weekend on their sailboat out on Bear Lake. (The sailboat is another story, but it was lovely being out on the water, and I did the flailing-arms-I'm-halfway-on-the-dock-halfway-in-the-boat thing just once.)

My friends are both on Weight Watchers and becoming vegetarians to boot, so everything we ate was strictly good for us. And for the most part delicious, with the exception of the fat-free cheese in the quesadillas--I think they replaced the fat with polymer. My friend Elizabeth made a particularly tasty black bean and yam filling for tortillas, topped with fat-free sour cream. I wanted more than one, but following their lead, I stopped at just-full-enough.

When I got home tonight I decided I wanted to replicate that supper for myself, partly because I had started the day with a Kuoing Aman from Les Madeleines. If you haven't tried one, you must do it at least once. It's the most delicious pastry on earth--buttery, crunchy, caramelized on the outside and soft on the inside. I was bringing some to my coworkers, but I opened the box and ate mine in the five short blocks from the bakery to the office. To be fair, my health-conscious boss ate hers in about five minutes.

So when I got home, I wanted to eat healthy. I proceeded by my vague memory of what Elizabeth did--sauteeing onions and garlic in one pan, cubing yams to boil in another, smashing up some beans in the sautee pan and adding spices. Since I had run out of black beans, I substituted red and white beans. Then I decided to use tomatoes instead of vegetable broth. When the yams were finished cooking, I decided that rather than leave them cubed as she had (we assembled our own with the beans and cubed yams, etc.), I would just go ahead and mash the yams up with the beans.

I come by this haphazardness honestly. Many days when we would ask mom what was for dinner, she would waggle her spoon around in the air and say, "Oh...a mixture." This could mean either vegetables stir-fried with an ingenious sauce, or leaden grey leftovers stirred together and microwaved. (It wasn't too often the second; my mom was a pretty good cook.) She never attempted to give any of these "mixtures" a specific name, and never attempted a repeat performance. A mixture was a mixture.

When I was done mashing, unfortunately this mixture had the unfortunate look of a large pan of vomit. (I've spared you the photo.) But I was committed now, so I soldiered on and got out the tortillas. Loaded one up, sprinkled it with cheese and some greens, and rolled it up. Just about then my dog was begging for some (bless her), so I was distracted for a minute. And then realized that I had set down the plastic bag of tortillas on one of the burners, turned off but just recently.

Oh well. I took a bite. It was actually quite good. Needed some salt, but doesn't everything? Thanks, mom. Good mixture.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Red Stripe, Blue Moon

The sweat dripped down the cold pint glasses. They had the perfect amount of foam--delicate white bubbles that he wanted to dive into. But first the photo. The world leader, the semi-famous scholar, the bewildered cop. Not the way he wanted to become semi-famous, not the way he wanted to meet his president.

The next morning in a board room in New Jersey, they spread out the proofs. "Was it worth it, boss?" someone asked. "The jammed door, the arrest, the apology?"

"You're kidding, aren't you?" he said. "A hundred times over, it was worth it. The leader of the free world drinks Bud Light. Product placement, baby, product placement."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hard Times

I'm fortunate to have a job with a very stable employer in the healthcare industry, so I haven't been affected much by the downturn. But as I walk my dog around the neighborhood, I see the signs of hard times everywhere.

The man with the scythe
Next door to our little condo complex is a large lot that used to have an abandoned house -- the neighborhood kids would dare each other to go in its back yard. After the lot finally sold last fall, we were excited to see the bulldozer raze the house and garage (these were no historic beauties) and hear that an assisted living place would be built there. I've always liked oldsters, and figured they would be good neighbors. But then nothing happened. The snow fell on the pile of dirt, drifted into the hole. The neighborhood kids dared themselves to go down "in the pit." This spring, after the weeds had gotten about knee-high, I saw a man on a large riding mower attempting to chew through them. (I lied; he didn't actually have a scythe--but he should have. It probably would have done a better job.) He stopped for a break as I walked by and we talked for a minute. Three guys had invested savings in this project, and then lost their funding for the building. I hope they find another bank or investor soon.

The lawn with the clocks
A bit further down that same block is a house I used to envy--with a gardener's dream yard, beautiful blue tile on the porch, lovely dark stucco. Now, not so much. I'm not sure who bought it, but now there's trash and sometimes seemingly random objects in the yard and a general hangdog look about the place. The other morning as I walked, I heard an odd beeping and wondered whether someone's alarm hadn't been shut off. But instead, it was a clock radio sitting on the lawn, amongst several other old plastic models from the 1970s. Clock radios like cars with fins, with tiny upholstered speakers and round knobs. Actually, the entire yard was filled with stuff. No one was there to take any money, but jigsaw puzzles were stacked in one spot, books lined up on another, a few clothes hung on a thin rope tied between a tree and the fence, and other piles of flotsam and jetsam covered the lawn. It made me sad. But it was even worse when I saw the same sight the next day, with even more jigsaw puzzles this time. And this morning? A tarp covered some of the stuff, and there was a neon posterboard sign on the fence that said "Sorry, no yard sale today" in magic marker. I wonder if the yard sale is perpetual now, so they have to apologize when they take a day off. Hard times.

Couch in the rain
People leave free stuff out by the street a lot more now. You've probably already guessed that I don't live in the most fancy-pants of neighborhoods, so items left out with a free sign are not so unusual. But there have been a lot more lately. A few weeks ago someone left a couch and loveseat out and the rain got to it before anyone else could. The next morning it was soaked, its stuffing hanging out.

Now Leasing
Main Street in Midvale (700 West) is one of the streets I walk, and down from the Maverik and my church there's an apartment complex that was bought a couple of years ago by someone who wanted the Hispanics out of there, apparently. He set rules that forced several friends to move--people who sent their kids to our church and were gracious and friendly despite the language barrier. Stuff like no more than 4 people in a 2-bedroom apartment (which leaves out even 3 young kids sharing a bedroom, or someone sleeping on the couch). He renovated the units a bit, jacked up the rent, and put out flimsy white signs announcing all the benefits of the revamped (and in his mind, rewhitened) development. Washer-Dryer Hookups! New Kitchen! Now Leasing! Remodeled! I don't think he's filled very many of the places. The signs have started looking dingy. He deserves some hard times.

Victory garden
A man on the corner waves at me every morning as he sweeps his sidewalk. He's probably in his late 70s, wears the same overalls every day, and waters his lovely, huge garden in the backyard. An orderly riot of tomatoes, peas, beans. Fruit trees. He's lived through hard times. He doesn't seem surprised or worried. He plants that same garden every year.