Thanksgiving Prep

When I was young, we used to use the term “hot box” to describe the non-stop performing of some task. Like “hot-boxing cleaning the house.” Meaning, you start something and get so in the zone that you don’t stop til it’s complete. Don’t ask me where it came from. Maybe some obscure reference to non-stop pot smoking back in the day when I did those kind of things (like 50 years ago). But it seems to work in a lot of situations.

Yesterday, Dan and I were hot-boxing cooking. We’re making TG dinner for his family. We made the stuffing for the turkey, which was a joint project. Dan did a lot of the real work of it, chopping, cooking sausage, etc. I made a 3-layer jello mold. I know it’s a little old fashioned but then, I’m old, lol. The top layer is raspberry jello into which I put round cream cheese balls, maraschino cherries and banana slices. The 2nd layer is orange mixed with vanilla yogurt, kind of a creamsicle type of thing, and the third was lemon with peaches laid inside it. A simple thing to make, but you have to remember to keep checking it to add the fruit before it fully solidifies. You snooze, you lose.

Then I made a cookie sheet of twice-baked potatoes. I have more to make this morning. When we were done, it was time to start dinner, so we poured a glass of wine and made some Italian sausage and meatballs and pasta, and a salad, and called it a day. I was happy to sit down and watch TV for the evening.

This morning, in addition to the 2nd load of twice-baked potatoes, I am making a pumpkin pie. I bought a couple sugar pumpkins about a month or so ago, and cooked them and froze the pumpkin. It’s a pumpkin chiffon pie. Instead of using condensed milk, I beat up 4 egg whites and fold them into the pumpkin mixture. It’s really good, and lighter than regular pumpkin pie. I am a little nervous though, because I haven’t made a crust in a couple of years. I hadn’t been able to make one down here, because I had no place to roll out the dough. Dan bought me a beautiful pastry board though, so now I have to do it justice and not mess it up. Pressure pressure.

When we’re done we will pack it all up, and take it all to Dan’s house. Tomorrow we’ll stuff the turkey and make the gravy and veggies.

Tomorrow night the kitchen will be closed til Sunday. I think.

Thing is, I LIKE cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It sounds like I’m bitching, but I’m not. When my sister said she didn’t feel like having a big TG (last year she had a whole bunch of neighbors in) she also felt I should make it for Dan’s family because his 91 year old mother had done a lot for me. I remember telling her, “Well, ok. I really want to make it for someone!” So now, when I sit down and think about how much food one cooks and consumes on this holiday it makes you think you’ve been working hard. Whatever it is, it is a labor of love.

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. It’s very cool to have a holiday just dedicated to giving thanks. One thing I know, is there is always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just your breath.

Love and light to everyone.

Memories of Woodstock (Though I Wasn’t There)

The 50th anniversary of Woodstock is in 2 years. That seems CRAZY. I was just graduated from high school in the summer of 1969.

We watched the movie Woodstock on Amazon the other day. Had to pay to rent it, $2.99. It was worth it. It was really fun to see all those great artists again, at their beginning. It did disappoint me in that it didn’t show some of the iconic bands playing their iconic songs that were sung there. Like Jefferson Airplane, later Jefferson Starship, did their songs White Rabbit and Don’t You Want Someone to Love at Woodstock, but the movie only showed some obscure (if any of them are) song. Still….crazy to watch Grace Slick and company. We really enjoyed Santana too. Man, can Carlos Santana shred a guitar. Arlo Guthrie singing “Flying into Los Angeles, bringing in a couple of keys” brought back a lot of memories. Lots of great talent, lots of people, it’s how it all began. I think the final count was something like 450,000 young people in attendance, less than 100 arrests, no violence, one birth.

I wonder, sometimes, where everyone from that “cultural revolution” went. Most of us (and I include myself loosely because it was my time in life, though I was in Iowa while Woodstock went on) kind of ended up in regular mainstream kind of lives for 40 years. With regular jobs, and families, and mortgage payments and credit cards. We were so full of ourselves in those days, thinking we were going to change the world. We just didn’t realize how slowly real change comes. Nor did we ever expect the polarizing politics that are in place today.

Now many of us are retired, or thinking about it. I’m retired and now live in a warmer climate. I live in a town full of people like me, and here, sometimes, it feels like the cultural revolution goes on, mellowed by age and life. Almost feels like a full circle kind of thing.

It was fun to watch the movie again, and relive memories of that very free and slightly wild time in my life. There have been some anniversary concerts, I think one of them had 50,000 attendees. I can’t imagine what the 50th anniversary concert will look like. I hope it’s grand, and some of the original artists are able to come back for it. I’ll keep an eye out for plans.

Far-out, and be cool.

A Lesson in Going With the Flow

It’s been a few days since I’ve written here. This morning I had some time, and sat down and wrote a piece on living in the flow has made my life so much better. I was almost done and just trying to draw some conclusion, or at least articulate it. I decided to go for a walk with Dan, and come back to it later, ostensibly when I returned.

Later turned into 4 or 5 hours later, and I came back to the lap top to finish it. Suddenly, my touchpad no longer worked. Luckily I have a touch screen computer, so was able to get it to shut down and restart, but not until I had saved my blog as a document. I thought it odd that I had to save it twice, but I did. Shut it down and restarted it, and still no touchpad. Grrrr.

I used the touch screen to access “Settings”, and then touch pad. I set the touch pad for “most sensitive” but it still didn’t work. So using the touchscreen, I accessed “other settings” and after doing a lot of searching, found one that said “Enable”. I touched it, and voila! The touch pad now works.

Back to the blog. With touch pad and touch screen working, I went to recent documents to retrieve the blog I’d saved twice. It appeared to come up, the title showed at the top of the page…but the page that loaded was blank. Try again, nothing. Whatever glitch caused my touch pad to be disabled, also made my blog disappear.

After taking a few deep breaths, cursing under them, I walked away from it for a few minutes. And thought, ok….go with the flow. The blog wasn’t meant to be published. Right? I mean, how do I know that? Because it’s gone……it is the way it is.

A lesson, as it were, in learning to go with the flow. Even when it’s a pain in the ass. Instead of posting the first blog which took me some time to write, and consider, I’m posting this one in it’s place. Which is probably not as interesting as the anecdotal one that is now floating out in cyberspace and the ethers somewhere, but more to the point. Go with the flow….I get it, universe. I get it.

Love and light to all

Pest Control

My life, recently, has been about pests. Getting rid of them, which, in Florida, is apparently an endless task.

First, I had these things called “ghost ants”. They are the tiniest little buggars, the size of this period at the end of the sentence. They love sugar. I left a birthday cake for a friend on the counter and 10 minutes later 100, maybe 1000, of these things were crawling all over the plate. (Weirdly, they did not get to the cake, just the frosting on the plate.) I have been trying since I moved here to get rid of them, but that was really the last straw. Right after that I happened to be at Dan’s when his condo got it’s every-other-month bug treatment. We arranged for him to come to my house, because I am sick of these things. He came and I spent $85 for the initial treatment, which included dealing with the fire ants that live in the ground around my flower beds. Now he will come every couple of months to maintain. I have only seen a couple of them since he was here.

Second. As soon as I got rid of the damn ants, the fruit rats came back. And they ate a hole in edge of the recliner at the end of my couch. Maybe since there was no food they could eat? But it was obvious, because they left a couple of rat poops on the seat. Freak me the F**K out. Also found that they had chewed through a zip-lock in my pantry to eat a hole in the taco shells inside it. And tried to get into the gourmet popcorn which we buy at the fresh market, but couldn’t it. Gratefully. Again, I have had enough, and Dan too. So we called the bug guy again, because his company is “pest” control, not just “bug” control. He came back, and explained how it was going to be difficult to definitively get rid of them, but that there were ways to deter them. He set better traps than we had, he put bait up in the attic that would make them sick and die, and he put bait traps around the yard that will make them sick and supposedly drive them away. He thinks it will work, but we can’t be sure. He will add dealing with the rats to my every-other-month treatment for $10 more.

Third. This morning, Dan came out of the bathroom and told me he saw some critter poops on my bathroom sink. I mean, REALLY????? I looked at them, and they are mouse poops, not rat poops. No sign of rat poops since the bug guy set the traps. Now I have mice. I mean, seriously, WTF???

And this all on top of those giant frigging cockroaches, palmetto bugs. I saw one in a cabinet the other day, alive, but it disappeared before I could catch it. A day later we found one standing still, right side up, on the floor. I hope it was the same one.

I am tired this am. We went out to open mic night last night, had a really nice evening, and then were up quite late. I’ve been exhausted lately, (rheumatoid arthritis can make you really really tired) but yesterday had a good day. Today I am tired though, and the damn mouse poops did me in. Told Dan I was so sick of dealing with this crap that I was ready to sell the house. He said, “Deb, welcome to Florida. They are just part of life.” Thank God he is in my life. He shares the good stuff and the bad stuff with me. Never walks away telling me it’s my problem. That’s priceless.

I still love my life here, but at the moment, am sick of this downside. Probably need to get some sleep, lol. Love and light.

To Speak, or Not to Speak.

It has occurred to me that one reason writing is my preferred method of communicating is because I can just back out the words, if I decide I don’t like them. Or stash them where no one will see them. Or just edit them, change them, at will before anyone has read them.

Sometimes I wish I could do that with the spoken word. Don’t we all wish we could take back some of the words that come out of our mouth? I realize that I can think things, but stash them and NOT say them. But too often I speak them without first fully comprehending their effect on the person to whom I am speaking. (Did that sound like Lily Tomlin? “Is this the person to whom I am speaking?”) Of course, then we find ourselves embarrassed or apologetic or some other negative emotion that’s not exactly pleasant.

So, last night I was trying to write. A poem, to be exact. I started with a basic idea, and wanted to write a haiku, but could only make it a 4 line verse. Not happy with it. Opened a new doc and just wrote the first thing that came to my mind, because often that turns into something. But, it didn’t. Then I fell asleep with the computer on my lap, and gave up, lol. So, this morning, on perusing what I wrote, I kept the first 4 line poem, and the second, I deleted. Ah, the loveliness of being able to once again have a blank page, where that false start of a poem no longer appeared.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that when talking to people? Especially people who we love, who are important to us, but with whom we may have a disagreement? Just not say the things that we won’t like 10 seconds after we say them? Not say the things that as soon as we say them we realize they are ridiculous, or hurtful, or maybe hilarious but not true? Not sayin’ that I do this a lot, but like most people, I do it. And wish I didn’t.

Writing is so much easier, because it doesn’t take place in real time. It is a conversation we are having with ourselves, and maybe others, but with a delay on it, so we can edit it, or choose not to say it, or get more information before we do, or consider the consequences better. But perhaps I need to work on my verbal skills a little. Or a lot…. Maybe become more present in the conversation, in real time, and more thoughtful about what I say.

Hmm. Present, in the moment, in the conversation. That alone causes us to be more thoughtful, doesn’t it? It’s kind of like writing, I guess. If you’re in the zone when you write, then it’s easy and it’s clear, and it pours out of your heart. Too often in a conversation I am multi-tasking, having a conversation and thinking about what we should have for dinner, and if we need to get to the store, and is there laundry that needs doing, and I should be calling my sister too.

Just musings this morning, on being able to just back words out of my life, with so much ease. Push of a button and they are gone, and I can start fresh. Spoken words don’t afford us that luxury, so I think I may try harder at weighing the words I speak before I speak them.

Now to decide if I want to publish this.

Love and light, everyone.