Monday, October 13, 2008

A Pasta Recipe

I made a pasta dish last night that was mostly stuff I had in the cupboards and thought I'd share. It doesn't have a name because it's just something I threw together for dinner.

I took a cup of dried fava beans cooked and drained them. I cooked whole wheat spaghetti. I sauteed sliced onions, reconstituted dried mushrooms, a sliced zucchini, some sun-dried tomatoes, sliced roasted red and yellow bell peppers and some garlic. I put in about a quarter cup of water and covered the pan with a lid. I let it cook for a few minutes, just to soften the zucchini a bit more. I dumped in the beans and a bunch of fresh spinach leaves. I stirred it until the beans were reheated and the spinach was wilted and hot. I seasoned it with salt and pepper. I tossed the spaghetti with enough olive oil to keep it from sticking, a bit of salt and pepper and served it with the vegetables poured over the top of each serving. I topped each serving with a bit of crumbled Feta cheese.

It was really good and really filling. And that's my favorite type of cooking--just pull stuff out of the cupboard and cook it.

I've been discovering dried beans lately. Canned are convenient, but dried taste better. I'm still getting a feel for when they're done. I sometimes don't check them often enough and they get mushy. I use those for things like bean cakes and refried beans that require you to smush the beans into a paste.

The cool thing is that you can get heirloom beans now. I've tried a variety called Red Calypso that's colored red and white. I used them with a blend of black and mahogany rice in a "red beans and rice" dish. I bought some called Eye of the Goat that are light brown with chocolate-colored swirls. I haven't tried them yet. I'm still trying to figure out what type of recipe will show them off well.

I suspect, when I get time to write, I'll be writing more about food I've been eating, since I've been sort of on a kick of trying new things. I found some rice that has been colored green with bamboo juice. It intrigued me, so we'll see how that tastes.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blogging and Stuff

I read a story in the news today. The world's oldest blogger died recently. She was an Australian woman who lived to 108 years old. I'd love to live that long and have enough brain power left to write this blog. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed blogging when I wrote more often until that story made me think about my blog, and made me want to write something in it.

I often wish I could do without a few hours of sleep. I envy my cousin who regularly runs on 5 hours sleep a night and she's not sleep-deprived. It's her natural biological rhythm. I'd do all my stuff that has to be done in the daytime and use those late night hours for writing, reading, and other creative projects because I'm at my most creative between 10 pm and 2 am. So, why am I writing this blog in my least creative time--early morning? Because it's when I can spare a few moments.

The rest of the day I need to spend working on three projects for work, finishing the homework assignment that's due today, practicing the music for Ladyesong and Funtimes Singers, and planning and buying next week's groceries. The homework is for my Dreamweaver class. The music is for Saratoga's American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life fundraiser they do every summer. STOCtet sang forCampbell's Relay for Life last Saturday. Saratoga and Campbell are local small towns you probably won't have heard of unless you're familiar with the San Jose area.

So, I've looked at my busyness, and while it seems to be a symptom of contemporary life to be busy, I take it to an extreme. I realized the other day while talking with a friend at church that I always book myself to the limit because if I don't, I get bored. If I get bored, I start acting like a depressed person who doesn't want to do anything. And it's not depression--it's boredom. Once I figured out that my brain craves exercise, challenges, and so on, it became easier to figure out how to live my life.

It's also one of the reasons I have so much trouble with the routine, and totally boring, chores in life. I overbook myself so I don't have time to do them because boredom is my brain's worst enemy. But, if I have challenging intellectual work, to do, I'm more tolerant of the chores. And if I don't have to spend hours on chores, I tolerate them better.

If you read my blog earlier this year, you know I made a stab at following the Fly Lady's advice. It didn't work well for me, but I include a link because it does work well for a lot of people. I've been considering this problem a lot over the last few months. I think I may have a solution for the boring, routine chores of life. I could do 15 minutes of chores out of every hour I spend on the more interesting things I do. If I write out a plan for my chores, I can make sure I rotate them so everything gets done regularly and often enough to keep the health department at bay. 15 minutes doesn't sound like much time, but I live in a tiny apartment. I can get a lot done in a 15-minutes slot. Plus, those 15 minutes add up to an hour or two over the course of a day.

Of course, there's always option 2--plan a dinner party. If we have a dinner party, my ever-patient husband cleans the house so I can focus on the meal. I'd much rather spend my time planning and cooking a superb meal. Unfortunately, our budget and my aging body can't handle too many of those.

I'm reading Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. It's going slowly because I have such limited reading time, but I'm really enjoying it. I'm enjoying reading again. I'd pretty much given that up, too, because I was too busy. I have a list of things I want to get back into my life and I'm slowly managing to do it. I realized that I have more time than I think, but I have to accommodate my brain's quirks--it's need for challenges, for musing time--to let the creative projects simmer, and for exploring the rest of the world--refilling the well. If I don't do that, nothing gets done. If I do, lots gets done.

The length of this post tells me I do need to blog more often. I really enjoy it and will continue my efforts to write more often.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday, America.

Happy Birthday, Guys!
All of the guys in my family have summer birthdays. This year, we celebrated them all on America's birthday. We had a great time!

My blog has been on the back burner these past few months. I had to reformat my hard drive and reload everything, so it's taken me a while to get back to having even a few minutes to blog. I'm glad Google doesn't delete inactive blogs because I'd like to start writing in here again, now that I've got a working computer.

I'm taking a class in Dreamweaver. It's step one in my plan to finish that web development degree I started back in 2000. I'm hoping to take over the orchestra web site soon and to start a part-time business creating and maintaining web sites for small businesses. I see so many awful sites done by people who decided that HTML is easy and they can do it themselves, but they have no design skills. Doing an effective web site is about so much more than coding HTML. That's a rant for some other time, though.

Anyway, I'm planning to blog regularly, which I keep saying, but not doing. I doubt I'll be writing anywhere near daily, but maybe once a week or every other week. I really do enjoy doing this. I miss writing fiction, too, and want to start writing regularly again, even if it's not for extended periods of time. An online buddy, Holly Lisle, is a published author and extraordinary teacher. She has some online courses that a lot of people find helpful. I'm going to start my quest to write fiction again by doing some of her courses, particularly the one about writing when your life is falling apart. Here's a link to her web site, which has links to her free articles and her shop where you can buy her courses, if you're interested in learning a lot about writing.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Closing Doors

"The Advantages of Closing a Few Doors" by John Tierney of the New York Times. (By now, it's possible that you have to register in order to read the original article.)

He starts out discussing a Chinese general who took his army into battle and set things up so they couldn't retreat. They had to win or die. Dan Aierly had written a book, "Predictably Irrational", that spawned Tierney's column. Aierly did some expirements at MIT, where he's a professor of behavioral economics, that showed people's penchant for "keeping their options open", even when it's clearly in their best interest to close some doors.

Apparently, this is about having that feeling of loss. It's a feeling people will do just about anything to avoid. So, we don't break off bad relationships. We hang on to our stuff "because it might come in handy someday" or "as soon as I throw it out, I'll need it." Sometimes doors close so slowly we don't see that in our rush to keep all options open, we can pay a huge price. Airely's example is working long hours while your children's childhood slowly slips away. Those hours you might have spent with your kids can't be regained, so that's a closing door.

Speaking of work, choosing a career has major closed doors. If you choose one, you're giving up others. I know a lot of people, often super creative people, who can't pick one art to focus on. They write, paint, and make music. They don't make progress into making money at any of them because they don't put enough practice time into any one to get good enough at it to make a living. Or people like me who love and are curious about tons of stuff, so we take classes and learn about them. After a while we get bored with that subject and move on to something else. Barbara Sher talks about that phenomenon in her book about Scanners. I've found several things I'd love to cobble together into income-producing work, but I haven't figured out how to connect them yet. Maybe I never will get them all going, but maybe I can work enough of them so I don't get bored and quit before I make any actual cash.

This phenomenon is also why people like the Sidetracked Sisters and the Fly Lady got their jobs. They're helping people deal with the doors closed by being unable to get rid of excess stuff. They call one door "CHAOS"--Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Excess stuff also causes you to waste enormous amounts of time looking for things. Your budget takes a hit if you go out to dinner because you didn't have time to do yesterday's dishes because you were looking for stuff or otherwise dealing with clutter. Or you pay late fees because you couldn't find your bills to pay them on time. And so on.

It's interesting how much of it isn't the stuff itself. It's the emotion attached to the stuff that causes the problem. Examples might be: sentimental feelings because "it's a family heirloom". Or getting rid of it means a dream absolutely won't happen, such as selling a musical instrument you haven't touched since high school, thus giving up any dreams of being a musician. Or you feel guilty because you bought the wrong whatever, often clothing items, and you feel like you're throwing money away if you don't keep them. So you plan to wear or use the stuff and don't follow the plan because you really don't like or want or need this stuff.

Ditto for the career choices. You don't want to give up all of your choices in order to pursue one, so you don't pursue any. You "keep your options open", but spend years in nowhere, dead-end jobs that don't cover the rent, let alone all of your expenses. Or you don't focus on one art, so you scatter your attention among lots of things. Then you never make enough money to give up the day job, and even if it's paying your way just fine, you hate it and yourself because you want to work at your art full-time but can't afford it.

The conclusion is that sometimes we need to close doors. Aierly talks about one door most people close and how they do it. He says when we marry, we close the doors to other relationships. We do it by telling other people we're making that choice. That public statement is one of the main ways we use to help us close that door. But this idea shows why the commitment-phobes have the problem. They can't face the loss of a possibly better someone they might meet in the future. So they refuse to close that door and commit to one relationship.

Airely says that those social connections can help us with other doors, too. I've seen that in the Fly Lady phenomenon. People write to her about how following her advice and flinging out the stuff has helped their lives. By writing, they're making public their commitment to getting rid of stuff they don't use and don't love. Making it public makes it easier to do. But he says he struggles with it himself. After all, he's human, too.

Obviously, recognizing the problem is one thing. It's pretty easy to see it and it's effect on your life. But it's often hard to change because we don't want to deal with the feelings of loss. Sometimes, after reading yet another story of how much junk people's parents left for their kids to deal with after their deaths, I wonder if the incredible personal losses of friends and family that pile up on us as we get older isn't partly behind that phenomenon. Some elderly people cling to their stuff because it's something they can keep from leaving them, unlike their friends and relatives who are dying. I suppose this thought, at least in part, comes from having attended more funerals in the past year than in my whole life up to now.

I'm not sure exactly how to deal with this phenomenon in my own life. So much of the stuff we were looking forward to using again after we moved out of my mother's house was destroyed and I greived, not over the stuff, but over the loss of the life I was looking forward to. We've gradually rebuilt a lot of that life and so I'm feeling more comfortable with sorting and weeding out the rest of the stuff in our boxes. I can see, though, that the clutter in all areas of our lives, not just "stuff clutter" is one result of not being willing to close doors. And that clutter keeps us from clearly seeing what will bring the most joy to our lives. Until we clear the clutter so we can see what will bring us joy, we can't figure out how to bring that joy into our lives.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

March, so far

My life is a zoo, but if you read this blog very often you know that. I have a couple of things I want to blog about, but haven't had time to write them up. Today, my husband and I are taking a day off from chores and everything except the concert tonight. The concert is the best part of my job. I get to hear such amazing music.

I've started an essay, but it needs super editing before it's ready to post. I need to let it simmer in my head a bit, so I'll finish it soon and post it. It's about the idea that we're so reluctant to close any doors, give up any options in our lives, that we often pay huge prices in our lives in order to avoid giving up an option, or even, in some cases, just getting rid of some types of trash.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Some Thoughts on Food

I recently read Michael Pollan's books, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. The first book is about where our food comes from. He discusses where the ingredients that make up four different meals came from. It's an interesting background to the second book, in which he discusses what he thinks we ought to eat. On the cover is a picture of red Romaine lettuce and it has a yellow band around it with his concise conclusion: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Defining this phrase and discussing how to implement it is the major goal of the book. In discussing the part: "Eat food" he makes a comment about how to decide if what you're eating actually IS food. One rule of thumb he talks about is whether your great grandmother would recognize it. A trip to the local grocery store, part of one of the major national chains was an interesting experience in light of what I'd been reading.

One thing you often read is to "stick to the perimeter of the store". You'd think this is good advice. That's where the produce, dairy, and meat is. But is pre-marinated, ready-to-cook meat still real food? How should I know? I have no idea what they put in their marinade. What about "fat free half and half", a product found in the dairy section? Or the "Grapple"--apples somehow flavored with "real and artificial grape flavorings"? Would my great-grandmother recognize any of these? And, if I stick to the perimeter of one of my favorite stores, I'd have to eliminate a lot of food from my diet--beans, rice, pasta, baking ingredients and breads. Then there's the vegetables. Some canned and frozen vegetables are well worth eating, and are pretty nutritious, too. Canned tomatoes, pumpkin puree, canned beans and frozen baby onions are good examples.

That trip to the store, along with what I'd been reading, got me thinking--a lot.
I started to wonder what my great-grandmothers would have fed their families. I know nothing about my great-grandparents on my dad's side of the family, so that leaves my Calabrian great-grandparent's food to use as a guage. I googled.

I discovered that my great-grandparents ate a variation on the much-touted Mediterranean diet. However, they ate a lot of pork, something we don't think of as being a part of that diet. They ate lots of fish, since Calabria is the toe of the boot--right on the Mediterranean Sea. The region produces 25% of Itailan olive oil, so olive oil and olives would have been a big part of their diet. They ate a lot of pasta and polenta. Vegetables were a major part of their diet, too, particularly eggplants and tomatoes. Their food was spicy, using lots of peppers. Butter and cheese were also a part of their diet. Desserts were mainly fresh fruit, particularly citrus and figs. Today they grow a lot of clementines, a variety of orange. They made fancy desserts mainly for special occasions such as weddings and Christmas holidays. Breakfast was often biscotti and coffee. Cappuccino is a breakfast beverage. I didn't see any references to alcoholic beverages except for wine, which is another thing this region produces.

Family meals consisted of a first course--mainly soups, pasta or a rice dish. The second course is either a small meat or fish dish, accompanied by a side dish, usually vegetables. Here, the Italians veer away from what we Americans are familiar with--they eat their salad after the main course, to cleanse the palate before dessert. I remember that from my childhood. My grandfather always ate his salad at the end of the meal. The last course is usually fruit, fresh and cold, or dried fruits with nuts. Celebratory meals would add a starter course of antipasti and a final course of a fancier small dessert. Meals end with coffee, usually espresso.

That's what my great-grandmothers were feeding their families. It's a pretty healthy way to eat, according to current nutritional wisdom. The nutritionists might think it's a bit high in fat, what with all that pork and full-fat dairy. But they didn't eat large portions of those foods. They mostly ate vegetables, which is exactly what Michael Pollan (and our nutrition experts) recommends, after he finished the research and writing of his books.

The question then becomes, how do I do that? How do I find that kind of food? It's getting harder and harder to do so in our supermarkets. I was shopping with my husband the day he found the Grapple and I said to him, "Do you realize how little actual food is in this store?" I've noticed over the three decades in which I've been responsible for the food purchases for a family that there is less and less real food. It's getting harder and harder to find plain ingredients to cook with because even the simplest thing now has a chemical soup along with the simple ingredient. Take tomato paste--one brand had tomatoes and a bunch of other stuff. The other had one ingredient-tomatoes. My question is--if one company can figure out how to make a product without the chemicals, why do other companies think they have to put them in? Anyway, I read the ingredient lists. If I don't know what the ingredients are and what they're made from, I don't buy it.

The other hard part is figuring out what are the best things to eat. It seems like every time you read an article about healthy eating, they have new information that contradicts what the current wisdom is. When you dig into the research, you come up with studies that seem to have been ignored because they don't fit in with the current way of thinking. I found this gem today about high fat dairy and fertility: Eating Ice Cream may Help Women to Concieve. I see stuff like this all the time. Chocolate is good for you. So is coffee. And alcohol, particularly wine, especially red. Reminds me of Woody Allen's film, "Sleeper", where he wakes up in the future and steak and hot fudge sundaes are health food. Yet a different study will be reported saying exactly the opposite. Do I want to be a guinea pig in the unscientific cultural research that's taking place by default as we try to follow expert nutritional advice that may or may not be correct and eat food designed by people who want to maximize our consumption so we'll maximize their corporate profits?

The conclusion I've been coming to is that maybe it's not as simple as the nutrion "experts" would like to believe. You can't isolate one nutrient, making it the "magic pill of good health". Everything works together and what may seem like a bad thing can be a good thing in combination with the right other things. One example is a diet based on corn tortillas. You'd miss out on essential amino acids, if that were your main food. But the Mexicans have been eating that way healthfully for a very long time. How? They fill those tortillas with beans, which has the amino acids corn lacks. This is why I think the glycemic index thing is baloney. You don't eat high glycemic index foods in isolation. Who munches on raw onions, for Pete's sake? When you eat those foods with a little fat, it slows down the absorption of the glucose and that solves the problem with those foods. So, you're better off to put a bit of butter on that baked potato than to eat it plain.

That's probably why we've ended up with the patterns of eating we've developed over the course of human history. The problem with our current eating pattern is that it's not based on anything we've evolved to eat. Our caveman ancestor didn't hang out at the local fast-food joint, nor did he nuke a complete meal and eat it standing over the sink. That's why the current wisdom to eat lots of fruits and veggies, a little meat (Or not, if you choose. Apparently, we can do just fine without it.), and whole grains makes sense. That's what humans have been eating forever. So the challenge is finding those foods, at a price I can afford, and arranging my schedule to allow time to cook them. We've started to build a "food now" culture, so our lives get swamped and we don't take the time to cook or make the time to eat with our family and friends. But that's another post, one I think I already wrote.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Slow Movement

The New York Times has an article about "The Slow Movement". (Note: you have to register with them to read the article, but if I remember correctly, they don't ask for your whole life history.) Essentially, it's about slowing things down in opposition to our fast food culture. I think it's interesting that they likened our life to fast food more than to any other measure of speed they could have used, such as the computer industry's never-ending quest for faster, particularly when it comes to the Internet.

There's a woman in the article who knits rugs from the wool of sheep she's met. She uses three-foot long knitting needles. I admit I want to try that one, even if I don't get to meet the sheep or make my own yarn. The rug is absolutely gorgeous. There's a picture on the left sidebar of the article.

But I digress from my original thought. It occurred to me that food is really the ultimate speeded up part of life, and I often wonder if that's not to our detriment. I think we'd all be better off if we took the traditional Italian way of eating to heart. Fresh, real food, made from fresh ingredients cooked properly, which rarely can be done super fast, microwave ovens notwithstanding. Take time to eat the meal with family and friends, focusing on the meal and the company, not on the gazillion things we think are so important that we must forego soul-satisfying meals to do them. Or, if you're eating alone, still setting a pretty table and enjoying good music and your own company.

A lot of people have posited the theory that our large food industry with its faster to prepare, ready-to-eat, chemical stews that pass for food are behind the rampant obesity in our country. I'm pretty sure that's a factor because it was with the rise in prepared foods and fast food restaurants and cake from a box being called "from scratch", and a true cake from scratch, made with eggs, flour, sugar, milk, vanilla, etc. being considered old-fashioned, too difficult to do well, and too time-consuming to make. People cook for fun, not as a routine part of life to feed themselves and their families.

I can't help but wonder if there's another factor in the obesity thing that's directly related to the whole fast eating. I don't eat in fast food restaurants because I always eat way too much because the food doesn't satisfy me. If I'm out with other people and we go to a fast food place, we eat fast and get out--no lingering over conversation. That's the whole point of fast food-the whole experience is fast. Ditto for microwaved frozen dinners. They don't satisfy, either. And they mostly are eaten alone because it's when the family is all scattered doing their own things.

All of this lack of strong social structure to our meals could be one reason people overeat or eat to fill the gap left by unsatisfying meals eaten quickly so you can get on with other things. I wonder if we made an effort to make time to cook good food, make the dining room or kitchen table or wherever we eat a pleasant place to be, put on some quiet music, and gather family and friends for that Italian-style focus on the food and the people we love whether some of those emotional needs we eat to fill might not be filled. I also wonder if filling ourselves with freshly cooked food wouldn't satisfy us before we'd overeaten.

I don't know if that's true, generally. I do know that I tend to eat less when I'm eating really well-prepared food. I know that I eat less when I'm not feeling rushed. Although I talked about family and friends, this is true for me if I'm alone, too. If I prepare a nice meal and eat it without rushing, I still eat less and enjoy it more.

In a more general sense, I admit that part of what appeals to me about this whole idea of slowing down, as opposed to just slowing down with regards to food, is that I've always hated being forced to rush through things. I like being busy, but not to the point where I can't take time to "stop and smell the roses". I want to enjoy what I'm doing, not rush through to get to the next thing that I rush through to get to the next thing and before you know it, I have no idea where the time went and I hated every minute that's now gone.

I think that's why I'm working on being more thoughtful about how I spend my time. I've been doing too little cooking and too much eating out and quick pickup meals. Part of the problem is other people demanding things from me without advance notice. I know the answer is to say no, but sometimes I can't because they're things that have a time limit.

I'm hoping that by being more thoughtful about how I spend my time will help me focus my attention on the things that matter the most. We'll see if that turns out to be true as I take steps that will allow me to do that, mainly using my calendar more to keep track of the things that matter to me and doing those before the rest of the stuff that often just fills up the time.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


An RSS feed on my Google sidebar came up with an article that linked to this blog post about prettiness . It's a subject I've thought about for a long time. I love the way she puts it--'Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female".' And she says the opposite, too--"You don't owe UN-prettiness to feminism..."

She's talking about the idea that as a woman, we're "expected to" or "supposed to" be pretty. I remember reading comments in fashion or similar types of articles where men said things like, "I felt cheated when I saw a woman with long hair and a good body, but when I saw her face, she was old." Or one who was offended by fat women who wear shorts. I never could express my anger at the idea that I was somehow shirking my duty if I didn't conform to their expectations. I've rebelled against that idea my whole life. I've never liked the idea that I was on display, just because I'm female. I don't think it's my duty to fuel some random stranger's sexual fantasies. It's my duty to be happy with myself and how I look.

Yet, thanks to my shallow, vain mother and a shallow, vain culture, it's really hard to get past that idea. Although, in my last paragraph, I mentioned men, I think it's the women in our lives that make the "rule" most personal. I sometimes wonder if part of the reason I've had issues with my weight aren't related to that rebellion against being defined by how I look. But being fat dosen't prevent me from being defined that way. It exacerbates it. I've known people who think I'm not "good enough" to be friends with because of my weight. Their loss, not mine. It doesn't bother me because they weren't people I have enough in common with to want to socialize with anyway, but it does bother me that people think it's a valid way to choose friends.

I'm not sure that there's a solution to this problem, since it's in part inborn. We're drawn to more attractive people in order to keep the human race going. We all want healthy babies and our biology goes for the most healthy people, which we assume attractive people are.

But I also think that the technology we have has skewed our perspective. It allows us to see people from all over the world, to be able to compare ourselves (usually negatively) with the few who look "right", even if those looks are the result of makeup, dress, hairstyling and a lot of Photoshopping. We see the ideal, and don't see the parade of normal people around us. For an eye-opening experience, look at the portfolio from a professional retoucher: Glen Ferron. Roll your mouse over the ads to see what the models looked like before the retouching. And remmember, the "after" pictures are the ones held up as being "ideal", even though they're complete fakes. The actual models don't even look like that.

I've often thought that we fool ourselves when we talk about losing weight "for our health". It's the "acceptable" reason to want to lose weight because, while our culture puts its stock in appearance, we all know that's a shallow value. And so we pretend not to care so much about it. Yet, even though our health may be affected by our weight, we don't usually look to health improvement as a measure of our success. We look at numbers on the scale, measuring tape around our middles, clothes sizes and what we see in the mirror. When our health does improve, we often think we're still failing because we haven't "lost enough" weight, which is usually defined by how we look.

This post rambles a bit, because it's kind of my random thoughts on various aspects of the subject. I've been facing issues that may or may not be weight-related, so I've been exploring in my mind my attitudes towards food, weight, appearance, health and all of that stuff. I really don't have any conclusions, but it's important to me to figure this out. I was just told that my favorite aunt died last night. She had complications of diabetes and she's the one I seem to take after the most, genetically. I don't have symptoms, but she didn't either--until she was in her 60s. I see a potentially ticking time bomb, even though I've lived a generally healthier lifestyle than she did. And the diabetes is not in a direct line (parent or sibling) to me, but my grandfather had it, so the possibility is there.

Lest this seem like my aunt's death is about me, it's not. I don't grieve in public. And my grief isn't the topic of this post. I will miss her very much. She was the one I talked cooking with. And she was the musical one. We had a lot in common. But I don't want to follow her into an early grave. I hope that doesn't make me seem cold. It's just that I'm not done with life, yet.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Apparently I'm doomed to write in spurts. I have time here and there, but not consistently. Part of that is the nature of both my job and my main hobby. When it's concert time, I have no time. When it's not, I have a bit of time. So, that's something I have to deal with in terms of all of the things I want to do in my life. And this week is a concert week at work. But I hate to skip so much time between posts because when I do that, the few people who care about this blog stop reading because it wastes their time to come here and not have a new post. A dilemma that most bloggers face in some form or other. I'm going to keep trying to post more regularly, though. I enjoy doing it.

I'm gradually getting the house more in shape. As soon as my husband and I get over the cold we both caught, I'm going to unpack the books onto our bookshelves. We've known that getting our stuff out of boxes has to be a priority because looking for stuff is a real time-waster. So, I decided that's my priority around the house and my deadline is when school starts next quarter.

So, I'm mainly working and unpacking these days. Writing and school are still on hold, mainly because the furniture we needed was on back order until after the busy holiday season started. Playing catch up, as usual. It's back to that baby step thing. I have to keep up with it by doing a little bit when I have a few minutes. Those minutes add up. I think my personality gets in my own way, but I also think I can learn to work with it.