Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cheese Please

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Most Sundays, around 1 pm you can find me cooking. That is something that most people think I can not do.

Most people have tried my cooking, and they actually have reasons to believe that cooking is in fact the thing I can not do.

The problem is sometimes I think I can. It's not really a problem I have to deal with, as much as the people at Sunday dinner.

My family members have become my test subjects. I never even gave them the courtesy of a consent form. I just serve it and pray no one dies.

There are some dishes I may never live down (or be forgiven for). I may have almost killed a few people with some Cajun Potatoes.

And some that are best not served at all. There was an incident with some brown rice that I actually made people put back because it was so bad.

Every once in awhile, I hit jackpot.

Well maybe not jackpot, but at least mediocrity.

I mean, sometimes what I cook is edible.

Those dishes usually involve lots of cheese. I've found if you smother anything in cheese it's generally well accepted.

Perhaps it is because I follow rules such as that, that I am not a success of the culinary kind yet.

Last Sunday I'm proud to say not only did people like it, but they ate all of it!!

This is actually an accomplishment on two levels, one- they've liked your food, and two- your dish only gets washed if it is empty.

Therefor making something that everybody likes means you go home with a clean dish. As opposed to going home with leftovers that sit in you fridge for a week until next Sunday when you need your casserole dish and have to wash it yourself.

I figure, washing dishes is something I'm already pretty good at, so no need to practice that one any more than I have to.

I'm also slightly ashamed to admit that I think last Sunday was the first one EVER that my dish was washed. So I'm excited to try this whole "cooking things people will like" thing again.

First I think I'm going to have to go buy more cheese.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Clipping away at my stress

Stress: The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living daylights out of some jerk who desperately deserves it ~

Toady I think found the best stress reliever in the world.

I spent two hours, outside, with bugs, and ticks, doing something I generally loath.

I was gardening.

Well before you break out the knitting needles and blue hair dye, hear me out.

I was actually pruning grape vines.

I should mention that this activity is actually as far away from actual gardening that I can get. There has been no planting. Or watering. Or weeding.

Well I was clipping away 1 1/2 foot spruce trees. I guess you can consider that weeding.

The vines have run our property. We havee been tearing them out of apple tress and running them through the chipper for weeks now.

That part I don' t consider gardening. That's actually just general destruction.

It is also the polar opposite of a stress reliever. It's a proven fact that the more time you spend trying to get rid of 100 yr old grapevines, the more they tangle and snag and remind you that they've been around for that long for a reason.

Pruning on the other hand, is tedious, yet insanely gratifying. Like Kinder Surprises, only without the calories. (you may wonder how I can find Kinder Eggs tedious... it is getting the stickers straight, they stress me out, but that's a completely different rant, for another day.)

The vines I've been pruning have been strung up in row, but not much else has been done to them in 70 odd years. Until I got the inspiration that I want to cultivate them to make homemade wine (that is stage two of the stress relief)

It's almost as good as cutting my own hair, only without all the silly walking around like a shorn sheep until a professional fixes it.

In fact, I know just about as much about pruning grapevines properly as I do about cutting hair. I just hack away at what looks dead to me, and try to make it all even.

I should add that my excitement for this new found activity has persevered through two and a half sections of one row.... I have about six more rows with 7-8 sections each left to prune.

I'm considering this as more of a long term hobby, rather than a weekend project.

I also have no clue if all my stress relief is just stressing out the vines. I have to wait until fall to see the fruits of my labor. Or lack there of.

But at least I'm giving my hair a break.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

I am someone you might want to label as klutzy.

As a teen when I played sports I was known as "rough" because I knocked people over in order to get the ball from them.

I let people believe that I was a rough bruiser, because it seemed better than admitting that really i just wasn't coordinated enough to run fast without running into people.

I drop things, I run into walls, I miss doorways, I trip, and I bang my head.

It is not an uncommon event to hear some sort of crash, bang, or the tinkle of broken something coming from my treatment room. My co-workers just take it as a sign that I am still awake.

Amazingly, after that flattering intro, this post is not actually about me hurting my self. It's about the particularly unfathomable fact that I have NOT hurt myself yet.

Every morning.. at the crack of dawn ( well okay at around 7ish) our dog wakes us up.

By us... I mean me, as he as found that my better half won't actually get up early unless the house is on fire.

So the dog has given up on him, and only now comes to my side of the bed, sniffing, and barking and jumping until I manage to roll out.

I haul on my clothes and jacket and head outside hop on a bicycle that I have tied my dog to and we take off at break neck speed.

I am proud (or perhaps more importantly relieved) to say, that I have not actually broken my neck (as of yet).

I credit this mostly to god having a little pity on me, but also to my amazing ability to sense when the dog is about to drag me into the ditch, and scream bloody murder to avert it.

I have come to realize this is not some sort of outer body canine-whisperer talent that I have. I am not even close to being Cesar Millan, I don't have the cute accent, or the tight pants.

Nor do I have lightening speed reflexes (ever played "knuckles"?? not with me you didn't, because I learned my lesson the first time, I just can not win). I've simply realized that it's smarter to watch the dog, than the road.

Keep my eyes on the goal, and the goal is to keep the dog from dragging me sideways into a ditch after whatever fast moving object sparks his interest.

If I spent all of my energy looking for things that could steer us off course, I would probably worry over the wrong things (a neighbors barking dog) and miss the important ones (five deer in the ditch across from the neighbors driveway that the dog was barking at).

Take your eyes off the goal and you loose your focus (or in my case my ability to walk without crutches).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Life's work

I work to live, I don't live to work.

Sometimes this is a hard one to follow. ( Something in life are easy to recognize, but hard to understand and follow... sort of like Tom Cruise on Oprahs couch)

It's probably one of the best mantras to have about life. Yet we all seem to forget that getting up and making mo'money sometimes gives us mo'problems. ( Okay, I'm going to laugh at that joke all by myself I know... but I just couldn't resist a good Not. B.I.G. reference.)

I'm not by anyway implying that I work so much, or make so much money that I have every brother in the neighborhood asking to borrow money.

My point is, I make enough to pay my bills and afford a few luxuries in life, and sometimes I have trouble remembering that that should be sufficient.

That I don' t have to spend every waking breathing moment trying to become more successful, and spend every spare dime that I have into improving my business.

That working 24/7 may make my bank account larger, but that bank account is useless if I never have time to spend it. Or worse that I end up spending it on medical bills to recover from all the working.

There was a study once ( I can't actually quote it, since I have a shorter attention span that fruit fly with advanced ADHD). I don' t remember all the details, but the point was, once you had enough money to cover the basics, making more didn't really make people any happier.

In fact, once they made significantly more, they actually were less satisfied than their mediocre neighbors.

To sum up, yes maybe the Joneses have more shiny things, but those people who aren't trying to keep up with the Joneses are actually the ones most content with life.

That's because they are sitting and relaxing on their $10 lawn chair enjoying a cold beer, while the rest of us are staring at our $50 000 pool wondering how we're going to make the payments, or driving by our neighbors $50 000 pool on our way to work on a Saturday morning to try and buy a $60 000 pool for ourselves.

Am I getting to preachy??

Has that ever stopped me before?

I bring all this up because I've spent a lot of time trying to balance making enough money to put a roof over my head (shout out to the NDP for putting taxes up and making that roof more expensive) and spending time with friends and family under said roof. (Yea I know I don' t actually have a roof yet, but in theory I should in about six months).

I also spend a lot of time defending that balance. To friends who don't understand why I don't answer my cell phone between 9 am and 8 pm ( For some odd reason not many clients want to pay me to take personal calls).

Or to clients who don't understand why they can't get a pedicure on a Monday, or at 9 am, or at 7 pm. ( Toenail polish is very important to some women, and we can all accept that the emergency rooms need to close to give the doctors time to sleep, but your local nail salon is expected to be open on demand).

The only thing harder than finding that balance, is trying to keep it while people who don' t understand try to knock you off course.