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The Blandness of Today’s Food

Probably as many of you, I grew up in the Midwest. Where much of our own food was grown and raised within the same area where we lived. I remember that the trucking company my father worked for hauled ‘swinging beef’… that is whole sides of beef suspended from the trailer ceiling. We often were allowed to purchase those sides of beef for pennies on the pound.  We always had a huge freezer chest in every house we lived packed with meat. And a lot of time, that meat was traded for fresh milk from family friends that ran a dairy. We used to take glass gallon containers and trade them for full ones that left sit overnight would have the cream rise to the top. In which we made ice cream and used the whole cream on berries and in coffee.

We also traded meat for fresh vegetables and fruit. One home we lived in bordered a small apple orchard, growing green and red apples that we picked and ate but the bushels. As kids, my brothers and I used to ‘walk beans’ and ‘de-tassel corn’ for local farmers, and used to come home loaded with green beans and sweet corn. And tomatoes, potatoes, peas, carrots, squash… so much more! Pear, strawberries, melons of all kinds and rhubarb. Rhubarb grew wild in one yard that I recall, and us kids would sit under a tree with a small jar of sugar, breaking off a piece and dipping it in the sugar and munching.

Ah, I remember food tasted so good. Even the “processed” food tasted great because food was made with real milk, eggs and butter. The food wasn’t overly treated and processed and it wasn’t made on food factory farms and the animals weren’t over treated with medication and antibiotics.

This wasn’t going to be a post about what’s wrong with today’s farming techniques. What it is about is the lack of taste and flavor of today’s food. I had a craving for those little baby carrots which The Kid was nice enough to run down to the store and buy me and I might as well be crunching on styrofoam for all the flavor missing. Sigh.

I grew – am growing – tomatoes on the deck in containers. I haven’t had a bumper crop, but I have managed about a half dozen small red, ripe tomatoes. And oh how wonderful they taste! I have decided that I am going on a road trip to find some real food. I want corn and beans and peas and carrots and anything else I can put my hands on. I would kill for some fresh, unpasteurized milk and some real, home made butter. And I vow not to come back to this house without farm raised chicken eggs.

Oh and some apples picked fresh off of a tree, so that I can bake a pie that has some flavor! I bought one from Hy-Vee bakery week before last that tasted of cardboard and mush. Other than the fact that it looked like an apple pie, but it did not taste anything like pie that I remember my mother baking.

The one thing my mother did, and did well, was bake. For as long as I remember, Thursdays were her day off during the week and she always baked. Cookies, cakes, pies, muffins, bread… you name it. And between my brothers and I, whatever she made disappeared before it even cooled. She would get so mad at us for eating her chocolate cake before she ever had a chance to frost it! I definitely have a sweet tooth and it is all due to my mother’s baking.

But try finding anything in a store that has any flavor! It isn’t the store’s fault, they just don’t have any ingredients that have any flavor from which to start! Actual bakeries do a little better, but it still doesn’t stack up to what I can whip up in the kitchen given the right ingredients. And I am on a mission to find some!

Wish me luck! I’ll post some of what I find and make. If you live close enough, you’re even welcome to come over and try some.

MacCupcake

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Death, Organ Donation and Life

Not that long ago, I talked about what I would want to happen when I die. No fanfare, no funeral, no notices and tears. I want my ashes scattered somewhere that I’ve never been and have no marker. I don’t want anyone to even be told that I gone, outside those who directly need to know.

But I have to add a few things that I forgot the first time around. First, I need to leave everything I can to those who need it: my eyes, my kidneys, my skin… whatever can be used, I want used. My brain is to go to science so that someone, hopefully, can figure out why my head has provided me constant pain for the past thirty years. But whatever still might work should be reused for someone who’s whatever has stopped working.

I’ve been watching this show about a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. And although I doubt that I will ever be physically able to do the entire trail (its like 2000 miles!), I think I’d like to try to complete a section. That is, once I’ve gotten my knees fixed. I miss spending time in the mountains and at the beach… miss spending time with nature. There is just something inherently “centering” about being in nature. Makes one realize that we aren’t but specks in time and nature.

I’m in a weird place today. Had a fight with The Kid a couple of days ago and we didn’t talk for two days. It resulted in a bit bigger fight last night and I told him to leave. He packed a quick bag and has been gone all night and today. I don’t know when he might even attempt to come home or what we’ll do if he does. Maybe its time for him to really grow up. I think I’ve been protecting him from the world a little too long. The idea was to provide him with a life the complete opposite of mine – but I think it has resulted in him being sheltered and pampered and unprepared for real life. He’s a smart kid and I am sure he’ll be fine. But things have definitely changed between us. For good or not.

MacCupcake

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Yes, Its Another Monday Morning

Damned it all when I am awoken too early by the noise of life going on around me. This morning it is the low tones of an air compressor (painters next door) but often it is the sound of a leave blower or a lawn mower. Of course this is always accompanied by a headache that cannot get better and as the day wears on, it will wear on me. I just cannot start another week this way.

I sleep to white noise but there is something about the pitch or decibels of this machinery that is like a tiny jackhammer rhythmically pounding away at the base of my brain. There is absolutely no way to ignore it and I know that they are behind schedule because of the recent weather and there will be no break in their work for a while. A long while.

It seems lately I have developed a new symptom and search as I may, I cannot find anything like it on the internet. Occasionally, when I stand up and with the first few steps, I “hear” this sound in my head… it isn’t that I am hearing it with my ears, this is a noise from within my head. And it sounds like the noise that would be made if you had four or five coins in your hand and you ‘jingled’ them in your hand. A metallic sort of rhythmic sound. And I can feel something – a lightness in my head or a ever-so-slightly perceptible imbalance – and the suddenly accompanied by a wave of nausea. Only lasts a few seconds – even fractions of a second – but it seems to occur more and more.

I hate that I’ve become this walking cliche of “old people maladies”. I always sort of made fun of my older relatives that when you saw them and asked how they were, they rattled off a list of symptoms and surgeries and pills. I vowed to not do that when I got old, yet, here I am. Well, to be fair, the headaches aren’t a new thing… in fact, thirty wonderful years since I really noticed their presence in my life. Mostly though, I was young and strong and could just “deal” with them. For the most part.

I don’t feel like an old person, although I know that I am. I passed my “middle age” some time ago, although this was the thing that nobody tells you, not really. That you never stop feeling like you and never see yourself as old. But in all honesty, I use my parents as a gauge most days and when they were my age, I didn’t seem them as old. Hell, when I was 20 my Dad was about the age I am now. And I know that he was lively and did things most men didn’t do ten or fifteen years younger!

I think I have just been worn down. Weary of the daily, constant pain. Frankly, I really just want things to feel better or be done with it all. And yet, I am tentatively scheduled for dual knee surgery in just a few months – yes, you read that right. One knee replacement and a week later, the other. I figure that if I get through the surgery and therapy and pain at the same time, I can be on my way to feeling better. Doc thinks its the right thing to do as well. Sigh.

MacCupcake

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It’s All Jeff Bridges’ Fault

For a long time, I have tried to figure out what my “type” was when it came to men. I’ve been able to narrow it down some, but generally speaking, height and coloring really don’t play into it (not much anyway). I’ve dated blondes and guys with brown and black hair, even some gray. They don’t necessarily need to be tall, but should be at least as tall as me. Brown eyes, green, blue and everything in between is fine. They could be professional men or someone who works with his hands or his back. And income never really mattered. But he had to have style… and that usually came with feeling good in his own skin.

Age didn’t seem to be a requirement either. I’ve dated men who were older than me and younger. Sometimes by a little, sometimes more. He didn’t have to be fit, he could be carrying a little extra weight. But not skinny. A man who was comfortable with his shift off. A man not afraid of hard work, both physical and mental.

A man who could look at me. Who could see through any pretense and games. But a man who loved to play games. And take chances. A man unafraid of the world. A man with confidence.

And it would seem, a beard. Or at the very least, a mustache and a goatee. Facial hair was important. How much hair on his head, not so much, but on his face was a requirement. I never really understood this part, as my father and brothers never really worn beards.

Then, last night, watching old movies, it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. Not five minutes into the movie, this handsome hunk appears:

Jeff Bridges Against All Odds1984, I was a young 24 years old and seeing this guy in this movie changed everything for me. He was 35 at the time. The height of a man’s life, I think, where he knows who he is and has some years to back it up. Knows what he is doing, both with his words and his actions, and has purpose and drive. Lives life with enthusiasm and knows what he wants and gets it. Takes it if necessary.

And that beard put him over the top. For me.

And suddenly it all makes sense. This was the man that I have been trying to find all my life… and from time to time have found him. No, not Jeff Bridges, but my version(s) of him. The man that I eventually married. And another man that I also almost married. And maybe about four other men. Including the last one. It was funny during our breakup, I told him that if he really wanted me to stop loving him, that all he needed to do was shave his beard and mustache. Which he did. And I immediately was over him.

Hmmm. Guess it wasn’t really him I loved after all!

Jeff Bridges Against All Odds 3I was in love with Jeff Bridges. Or at least my version of him. The age thing never varied much either… it was always somewhere in the thirties, when a man really starts to come into his own. And from which he lives the rest of his life.

Jeff Bridges Against All Odds 2I guess for me, I will always be attracted to the essence of this guy. It could even be Jeff, he has maintained that rough, gruff exterior and confidence. Alas, it is not to be.

So, I will leave with you with last shot. And I will spend much of the next week or so in this strange and wonderful place where I was oh those so many years ago when I first fell in love. Or was it lust? Whatever it was, it was Jeff.

Jeff Bridges Against All Odds 4Ciao!

MacCupcake

 

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Passion

Yikes! I am remiss in writing on this blog. I guess I was waiting for something to write.

I miss passion. And sex. I was watching an old movie that had the most passionate love scene that really, in most people’s estimates, was very tame. But what was there, what the movie did a good job of portraying, was passion. The way that you might throw your head back when something feels too good, the way your body moves in a rhythm of its own, how you can lose yourself in the warmth and the moment and the way that it just feels oh so good.

To indulge in the sweat and the smells and the heat that bodies generate just from being in close proximity. That touch that almost isn’t that brings a shudder and raised skin when his fingers glide gently along your arm, your leg, the small of your back. When the hours vanish in the blink of an eye, when you breathe together and moan and every little movement is a single note of an orchestra,

As I have gotten older, I knew that passion (and sex) would be less frequent, a more wandering moment than a regular event. The more things don’t work like they should – knees and backs and legs and arms – that make the truly good sex more difficult to have. You never think that in the throes of passion that this might be your last, that once completed, never to begin again. Or how that passion begins so very much before you are ever close enough to one another to touch. To wonder of the thing, of lust and passion and desire. To see him across a room. To lock eyes for the first time. To sense that it is what you want, he wants, and you both want from one another.

Yes, this movie has portrayed this all to well. At least to me. How is this something that has escaped me? Has been too long from me? I think that I may have purposely kept myself from the situations that may have preceded the desire; avoided the disappointment, or inability.

Perhaps I need to change it. Either understand it or stop watching these damned movies.

MacCupcake

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Life is “meh”.

I need something different. I am such a creative person that I will take on anything and everything. Challenging myself is what keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. But when I find that I’ve mastered something, it quickly becomes rote and I lose all interest. Even if I’ve put in countless hours and more money than I care to keep track. In fact, the more money I’ve invested makes it seem more likely to wane in my desire to do it.

This is evidenced by my morning. After priming and painting the ten thousandth piece of furniture, it holds absolutely zero interest. Now, it is more of the necessity to rid my garage of unfinished projects as I round the corner on going back to work and the impending dreariness of the approaching winter. It takes everything in me just to change into my paint clothes and open the garage door.

Sewing and quilting have again, have reached that status. I’ve sunk literally tens of thousands of dollars (or more, I simply cannot Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.44.18 PMbring myself to take a valid inventory) in sewing and embroidery machines and fabric. One might not think that fabric is that expensive, my when you buy as much as I have over the last two decades, it adds up. I can recall making ‘pilgrimages” to fabric stores and easily drop several hundred dollars. Do this ten or twenty times a year multiplied by twenty years and you’re talking some serious dollars. And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when you start talking about the specialized cabinetry, books, magazine subscriptions, and all the sundry ribbons, laces, trims and such. You also are looking at a pretty penny when you consider that I’ve managed to drop several hundred dollars on specialty threads, both for sewing and embroidery. And about that embroidery… now I could go on and on about the monies invested in machines, material and threads.

Yet, I sit in this room and cannot even garner the most basic of excitement. My latest project is to challenge myself by making a quilt of scraps no bigger than one inch wide and no more than two inches long. Like I need any real amount of fabric for this! At least, as I tell myself, I am using some of that investment I’ve made.

There is simply no challenge in any of my hobbies. And without a challenge, I am at a loss. I think it might be why every so often I set my sights on the overseas dream and try to learn the language. But it never seems to move forward much.

I suppose this is why I am thinking I need to go back to work. Even with this and my other blogs, I have lost all interest now that I have “mastered” this too. My other blog has recently hit my 5000th reader. Makes it a mark of success, yes? Ah, the stamp of doom and gloom: mastery.

Sometimes I think I want to just walk away from it all. Simply tie my shoes and walk out the door and never look back. But the über organizer in me always jumps in with the questions: where do I sleep? Where do I go? How do I eat? Blah, blah, blah.

It keeps coming back to me. I’m done. Everything that I have ever wanted to do or try has been done or tried. There lies no more challenges. Especially when you throw in the added bonus of needing replacement knees. I feel like I am almost handicapped, considering walking up a flight of stairs requires planning – I can make it up and down about twice in a day before my knees swell to pumpkin sizes and require heat and/or cold to make the next day bearable. And pain meds.

I think I am just worn out. And done. I think I know why living to this age used to be a minor miracle (and is still in some parts of the world). You just run out of things to do. As I have run out of things to do.

MacCupcake

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