A Moment

Today I was working at my second job.  On Tuesdays, I work at a local quilt shop, general duties, helping people pick out fabric, cutting, ringing up, all the usual things one does in a small retail shop.  I like the job for lots of reasons but one of the biggest is that the customers, other quilters, are almost invariably pleasant, creative, interesting people.   Today was a little unusual because we have a sale this week.  My boss isn’t big on sales as a business model because she says people will just wait till you have a sale to come into the shop and stay away otherwise.  But, we have a LOT of inventory on the shelves and more coming and we need to make some room, so a sale for the next three days is in effect.  It’s 20% off all fabric, but if you buy the end of a bolt, then it’s 25%.  That’s to encourage people to just snap up those small amounts left on bolts to put in their stash.

Around mid-morning a lady came in and wandered around for a while and finally settled on a bolt of red that she wanted to pair up with a blue.  I showed her where things were and she found a blue fabric she liked and pulled that out.  Turns out, she was going for the ends of bolts on both, and there were about 4-5 yards of fabric left on each bolt, so a pretty good purchase, even with a discount.

As I was unfurling the fabric to measure exactly how much there was, we were chatting about it and what her plans were for it, etc.  Being red and blue, of course, I was thinking something patriotic for Fourth of July and mentioned that.

“Yes,” she said, “I make a patriotic quilt every year and donate it to the Friends of the NRA so they can raffle it off to raise money.”

“Oh,” I said, pretty much at a loss for words.

“Yes,” she said again.  “The one I donated last year ended up going for $750!”

I suddenly wanted to grab that fabric out of her hands and tell her to just get the hell out of the store because I was NOT going to sell her anything that could be used to benefit that crazy terrorist organization.  It was really all I could do not to.  My hands nearly cramped up with the effort.

But I didn’t.  First of all, the woman was probably close to 80 years old and second, my boss, who owns the shop, also own guns, although I’m pretty sure she’s not a fan of the NRA, as I know lots of gun owners are not.   So I just smiled and nodded and sold her the fabric and was very happy when she walked out of the store.

“Friends of the NRA.”  Damn, who knew?

Posted in Life, musing, unexpected, work | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Feeding People

If you have read this blog and/or my other incarnation, Grumpy Granny, you will know that cooking has been a big part of me for a long time.  But over the past few years, even before the breakup and my move here, I had become less and less enamored of cooking for other people on a daily basis.

The phrase, “What’s for dinner?” is now more likely to engender anxiety and sometimes even rage rather than excitement or creativity.  Before, with G it became, I’m working, you’re not, can’t you fix your own dinner?  And now, with E, it’s more like, why are you even asking because you’ll just go in there and eat a bag of chips before I get done cooking and then tell me you’re not hungry after I’ve spent hours trying to make something you’ll even eat.

I’m sick of thinking about food for other people, trying to figure out what he will eat that I won’t end up throwing away after a week or whatever.  I really HATE throwing away food, and I’m now past the point of wanting to eat the rest of it myself, even spaced out over a few days and I have very little room for food storage, so unless it’s something I’m really crazy about, I’m not freezing and keeping it.

I believe there are two kinds of people when it comes to food.  Those who may or may not refer to themselves as “foodies” who are (usually) women, and who are involved in feeding their families daily.  As such, they must be constantly thinking about food…what they have, what they need, what dish(es) to fix tonight, this week, this month, when they will be able to get to the store to get things they need and don’t have or things they just want to have on hand.  It’s a daily thing.  They are usually the ones IN the kitchen all the time, so it’s easy to notice when the half and half bottle is nearly empty and jot it down on the list.  But when they’re not in the kitchen and someone else uses up all the ketchup and never says anything, and then it’s not on the list, sure enough, they will get home from the store not having bought ketchup and will need it in the next recipe they make.  It never fails.  They are always planning and inventorying and testing out recipes in their heads and even if they don’t go into the kitchen for an entire day, they can ever really escape its pull.

The other type of person is someone who has simply had food put in front of them their entire lives.  These are, not surprisingly, mostly men.  My father was one.  E is another, for the most part.   He is also someone who simply doesn’t think about food until he is on the verge of gnawing his own fingers off because he’s so hungry.  Why should he think about food?  Someone (me) is always there to put something in front of him.  Because I KNOW what’s in the kitchen and how to cook it, and what he likes.  So, why bother to think about food?  When he first came to live with us, there were a few times where he literally passed out because he hadn’t eaten.  My daughter railed about how he was always stealing food from her room (she and her bf [now husband] kept the “spare” food locked in their bedroom), so after he came to us, we told him he had free reign of the kitchen and he could eat anything we had…put to please let us know if he ate all of it so we could get more.  He pretty much ate nothing outside of regular meal things unless it was the occasional bag of Skittles and, of course, chips.  Even easy stuff like cereal or ramen.  He left it all alone.  And passed out from not eating in a house full of food.  Go figure.

But now, as he approaches 18, I am just tired of it.  I get that he doesn’t really care about food as a creative outlet.  That’s certainly not for everyone.  But everyone, male, female or other-gendered, should be able to fend for themselves in a kitchen, even if it is just ramen, bacon and eggs, toast, grilled cheese and heating up something from a can or nuking something frozen.  I mean, really!

My eating habits and desires have changed radically over these last three years.  I’d rather just have some good cheeses, funky kinds of crackers, and thin-sliced Italian cold cuts with a crisp apple, some olives and pickles and call it good.

I still like to go to the grocery store and wander the aisles, but more and more I come home with bags full of food thinking why on earth did I buy all this stuff?  Old habits are hard to break.

I really can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to living with another adult person who will not expect me to feed her.  Cheese and crackers, here I come!

Posted in cooking, eating, food, new habits | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

My Contribution to Christmas

A couple of weeks ago, I came across this recipe on Twitter from @ontysplate.  I was immediately entranced because it mixed two of my favorite things…pound cake and sweet potatoes.  Since I was already going to my nephew’s for Christmas dinner, and he was going to be doing the heavy cooking, I decided to make this to bring.  Following is my pound cake adventure.  First the entire recipe:

  • 3 c all purpose flour unbleached
  • 2 c butter
  • 1 1/2 c sweet potato cooked and mashed
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar packed
  • 6 eggs
  • 14 oz sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 tbsp butter melted
  • 1/3 c pecans chopped
  • 1/3 c brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
As I normally do for baking recipes, I followed this to the letter with a couple of exceptions.  First, Ty made this in a bundt pan, and put the praline topping in first to bake along with the cake.  I don’t own a bundt pan, so I used my traditional pound cake pan and since the topping wouldn’t cook with the cake, I toasted the pecans in a dry skillet, then added the butter, brown sugar and syrup, brought it to a boil then let it simmer for a few minutes and poured it over the cooled cake.  It hardened to a yummy praline topping and was perfect.  So, regardless of what type pan you have, this recipe will work.
The second deviation was when I was mixing the dry ingredients into the wet for the final batter.  I was using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and it did fine for the first go-round, but this recipe makes a LOT of batter, and I could tell that the mixing bowl was going to be FULL.  So, in the end, I took the bowl off the mixer stand and used my dough whisk:
Danish Dough Hand Whisk / Mixer 11"
to finish mixing the batter.  It worked like a charm.  This is a thick, heavy batter and a regular whisk would be defeated, but the above tool is used for making bread dough, so it was up to the challenge.
I also had to monitor my oven, which tends to run a little hot AND it’s slanted.  Gotta love apartment living, right?  So, I turned the cake around at 20 minutes (very carefully) and checked it at 55 minutes, still wet in the middle.  Seventy minutes in my oven was perfect.
cakedone1 (800x697)
This is after cooling a bit and removing from the pan, and below is after the topping and in the container ready to head out to Christmas dinner:
topping (800x600)
It was a complete hit and I loved it.  The texture is smooth and moist, it’s not a terribly sweet cake, which I like, so the topping really adds a punch.  In addition, you can taste all the elements of the sweet potatoes, the spices and the tang of the sour cream.  This is definitely going to be a go-to recipe for holiday time–or just when I want to indulge in something yummy!  Many thanks to Ms. Ty for sharing this.  Go check out her blog for more wonderful things to make and savor!
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Merry Holidays, Real Quick

It’s been forever and I won’t go into why.  Life is busy, but mostly things are good.  I don’t think I’ve written much about my dive into quilting over the last few years, but here’s a photo of a table runner that I’m about to finish as a gift.  The person has no idea I have a blog, so it’s no spoiler.

runnertopdone (800x362)

That’s just the top, since then, I’ve batted and quilted it and have the binding ready to put on.  In fact, I should go do that now.  Later, anyone who still happens to be reading this…


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My Green Chile

You know how you make your favorite things over and over and over and you just make them but you never really have a recipe?  My green chile is like that.  Green chile is kind of unique to this part of the world–southern Colorado and New Mexico, and like any regional dish, there are as many variations as there are people who make the dish.  I actually first had green chile before I moved here, at a fresh, new Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, where it was served as “pork and green chile stew.”  It sounded yummy then and I haven’t changed my opinion yet.  However, when I moved here, I tasted so many different varieties of the dish that I waited for over a year before I tried my hand at it.  My own version has gone through a number of changes over the years, but for the last several, I have pretty much made it the same way and it has gotten many compliments, so I am now taking it upon myself to actually write down the recipe.  Up until this weekend, I made this in my magic red soup cauldron on top of the stove.  But this weekend, I HAD to make the chile because the meat needed to be cooked, and I didn’t have the time or energy to watch it, so I just threw everything in the crock pot and damn if it didn’t come out just as good.  So, it’s your choice, stove top or crock pot.  The ingredients are the same.  This makes a big enough portion for E and I to have it on burritos or potatoes or in a bowl, etc. for a couple of days.  For larger groups, you’ll want to increase the ingredients.

Granny’s Green Chile

1/4 Cup canola oil
1/4 Cup flour
1 large, thick cut pork shoulder blade steak (or 2 if they are smaller and thinner)
1 medium onion, diced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup of roasted, peeled and chopped green chiles.  For those of you who don’t live where they roast bushels of fresh chile for you in the parking lots of KMart, WalMart, the farmers’ markets, etc., you can either used frozen or canned green chiles, or you can roast your own.  The heat of this chile comes almost entirely from the peppers themselves.  Use Anaheims for mild chile, poblanos and jalapenos for a hotter version.
1/2 can of Rotel tomatoes (you can add more, but this is not a “tomato-y” chile)
1 cube or 1 Tbl Knorr Caldo de Tomate tomato bouillon dissolved in 2 cups of water or chicken stock (stock is better).
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Ground red chili powder (not the kind you use to make “Texas chili” with)
Asian garlic chili sauce (NOT Sambal Olek, there is a definite difference)

Cut the pork off the bone and dice into bite-sized cubes.  You can buy pork cut for green chile, but I like the shoulder blade steaks for their marbling and their flavor.  Put in a bowl with a cover and drizzle a little olive oil over and then sprinkle liberally with onion powder, garlic powder, red chili powder and add about 1 Tbl of the garlic chili sauce.  Stir to coat all the pieces, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  This, and the tomato bouillon is all the seasoning you need.

Roast the chiles or thaw and chop them or whatever you need to do to get a cup, dice the onion and garlic, measure out the tomatoes, dissolve the bouillon on the stock or water, get the oil and flour ready.

Heat a large heavy pot to medium high*.  Add the oil to heat then add the flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn and slowly turns a golden brown color and gives off kind of a toasty, nutty odor.

Add the onions and garlic and stir to coat.  This is the point where you really need to stir constantly because you do NOT want the roux to burn.  If it burns, toss it and start over, you can’t save a burnt roux.  Trust me.  Once the onions have started to soften, add the chiles and tomatoes.  This will put a little liquid into the mix and the roux will start to turn into a sauce.  You can add a little bit of the stock/bouillon mixture if you need to.

After all that has come together, add the meat and stir again to mix and coat.  Once everything has come together, add the rest of the liquid, and then let simmer until done.   You can test for heat or seasoning and adjust as you like.  I don’t add any extra salt because the bouillon has enough for me.  Your mileage may vary.

I like my green chile more like a stew with a good bit of meat.  Some versions are more like a gravy, eaten over burritos or tamales or baked or mashed potatoes or just in a bowl with warm tortillas.  Experiment and find out what you like.

*If you’re using a crock pot, do everything exactly the same and then just “layer” everything in the pot.  I start with the onions, then the chiles and tomatoes, then the meat on top, then pour over the liquid.  Then, I whisk the oil and flour together and put that on top of everything.  I debated adding it, but I was glad I did because, to me, the crock pot makes everything a little watery, and this thickened up nicely.  Cover and cook on high for an hour, then on low for about 3 more hours.  Enjoy!

green chile (640x480)

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So Much Stuff

I hardly know where to begin.  It’s been so long since my last post and so much has happened in such a short space.  Maybe I should talk about some of the things I’ve learned in the last few weeks, a couple of them in the last day or two.  First of all, turning 60 is no joke.  It’s weird.  It’s not that I suddenly feel old and decrepit, but perhaps for the first time in my life, I’m really aware of my physical limitations or potential limitations.  Over the last few months, I’ve been dealing with a health situation.  It’s relatively minor, as long as I stay on top of it, which I’m doing.  I’m currently on a 90-day course of medication that’s supposed to remedy everything (90% chance) and I’ll have another biopsy in October and go from there.  I’m so lucky that Pueblo has such an excellent county health department, because I still don’t have health insurance.  It’s simply an added expense I can’t afford right now.

Which brings me to a second thing.  A couple of weeks after I wrote my last post in early July, my company, or rather, the company that my company is basically a slave to, suffered one of those huge cyber attacks.  I remember it vividly, because I got off work from my usual weekend shift on a Tuesday morning at 5 a.m., and some time later that day was when it hit.  No one could work.  All our hospital accounts were offline and unable to connect.  The master company had been arrogant enough to think that it could “never happen to them” and they had very little, if anything, in the way of defense against such an attack.  They were blindsided.  I thought, well, good timing, I’ve got three days off, surely their IT folks would have it resolved by then.  Nope.  We couldn’t work for over two weeks…and then only a couple of accounts were able to get back online, and one of them was via a very laborious work-around.  That was nerve wracking.  Again, I was lucky enough to have had nearly five weeks of PTO in the “bank” and because of the way the pay periods fell, I only ended up having to use 30 hours, but I think it put the fear of God, or at least unemployment, into everyone.

Since then, my company has laid off close to 60 people.  The accounts are back online and I’m working, but I know the only thing that has saved me is that I work graveyard shifts on Saturday and Sunday and no one else wants those.  I am the new kid on the block on this work platform and otherwise, I think I would have been history a while back.  Not a great feeling.

I’ve been looking around.  I updated my resume to somehow pack 45 years of work experience into a page and a half.  I had two really good interviews with a hospital here in town for a job that I would be perfect for.  They were probably the best interviews I’ve ever given and I was quite proud of myself, since I haven’t had a face-to-face interview in fifteen years.  The second interview was about three weeks ago and I’ve heard nothing, despite assurances that I would hear “either way.”  I’m 99% sure they’ve filled the positions (there were three for the same job), and if so, it’s entirely their loss.  I’ll keep my eyes open, for physical jobs here locally and online.  Honestly, I’d much rather continue working from home, but I would have taken that hospital job in a heartbeat if they had been able to pay what I needed (probably another reason I wasn’t offered it–Pueblo is notoriously low paying).

Otherwise, I’m dealing with an intense period of low energy/no energy, mostly due to the above situation.  For about thirty of the last forty-five days, leaving the house has been iffy due to physical circumstances.  I keep harking back to summer ten years ago, my vision quest, and Camino pilgrimage, and the similar challenges I faced then.  It feels worse now, maybe because I haven’t had to deal with any of that for over five years.  But ONLY five years?  It’s absurd.  Exercise became out of the question.   Obviously, I couldn’t swim.  And yoga, which requires bending over and abdominal contractions, etc., was out.  Even walking, being away from the house (the bathroom) for more than fifteen or twenty minutes, was problematic.  So, I have been feeling my strength and flexibility and endurance slowly slip away.  Is that what it means to get old?  It sucks.  I’m no fitness geek, but I’ve always had pretty good energy, the means and desire to get up and go and do pretty much anything I wanted to whenever I wanted to.

Now, it’s difficult to get motivated to make breakfast.  I know that part of it, right now, is due to the health stuff above.  But I am also coming to realize that perhaps the larger issue is working the damn graveyard shift.  I’m a natural morning person.  In fact, I’m writing this on my day off at five something a.m., after having only four hours of sleep.  I usually only get about four hours of sleep on a work day.  But it’s different.  On days off, I go to bed around midnight and usually wake up around four, so I sleep during the “quiet hours” of the cycle.  Work days, I am up, say at ten or eleven, and am up all day and overnight until five the following morning (when my body really wants to get up) and then I have to figure out how to FORCE myself to sleep four or five hours during the “unquiet hours” and start the whole thing all over again.  Sometimes I try to nap a little before I start work at five in the evening, but that doesn’t always work.

It takes its toll.  I know this shift was a contributing factor in the decline of the last relationship, especially when the ex didn’t think I “did much” because I sat at a computer for ten hours a night and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to dig ditches and clean gutters on my days off.  I’ve (GASP) committed the cardinal sin of gaining weight.  I know that I eat more than I should because my body, craving sleep which it can’t have, will tell me I’m hungry instead.  And sometimes I AM hungry.  At two in the morning, when I’ve been focusing every ounce of energy I have on not making a mistake that will get me fired (because there are a blue million things I have to keep track of on my shift), and all the mental energy that’s going out of me like lightening, I stop and realize I’m starving.  So, I eat.  But I’ve also realized that on my days off, I’m not really hungry during the day, so my whole circadian rhythm has shifted and it’s not an easy situation.  Also, living with E, who is picky and really only cares to eat about once a day, has taken a huge toll on my culinary creativity and desire to cook.  So, more fast food, takeout, etc.  The way I shop for groceries has changed.  The amount of food I cook at one time has changed.  I now gauge a recipe by an 8 x 8 pan instead of a 9 x 13, and try to figure out if either one of us will really eat the leftovers.  This summer, I’ve pretty much only wanted to eat cantaloupe, peaches and corn on the cob, none of which appeal to E.  So, I buy a few ears of corn at a time, a few peaches, cut the cantaloupe up and keep it in the fridge, and buy E the snacks that he wants and I cook a “real” meal maybe three times a week.

Many changes.  Many things to think about.  Many things to not beat myself up about, but I do anyway.  It’s another form of starting over.  After I finish my course of medication, I know I’m going to need to get back into some kind of exercise routine.  I’ve discovered various forms of yoga on YouTube and I love that.  I also cut the cable (even though I still have internet via Comcast), and got a Fire TV box, so now I can stream the yoga videos on the big TV in the living room.  I got rid of my bicycle, so I have more floor space.  I like that a lot.

I’ll keep going.  I’ll figure it out.  I always have and I always will.  This is a momentary bump in the road, but these days, the bumps feel bigger and seem to slow me down more.  Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s the emotional climate of the entire country and the world today.  I don’t know.  There are a certainly more things going on that I have no control over and fretting about that isn’t healthy either.  But some days, I literally wake up and realize what’s going on in this country and who’s “in charge” and I feel like there is a huge weight on me, keeping me from even getting out of bed.  It’s not an excuse, but it’s true.

But then, I have to keep telling myself, I’m here, I’m basically healthy, I have a job, I have friends, I have so many things that others don’t.  I have to keep the focus there and I will.  I am doing my best to stay conscious and aware through all this, to try to navigate everything by staying present.  It’s not easy, but it’s imperative.  Blessed be.

Posted in allow, baby steps, Decisions, fear, let go | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Ritual of Coffee

I started drinking coffee when I was a junior in high school.  It was my first year working at Six Flags Over Georgia, and I worked late on the weekends, sometimes till midnight or even 2 a.m.  Neither of my parents was a coffee drinker.  I did not grow up with a coffee pot in the house.  Nor  was I a night-owl as a teenager.  I took after my dad and rose early, naturally wide awake about five minutes before my alarm was set to go off.  So staying up until midnight or later was different, and difficult, for me.  After the first couple of weekends, on a night when I was feeling particularly bleary, someone referred me to the break room and the coffee pot, that held a rather vile smelling black substance that was supposed to, if not put hair on my chest, at least keep me awake.  Some people drank it black, but I had to mask the age and bitterness with sugar and a load of fake “creamer.”  That was my first experience with coffee.  I didn’t do much better in college.  Where I went to school, you were required to live in the dorms unless you were married, and if you lived in the dorms, three meals a day in the dining hall were included in the tuition program.  Of course there was coffee, in huge urns on the steam tables as you went through the line to get your breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I learned to have coffee with my bacon and eggs in the morning, and there was also an urn of half and half to replace the powdered stuff.  One step up, for sure.  In the dorm, I had the requisite hot pot, and on the few nights I was there to study (most nights were taken up with rehearsal or set building in the theater), I opted for those International Delights instant “coffees” consisting of sugar, flavors and possibly a teaspoon or two of instant coffee.  I didn’t know from drip, brew, percolate, press, whatever.

I don’t really know when coffee became a “thing” for me.  I used to make my first husband coffee in the morning—hot water and a teaspoon full of instant whatever was on sale.  He liked it and whatever he liked was what we had.  I was never able to acquire a taste for instant coffee not mixed with other things.

Later, when I moved back in with my folks, and my mother was working regular business hours and had to get up early (a terrible chore for her), she discovered that having a cup of coffee at slump times helped her get through the day.  A coffee maker appeared in the house and we learned how to use it.  She preferred the thin “brown water” type of coffee and it smelled good when it brewed and I was always happy to have a cup of coffee with her when she wanted it, and later, after my dad passed, and she built a very large deck on to the back of her house, I loved having coffee with the birds and other critters on weekend mornings.  It felt very adult.

A college friend of mine stayed in Atlanta for work after graduation and we often hung out at her house.  Sometimes I would spend the night and wake to the aroma of the richest, darkest smelling coffee I had ever encountered.  When she poured it in my cup, it looked like tar, but once we thinned it nearly one to one with heavy cream and a little sugar, it actually turned into jet fuel. I realized that THIS was the coffee I had been seeking my whole life.  I have no idea now what brand or type it was, just that it was dark and rich and the grounds were oily looking when she put them in the coffee pot to brew.  I tried to make the stuff at home, but whatever coffee we bought never lived up to the challenge.  The grounds were dry, mealy looking, pale and anemic compared to my friend’s.  I despaired of ever being able to make coffee like hers.

Over the years I have come closer.  Different brands, different roasts, different methods.  And of course, now working overnight shifts, coffee is nearly as much a part of me as breathing.  The first new thing I bought when I moved in here was a coffee maker.  I found one with a thermal carafe, with no heat source under the pot.  I love this because the coffee doesn’t “stew” after it brews, but stays nice and hot for a good while…and if there’s any left, I can use it for iced coffee the next day.  However, over the past few months, I have come to make my coffee another way.  I got tired of tossing out coffee when I hadn’t used it all up, and there were times when I just wanted one cup and no mess left.

That was when I turned to my Melitta.  Once upon a time, we had bought one-cup Melittas to take camping with us.  It’s very simple: Set the Melitta on your coffee cup, fold up a filter to fit inside, put in your coffee grounds, boil water, pour over, and voila! One perfect cup of coffee.  You can dump the grounds on the ground, shred or pack out the filter, no muss, no fuss.  I’ve been making my coffee this way now for several months.  A while back, I bought a small sauce pan with a lid and it holds just enough water for about two mugs (which hold more than a “cup”).  Sometimes, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up. Sometimes, I want a cup before I go to bed.  Sometimes, it’s that middle of the afternoon pick-me-up.  But at all times, the ritual is the same.  Run the water in the pan, cover, and turn the stove on high.  Choose the mug.  Pull out the filter.  I use the same filters that fit in the 10-cup coffee maker, but I fold them into a triangular shape to fit into the Melitta, like coffee origami.  Measure the coffee.  I discovered Seattle’s Best Coffee a number of years ago after a long series of trials and errors with other brands.  Seattle’s Best #5 dark roast is the only thing I buy for home use now.  Other people swear by other things and that’s fine.  But SB5 has that dark, rich oiliness that takes me back to the days of jet fuel and friendship and I love it.  Then, wait for the water to boil.  It doesn’t take long because at Pueblo’s altitude, water boils at 203 degrees F.  Did you know that?  Nine degrees is a significant difference, and in no time, the water is simmering, barely bubbling.  I normally don’t let it get to a rolling boil; my coffee doesn’t have to be that hot.  Then, carefully, so as not to get water into the folds of the filter and have it flop over the grounds, I pour the water into the pile of waiting coffee.  Immediately, the aroma wafts up and the mug starts to fill.  I lift the filter cone up and peek in to see how full the mug is. Add a little more water…just a touch more…and then done.  Set the filter cone in the sink, to be handle when it’s cooler.  Sometimes, I’ll even drink it black, but usually comes the stevia and a little half and half.  Then, I’m ready to take my cup of go off to wherever I need to be right then…the computer to work, the breakfast table, or maybe out by the pool for a quiet moment under the sky.  Care to join me?



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A Milestone

On Friday, I turned 60. It didn’t feel like much of a thing, but I wanted to commemorate it somehow. I have a lovely photo of my mother on HER 60th birthday, when I took her out to dinner with several of my friends when I still lived in Atlanta. We had a wonderful time and she enjoyed it immensely. My mother embraced every year she lived. She never shied from telling people her age; in fact, she was proud of it and in private scoffed at women who balked at revealing how long they had lived. I agree. Who cares? Why should women only be “a certain age?” It’s just another way to invalidate our power and our prowess. Men become “distinguished” and women become, what? There’s not even a word for it because so many of us are too busy trying to hide the fact that we’ve been here a while. But this isn’t a rant against the patriarchy, at least not much. It’s about me. I had a pretty good day, even though I had to work. I got lots of sweet messages on Facebook and a card in the mail from the friend who I figured if I got any “real” cards, it would be from her. Thanks, Ginny! 🙂

But the best part was, I got to pose for a photo with my mom. And this is me on my 60th with a photo of my mom on HER 60th. She would have loved to see this one through with me in physical form, but I know she’s having a celebration for me wherever she is.

Happy Birthday to ME!

menmeepsat60 (800x623)

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I have a bicycle in my living room. It’s up on a trainer, on a 30 x 30 piece of plywood so that when I ride it the back wheel doesn’t rub and mess up the carpet (yes, I am a conscientious renter). The trouble is, I don’t ride it all that much, but I haven’t let it become a clothes hanger or a prop for other items (although I will hang damp clothes on it if the dryer doesn’t get them all the way). For the most part it just sits equidistant between my two chairs, directly across from the TV cabinet, waiting for me to get on and ride to nowhere while I watch whatever I might choose.

I think about trying to sell it all the time, but something stops me. I’m not sure what. I’m not crazy about riding it on the trainer, but it’s a nice change sometimes from other forms of exercise. I haven’t taken it out of the house to ride it in the neighborhood for several reason. One, I’ve reached the point (age) where I no longer feel really comfortable riding a bicycle on a public street. My balance and riding skills are  okay, but I just don’t want to contend with traffic at all. Also, even though the streets in my neighborhood are wide and not terribly busy, there are many more hills on this side of town than where I used to live and I am definitely not comfortable on a bicycle on a hill…at least not right now.

I do love riding my bike on the many miles of trails here in Pueblo, but now I live quite far from the ones I used to ride on and it’s not feasible for me to ride the bike there, meaning I would have to transport the bike there by car, and I have a mid-size sedan, not a truck. Which means I would need to buy a bike carrier to put on my car in order to schlep it around. And I’m not sure I would ride it all that much, even if I did that. Sort of buying one more thing to carry another thing around with. And I think, how smart is that?

Still, I hesitate to put it up for sale. I’m not sure why. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to take it to Denver with me, and I know there are always bicycles for sale via the Internet or at thrift stores, garage sales, etc. This has really become a point of angst with me and I feel like I’m going to have to do something one way or the other pretty soon. Not much more than a year left here and I have to think ahead. Walking has always been my go-to exercise so maybe I should just stick with that.

But I do enjoy my bike outside and I loved the feeling of being strong enough to ride up some steep hills in those days when I was training for things. I don’t know. Maybe I should just keep it until it’s time to move and then see what happens.

Universe, help me get clear on this, thank you.


Posted in allowing, progress, routine, self-discovery,, things | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

I Carry the World

I Carry the World

Sitting, quiet.
A moment in the sun.
Anchored firmly to earth,
My root reaches easily
Through flimsy flooring and concrete,
No barriers to life energy.
I seek the heat of Nature,
Connections we too often forget
But never lose.

Sitting, quiet.
I feel the rise of inner flame,
Creativity growing, flowing
Up from the space that
Creates all life.
The sunburst in the center
Illuminates all choices,
Connects the root to crown,
Allowing base emotions to
Emerge as higher actions.

Sitting, quiet.
The roiling work of anger
And defiance reaches
The overflow, finds the target heart
And stops.

I expand.
I fall.
Into the outward burgeoning
Of a heart too immense to burst.
I hold it all.
You, I hold, you.
You, that I love.
You, that I hate but want to love.
You, that I am convinced I can never love,
But must love anyway.
I hold you.
I hold you all in my heart and
My heart is held in you,
Even if you never know it,
Even if you think you have no heart.
You cannot escape it.
I cannot escape you.

This supernova heart will hold everything.
It will hold and hold and hold,
The bursting pulse of love,
The ache of disagreement,
The de-gloving of the soul that is war.
It will hold defeat and ravishment and triumph.

I hold it all.
I surround it.
I grip and cherish it,
Because every breath of it,
Every atom of every molecule
Is what we are and what we are
Is so much more than this.

I carry the world in my heart.

So. Do. You.


Posted in #NotMyPresident, poetry, Understanding, unexpected | Tagged , , | 1 Comment