Tag Archives: life

E is for Earl’s Pancakes

I did not know I had so much to say about my parents before I started this blogging challenge. EFunny how things just come out sometimes.

Earl was my dad. I got my belly laugh from him. And my sturdy calves, at least according to my sister.

I don’t remember Dad cooking a whole lot. I know he would come home late from shift work at Benson Mines and eat milk toast or sardines on crackers. I know he had a fondness for creamed chipped beef on toast, also known as Shit on a Shingle, but I don’t know that he ever cooked it for himself.

But Dad was famous for his pancakes. The sweet aroma of the cakes on the griddle mingled with the seductive scents of frying bacon and brewing coffee (and, most likely, cigarettes). There was no greater sense of contentment, as a child, than lying on the front porch, warm in the sun, reading the Sunday funny papers while pleasantly full of pancakes that had been smothered in maple syrup. (Real maple syrup was a right, not a privilege.)

If you want to recreate that Sunday morning euphoria, I’ve included the recipe. I haven’t made them myself with bacon fat, but that’s a challenge I’m willing to accept. They’re much better than any boxed pancake mix, and I’m fairly certain I’ve always added too many blueberries. That’s my approach to life: too many blueberries, why not?

pancakes

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D is for Dog

I am not what you would call a dog person. I like dogs the same way I like children–a lot of them are swell, and a lot of them are assholes who don’t know how to behave. D

A couple of years ago, when Thing 1 went off to college (and I cried half the way back from Kansas), Thing 2 was able to persuade us that she should have a dog. Not just any dog, either. A friend’s family had adopted a dog that a neighbor was neglecting, but the friend’s mom decided four dogs was too many. Can’t say as I  blame her.

That’s how this furball named Eevee came to live with us. Isn’t she a pip? For those who are curious, EV2she’s half Chihuahua and half German Shepherd. And I WASN’T THERE WHEN SHE WAS CONCEIVED, OKAY? If you want to speculate about dog copulation, do it on your own blog.

Eevee is a magnificent creature. Every person who comes through the door is, she is certain, her best friend ever. She’s wicked smart, a fabulous cuddler, and a ferocious bed hog. How can a 15-pound animal command the center third of a king-sized bed? She’s even forged an unholy alliance with the cats, and recently tried to get in the mailman’s little truck with him.

The best part of most of my days is walking this dog. She’s eager to be out the door, and she’s down the sidewalk at a brisk trot, head up, ears up, tail up. She’s looking at everything, sniffing all the interesting smells, and she trots along as if she has a very important meeting that she doesn’t want to be late for.

She is excited for her walk every single time. It doesn’t matter that we’re going to walk the neighborhood, not some exotic new locale. She leaps into every day as if it’s full of exciting, fresh possibility. Everything is greeted as though she’s seeing it for the first time. I’d like to learn how to do more of that myself.

Bonus: my favorite photo, because of the grin.
EV1

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Always Learning

Here I am on Day 20 of the Whole 30 program, and I haven’t lost my mind. Yet. There’s still time, I suppose.

I’ve learned a lot on this journey so far.

1. It’s ridiculously easy to make your own mayonnaise. Takes about a minute if you have a food processor.

2. I still don’t like mayonnaise very much. Although homemade is supposed to be a fabulous treat, I’m still not a mayo gal. Although I may try again and jazz it up with more flavor, such as adding some grainy mustard, roasted peppers or roasted garlic to the mix.

3. It’s ridiculously easy to make your own sausage. If you can buy ground pork at the grocery store, you can make sausage in about a minute. Maybe a little longer if you have to search for the measuring spoons. The basic recipe would be marvelously easy to tweak, to make it spicier or add more sage. I used a pound of pork and a half-pound of ground turkey, and was extremely satisfied (read: smug) with the results.

4. Coconut aminos are really not a fabulous seasoning. While they are better than nothing, I’m not crazy about them. They taste watery and weak to me, light the Ghost of Soy Sauce Past. I’ll continue to use them over the next 10 days, but this is not an item I’ll use voluntarily in the future.  Bragg’s Liquid Aminos are another story, though.

5. Food boredom is a real thing, although not every is afflicted with it. I can eat the exact same breakfast two days in a row with no problem, but by the third day I start feeling wriggly and hampered. On the fourth day I wonder why I hate myself so much.

6. Even the lactose-intolerant can get cravings when walking through the deli section of the grocery store. I wanted to sniff all the cheeses, but feared this would lead to licking the packages, so I just motored on by.

7. It is possible to miss oatmeal. I found a fabulous breakfast that Joe and I both really enjoy, and I can’t wait until the 30 days are up so I can try it with oatmeal instead of coconut.

8. There’s a whole lot of flossing going on. Between all the meat and all the veggies, it’s a wonder I have time to do anything else.

If you’ve ever tried Whole 30, I’d love to know what your experience was like. And if you love coconut aminos, please tell me why.

 

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M is for Muck

Because we all have some, somewhere in our lives.

The difference is what we do with it.

You can get right down in your personal muck and really wallow in it. You can smear it on your face, let it fill your ears and blind your eyes, you can stuff it up your nostrils and inhale until it taints every single breath you take. You can let it fill every wrinkle in your skin and every crevasse in your soul. You can fill your navel and gaze infinitely into the muck.

On the other hand, you could show that much who’s the boss. You can refuse to look at it, think about it, talk about it, hear it, smell it, taste it. You can pretend nothing is or ever was staining the soles of your feet or dappling the hem of your trousers with darkness. You can shove that muck so far down that it will never see the light of day, and nobody who ever meets you realize you even know the meaning of muck, much less had some in your life.

Either case is equally sad.

Muck is one small component of what makes us who we are. We’ve all had some crap somewhere along the line. Our hearts have been broken or we’ve broken a heart. We’ve been disappointed, rejected, fired, let down, lied to, mislead, robbed, raped, beaten, starved, overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, ignored, accused and just plain bothered. But just because you’ve stepped in the muck, or even lived in the muck, doesn’t mean it has to define you for the rest of your life.

You could cling to that foul-smelling darkness and use it as a crutch. You could use it as a framework for your whole life. You could build complex, elaborate defensive structures of muck, keeping you perfectly safe from ever taking a chance or pursuing a dream.

But why would you?

On the other side, you can pretend nothing bad has ever happened in your life. That also means nothing real has ever happened in your life, and you’re going to come across as having all the depth and personality of a paperclip. It’s called repression, people, and it does not do a body good. Pretending like this makes you brittle and jumpy, easily frayed and defensive. Not only do you need to construct this whole new reality for yourself, but you need to convince the entire world that your reality is the one true reality. Anybody who remembers things differently must be wrong, they are mistaken, they are dirty liars, they have an axe to grind–they must be dismissed or discredited.

Doesn’t that sound exhausting?

Muck.

You could wrestle yourself out of the slime and then lay down a board, so the next person on the path has an easier time. Or you could warn someone of muck ahead, show them the stains, diagram the secret path around it or the shortest course through it.

It’s your choice what you do with your muck.

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