Thursday, November 26, 2009

Foodie Day!

In which Amanda get a little link happy . . .

As all truly good days do, mine started by sleeping in later than usual. The boys and the dog crowded into the bed for a good cuddle then Shane (aka Dr. C) graciously consented to make us monster pancakes (aka German or puffy pancakes) for breakfast. They are so yummy when made with quality butter that they need no syrup. I also had fresh coffee flavored with cinnamon chocolate. So good. The boys watched several episodes of Redwall while I surfed the web and Shane read the newspaper.

Around 11-ish we went to Liberty Heights Fresh. As we were deciding between capon, duck and rabbit, the dear proprietor approached with a bottle of Brut and champagne glasses. Salud! Shane chose the capon. I chose duck bacon. Together we chose Rossini (wine soaked blue cheese, Valtaleggio, Italy), Stichelton (raw organic cow's milk Stilton, Nottinghamshire, England), Twig Farm soft wheel (Vermont), Tarentaise (alpine style raw cow's milk, Spring Brook Farm, Reading, Vermont), and Tooele Gold (brine aged goat milk, Shepard's Dairy, Erda, Utah). I also selected a wild boar Creminelli and pork Casalingo (Italian salami). E chose baby pears & multi-colored carrots and M chose broccoli & red grapes. We also grabbed real wild rice (from Minnesotta!), deep-dark chocolate bars, anchovies, Christmas beans, cremini mushrooms, cippolini onions, 3-seed crackers, torta de aceite and roman bread. Plus, a lovely bouquet.

We came home and while I cleaned up, Shane prepared a luscious cheese, salami, cracker and fruit plate from our Fresh jaunt, adding Smoked Promontory Beehive Cheese  (Uintah, Utah - just below where I grew up) and honey-crisp apples. Shane and I finished our Castle Creek Merlot (Moab, Utah).

I then perused several cookbooks and magazines for ideas for the wild rice pilaf I was dreaming up. After that Eli and I finally finished our fall wreath (pictures to follow once the batteries for the digital camera are charged). While I was putting the finishing touches on the wreath, Shane realized it was time for Fantastic Mr. Fox. We hurried to the Century 16. Fox was absolutely quirky and delightful. It's the kind of weird movie Dr. C and I adore. The kids also seemed to like most of it. We very much intend to buy the soundtrack.

When we arrived home, Shane & I tackled the dishes while listening to a CD of songs from Studio Ghibli films. When it was time to cook we listened to Peter Gabriel, Secret World Live. Dr. C spread lots and lots of butter on the capon and roasted it on a bed of carrots and green onions, and stuffed it with fresh herbs. I sauteed the multi-colored carrots with the cippolini onions and celery in bacon fat. I then added the crimini mushrooms and fresh herbs. I stirred cooked wild rice into the veggie mixture, then finished the pan with champagne vinegar. Once the bird was done, Dr. C reheated the carmelized chestnuts & brussels sprouts and carmelized turnips, rutabegas & shallots we had leftover from the McPeck family dinner at our house last weekend. Dr. C whipped up some mashed potatoes and buttered brocolli at the boy's request.  The feast was quite magnifique. Dr. C and I enjoyed our meal with Castle Creek Lily Rose White (Moab). After the meal we sipped regular brandy, pear brandy, raspberry liquor, Kijafa, & Gran Marnier (okay, I only chose two of the five). Dr. C also enjoyed an anchovy gin martini.

We intend to eat the duck bacon and potato & onion cakes in the morning. Then it is back to reality for me whilst I grade innumerable papers and wash equally innumerable articles of clothing. I intend to reward myself once I have graded & washed everything with a bit of "buy local day" shopping.

I feel blessed beyond measure today. I am so grateful for all the people who worked hard to bring the incredible food we ate to our table - farmers, ranchers, vintners, harvesters, truck-drivers, grocers, inventors of refrigeration and internal-combustion engines, etc). I am eternally indebted to the agronomists and agriculturalists who came before us, those clever souls who figured out that all these strange things were wonderful food if combined with fire, water, and salt. And of course, I realize that I truly lucked out in the "birth lottery." I cannot say that I "deserve" any of this bounty. My dear M drew a picture of turkey and wrote "feed the hungry" beside it. He showed it to everyone at Fresh. We give to the food bank every week/month (through Winder Farms and my employer's giving program), yet I wonder if we do enough. And then I remember that there is both "never enough" and "enough and to spare" for all of us, every day, not just on this day of thanks.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Lovelier Week

So, the work stress has been high lately. It took me awhile to realize that 85% of the stress was created in my own head. I attacked that source o' stress with a vengeance this week by bringing my journal to work and writing down all my stressful thoughts, then challenging them, a la Bryon Katie. It truly helped. I had so much more energy at the end of the week and was able to be much more present in my hearings. I've also noticed that the relaxation response has kicked in more frequently this week. Several mornings I've woken up in a completely relaxed state - this is truly rare for me.

I had another Byron Katie moment this morning. We desperately needed a new dining area rug and the perfect rug just happened to be on sale (50% OFF) at Kohl's, plus, I needed to pick up just a few more items for our pre-thanksgiving feast with the McPeck clan. I left for the store much later than I thought and I noticed I was stuck in the thought "I have to get everything done before everyone gets there," which was truly stressful. But what got my tearing up was the thought behind the thought - a pre-verbalish thought actually - that my family would not approve of nor love me unless I got everything (i.e. cleaning and cooking) done and that my family would not enjoy themselves at my home unless I got everything done. Questioning that thought was harder but so good to do. I realized that whether or not anyone enjoyed themselves at my home was utterly outside my control - they would enjoy it or not, approve of me or not. I remembered that how people perceive me or feel about me (or my home) is up to them, not me. No amount of cleaning or inspired cooking can make anyone like me, love me, or approve of me, not ever. It's a lovely realization.

I have also decided that the next time I have people over, I shall do the major cleaning the day before, so I won't be tired when my guests arrive. Sleepiness is very rarely conducive to hostessliness.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Time to End the Experiment, Obvs., And Other Stuff

So, one month of barely having weekly posts (Tuesday Ten and Thursday Thank You) was more than enough for me. Turns out I hate having a schedule/deadline for something I intended to do for funsies (who knew?!?!). Amazingly enough I have more than enough deadline pressure in my worklife to impose one on my online life. No more habitual posting for me. This blog will now return to absolute randomness.

In other news, I want to thank my sister for posting about the second anniversary of Mom's passing. I find that I don't want to write about it but I'm glad that Riss did. In some ways I have a better relationship with Mom now. Her spirit visits me fairly regularly and she is so very happy where she is now, I think happier than she was in her body, perhaps because in her last years she was in so much physical pain. As I am dealing with my own persistent pain and lack of energy, I find myself having far more sympathy for Mom than I did when she was here. And perhaps in her present state she is better able to know how I really feel. I deeply regret the fact that Mom was mostly unaware of how much I cared for her during her earthly life. I feel that she is aware now of how much she was loved, not just by me, but by others as well. And is so wonderful to know that Mom is happy. My joy in her healing outshines my grief in her passing.

More newsiness: I'm still working on the habitual anxiety thing. More noticing tension and breathing into it, because talking to my anxiety does not help. At all. My tension seems to be very body-based and I'm finding that only body-based responses have any lessening effect on it. So more breathing, stretching, being still.

I'm also testing out Martha Beck's idea  (well, it might not be her idea originally but she's the person I learned it from) that if you will do one small thing for the most neglected area of your physical space/home, you will find unexpected improvements in your mental/emotional life. I've made small efforts at addressing the mess we call "the library" hoping that in so doing I can work on the anxiety thing from another angle. Beck argues that your home is a reflection of your interior mind. I would agree if I was the only person living here. On the other hand, perhaps the messiness of my home reflects this cluttered mind of mine. Or perhaps its not so much cluttered as full of many ideas and interests. And given that my husband and children are as un-single-minded as I, it's no wonder we have a home full of stuff. Also, I've learned from Martha that I am polochronic, which is my excuse for why it's rarely time to clean up. Tee hee.

I've been re-reading books lately. I find it interesting that I don't react as strongly to the stories/characters as I did the first time I read these stories. Perhaps this change in reactions is due to changes in myself. I'm still parsing this out in my head - perhaps I will write more about this later.

Also, I find myself saying What Tami Said a lot. Her post Fat and happy: Why "The Biggest Loser" loses, which I somehow missed earlier this month, says exactly why I won't watch "weight loss TV" or participate in any kinds of weight loss talk. I know that weight loss is something very, very important to people that I deeply love, but it is not important anymore to me. Which is such a wonderful, wonderful thing, can I tell you? I can get on the scale now and truly not care what it says. No more anxiety, no more pain in my heart that I am unworthy of love because of what my body looks like. I can actually look in the mirror without shame, without feeling deep hatred for my belly, without thinking every part of me should be smaller, firmer, cuter. And I want to stay in this place. So please understand that this is why I will never talk diets or good vs. bad food or fitting into skinny clothes ever again. Because smaller is not better for me and I no longer believe that taking up less space makes me more worthy of living. And thank you, Tami, for this post and for your blog in general.

I think this is enough other stuff for now. In the meantime, thank you to all of my dear friends who read this blog, infrequent though it is.