Sunday, April 25, 2010

a creature of habit

I am a creature of habit. I go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, read my newspaper every morning with breakfast. I have two cups of tea, no sugar, when I get to the office. I have a routine, and I am comfortable with it. This routine extends to my clothes.

Today I reluctantly parted with a sweatshirt. Nothing special, but I've had it for years. It was nearly worn through in places, with frayed cuffs, and a frayed neck. It turns out that it is irreplaceable. I know this because I just went online to buy the same sweatshirt. Same size, same manufacture, same color. And I couldn't. Because the company that made it, BVD, hasn't made sweatshirts in a decade. Let that sink in. That means I have been wearing that same ratty sweatshirt for 10 YEARS. I started thinking about it. I think I have pairs of shoes that I have had for even longer than that. I put on a pair of slacks for work the other day, and realized I bought them when my son was 4 years old. He's almost 16.

I am wearing my favorite jeans. I have tried for over a year to find the same pair online. And by same pair, I mean, the exact same pair. I comb ebay looking for them. I search other used clothing sites, because I don't want new jeans. I want THESE jeans. And they don't make them anymore.

In my adult life, I have had 7 jobs. I am in the 4th house we have owned in that time. And apparently I have made all those changes in the same socks. Go figure.

Monday, April 19, 2010

black bean soup


1 tbsp. olive oil
poblano pepper, fine diced
onion, fine diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 slices bacon
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
vegetable broth
2 tsp chipotle hot sauce (can add more for extra spicy)

greek yogurt, diced green onion, lime wedges (optional toppings)

heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add diced pepper, onions and saute two minutes. Add garlic, saute another minute. Add bacon and cook another minute. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano and saute 1 minute. Add beans, enough broth to cover beans by 1 inch, and hot sauce to taste. Simmer 10-15 minutes.

Remove bacon slices. Puree soup in pan with immersion blender. Simmer another 5 minutes to thicken.

serve topped with green onions, yogurt, squeeze of lime.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

what I learned on my spring vacation

Today is the last real day of spring vacation. Tomorrow we have to drive home (300 miles or so), pick up the dog, go grocery shopping and get ready for the week.

It's been a really great week. Very relaxed. We haven't done a whole lot of anything, by standard measures. We've had some great meals, watched some fun movies together, walked on the beach, napped, read, hung out, laughed a lot.

Even a week of very little activity can yield insights. A few from this week:

1) time spent with friends is precious -- we really need to carve out more time for this in our day to day lives

2) time spent with my sweetie is precious -- I really really need to find ways to make more time

3) time spent with my son is growing short. He really is on the brink of being a grown up. we've taken these group trips for granted in a way. Next year, we are skipping the beach so we can take a family trip to Rome. The year after that, I think we will be busy doing things for college. Time has flown, it really really has. It only occurred to me late in the week that this might really be his last trip with us this way.

4) never ever agree to check in with work every day. It wasn't worth it. My stress level rose every morning when I had to read and respond to my work email.

5) naps are a good thing. We all need more naps.

6) my problems are small. The ocean is big. [this will be the first chapter in my self-help book, should I write one]

7) I can't drink nearly as much beer as I used to

8) don't skip your vegetables

9) pay more attention to smells, and sounds. There is an infinite world for the senses.

10) good seafood sure makes you feel better

11) Laugh more

12) really good friends are people you can be loud with. And completely quiet with.

That's it for now. I'm going to have another cup of tea, and then walk on the beach.