The C’s, One More Thing (Only Me)

I made it back to my home desk an hour later than planned. Luckily, I have a thick vacation bank and sometimes the energy to flex an hour or so longer to find a clean place to stop.

Sliding into my seat, I felt the death-glare before I located the source. Gray cat on a gray carpet throwing laser beams. I apologized to HBlu, again, but fore-warned him. “We’re going back. Because, I love you. Amendously.”

While I was trying to figure out a prioritization balance between what needs the most attention and what seems most urgent, my phone flashed in a weird disco-ish way.

Two calls at once. Quite the anomaly for me. Ringer one was a colleague. The other was the vet’s office. I took the coworker call. At the end of our brief check-in, the vet called, again.

The caller asked me to go take a look at Harley Blu’s med that we’d picked up at the visit. She aske if HBlu’s name was on the bottle. It wasn’t. There was name there, but it was followed by ‘canine.’ It had already been determined that the medication contained was the correct one, but I compared it to the pills left from the last Rx and confirmed that for myself, as well.

I was asked if I could bring them back, because one of the prescriptions given was a narcotic and they needed to correct the owner’s names for their dispensary records. I explained that I had been one of the front-row right-outside-the- front-door sitters waiting for a jump and had already dropped my car off to be examined.

Oddly enough, the other car with the canine got my label and I got theirs. Maybe our difficulties were some sort of cosmic delay so that the office could notice their problem while we were still there. If so, the universe failed us, all.

But, that’s not the important part. Or maybe it was, because it became a catalyst for this revelation.

I’ve mostly adjusted to the odd and unusual situations I find myself in.

I think there’s a pre-programmed, mental-shrugging mechanism that becomes active in over-accepting, mid-life minds. I mean, by the time you’ve heaved over the hump, you’re aware stuff goes wrong and freak outs aren’t really worth the effort, anymore.

Quote for the Week:

ps. amendously isn’t a real dictionary word. It is, however, a 100% original Knabbler word.

That’ll Be Easy. (A Crafter’s Saga.)

I love Thanksgiving.

It’s fall and comfort food. It’s a chance to be more consciously thankful, and people seem to be happier in general. Yes, there’s a connection there – between those two things.

The pride of my yearly crafting is my Thanksgiving card design. I spend the whole year thinking and looking at art trends. I toggle between simple and elegant and more complicated mini master-arts. I only call them that because each of the 25-30 cards I make each year is similar in style, but 100% an original like no other.

Sometimes my choice of action comes down to time and how much I have or don’t. Depending on how early or late I decisively decided to commit to a card and how complicated my choice is.

Breaking a card down into pieces helps determine the order of preparation and assembly. Early on I learned that gluing all the pieces together for each card individually takes way more time than an assembly line approach.

This year’s card was no exception. I decided to multi-media for a more impressive pallet.

Then, I played around with supplies on hand, measuring if there was enough of everything to create a full 30 or if some number would end up with slight back-ground, frame or brad variations. I miraculously came close to using one specific set of stock. I rationally suspected I may have a few shortages, but the likelihood of someone in one state sharing their card with someone they don’t know in another state assured me that was going to be ok.

I always over-cut, over-stamp, over-fold, in case of slips, skews, and off-pattern veering. And in case I forgot any new recipients I might have acquired over the past year.

Assembly would be straight forward once I established my steps and prepped my foundations.

  1. Determine the length and width of the fabric first layer, cut 34.
  2. Determine the length and width of the second paper frame layer, cut 34
  3. Determine the length and width of the inked third layer, create 34
  4. Fold and background ink 34 cardstock cards, assuring 34 size-match envelopes are available.
  5. Gather 68 brads knowing some will be of similar shape and size, but likely different colors.
  6. Punch 260 leaves, projecting 8 per card.

Pleased with my planning, I pronounced what all experienced, yet still unwise crafters (incredulously) proclaim at the beginning of any project.

“Great! That’ll be easy.”

Quote for the Week:

Stay Safe Home Mode

My Foodsaver  and my freezer are my god-sends. So much so, that I truly believe I could go another 3-4 week in Stay Safe mode.

Not quarantined, not anymore self-isolated than usual, it’s pretty much just business as usual for me, except for the shortened commute.

Working from home has taken some getting used to. I’ve always imagined that I’d love it, and I do. The thing is, I imagined it with better equipment.

Downsizing from two huge monitors at work to my tiny laptop has been a challenge. My mini mouse requires a lot more maneuvering. Although, I’m not sure why since I’m sliding over a smaller surface.

My micro set-up unfortunately lends itself to completing one task at a time. I’m more of the handle-it-right-now-if-possible type. Too many windows can be a bit too much for my 5-year oldie to handle and too many layers for me to keep track of.

HBlu’s noticed that opening and closing files to limit electronic desktop clutter requires a lot of clicking.

At least, that’s how I’m interpreting the increase in those huffy cat-sighs while he lounges in the office recliner. Honestly, though, he might be sighing in the lounger because I wouldn’t let him squeeze into that small spot reserved for my mouse and pad. I cleared off the whole other 2/3 of the desk for him. But, no. He must occupy that corner.

Anyway, the point is, still working full days.

Don’t have any more free-time than I had. My 10-minutes-on-a-slow-day roundtrip commute gives me 5 extra minutes in the morning.  Plus, another whopping 5 in late-afternoon.

Still, somehow, I’ve been managing to get up 30 minutes earlier than norm. I made in onto the treadmill 4 out of 5 days before work my first week. A trend I plan to keep up.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve cut down on unnecessary glamour. (wink, wink.) Mascara and lipstick-free isn’t as freeing as I imagined. Being truly comfortable, however, is.

I’ve uniformed into jeans and a t-shirt; a comfy sweater and no-shoes sock-footed feet. I do wear my trusty Fitbit to remind me that good leg circulation is just as important at home as it is in the office.

My super cool two-person office desk has been used more this month than all of last year. Face it, we all sofa and laptop when we can. But, real desk work requires, well… a desk.

Sturdy good-posture invoking chairs have been inspirational. Early morning pre-work workouts admittedly encouraged by the “Gee, shouldn’t these chairs be a little wider in the thighs?” question the slightly sore sides of my legs are asking. It’s really more about the shape and style of the chair, as opposed to, you know an actual ergonomic office chair.

The most repeated online advice for home-bound, self-protective or mandated work-at-home isolation has been to stick to your normal routine.

That’s good advice. Get up, get showered, get dressed, go to work.

My personal advice? Loud music will help you ignore the 4+ hours of springtime edging and weed-whacking, whine and buzz in your neighborhood.

Lessons on Working From Home:2020 03 31 working from home lesson 1 music jakorte2020 03 31 working from home lesson 2 jakorte

ps. recessing from my year of  memories. just seems now isn’t a good time to add to the sadness.

Pre-Step, Step

I continued my deliberately slow crawl toward Ketogenics, and crashed into convincing.

Third Step: Entice myself with palatable recipes from the marvelous world of internet recipes and Instagram using the helpful, happy hashtag #keto. It was so easy I almost don’t remember pre-internet. Oh, I have a vague recollection of taking the train to the Boston Public Library because whatever I was looking for couldn’t be found in the high school library. Of course, I used the opportunity to visit record stores and Quincy Market, too. The web kind of negates those opportunities. I mean you find what you’re looking for and you’re still on your couch.

Anyway, to my delight, I almost over-dosed on pictures of possibility; smorgasbords of scrumptious. From click to click, most everything looked excitingly edible. Jalapeno Poppers are Keto? Ok! Cheese stuffed chicken? Ok! Ricotta Pancakes with blueberries? Ok! Coffee Bombs? Umm…ok. Kale & Collard greens, well, probably not… but that was ok!

After much gleaning and self-reason, I reassigned this lifestyle to ‘maybe.’ If, I ease into it. Quite a few of the sites warned against the gentle-in approach, but the big leap just wasn’t fathomable.

Still, I decided to take the next logical step for me: Follow multiple easy steps agreed on by numerous sites, which actually means after dilly-dallying, I’d be back at the recommended start of my journey.

Easy Step 1: Choices were deplete cabinet full of food by wasting or deplete cabinet full of food by eating.

My choice? Re-home as much as possible, and then, do a little of both of the above.

From the cabinets, give-aways included: quinoa, lots of individual packages of nuts (with corn solids), canned soup, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned and jarred tomato sauce, pickles, dehydrated potatoes, many forms of pasta and rice, baking mixes, cake mixes, muffin mixes, packaged seasonings, packaged dry soups, a wholesale store sized tub of window pane pretzels, salsas, unopened jars of jelly, tortilla chips, microwave popcorn and popcorn kernels and Pirate’s Booty, crackers, canola oil, vegetable oil, and low-fat everything – salad dressing, mayonnaise, imitation butter in various forms.

It was a little hard to let go of my jar of Ms Renfro’s BBQ sauce, as it’s a rare one that does not contain pineapple. Bottled wing sauce was another struggle, but knowing I could create my own keto version helped.

Remnants of a near empty bag of Christmas cookie flour and a half-eaten jar of peanut-butter made the toss along with some surprisingly expired canned goods.

There were a few items tucked away into an emergency stash….

Quote for the Week:

2017 12 05 overwhelm is easily negated jakorte

 

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Processed Foods: Good ?

Processed Foods: Good ?

Processed Foods: https://bodyecology.com/articles/hidden_dangers_of_processed_foods.php

Canned

Our salsa garden lead to lots of salsa and experimentation. Skow’s organic farm in Adrian was a frequent stop. We’d pick up extra tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and whatever else looked good. Jeff’s frequent visits lead to a friendship, because, well … Jeff!

At least once a week I’d head over there with Jeff. We’d pick fresh produce and Jeff would make “Summer Slop.” For sure not the most appetizing name, but it was wonderful. It began with bacon or kielbasa and continued with the addition of zucchini, onions, tomatoes, garlic, green beans, peppers hot and not, eggplant, spinach, corn – whatever was available was included in the pot. Fresh grated parmesan topped our plated mounds of delish. 

Frequency and the friendliness became the basis of many long nights of culinary weirdness. Near the end of the day, Jeff would swing by the farm and he and Mr. Skow would come to an agreement about the leftovers.

Once it was a plethora of green beans which took us about 6 hours to clean and snap. The fruit of our work resulted in the most amazing canned goods which lined that self-assembled cabinet in the laundry room. There were 10 quarts of beautiful Italian bean, and 6 quarts of experimental green beans spiced with Hungarian peppers and dill. Jeff made up that recipe on the spot. They were fantastic and fantastically addictive. I playfully created labels for both types of green beans and cheekily dubbed his creation “Pick-a-Dilly Beans.”

My New Yorkers, East Coasters, Tennesseans and perhaps even a few Michiganders are probably giggling about the incongruous picture of city-me this creates, but that was nothin’ really.

We canned stewed tomatoes, crushed Italian spiced tomatoes, tomato juice, carrots and salsa. But, by far the most memorable to us and our Adrian neighbors is the time Jeff and I shucked over 80 ears of corn in our driveway, mostly in the dark.  I arrived home after work early evening and discovered I was unable to pull in. Rows of bins, and Jeff in a lawn chair blocked my way. He explained he thought he’d be done by the time I got there, but had apparently misjudged the amount of end-of-the-day corn he’d bargained for.

I changed my out of my work clothes and joined him and before we knew it, it was dark. Streetlights popped on and I ran into to turn on the inside office lights on that side of the house hoping it would cast a bit more light. With my hand on the un-flipped light switch, I naturally glanced outside. It was a messy scene, and I figured when we were done, we were going to have a heck of a lot of clean up.

Even with his back to me, arms pulling and ripping, tossing first-stage cleaned ears into bins, I could tell Jeff was truly happy. It was quite a picture, and one I’d wish I thought to take. But, the memory and my grinning chuckle remain.  

PS – we were out there ‘til midnight, rinsing with the garden hose and hauling full storage bins of corn inside. The next morning, I wandered into the kitchen to find Miss Fred crouched on top of a pile, feasting on an ear of corn. She was a weird little cat, but then again, who were we to judge? 😉

Quote for the Week:

2017 09 19 There is no better way to love than to learn jakorte 

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Can It: Preserving

Jarring: All About Them

All Recipes: Galore