Something about an impending recession really gets me going. I find it inspiring. Like some secret, hidden survival mechanism kicks in and I snap into gear, leaving behind my lazy ways and finding new strategies for lean and mean survival.
In that vein, I look for health, wealth and wisdom.
On the health front, the first ingredients for the magic potion are beginning to arrive. Oh, la la!
I'm always looking for ways to up the nutrient density in our meals. On order at the library is The Sneaky Chef, all about sneaking veg puree into standard American diet kid food. There have to be some useable ideas. I'm also haunting the Fat Free Vegan blog for inspiration. It tends toward the sweet, but there are still some good ideas. She hangs out at Tigers & Strawberries and then veganizes the recipes, which makes me think I should give the source some perusing as well.
On the wealth front I'm brainstorming: alone, with T, with Mom.
I find the ideas at the 4-Hour Work Week compelling, but have to admit glancing at the book might be helpful, so it's on call at the library, too. I'm looking at it with both an open mind and a grain of salt. It's an important thing to be able to try things on but have the discernment to toss what won't work in your world.
Also, to reduce temptation, I'm thinking paying someone like GreenDimes to free me of catalogs and credit card offers might be worth it. And they plant trees to boot. I love trees. I don't care if they're on some green religion mission, if I like the service--less junk, more trees--why worry about the details?
T's latest pick is Rule #1 Investing. There are some great tools on the blog. While it's tempting to skip to the nitty gritty chapters in the book, I'm trying to at least skim the ones preceding because I think the pep talk and background have value.
And Mom's on her way over now to brainstorm our online business idea so we can do the SCORE workshop in Dec.
And on the wisdom front, I'm still working on my FGCU application.
I'm trying to keep my eyes open, not worry too much about inflated oil prices leading a national/international recession, America deciding for some reason that means we need Hillary, and keeping venting to a minimum.
Speaking of venting, you know the "mind the gap" woman on the London tube? She's done some spoofs of announcements. Some are pretty funny.
Friday, November 30
Something about an impending recession really gets me going. I find it inspiring. Like some secret, hidden survival mechanism kicks in and I snap into gear, leaving behind my lazy ways and finding new strategies for lean and mean survival.
Tuesday, November 27
The remainder of the snapper was begging to become a stew, so this is what I did.
In a large soup/stew pot saute:
2 T EV Olive Oil
1 med/large, chopped onion
1/2 to 2 sliced serrano chilis, depending on how much heat you like
When onion is clear add:
finely chopped carrots and celery, half the quantity each as there is onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 T chopped, fresh tarragon
When really hot, but not browning, add:
1 c. dry white wine
While that cooks down, separate all of the fish from the bone, in our case roughly three small snappers and the lemon slices and leeks they were stuffed with, reserve the meat, put all else in a medium pot with a carrot and some celery, a few unpeeled cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, some parsley (1/2 bunch fresh or 1/2 T dry). Boil until garlic is tender. Top up liquid if needed as it cooks.
When the liquid is gone from the onion mixture add:
three 14.5 oz cans chopped tomatoes
enough water to make a decent amount of broth
peeled, chopped boniato (or two large potatoes). Keep the pieces pretty big. The boniato is heavenly with the snapper, so use it if you can.
Your stock should be doing nicely, add it to the tomatoes once the garlic and carrots are really tender. Strain it into the big pot, pour some more water over and do it again.
Once your boniato is tender, but not falling apart too much, add:
the reserved fish
another T of fresh, chopped tarragon
It shouldn't need salt, but check it.
Sunday, November 25
Well, it's official. We now, finally, have a real website for our business (there's even a picture of us, gasp!). And the joke is ever since Mom and one of the priests at church prayed for us to get some work so we could make it, the jobs have been flooding in. It actually is sort of crazy. In fact Mom asked if the priest could now tone it down a bit.
We went out on the Double Sunshine tour boat today for sunset, from Tin City, treat of the grands for T's birthday, and saw Port Royal from the water side (woo, woo) and a pretty decent sunset. The mangroves were gorgeous, and the air was unbeatable! Baby was a bit of a handful, but she did it. It was good, corny fun. I loved being on the water. T and I need to get on the kayak before I'm too pregnant and it's too cold. That would mean pretty soon.
Note to self: Amish eggs--good; Costco eggs--not so much. Especially in the morning. Ahem.
Another note to self: take computer off of kitchen table and find life again.
Last note to self: the week is going to start with or without you, maybe give it some thought.
Thursday, November 22
Happy Thanksgiving! We're doing it Caribbean style, but with a few basic usuals on the side.
Royal Red Shrimp on fire pit with Garlic Butter Sauce and/or Tomatillo Sauce
Fresh Tortillas for Shrimp Tacos
Blue Corn Chips & Fresh Guacamole
Mexican and Oaxacan cheeses
Lettuce, Onions, Tomatoes, Serrano Chilis
Yellow Tailed Snapper with Garlic, Leeks and Lemon on fire pit
Grilled Vegetables served cold: Tomato, Garlic, Sweet, Cuban and Poblano Peppers, Yellow Squash, Onions
Almond Lemon Rice with Cilantro and Black Mustard Seeds
Red Leaf Salad with Lime, EVOO, Garlic, Mango, Pumpkin Seeds, Pomegranate Seeds and Serrano Chilis
Fried Maduros (ripe plantains) with Tamarind Sauce
Mashed Boniato (a potato-like root)
Spiky Chayote (like green squash) with Tomatoes, Nopales (cactus) and Cumin Seeds
Cranberry Sauce with onion and pear
Cornbread Stuffing, maybe with sausage and peppers
Simple Gravy, maybe with a splash of Madiera
Mole Sauce (a spicy Oaxacan chocolate sauce)
Key Lime Pie
And away we go! Get cookin'!
Oh, wait, the thankfulness part! We like to go around the table and let everyone say a little something they're thankful for. But it has to be brief. So here's something more of a list.
My amazing husband
Our so-lovely-it-crushes-me children and this pregnancy (while remembering those who are trying)
My Mom and all of our family, our friends
Our health (while remembering those who are suffering today)
Our cozy home, full fridge, beautiful location, work, pets, the internet, oh, you get the idea.
May God bless you and keep you on this and all days.
Wednesday, November 21
Did I mention I hate MLMs?
Okay. The osteopath/chiropractor is good enough. He seems to know his stuff, but I think I prefer my old chiro because she does this thing with my ribs that rocks. The new guy recommends glyconutrients. Fair enough. (You see, I don't mind what some regard as quacky pseudoscience if regular folk are seeing real results.)
But when the glyconutrients are from the big MLM that made them famous I find it irritating.
I'm glad they help people. I am. But they're outrageously expensive. And I'm not going to do it. Its out of the question.
I knew there had to be another way.
What I found on an Alzheimer's list lead me to Dr. Bird's recipe, which has rave reviews in cancer circles as well. Each of the ingredients certainly has a good reputation in it's own right, and I can spend about $20 a pound instead of $1 a gram (what's the going rate for cocaine these days?). At that rate the whole family can take it, in fact I may insist upon it.
I found the Glyco Powder recipe here, along with tons of information about each source. And a good, easy and economical source list here.
So I'll make some of that. I also need some good combo of anti-oxidants, which are easy enough to find, and I'll have to buy the wild yam, amino, beta sitosterol combo from the big guys because they're the only ones who make it without Siberian ginseng in it. But it's one of their most reasonably priced products and the most likely to help with the allergies. Lastly I need EFAs. Again, easy to find good ones. That with the prenatal vitamins should fix me up nicely.
The users of this formula seem to agree, there is no need to return to the pricey big guys once you make the switch. It works just as well, and the price is much better.
Honestly, the cost of the main product from the MLM alone would make me sick, thereby canceling out any benefit the thing offered. I am content with my solution. I'm willing to give it a try. Hey, if it works, it works, and if it doesn't, I've eaten a bunch of good foods in a weird combination. No problem. You know I'll keep you posted.
Tuesday, November 20
Tired only matters if you're picky about sleep.
Baby's waking me up around 5:30/6 each morning because the curtains on the gigantic windows in the bedroom are inconsequential. I'm coming to see the early hours hold their own charm. It does, however, mean I'm totalled by 9. The whole thing is strange to me. Kind of monkish. I've always been more of the night-owl rebel.
Dinner was phenomenal, if I do say so myself. The boneless leg of lamb was a cinch to open into a butterflied steak which I covered in chopped garlic and fresh rosemary, then broiled for 12 minutes on each side. It sat covered for about 10 minutes while I finished steaming the kabocha squash and brussels sprouts. The roasted garlic bread with it was awesome, and Mom went to the local Greek place for tsatsiki, hummus and stuffed grape leaves as appetizers. Clementines for dessert. Awesome.
We went all over town today for the rest of the ingredients for the Caribbean Thanksgiving. Captain Kirk's for the shrimp and conch cakes, Wild Oats for tamarind sauce for the maduros, grocery store for produce, cheeses, etc. Tortillaria for said maduros (really ripe black ones, que rica!), and spiny chayote, plus prepped raw nopales. They'll be open on Thanksgiving so we can go get fresh tortillas on the day. Oh, Heavens.
Have you noticed sometimes Pandora gets crashy? It's not my favorite thing when it won't let me tag or even see a song I like because the stupid mistake window comes up. Not huge. But still.
I broke down and started putting hydrocortizone on my hands. It is miraculous, of course. I just needed a break. I have an appointment with a D.O. tomorrow who does nutritionals. A friend's daughter was on a handful of nasty meds for allergies, which is what I was looking at, and went to this guy and she's been symptom-free for over a year. Something about glyco-nutrients. I was game even for the worst steroidal super action, so this is a welcome reprieve. Haaa.
By the way, never, ever mention MLMs to me. At all. And don't send me chain letters. They die with me. Cute photos of cute things are okay, though. Especially if they're fluffy. I like fluffy. And photos of fluffy things don't make me itch. What was that one of the tiny, fluffy puppy with the humongous eyes that had the caption, "This is Fluffy. He is the destroyer of worlds."? That's about my speed.
Monday, November 19
There's a downturn in the housing market, as you know. And talk of a recession, as you know. And when there's a recession one of the best things to do is go to school. Bill payments are lowered upon request, old student loans go on hold and you get new ones, and that's some of the cheapest money on the planet, and hard times can be buffered by that money and student community.
So I'm applying at FGCU as an upper division transfer student. I can at last finish my Communications degree and minor in Art. Mom will teach and watch the kids when I'm in class. T may go for his Master's as well. That would be good.
In a way I'm glad I didn't spend bullish years finishing my degree, even though it made me squirm not to have done so, because it leaves me the option during bear times. I've been eyeing the program at FGCU for a while. It will be weird to leave my tiny baby, but it's only a few hours at a time, and we'll finally get to use my fabulous breast pump! I think it will be good for the whole family to have me back in the saddle, as it were.
Sunday, November 18
Opinions like this one about Down's Syndrome make sense to me. The position is compassionate, and represents a largely unheard voice in today's world.
Then there is this opinion, bravo by the way, on the spoiled brat opposition to the Western Tradition, masquerading as compassion but actually totally insulting, idiotic and misguided in the most lunatic way is utterly infuriating. Without the Eurocentric core at Columbia, there would be no Columbia. Except that Columbia really is no longer the Columbia of repute. It's like the Toyota of universities, cruising along on an old reputation no longer deserved.
Oh, what's been happening?
The grands have arrived from France. We've had some good meals. It's going well, which is to be expected.
B's birthday party at Cambier Park on Saturday was great. He loved all of his friends and presents, he loved his chocolate cake with a few gummy worms and Jelly Belly beetles on it. I didn't bake it, but did decorate it when we got it. Wynn's makes a fierce cake with butter cream icing and lovely roses. We had a ball putting icing aphids on them.
Church is dull as old nails lately. I guess that has it's own charm. It shouldn't always be eventful.
We're having a Carribean Thanksgiving this year. I got some beautiful yellow tailed snappers to put on the fire pit. A box of oysters. I'll make a tembleque (coconut flan) and a friend is making key lime pie and mango salsa. I might make oyster fritters. We'll do some red shrimp. For those who insist on some semblance of tradition we'll fry a small turkey. Make a little cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy.
The main thing is I'm exhausted. The pregnancy hormones kick in and I'm moving through molasses with a sieve for a brain, and really nauseous if I don't take the Mommy's Bliss, which is a minor miracle of a supplement. I wouldn't be without it if you paid me.
Thursday, November 15
The slash pines are full of grackles. It's like a tour bus has arrived, full of black snow-birds. The yard and sky are dotted with them. There are so many.
I've been hemming and hawing on the issue of my troll. I almost have a strange affection for her, she is so predictable, so riddled with issues. And she love/hates my blog.
Jokes have been made. (Tell me about your mother... Pooped lately?)
There was this comical overtone to all of the conversations about her. How on earth could someone like me make someone like her feel compelled to speak up, and to do so with such personal venom?
We speculated about her origin. Was she really even someone local? Really even someone vaguely connected to us? Or just an internet weirdo, casting a wide net and being crazy on my blog, nothing personal?
I know it's the same troll, because her IP address is always the same. But I haven't really wanted to know, specifically, who it was. I just let it go. And honestly, I forget all about her until the next time. It can be months between comments.
She's a pretty interested reader. She reads multiple posts when she visits, visits for days in a row, clicks on links. She's clearly well educated enough to leave a cognizant comment. And she's warped enough to think her opinion of me is something I'm waiting on. Her hurtful language truly says more about her than about me.
But her persistence got me wondering. And her apparent knowledge of me, or at least people I know. The two things together made me a little unsettled. Especially because it's a bit too close to my kids if she's in the homeschooling community, even tangentially.
I bit the bullet and searched her IP address. I hit the big map. And there it was. A little arrow pointing to her house.
I've never actually been to her house. But I easily found it was her using our homeschool roster.
Now that I know who it is, I am both relieved (it's not some stranger who just decided to be viscious) and a little saddened. Our kids play together. They have celebrated birthdays together. I considered us to be on good terms. We've had long, heart-to-heart conversations. We've grappled with ideas of religion and politics. We don't talk on the phone or anything, but we're friendly. She has quite literally had my prayers when times got tough, though I never mentioned this to her.
I guess she will continue to have them. But I will feel less inclined to sit next to her. I will probably have less patience, less interest, less tolerance for her quirks.
It's been suggested she thinks she's doing me a favor, telling me about myself. That, in fact, she might see herself as compassionate for doing so. But I don't see it. There's been too much vitriol in past comments for this latest one to be taken cleanly as a badly phrased attempt at enlightenment. She's acting out, plain and simple. And it's not really about me. There is no possible way for me to be the real issue.
So, now we go on. It's a small community. We all just make it work, even when there are hiccups. Our kids will continue to play together. We don't let small things get in the way. It certainly adds to the Jerry Springer factor, which the group already has in abundance, really, but I'm even willing to overlook that for the sake of keeping faith with the community. I'm not going to out her. I don't believe it would be helpful to anyone. This is not really a big enough issue to make any changes.
But I did think it was big enough to mention this one fact. On the internet you are not truly anonymous, no matter what anyone says, unless you take specific steps to guard your IP address or you know about some cloaking mechanism I'm unfamiliar with. And what that means is if I want to, if you're weird or nasty on my blog, which is my territory, my house, my claim on the internet, I can find out who you are, because I can find out where you live. And if you're obnoxious enough, I will. It's only fair. You can easily do the same to me.
Monday, November 12
Birthday--excellent. Everyone cleaned the house. The team cancelled the meeting. I ate chocolates. T and I went on a tea date at B&N while mom took the kids to the mall. They got me some cute maternity shirts wrapped in groovy paper. And cards. Dearness.
Allergies--bad enough to call an allergist today. I so don't want to do this. Chronic cough, occasional asthma-like wheezing, eczema. I hear all that plus sensitivity to milk protein are carried on the same gene. Whoop-de-doo. It's not touching diapers alone. I have to change the diet away from convenient, delicious foods to hard, time consuming and barely flavorful foods. Don't talk to me about it. I was vegan macrobiotic for five of the nine years I was a vegetarian. I know what I'm talking about. Can it be yummy? Yes. If you spend an hour and a half on each meal. (But with swearing.)
Thought--what if shows like Survivor are actually about de-sensitizing us to things that are normally considered torture so we are not so lily-livered when it comes to the harshness of war and its concomitant realities. As in Illium with the story veil. I don't watch it, too abject, but I understand it's pretty popular. (Happily snobby on this one. Hey, I've earned it. See next paragraph.)
Response--there is no reason to believe that our cynicism is necessarily a bad thing just because people in Naples are generally not cynical. Their sincerity and faith is refreshing. My observation when we first got here, even just driving around, was it looked like their lives had not ever been touched by heroin. But we can't make a fetish of their lack of exposure. We can't pretend we haven't seen as much as we have. We can't pretend we haven't known as many people as we've known, lived the way we've lived, watched people die as a matter of course, warned tourists not to hold their cameras that way, grabbed lovely morsels fresh to the city and dragged them to parties because they were so new and not cynical, and longed to leave the city only to find when we leave that we are marked, and it's not considered a good thing to be urban. We can't help if their eyes glaze over when we mention Paris. We have family there for Heaven's sake. And if talking to someone who lives there part-time it's certainly fair to mention. The locals don't want to know about it? Well, then they don't have to listen, but we can't be something other than what we are. It doesn't work. If you think William Burroughs is funny, you know what I'm talking about.
Admission--our homeschool group was already a bit too Jerry Springer what with the last, weird, incident, but this new bit is just too much. It's invaded from a parallel circle and it's bad. The problem is people are really getting hurt, and it's not over. I just have no patience for this. If you can avoid knowing anything about it, trust me, that's a good thing. Lawd. What's a girl to do when such ill will is afoot? It's okay, season has started in earnest. If I can just stop coughing and find some babysitters we can have a life beyond it. Of course, we're on the verge of financial panic, but hey, why not think big? How about looking for work in Dubai? Why not us?
Love--Billy Holiday. She just never gets old. Also, watching T hold all three kids (no small feat!). And flank steak marinated in honey-based teriyaki sauce with some wine added, plus plenty of garlic, then cooked over the fire pit. With asparagus and baby bellas. And yams done in the fire. And dandelion salad. And a Malbec. And a dark chocolate. Yah.
Friday, November 9
Daytime t.v. is not so bad. Yesterday we watched the stock market rock up and down on CNBC. We watched a corny kid movie on TCM. We watched Anthony Bourdain in Argentina, Brazil, Sicily, and then in Tuscany.
Today we saw a show about how things are made, then something about real-people inventors called Everyday Edisons. We got an email leading us to the "Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List" at Secular Homeschooling Magazine. We laughed even harder at the harsh treatment of Heather Mills, and only feel slightly sorry. (Really, I thought I read it wrong. I can't believe the pirate bit! But maybe it was an oblique reference to our dear Flying Spaghetti Monster.)
I'm feeling like we're over the hump of this illness, but the challenge now is to take it easy until we're all the way better. I'm looking at the house, wishing it would clean itself. Neither of my co-coaches for my 6th grade team have called me back as of 2 o'clock and our meeting is at 4:30 at my house if I don't hear from them. If I clean the house I'm not resting, and may not get well as fast. If I don't clean the house I'll be mildly mortified and make a bad first impression on one of my co-coaches, and will still be pushing it by having the meeting at all. We'll have to meet outside. No hardship, it's gorgeous out. Sunny, clear and 77 degrees.
My darling husband loves me. La Maison du Chocolat delivered today for my birthday tomorrow. Delight! He's so marvelous. If I have to be older I can at least have chocolate. Really, really good chocolate.
I haven't told you, but we're living in Victorian splendor at night. T is sleeping in our bed in the back. I cannot sleep there because I'm fond of breathing. So D and I are on the daybed in the homeschool. We just haven't had a chance to do the moving around with me sick and T busy. It's really weird. This weekend has to be the move.
Thursday, November 8
Sick. Bug. Another bug. It's been over a week. I cough. Baby cries. We'll be back as soon as sanity returns. Ugh. On top of allergies. On top of eczema worse than ever. I just wish I knew what is was for sure. I may break down and see an allergist. But I don't have a lot of confidence in that process.
Thanks for all of the good pregnancy congrats and wishes. It's actually the easy part, being pregnant. This awful Florida bug that will not die is a beast.
I just have to get better for the holidays and T's parents' arrival in less than a week. But I'm not going to exhaust myself. I am cancelling appointments and classes. I am resting. We are all going stir crazy.
So far we have watched The Sting, Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?, the first three episodes of Frontier House. I have finished reading Mirror, Mirror, at last, and started Lord of Light. I have planted a bunch of things in the yard. I have stayed up half the night coughing. It is beginning to hurt to nurse, partly because she's nursing so much with the cold we have, and partly because of pregnancy.
I've read about the "New Girl Order", contemplated "Rush, Little Baby", and tried to have a thought about my impending birthday (I just want a clean house and to feel better), and B's party, which has to happen before Thanksgiving.
I intend to feed my cold today. We went to Costco yesterday and got tons of produce. A big box of oranges, a big box of kiwis, among other things. And I'm going to try to make friends with daytime television, though my hopes are not high. I anticipate a Turner Classics marathon.
Clearly the blog for peace post didn't happen yesterday. Man. I just wasn't feeling it.
Sunday, November 4
"Oh, you're all pirates!"
"Actually, we're missionaries."
That was K's clever response. Halloween was fun on Marco. We were in a candy fog, then took off for Orlando (our senior entrant won 2nd place! Go, IC!), looked at property, raced back the next day to get puppy from K & S's, remembered to Fall Back the clocks, zoomed to family usher at church today (there were two Christenings and a packed house), listened to the All Saints list read, held a friend who's husband died fairly recently, came home and planted the grape (at long last) and the cape honeysuckle while T tamed the giant ficus in the back to about half it's size, and got a sunburn. My redneck husband.
We listened to Gregor the Overlander from the library on the way to and from the competition. Fun story. Engaging. Perfect for the 7-11 gang, and compelling enough for us to be happy, too.
Pregnancy makes me tired, fuzzy, tender. I just want everything to be nice, and yummy, with lots of touching, and no small, repetitive, buggy sounds. And no one mention Hillary, either.
I don't mind grocery shopping, but I totally don't want to clean out the fridge first. At all. And I wish melons were in season. They're okay now, but not like summer melons. And my papayas and black sapotes seem like they'll never ripen. Ever.
Thursday, November 1
This is the theme song for my early pregnancy. I'm choosing to view this reality as a good thing, a strong embed. I'm taking this, and it helps, but I don't think anything's a pure cure.
Tomorrow we leave for the 4H Marine Ecology Event. K did her last big study kick tonight. Really all day. She worked for hours, and I only got my computer back at nearly 11. We drive four hours to Orlando, check in, hang out, have dinner, study even more, then it's all go first thing in the morning.
Stella is having a sleep-over with her doggy friend, Hooper. Thanks, K & S! Also, she just got groomed, so Hooper should be impressed. Cats? Cats are on their honor not to eat all their food the first day. And the bird will hang out in the office. That's everyone. Stray millipedes and the odd spider not included.
I know I still owe the writer meme. I find it intimidating. Arg. That would not be a strength. I'm trying to work out how recklessness might be a good thing, because that, I have.