Sometimes when I sit down for my writing time, it’s an amazing thing. A couple cups of coffee and an hour later I’ve cranked out over 1,000 words and I’m deliriously excited. Other times, the cursor just blinks blankly at me, mocking me for my lack of inspiration.
I wouldn’t be the first person to notice that great ideas come in the shower. I’ve noticed they also come while driving, grocery shopping, or even making a sandwich. I just wish I could get the words to flow as well during writing time as they do during anything else time. For instance, when I’m making lunch, the little obnoxious narrator in my head will say something along the lines of, “She stacked the lunch meat atop the smattering of mayonnaise in a delicious architecture.” The narrator jumps ship when I sit down at my computer, and when my character needs to have lunch, “She makes a sandwich.” Great.
Where’s your favorite place to have great thoughts?
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Filed under Food, On Writing
It’s difficult to believe that we are reaping such a harvest from our garden already, but there it is. Several pounds of green beans, more onions than I can imagine what to do with, and peppers so numerous they nearly weigh the poor plants down. So I spent a good portion of my weekend washing, blanching, boiling, and sending my son out with numerous bowls of compost to dump.
The first canning project was the absolute most important one: dilly beans. If you haven’t had them, you are seriously missing out on one of the best taste experiences ever. Basically, they’re pickled green beans. If you decide to make them (versus buying them for upwards of $7 a jar at the grocery store), do yourself a favor and don’t use the cheater mixes from the grocery store. They’re too sweet and are actually harder to make.
Two hours and lots of sweat later, I had four pints of dilly beans in a stately row on a bath towel on the counter. I admired them, wishing I could make another batch, and thinking about how much my feet hurt from standing in the kitchen. Then I decided it was time to make relish…
A good start to canning this year.
This stolen snippet of time
for anything worth pondering
other than worries
a dwindling checkbook
and a few bad poems.
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A couple weeks ago I went through the Taco Bell drive thru. I pulled forward to the window (as instructed). The guy opened said window, gave me my total, and then said, “Oh, hey! How are you?”
Um. I guess this is the part where my lying/customer service skills come in, because with very little hesitation I replied, “Oh, I’m great! How about you?”
He tried to make further small talk, but fortunately the food was ready because I do not for the life of me know who this guy was. I’d love to think that he recognized me because, as my daughter puts it, I’m a ‘famous writer’, but I have a suspicion it wasn’t.
Fast forward a couple weeks to today, when I went through McDonald’s for a soda. Quoting the Taco Bell guy, I said, “Oh, hey! How are you?” to the girl at the window.
Here’s where there’s a twist. She told me that I looked familiar but she couldn’t quite place me, and could I tell her how we know each other?
Why couldn’t I have said that at Taco Bell? I could have solved the mystery right then and there! I am still wondering how that guy knows me, or if maybe he was mistaking me for someone else, but since I’m spineless I never will. Oh, sure I could go back through that same Taco Bell a few times and hope to see him again, but again since I’m spineless (and because it seems creepy) that will probably never happen.
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So we’ve had kind of a nasty winter so far. The kids have missed umpteen zillion days of school, and there have been umpteen zillion Facebook pics of grocery store shelves being licked clean. Then there are the umpteen zillion times infinity complaints about all the silly worrywarts that are going out and licking those shelves clean.
The funny thing is, it’s really a natural instinct, and a damn good one to have. Think about how life was before we had cell phones, Walmart, and pizza delivery. Settlers on the plains had to prepare when a storm was coming if they wanted to make it to see spring. Pa better get plenty of firewood chopped and the livestock locked in the barn. Have you ever read the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder? I couldn’t tell you anymore which one it was in, but I distinctly remember a snowstorm so bad they had to tie a rope between the barn and the house so they wouldn’t get lost.
We mock those that rush out to the stores, but who are the parents that know their child will have a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk for lunch on a snow day? And which ones are the parents that will have to say, “Well, crap, little Johnny. I guess it’s water and saltines for you today, cause I have no survival instinct.”
When I know a winter storm is coming, I prepare a little. I make sure we have main grocery staples in the house, plenty of firewood is brought in (thanks, Pa), and that there’s gas in my car. Is that so bad? It’s natural, normal, and keeps me and my family safe and warm.
Do you know what these beautiful jars in the top of my pantry are? They are something I have subconsciously looked to have in storage for the majority of my adult life: a piece of childhood.
When I made these, I was surprised to find that many people don’t know what dilly beans are, and have never heard of them. To quote one of my favorite movies, to me this is “Inconceivable!” My mom made dilly beans every summer for as long as I could remember. When there was a jar in the fridge, I couldn’t stay away from them. Being quite the night owl, I would sneak out of my bedroom and to the fridge. Using the ninja-like qualities that I surely possessed at five years old, I would get one dilly bean out of the fridge. I snuck it back to my bedroom and sat on the edge of my bed, enjoying every delicious bit of it. Then I would repeat my quiet quest, over and over and over again.
These beans came out of our garden this year, and since I used my mom’s recipe, they came out absolutely perfect! I still enjoy them as a late night snack, even though I don’t have to hide it anymore.