coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Monday, October 30, 2017

I'm so tired

Yes, I am SO tired.  Tired of all the nonsense we are required to experience, read about, listen to, and live through these days.  Tired of people lacking compassion, most of all.  Today I despair.  This will pass, of course.  I'm not one to give up; however, today I am tired.  That's all I have to say.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A recipe for love

I have a box filled with old recipes. Some typed, some painfully constructed in all caps on index cards of varying sizes. Others are xeroxed and folded. A few are scribbled down on a scrap of paper. They chronicle the various stages of our married life.

The oldest were transcribed before the advent of xerox copiers. When we got together in 1970, copying machines were unimaginable. The recipe cards from that earliest decade are the most interesting to me right now. 

We were poor.  Everything we ate was homemade; it was cheaper that way. We did not have a car during our first years together. Consequently, I went grocery shopping twice a month. I walked there and shopped like a brazen hussy before calling a taxi to take me home. I was organized about food because I had to make our money last. Before shopping I figured out two weeks worth of meals, buying what was needed for each and planning for overlap. It worked! We never starved. 

I've had fun seeing the old recipes from those early days. There is a certain recipe for "Herbed Soybean Casserole" that was truly vile. I could never make it taste good. Probably no one could. I almost threw the recipe away today, but decided it is a cultural relic, good for a laugh. 

My signature dish from my youth was homemade pizza. Years ago, I found a reasonably quick recipe for pizza crust in a Fanny Farmer Cookbook. I also made a quick, fresh sauce from cans of peeled, plum tomatoes and dried herbs. In my youthful exuberance I grabbed each tomato by hand, pinched a hole in the middle and then squeezed them senseless into the pan. I was still a kid. It was all about having fun.

I bought mozzarella in solid rectangular packages and carefully sliced it, making it last. For the topping, I fried up onions and green peppers in olive oil until they were limp and luscious. Fresh sliced mushrooms would go on the pizza, too, and sliced black olives for color.

Yesterday I decided to make that venerable pizza again, the old way. I still enjoyed squeezing the whole, peeled tomatoes into the pan. It seems some thrills never get old. I threw myself into kneading that dough, punching and pushing and giving it tough love until it was just right to stretch. I even used the same old pan from our youth to stretch the pizza out on for baking. It was fabulous. Now I am going to eat the leftovers for breakfast. That was always part of the plan.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Say no to snark

I have noticed a preponderance of snark on social media since the election. Perhaps you have, too? Snark is defined by my computer's dictionary as "snide and sharply critical comments." You know what I'm talking about. It is the online equivalent of giving someone the finger...

Personally, I hate snark. It makes my skin crawl when I hear it, and it makes me want to punch someone out when they use it against me. It seems people use snarky comebacks because they think it makes them appear strong and smart. It doesn't. It makes them appear rude and childish. When you use your vast intelligence to come up with a pithy reply designed to destroy your opponent, then you have wasted your words. But most importantly, you've done no good.

The best way to convince someone to change their mind is to listen to them (as respectfully as you are able to pull off...) and THEN start engaging in discussion, strategically. The best way to shut someone down and push them away is to throw snark at them. Because who is going to want to listen to you if you have accused them of being less than human? 

How do I know this? Because I was once trained in the art of persuasion by an international representative of a large and famous labor union. She could convince anybody of anything.  It was a gift that some people have. If you don't believe me, then follow a successful salesperson around for a day. Salespeople take a lot of abuse and disrespect everyday, but they keep trying to find a way to connect - to make that sale. 

Okay, okay, we all have certain friends or relatives we absolutely cannot listen to or argue with. And social media has brought out the troll in way too many angry, lonely, and desperate souls. Unless you have an advanced degree in psychology, just step away from those folks. Detach. Don't waste your time. Don't surrender to the snark side. It's a slippery damn slope that will deliver you to straight to cynicism. And, well, that's kinda like burning in hell.

I want the world to change for the better. I want to win. The only way to do that is to get strategic. We can do this without sacrificing our humanity.

Don't just react. Take the time to think. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The more the merrier!

My husband, T, had his autosomal DNA tested last May in hopes of finding out his heritage. This is a popular endeavor in the U.S. right now and at least one other blogger has written about it recently.

Autosomal DNA gives you information about all your ancestors, not just ones in a male or female line. When you get the results it also gives you biological matches to near and distant relatives who have also had their DNA tested on, telling you what the matches are to you, like siblings, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins. Well, when he got his results it revealed to him that he has another biological daughter. BIG surprise! He had no idea. It was the 1960s, for crying out loud.

R was given up for adoption by her birth mother. She did her DNA test as a way to find her birth parents. Many of her DNA "cousin" matches had the same last name as T. Since she didn't know about T, and he had not yet submitted his DNA, the repeat appearances of those family surnames did not help her in her search. R assumed that she would not find her actual biological parents unless they submitted a DNA test via Which is what happened with T.

She is a lovely person, solid and good. There are many interesting similarities between her (and her children) and the rest of T's family. We have grown-up grandchildren now, and another son-in-law!!!! Plus our daughter, M, now has a sister! When I wrote my bit about the concept of
Grace a while back, this is what I was referring to; this unbelievably mind-altering, joyous cosmic gift.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


ANOTHER great thing about being retired (!) is that I do not have to wake up to the sound of a jarring alarm 5 mornings out of 7. In fact, this is one of my "10 best things about being retired:"

1.  I get to say whatever I want

2.  I don't have to be nice to people I don't like

3.  I don't wake up to an alarm, I get up when I wake up.

4.  I don't have to wash my hair every day

5.  I don't have to buy Xmas presents for co-workers

6.  I wear flip flops instead of shoes every day

7.  I stopped wearing contact lenses and using eye makeup

8.  I can shop in the grocery store when most people are at work 

9.  Biking is my life

10. The only people who tell me what to do now are people who love me (and I don't have to do what they say)

Did I miss anything?