Crank Time

Here in Pennsylvania it rained. All day.

G is so sick she sat on the couch and binge-watched DVR-ed episodes of Long Island Medium  and drank copious amounts of hot water laced with coconut oil and raw honey. She is really sick.

I did 47 loads of laundry, went to the ATM, and to the store for ingredients to make homemade chicken soup (Jewish penicillin) tomorrow. Between Jennifer’s good advice (thanks Jen!) and my soup, we’ll wean her away from women with scary fingernails who speak to the dead.

While we were in Portland I did no writing except here. That was the plan. I gave myself permission not to write on vacation, but what it means is that tomorrow I need to sit in the Space Chair and start to crank.

Cranking isn’t writing. Cranking is like hand-pumping water. Nothing comes out for the first 500 pumps, but then, lo and behold, a little trickle, then a gush, and another, till eventually you’ve got a nice gush of paragraphs flowing.

I had that gushy rhythm going before I left, but I lost the momentum.

So now it’s crank-time again. This is why writers need to write every day, to keep the gush going.

 

Nothing to do, nowhere to go.

I woke up this morning and looked at my calendar on my phone and there was nothing there. No commitments, no place I had to be, or go. Same thing tomorrow. 2 days in a row of blessed nothing.

So I stayed in my pajamas. I ate cinnamon toast, 2 cups of Ethiopean Yurgacheffe, a soft boiled egg.

I picked up Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking which I was about three quarters through and sat and finished it. And wept. Then I watched her TED talk, and signed up for all her social media and cried again watching the video of her song “The Bed.”

Crying in the morning is exhausting. It definitely sets the tone for the day.

I washed my face, brushed my teeth, got dressed.

I dinked around online a little. G went out for the afternoon so I was home alone.

I made chicken noodle soup from a rotisserie chicken we had eaten the legs and wings from last week while it was hot.

I chopped carrots and celery and onion and sauteed and stirred and thought about vulnerability and how much I am armored and if I would ever be able to be vulnerable, and what that would look like. My mind was a blank. As blank as the snow outside the kitchen window. As blank as this page.

I decalcified the humidifier. I walked Boomer.

I wondered if I am grateful enough. I decided, no.

I downloaded an app called Gratitude 365 onto my phone where I am more likely to keep a gratitude journal than on paper.

I need to build some serious gratitude muscle.

The soup made the house smell amazing. G came home. We slurped our soup and caught each other up on our day.

And here I sit, in my cozy lair, wearing a shawl that one of my students knitted for me, feeling hugged. Feeling grateful.

Gadgets and Gizmos and Chicken Soup

I’ve been reading Bringing Home the Dharma in the mornings. It’s my new ritual, this reading in the morning. I have broken my Ultimate Yogi streak and am now contemplating  starting all over again and trying to make it to 108 Days.

I have a hard time when my streaks end. There’s a lot of mourning and self-recrimination. I have my rules and all, but it’s still hard. With the Ultimate Yogi it was a matter of not being able to fit in the hour-plus every day. All of my problems are with time: the desire to do so many things, but then running out of day.

Why is it that some people seem to have, or are able to fit in, so much more into a day than I can?

Time Management. Energy Management. Putting the Big Rocks in first. Battling the Resistance Monster. These are my ever-recurring themes.

Part of the problem is that I tell myself that there are certain conditions that need to be met before I can do other things. Like I need to start cooking in a clean kitchen, so dishes need to be done first. Or I can’t work on writing or computer projects unless my surroundings are neat and orderly. But taking time to pick up and put things where they belong takes time away from the activity that I want to do once the space is free of clutter and chaos. And there is never a lack of clutter and chaos.

And how come it is that once I’ve created order, I have now run out of the time to do the activity that required the order? And on top of that, I have now expended so much energy cleaning, that now my tank is totally empty for creating?

Errrr.

Okay. Switching topics.

G comes home today. Here is what I have been doing in her absence: I have eaten cookies. And the pie she baked (and left). I also ate a bagel with cream cheese. I have had 2 glasses of wine every night. I have been drinking caffeinated coffee. I have also been enjoying my Verismo and my frother.

In the past month or so I have acquired a number of new gadgets: a Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer, a Cuisinart (which is not actually “new” it’s just been sitting in a box in the basement because I wasn’t psychologically ready, until now, to deal with learning “blades.”) I have also recently gotten a Verismo and a milk frother. Add this to the VitaMix and the Juicer and I now have no counter space. But, I have a shitload of gadgets.

Just to clarify. I love gadgets, maybe even more than I love the word “gadget” itself. I also love the word “gizmo” and I often have “gadgets” hang out with “gizmo” so that they form a little two-thing gang called “Gadgets and Gizmos” kinda like Bloods and Crips, but friendlier.

The other day I made a homemade chicken noodle soup with a leftover rotisserie chicken. While the chicken was cooking down in a pot of water, I sent 4 huge carrots through the slicer on the Cuisinart, followed by 3 stalks of celery. I then changed out the slicer for the chopper blade and chopped an onion. I minced 4 cloves of garlic in my hand mincer and in the blink of an eye I had saved myself a good half hour’s worth of chopping.

I used the “Heady Garlic” olive oil I got at F. Oliver’s to saute all that veggie wonderfulness, and the resulting soup was so so rich with flavor I wanted to invite the whole neighborhood for lunch. I boiled up a big batch of fillini (which is my fave “soup pasta–egg noodles are gross, I think) and kept them in a separate container and just add them to the individual bowls of soup so they don’t flab out, or muddy the broth with starch.

That’s going to be the “Welcome Home” dinner for G tonight. Maybe I will even stop at Wegman’s  on the way to the airport and get a nice loaf of crusty bread and a little “sumpin'” for dessert.

(Do you know that “desserts” spelled backwards is “stressed?”) Turns out the antidote is contained right inside the poison.)

Excellent.