Odds and ends
And pots and pans,
And starts and stops,
Plants and things
And in between,
Art and feeling.
Oh, assonance… And consonance… And rhyme… And half-rhyme… Happy new year, and new post, to you too.
Yes, a new year has begun (plus a few weeks now), and I’m happy to be starting it here with words and art, and to be sharing them with you. Words and art, yes, sounds like a good start. That’s one of several thoughts, or odds and ends, that I’ve been collecting. And here are a few more. They follow below, shared as always as a gift for me and you, to peruse and read and at your own pace go through.
1) Pots and Pans: I usually make a few resolutions at the start of each year (any time is good though), and this year was no different. On the afternoon of January 1st, I found myself creating a new note on my phone, a five-minute exercise that left me with some old favorites and general reminders.
Among the highlights was the perennial, “Learn how to juggle five” :), written more actionably and meditatively this time though as, “Juggle five – practice every day for five minutes, relax, and have fun.” (I’ve practiced a few days so far, but not quite yet…every day.) A few general feel-good reminders included, “Be kind every day” and “Be grateful every day.” And then there were some healthy environment ones like, “Do the dishes at least every other day.”
They can really stack up after a while, right??? This was a week’s worth, and actually the first week of the year’s worth. To be fair though, I was sick and wasn’t doing much of anything that week. How about that After picture though?? Yes, thank you very much. (Two weeks later, I’m still kind of working on the ‘at least every other day’ part of this one…but details.)
2) Planting Plant Plans: I have a lot of starter houseplants and a lot of pots waiting for them, so one of my goals over the next few weeks is to bring them together. I have a vision for a garden apartment, with the garden on the inside.
Meanwhile on the outside, I planted some garlic.
Planting garlic and growing and harvesting it is one of the easiest, and most satisfying, garden things you can do. It practically grows itself. It’s like magic – each clove that you plant turns into a full head of garlic.
If you’re interested, and I hope you are :), here’s what to do. First get some garlic bulbs at the farmer’s market (the bulbs at the supermarket might have been treated to prevent sprouting). Then pull the cloves apart, leaving the papery husks on, and plant the cloves right side up about 2″ deep and 8″ apart. Usually, you plant them in late fall, but I’ve planted them as late as December…or also now, well, January 8th according to my notes. We’ll see how it goes! I also planted them in pots for the first time.
It’s okay if the ground freezes after you plant the cloves too. The new plants should come up in the spring if not sooner. Then in April/May/June you snap off the garlic scapes (the green stems that start curling around themselves) to force more energy into the new bulb, and in June/July you harvest (dig up) the new bulbs when the leaves start to brown.
3) Freezer Files
The fridge in my apartment came with a freezer (I know, pretty cool, right?), and over the past three years I’ve been doing my best to fill it.
This was the actual view as of two weeks ago. The thing is, this was also essentially the actual view as of five months ago.
I’d filled it over time, and then I got leftover and other-frozen-food usage paralysis. I knew what I wanted to do, which was to go through everything, use it all, and write about it at the same time. It seemed so daunting though, so I never got started. What would the rules be? Would I have to eat only from the freezer until it was all gone? (Meaning no cooking, i.e., not doing something I like?) How long would it take? Would I write a single post at the end about the process, or also one at the beginning? Or should I write several along the way? What if I started and it didn’t go like I thought it would? What if it didn’t work out? What if I messed it up??
Okay, brain, let’s hold the phone for a second there.
What if I just started and saw how it went?
So that’s what I did (and recalled that, yes, that has worked many times in the past (ex. 1, ex. 2)). The beauty and the truth is that of course it’ll work, and that’s what it’s doing now, working out. Now a few weeks in, I’ve eaten or combined into new dishes several freezer items. I’ve also tossed a few items, a temporary affront to my ‘never waste anything’ ideal, but otherwise it’s going great. And it feels great. Item by frozen item, I’m cleaning up the freezer. I’m putting things to use, and I’m simplifying and letting go. Less is more.
Food is meant to be eaten. And you have to start somewhere, so start where you’re at. Get going.
The rules are There are no rules. I’ll use as many things as I can, cook and combine them whenever possible, and take notes along the way, leading to probably a final post but perhaps some interim ones too. I’ll figure it out as I go.
4) Marathon Miles
I signed up for the New Jersey Marathon! Yay!
That decision, made two months ago, was followed by me starting to increase my miles and do some speed workouts. Also yay, except that my doctor had advised against doing the latter workouts so as not to aggravate a minor hip injury. After about three weeks, I realized I should have followed his advice. Boo.
So I bought myself a foam roller (thank you, Princeton Running Company) and have been doing some eggplant side-rollatini-ing. And doing way fewer miles. And going slower. I also starting some physical therapy (diagnosis: gluteus medius strain (yup…weak cheeks)).
The calendar reality is that I don’t think I’ll be doing the marathon now. Maybe I could still do the half, but we’ll see. My freezer file mind is reminding that it’ll all work out, and that once again, as always, I should start where I’m at.
If you can’t run 10 miles, run 3.
If you’re injured, do PT.
If you have an itch in the middle of your leg, scratch your knee.
Okay, that last one was just for the rhymes 🙂
5) March Saneness
This one deserves to go in the opposite direction of alliteration.
There was nothing mad about the Women’s March on Washington this past Saturday. It was solidarity, love, inspiration, and the opposite of hate and madness. I can’t think of a more right place to have been that day than right there with a number of friends, and with everyone else who marched there in Washington and also around the county and the world. We all have our own steps, and for me there was no decision to make but to step out of my own quiet kitchen and start going. The following is what I shared on Facebook that evening:
“We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance” – America Ferrera
“Courage will not skip this generation” – Roslyn Brock
“Sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are.” – Gloria Steinem
– Words heard and felt today in Washington, D.C.
6) The Art of Food and Life
How lucky are we, how lucky am I, really.
I have friends I can march with. I can take care of my body, and my mind. I have a freezer full of food. I have plants. I have a kitchen. I have words, and I have art.
There is art on driveways (thank you, artist sister-in-law). And there is art on my kitchen table, a rotating temporary art installation. The current view includes tomatoes from the community garden at work, grapefruit from my mom, and odds and ends from myself and friends.
The view, the backdrop, also includes one of my grandfather’s watercolors, a gift a few years ago from my great aunt. There was a time I thought I would hang it up one day, but I’ve realized I like where it’s at. Along with everything else, it helps make for a full table. And it feels good.