Gratitude, and Biscuits

On my walk today, I listened to a dharma talk by Tara Brach, as I usually do each Sunday. The talks are given (and recorded) every Wednesday, at a Universalist church in Maryland, and are offered, free of charge, on her website.

This week’s talk, given on Thanksgiving eve, was titled “Gratitude & Generosity”. In it, she spoke of how being grateful is essential to happiness – something I learned when I was at my unhappiest, during a very difficult transitional period in my life a couple of years ago. It was desperate time of anxiety and situational depression for me, so I took up two daily practices: meditation and gratitude. I did these with a blind faith that they would help. I went through the motions, not sure it would make a dent. Fake it ’till you make it, and all that. 

Both practices saved me. 

I’ve let them go a little, since times aren’t so tough anymore. The meditation happens a few times a week, but the gratitude still happens daily. Before I fall asleep each night, I thank my stars for a few things. Sometimes it’s the things we take for granted, like clean drinking water, and sidewalks, and streetlamps.  Other times it’s the bigger things, like the love of my friends, my good health, and my full life.

Tonight I’ll give thanks for the following story, which Brach shared in her Thanksgiving Eve talk. She used it to illustrate the importance of being open to what is here and now, and as an invitation to quiet down the “shoulds” in our minds. For me, a gratitude practice helps with both of these things. It’s tough to wish you were somewhere else in your life, or someone else, when you shift the focus to what is already perfect and amazing right now. 

And damn if cooking analogies don’t get me every time! This one had me smiling ear to ear, and tearing up as I walked on the Cliff Walk today. It is from The Complete Tassajara Cookbook, by Edward Espe Brown, an American who is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, and who also happens to be an amazing chef.

 
***
 
Making the Perfect Biscuit
 
     When I first started cooking at Tassajara, I had a problem: I couldn’t get my biscuits to come out right. I’d follow the recipe and try variations: milk or water, eggs or no eggs, but nothing worked. I had in mind the “perfect” buiscuit, and these just didn’t measure up. After several failures, I finally got to thinking “Right, compared to what?”
 
Growing up I had “made” two kinds of biscuits: one was from Bisquik, and the other was from Pillsbury. For the Bisquik biscuits, you added milk to the mix and then blobbed the dough in spoonfuls onto the pan – you didn’t even need to roll them out. The biscuits from Pillsbury came in a kind of cardboard can. You rapped the can on a corner of the counter, and it popped open. Then you twisted the can open more, put the premade biscuits on a pan, and baked them. I really liked those Pillsbury biscuits. Isn’t that what biscuits should taste like? Mine just weren’t coming out the way they were supposed to.
 
It’s wonderful and amazing the ideas we get about what biscuits should taste like, or what life should look like. Compared to what? Canned biscuits from Pillsbury? Leave it to Beaver? And then we often forget where the idea came from or that we even have the idea. Those (perfectly good) biscuits just aren’t “right.”
 
People who ate my biscuits could be extolling their virtues, eating one after the another, but for me they were not “right.” Finally one day that shifting-into-place occurred, an awakening: not “right”: compared to what? Oh, no! I’ve been trying to make Pillsbury biscuits! Then that exquisite moment of actually tasting my biscuits without comparing them to some (previously hidden) standard: wheaty, flaky, buttery, sunny, earthy, here. Inconceivably delicious, incomparably alive, present, vibrant. In fact, much more satisfying than any memory, much more delicious than any concept. 
 
Those moments – when you realize your life as it is is just fine, thank you – can be so stunning and liberating. Only the insidious comparison to a beautifully prepared, beautifully packaged product makes it seem insufficient. The effort to produce a life with no dirty bowls, no messy feelings, no depression, no anger is bound to fail – and be endlessly frustrating.
***
There are a few more paragraphs that follow, but you get the idea here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
And I hope your Thanksgiving left you feeling grateful. And that every other day of the year does as well.
More Food, Less Pain,
xo-L
 
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Pumpkin Pie for Amelia Bedelia

My friend Amelia Bedelia contacted me recently about a pumpkin pie recipe. She is currently living in Japan, so we communicate via an app called “Blip.me Walkie Talkie”, which is really just a cute voice messaging tool.

We giggle our heads off every time we “blip” each other, partly because we are horrified by what we say (you cannot edit before sending), and partly because we forget you only have 30 seconds to talk, and get cut off almost every time.

She wanted to know if it was a cop out to use canned pumpkin, and was hoping for a recipe. Some highlights of our chat:

AB: Louise! I need help! I really want to make a pumpkin pie from scratch, because I love pumpkin pie. I might cheat and use canned pumpkin. I know you’re looking for blog topics, and I bet you make a killer pie.

ME: Hey! I have good news for you. Pumpin pie should only be made with canned pumpkin. It’s too much work to make pumpkin puree on your own, and that is pretty much the consensus in the pastry world.

ME (Again): (Sounding grumpy and sleepy) The reason it could be a good blog topic is because everyone I know likes pumpkin fucking lattes, and pumpkin fucking beer, and pumpkin this and pumpkin that, and I keep saying to them the only time I want pumpkin is if it’s from an actual pumpkin…or in a pumpkin pie. I don’t want fucking pumpkin pie flavored scones. It’s just makes me so mad I don’t know why… (I get cut off – time runs out)

AB: (Laughing) I think you just wrote the intro to your blog post.

And then she finished her thoughts in two more messages, because 30 seconds was not enough space for her cheerful, supportive words. I can’t tell you how much I miss having these talks with her in person. 

She and her husband left for Japan back in August. After she left, I meant to write a post about my friendship with her, and the joy she has brought to my life. But honestly, I was taken a back by how sad I was about her departure. I couldn’t write anything without sounding terribly sentimental and wistful about it. 

The least I can do now is offer up my thanks for her friendship, and give her (and you) my favorite pumpkin pie recipe and advice. (The recipe is linked below, rather than typed out here.) A little late for the holiday – in fact, it’s already Thursday in Japan! But I suppose you could always print it out & save it for next year. 


*****

Dear Amelia Bedelia:

I think that comfort foods like this shouldn’t be tampered with too much. I mean, if you only have pumpkin pie once a year, you probably want something that does not stray far from tradition. I believe only slight variations should be made, and that you should aim only to make a better version of what you remember eating as a child. Unless what you had as a child was a homemade, memorable pumpkin pie. Get that recipe & make it, if that is the case.

If that is not the case (it wasn’t for me) the only alterations should be in the quality of the ingredients: a homemade, all butter crust, and the best eggs, butter, cream and spices you can find. I also make it in a tart pan, rather than a pie plate, because I prefer the ratio of pumpkin to crust this way.

As for your concerns about canned vs. fresh pumpkin: I always use canned. I love your enthusiasm, but homemade pumpkin puree is time consuming, labor intensive, and the outcome is no better (and sometimes worse). I’m sure there are those who would disagree, but as a former pastry chef I can assure you this is nearly the consensus in most culinary circles.

And you know me. I’m not afraid of extra effort. I’m no short-cut cook. If taking the extra hour or so to gut, peel and cook down a pumpkin made the best pie, I wouldn’t hesitate.

Pumpkin pie has never wowed me. At Thanksgiving, I usually have a small, obligatory slice, then go for whatever other pie looks the best, usually the homemade-looking one. I just don’t see the point of eating any dessert that isn’t really, really good. (Which is probably the only thing that is keeping me from being morbidly obese.) And I seldom come across a pumpkin pie that is really, really good.

This recipe though, I adore. It’s from The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I learned most of what I know about pastry from this tome, and have never not loved a recipe from it.

A few more things: 

1. As much we insist on buying organic, Libby’s pumpkin puree is actually the best. (Can you get this in Japan?)

2. Don’t use spices that have been in your cupboard for years, go buy new ones.

And Bre*, if you are going to be purist about anything, have it be the pie crust. Just go for it and make it from scratch. Go slow. Read the recipe closely. Keep everything cold. Don’t be afraid to mess up. Make 2 (no, 4!) crusts at once in case one or two are too wet, or too doughy. If all 4 turn out well, freeze the ones you don’t use.** For me, a good crust is absolutely what separates the good pies from the great ones.

But if you don’t have time for a homemade crust, I understand. You have a whole country to explore, and your own blog to keep up with. Maybe you’ll write about what your first Thanksgiving in Japan was like? Must be surreal. I hope your not homesick! 

I miss you. Happy Thanksgiving Bre. Give Tom a smooch for me. I’m so grateful for you both. x

More Food, Less Pain, 
xo-L

*Now you know her real name, oops! You’d find that out anyhow upon visiting her blog, Lady Seeking Adventure, about her travels in Japan. Read it!

**Roll out the dough almost all the way & fold it over once, then again, then freeze.

Oatmeal

You may or may not have noticed that I only made it to day 8 of writing daily for National Blog Posting Month. I took on the challenge last November and succeeded, but this year I entered into it with a lot of trepidation. I must have known that trying to put an hour or so aside each day to tend to the blog would be feel like a chore, rather than fun.

I think that I’m experiencing the cumulative effects of not taking a vacation in a long time. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t gone away in over a year. I guess I forgot the importance of a change of scenery and routine. Regardless, it’s catching up with me. I tire easily. I long to do nothing. I want free time, with no plans. And solitude. Lots of solitude.

I took Friday off from work to help some Boston friends move. I drove an hour to get to them on Thursday night, with the intention of staying until Friday evening or Saturday morning. But as soon as I got there I realized the extent of my physical and mental exhaustion. All I could think about was how much I wanted a good night’s rest in my own bed, and a day of no obligations.

Once I was assured they had plenty of help for the move, and after a good meal with them at a local pub, I headed back to Newport. As I drove away, I thanked my stars for having friends who get me, and proceeded to do some serious car singing to stay awake.

After 9 (!) hours of sleep, I woke up on Friday morning thinking of oatmeal. This isn’t so odd, as I eat oatmeal nearly every morning. I usually keep it simple – just some plain oats in a cup, with a few walnuts and some local Aquidneck honey. I like it this way.

But on Friday I wanted my “fancy” version, if oatmeal could ever be so. I knew that I had pecans, brown sugar, and milk leftover from making pumpkin pie (post to follow). And I always have a container of thick cut oats* in my cupboard. I was hungry, and got right to it. I drip-brewed a cup of dark roast, then lingered over breakfast and The New York Times for an hour.

After finishing the whole bowl, I made a vow to myself to treat the next 3 days as a stay-cation. So I went for long walks, did some leisurely local shopping, and spent uninterrupted hours on the couch alternating between reading a book and watching my Hulu queue. I was in bed each night by 10, and got an amazing 27 hours of sleep in three nights. Guess I needed it.

And I kid you not, last night I dreamed of airplanes, and travelling. Shocking. 

When I woke today, I made the oatmeal again, then hopped in the internet to plan a real break.

Fancy Oatmeal for One

Toasting the oats gives them more flavor, but also more texture. Not to mention the lovely smell. I like to warm the empty bowl with hot water ahead of time, so the oatmeal doesn’t cool too quickly. This is to be lingered over, with a strong cup of coffee.


1/2 cup thick cut oats

5-6 pecan or walnut halves
2 dried figs, or apricots, or tart cherries
1 cup water
tiny pinch of salt
1 T brown sugar
milk or cream

1. Put an 8″ fry pan over medium heat. Toast the nuts in it, then chop them when they’ve cooled enough.

2. Keep the heat on the pan and add the oats. Shake them about & toast them until you start to see a little brown on them. Turn the heat down, and add 1 cup of water, (careful, it will boil very quickly & splatter a bit), the pinch of salt, and the dried fruit. (The fruit will flavor the oatmeal)
3. Let the oatmeal simmer and cook for a minute or two. Don’t boil all the water out – leave it looking wetter than you’d like, as the oats will continue to absorb water for a while.
4. Once it’s done, put the oatmeal in bowl. Sprinkle with the nuts and some brown sugar to taste. Add a little milk or cream, for richness.

More Food, Less Pain,
xo-L

*I prefer this brand’s Irish Style organic oats, which my local health food store carries.

The Grumpy, But Grateful Voter

I didn’t get a sticker. But it’s ok.

I had what I’m pretty sure was a migraine this morning. It wasn’t so bad that I left work, but bad enough that I was planning my escape if the nausea, dizziness and throbbing pain took a turn for the worse. A few ibuprofen, and a chicken soup delivered by my coworker, The Ninja, helped a lot. The waves of nausea and pain came and went all afternoon, but each crest, while still pretty uncomfortable, was lower than the previous one.

By 4pm I started to feel the exhaustion that follows a migraine. It was around that time that I started hearing rumors of 2 hour waits at my polling place, which, with the way I was feeling, filled me with dread.

The rumors were true. A few people I know waited over 2 hours. At least one person I know had to give up, heartbroken after 2 attempts with two young children in tow. It was her first time ever missing an election. It would be one thing if the 2 hour wait was expected, but it wasn’t. People didn’t know to plan accordingly.

And yes, I’m complaining. I’m grumpy. And I suppose if I was feeling better physically, I might feel differently about the situation. But maybe not. Shouldn’t this process be easier and more accessible for everyone than it was tonight? Won’t lines like this discourage people from voting next time? As I write this, at 9pm, there are 600 people waiting to vote at a polling station in Providence. Most have families to take care of, I’m sure. And jobs in the morning. What must they be thinking?

That said, I’m still grateful. I know waiting 2 hours, even 4 hours in line is nothing compared to what citizens of other countries go through to exercise their right to vote. That is, if they even have that right. I walked 10 minutes to my polling place, not 10 miles, or 10 days.

I take heart in the fact that, in our country, something like this won’t get swept under the rug. We won’t let it. And something will change because of our ability to voice our opinions, to petition, to gather, and to have access to our chosen leaders. I know it’s not a perfect system or government. But we are still lucky, and I never forget that, even when grumpy and complaining.

For some reason, my wait tonight was minimal because I got there just as they were letting the “R-Z’s” in. I had a ballot in my hand within 20 minutes, but I know some people who got there before me had been waiting over an hour. And were still waiting when I left. I felt bad about how quickly I got through, not glad, but what could I do? No one said much. The mood was a little tense, but civil, and quiet.

When I handed over my license to obtain my ballot, I felt even worse. The volunteer who took it looked tired, and overwhelmed. Like she didn’t sign up for the chaos. Like she didn’t want to be there. Like she needed a glass of wine. I made a point to smile at her, and thank her. She didn’t smile back, just nodded and her eyes moved to the person in line behind me.

Maybe it was the post migraine haze, but my visit there left me a little emotional. Something about the tension of the voters, and the exhaustion of the volunteers got to me. It was just very clear that everyone was determined to make it happen, regardless of the fact that it was poorly planned, and somewhat stressful.

I walked the long way home, in the cold, and counted some blessings. It’s now 9:30, and I’m still a bit grumpy. But hot soup and cheesy toast is in my near future, and I’m planting myself on the couch, under a blanket, in front of the TV as soon as I’m done writing this. I’m so tired, but you bet your ass I’m staying up as late as I can to see the results.

More Food, Less Pain,
xo-L

The Viking

I am very much an introvert. But until a few months ago, I didn’t fully understand the word, or where I fell on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. That was until I read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It’s worth reading, regardless of whether you are one or not. I’m glad I read it, because it was the single most validating book I have ever read, and it’s not even meant to be a self-help book.

One thing Cain’s book made me realize is that I’m drawn to extroverts. In fact, a couple of my closest girlfriends, including Weather Girl, are extroverts, and I now understand (and appreciate deeply) that they keep me connected socially much more than I’m capable of. I’m shy, and I don’t crave company constantly, so I don’t seek out people to fill in the gaps. I know there are close friends I can call if I’m lonely, but that rarely happens. I also understand that I depend on them to introduce me to new (and great) people.

Like The Viking. Weather Girl brought him into our circle not too long ago, and I instantly fell deeply in like with him. He’s tall, handsome, of Danish descent, and best of all, hilarious. No, I take that back – best of all is that he loves food and cooking almost as much as I do. For you nosy Nellies, if you must know, we are just friends. (Though there is talk of marriage – plural marriage, to be precise. But truth be told, I’m just not sure he’s ready. We’ve got more talking to do.)

For now, the relationship consists mostly of food-texting.* There is a lot of “what-I’m-eating-is-better-than-what-you’re-eating” business, which inevitably regresses into complete nonsense. Which I love. And which is why I will probably say yes when he finally asks me to be his first of 5 wives.

One series of texts began with me asking him what he’d like me to cook for his approaching birthday party. His texts are on the left, mine are in green on the right.

 

This eventually devolved into the following mess. It started as an “endangered animal meal contest”, which, you know, people do all the time. But the rules loosened as we went, thank goodness, and the winner was just your average non-endangered species meal.**

 

And for the record, we would never, ever, ever eat endangered animals.

More Food, Less Pain,
xo-L

*If my brother were writing this he’d probably come up with some awful mash up of that word, like “fooxting” or “fexting”, but luckily I’m feeling better today and can write my own blog post thank-you-very-much. 

**Favorite Niece actually came up with the “Fox and Beans”, and a couple others. Please don’t tell my future husband and/or sister-wives.

 

IT Guy’s Guest Blog

 

All I can say about this is that my decision to pour a full glass of rum into my champagne flute last night turned out to be a bad one. One for which I deserve to suffer, via this epic hangover, and embarrassment, via this post my big brother wrote.-L

Yo yo yo, whattup fellow Bleaders?! (That’s what i call us blog readers.) IT Guy here, filing in for little-sister while she is feeling a bit under the weather – stick around, and I’ll tell you why later. 

For now, here’s a teaser – something she said as we left the party last night:  


“I wanna ride with N because she has the chili in her car.”  


And now I get to do what big brothers do best: bullying little-sisters outta the way and taking control!! Yah bitches! I am HACKING YOUR INTERNETS!! Whoo-hoo!


Uh…sorry. I mean, someone has to fill in, right? And since I happen to be quoted in several  prominent blogs on the inter-nets (well, ok – just one called Food Toons). Also, I have an “I” (Interwebs) and a “T” (Totally Awesome Dude) in my name, so I can’t really think of anyone more qualified than ME to keep this whole  NaBloPoMo-humma-lumma-bama-lama-ding-dong thing going for her.  I do it for love (but mostly for the babes.) 

We had a great time celebrating Guy Fawkes last night at the Buoy Street Country Club. … i think. I mean, do any you know what this this ridiculous holiday is all about? It’s sorta like Cinco De Mayo for the Brits, but without the Pinatas. Anyway, its all wondrous in its, er, meaninglessness and complete emptiness of value to Americans. Confusing and pointless for ex-catholics and non-protestants alike…much in the same way Thanksgiving or American football might be to the Brits.  But, hey man, at least we get to drink like fishes and burn shit, and what’s better than that?

Yes. This happened. No one knows why.

So, why is little-sister not feeling so well today? It’s surprising actually, because she is pretty much invincible. It’s been nearly 20 years to the day since I tried to kill her with a Thanksgiving turkey. Sure, she lived, albeit with fewer internal organs, but she did LIVE! (So proud.  *Sniff*) She is a regular hero: intolerant of lactose intolerance, blogger of all things bloggy, seeker of sticky-buns, denier of alcohol dependence, maker-upper of false conditionsWhat could possibly bring her down? Whatever could be her Kryptonite?  

Well, perhaps it was double-thumbing the bottle of The Kraken (rum). Or maybe it was the guy that blue himself, a la Tobias Funke from Arrested Develpment, thanks to the blue frosting on the Carvel ice cream cake that is obligatory at all BSCC parties. Or could it have been all the food that was served with, mixed with, or placed under, near, or over cheese (and/or bacon)? Or perhaps she was overwhelmed by all the effigies we burned, or underwhelmed by our lack of fireworks (for which we got in trouble for last year.)

Yes. It says Vagina Boob.




Maybe, just maybe, she was grossed out by the brief and torrid love affair I had (in my mind, of course) with Petite-pretty-blue-eyed-but-unfortunately-married-girl. Forever unattainable of course, but, oh, oh how my heart aches for her, dizzyingly falling through the cosmos, intoxicated with an unprecedented desire…a yearning…a hunger for…for…WAIT! Is..that…cheese dip?  
 
OK…so we didn’t actually talk, but I am sure we both felt something real. (Follow us on Craigslist: Missed Connections for more!) 

Well, whatever the cause, little-sister certainly was not at her best. This concerned me deeply. Now remember Bleaders, I have seen her at her worst. This is the girl who once slept through a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! When she stops laughing, it’s probably only because Aunt Irma is visiting. When she walks into trees, it’s likely because there is a hunk of cheese, or a pancake on the other side. But when she stops laughing, walks into trees, AND falls off her chair, then says something like “no imaimma OK dehamma sammich durkne” there is definitely something wrong.    

Luckily, nothing embarrassing happened. Needless to say, we took care of her, made sure she was safe, and one of our designated drivers got her home just fine. When we got to her place I walked her to her door, and watched as she made a few very feeble and hilarious attempts to unlock her door. I unlocked it for her, and sent her on her way to her pending hangover.


With love – IT Guy. 
(Babes: you can email my little sister for my digits *wink*)

Finding Warmth

Near Ruggles Ave. – Tuesday morning

For the first time this year, I turned my heat on this morning. It was 44°F outside when I woke up, and about 45°F in my flat (at least that’s how it felt). I pulled on a sweater, turned the thermostat to 64°, and got the kettle going. While I waited for my tea, the clicking and clacking of the baseboards was soon followed by that smell of burning dust, assuring me that the heat was working.

In that moment, waiting for warm tea and warm air to cut through the chill, I thought what I’ve thought so many times this week: I’m so lucky to have these things.

The news about the aftermath of this storm is tough to read. People are in despair, and scared, and their lives and their towns will never be the same. My heart broke more than a few times this week. How could it not, when I read of a woman whose two children were swept away, or of how many elderly people died alone in their homes?

But my heart breaks here, far from the despair, in my now warm kitchen. In a house that only shook a little during the storm. In a town that fared well, considering.

So this morning, as we began preparations for out annual Guy Fawkes Party, I insisted we stop by the brand new, 2nd location of my favorite local coffee shop, Empire. They are having a soft opening this weekend, and are donating all menu sales to the Red Cross today, and Sunday too. CJ said he felt so lucky to have no flooding or damage, and wanted to do something for those who weren’t so fortunate.

We gave a little extra to Empire’s collection, and I just donated more, through the Red Cross website. Not bragging. Just hoping you’ll do the same. They sheltered nearly 7,000 people on Thursday night alone, have served 215,000 meals so far, and have provided “more than 5,000 health services” since the storm hit.

I don’t have much more to say about that. Just that I hope everyone stays safe and warm, and that you remember to count your blessings, and help where you can.

More Food, Less Pain,
xo-L

 

IT Guy Evolves Into Nocturnal Tarsier

I just finished work and am writing from my desk at the office. It’s 6pm, and I want to be out of this godforsaken building by 6:30. It’s been a long week trying to work in the dark (we just got power today). We had a generator that supplied just enough power to keep our computers going, and just enough light to get by.

My co-workers and I grumped (I just made up a word!) and laughed our way through it, knowing full and well how lucky we were to have been spared the worst of Hurricane Sandy. Still, we couldn’t resist making jokes about evolving into nocturnal creatures. Or setting fire to our paperwork to stay warm. Or this one (see caption below the pic on the left).

The “wireless” internet company we work for.

 

IT Guy, 11/2/12

My poor brother, IT Guy, has been here a ridiculous amount of hours this week. I took that picture of him, (on the right), just as the lights came back on this afternoon. Hopefully he went home after that & took a shower. Yesterday he claimed it was starting to smell in the office because of the lack of air flow, but I think it was just his anger-sweat stinking the place up.

I guess making fun of my brother is almost as lazy as re-sharing funny postcards.  It’s pretty mean actually, especially when you consider that he talked me down from a panic attack during the storm on Monday. A 75mph gust shook the house I live in, then was followed by a very loud cracking noise, which I was certain was the house itself. I immediately called him and asked him what I should do.

His advice?

“Stop what you are doing and RUN to your bathroom. When you get there, open the medicine cabinet and take 1/2 a Xanax.”

He knows me so well. And he’s smart like that. But still stinky and angry. And I should probably tell you now the picture of him above isn’t actually him. I just Googled nocturnal animals and found that.

Thanks brother, for talking me down, and for keeping us safe & productive at work all week.

More Food, Less Pain,
xo-L

Day 1: National Blog Posting Month

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I’m doing it again. Posting every day for a month as part of National Blog Posting Month.

As I write this it’s 10:30 pm. My internet was down for a couple hours, for no apparent reason. I spent 30 minutes on hold, then 20 minutes troubleshooting with a tech from Cox. I was patient, knowing that there were probably a lot of people calling with Hurricane Sandy related issues.

And I’m guessing the tech who helped me probably had a long week, so I was able to find more patience as he walked me through a multi-step re-boot.

The storm hit on Monday. We were lucky here in Newport, only experiencing power outages, downed trees, and some coastal damage. No devastating floods. No lives lost. No fires. No preemies being transferred from NICU’s.

Very lucky.

I don’t dare complain, and it’s too much to explain anyhow, but this week has been a tiring one. I’m ready for Friday. Ready for the weekend. But mostly, right now, I’m ready for bed. But instead I’m semi-reclined on the couch, typing away.

I’m entering into this month of posting every day with some hesitation. I’m busy, and worried I simply won’t have time. I worry that I’ll have nothing interesting to say. And sometimes I hate what I write. Sometimes I think it’s just petty and ridiculous.

But most of the time I have it in perspective. It’s just a blog. Just a place for me to be playful, to have fun. It’s not about being a great writer, or changing the world. It’s a hobby that I do for the pleasure of it, a process I enjoy. I think writing every day this month will help firm up this perspective.

The one thing, above all others, that compels me to ignore the hesitation is the sense of connection I get from the blog. When you tell me that something I wrote made you giggle, or that something moved you, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction. Be it silly or serious, it doesn’t matter – we shared a laugh, or some tears, or both. And isn’t that the thing that really gets us through the pain? (Sorry eating. You help too. But not as much.)

See you tomorrow.

More Food, Less Pain,
xo-L