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.

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*)

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

Guy Fawkes

The preparations are in full swing. The fire pit is being prepared. The kitchen is stocked with weird British ingredients. The cooler is stocked with enough beer for 50 times 10. The totally legal fireworks are sitting patiently, awaiting lighters and clear skies.

It’s Guy Fawkes Night in Great Britain. And since Weather Girl married The Welshman, we are obligated to celebrate.

Instead of giving you an explanation, I’ll do two things instead. First, here is a link to a blog called Crumpets in Camelot. I just found through this NaBloPoMo thing. I love it, and the post she did on Guy Fawkes is funny and sums it up perfectly.

The next thing I’ll do is a post tomorrow on how the food and festivities went.

Until then, feast your eyes on this ridiculousness.

The Welshman’s pants are ALWAYS this tight.

More food, less pain,
x-L

More Food, More Pain. Compliments of NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month. It is basically a bunch of bloggers who agree to update their blog daily for one month. The idea is that by doing so you’ll improve your writing and help to grow your blog.

This month I’ll be taking on this challenge. Though a little bit daunting, I like the idea. I’m finally grown up enough to understand that if you do something every day to strengthen a skill or habit, you do get better at it. Duh. Mostly, I plan to try and enjoy the process and to be ready and willing to take on the inevitable internal struggle it might cause me from time to time.

For those of you that love the dating/relationship stories, I’ll do my best to bring the awkward. some awkward. I’ll find someone to awkward double hug. Or maybe another chain smoking drunk guy will fall in love with me on our fist date (please God no.) There’s bound to be another guy asking me to dance again, even after I insist that “dancing is not a good look for me.”

For those of you that love the food stuff, I’ll have plenty of fodder for that. November brings with it wine classes (attending and teaching), then there’s Guy Fawkes bonfire night with the Brits. Oh, and mashed potato day Thanksgiving.

Since I work 40 hours a week, work out most days and actually keep up a decent social life, most of the posts will probably be short, which is something I’ve been meaning to start doing anyhow. Of course I don’t expect you’ll read them all. That’s not the point really, but I do hope you’ll enjoy the journey with me. And hopefully we’ll have some good food and good laughs together soon.

More food, less pain,
x-L