Friday, October 24, 2008

The View From Here

Laundry and Cooking

Today the skies are an ominous gray (like the falling stock market) and we're watching the rain and snow spit and sputter. So the laundry's hung on our drying rack above the washer and dryer (which we've never plugged in), on the shower rod and the warping board next to our wood stove. Notice that tonight's supper is already cooking in a small enamel roaster. The large uncovered roaster serves as our humidifier.

Here's a recipe for Rice Lentil Bake that can take many variations:

3-1/2 Cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth.
3/4 Cups brown lentils
3/4 Cups white rice, rinsed and uncooked
1/2 Cup chopped celery
3/4 Cup chopped onion
1 teas. garlic powder or some minced garlic
1/2 teas. oregano
1 Cup grated carrot

Mix all ingredients together in a 13x9 inch pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Check half way through cooking to see if you need more liquid.

I've been known to toss leftover pork, beef or chicken in the pan too along with another half cup of liquid.

What Don't You Know?

Plenty. I'm not familiar with chemical formulations, the ins and outs of the stock market nor have I mastered the games of chess or poker. More importantly, until recently I didn't know how to operate the backhoe, the riding mower or the rototiller. Like most couples, he has his jobs around here and I have mine. But, last year he was down for 10 days with pneumonia and the drive was filling in. At that time we were the youngest couple on our road and I worried about how we'd get him out of here if the situation deteriorated. Thankfully, we made it through that time and when his health improved I bugged him until he spent an afternoon giving me "driving lessons." Our labors here are still divided along pretty traditional lines but, in a pinch I know I can operate any of his equipment.

So this morning it was time to turn the tables and give him some instructions. Now he knows where every kitchen tool is stored and how to run my sewing machine. Additionally, I wrote out a little "here's where stuff is" list for him and taped it to the inside of a cupboard door.

Along this same vein, I got to thinking about things we may have in our homes but have never used. One thing is a fire extinguisher. If you own one? Do you know how to operate it? Does anyone else in your home know how? And for medical emergencies, how many people in your household have First Aid training and have practiced any techniques?

Well, there's plenty I could say about the financial markets today; about the government morons and a few other topics which will be jabber-jawed about on countless blogs. So, I'll shut up.

Instead, I leave you with a thought. Why is it when we think of "cutting back" we associate it with pain? Real pain, dear reader, is going without. If you've ever been hungry or homeless or hopeless, that's pain. Anything else is simply an attitude adjustment.

Tomorrow I'll tell you a bit about my experiences with joblessness, homelessness and hunger.
In the meantime, appreciate what you have, take a good look at your "stuff" and ask yourself how much of it really matters.

Til tomorrow, Treesong

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