Working on myself

Every year starts out the same.

I get this burr in my bonnet to be better or learn something or find some new thing to master.

One year, it was brewing beer.

kozmodemyansk_museum_13Of course, once I had done it and realized I wasn’t going to be immediately able to play with ingredients like I do cooking, it lost its appeal. Not that that was a bad thing, cause my husband took over the brewing supplies and magic was born.

Another year, I decided to learn Italian. I am killer at asking where Marco is, but after that, things get a little shaky. Scusi, moi!

This year was no different. I decided tonight to not only restart my social marketing specialization class, but, quel suprise! restart learning Italian. Ciao Bella!

It made me think about all the other things I would like to learn too.

Like baking.

I would like to learn how to bake.

tumblr_my9mo9XUsV1t0gs1do1_1280I can make a mean potato leek soup, and my soufflés are pretty good, but I can’t bake. Really. My cakes turn out flat, my biscuits turn out like hockey pucks and let’s not even start on my breads.

I think it has something to do with needing to really follow a recipe.

My mom used to tease me that I only knew two temperatures to cook with – high and off. I’m thinking I also only know two ways to cook – wing it or order out.

Following a detailed recipe precisely aside, I think I’m also pretty tough on doughs when you get right down to it. I mean… I don’t think something is mixed properly until it no longer resembles a group of ingredients, but rather one big mass of other stuff. Like, when I make eggnog, I don’t necessarily FOLD the egg whites into the rest of the mixture… I keep stirring it in until the whole thing looks like yellow fluffiness. It just makes sense to me to do it that way.

But apparently, you’re not supposed to do that with all doughs. Who knew? And then there’s this whole “let your dough rest” thing… what a crock! It’s just sitting there as it is while I do all the hard work of kneading and rolling and cutting and mixing – heck, I’M the one that needs the rest!

Speaking of resting, I think I also want to learn how to workout without actually working out.

I know that sounds stupid, but since I have to have my hip replaced sometime this, I need to figure out a way not to balloon up to a million pounds while recuperating without starving myself to death.

844b145108ea4aa566cb5478a1efe3a3Surely there is a way to do something resembling exercise while lying in bed. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, I won’t even be allowed to reach down and grab blankets from the end of my bed, let alone cross my legs, so I’m just wondering what I’m going to be able to do that is going to burn off any appreciable amount of calories. Other than eating celery all day, I’m stumped.

I think I would also like to learn how to make my own cheese and sausage. These two have been goals of mine for some time, but I never really got the chance for one reason or another.

For one, I haven’t been able to find unpasteurized cow’s milk to make cheese with.

10.Mixing2.jpgMy husband got me a meat grinder/sausage making thingy to go on my mixer, but the only clues I can find to make sausage are kits from Academy sports – and honestly, it just seems like this whole sausage making thingy shouldn’t be so complicated it needs to be dumbed down and in kit form.

Of course, I haven’t really looked that hard either.

I mean, how difficult can it be to insert meat and spices into a blender and come out with yummy goodness?

The impetus for all this cheese and sausage making came from a dream where I was stranded in the wilds of North Dakota trying to make my way back home from Vegas after a terrorist invasion of the U.S.

It was a very vivid dream and the sausage and cheese making came in handy when the troop of stragglers I was with landed at an abandoned farm.

In hindsight, I hardly think that cheese and sausage making would have helped me and my little posse of survivors flourish. Instead, I am thinking it would have led to heart disease and high cholesterol, resulting in our untimely deaths, meaning, of course, the terrorists would win.

But, if I recall the dream correctly, it did engender me in the eyes of the rest of the merry band of troopers, making me the important one that must be kept for their culinary prowess.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

I still want to learn how to make them though. How cool would it be to serve an anti pasta platter and say “Oh, DO try the mozzarella – I just made it last week. I’m working on perfecting the capicola, but you MUST try this summer sausage I put up last year. It’s simply divine with little hints of wood mushroom and arugula…”

I used to put up a list of some 734 impossible things I’d like to accomplish each year like write a novel, or get more involved in your community.

I’ll write regardless. And I’ll find ways to get involved and make a difference, so putting that on a list of accomplishments is like putting “write to do list” on your “to do list” just so you have something to cross off.

Italian-Popular-Gestures-277x300So… let’s limit it to things I can learn. Italian. Baking. Exercises that aren’t exercises. Making cheese and sausage.

Seems easy enough. Right?

Lo capisco! Arrivederci e buona gianata!

 

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016

All images remain the property of their owners.

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If you say you’re going to do something, do it

If it’s true that “what you do on the first of the year is what you’re going to do for the rest of the year,” I think I may be in trouble.

wpid-confusedSo far today, January 1, I’ve managed to clean, nap, cook and walk into another room four times, forgetting what I was there for and then working on something else, until I walked back into the kitchen and remembered what it was I intended to do originally.

This does not bode well.

In fact, it took me looking at the stove four times this afternoon before I realized that it wasn’t 4 p.m., but that the oven was on and cooking at 400°.

Does that mean for the rest of the year I’ll be dazed and confused, or that it will just take me longer to realize what I’ve actually been accomplishing?

I feel like I’m getting old and forgetful.

In my defense though, it’s been a long couple of weeks.

Really. Long.

There have been numerous holidays, lots of stuff going on, one huge party, a few set backs and disappointments and a ton of work commitments to get thru. It didn’t feel much like a vacation, even if I was “technically” off work.

Come to think of it, with 70° weather and rain, it didn’t feel much like Christmas either.

o-UNWINDING-facebookAt one point last week, I was given the opportunity, several actually, to walk away from a commitment. It would have been the easier thing to do. I would have disappointed others, but it would probably have been easier for me to just walk away from what I had said I was going to do.

Then, I thought about what my friend Steve has said to me before. “If you say you’re going to do something, do it.”

And that’s what I did. I kept my word. I, along with several others, threw a huge party and while it wasn’t the overwhelming success we thought it would be earlier this year, it was still a success.

Which got me thinking.

Maybe if I said that I was going to do something today, and then did it, it would be a better indication of what the rest of my year would be like.

As such, I’ve decided to start the year off right writing.

refashionistaInspired by my blogger girl crush, the Refashionista, I have started a challenge for myself. While she will do a post a day for 366 days (leap year, you know), I will do a post a week. That’s a big leap for someone who has not really posted anything since before Halloween.

I think I will do them on Mondays. I always hate Mondays, so maybe writing for myself on a Monday will make it easier for me to face them.

And I’m going to work on other things too.

I’m going to finish my cookbook for my sons – all of our family recipes, interspersed with some of my old columns, and a few of our old family stories. I want to have it ready to give to my oldest son if and when he moves out.

I’m going to seriously work on getting my children’s books published – starting with “My Little Zombie” for which I found an illustrator recently.

I’m going to focus on finishing my novels and getting down to the editing process.

I’m going to write about the Children of Clay – a project I’ve wanted to work on for almost a year now.

I’m going to write a history book about Anderson.

There’s also a lot to look forward to this year.

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I’ll get my hip replaced in April or May. Little Mason will graduate in June. Max will start working  – if all goes well and the Hot Topic angels are smiling on him. And in October, Pints for the People will enter its fifth year of giving away money to charities.

That’s a lot of good stuff.

And I’ll write about it all.

One week at a time.

If I can remember what I’m supposed to be writing about when I go into my office, that is….

 

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2016

All images remain the property of their respective owners.