Wednesday, February 13, 2013

the secret life of quiche

for some reason i've been craving quiche lately. i often wonder what causes these weird, out-of-the-blue longings. is it a metabolic imbalance in my body? could i be low on potassium or iron? is the cosmic void sending me a way-too-subtle message? anyway, i decided to whip up a batch of quiche on sunday and this recipe more than satisfied my craving.

i found a recipe online (somewhere?) and then added my spin to it. here goes:

brown 8 slices of bacon and crumble

toss 8 oz of shredded swiss cheese and the crumbled bacon together and put in the bottom of a large pie pan

mix together in a bowl:
6 eggs
2 T melted butter
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c milk
salt & pepper
shredded fresh spinach

pour contents of bowl into the pie pan and cook for 35-45 minutes at 350

it smelled so good that i could barely wait for it to cool to cut into it. yummo! i ate two rather large pieces. then i went back to crocheting a wonderfully slouchy hobo bag in a tweedy brown. as the afternoon wore on (me in my pajamas with doggy zoe asleep on my feet, watching a marathon of friends reruns) i could hear whisperings coming from the kitchen. i snuck in there a couple of times to see what was going on but all was still and quiet. as my fevered fingers double crocheted and back-looped-only, the whispers became more urgent. it seemed to be calling 'julie, julie . . . you know you want me". finally i could wait no more; i answered the call of that quiche and popped it right back into the oven on warm. and yes, you guessed it. i ate two more substantially awesome pieces.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

deodorant (or lack thereof)

me at 60 years young

a few weeks ago i accidentally let myself run out of deodorant. i knew i was running low but thought i had an extra stick set back somewhere. maybe in the make-up drawer or under the new pack of toilet paper? the next day the extra stick was nowhere to be found and i thought ok i'll just stop at cvs on my way to work at the antique mall and buy some. slow-moving traffic and a long line at mcd's (did everyone want need a large sweet tea that morning?) prevented the deodorant purchase. just thinking about not wearing deodorant made me break out in a sweat. there is no sugar coating the situation; by mid-afternoon i was hearing the voice of the grinch in my head. i stink, stank, stunk!!

fast forward to the day of my 60th birthday and my daughter wanted to take me out for dinner and a movie. i wanted to see a romantic comedy but there was nothing playing so i suggested we see lincoln. from the get-go i was captivated by the cinematography. the cigar smoke floating in the light from the window was mesmerizing. daniel day lewis was wonderful. i've always loved james spader and he did not disappoint. but overriding all of these thoughts and feelings was a nagging memory of my afternoon without deodorant. my mind kept focusing on how many un-deodorized, cigar-smoking men were closely gathered in the room. remembering how badly i reeked after only a few hours, i seriously wondered how they could stand each other's company. 

at this point, i was struggling big time to hold my giggles inside. i kept telling myself to straighten up and act like the adult that i surely ought to be at 60 years old. but it was nearly impossible to do. it didn't help that my bladder was bursting. and then, in the middle of that bladder-wrenching hilarity, i had an epiphany. i knew that i was back. i was okay. i had weathered a relentless, sometimes hopeless, always painful, mid-life crisis and i'd come out on the other side. still laughing, still loving life, still poking fun at myself -- i was 60 years old and i felt whole and happy.

and then i got up and giggled all the way to the bathroom to pee.

Monday, February 11, 2013

this makes me smile

i love this time of year for the plethora of wonderful gardening mail order catalogs i receive. i can spend hours perusing the selection of plants and vegetables. i dream about the kind of garden i would have if only. if only i could garden full time. if only i had a country farmhouse with a large plot of land. if only i had access to free (or very cheap) muscle. if only the muscle was available and found me wildly mildly attractive. i digress.

this year's crop (pun intended) of gardening catalogs do not disappoint. take the new 2013 burpee catalog (not literally -- if you try to grab it, i'll smack your hand). this one is a feast for the eyes. my favorite part is the "new" section full of fun, new hybrids with entertaining names like "sweet thing hot pepper" on page 4. one 24" tall plant produces loads of 6-9" cayenne-shaped peppers that transition from green to yellow to orange to red. i imagine relaxing on the deck with a book, silently watching the peppers change colors like a family of chameleons. this makes me smile.

on page 7 i'm drawn to the "caracas carrot". only 2-3" long each carrot has a deep orange color and is loaded with flavor. i imagine myself reclining at the edge of the garden while munching on a juicy caracas and painting orange-filled paintings in my mind. this makes me smile.

and then there's the "sugar heart pea" on page 9. it's a 2012 taste test winner and totally fat free. i imagine an 8' x 10' room filled with 37 bushel baskets of different varieties of peas. in the middle of the green mounds is a wonderfully thin woman (me!) taking her fill of every single kind of 100% fat free pea. this makes me smile.

but as always, reality sets in. my gardens never live up to my expectations. i want to blame it on lack of muscle (be still my beating heart) but i know it's that my garden standards are a bit too high. i want to have meryl streep's garden in the movie it's complicated. her garden is an awesome arrangement of weed-free raised beds, each filled with a bounty of beautiful vegetables. i imagine it's me there in that garden in those super-cute bibs, with that adorable gardening hat and the harvest basket slung over my arm. the basket is filled with sweet thing peppers, caracas carrots and sugar heart peas, all the produce needed to make the awesome dinner i'm cooking for my faithful muscle man. this makes me smile.   


Saturday, February 9, 2013

fear is a funny thing

a couple of weeks ago i was working in the kitchen and noticed that my dog zoe had disappeared. i thought she was resting so i headed to the bedroom. no zoe on the bed. than i checked the living room. no zoe on the couch. keep in mind that i'm living in a small (but adorable) 4 room apartment; there aren't alot of places to hide. i called "zoe zoe" and heard scrambling noises and a thump coming from the bathroom. she came running down the hall. i made over her and asked her why she was hiding in the bathroom. she cocked her head and gave me one of those looks that make me so wish she could speak. but since she can't and i'm not clairvoyant, i went on with my evening sans an answer.

the next night i was mixing up a quick veggie quiche when it happened again. zoe disappeared and when i found her she was hiding in the bathtub!! she seemed scared and so pathetic. i began to worry that she was suffering from having lost her twin bella a couple of months ago or maybe she wasn't adjusting to living in town in an apartment. i hugged her and held her on my lap making over her and telling her how much i love her. once she seemed reassured i headed back to the kitchen to take my dinner out of the oven. that's when my overzealous smoke alarm (incongruously located in the kitchen??!!) went off as happens almost every time i use the oven. and it hit me  . . . zoe is afraid of the smoke alarm! if her quivering little body had not been so sad i would have laughed out loud. the bathtub? really?

all this got me to thinking about fear and our comfort zones. if you watch the evening news you can get a full list of things we should fear and worry about -- the flu, global warming, higher taxes, healthcare costs, aging and the list goes on and on. i sometimes feel like it would take 3 of me to keep myself adequately safeguarded from all the possible dangers lurking over me. my personal comfort zone simply won't abide non-stop worry. i choose not to worry every second of the day and maybe even less than once a week. i'm shooting for less than 1 minute of worry a month!

so what do i choose over worry and fear? i choose to walk my dog at least 3 times a day with my head held high, my step light and carefree and my soul filled with hope. i choose to visit my friends at the library where i check out books and movies that inspire me to be a better person and lift my spirits high. i choose to do something every day that makes me laugh, the big, belly-shaking kind of laugh that makes my eyes water and my heart soar. i choose to fill my home with houseplants that live and breathe instead of material possessions that i simply don't need. i choose to be silly and funny with my grandkids and to make memorable moments that shape their lives. i choose to reach out to a friend every week to say hey let's grab  a pizza or come walk zoe with me. you get the drift here. i choose to live a simple life that nourishes my soul.

fear is a funny thing and i choose to laugh it away. and, just for kicks and giggles, one evening i may join zoe in the bathtub. who knows, maybe she knows a secret or two about living a brave, peaceful life.