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1.20.2014

THIS KNOWLEDGE MIGHT COME IN HANDY ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT TOO


I buy a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.  It's the bulk of what I buy.  And, since I love all vegetables and fruits, I buy things that maybe some people aren't familiar with at all - particularly, the checkout personnel. 

If you are the face of a grocery store [the cashier] it might behoove you to know the products that are sold in the store you work for.  You don't necessarily need to know everything about every item, but you should, at the very least, know the name of the item by looking at it even if you choose not to eat it in your private life.

There is a game I play in my head as I am unloading my produce onto the conveyor belt - I wonder which of these items the cashier will have to ask me what they are.  They do not appear to eat vegetables as a staple to their diet.  I'm gonna guess she will ask on at least 2 items.  Sometimes I can clearly see the expression and thought bubble above the cashier's head as they are weighing and scanning my produce.  Those expressions typically come from a young person.  It's a combined what-is-this-never-ate-it-before look and curiosity over the fact that there is someone who DOES eat it.
A few brave young people will ask what it tastes like, is it good?

In the grocery store produce section recently, an elderly gentleman was perusing the organic kale and swiss chard at the same time I was.  He was 6 foot tall, very slender and chatty.  As I picked out my bunch of organic chard, he commented that he loved kale.  I told him I did too.  He began to discuss kale with me - the ways he cooks it, how often he eats it.  He asked me what I did with kale.  I told him I steam it, but a lot of times eat it raw mixed in a salad or add it to soup.    He wanted to know if I had any recipes.  I informed him that I typically don't use recipes but just create it as I go. 

This produce loving, granola-ish senior citizen followed me for a spell through the produce section, chatting about swiss chard and asking what I did with it as well.  I told him if I looked as great as he did by eating green leafy vegetables all his life, then I wanted to be just like him at his age.  He chuckled.

I must admit that I look at what people have in their carts while I'm grocery shopping.  Sometimes it's just alarming, disturbing and disgusting.  You can tell a lot about a person's habits, lifestyle and priorities by what's in their cart.  Sometimes too you can place them socio-economically as well.

There is a natural-organic grocery store here called New Frontiers.  If you are into grass-fed, organic meat/fish, organic vegetables and fruits, it is a great place to go.  I probably don't look quite as save-a-tree-ish as most in there, but at least I feel connected to their desire to put as clean of things in their bodies as possible.  It's ironic that to eat in a way that takes the load off your body systems it actually costs far more than putting trash into it.  The price is worth it to me.  My health is tenuous enough at times without stressing it further by what I put in it to fuel it.

BTW; at the regular grocery store the cashier, in her twenties and very unhealthy looking, asked me what the bunch of deep green red stemmed stuff was called and if that purple thing [the eggplant] was good.  I told her she ought to try them both - they were not only good, but good for you!  Know the products lady!

1.07.2014

A PARADIGM SHIFT OF SORTS


There are things that shift in our lives.  Things that go from hate to love.  Maybe things that go from love to hate sometimes.  I don't know why that happens, but it does on just about every strata that might come to your mind.

I hated swiss chard [it's a deep green big leafy vegetable in the lettuce/spinach/kale fashion] when I was kid.  My parents grew it in their ginormous truck patch of a garden which my sisters and I had to weed at 6 a.m. on summer mornings.  Possibly I took my hatred for weeding out on one of the vegetables that grew in massive proportions in the garden. 

My mom would steam a huge pot of it.  She had to, partially because it steams away to a mere portion of its original heap.  But mostly because she had a love affair with it. To it she made a cream/vinegar/butter/sugar sauce with chopped up hard boiled eggs.  That mixture was dredged into the cooked chard pot. Its snotty texture and pungent odor were a don't-wanna-eat-it double play.


I refused to eat more than the required bites.
  That is, until I grew up.  My tastes shifted. 
 I forgot about the humid Indiana garden weeding sessions,
fell in love with all things raw, green and leafy, and began
to eat swiss chard, both raw and steamed, in super size me please portions.

It was what was for dinner tonight.
  I love that shift in my taste buds.
 
 To that hate-changed-to-love food shift list I add coconut, butterscotch, maple and black licorice.  I disliked them, ok hated them, as a kid.  I love them all now.  Black licorice is pretty high up there in the category of things I get a hankering for.  That black licorice love I share with my dear friend Sharon.  Good N Plenty's are her love language - stale or fresh.
 
I still though continue my life long abhorration for raisins.  I can eat them, but my hatred makes my choice not to much easier.
 
It seems that some things do not shift though no matter what.  They are deeply entrenched in our soul and spirits. Despite the shifts of our food tastes, our changes in political leanings, or deepening understanding of the world, job transfers, geographic locations we might find ourselves in or the changing cycles of life, they remain unmovable. 


1.05.2014

MIGHT I SUGGEST YOU NOT EAT THIS PAST MIDNIGHT ON THE SEVENTH DAY OR WHEN THERE IS A FULL MOON

There is a debate with our one son-in-law about expiration dates on food.  He and my mom probably stand closer to the same mind set than does anyone, barring the homeless or those left with no choices.  I would rather error on the side of not having ill digestive effects from crossing that somewhat subjective expiration date line.  Our son-in-law, much like a Vegas high roller, eats it anyway.  Always.

Unfortunately because of the boatload of preservatives, and the quantity of non real food ingredients in it, our food really does have far too long a shelf life.  Real food that our ancestors ate was in its original, unadulterated, unedited form; meat freshly killed, vegetables and fruits were eaten by the season of their availability, etc....  There wasn't yogurt, ice cream, even cereal or bread cut into slices and stored in a plastic bag.

Expiration dates on food are little like weather lines; somewhere the rain stops, the snow stops, the gray stops and another weather line starts.  I know that to be true even though I can't always see each one end and a new one start.  If that were not true, we would all be experiencing the severe cold and snow that is bombarding the country's mid to eastern section.

There is no doubt some research that goes into expiration dates on food - laboratory studies in petri dishes, lab rats, or with college students desperate for money.  It just seems that line is a bit obscure.

Take for instance what I noticed yesterday as I opened my refrigerator door. Written on the back of the half-gallon of Lactaid milk (that's milk with out the digestive enzyme lactose in it - my digestion can't handle dairy well at all) was this:


MAY BE SOLD UNTIL
MIDNIGHT OF DATE
INDICATED ON TOP

THIS MILK IS ULTRA-
PASTEURIZED TO LAST
LONGER UNOPENED.
ONCE OPENED, CONSUME
WITHIN SEVEN DAYS.

KEEP REFRIGERATED

I must say I laughed at the midnight time deadline.  Evidently not one minute more.  Seems a bit overstated.  Stores need to take notice of that time deadline of midnight and pull them off the shelf immediately. 

I was also a bit confused that if I didn't open the container, but merely kept it in my refrigerator, it was good until February 22nd.  But, if I chose to consume it I could only use it for 7 days.  Oxygen quickly decreases the ultra-pasteurization.  Oxygen keeps us alive but also carries bacteria.  Conundrum indeed.

My bag of wild rice says, refrigeration suggested after opening for longer shelf life.  I want to know how much longer exactly.  I had the rice for 6 months on a cupboard shelf.  I looked for an expiration date printed on the package - there was none.  I smelled it [as though I am really going to know what old rice might smell like - card-boardish??]  It was just my sensory due diligence, quasi lab testing, for determining whether a food item was past its life span.  I cooked it.  Still alive I am.

My mom has been known to have quite a few expired condiments in her frig.  I always check the date on the mayo at her house before using it.  I likewise always ask, if I am eating a leftover that I found in her frig before I got there, when she made it [day of week].  If it is past the 3-4 day mark, Nancy out!

I like the word suggested more than I like sold until midnight.  It gives me some lee-way, a choice, a gamble in whether or not I want to take the expiration date dice roll.  I know my son-in-law Brandon always does. 

1.02.2014

NANCY'S GYM - clothing optional



I'm back to running on the treadmill in my underpants only. That is why I hated the gym - too many rules for clothing.  Well, that and germs up the wazoo!  It's why, after selling mine before moving across the country, I recently purchased another. [To Big D and all those that use their treadmills for clothes hangers...I actually use mine!]  I teased one of my daughters that she couldn't run in just her skivvies.  God blessed her with way more up top than me.  She laughed at the reality of that for both of us.
 
Most things we ever think have already been thought up, created and then acted upon.  The majority of us are too late in our idea implementation to make a few billion with the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or the inventor of Post-its!  I've had a few great ideas-innovative notions, but my husband has had a plethora!  Too bad capital or time got in the way.  If not, Doug would have been the innovator of video stores in the 1980's when here were none. Unfortunately recent times have shown us how video rental stores eventually landed - Blockbuster is bust. 
 
If there are such things as nudist gyms, they are not in my locale.  It seems gyms do sometimes cater to certain groups - hard core bodies, middle aged woman, those on a budget, one gender only gyms, etc...   I find the temperature way too hot in most gyms.  The temperature should be a cool 60 degrees with a breeze constantly blowing.  Clothes just increase anyone's body temperature!  If you can get cooler you can push harder, go further.
 
I wondered before work today, as I ran in my underpants totally unabridged, how much better treadmilling is without the constraints of clothes!  There is something wild and free about sweat pouring down you.  It also cuts down on the amount of sweaty clothes that have to be washed.  Likewise, there is something motivating about not wearing anything but panties - you see your flesh in motion!  If that's not a motivator then I don't know what is.  I'm thinking it may motivate the contestants on "The Biggest Loser" to work even harder.  Ratings may drop though. 
 
A client of mine, in her late eighties, was recounting to me how she knows she will need to have a care giver down the road.  Due to arthritis and injury she struggles to get her clothes on daily.  She has a wicked sense of humor - just my cup of tea she is.  I replied,  "Well, maybe just don't wear any clothes if you're not going anywhere."  Her response, "No one wants to see old flesh.  I don't even want to see my own.  It's not pretty, that's all I can tell you!"
 
Some of you might be laughing.  Others have a gross mental picture in your head of anyone running in only their pantaloons.  To others this has piqued your curiosity as to the possibility of wanting to try your own treadmill - clothes or no clothes!
 
It's a new year - time for new things, new motivations, new experiences.  Go head, try it.  At the very least try removing the wardrobe from your treadmill.

1.01.2014

TIME KEEPS ON MOVING INTO THE FUTURE

 
 

I'm not a good sleeper in every sense of what the word good means [fine, superior, quality].  Nor do I sleep deeply or well [in a complete, full or thorough manner].  I also don't sleep for the full recommended 7-8 hours of sleep the experts say some adults should get.  My body just isn't wired for it.  Nor do I need it - my daughter sleeps enough to make up for my lack.

Unfortunately it seems, no matter the time of night I go to bed, I am still up at a certain time, after a certain number of hours.  That no doubt has greatly changed my husband's sleep patterns.  He wants me to sleep in with him.  I simply cannot.  To lay awake in bed after 5-6 hours of being asleep while he sleeps several more hours is not possible for me.

We all operate on a slightly different time schedule with sleep, work, etc.  We live in different time zones.  And although we all only have 24 hours a day - an equalizer among humanity - we are at different points in the time line and at varying stages of acceptance with time.

I awoke early today, New Year's Day, and not wanting to disturb my husband Doug, I found my clothes from the night before in the dark in a heap close to the bed.  They were right where I exited them five and half hours earlier. I decided to use this early morning time to write in our office. 

Our office contains a hammered top desk with a bow-back chair, a small lamp with a linen lampshade, a handful of pictures on the desk of family, a 5-shelved graduated bookshelf which holds the printer, some mementos, a quote - "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt, 5 linen baskets that hold hanging files and a bill sorter.  The ironing board and iron are always in the up position in that room because Doug and I are ironing freaks.  On the wall is a wire shelf made out of pipes that holds the small 13" TV that sits in front of my treadmill. There is also a closet that houses a mish mash of crap that doesn't really go together but I don't know where it should go!  The treadmill faces a very large window that looks out over our backyard.  That makes up the office.  
 

Walking in to the office to utilize this precious early morning time, I was met with a bit of a cool breeze.  While running on the treadmill yesterday after work, I opened the window for fresh air.  I forgot to close it.  Though 62 degrees here yesterday, nights get in the 30's.  It was brisk in there!  My thoughts started to disintegrate immediately .....

[Focus Nancy!  You only have a bit of time to write.  Don't get distracted by the imperfections in the room - the pile of papers that need to be addressed or filed on the desk, the box sitting on the bookcase that needs to be packed and mailed to kids, my now empty cup of coffee, the cool temperature in the room...]  I laughed at my inability to grab a hold of this measured amount of time before it slipped away. It was a fitting notation for New Year's Day. 

Depending on where you are in the timeline, time passes faster after a certain point.  I was at that point for sure.  There was a bank of time used up behind me, and an undetermined and unguaranteed amount that lay before me.  I sometimes felt it slipping through my hands.

Age makes you realize something poignantly - life is fast so you gotta hold on to the things that matter - the things that are what you are designed to do.  Realizing chronologically that you now don't have as much time ahead as you have banked behind you makes time a far more precious commodity than in our younger days. You want to guard it - throw the crap out that sucks time away with unimportance and triviality. I get more fierce with protecting time as I age.

Time is a race for sure.  I don't think though I'm supposed to be frantic.  Nor should I be will-nilly with it.  Most definitely I cannot beat it.  I do so foolishly try most days though.

I have stuff in my already spent time bank that I wish I could do over.  I'm sure you do too.  Time though has and continues to teach me much.  I only have what is now and no guarantees of anything past that.  I want to use it wisely, value it as a treasure and be relentless in my pursuit of my place in the timeline.