Sometimes, life surprises us

Actually, fuck “sometimes.” Often?

Often is more accurate.

Surprises can be delightful, or they can be traumatic. Or anywhere in between. I’ve had my share of traumatic experiences in the last decade. The surprise there was how evil some “people” can be.

Those surprises made the current state of the world much less surprising. That’s unfortunate.

But in the last few days I’ve had some good surprises.

I let someone know I’d been uncomfortable with a situation that happened some time ago. I expected misdirection, redirection, blame, dismissiveness.

Instead, they also expressed discomfort and we agreed on how to move forward.

A surprise: a delightfully pleasant one.

And today, I had a non-human surprise. My partner and I had identified some probable poison ivy in the yard. Unfortunately, the “poison ivy” was climbing my fence – the only reason that my dog stays here! So it came to be choppin’ time.

I chopped chopped chopped. Lots of vines, not all looked like poison.

And then… I saw them.

Blackberries

Berries. I stopped and thought to myself, “does poison ivy flower? Does it have berries?” What about those thorn/spike things? Is that a feature of poison ivy?”

So I got my phone from the house and identified the plant: blackberries. Poison ivy does not have spikes/thorns. I stopped there, still not sure if the stuff flowers.

I stopped chopping. Yes, the fence still needs care – but I want to see what I can do about not killing off all the berries in order to protect the fence. On a cool morning.

And so… surprise. The thing I had earmarked as “bad” was… not only not bad, it was entirely misidentified. I had labeled one thing — something I wanted — as a bad thing.

And so… healing. It all comes back to healing.

EMDR. Reprocessing trauma and learning how to be me safely in the world. Learning. Growth. A reminder that things can turn out to be good.

So I ask… dear world: please continue to surprise me in the delightful way, because right now things are looking pretty fucking grim in “the world” (I mean the close-to-disUnited States) and I could really use some more … optimism.

And lastly but of course, not least… happy birthday mom. I miss you. Thank you for sending some berries to eat, along with that tiny dash of hope. ❤️

Cooking and fear

I worry about wasting food. Not wasting food as in “Oh that portion was too big, I’ll throw out the waste.” But wasting food as in, “I just spent all this time cooking and it’s inedible, now i have to throw it out and figure out my meal and clean up up the mess!”

So I’d never even try. The whole thing was too much emotional load.

Then last week, I was channel jumping on YouTube when I ran across a video about why restaurant vegetables taste so much better than home-cooked vegetables.

Now, I’m not a cook. I can make a few, staple dishes, mostly with predictably edible results. But… I’m sick of them. Totally sick of my normal meals.

Those meals include: chicken & veggies (basically a skillet meal), soft tacos, pasta, homemade pizza (on pre-made crusts), various egg dishes, pancakes. Oh, hot dogs. I can make a hot dog.

With where I am at on my health journey that set of food simply won’t work. It’s high calorie, high carb. Except the chicken and veggies which are – in my version – very heavy and only come out well about 40% of the time. Edible about 95% – good? Only about 40%, and that’s being generous.

If I want variety, deliciousness, and health – it’s time to cook.

When I ran across the headline of this video it piqued my interest. I can boil veggies and I can burn ‘em. I can microwave steamfresh veggies, which is what I normally do. But Nathan and I used to roast veggies and make this delicious roast chicken & veggies meal. I’d like to do that again. And other variations.

I was intrigued by the video’s headline. Ethan is an excellent explainer, so I watched a few times and bought fresh beets at a local farm.

Today, I was sitting here bored and aimless and figured I’d give it a go. Why not? I was hungry-ish and wanted something to snack on (though I do limit snacks as well, don’t y’know they’ll ruin your dinner?) and figured that if I really did screw this up, it would be ~25 min wasted, I have other snack like food that’s healthy, and it was only a single beet.

So I cut it up and used the parboil -> broil method from the video.

And for the first time, on my own, I actually got the Maillard reaction. That kind of crispy, slightly blackened, but delicious thing that happens.

What I did? I sliced up the beet, put in two extremely generous pinches of salt, boiled the slices for 6 minutes.

While that was happening, I loaded the sheet pan with a lot of EVOO and heated the whole thing up.

After boiling, I moved the sliced beets into the pre-oil-heated pan in my Ninja Foodi oven-thing for ~12 minutes. I could hear them start to crisp up as I placed them in the hot oil. I added some minced garlic and a generous helping of balsamic vinegar.

The result is as follows:

Parboiled + Broiled beets

That is: these came out perfectly.

All that is to say: I finally got over my fear of failure and made some absolute deliciousness. This is an approach I can easily repeat in the future, and apparently will even work on the tons of frozen veggies I have.

It feels good to try something new, especially something I’ve so carefully avoided in the past. Maybe this will help me with motivation to try more cooking.

Maybe.

It’s been a bit… incoming foster pup?!

I seem to have a 9 month old, female Newfoundland foster incoming. Owner surrender. I don’t think I’ve fostered a direct owner surrender before – that presents more opportunities for information, which is neat.

She may be here tomorrow? Still figuring it out. There are some comms challenges with the current owner to figure out and the dog is about 1.5 hours away.

Once this dog arrives, my life will get 4x harder than it is now. Maybe 10x.

I think this is the first time I’ve been nervous about a new foster.

But… also ready. Crate is up, picking up bones & toys today. Enjoying the downtime I get at the moment.

Eclipse has BIG challenges with other dogs, but also loves them. My goal is to offer a loving landing spot for this displaced girl while also discovering if Eclipse and I want a permanent, second dog.

Eclipse is dog selective, and this girl may be a bit reactive. This event will require very slow introductions and careful time taken.

I’m ready. I’ve worked with Eclipse’s trainer on this plan. The rescue group has a Plan B foster if the dogs flat hate each other.

So my life will be Hard Mode for a bit. Hopefully a joyful hard mode. And… for awhile.