Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Life

Once in a while a sight moves me to the core for no reason and I take a photo and think, "My life. I've just captured my life." And so it was, with this vista of a wildly gorgeous August sky as a cool front drove storm clouds away from Ste. Genevieve, and my happy reminder reflected in the corner of the windshield. My life. . .is a highway. I grade it A. I've made it to the junction of 55. Ahead is open space, an open road (and full-grown corn). The sky's the limit. Things are always working out for me.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pink Things You'll Find on the Ground in August

And they just left it there in the grocery's parking lot. . .
Laetiporus sulphureus (good mushroom to eat!)
"August is a September month"

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I Feel Like Working Again

I couldn't get out of bed and wasted hours on the Net, in bed or on the couch, and folded a magazine to a fine recipe for Peach-Pecan Upside-Down Cake, and bought the peaches, but they spoiled. And bought the pecans, but ate them because I didn't feel like cooking (call the doctor!) and actually bought frozen dinners, and after a while eating wasn't appealing either (call the coroner!). I re-acquired my fears of bread, fat, meats, calories, alcohol, and sugar, plus caffeine (I'd read up on metabolic syndrome), all of which I'd blithely consumed while vacationing in Portugal where people don't worry, and within a few days of returning re-acquired aches, pains, hypochondria, fear of crime, and blues entirely absent while I was there. Making phone calls was an ordeal, as was sitting or standing; I slacked. I did the minimum amount of work (which is still a lot; there's no second income here) and during the entire past month met up with only two friends. Couldn't write. Exhausted by the very idea of washing, styling, dressing, and making up. Thought I had no excuse. But I was burnt out after working 12 to 14 hours a day for months, so that merely approaching my workspace lashed me with a wave of nausea  and dread which I fought with a firehose of positive thinking--and secretly doing nothing for two or three days at a time, letting matters worsen and fester. And I took no pleasure in anything.

Just today--having separated from one of my jobs--I felt like working again. It took a month of near-idleness to restore me. Two months if you count the vacation. I just made soup and furthermore I ate some. Don't work 12 to 14 hours a day for six months, no matter how much you should, or even for good reasons. This experience taught me there are pressures and workloads I can't handle, or can't handle anymore.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dial 1-84-GOTBACON

My neighbor Terri said her cousins told her about a cool grocery store near Washington, MO, with all local grocery, produce, and meats, and we went to check it out, driving about 25 minutes to Old Highway 100, before you actually get to Washington, and after a while we saw on the roadside a kind of tumbledown farm stand. Was this it? "This can't be it," said Terri. "My cousins said it had a deli and cafe," and GPS pointed us half a mile farther and we found it: the Farm to You Market at 5025 Old Highway 100.

The place is an old factory refashioned into a grocery store, with aisles and freezers and checkout lanes and all. Terri and I rolled our carts once-around-the-store to check it all out, and talked with the owner. The farm we'd first seen, with the tumbledown stand, was his. This store was way different! Two young women staffed the deli; it was impossible not to order the "Peppered Pig" sandwich (peppered pork salami, jalapeno cheese) and the fruit salad as a side, and oh the delight when it arrived on marbled rye bread, my favorite. Terri had the turkey sandwich. There was indeed a cafe. I'd also grabbed a one-serving-sized bottle of local peach wine.

So I bought sausage, two reasonably-priced Porterhouse steaks from grass-fed beef, honey, horseradish mustard, an acorn squash, some peaches, and Terri bought among other things some fresh butter churned at the store (and later shared it). The most awesome items I saw were the many goat cheeses and huge bags of shelled pecans. I even sampled the homemade bologna. I asked the farmer/owner (he has a beard)  if he would one day please stock fresh-milled wheat flour, because the St. Louis area has none; the nearest mill I could locate is in Louisville, KY. He said the buyer would look into it.

In the meantime this will be my source of organic beef and pork, and will have another Peppered Pig sandwich for sure. They will also cook you breakfast. Check it out.

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Would a 17-Year-Old Do?

6:00 a.m.
It's August, perfect weather. Zero chance of rain. Time to put up the tent and sleep outside.

-I like my bed. I'll just open the bedroom windows. That's almost like sleeping outside.

The meadow was just mown, it's perfect.

-Nah. Then I have to put a mat in it, and sleeping bag, and pillow, and there are chiggers in the meadow. . .

Why'd you move here 15 years ago?

-Because I loved the cabin and the land and the woods on sight. I actually slept in the woods, in that cave-like area behind the waterfall; I built fires there; the woodpile is still there.

Don't like those things anymore?

-I love them more than life itself.

Remember when you were 17? You had passion and recklessness, a commitment to art, loved and believed, and dreamed of one day living in what you could call your woods, with a stream, cabin and everything: stargazing, animals, morning mists. . .

-Okay. The tent's up. The pillow and blanket are in it. Having rinsed my chigger-attracting legs with a 5 percent bleach solution and pulled athletic socks halfway to my knees, I bid you good night.

-And a good morning.

Monday, August 1, 2016

These Are The Times

One last Portugal-related post, a glimpse into how some in that part of the world parse the U.S. This entertaining image is from a magazine cover, of a news-digest kind of magazine. I can't read Portuguese, but I figured this one out, given the context. Artist unknown:
And, unrelated, the most memorable thing anyone said to me there was, "In your country, time is money. In Portugal, time is time."