Memory: Milk

As a child and teenager, I loved milk. Whole milk.

When I was very young, a milkman delivered to our house, twice a week. We got the pasteurized milk in glass bottles with green tops, while my aunt & uncle next door got homogenized milk with red tops. That meant at our house there was always an inch or so of cream at the top of the bottle, and no matter how much I shook the bottle to blend the cream into the rest of the milk, there were disgusting thick white clumps on my Alpha-Bits in the morning.

As a teenager, we got milk in waxed cardboard cartons from the supermarket. Homogenized, thank you G*d.  My mom always had warm-from-the-oven homemade cookies waiting for us when we got off the school bus late afternoon. A tall glass of cold milk was the perfect accompaniment.

Then I moved out on my own. With room mates.

See  that  stove?

An  antique  Norge.  Best  stove I ever  had.  Pilot  light.  Kept  the  whole  top  of  the  stove  warm.  Great spot for raising bread dough. Bad spot for a room mate to leave the milk. All day. A second room mate would come home, see the milk on the stove and put it back in the refrigerator. I would come home and pour myself a glass of . . . clumps. Made those clots of cream from my pre-homogenized day seem almost palatable.

Which is why I can no longer drink a glass of milk.

MJ Monday-Meals: Lunch Hour

Warning: Self-serving 1st World Whining Ahead!

Pre COVID, I had a whole hour for lunch breaking up my work day. I didn’t have to think about lunch, because I could run out and grab something. I could run home and grab something. I had 60 minutes to deal with food.

When COVID hit, my employer changed our hours. We now begin our day a half hour earlier. Lunch breaks are now 30 minutes. And we get to leave an hour earlier than we use to. And that leaving an hour earlier is really nice.

My issue is the abbreviated lunch break. Even after eight months, I still haven’t gotten the knack of planning my lunches for the week. My choices are now to pack a lunch (something I really really hate, childhood “trauma” and all that) or order in. And ordering in gets expensive. Yes, GrubHub is wonderful, but expensive.

So I need to think about lunches. I try to plan meals where there will be leftovers for me to carry to work. How many days a week can I eat leftover pasta? I do try to remember to purchase things for sandwiches, but I really hate sandwiches. Unless they’re hot. (Thirteen years of tuna salad or baloney and cheese did a number on me.) A weight loss program I was on further traumatized me, although I have discovered good deli sliced turkey in no way resembles the sliced fat-free slime I once consumed in an effort to be svelte.

I warned you I would be whining. I know I’m lucky to have a job, lucky that I work in an “essential” business; lucky I have money to purchase food. I’m blessed in so many ways.

I just wish I could find a workable lunch break solution.

MJ Monday-Meals: Leftover Salt Potatoes for Breakfast

I learned this trick when I was in high school, when I would spend weeks at a friend’s camp in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

The first ingredient is leftover salt potatoes. Salt potatoes are a Central New York favorite. No summer event is complete without them.

I am not a fan of eggs. When I was younger, I would eat them scrambled only if they were well done. That holds true with this recipe.

Chop the leftover potatoes and add them to a frying pan with melted butter. Add chopped onion and heat through. Then add eggs. Scramble the eggs around the potatoes and onions. You end up with a delicious savory not-an-omelet breakfast dish that also doesn’t require turning on the oven.

Simply thinking about this breakfast brings back wonderful memories of cooking on the wood stove at camp, of cool mornings with mist clinging to the surface of the lake, of freshly picked wild blueberries (where I first learned to like them) polka-dotting the muffins and pancakes we made.

Thursday Thought-Self Help: Deep Work

Deep Work by Cal Newport was recommended in a recent class I took. A bunch of fellow like-minded people started a book club and chose this title as the first to be read.

Okay, maybe I’m not as deep a thinker as the others. Or maybe I’ve read too many “self-help for productivity” books over the course of my life. This book didn’t do anything for me, except annoy me. I liked the first part of the book, and thought perhaps I’d found something useful, but once again, the author is more into delegating crap work so they con focus on the “important” work.

As if the “crap” work isn’t important. What happens when you don’t have staff or a wife? You’d have to order in your own damn sandwich. Oh. I forgot. You’re too important.

The author totally lost me when he complimented himself for doing “deep work” while helping his wife out around the house. After all, he does walk the dog every night.

To be fair, he did have good suggestions. The best was saying, “no.” Some of us do need to be more protective of our valuable time. Example: RWA and how its current issues are impacting my local chapter requires a lot more energy from the local board (although I am far from the person doing 98% of the heavy lifting) than I had anticipated; it is draining my energy. I would hate to be a chapter president right now dealing with that time suck. (Shout out to Kerrie of CNYRW!)

Women, especially, need to practice saying NO more often.

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Lady Be Good

Lady Be Good is not one of my favorite SEP novels. I don’t particularly like Emma (the heroine) or Kenny (the hero). I’m not a fan of golf.  The plot is absurd.  A prim-and-proper British schoolmarm wants to create a scandal to avoid marriage to a stuffed shirt back home, while the disgraced golfer she’s decided to use as a boy toy is bent on changing his image so he can resume his career on the green. Good goals, good motivation, nice conflict. But for some reason the story doesn’t do it for me. Of course the novel is well-written, laugh-out-loud funny at times, but I don’t care enough about either of them to care if either one succeeds.

My favorite character is Kenny’s sister, Torie. She’s strong, she’s quirky, she has baggage. Her love interest, the geeky Dexter, is wonderfully sexy.  I wish more of the story focused on them.