Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In Which I Try Very Hard To Be Cheerful (For Five Minutes At Least)

Our garden is lovely.  We picked a ton of leafy green things today and I managed to eat a chard omelette for lunch while C. fed my children home-made pizza.  Pretty soon we will be giving striped Italian zucchini to everyone we know. Also, if the cucumbers grow well, everyone within 100 miles is getting holiday gifts of pickles.

I am still in pain but trying to figure it out.  I am still nauseous but the drugs help.  I am still really angry and depressed but trying to figure out why so I can work through it.  (If I can't figure out why, I can't examine my feelings, and I can't accept them.  I feel a little stuck.  Maybe... I'm angry because I'm frightened and angry is easier to countenance?  And, of course, I'm depressed because I feel powerless.)

The interview-y people are finally interviewing me!  So at least perhaps that will be resolved.  Eventually.  (University policy requires that they interview two people on campus, so there's that.)  I am resolutely not worrying about what will happen if they DO hire me - there are only three daycares in town, and one is full already.

I have finally mastered a recipe for gluten-free chocolate crinkles that actually taste mostly right!  They are not in any way healthy, but they are delicious.  We made Yuppie Hamburger Helper for dinner last night, and it was delicious.  It's the natural successor of Desperation Tofu.  Here, have a recipe:

Yuppie Hamburger Helper (Mostly Vegetarian Dinner, of Things in Cans That I Can Buy at Walmart, Which Takes 20 Minutes)

2 lbs pasta (corn pasta, rice pasta, regular pasta)

Your choice of the following, though I prefer all:
Jar of marinated artichoke hearts
Can of cannellini beans
A fresh tomato or some sun-dried tomatoes
A large jar of roasted red peppers+
Some Kalamata olives
Fresh peppers, sweet onions, garlic, basil, parsley, rosemary, capers, whatever...
(Optional: Filet of salmon, preferably fresh)
(Also optional: spinach, kale, baby kale, or anything green and leafy that's good cooked)

(Yes, I can actually buy all these things at Walmart, except the fresh salmon.)

Put some water on to boil.  Meanwhile, if you want fish, put your salmon on some parchment paper, sprinkle some salt and pepper and rosemary on it, wrap it up, put it in the oven at 350 F, and bake until done..  Cook your pasta.  If you're using onions, saute them.  Chop up your artichokes, tomato, peppers, olives, fresh peppers, and whatever spices/ herbs/ fresh stuff you're using.  Drain the beans.  When the pasta is done, put it in a colander, put a little olive oil in the bottom of your pasta pot, throw in the green stuff if you're using it, toss the pasta on top, then mix in all the rest of the vegetable ingredients.  Serve with salmon on top, or not.


  1. Your garden sounds seriously awesome.
    Is there anything that will help with the pain? Chronic pain is so tiring.
    Also, please help this expat out and explain what the recipe has to do with hamburgers... (I really have no idea)

    1. I don't know about the pain... well, it seems to be easing. :)

      I love the garden!

      As for hamburgers, there's something called Hamburger Helper - it comes in a zillion flavors - and it's pasta and seasonings (and maybe even dehydrated veggies) and I think you saute some hamburger, toss the box's contents in, add some water, and dinner's ready in ten minutes. (I've never actually made it... but they have a FAQ!!. OH MY WORD there's a whole set of them AIEEEEE) So this is the extra-yuppie (young well-educated snobby people) version: with capers and artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. American joke. Also, Walmart, endless source of low-class jokes.

    2. Anonymous3:02 AM

      That was fun and educational! I knew the Walmart bit, bu the rest was news to me. It's not as if Europe didn't have these, they just have different names... I just went to search online because I couldn't remember them :o
      Glad to hear about less pain!

  2. Hooray for a lovely garden, and C. feeding your children homemade pizza! (Now, if she would only be obsessed with fruit she'd be almost as awesome as me!) I think I must try making the Yuppie Hamburger Helper this weekend. I generally run out of steam in the cooking department on Sunday evenings and that sounds easy and delicious.

    Constant pain would bring anyone down. I do hope it recedes soon. Also, way to go with the examining of feelings! Most people just shove that junk down and become bitter and mean (I'm thinking of certain extended family members of mine.). Let it out, lady, let it out.

    Interview soon! I am sure everything will turn out fine. There are still two day cares in town with spots available, and there is bound to be several in-home day ares to be found by word-of-mouth. Or, you could get a live-in nanny! Who cleans!

  3. Lisa C.5:43 PM

    hi there, constant reader here (at least the last 5, maybe 6? yrs- you got me through grad school, thank you!) the chronic pain, i have had that for other reasons, it has ebbed and flowed. it sucks. I think for me the hardest part was getting out of the first valley of pain and feeling SO MUCH BETTER (pregnancy actually helped me) so much so that I didn't realize the toll it had taken on my emotions until after it improved (oh hey there, that was depression, huh?) I hate to use a cliche but hang in there, hopefully it will continue to get better.
    The garden sounds amazing, I'm a bit jealous. I usually just beg my neighbor for fresh produce- our little garden hasn't produced too much yet.
    The feelings, oh the feelings. I prefer anger over being frightened, I find its easier to express and far less scary than the frightened feelings. Let it out and it will take its course.
    And I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the daycares, hoping that he two remaining daycares 1. have spots and 2. are good. Did I mention that I love daycare? They take my child when he's being a turd and let me go to work and I will admit that sometimes I adore that...


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