IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER

It has been many years since food was all that important to me. I used to eat more than I do. I can’t eat so much — of anything — these days.

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I was a really good cook, back when cooking mattered more than it does now. These days, my goal is to turn out tasty meals that take under half an hour to prepare — half that to clean up. Other than Japanese food, we no long bother to go out to eat. The restaurants in this area are … I’m searching for a polite way to say this … uninspired. Bland. If I want something with a lot of flavor, I make it myself.

I learned to cook Chinese cuisine a long time ago. Way back when I was first married and we went out to eat Chinese several times a week, which on an adjunct professor’s salary (I was still in college), was burdensome.

I figured if millions of Chinese women could do it, I could too. I bought a cookbook. A wok and a cleaver. I found ingredients. It was 1966. There were no oriental grocery stores locally. Nor did I have a home computer or an Internet through which I could buy anything. I winged it.

kitchen condiments

Last night I made a beef stir fry for dinner. These days, I have a rice cooker. It makes preparing rice a no-brainer. I had frozen Chinese veggies, hoisin sauce and four kinds of soy at hand. Fresh ginger, chopped garlic. Broth. I diced the steak earlier in the day.

Cooking was done in a flash. The labor-intensive part is in the slicing and dicing. Cooking is accomplished quickly, at high heat and of course, the rice in the cooker takes care of itself.

I remembered how I labored over those first Chinese meals. The cookbook open on the counter. Timing the rice. Measuring carefully each ingredient. Now I eyeball everything, throw it in the big iron skillet and I know by the way it smells I’ve got it right.

I guess that’s the payoff for forty plus years of cooking daily or nearly so. There ought to be some benefit, right?


Food for the Soul (and the Stomach)

EVERYTHING CHANGES

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: EPHEMERAL

Everything is ephemeral. Anything pictured today, anything you capture with your camera, is forever frozen in time.

Dawn in March

Dawn in March

Even if change is minimal and even though it may seem invisible, nothing remains the same.

March sunrise

March sunrise

Not from day-to-day, nor from hour-to-hour. A reminder to snap that shutter now. There is never “going back.” The moment, once gone, is forever out of reach.

A LITTLE RANT FOR A DAMP FRIDAY

Good morning! It’s a gray, miserable drippy day here in the heart of central New England. Where the rivers flow, the boneheads rule, and it’s always 1954.

sun and misty woods

The question has been asked if I live my life according to some kind of code. Do I have principles. Values.

On a Friday morning, this is a very large question. I am only in the middle of my first cup of coffee. Still, I am awake. I have already restored my computer from backup, re-installed my printer. Convinced the dogs to go out, even though it’s raining.

They do not like the rain. Poor babies.

Have you got a code you live by? What are the principles or set of values you actively apply in your life?

Speaking of boneheads, such are those who populate WordPress’s upper echelons. They run the company. With whips in hand they drive the corporate horses into a frenzied gallop towards the Cliff of Destruction. I guess they so admire Microsoft and their extraordinary success with Windows 8 they have decided to emulate them. Nothing exceeds like excess.

As such, they are fine ones to be asking me about my codes, values, principles. They should take a look at theirs.

But I digress. Forgive me. Sometimes my irritation overcomes my commonsense.

Of course I have a code. Values. Principles. Everybody does, whether or not they know it, whether or not they’ve given any thought to the matter.

Each time you make a decision affecting how you interact with other people, it is a mini-demonstration of your codes, values, and principles. When you tailgate other drivers, carelessly talk or text on while you drive, you are demonstrating your lack of concern for the welfare of others. You are here for you and no one else.

light snow falling picture window

When you show up late for a dinner and the host and other guests are thoroughly inconvenienced, you tell them by your actions what you think of them. If you force others to clean up you messes, it says what you believe. It doesn’t matter if you go to church and profess pious religious values. Who and what you are is what you do. You are how you treat other people, how you live your life. The rest? Blowing smoke up your own ass.

There are so many assholes in the world and they seem to be in charge of just about everything, from corporate boardrooms to customer service. So, in an effort to retain whatever sanity is left to me, I live life simply.

“Shut up, Marilyn” is my motto.

When I read the moronic rants of idiots on social media, do I answer them? No. I click the page away. When I’m standing in a grocery store line and hear conversation between morons, filled with appalling ignorance and misinformation, do I try to correct their wrong-headedness? Not a chance.

“Shut up, Marilyn,” I say to myself. “Just shut up and butt out.”

Age confers wisdom and that is what I have learned. They don’t want my opinion. No one cares if what they spout is true. Most people believe their opinion is as good anyone else’s, whether or not it’s based on anything.

So I shut up. It may not be the best or highest-minded course of inaction, but it works for me.

THE REDIRECT SCRIPT

Referring to the little script that will redirect your “new post” interface back to the “classic” version as opposed to the “improved posting experience” that is in no way an improvement — it works.

This morning, for the first time since I selected “keep the classic interface” back when WordPress first tried to foist this crap software on us, they tried to send me to the new version instead of the old. I guess they finally cleared out the default I had set. So the new one flashed for half a second on the screen and the script intercepted it and I was back where I want to be.

For anyone still battling with the blockheads of WordPress, I strongly suggest you install the redirect into your browser. It will let you continue to blog the way you always have. It’s not going to solve the problem forever because WordPress is never going to give up.

The blogging platform that is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

The blogging platform which is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Microsoft has demonstrated why this is a terrible idea, that forcing users to “do it” your way when they don’t want to, not only doesn’t work, but can transform your customers into someone else’s customers.

Microsoft has generated a lot of business for Apple and Linux while trying to convince us that Windows 8 isn’t garbage. WordPress thinks they can do the same, but get different results.

It’s marketing 101 and obviously, they don’t get it. They cannot force their will on people. Not here, not now, not in 2015 on the Internet. All they are doing is getting people to rethink if they want to continue blogging while searching for other platforms.

Please, visit How To Force A Redirect To The Classic WordPress.com Editor Interface on DiaryofDennis.com. It works. And when it is working, you can work, too. At least until they figure out another way to blow us out of the water.

WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE, WEEK 12 – WINTER’S LAST GASP?

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Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge:

2015 Week #12

Welcome everyone to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge. This challenge’s subject is the roads, walks, trails, rails, by which we move from place to place. You can walk them, climb them, drive them, ride them — as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable, as are any signs.


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Poised on the cusp of spring as March draws to a close.

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The sidewalks are still too full of ice and snow for walking, as are the paths in parks and along the river.

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We stroll in malls — our best (only) choice — until we are finally melted.

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IT’S THE JOURNEY

No project goes as planned. No vacation is perfect. Some part of every meal will not be ready when the rest of the dishes are served. Guests come early, late, leave too soon, or not soon enough. Complications, delays, bumps in the road are the companions to everything.

So many things almost happen. When I was newly back from Israel, I took a three-day weekend from my very new job to visit friends in San Diego. I bought a new weekend carry-on bag (I love luggage). Got tickets to San Diego — not easy because most cross-country flights out of Boston go to Oakland, SF, or LA — none of which are close to San Diego.

On local roads ...

I got to La Guardia airport, but the plane didn’t. I had a connecting flight in Salt Lake City. Four hours later, the plane was MIA. I demanded my money back

The perky young thing at the ticket counter explained, “These are non-refundable tickets. See? It says so right here. We can get you on a flight to Los Angeles tomorrow afternoon. How’s that?”

I was not feeling perky. More like an Arnold Schwarzenegger character about to do serious damage to an airport.

“I took a three-day weekend from work. I won’t get those hours back. I’m not interested in Los Angeles. It’s more than 3 hours drive from San Diego and I don’t have a car. By the time I got there — if I got there — I’d have to turn right around. I’ve had to spend money on taxis, lost my holiday time. All I got is a long afternoon in a waiting room. I want a plane to San Diego. Direct, nonstop because I already missed my connecting flight — or my money back. Now.”

I got the money. Took a taxi home. Spent the weekend feeling sorry for myself. Never made it San Diego and eventually lost touch with those friends.

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Our fondest illusion is control, that we’re the designers of our destiny. It’s the greatest promise we get as kids, and the biggest lie of all, that if we do “life” right, we can get what we want.

We know — because our teachers and our parents and everyone told us — that good work gets rewarded. Kindness will be returned. If we eat right, keep fit, exercise, avoid drugs, cigarettes and alcohol, we’ll be healthy forever. The bad things won’t happen to us. We will live happily ever after.

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From little stuff that goes wrong — flights cancelled, vacations rained out — to failed marriages and jobs lost, we get stripped of illusions. Injustice comes in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes, from tiny indignities to incomprehensible calamities. No one is immune.

Sooner or later, it becomes clear. We are passengers on the bus of life. We aren’t driving. We don’t even know what road we’re on, and have no idea of the destination. After a lifetime of trying to drive, I get it. The bus is going where it’s going. It is what it is.

It’s not where you end up. It’s a journey. I might as well enjoy it.


But No Cigar – Daily Prompt

FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: OLD WOOD, WEATHERED WOOD

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Weathered Wood

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There’s a lot of old wood around the valley. Some is more endearing than others.

barn window

The dry rot in the sill in the front hall does not make an elegant picture, nor does the splintery wood of the deck.

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On the up side, avoiding splinters has finally convinced me to stop going barefoot.

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Old barns make great photographs. Wagon wheels, benches, and more.

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