ALERT! TURKEY LEAKS SECRETS …

So I saw this headline:


Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S.
Troops in Syria


and I thought — “What a strange business. Turkeys don’t usually have media ties.”

It took me a few minutes to remember that Turkey is a nation and not necessarily a gobbling bird trying to avoid Thanksgiving. This probably speaks to my overall loss of sanity regarding the world in which I live. I’m pretty sure that in earlier days, I’d have instantly recognized Turkey as the nation and not the bird.

Sanity is gone. What is left is a sense of being desperately short of sleep, broke … and holding a list of things I need to fix that exceeds any rational likelihood of doing them. Ever.

What to do next?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had more reality than I can handle. I’m going to read a book. Take me away, magic words.

TEA. PROPERLY.

I didn’t drink coffee until I was in my thirties, but from the day I discovered coffee, there was no turning back. I never liked coffee at home. I think what I didn’t like was the coffee my parents made at home.

They made some kind of typical American style canned coffee. Savarin, I think it was. They used a percolator and I loved the smell of the coffee on the stove, but to me it didn’t taste like something worth pursuing. When I moved to Israel in 1979, I met real coffee for the first time and it was love. I didn’t meet regular coffee, either. I encountered Moroccan or Bedouin coffee.

Boiled in a feenjon with sugar and served with foam on top. In tiny little cups by Bedouins who had a little glint in their eye because each was sure their coffee was the best of the best. I never found The Best coffee because it always seemed to me that the last cup I had was indeed, the best. From there I expanded into  Caffe Au Lait and other more standard brews, but always a lot stronger than the coffee I’d tried back in the U.S.

However. Before coffee, there was tea. Made from tea leaves and steeped in a proper teapot. Not bagged or boiled. Steeped. Five minutes in boiled water. You don’t need a lot of tea to make good tea. A little bit of The Good Stuff — fresh. Stored properly away from bright light and air.

When one of my fellow bloggers offered to send me some really good tea from India, I was thrilled. This was fresh tea from the fields where it grows. You can’t buy tea that fresh in the U.S. I’m pretty sure you can’t buy it anywhere except where it grows. After it arrived, I armed myself with a proper glass teapot that came with its own strainer and a couple of big glass mugs.

Coffee is for the morning. Coffee gets my feet moving on the ground. Clears the fuzziness from my brain and how good it tastes. But tea has its own space in my life.

Tea is for the evening. A couple of simple cookies and a cup of hot tea is settling. Peaceful. Comforting. It is the drink of the evening, the drink of long movies, and slow conversation.

There is a place for everything.

Drink up!

RETIREMENT BEATS CHILDHOOD

Retirement is better than childhood. You don’t work as a child, but they make you go to school — which can be as bad and sometimes, worse. Moreover, childhood is prepping for the work of your future. Other people set your schedule and tell you what to eat, drink, and wear. Now, retirement? No school, unless you feel like doing it. No one sets your schedule or tells you what to wear.

In your working years, you grow increasingly tired until one day, you look in a mirror. “Self,” you say. “I can’t do this anymore.”

“I could retire,” you point out to you. “I could pack it in, take the money” and as you think this, a little bell ding-a-lings deep in your mental recesses … a bell labeled “What money?” Have you sat with HR to find out what kind of money there is in your retirement fund? Do you have a retirement fund? 401 K?

“And anyway,” you continue, “There is Social Security, right? I’ve worked hard my entire life. Surely there’s enough in there to sustain life?”

So begins the intricate dance by which you detach yourself from the working world and figure out from whence all paychecks will come in the future. Ultimately, you slide into  a place where long-deferred pleasures await you. Hobbies are now your primary activity. You have free time that is truly free. Pity about the lack of a paycheck, but most of us feel that the insane freedom of retirement is a pretty good trade-off.

You get up when you like. Go to bed when you feel like it. Sleep late as often as possible. Read all night till the sun come up. Watch old movies until sleep pulls you into darkness. You can blog, read, and write your memoirs. Travel if money and your physical conditions allows. Most of us, after some initial confusion, settle down and discover that retirement is very good. With its restrictions, issues, and whatever … it’s very good. The best.

Barring ill-health — and don’t we wish we could bar ill-health — is far better than working no matter what your income because you don’t have a boss telling you what to do. Better than the years of raising children because you are no long a slave to the whims of your spoiled darlings who hopefully, have flown the coop and now nest elsewhere. With luck, they won’t fly back, bringing a birdie spouse and all the fledglings.

Would I work anyway if I had the option? Return to an office? Deadlines? Doing what I’m told or face the consequences? Schedules, on the job and off? Endless commutes? Taking ten minutes to get a sandwich, then wolfing it down while seated at the computer to the accompaniment of acid reflux?

No. I think not.

OLD NUMBER TWO – AWAITING RESTORATION

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge:
Fire Trucks, Fire Houses, Fire Hydrant


It’s old Number Two fire engine in her new home, awaiting restoration.

SMALL VICTORIES

Last night, dinner was perfect. I cook dinner every night except for the few when we are away from home, order in, or actually go out to dinner. Not surprisingly, I spend a lot of time pondering what to cook.

When we lived in Boston, we ate out. A lot. There were so many good places to eat, too. A lot of our choices took us down to the wharf where they had some great places for fish and lobster and clams. A lot of them were shorts and sandals kinds of places and some of these rather rough little restaurants had the best seafood you could imagine.

Dinner, anyone?

Then came The Big Dig. Between the construction which seemed to have closed every street in Boston and turned the usually difficult traffic into a calamity, those restaurants disappeared. Some of them reopened in other places in the city. They kept the same name, but they weren’t the same restaurants. They got fancy. All the effort that had previously gone into creating great food now went into dining room decor.

We left Boston. Of the many things we never imagined we’d miss was food.

The Blackstone Valley has its wonders. A beautiful place … with such pathetic restaurants. It must be something about we the people. Food is drab. No spices. Anything stronger than salt is regarded with deep suspicion, so bland is the name of the game. When anyone asks what we’ve got in the way of dining, I say “white bread and brown gravy.” But that’s not fair. A few places also make really good hamburgers.

We stopped going out to dinner except for very special occasions. I’m pretty sure there were better restaurants some years back, but they closed down. So we eat at home and periodically, we develop an intense boredom with food. It isn’t lack of appetite, though we don’t eat as much as we used to. It’s more that I can’t think of one more way to make chicken that doesn’t seem drab.

My goal in home food preparation is to keep feeding us without boring us into starvation.

Last night, I made “breakfast for dinner.” We don’t eat breakfast. We have coffee. I have an English muffin too. Garry just drinks a lot of coffee. Sandwiches suffice for lunch. This week, we’ve had chili, one of my standards. Sweet-and-sour chicken. Baked salmon. Shrimp with onions and peppers over rice. And frozen pizza.

I had cheese, bacon, and eggs in the fridge. Time to do something with them.

I make bacon in the microwave. Do not judge me. I do not like cleaning grease off half the kitchen after frying bacon, so I have developed a way of cooking it in the microwave that skips most of the grease and still turns out a pretty good platter. Timing has been the major issue, but last night I got it perfect. For 8 slices of bacon, two layers of paper towels on a platter (make sure it is small enough to rotate). Another double layer of towels on top of the raw bacon. Cook at full power for five minutes. Let it sit for a minute or two. Turn it back on for another 2-1/2 minutes at full power. Perfect and not all wrinkly. Chewy, but not raw. Everything was still hot when it got to the plate —  a small miracle in its own right.

Even the cheese omelets were perfect. I was still congratulating myself on dinner as we were going to bed.

It has been a long month and it’s not over. This was a little victory, but a victory. One dinner where each piece was as close to perfect as it could make it. Easy to clean up after, too. If I have to spend an hour cleaning up the mess, I feel a lot less victorious.

It’s the small things, you know? Big things can be overwhelming. These days, in a time when there is far too much “big stuff” blowing in the wind, my world is complete if dinner is perfect. Small victories help keep the wheels of life rolling smoothly.