Hurdles

A hurdle in finalizing the end of this marriage was overcome today. It’s good news. I want to put this behind me and it’s been held up since the spring.

My reaction was oddly wooden when I got the news, though. No huge sigh of relief, no tears, no smile. Nada.

I came home and plunked myself in my comfy chair for some mindless Friday night Netflix. Then I farted around on Pinterest and found myself in the quote section, searching for something that reflected how I was feeling.

That’s when I realized I’m doing it again. I’m not feeling. I’ve shut down.

That’s been my go to strategy for getting through life’s difficulties. If you can’t feel it, it can’t hurt you. So just don’t let yourself feel and you’ll be fine.

When my brother died, I felt so numb that I’d play Angel by Sarah McLachlan because the song is such a gut-wrenching reflection of him, it was the emotional equivalent to stabbing a fork into my thigh. It made me feel, if only briefly.

With this mess, I’m not at all surprised that I’m doing it again. Still, I got frustrated and angry thinking about this. Haven’t I learned anything? But where some people might pour a drink or plough into the ice cream, I put on my running shoes, blasted Bat Out of Hell on my iPod, and took off down the street.

As I passed the halfway mark and turned onto the trail toward home, Footloose came on and I smiled. I love that song. Flying along the trail I had a tiny sports high…you know that kind of euphoria that actually signals you’re going a bit too hard but still feels awesome?

Yeah, that.

And I thought, it’s going to be ok.

Somehow I managed to let go and feel again after my brother died. Somehow I learned to live with that big gaping hole in my life. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you how I did it. But somewhere deep inside, some part of me must have the map, must remember the way out.

If I did it once, I can do it again.

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Tom Hanks Part Deux

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It worked! The soft results last night were due to nothing more than my impatience to sample this delightful confection. This morning, my strawberry ice cream is frozen to creamy perfection.

And so I will say it again…I (gesture, gesture) have made ice cream!

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I feel like Tom Hanks

cast-away-pic5Ok, that should really say I feel like Tom Hanks’s character in Castaway when he finally gets a fire started. You know the scene, right?

“Yessss! Look what I have created! I have made fire! I (gesture, gesture) have made fire!”

If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, here’s the clip on Youtube.

Now, I haven’t been rubbing sticks together for hours while looking at a volleyball, blistering up my hands in a desperate attempt to eat something other than fresh coconut and raw crab on a deserted island.

No, I have not made fire. Quite the opposite. I have made ice cream! I (gesture, gesture) have made ice cream!

It’s about time, really. My dear friend Nat sent me the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer as a birthday gift…was it last year, or the year before? Either way, far too much time passed before taking it for a spin.

strawberry ice creamThis week, the timing is right. The weather is hot, I finished a research paper early, and I think I deserve something creamy, cold and delicious. I looked for an easy peasy no-cook recipe and settled on strawberry as the crowning glory to another wonderous season for these fresh, sweet little jewels of Nova Scotia.

It’s a pretty simple process. The ice cream maker attachment needs at least 15 hours in the freezer to be cold enough, so I put it in last night. I also mixed the ingredients and left in the fridge to chill so I could get right down to business as soon as I got home tonight. Set up the machine, turn it on, pour in the ingredients, and wait for the clicking sound that signals readiness for freezing. That’s it!

The result? Well it’s only been in the freezer for two hours – the recipe says two-four. I couldn’t stand to wait until tomorrow night to try it, so I’m gobbling down a bowl right now. Still a bit soft, which could be the recipe, some fumble on my part, or it simply needs the full four hours – I’ll report back after my second taste tomorrow. It’s a much more delightful shade of pink than this poorly lit photo would suggest, though. And top marks for flavour. Hands down the best strawberry ice cream I’ve ever tasted.

Bottom line: I can’t promise Nat there will be any left when she visits next month. But I can always make more.

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Cajun style

IMG_20140713_200537I had a boyfriend many moons ago who was a pretty good cook. In fact, it was his lead that I first followed to cook without a recipe. But like the best of us, he occasionally had his kitchen foibles. Anytime he burned something, he’d holler, “It’s cajun style, honey!”

Well, tonight’s honey mustard chicken on the bbq was a little on the cajun side. But somehow I managed to get the sweet potato spears grilled to perfection. I tossed them with a lug of olive oil, a splash of lime juice, a tiny bit of freshly ground sea salt and pepper. On the grill for about five minutes, turning halfway through, then tossed back in the oily bowl to keep them from drying out.

Served ’em up with a simple dip of mayo, curry and lime juice, along with the charred but surprisingly tender, juicy chicken and a simple salad.

Delicious.

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Outdoor research

summer lunchIf you have to write a research paper on a gorgeous sunny weekend, you might as well move the whole operation outside. And ensure sufficient seasonal fuel and hydration.

Here in balcony-land, fuel consists of a lovely salad of mixed greens with fresh Nova Scotia strawberries, a crumble of feta, a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds, drizzled with a simple dressing of 3:1 olive oil and balsamic with a dash of sugar.

Hydration with the added bonus of light caffeination delivered via homemade iced tea. None of this powdery sugary crap. Just a straight up pot of Red Rose left to steep and cool through the morning, then made delightfully refreshing with the addition of ice and lemon.

Now, let’s get at that paper…

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