Emptying Cupboards and Chile Relleno
9:51 pm: Today was beautiful, warm, sunny, and just enough coolness and a breeze for most of the morning to keep it comfortable. One of the few truly spring days of the year.
John had volunteered to run a projector at church, so we left early, and actually went by Home Depot on the way to church. Jet slept as he'd been up since 6:30. He slept through the night, again, which was really nice, and it's gradually getting more and more frequent. He spent the last two nights with long wake up periods, so it was nice to have the break last night as John was pretty trashed. I had a hard time getting to sleep, I think it might have been the nap that did it.
Jet got to play outside because we were there early, and he just got it into his head that he wanted to be at the far side of the courtyard, towards the street and the giant diesel trucks. On the way over there, he saw a big diesel pickup and he started doing raspberries, perhaps in imitation of the truck. I don't know, but it was really fun to listen to him.
Church was centered about the La Foret camp that is run by the Rocky Mountain conference, and has people from all over the Western Conference at it every summer. It was an upbeat service with a whole bunch of camp songs and 'appreciate nature and God within it' type stuff, and it was pretty fun. The nursery went outside and played out in the sunshine while we were in the service, so when I went back to get Jet, the nursery was empty and dark. It's what I would have done, myself, and Jet was chortling with the nursery lady.
She really likes him and his attitude and personality a lot. She's said that she finds him a joy to take care of. That's pretty cool.
During the coffee hour, yet again, Jet was the cause for a whole bunch of conversations. There was a lady who stopped just to see him and then was all flustered about not being able to hold a conversation with me, afterwards. I said it was okay, but she still tried to get someone to talk with me, afterwards. That was very nice, but not particularly necessary. One long-time member said that it was really nice to see John active up front with the machines, and he said that it was really neat to have such new folks active so quickly and helping out. I smiled and simply said that it was important for us.
Which it is.
Sadly, I found out, as we were leaving church, that my sunglasses had broken. They're my gold iridium Oakleys, and the lens had snapped near the right arm. It was just barely holding together, so when I put them on, they gave and wouldn't stay on. Bah. Here sunglasses are a must.
One the way home we stopped at Safeway for a very quick round of groceries, we still have a huge stash of leftovers, and a bunch of freezer items that need to be used. We'll not be buying too much other than fresh fruits and veggies for a while. I am so glad that lettuce had finally gotten down to a reasonable price. Salads are a while lot more reasonable to try and make, now, than they were even a month ago.
Home again home again and Jet fell asleep again and we had leftovers for lunch. I didn't nap today, as I was pretty caught up after yesterday and this morning. Instead, I read more of... well... everything. Difficult Conversations by Sheila Heen, et. al. got less difficult to read the further I got into it and the more tools it gave. It was just really stressful, yesterday, going through a lot of the introductory sections that had to a lot of tough, nerve-wracking conversations that really got my memories going and my self-blame engine running full-time about my past conversations that hadn't gone well.
I think that the main difference was the section about the difference between people that tend to blame others and those that tend to absorb all the blame. That it's a real tendency, and that it's not 'just me' and it's actually a part of being a fallible and real human being was very, very.... centering, I think. It just helped me get some emotional grounding for approaching the rest of the book.
It's really obvious to me that the conversations that are being used as examples have a lot of relevance for me, as I keep whacking my head and going. OHhhh.... but there was also a really cool section about assessing when it is time to just not try anymore and that helped a lot, too.
I think that there is a bunch of interesting work that I need to do about assessing where I am, who I am and how I've changed and where I really feel I am now. One of my real problems is when folks treat me as if I am the same person I used to be. I'm realizing that a big chunk of that may well be that I'm not all that clear about where I am and how I have changed, even here, as I do drag my past with me wherever I go. My self-assessments here are also really biased by how people have assessed me in the past and how they still do.
I just have to do the homework and figure a lot of stuff out and that's kind of cool to think through.
John decided to clean out the kitchen, which is actually a really good idea, as there are quite a number o things we don't use and didn't use, and quite a few of them need to be given away, including so many mugs we don't have room for them. We even stack them on top of each other, and still don't have enough room. So we really needed to get rid of some. John separated them out and we grabbed the ones we absolutely wanted to keep, tucked away the ones we absolutely wanted to get rid of and then started deciding on the ones that were left over.
We were able to reduce them by half. I also cleared out two cupboards of stuff we never use and don't want to use, and then went on to clear out our Tupperware cabinets of accumulated yogurt, other food, and ricotta and cottage cheese containers. It always seems like a good idea to keep 'free containers', but I find that if I put leftovers in them I never look in them for stuff that isn't what they're labeled. I check the actual containers far more frequently. I managed to clear out at least three quarter of the containers and finally had room for all our 'real' containers.
It feels pretty good to get by with less Stuff.
John also found a pressure cooker that I didn't know we had! Whooiee! Not that I have a lot of summer foods that I'd want to pressure cook, but it would make making stocks much quicker in the heat than it would have been. I am really looking forward to using it *and* a beautiful fish poacher that John also found that we probably got for our wedding and we haven't used. It would be good to prepare fish more lightly than by frying it and I've been wanting to try poaching.
John also found my old sunglasses box, which had my one year warrantee, and the receipt that said I bought them two years ago. My first pair only lasted a year. This one did much better.
Jet woke up and nursed and was really, really happy. He started running laps around the living room, and eventually went outside onto the back porch, in the shade, with John, and they played out there with Jet's new plastic car.
I got the time and space to cook. I had two chilies I'd bought even before Isabel and George had appeared. They're shorter, fatter, and much darker green than the usual green chilies that I've seen. I think they might be not quite ripe and fresh anchos. I roasted them over my gas stove flame with a pair of tongs, and managed to get them nice and charred all over and plopped them into a paper bag.
I then chopped sweet Texas onions, added some sweet, frozen corn, and a few dozen gold raisins. I then shredded some cheddar and mixed it all together. When the filling was done, I figured the chilies had steamed long enough, and I pulled them out and peeled them, mostly by using a paper towel to rub the charred skin off of them. Then I split them along one side to pull out the seed core and the ribs and have room to stuff them with the cheese mixture. I then dredged them in flour.
Using Tyler Florence's chili relleno ideas, I then beat the white of one egg, then eat the yolk and then folded the two together and then dipped the chilies in that, but only *after* the oil in my pan was really good and hot and the batter sizzled the moment it hit the oil. So I then pan fried the chilies. I ended up with pretty much as much oil as I started with, and the rellenos were crisp but not oily at all. I was really pleased by that.
I'd used salsa to make Spanish rice, and I also heated a low-fat can of refried beans. And with only one relleno each, though they were pretty big, having plenty of beans and rice made a full meal. John's chile turned out to be good and hot enough to make him sweat, whereas mine was nearer green pepper sweetness. I was very glad of that bit of luck. It was only after sitting down and eating that I really realized that we had a vegetarian meal. Hee.
I liked Kathryn's idea of having one vegetarian meal a week, and this was a very tasty one that satisfied my need for taste without all the saturated fats of a Meat Meal. Amusingly, all my reading of The Journey To The West has also made me more mindful of vegetarian food. Given some restaurants, I'd wonder how Buddhists in China got anything to eat.
During dinner, Jet played out on the porch in and out and all over his car. He really enjoyed the exploration, though he got stuck once in a while. I got him free a couple of times, and after he'd played for a while he was willing to come in and get strapped into his seat and he got to eat both some of the Spanish Rice and his own small bowl of the chow mien I'd made on Friday.
He liked that. Jet's gradually moving more and more towards feeding himself.
I got some time and read various issues and the first collection of Promethia by Alan Moore. Yes, I think it's been nearly two years since all that came out. I am finally getting around to actually reading those issues without a little boy trying to rip the issues out of my hand. It was worth keeping them safe. I'm really enjoying things, but I'll probably have to look for a collection of the second set of issues, somewhere.
Jet fell asleep just fine, but woke up once at 10. I hope he'll do as well tonight as he did last night. It'd be cool to watch the trend improve