Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pilgrim at Hay, River.

Today I felt a bit crummy. But it’s not H1N1, I swear!

I’ve been feeling the last few days like I’ve been coming down with something. We’ll see what comes of it…I woke up, felt the scratchy throat and dull headache combo, and went back to sleep. When I woke up again, I went straight to the bottle. Of Oil of Oregano. Sucked back a couple of garlic pills, put some echinacea drops in my lemon water, took my minerals, my homeopathy sugar pills, and bundled up for a down day. I’m gonna give this cold the ol’ one-two, nip it in the bud. Let me set the scene. Here’s me today:

I’ve got about 4 books on the go right now, so I was not at a loss for something to do. Every morning for the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading a bit from Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which Rosie just so happened to have brought with her up here (it’s been on my to-read list for far too long, having been recommended to me by every tree-hugging, philosophy loving coolio I know). I’ve been really enlightened and challenged by some of the stuff I’ve read. One line that keeps running through my head is proving to emphasize a recurring theme in my life and conversations here in the north. Allow me to share it with you:

“All I can do is try to gag the commentator, to hush the noise of interior babble that keeps me from seeing…”

So when I’m in conversation with someone about human relationships, insecurity, judgement, and the like, I keep thinking “Gag the commentator”. If we could gag our inner commentator, we’d be able to see a lot more. We’d be so much more gracious, more understanding, more loving, more open-minded, and, possibly, more adventurous. I’m thinking that this is going to make its way into my writing a fair bit…keep your eye out for it!

And I also have been reading a play by Michel Tremblay, Damnée Manon, Sacrée Sandra, a play in alternating monologues about 2 sisters (well, a sister and her tranvestite brother) and their two polar lifestyles. Manon is a religious nut that has an obsessive relationship with her rosary, and Sandra is a crossdressing prostitute that is sex and image obsessed. But somehow, their personal issues have astounding parallels….

And then, I’m in a perpetual state of reading Antoine de St. Exupéry’s The Little Prince (or, Le petit prince). I’ve begun to adapt it as a one-person show, an exercise that is a great catalyst for learning, experientially rather than theoretically, the form of play writing. I’m really excited for the project. It’s probably the best story I know, besides, perhaps The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, or, on a whole other level, Les Misérables.

The litte prince....

And as for my easy-read fiction on the go right now, I started reading (after months and months of attempting to avoid it) The Shack. Too many people talking about it in too many spheres of life, so I had to. I found a copy at Meaghan’s house, so I decided to take it up. I’m about halfway through…I’ll tell you the verdict in a few days. Maybe I’ll do a whole blog entry on book reviews. Or maybe I shouldn’t, if I’m trying to gag the commentator….

So, I also have managed to cook and bake a whole bunch of things this week again. I’m really really really loving having the time to cook and to try new recipes. Except that I’m really bad at following recipes. I’m trying to learn NOT to change recipes before I’ve tried them at least once strictly in their recommended format. But I’m too impatient. Let me share with you what I’ve made this week:

  1. Date squares, really oat-y with walnuts. Mmmmmmm….one of my favorite treats. I had a whole bunch of extra dates that were developing a weird texture, so I needed to use some up. I wish that were a common problem for me…too many dates…

  1. Whole wheat bread…because I finally bought some whole wheat flour. The recipe I used pretty good, but if anyone out there has a killer bread recipe, I’d love to have it! The old fashioned way, though…none of this breadmaker stuff (because I’m too poor to own one).

  1. Oatmeal-cranberry-blueberry-coconut-walnut-chocolate chip cookies. Mmmmmm….Gorp, but so much better.

  1. Almond chicken soup. Sooooooooo good. I was kind of making it up as I went along, basing it on a happy accident I had with peanut butter and chicken last year. You need to try this. If you like cashew or almond chicken from Chinese food restaurants, and/or Ethiopian peanut soup, you will love it.

Make chicken broth/stock (I had bought cheap chicken thighs, baked them, separated the meat from the bone then boiled the bones and skin with whatever random stuff I had wilting in the fridge: radishes, celery, onions).

Once you have a good base, add a few tablespoons of almond butter (you can use peanut better instead, but almond butter is better for you) almonds (I used whole blanched), cooked chicken, diced celery, onion, and radishes, and a few whole garlic cloves (you can use minced, but I like the treat of finding a whole clove in my soup! Once it’s boiled, it’s not that potent). Bring to a boil, it will thicken up a bit. You can thicken it with corn starch if you like it really thick, or just add more almond butter. For softer almonds, add them to the stock before everything else.

So those are my ramblings for the day. I’m off to a board meeting, so I need to get my fuzzy sick-day brain back into work mode.

And just so you know, Rosie is winning the parcel-reception game, 2-zip. If you feel sorry for me, you can send something to: (insert Joanne’s Hay River address here) (haha…so shameless.)

Bonne soirée!

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