Crises in ice cream

“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.”

~ Elizabeth Edwards


Who said retirement was fabulous? Who said it would be easy? I want names and numbers (so I can wring their slimy little necks and give them a piece of my mind….).

Yeah, you read that correctly. I’ve had a bit of a struggle. For nearly 35 years, I’ve been part of a group, a dental group, and now, suddenly, I am not. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve said goodbye to saliva, bid my farewells to calculus (which often landed in my hair). I’ve also said adios to my achy back (and backstabbing as well). Yes, there are certain aspects of working in dentistry that I gladly left behind. But, then comes the “What’s next?” question and the identity crisis. Can I really find MEANING in dusting? Is there reward in a sparkly toilet bowl?

I’ve been reflecting lately, thinking about life, what mine means, how I now fit. While I don’t know yet where I’ll land, or whether I need to land anywhere, I’m reminded of a strategy I often used in the past when in the midst of turmoil.

When in doubt, do nothing.

Sometimes making decisions hastily leads to more turmoil. I’ve learned that taking my time, letting the answers come on their own–allowing due process to thoughts and feelings, quiet time, and all factors involved–brings peace.

Breathe. Be in the moment. Smell the roses. Stop fretting. Do nothing.

Yeah, I like that. Those. This thinking. Why must I be in a hurry to decide where or what is next? Why can’t I just be? Can’t I be good to me by allowing myself some latitude here? I have earned quiet time, I deserve to ponder in the quiet of my home, surrounded by things I love.

Certain things like simple beauty propel me forward:

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Last year’s Foxglove…

 

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…which is taller than all of us.

Simple gardening, enjoying the flowers that I planted last year that have resurfaced, along with the new.

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Top to bottom: wild flowers, thyme, basil, spinach, lettuce, wildflowers

And, who can resist these:

OK, stop laughing! Yes, that’s my voice and my daughter’s over our astonishment that there are not four, not five, but SIX kittens in this bunch. (I said stop!)

We can only get so close to the “nest” while mamma is away. We are worried she’ll come back while we’re trying to take a look. (Mamma Cat is not ours; she’s feral but has adopted us. We do not feed her, or any cats, outside. Still, she likes our home and has decided to stay. By the time we realized she was pregnant, it was too late to catch her–the plan once she’s finished nursing–so she can be fixed and released.)  In the meantime, I’m Mamma Cat’s self-appointed Mother-in-Charge of her and her babies.

I caught her in the act yesterday while she was moving her clan to a safer place. She hissed and growled at me. I’m dealing with it. I’ll be fine. Really. Sniff, sniff…

I also realized after I officially retired (on Feb. 23, 2016) that I had not been very good to me. Yep, that is correct. I had fallen away from good self care: enough sleep, enough water every day, the best food, enough exercise…..and so forth. As we moms often do, we rarely put ourselves first–and looking back, I’d put myself last again, for my family–but I hadn’t fully realized until I retired that I hadn’t helped myself one iota by the lifestyle I had adopted over the years.

I decided to start with some basics: food and simple nutrition. I cannot run this engine properly without the best fuel. I am Somersizing for those who are unfamiliar with this way of eating. After cutting out sugar and all processed food, it’s lots of fresh foods eaten in proper combinations to promote the best digestion. I’ve never eaten so well. I began April 1, and I’m down 6 1/2 pounds and several inches (I did not think to measure when I started). I feel so much better.

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Other basics: I’m trying to push the water, make myself MOVE every day, and get enough sleep. It’s amazing how the body responds positively when it’s treated right.

Not to forget emotional health, I came across this book recently.

quaker book of wisdom (2)I have never been overly religious and prefer to keep my beliefs to myself, but I will say that I agree with many aspects of this type of thinking. I found the following in the back:

1. Seize the present
2. Love yourself, whatever faults you have, and love the world, however bad it is.
3. Stop talking and listen to what you really know.
4. Play soccer! (Or whatever team sport you love)
5. Accept the fact that our lives are only partly in our own hands.
6. Believe in the perfectibility of yourself and society.
7. Make your love visible in the world through your work.
8. Seek justice in the world, but not in your own life.
9. Look for the light of God in every person.
10. Let your life speak.

If nothing, it gives me food for thought, let’s me pause when I need time to reflect. I may not have a “job” right now, not one in the traditional sense, but I am part of something (letting go of dental hygiene is harder than I thought–until I recall plaque). I’ve peacefully rediscovered my sense of belonging. I am part of this family, this household, this blogging world, my genealogy friends, and with #7 in mind, those flowers and kittens out there.


Retirement is not an event. It’s a process. No one told me that; rather, it had been painted as glee and glory. It can certainly be glee and glory, but for some, it brings to a close something that was pretty darned good for many years. To me that was a devastating loss.

My daughter whispered today to my husband to buy ice cream. Hmmm. If the only crisis I now face is which delectable dessert to buy or make, I say, Bring it!


elizabeth edwards quote_she stood in the storm and when the wind

When I Can’t Find Words

I’ve been flying under the radar lately, been on a self-inflicted hiatus. This happens when I have trouble finding words and the best thing is to unplug. I retreat to my kitchen during such times. Albeit highly caloric, it’s one of the best places for thinking. This past week, I found that with the bounty in my garden, I have no excuses not to be healthy. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

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parsley, zucchini, and onion from the garden

It’s the beginnings of a very tasty and easy Zucchini Onion Pie.

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***ZUCCHINI ONION PIE***

3 eggs, 1 C grated Parmesan, 1/2 C oil, 1 T fresh, minced parsley, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/4 tea salt, 1/8 tea pepper, 3 C chopped zucchini, 1 C baking mix, 1 small onion, chopped. In large bowl, mix first seven ingredients. Stir in zucchini,  baking mix and onion. Pour into greased pie pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min,or top lightly browned. Yield: 6 servings. I served this with baked salmon and fresh cherries.

 ***BAKING MIX***

I make my own–also quite easy–so I’ve included this as a guide (retrieved from the Internet). I make it “my own” by adding whichever flours I have on hand. Store in the fridge.

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can use coconut oil or margarine in place of butter*

*If you’d like the larger amount, contact me.

It’s also that time of year when I can’t use bananas fast enough (because I prefer berries,  peaches, and whatever else is fresh) and can only freeze so many.

***BANANA WALNUT CORNBREAD***

This sounded SO GOOD that I had no choice, I had to make it. I was slightly disappointed that the flavors were not stronger, but this is highly personal. It is very moist and makes eating regular cornbread seem rather boring.

banana walnut cornbread_july 2016
from allrecipes.com

***HOME CANNED APPLESAUCE***

When my three kids were young, I made this each year from the yellow transparent apples in our orchard. These first photos of our apples were taken a couple weeks before they were ready to cook.

I’ve learned a few handy tips about making applesauce through the years.

1. Because the cooking can take a while, I omit peeling.

2. If using yellow transparent apples when they first turn yellow, the skins cook nicely, helping eliminate the need for peeling. If used early enough, there are very few worms or other critters. We don’t spray.

3. Using a food mill also helps eliminate the need for peeling.

I quarter the apples, inspect for bugs, and throw them in the pot, seeds and all (I use my pressure cooker pot–no lid–only for the cooking). I can’t say enough how handy it is using a food mill for large amounts. I keep the heat on medium because it can be rather nasty when/if it starts to splatter. Controlling the amount of water–and ending up with less runny applesauce–is easier as well when the heat is kept down. This also reduces the chance of burned apples on the bottom of the pan. It must be stirred constantly. Wear good shoes.

At this point I scoop large amounts of cooked applesauce into my food mill and grind out any remaining skins and seeds. I use a large dutch oven.

I add sugar and cinnamon here. For this dutch oven full, I add maybe 1/2 cup sugar. We like it less sugary. From here I can into hot quart jars.

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We probably have enough for this year (although our sons are known for putting away copious amounts).

***ZUCCHINI BANANA BREAD***

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I add ~ 1/2 C chopped walnuts

For two loaves:

2 1/2 C flour, 1/2 C cornmeal, 1 1/2 tea baking powder, 1 1/2 tea baking soda, 1 tea salt, 2 tea cinnamon, 2 C mashed bananas (about three large), 1/2 C sugar, 1/2 C brown sugar, 2 eggs, 2/3 C oil, 2 tea vanilla, 1 1/2 C shredded zucchini, 1/2 C chopped walnuts,  optional.

Mix dry ingredients (not sugars) in bowl and set aside. Mix all wet ingredients (with sugars) in separate bowl and set aside. Allow zucchini to drain on towels to reduce extra moisture. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, then fold in zucchini and nuts. Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.

As mentioned, I HAVE NO EXCUSES not to be healthy (with this book in my house).

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Zucchini picked last night…I better get busy.