Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I've had one of those "in constant motion" days but have accomplished a long list of things. I even have everything ready for my board meeting tomorrow. I had to work into the evening to make that happen, but it was worth it. I am going to give myself the luxury of not getting up in the morning until I just wake up. Of course, I will probably wake up early, as I usually do, but I love the idea of it nonetheless.

I was reading the other day that in the near future experts say that we will all work in a way that allows us to seamlessly blend our home and work lives together. I've always wanted to do that and in the last five years I've been able to. I get so much more done for both places than when I have this time for work and this time for personal, etc. My brain just doesn't work effectively that way.

Apparently, neither does anyone else's brain. For those who do jobs they don't have to think about away from work, it's fine to set aside a certain eight hour period for work. But for those of us who need to spend a lot of time creating our jobs, we need the flexibility to blend home and work together.

I'm not sure why it is such a big deal for some companies. Of course, some of the most successful companies have been doing this for years. In the future, those who don't will probably be gone, so it won't be an issue. Naturally, some jobs will never lend themselves to that. Someone has to be on the air at radio stations all the time. Stores have to be open so people know when they can go. We want emergency rooms to be staffed 'round the clock. But for many jobs, it doesn't matter when the tasks get accomplished, as long as they happen on time.

I am starting to feel as though my house is really coming together. Last night I cleaned off the shelf in the kitchen, adding this bottle I found in a box of things from my mom's house. I have no idea what it once held. It's an Anchor Hocking jar and it had a dried cork in the top. I thought it would be perfect for holding a daffodil.

I've started collecting these little vases with the delicate flowers in the last couple of years. I really must find another one because I like odd numbers of things.  I love to put a tiny flower in each one. I don't have much blooming yet, but some grape hyacinths, regular hyacinths, pinks and daffodils, along with some greenery, were enough to give a bright spot in the kitchen.

I love having fresh flowers in the house - even if it's just one stem. I keep trying to grow enough flowers that I can have continual big bunches inside but I'm not sure how many that takes. I don't have anywhere near enough for it yet, though.

Last fall I planted a ton of lily of the valley. It's too early for them yet but I'm so hoping they come up this year. Lily of the Valley is one of my most favorite flowers. One year we were in Paris on May 1 where it's customary to give Lily of the Valley to friends for May Day. Everywhere we went there would be vases of them - on hotel counters, in restaurants, on people's lapels. I fell in love with the custom.

I relayed this story over tea to my friends Pat and Sondra when I got back. The next year, on May 1, Sondra showed up at my door with a bunch of Lily of the Valley from her yard. I was so touched. I've wanted to plant some ever since. Finally last year I got around to it. I hope they "took" and that they pop their little heads up this year.

On another topic - sorry, my brain is in high gear and I need to wear it out a bit so I can sleep soon - as I was going through cookbooks the other night I ran across one that features recipes of Puerto Rico. I flipped through it and spotted a recipe for tostones, which I loved when I was there in the summer of 2005. Tostones are made with plantains, something I developed a real taste for in Honduras.

I remember being in Santiago, Guatemala, and there were these huge piles of plantains, fresh picked, at a stand. They were being bought and cooked in a restaurant a few doors down the hill. Needless to say, the ones I buy at Wal-Mart are not nearly as good as those were, but I do like to buy them occasionally.

I cook them, just sliced, in some butter with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on. In fact, I cooked some earlier this week. I was thinking about doing a "food porn" post when I took the pic, but that hasn't happened yet and probably won't. I held on to that cookbook so maybe I'll make some tostones soon. We'll see how complex they are to make.

In the US we have gotten so far removed from food. Ironic considering how much is grown here, but we buy it at the grocery store, after it has been through many hands, instead of just getting it more directly from the source. One of the things I love about travelling in the developing world is how incredibly good the fruit and vegetables are.

When I was coming back from Egypt I had two oranges in my backpack. I had met this man in the Cairo airport who I'd just hit it off with and we ended up sitting together on the plane, talking for much of the 11 hour flight. At one point I peeled an orange and offered him some. He said, "Oh, gosh, I can't take that - they're so good - you should eat it." I laughed and said, "I've got two - I'll share." He got the joke - that I might not have shared if I'd only had one. These oranges, picked off the trees right there, were amazing - big, sweet, juicy. We were both lamenting the fact that we couldn't share them with loved ones here but, of course, any fruit is confiscated when you come back into the US in case it has some sort of bug on it. In fact, they even burn the trash from international flights to avoid such things.

I'm not sure why we can't have "real" food in the US. I'm thankful I can buy fruit year 'round and such, but I would like to have food fresh from the ground on occasion. I was thinking about this tonight when I was buying bagged spinach, boxed pine nuts, and a portabello mushroom in a styrofoam tray so I can make more of my favorite salad. It has been my standard dinner lately. I'm thankful I can have that in March, when spinach isn't growing in Kansas. But it would be nice if I could just buy it fresh when it is in season here. But, I doubt I'll be able to. That seems screwed up.

I go to the farmer's market, but even then some of that isn't being grown by those people - it's being grown elsewhere and brought in to sell. Of course, some of it is local and it's pretty easy to tell which here. I'm looking forward to that.

I will also plant some basic things myself. I noticed a couple of days ago that my parsley and oregano are coming up. I hope the lavendar comes back too. We'll see. I want to make sure I get some basil and tomatoes in. I put in two basil plants last year and that was a lot of basil but I think I'll put in three this year. I discovered it's something very easy to give away, and I do like to make pesto.

It will also be good to have mint tea. I noticed the mint is coming up in the front. It may be "invasive" to some, but it's just "hardy" to me.

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