I must admit, the past two months have been a little rough for me. Getting to the end of this school year was tough, but I made it. School is finally out and I find myself officially unemployed for the next eight weeks. With this abundance of time laid out before me, my mind begins the arduous task of sorting through the myriad of possibilities…How shall I spend this precious allowance of time? What to do, where to go, who to see? And so the making of the lists begins. There are the To-Do’s, the Should-Do’s, the Could-Do’s, the Would-Like-To’s, the Need-To’s, the Must-Do’s, the Absolutely-Have-To’s and, of course, the I-Would-Really-Love-To’s. There is something about the making of a list that lures you into a false sense of control, fools you into believing you are organized and misleads the mind into thinking you are on top of things. Unfortunately, the reality for me is a cloudy mess of confusion. I seem to be suffering from some sort of attention deficit issue lately and I am experiencing some difficulty in focusing my priorities. Focus…I bet there’s a tonic for that. Some sort of elixir, a natural remedy to cure this particular malady? Naturally, I chose to begin my tackling of the To-Do’s in the kitchen. Lesson #1: When you find yourself in such an unfocused state of mind, it is best to stay out of the kitchen.
As it turns out, there is in fact a recipe for such a tonic buried in one of my superfood recipe books. While my husband was out adventuring without me this past weekend, I thought it would be a good time to tackle some of those to-do’s. I had no idea where to start, but I knew that healing and self-care should definitely be one of my top priorities right now, so I decided to start in the kitchen. I dug out that recipe book, the one with the tonic, a concentrated shot of “Brain Power”…I sure could use a little of that. But then I noticed the one called “Stress Recovery”…oh, I so need help with that right now…And then I saw the one for or”Anti-Aging”…yes, I think I may have aged 10 years in the past 10 months and I do believe it’s beginning to show…But what I thought I really needed, considering my recent knee injury, was something “Anti-Inflammatory”…but, there’s no recipe for that! I should probably make one up. Ooooh! and I’ll use that fresh turmeric root I was delighted to find in the grocery store! I promptly fetched the root from my fridge along with some ginger and citrus. I went to pull out the blender to concoct my inflammation potion, but I got distracted by a little stream of sunlight highlighting the new collection of sprouting seeds I had recently acquired. There is such a lovely array from which to choose and they say that sprouts are good so for you…yes! Let the sprouting begin! Should I try the lentil mix or the mung beans? Broccoli or radish? Or how ’bout that lovely little salad mix? As I set aside several jars of seeds prepared for soaking, my attention was drawn briefly back to the task at hand (my anti-inflammatory turmeric root tonic) and I remembered that I needed a photo of said root for that blog I intended to post about what to do with fresh turmeric root. Lesson #2: If one should choose to disregard Lesson #1 and enter the kitchen in such a state of unfocused confusion, one should certainly never do so wielding a camera. (It stands to reason that if one is incapable of focusing one’s thoughts, one will surely have trouble focusing a frame). After shooting 87 really bad photos of a funny-looking root, uploading them, sorting them and successfully deleting all but one of them, I returned, yet again, to the original task at hand. Healing tonic…focus!
As I sliced the summer citrus, I paused to admire the juice glistening in the morning sun…I really should juice some vegetables. I haven’t done that in a long while and veggie juice is so good for you. And healing, too! Where’s that new recipe I wanted to try…the one with the beets and purple cabbage? Oh, and I’ll add some of that turmeric root, too! I was rummaging through the crisper drawer, completely overwhelmed by the profuse amount of plastic produce bags, when I suddenly recalled promising to clean out the fridge. I began to sort, toss and organize the vegetables, setting aside those to be used for juicing, which included a large head of organic, purple cabbage. Would you look at that color! This will make a lovely and cleansing juice indeed…and I proceeded to wash and prep my veggies with the refrigerator door still ajar (as I momentarily forgot about the cleaning task currently in progress). I continued to wash, dice and as I began to slice into that beautiful head of purple cabbage, I had a vague memory of telling my hubby that I would start a batch of that homemade sauerkraut he loves, but…did I promise to? Or did I merely say I ought to? Or did he even ask me to at all? Well, he does love it, so I’ll just make it anyway. And I promptly pulled out the Cuisinart to shred the cabbage for the kraut. Picking up a freshly washed carrot and a beet from the cutting board, I began to grate and suddenly realized those particular veggies were actually meant to be used for juicing…where is the juicer, anyway?
Upon locating the juicer, so carefully tucked into the corner of the counter next to the refrigerator, it occurred to me that I failed to complete that chore of cleaning out the fridge. So, I fetched a sponge and proceeded to wipe down the dirty shelves. Lifting the containers of miso and tahini, it dawned on me…oh yeah, I wanted to make that one dressing again. And wouldn’t it be so yummy on top of some pan-seared salmon? Where did I jot down that recipe, or did I jot down that recipe, the one with the miso and tahini and turmeric…Oh! I forgot the tonic! Wait…maybe I should juice first. Oh geez, just finish up this sauerkraut so you can set it out of the way to ferment…Oh dear, fermenting! I forgot I was going to try growing that scoby for kombucha…where did I put those instructions…And so it went. And it continued throughout the day with scattered thoughts, dirty pots and pans, interrupted plans and very little progress in completing the many projects that had accumulated on my list.
At the end of the day, I stopped to survey the scene, hoping to feel some sense of satisfaction in accomplishing some of the things on my list of Nurturing Self-Care and Kitchen To-Do’s. I took a quick inventory. I had several jars of soggy seeds that still needed 3-5 days to grow into healthy and edible sprouts. I had a few jars of sauerkraut and radish pickles for which I still must wait a week before I can enjoy the probiotic benefits of what are basically, rotten vegetables. I had an unsightly jar of stinky liquid on the surface of which I hoped to soon see the scum begin to form that would eventually grow to be my very, own, baby kombucha SCOBY. Yet, it will be a month or two before I can actually enjoy my first homemade brew. And I had a lovely jar of turmeric dressing with no salad, no vegetables and nothing but a piece of frozen salmon on which to enjoy it.
I was suddenly very tired and quite hungry. My back was hurting from all the hunching , my knee was aching from too much standing, my head was hurting from all that thinking and those not-so-concentrated efforts to make effective use of my precious gift of time. After all that work, I had a massive mess to clean up. I had 150 not-so-great photos to upload, sort, process and catalog. I had several unfinished blog posts to complete plus one I never even intended to write. I still had an overwhelming list of To-Do’s to organize and prioritize. I never did make my healing, inflammation-reducing, superfood, turmeric, tonic concoction. However, I did manage to produce a very colorful cup of juice I like to believe was cleansing and contributed the tiniest bit to my healing. After all that effort, all that care, all that unfocused attention to my health and self-care…I had Mexican take-out and a beer for dinner. And I enjoyed very much.
Lesson#3: The making of a list can be a useful thing, assuming you take some time to sit, relax and thoughtfully organize your priorities. And Sometimes it is perfectly appropriate to enjoy a burrito and a beer BEFORE tackling one’s overwhelming list of to-do’s.
Relax. Take your time. Consider your priorities :)