Thursday, December 19, 2019

12/19/19: Cleaning and Cooking

It’s been a busy day so far. I started off wanting to cook a big pot of Minestrone, and then clean out the shed. That along with spending a few hours writing. But Herman had other plans. While I was reading ten pages of My Life by Bill Clinton (I try to read at least 10 pages each morning after breakfast) Herman began the purge of our kitchen cabinets. I finished my reading quickly so I could help him. I didn’t expect him to clean out much, but was astounded when he began bagging up almost everything in the lower cabinets where we keep all the junk we rarely use. He went from cabinet to cabinet, cleaning out stuff we don’t need. We filled seven shopping bags of stuff to give to Revival. We also trashed a great deal of other stuff that has been taking up space for several years. It because a liberating experience for both us. It felt so good to pare down to only what we need. We have now done this to every room in the house, including our clothes closets. The only thing left to do is our storage shed, and I hope to purge that this afternoon. 

Before we got to the shed, I dug out my Minestrone recipe and my soup pot and got to work chopping and dicing. It’s the first time I’ve made Minestrone, and I had a good recipe as a roadmap, but I was also winging it some. Herman, of course, couldn’t let me do it all my own without butting in. He feels the kitchen is his domain, so any time I make soup, he’s got to contribute, telling me what to add or how to do something. It pisses me off that he can’t just step away and let me manage on my own. But for him, he wants it to be a thing we do together. What he insisted on this time was that we add chopped leeks and sausage to the pot. I didn’t have a problem with either, but I still wish he could back off and let me learn on my own. 

By the way, we each had a bowl for lunch and it was awesome. I’ve loved each of the soups I’ve made so far—split pea, navy bean, lentil—but this Minestrone turned out to be the tastiest yet. It’s not my favorite, but I do think it has more complex flavors than the others. It was so good Herman asked me to make a pot for our New Year’s party feast. For that soup, I want to start it by making my own chicken stock from scratch. I can’t wait. 

The afternoon was spent cleaning out the storage shed. Again, I was shocked at how much we gave to Revival/Goodwill, and how much else we tossed in the garbage. In fact, will filled the container. And we had an unexpected and welcome surprise. Years ago, when we came back from a long vacation we realized that our scuba diving fins, two pair that cost us $200 each, were missing from the outdoor storage box where we keep the pool equipment. We searched everywhere, and when we didn’t find them we assumed that someone had stolen them from our yard while we were away. We felt violated, knowing someone had entered our space and taken our possessions, and we’ve been bitter about that ever since. Every time we go on a long vacation we think about somebody breaking in and stealing our stuff. But the good news is, we found them in a box at the bottom of a pile in the storage shed today. It brightened our spirits, knowing it had been our mistake. We were never violated. The funny part is, that even though we are purging the house of everything we no longer use, and we haven’t been scuba diving in eight years and don’t plan to ever do it again, we were so happy get our fins back that we decided to keep them even though we don’t need them. Ha! We humans are such funny creatures.

Insight of the Day: Sometimes is pays to hold on to things you don’t need, simply because they make you feel good.

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