I woke up at 3:30 this morning. Unable to coax my mind into going back to sleep, I pushed the on button on the coffee maker and sat down at the computer to check my emails. Nothing on the tube but infomercials, I decided to tune in to a motivational speaker I’d noticed on PBS a month or so ago. Every now and then I like to get a new perspective on the process of living and this gentlemen I found very uplifting and unique in his approach to living a happy life. I was asked recently what keeps me up and positive most of the time. There is no particular answer to that question for me, except I believe I’m wired that way. Life certainly doesn’t always cooperate by handing me a full cup of happiness, but nonetheless I enjoy being here and the life I’ve been given. Particularly as I’ve gotten older, I find myself comfortable in my own skin, even if it is not ironed as neatly as it was when I was younger.
This speaker was talking about following your joy. Finding whatever that is, whether it be writing, in my case, parachuting or mixing eggs, flour, and sugar in a bowl and creating a gooey bundt cake. Whatever it is creating in you a feeling of true contentment. This sounds like such an easy quest, but in essence it is not. I can count on one hand and not use up all the fingers how many people I know in my life who have come close to this state of fulfillment (in my mind at least) and found peace within themselves.
One thing I have determined over the years stuff will never fill the hole inside you. It’s like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. You might feel better for a minute but the hole is still going to be there once the band aid sluffs off.
It has been truly amazing to find I am surviving nicely with two rooms full of boxes packed with 80% of my possessions. Certainly I miss seeing this and that, but truthfully other than my photos and my cooking utensils and plates I’m doing fine. This is not to say when we finally get moved, it won’t be like Christmas when I open each and every box.
As I said in my last blog, I lived in Alabama. Muscle Shoals, Alabama to be precise. My ex-husband and I left there for West Virginia in 1991. This was our sixth move in five years at that point. Each move I packed a three bedroom house into boxes and bins and unpacked it on the other end. On one move my husband pulled a groin muscle and I was left to unpack the remainder of the van by myself. By the time we reached Alabama we found our stay there was to be only six months rather than the year originally planned. I threw up the white flag at the news and admitted defeat. Our schedule looking forward was to be back in California by 1994, so after some cajoling I agreed to allow a moving company to come out to crate and box our valuables and move them into storage. Couches and tables were sold to be replaced at a later date.
In West Virginia we rented a furnished apartment. Unpacking was limited to clothes and sundries and items for the dog and cat, our traveling companions. It was rather freeing, I must admit, to not have to worry about hanging up pictures or washing all the kitchen items, but honestly it never quite felt like home.
Life being what it is, we ended up moving on to California in a rush leaving our household goods safely behind in Alabama. In California we settled into a beautiful beach apartment with a glorious picture window overlooking the Pacific ocean without one item of furniture other than a card table and four chairs. Our only option for sleeping was a queen size inflatable mattress. It had a slow leak which guaranteed it to be completely deflated at 3:15 in the morning, leaving us stranded on the hardwood floor. Feeling the necessity for some comfort before traction became necessary we soon began to accumulate furniture until we found we had a nearly complete house full of furniture in both California and Alabama.
For fourteen years I paid my storage bill faithfully every month. Inside those crates were all the antiques and family heirlooms handed down to me when my maternal grandmother passed. There was no way I was going to let them go.
I’ve always said I’ve recreated myself every ten years during my lifetime, and it’s a really accurate assessment of the situation. At the tenth year of our marriage we turned in different directions at the end of the road. Two years following I met my other half and after circling the wagons for a piece we decided to set up camp together, an arrangement which has worked out splendidly for both of us. We were ready for a change from the frenetic atmosphere of the San Jose area so we moved up to God’s country and bought our house on the lake. At that time my other half offered to have my crates moved out from Alabama so I could be reunited with my possessions again. We calculated I could have furnished the east wing of Buckingham Palace for what I’d paid to store them all those years.
Contacting the moving company it turned out to be another $5,000.00 to bail my things out of lockup. I gave the go ahead and two weeks later a large van pulled up out front. Yea. Two huge crates were deposited in our garage. Excited, we opened them and began going through them. In the end, after discovering my beloved keepsakes from my grandmother, we ended up with one whole box devoted to storing a neon pink plastic salad bowl (no household would be complete without one), an oversized waterbed accompanied by its oversized dresser and night stands (circa 1980’s), a hope chest with severe water damage, box after box of miscellaneous junk and bric-a-brac, and some really nice artwork and pieces of rattan furniture. Most definitely not worth the price paid for them, but the sentimental value you couldn’t put a price on.
So, I will be unpacking again soon I’m guessing. Looking forward to this one.
This recipe is really good over fettucine.
Black Forest Ham and Mushroom Sauce with Dill Fettucine
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. mushrooms, button or exotic blend, sliced thin
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup cooking sherry
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup Black Forest ham, diced
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup reserved pasta water
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, grated, for garnish
8 oz. fettucine, cooked according to pkg. directions
3 Tbsp.butter, melted
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. dill
Pinch of coarse salt to taste
Cook noodles according to pkg. directions. Drain and return to pot. Stir in butter, dill and salt to taste.
Meanwhile, heat butter over med-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms. Saute until onion is translucent and the water has evaporated from the mushrooms.
Deglaze pan with sherry. Allow to reduce until liquid is nearly evaporated.
Stir in broth, ham and cream. Simmer about 5 mins. until sauce is reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.