This week is chock full of busy work. Yesterday was the one day with nothing scribbled on my calendar. I had no idea what to do with it. Over the years because of work, family, etc. I seem to have lost the art of relaxing. Giving in to the day and simply sinking into it with abandon, nothing to call me but an occasional bathroom run or ringing phone. Even dinner was to be omelets and croissants, requiring little from me but cracking a few eggs in a bowl and adding a bit of this and a bit of that. Ho-hum. Rarely am I bored. Life has too much going on to allow me the luxury, but yesterday I felt a tug of it.
During an afternoon conversation with my daughter, a day care provider, boredom came up once again. She mentioned when her two girls were small, she could give them a stack of pots with lids and they’d play for hours, but lately she’s noticed a difference in the small beings enrolled in her pre-school program. Weather permitting, the children are encouraged to engage in one hour of supervised independent outside play every day. Set up to keep children entertained the designated play area is equipped with slides, swings, bikes and trikes, a jungle gym, and a row of brightly colored plastic kitchen appliances. To one side is a huge bin filled to capacity with toys suitable for outdoor activities. Encouraged to use their imaginations, a hula hoop might be suggested for a ball toss or a blanket and picnic table perfect for a tent to stage an imaginary camp out or hide from marauding knights from the king’s army. Given all these tools she said many of the children will be occupied for a few minutes once provided scenarios for games or activities but if left alone often wander around in circles saying “I’m bored”. Other day care providers in her circle are reporting similar behavior. Theorizing, many of them question if kids are entertained 24/7, either by parents, television, or devices and not developing the skill of entertaining themselves. I believe this is now called “self soothing”. In my day it was, “Get out of my hair and quit making a nuisance of yourself. Can’t you see I’m busy?”
As an only child, often I was often forced to deal with my own company. Blessed with a fairly keen imagination, I can remember playing for hours on the floor of my room with my dolls, reading to myself, exploring the chests of old clothing and knick knacks housed in the huge attic up the stairs on the second floor, or enjoying a tea party under the gazebo with the Queen seated at my table or possibly Pooh Bear sharing a piece of plastic cake with me. Dolls back then didn’t do much beyond represent humans in plastic form. Board games came with the board, the playing pieces, perhaps some cards, and a pair of dice. On many days we were released into the wild in the morning after breakfast and not reined in again until just before dinner. Different times.
I have adult friends who suffer from long bouts of boredom as well. Used to showing up for work every day and suddenly finding yourself retired or in some cases in between jobs can leave you feeling restless and wondering what to do with all the time you suddenly find you have at your disposal. If you don’t have hobbies or outside activities to keep you occupied, time can drag on like an insurance seminar rather than seem to fly by as it does on days when you are busy. I don’t intend to waste much of it, not knowing how much I have allotted to me. The world is an enormous playground and I simply haven’t tested out all the toys yet.
Maybe this boredom is a result of more and more tasks being “done” for us these days. Literally we don’t even have to think for ourselves anymore, there’s an APP out there designed to do all your cognitive thinking for you. All that is required of you is that you sign up, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised there isn’t an APP for that as well. I don’t have any APPs. I know. I accept your pity and appreciate you more for the giving of it. I am totally APP-free. Since I found I understood the concept but not the full definition of the word, I looked it up. According to About.com it goes like this:
Apps is an abbreviation for application. An app is a piece of software. It can run on the Internet, on your computer, or on your phone or other electronic device.
Huh? Oh, sorry, my lack of technical expertise is showing. Give me a minute to adjust myself. Ah, that’s better. It restates what I thought without adding much more meat to the bone. I remain somewhat confused, a state of mind I am not totally unfamiliar with.
Back in the beginning, when men still used their knuckles to move along, there was much to do on any given day. If one was to eat, something had to either gathered, slayed, or captured in order to make this happen. There were no convenient drive thru windows. Packages of pterodactyl meat did not come pre-trimmed and shrink wrapped in the meat section at Raley’s. (I know there were no dinosaurs roaming around with early man, but it’s much more interesting than say, beaver, or bear.) Life was a matter of survival. Those choosing yo lie around under the coconut palm soaking up rays rather than shimmying up the trunk to gather fruit, could find themselves mighty hungry, mighty quick, or possibly lunch for something else hungry as well.
Truthfully there is little we have to do unless motivated besides eat, get rid of what we ate, earn a living and pay taxes. There’s even an AP to alert you to brush your teeth. Once done, it tells you whether or not you’ve done a good job. Really? They used to call this Mother.
If you’re “ghostaphobic”, or simply fascinated by the paranormal, (I’m abby-normal myself (Young Frankenstein quote, great movie), but that’s a personal problem.) you can get an APP called Ghost Radar for your Android (how very Star Wars). This alerts you to any ethereal presence in your vicinity in case you’d like to introduce yourself or possibly wet your pants, whatever your preference.
Here’s something useful. Zips. Zips allows you watch a zipper move up and down on a pair of jeans. Good news it’s free! You can customize the color of the underwear revealed as an added bonus. A must have for people with absolutely nothing else to contribute to the world around them of any significant value.
If you just don’t have enough wind left to exert the energy to blow out your birthday candles, there’s always iPhone Blower designed to take the stress out of a bad situation. Good Lord.
Okay, I’m bored. Rain yesterday, yea!
I haven’t made these in years, but found they were totally “mmmmmm” worthy, particularly with the delicate little onion ringers, and the tangy salsa.
Sloppy Joe’s with Radish Avocado Salsa and Baked Onion Rings
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 lb. ground chuck
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 onion, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 8 oz. cans tomato paste
4 crusty rolls, halved and browned
Heat olive oil in large skillet over med.-high heat. Add ground chuck crumbled. Brown meat.
Mix together brown sugar and Montreal Steak Seasoning. Mix into browned meat. Reduce heat to med.-low and cook for 5 min. Add onion, green pepper, jalapeno, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Continue cooking 5-7 mins. until vegetables are soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
Stir in tomato sauce and tomato paste. Mix well. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 5 min. Place large scoop of meat on center of browned bun. Top with onion rings and salsa. Serves 4.
Radish Avocado Salsa
4 large radishes, diced
1/2 red tomato, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
6 small tomatoes (Campari for excample) seeded and chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
Red Wine Vinaigrette
3/4 cups olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 clove crushed garlic
Place vegetables in mixing bowl. Place all ingredients for vinaigrette in cruet or covered jar and shake well. Pour over salad and toss. Refrigerate for 30 mins. before serving.
Baked Onion Rings
1 large onion, cut into 1/2″ slices
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice onion and separate into rings. Mix together eggs, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Cover cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Dip rings in egg mixture and roll in bread crumbs. Bake for 30 mins., turning once. Salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve with or on top of Sloppy Joe’s.