T.G.I.F.! Even though I’m not working full-time these days, Friday still feels like a day of celebration for me. Too many years of looking forward to the clock rounding that last hour signalling the end of the work week, I would guess. Americans in general tend to clock more work hours than the rest of the world. France, for example, has a thirty-five hour work week. This both eases unemployment, and gives workers needed time off enhancing their “quality of life”.
There’s nothing wrong with hard work. I support it. In my experience people who have put little effort towards what they get often have equally little appreciation for it once they have it. However, there needs to be a line where you leave work behind, put on your party hat and get down to the business of enjoying your life. The art of truly relaxing escapes many of us, including myself. Even if I sit down to watch a movie or read a book I’m often called away by that nagging little ass in my mind telling me I “should” be doing this or I “should” be doing that. Inevitably as soon as my foot rest is in the up position, my snack sitting on the table next to me, something calls me away. Often it is the phone. There was a time when if phone rang I felt compelled to answer it. After all if someone is kind enough to want my attention, shouldn’t I be polite enough to answer it? Yes, in theory, but unless it is an emergency perhaps not at the given moment the call comes in. I have friends who would crawl across hot coals to reach their phones. Money would be traded on dark street corners with scrupulous men to ransom the beloved devices. So attached are they the phone resides on their nightstand while they sleep to insure not missing any incoming texts or calls. Really?
One friend of mine recently left her cell phone in a restaurant. When she went back to retrieve it, it was gone. Arriving home without it, a panicked voice came in on my voicemail telling me her phone was stolen. So distraught was her voice I would have thought one of her children had been misplaced. I seriously thought she was going to have to be sedated. I heard a news story yesterday about a young guy who had a tracker on his phone. He followed the GPS to the location indicated and confronted two men in a parking lot. He was shot and killed for his efforts. Sorry, no phone for me will ever be worth that kind of sacrifice. I don’t care if it has an APP for cleaning the house. Hmmm, well I might at least attempt to find it.
Summer has officially arrived here in Northern California. Nature is celebrating the first day of summer by heading towards 100 degrees this afternoon. To keep cool I’m staying inside catching up on the projects in the house. One project is getting a “fire box” ready in case I need it. The news last night was monopolized by smoke filled stories. Fire season on the west coast can be miserable enough without adding the continuing drought to the pot. Our dry ground is the perfect fodder for any loose spark. A weed whacker or lawn mower could cause massive destruction if used carelessly. Living surrounded in the tall trees as we do fire is definitely something to concern yourself with. My mother has begun her “why did you choose to move to a wooded area” speech once again. Truthfully it doesn’t matter where you make your home, fire can seek you out. She has a valid point with regard to our area because we do have more fuel, if you will, than in more sparsely forested areas.
You can’t live your life worrying about what could happen. Wouldn’t really be living. Being prepared is smart thinking, but sitting around waiting for disaster to happen surely isn’t the formula for having a happy life. Let’s face it you can’t ever be fully prepared for what goes on day to day. Life has a way of throwing roadblocks in your way creating both pleasant as well as unpleasant surprises. A whimsical universe for sure filled with bumps and potholes along a road ablaze with fragrant wildflowers.
I was in the first year of an expected four years of college when the unexpected happened. I found out I was expecting. That’s a lot of expectations gone awry in the death of one rabbit. My second child arrived a year after the first and the rest, as they say, is history. Not that it can’t be done, but being a mother to two active toddlers, holding down a full-time job, and keeping a marriage on track was enough to fill the day, without books and homework added to the pile. Trying to keep up became a nightmare, with my two little ones being on the losing end of the program. College was postponed until later down the road, and in the end was just well, postponed. Sometimes I still go through available classes leaning towards signing myself up. Mostly art classes these days. Working in clay is an old passion of mine. I signed up to take a class once before, even buying the huge lump of clay and whatever else was needed. Life again stuck it’s nose in where it wasn’t needed and an emergency surgery had me in the hospital the day the first class convened. The clay dried and cracked ending up along with the leftover lasagna headed for the landfill. Perhaps a field mouse with a knack for capturing faces is working on it as I write.
I have neglected my art the last couple of years. My tablet sits downstairs with a pencil propped on top of it, but I haven’t picked it up in quite a while. Recently I discovered an art school in my area. Next week I’m going to to audit a couple of classes and see which one holds my interest. Perhaps there is a Georgia O’Keefe lurking beneath my skin yearning to express herself.
I believe because you start out in one direction does not mean you must continue going that way. If another road crosses your path it might be interesting to find what lurks beyond the entrance. Even it doesn’t take you where you want to go, you might enjoy the detour.
These beans are easy to put together and taste great.
Root Beer Float Beans
6 slices smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup root beer (not diet)
1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. coarse brown mustard
2 Tbsp. Frank’s hot sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat oil in large deep skillet over med. heat. Add onions and green pepper. Cook about 8 mins. or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 min. Stir in bacon, beans and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer.
Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour beans into casserole. Bake uncovered for 45 mins.