Tuesday tidbits

Last weekend I did something new, at least for me. I started with a chicken and a bunch of vegetables and I ended up with soup.

Xander usually makes soup stock in huge batches. He makes really good stock and we have a lot frozen so whenever we want to make soup, we can. This time, though, since I was starting with a whole chicken, I made my own stock.

I cooked the chicken in the cast iron Dutch Oven given to us by Xander’s mother. I love it! I didn’t do anything too fancy, just rubbed the chicken with cayenne under the skin so there would be a little bit of heat. I learned from the last time I tried to take meat of a chicken; this time I stuck it in the refrigerator for a few hours so I could skip the finger-burning part. I took all the meat off the carcass, fed the skin to the dog, and put the bones and giblets into a stockpot and covered them with water. I added a lot of bay leaves, some peppercorns, celery ends from the freezer, garlic, and various other things that looked good, and then I let it cook for a long time until it tasted right. I then added the chicken and sausage, the onions, carrots, and potatoes, and cooked them for a while. Once they were mostly done, I added the celery and mushrooms and cooked it all just a little while longer. I put in various seasonings, too, but I don’t really remember what at this point.

I like cooking from recipes. I like the rhythm, knowing what comes next, how it will all come out in the end. Cooking without a recipe feels a little bit like walking a tightrope without a net (I do know how that feels, though the tightrope wasn’t very far off the ground, at least!). I worry about screwing things up or ruining food. I’m getting more confident, I guess, or more comfortable in the kitchen, because this time I figured it was soup, and as long as I didn’t completely overdo anything, it would be fine. It is, too. It tastes good and has texture. I had fun puttering around, tasting, adjusting, and playing with it.

I made something all by myself. I feel like a little kid, saying that with such pride, but I really am happy about it.

Tuesday tidbits

I’ve been writing a lot, but it’s mostly letters. Real handwritten letters, no less. Sometimes it is nice to write and let the words go.

This has been a good week. Despite having a cold, Katja has been in a pretty good mood. I took her for a half hour walk around campus and she seemed to be fascinated by the tree branches against the sky. I’ve always liked that, too, so watching her eyes get big every time we passed under a tree made me happy.

I’ve been working on my stress levels. I have had premature ventricular contractions for years-nothing major, just irritating-and I’ve joked that it’s my built in stress test. Since Katja was born, I’ve been drinking caffeinated tea, which aggravates it. I’ve been trying to identify the things that stress me out most and I’ve been working on changing how I react. It seems to be working; I haven’t had a PVC for over a week now.

Focusing on what makes me happy, like coming home, spending time with Xander, seeing Katja smile, and playing with the dog are all good things, so I’m thinking more about those things and less about the frustrating parts of life.

I guess I’m learning, slowly, how to let go. It’s not easy, but it’s making everything more pleasant.

Tuesday tidbits

This has been a good week. I was sick for some of it, but I’m mostly better now. Katja has slept through the night three nights in a row, so my outlook on life is surprisingly cheerful. I have been getting enough sleep for a while, at least enough to get by, but I have needed my caffeine every morning. This morning I needed my tea, but not the caffeine.

Katja came with me to belly dancing last Friday. She seemed to enjoy it until she got hungry. I had her in the Moby wrap and she was wiggling along to the music, which was quite amusing. She got a very warm welcome from the dancers, too. They were all very supportive through the whole process, so it was nice for them to get to see me with such a wonderful baby.

I turned 37 on Sunday. 37 is a prime number, so I have decide that I am in my prime (well, a prime, anyway) this year. It’s good to be easily amused. Oh, and I got to spend my birthday with friends, which is always very nice.

I’m working my way through a book on mathematics. I mostly read fluff, but this is much more dense and I’m enjoying the challenge.

That’s about it. How was your week?

Tuesday tidbits

It’s 3:15 AM as I write this. I have a mostly-asleep baby on my lap; if she falls asleep completely, I will attempt to put her back in bed. She’s been up off and on since about 1:15, though, and ended up getting sick, so I’m not expecting that the remainder of the night will be restful.

That is surprisingly all right with me.

I value my sleep highly, but I have found that I don’t mind getting up for this purpose, anyway. Much of that comfort is that I get to go to bed early (thanks to Xander) which makes it much more bearable. Partly, though, it’s the contemplative feeling I get at weird hours of the morning. There aren’t any distractions, just a very small person who needs food. I like the relative silence and darkness. I enjoy being able to finish a thought without jumping to the next or having several ideas vying for attention.

I won’t make this a habit once Katja is sleeping all night, but for the moment, strange as it sounds, broken sleep is somewhat restful.

Other good things this week:
• I ran three days as planned. One of those days was in 24 degree cold, and, other than a numbed toe, it went fine.
• My estranged sister may be back in my life. I have tentative hope that this will work, and it makes me very happy.
• We got to see my older brother over the weekend. We don’t see him much, but we really enjoy his company. Katja liked him immediately.
• My birthday is in less than a week and I get to spend it with friends.
• I baked bread this weekend. It’s a very satisfying activity, and it always makes the house smell good.

I’m off to attempt to put Katja back to bed so I can get a little more sleep. I hope you have a great week!

Good things

I’ve been having a somewhat challenging year so far, so I decided to write about the good things in my life. Every Tuesday, I will write about at least one thing that makes me happy. This time it will be a list; I’m not feeling like going in-depth on anything.

  • Katja smiles at me. I love knowing that she recognizes me and is happy to see me.
  • Xander is a wonderful person. I’ve been learning how to create food without a recipe, and he’s very supportive.
  • Xander is also a wonderful father, which makes me very happy, too.
  • I have good friends.
  • We’re finally getting precipitation this winter.
  • Katja’s honorary grandma and daycare provider loves her dearly.
  • Cloth diaper service (Bear Bums, if you’re in Reno) makes my life much easier.
  • That’s the list this week. I’ll have more to talk about next Tuesday.