30 December 2009

Feelin' the future

It's been quiet of necessity these last 10 days, but I've been stir crazy for a year, so what's 10 days? More and more, amongst friends and family, I see the same coping strategy I've employed: if I can only get through...

I know it's fantasy to think the flip of a calendar page will change my life. It won't. But the changes have come, large and small, over the last seven or eight years in particular. My health waned this year, my faith in myself waned this year, but the changes were true.

It was just a year.

Well, a year and a little more.

And now the sense of something done.

Yesterday, I made the spouse walk for his lunch after we got through the morning drama of Is That Thing Infected? He is angry with this disability, but his very crankiness tells me that things are improving. He enjoyed his walk and the pear cider that waited at the end of it.

Today, as promised, I took everyone to see Avatar. Predictably, it is predictable, almost to the point that I could anticipate what the characters would say next (thank god, thank god, no "come with me if you want to live." GAH!). But it is beautiful, not just as filmmaking but in the imagination that went into rendering the world of the film (I agree with most of what Joe Morgenstern had to say about the movie in his Wall St. Journal review, though I'm younger and got less Vietnam from it. I can certainly see the parallels, however). The detail was amazing, even if the spouse and I both had a couple of scientific quibbles (the same ones, which was funny).

(For those of you who know me, I did not fall asleep during the explosions.)

I was told don't fail to see it in 3-D. I agree. It's worth the few extra dollars to see Avatar in 3-D. The whole family thought so, too.

I was interested to note that most of the previews prior to the movie had the theme "we're looking for a savior." (The notable exception was the trailer for Salt, which just looked like a yawn.) Unsurprising subject matter, I suppose, given all that has gone on.

Though I'm not superstitious, I'm fine with the idea of maximizing my luck. So it'll be black-eyed peas on my New Year's dinner table. Okay, the truth is that I like black-eyed peas (the legumes, not the group), so eating them is not a hardship. You can buy them canned or frozen or dried. I like the dried best, and I start them to soak the night before. They don't even really need much seasoning: my preference is to eat them hot from the pot with a little salt and pepper, though you can also cook them with salt pork or a ham bone (a convenient way to use the one from your Christmas dinner if you didn't cook a goose). They're simple and nutritious, and maybe they're even lucky.

New Year's Day Dinner Menu

Braised greens
Black-eyed peas
Corn bread muffins

Greens are one of those things susceptible to a million variations, and everyone who eats them seems to have a recipe that's been handed down for generations. This is a very simple way to prepare greens as a side dish, and even the picky spouse likes them. To make a complete meal, chop up a pound of fully-cooked smoked sausage or ham and add it before you add the broth.

Braised greens

1 Tbl. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. of any combination of kale, chard, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, washed, stemmed and chopped
2 c. to 1 quart low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add chopped greens and saute until starting to wilt. Add broth, using more if you prefer to serve greens with more pot liquor, which is how my family likes it. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 30 minutes, until greens are tender. Season to taste. Serves 4-6.

Go listen to some good music: "Feelin' the Future" from the album Keep Color by Republic Tigers. One of the things I love about my blog is the way in which its general messiness does not resemble my own incredibly logical thought processes. The other thing I love about it is the way in which it reflects the way that I think, which is everything, all the time.

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