|back in the old days|
An explanation is in order here, and perhaps an apology. It certainly was not my intention to vanish without a trace, so I will catch you up on all of that and maybe I will spin a yarn so totally absorbing that you and I will both overlook the fact that I seem to have forgotten how to cook. Do not become alarmed. It's not too troubling, or anyway it shouldn't be. It's happened before and generally blows over. In the mean time, thank goodness we have cereal.
As far as things that are totally absorbing go, we are in a boom year. Among other recent developments, my husband and I are working hard to raise the financial and social capital to save and re-purpose a large piece of land in our community. Many things have already resulted from our careful, sensible, methodical process. Here is a sampling:
- Catching myself attempting to insert my credit card directly into my gas tank at the filling station, with the secondary result that I was cackling sort of hysterically in public while all alone. Excellent PR for a big project. Highly recommended.
- Washing the same load of laundry repeatedly, because it never gets into the dryer before it rots. There is a quality of a Greek myth to this, if you can get past the washing machine. (I cannot).
- Driving into a mailbox and shearing off my side mirror, while miraculously avoiding contact with a telephone pole that continues to stand, unscathed and with a clear conscience, mere inches away from my victim. Those side mirrors are handy little buggers, and let me tell you that you don't miss the water till the well runs dry. SUPER handy. VERY hard to drive about hither and thither with a blank visual experience on the starboard side of the vehicle. After a week (and a frightening but mercifully false estimate), all is now restored. Think about driving when you are driving, my mother always said. She turns out to be right on the money there. Note to the file. I am on it.
- Never once cooking a photo-worthy meal in daylight for two weeks straight. We ate some good stuff (it is summer here after all, and so it's hard to go too far wrong), but we ate it in the dark, and we ate all of it. No light while we had the food, and no food left when the sun rose again.
Up there in the picture is a lovely (if I do say so myself) little breakfast repast (frittata, muffins, and a salad of oranges, plums, ginger and basil) that I toted along to a meeting on the 22nd of August, and since then it's all been a blur eaten under cover of night. If you do make the muffins, which I really encourage, try adding 1/4 cup of corn starch to the batter. It improves the texture quite a bit, and this knowledge dates from well before The Great Blur so you can accept it with confidence.
Today I took French leave from my project, sort of unwillingly, and headed off to a day-long faculty retreat at Community Access To The Arts, where I will be teaching weekly writing workshops next month. The timing was all wrong, in that my to-do list, incomplete, presently fills a notebook. The timing was excellent, in that a very kind and well-informed person came over to help us think things through last night. After she left, I had copious notes on her excellent recommendations, and in the place normally occupied by my brain there was a small, withered legume, rattling feebly around. I was the Little Engine That Could Hardly Stumble to Bed To Stare Into The Dark With Owl Eyes. Sometimes I can't imagine how we will ever get this done, and sometimes I can't imagine how we could possibly let anything stop us. I was erring sharply toward the former, which is probably how a person ends up driving into mailboxes.
At the retreat, we played with pastels. We talked about creative ways to interpret the theme of the program year. We ate food prepared by others. And we watched this short film. It is well worth eight minutes of your time, I think, and don't forget to click on "full screen." I'll wait here.
It all seemed like it would add up to a re-set button on my state of mind.
After the retreat, I was home and ready to make dinner while the sun was still shining. Sadly, there is the small matter of my having temporarily forgotten how. Here is another thing my mother likes to say: This too shall pass.