A few more pictures from my trip. I’d only been in Seattle once before, on a two-day stint during that summer of ’86 when I first came to Canada. All I remember of that time is Pike Place Market with the stalls full of fish on ice – in fact, that’s the image that pops into my head whenever someone says “Seattle”: the entrance of the market, and iced fish. So this time, we went to Pike Place Market again – and guess what, it hasn’t changed one bit. Dead fish and all. I assume they’re different fish from 30 years ago, though.
It was so cold and miserable yesterday, I had to have something hot for lunch. There weren’t any leftovers, and I didn’t feel like having anything from a can. So I made some lentil soup, from Puy (French) lentils I’ve had in the cupboard for, oh, probably three or four years. (Me in bulk food store: “Oh, look at those lovely [lentils, peas, beans, walnuts, hazelnuts, mixed dried vegetables, chunks of chocolate, etc etc]! I’ve been meaning to try making [lentil/pea/bean soup, nut bread, veg soup, real chocolate cake, etc etc.]” Buy food. Sit food in cupboard. Periodically open cupboard and consider food. “Oh, look, I never did get around to making [lentil/pea/bean soup etc etc]. Must do that.” Close cupboard, forget about food. Months later, open cupboard, consider food…)
Anyway, I just sort of randomly threw this soup together. Lentils have the advantage that they’re the instant-food variety of the legume world, i.e. they cook in under an hour, as opposed to dried beans which have to pre-soak and then simmer away most of the day. So lentils lend themselves relatively well to impulse cooking (haha, see what I did there? Im-pulse).
So here’s what I did:
3c stock (I used ham stock I had in the freezer, but I think even water would work)
1/2 c Puy lentils, rinsed
3/4 tsp salt (could have used less)
chopped green onions
1/2 grated carrot
black pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried lovage, pinch dried oregano, large five-finger pinch frozen parsley
Dump in pot, bring to boil, turn down heat, simmer for about 45 minutes. To serve, I threw in some grated cheese. Very tasty and warming.
I also found out something: for a while now, I had this theory that the words “lentil” and “lent” are related – that perhaps we call lent lent because people used to eat more lentils then; or vice versa. But, alas, I was wrong. “Lentil” comes from Latin lens, meaning, well, “lentil”, while “lent” comes from Old English lencten, meaning “springtime”. I guess eating lentils in lent is just a coincidence. It was a plausible theory though, don’t you think?
Life, the Universe, and Lenten Soup. I think I’ll have the rest of it today.
Today’s rabbit trails:
Read the news headlines – click on the one about the Syrian air strikes – read what Justin Trudeau had to say about it – watch brief video clip on Angela Merkel’s comments on it – wonder about her accent and where she’s from – look up Angela Merkel in Wikipedia – find out she’s from the Uckermark – wonder where the Uckermark is – look it up in Wikipedia – see on Wikipedia page picture of gorgeous castle, Schloss Boitzenburg – click through to Schloss Boitzenburg’s page – find out it’s the ancestral home of the von Arnim family – remember that that’s one of the principal families of German Romanticism, i.e. poets, fairy tale collectors, friends of the Grimms etc. – look up the von Arnims, including Achim von Arnim and his brother-in-law, Clemens Brentano…
All that remains is to find Schloss Boitzenburg on Google maps, click through to the home page of the castle itself, find out that for €45/night one could rent a room, and get lost in dreams of a holiday in the von Arnims’ castle in North-east Germany.
And there you have it: even the daily news can lead to Romantic literature. You just have to be determined enough in following rabbit trails.
I was going to post this collage yesterday for Wordless Wednesday. Overwhelmed with too many projects, with too much to do.
But then I remembered something I recently saw scrolling past online:
People compete over being busy; it’s about showing status. “If you’re busy, you’re important. You’re leading a full and worthy life.”
(Brigid Schulte, in this article)
Gah. Is that what I’m trying to say here? Am I trying to show off how terribly busy, therefore terribly important, I am?
Actually, no. That wasn’t my intention when I took those photos. It was really more by way of an excuse: See, because I’m already so very busy and so very overwhelmed, that’s why I still haven’t finished Star Bright. Why I haven’t read all of your blogs and left profound comments. Why I don’t post more fascinating articles on fairy tales, or Jane Austen, or How To Be a Better Writer and Human Being In General. Why my front (and back) yard is a mess (never mind the inside of my house). Why I haven’t had you over for dinner, or sent you birthday cards on time. Why, in short, I haven’t done all those things that I think I ought to be doing, that I think all of you are doing (I have proof, from your blogs and Facebook and Twitter and all), that would make me an accomplished and worthy person.
It was a plea for validation: Look, I really am busy! I’m not a slacker, honest I’m not!
Brigid Schulte again:
Psychologists treat burned-out clients who can’t shake the notion that the busier you are, the faster you work; the more you multi-task, the more you are considered competent, smart, successful. It’s the Protestant work ethic in overdrive.
Being overwhelmed as a status symbol – as a sign that I am, indeed, a worthwhile person, as valuable as you.
That is not how I want to live my life. And not the image I want to project outward here.
But what, then, is the way to live?
Maybe a small first step is to become aware of this attitude, and consciously reject it. Slow down. Slow food, slow life, slow writing. Slow gardening? Staying put instead of running.
Maybe it’s a start.
Life, the Universe, and Being Overwhelmed. Will you join me in rejecting that status symbol?
We’ve got the flu in the house. I wasn’t quite sure if I was coming down with it or not, so I cancelled today’s scheduled event (didn’t want to spread the love around, dontcha know) and spent the morning parked on the couch.
I intended to have a nap, but instead I got sucked into spending a whole bunch of time and mental energy on People Being Stupid On The Internet. (Maybe you have to be German to understand how intensely irritating that is, and how you’re practically forced to do something about it? Or maybe not. But Germans are especially good at it.) In this particular instance, there was a guy who was dissing Duolingo in favour of his own (expensive) language program, and in the comments to his article loudly objected to anyone disagreeing with him, telling them they’re “disrespectful” (yeah, he’s German too). Boy, did I light into him! I slew him, I flattened him, I completely out-argued him in an extremely eloquent and lengthy rebuttal of his post. Hah, take that! It was quite satisfying.
Oh, you want to read my amazing piece of the debater’s art? Sorry, I didn’t actually post it – I typed it out, and then deleted it. I just needed to get it out of my system, but I didn’t want to actually engage with this troll. The Nanny Goats Gruff, unlike their brothers, the Billies, figured out long ago that the creek is quite shallow and you can simply wade across it – in some places, hop over in one short jump. No need to even use the bridge, let alone tangle with the troll; it takes far too much energy and is really pointless besides.
However, this being, as I said, a couch day in which I’m a little short on energy, I guess I kind of missed my footing. The road to the bridge is the widest and most obvious; the little path to the ford needs more discipline to find. So I went the easy route today, and before I knew it I found myself spending a bunch of my time and energy on something as useless as shadow-boxing trolls.
Well, maybe not entirely useless – it was an exercise in articulation of thoughts, fairly successful, at that. And I did lie on the couch while I was doing it.
Speaking of couch, INFJoe had a great post yesterday:
I quite relate to this. Except that I, of course, still have a teddy as well as a book. Maybe if I’d have stuck with Steve, book, tea, and blankie, I could have saved myself the effort expended on trolls under the internet bridge.
Ah well. I’ll know better for next time, I suppose. And now I can go back to practising Duolingo, which (contrary to the troll’s claim) is very educational. I already know how to lie in Spanish by saying “Soy un pingüino” or “Soy una vegetariana” (saying that I’m a penguin or a vegetarian, respectively, which are equally untrue); and if I ever see my cat sleeping on top of a monkey, I can describe it in detail (“El gato duerme sobre el mono”).
Life, the Universe, a Couch Day and Bridge Trolls. El oso Steve duerme sobre el Clive.