Like sands through the hourglass

When I think of this quote, I always see Keanu Reeves giving it as Ted Theodore Logan.

A resolution for 2010: treat my body as my temple and my mind as my greatest asset, because I have the luxury to do so. In other parts of the world, people have to exert maximum efforts in order to avoid starvation or violence against their person. I have been through a few harrowing experiences in my life, but only in comparison to the rest of my gilded life up to this point. We’re putting ourselves on a bit of a strict tether around here — more than we already need to because of the move. We’ll be eating mostly pulses and whatever vegetable is in season; kind of a modified version of the 100 Mile Challenge. We don’t care anymore if it sounds new age, or pious or backward or contrived to anyone. This is the time to figure out how you want to feel about life and the way you lived it. Time to take the plunge and just be as we are.

Winter food is influenced heavily by some unseen genetic force, coaxing us toward the hot, the braised, the stewed and the comfortable. Around you, the weather has locked the earth in stasis and trapped you along with it; thinking steadily about macaroni and cheese. I’ve not made that, because that would lead to a quick demise of my resolution. But I did make a squash and turnip gratin for one of our potlucks. That’s different, because I knew other people would eat it.

I have instead been working a lot with pearl and plain un-hulled barley, de puy lentils, lima beans, white kidney beans, aduki beans, red fife flour/shortcrust and puff pastries, every mushroom from every woods-floor (hen of the woods, shiitake, maitaki, boletus edifus, chanterelle and enoki), squashes, cruciferous veggies and local farm eggs (yolks like the neon orange ones from a Cadbury egg). The cost is approximately $40 a week for the two of us, but because I experiment a lot, we have to replace staples a little more quickly. Things like olive oil, sea salt, bulk spices/seasonings, balsamic vinegar, grapeseed oil (good for the under-eye area, by the way) and butter. Butter has vitamin A in it, plus it is delicious. And you can make your own for under four bucks.

I am finding it’s easy to live luxuriously for next to nothing, if your perception of luxury is altered. Reset to a closer version of ‘normal’ in the global context. The average North American home is 2500 square feet — 1300 feet more than the world’s average. Not that I’m in a hurry to give up my space, it’s just I’ve cleared a lot out of it. We’re keeping the books, though.

I look at/in a lot of books every day for various reasons. Jason has this book hanging around that his grandfather made about Charles Lindburgh. He was a famous abstract painter, but he had hobbies! I’m thinking about doing one of my own about pastry. Just to have around, you know, to look at. I think it’s imperative to read something from a physical book every day. I can’t tell you why I think it’s important, but it just seems to me that the less we do this, the more disconnected we become. I don’t think our brains are ready to leave history behind, as we are. To simply discount the lessons learned over millenia because we have come so far up above them. Are we so above literacy? There are still people around who can’t read. Shouldn’t we solve that dilemma before thinking up more sassy electronic toys to distract the general public with? On the one hand, I can’t believe the Nook (and others) took so long to be mass produced. On the other, I wonder why we aren’t allowed to pursue sustainable paper production with which to create physical books. Ones we can consider with many senses at once for generations to come.

We get ahead of ourselves in the west, I think. Our considerable capacity for knowledge and progress should be used solely in achieving the lofty goal of all BASIC human needs being met, for everyone. Right? Basic meaning food, clothing and shelter. Those are all things that can be quite costly. Exorbitant and even flippant sometimes in North America. Anyway, we had oatmeal for breakfast, and I’m having white beans boiled with rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper for lunch. With olive oil on it.


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