not ready for prime time
Working on my challenges this week has kept me busy. Want the deets? Read on…
2) We are coasting toward payday and I’m sticking to my no-shopping-til-payday mini-challenge, because we had so much leftover holiday foodstuffs that I couldn’t see the back of the fridge. I’ve spent a few days actively eating down the extra and preserving, freezing, feeding to the chickens, etc. Today, for example, I emptied the cookie jar into a gallon ziplock bag and rolling-pinned it to make cookie crumbs. These will make a sweet pie crust for an ice cream or pudding pie, can be used to make a parfait or trifle, or merely sprinkled over ice cream or yogurt. A tablespoon of mixed up cookie crumbs is better than munching my way through a mountain of Christmas cookies. Far fewer calories, no waste. No leftovers. (I know, whoever heard of a leftover cookie?)
3) My ever-over-achieving friend Max at My Roman Apartment is doing a 52-kinds-of-jam-in-52-weeks, and I guess that means one per week. Well, rock on, Max, my dear, I can’t go along for the ride. But I did make marmalade out of a bunch of citrus fruit that was going south. A couple of hardening pink grapefruits, a lime that was turning into a golf ball, some sliced lemons that we had with seafood, a handful of orange peels, plus 5 homegrown oranges that were not exactly Sunkist quality…are now about 7 jars of beautiful sweet citrus marmalade. It’s very orangey, but you can taste the lemon and the grapefruit notes. It’s just divine. (hold out spoon) Taste it! I reused several jam jars for sealing, and a couple of other jars for the fridge that have lids but couldn’t be sealed. I will play Marmalade Fairy later in the week and deliver jars to some local friends who asked. I think I’m getting some Meyer lemons and yellow grapefruit in return — yummy!
4) Simplify, pare down, declutter — we got all the Christmas stuff off the walls, tree, front porch and floor, into boxes, and finally up into the attic. As we did so, we started rearranging the living room, and now it’s a spacious, wide-open modern-looking place to sit. I would take a photo of it, but my batteries died, and then I exploded them trying to reload, and…anyway, I’ll get a photo in a day or so and post. Also noticed that we need a dust mop of some sort. Something to grab dust bunnies better than a broom, which just seems to chase them away.
5) The savings and couponing are all going well — nothing to report, since I haven’t been shopping this week, but I did some work toward taxes, I’m sniffing out coupons and savings every day, and have pretty much decided it’s foolish to pay full price for anything if you can find a discount or a barter for it. We’re working on getting a new computer for The Boy, for example, for his room. A friend of ours is assembling a Frankenstein model out of lots of leftover parts. He — our friend — does this for a living, and naturally, his living room is full to the brim with extra computer bits. We’ll be getting a super fast up to date computer with sound system, fully loaded, made outta leftovers saved from oblivion or landfill, when all is said and done. This is a lot for a 13-y.o.’s birthday gift, but we decided a) it’s an investment for his middle and high school years that can be upgraded easily, since our buddy is creating the computer, and b) it’s actually a safer deal to let him have his own computer for homework and such, so that he won’t monopolize and crash the house computer (with financial records on it). If we went through Best Buy or wherever, we wouldn’t be getting this good of equipment for anyone — not even the house.
6) The Handmade Challenge/MIY continues as well. We needed jam, I made marmalade. We needed salad dressing, I whipped some up. I need my shoes polished; I’m doing it tomorrow. As we continue through the living room and into the next few rooms, there will be a lot of making it myself. Curtains, pillows, painting furniture…and back into the kitchen, where I’ll throw some stuff in the bread maker tomorrow and see what pops out. I’ve got to find that half-made Scrappy Sweater I was knitting last winter (out of scrap yarn, of course) and get back to work on it.
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.