The Four Grocery Groups

The essential. Undercaffeinated Dandyknife is useless; overcaffeinated Dandyknife is not a pretty sight.

The essential. Undercaffeinated Dandyknife is useless; overcaffeinated Dandyknife is not a pretty sight.

Not much to say this week, gentle readers. Have been sticking pretty close to home — so close, in fact, that there’s been no milk for our tea and coffee for two days.

This morning I went in for a chat with our minister; I needed to debrief after my time with Cindy, at whose funeral tomorrow I’ve been honoured with a request to sing a solo. Cindy planned the music with our minister. It is all upbeat, songs of grounded faith and uplifted joy, and my solo is no exception.

But I’m feeling kinda quiet.

On my way home from talking with my minister, I stopped into the grocery store for the milk and ended up with four things, or more precisely three single things and one pair of things. At the express checkout, I smiled at my diverse purchases and categorized them.

Mmm, comfort food. Dandyknife's Mennonite genes rate summer sausage higher than chocolate.

Mmm, comfort food. Dandyknife’s Mennonite genes rate summer sausage higher than chocolate.

The first, milk, is an essential — E.g. won’t drink her coffee black, and I can’t stomach black tea before breakfast.

The salami is comfort food. Especially with gobs of Dijon.

"Thou still unravish'd leaf of tastiness..." Ode on a Grecian salad.

“Thou still unravish’d leaf of tastiness…” Ode on a Grecian salad.

Next comes basil, currently being sold in four-inch pots in the produce section. After planting up a herb jar that Glenda gave me when she moved, I still lacked something for the top of it. The basil looks lovely there, and smells fab. I categorized it as gourmet.

The final barcode bleep was a two-for-one pair of boxes of spring bulbs. Such colours, such hopefulness, such impracticality! Frivolous.

Everyone sing!  Anemone, doot-doo doo-doo-doot. Anemone, doot doo-doot doot.

Everyone sing!
Anemone, doot-doo doo-doo-doot. Anemone, doot doo-doot doot.

And it might just be my current headspace, or the place that music — a non-essential if ever there was one! — takes in my life, but once I had strung these categories out in order of importance, I caught up the two ends of the string and tied them together into a continuum. Essential, comfort, gourmet, frivolous, and back around to essential again. Spin on, little wheel. Delight in your wholeness.

Essential milk, comfort yogurt, gourmet hemp hearts, and frivolous mixed berries. It doesn't get more purple than this.

Essential milk, comfort yogurt, gourmet hemp hearts, and frivolous mixed berries. It doesn’t get more purple than this.

The Tale Of the Scarlet Scampernel

What creature has chewed off the leaves from the top of one of the Jerusalem Artichoke plants growing against the back  porch?

What creature has chewed off the leaves from the top of one of the Jerusalem Artichoke plants growing against the back porch?

And look beside them! Behold, the unpicked scarlet runner beans have disappeared, leaves and vine tips with them! The plot thickens...

And look beside them! Behold, the unpicked scarlet runner beans have disappeared, leaves and vine tips with them! The plot thickens…

Wait! Ho, varlet! Yes, that precious scent wafting from yon hound is none other than BEAN BREATH!

Wait! Ho, varlet! Yes, that precious scent wafting from yon hound is none other than BEAN BREATH!

Tho'  I seek him here and seek him there, he'll ever catch me unaware... Any moment now he'll learn how clothespins work.

Tho’ I seek him here and seek him there, he’ll ever catch me unaware… Any moment now he’ll learn how clothespins work.

Ratatouille à la canadienne

Slurp.

Slurp.

Yesterday I had a hankering for ratatouille. Unfortunately, E.g. won’t eat eggplant. I also didn’t have any bell peppers on hand. So what? Butternut squash and fresh green beans should work.

And they did! This is how I prepared it, with nothing tinned, everything (except the Israeli hot pepper and the basil) grown in this province, and no dried spices or even any salt. As usual, I began with a little research and then made things up as I went along, but if there had been a recipe, it would’ve looked like this:

1. Send a headful of garlic cloves through the press.
2. Dice small, sliver into crescents, and cut into two or three pieces, 200g (half a pound) each of butternut squash, smallish yellow onions, and fresh green beans respectively.
3. Warm 3 Tbsp oil in your deep frypan to medium heat. Add the pressed garlic and stir it for maybe a minute, then add the veggies from step 2 and drop the lid on.
4. Let things soften in the pan while you slice up 350g (3/4 pound) fresh tomatoes, 450g (a pound) zucchini, one hot pepper to your liking, half a 40g packet (a firm handful) of fresh basil, and a Tbsp or so of fresh oregano. While gathering the oregano from your herb garden, snip a big pinch of thyme stalks and tie them with kitchen twine.
5. Throw everything from step 4 into the pan, cover it again, turn the heat down about as low as it goes, and let everything party for an hour or two.

Delighting in one-pot cooking, I also set 200g of thin chicken tenders (those are the blobs that come away from the underside of the breasts when you’re dismantling a fresh chicken) on top of the ratatouille to cook along with it.

A plateful of summer…

Seven-inch Spiders And Other Fallacies

He's asking if he can borrow the electric razor.

He’s asking if he can borrow the electric razor.

A spider, found loitering near the ceiling an hour ago, now lounges in a bell jar, awaiting its exile to the outdoors. From front toes to hind ones, it measures seven inches.

Seven?

A closer glance at the ruler shrinks this abominable arthropod from seven inches to five.

My partner and I are tired this week. We’re suddenly busier, not just doing, but worrying. We’re trying to anticipate roadblocks in order to plan how to circumvent them. We’re losing leisure time, sleep, and the energy for walkies.

Coulda sworn that spider was seven inches long.

Maybe we need a different perspective.

Maybe we could try concentrating on gathering information instead of strategizing for battles that may never take place.

Maybe we could try building a little R&R into each day, instead of letting pressure build up until we flee AWOL.

Maybe we could try closing our eyes for a moment and letting our beloved Co-pilot steer, and then see where we land.

Hang on a sec…

Cancel the drama mini-series.

Cancel the drama mini-series.


The blue ruler is inaccurate. The spider, waiting under a drinking glass, is less than two inches from stem to stern.

Seven top scholars cite reasons for dropping out

[Visual Artist and Writer] Ten thousand words couldn't quite capture this scene Of varying shapes in pink, orange, and green.

[Visual Artist and Writer]
Ten thousand words couldn’t quite capture this scene
Of varying shapes in pink, orange, and green.


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[Mathematician] Each centre flings double-heliptical bends Without compass, computer, slide ruler, or pens.

[Mathematician]
Each centre flings double-heliptical bends
Without compass, computer, slide ruler, or pens.


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[Psychologist and Social Scientist] Exub'rance and beauty are bigger than fear; Low status and crowding are non-issues here.

[Psychologist and Social Scientist]
Exub’rance and beauty are bigger than fear;
Low status and crowding are non-issues here.


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[Civil engineer and architect] No dump-truck or scoop-shovel worked on this site But this fine habitation was built in one night!

[Civil engineer and architect]
No dump-truck or scoop-shovel worked on this site
But this fine habitation was built in one night!


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[Reporter] So one, then the other, beginning in June, The scholars sought Walden to learn to commune.

[Reporter]
So one, then the other, beginning in June,
The scholars sought Walden to learn to commune.