Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Never Enough Time to Do What We Want To Do

My adrenaline is surging full-force, and it mainly got heightened because I just received an e-mail from one of my dear blogger friends. I want to answer her immediately, but now I have a dilemma. I’m in the middle of a cooking binge, determined to get everything done tonight.

You see, on the way home from work I found a super deal on a corned beef brisket. My husband doesn’t like corned beef, but when our daughter was growing up, I occasionally bought some and made it so she and I could have it for snacks. We both preferred it cold, and had fun using my method of tearing off strips and eating them. When she got older, she only wanted healthier foods, so I stopped making it. Now that my husband and I are alone, I forgot all about it. So when I saw it today, I started salivating in glee. I figured I’d pop the brisket into the oven as soon as I got home, so I could have some for lunch tomorrow at work.

Besides that, I had bought a couple pounds of lean hamburger, figuring that tonight I’d also make meatloaf for our dinner for the following night. Then it would just have to be reheated. My husband and I both love it, but pretty soon the weather will be too warm to use the oven too much. (I use my mother-in-law’s recipe, but make a few tweaks. For one thing, I mix in some whole ground flaxseed, and barbecue sauce instead of ketchup.)

So I get home, anxious to unload my groceries, and—oops, interrupted by tonight’s dinner. Besides making a salad, my husband had heated up my soup and corn-flake coated chicken leftovers from last night, so I couldn’t use the oven until we first ate the salad, then the soup, and finally the chicken could leave the oven.

Mid-swallow of chicken, I prepped the corned beef and popped it into the oven, which thankfully was preheated due to the chicken. Hmmm…2.79 lbs., to be baked for 50 minutes per pound. Soon it was 7 p.m., time for NCIS on the T.V., and I love that show. I could watch it while the corned beef baked. Then my husband enticed me into baking the last of some chocolate-chip cookie dough, so I shaped the cookies, took the meat out, and put the cookie sheet in. When they were done, we watched NCIS together, something he never watches, while munching on cookies with milk.

When the show was over and the beef was still baking, I started making the meat loaf. Mid-mixing, I caught our cat merrily pawing away at the recipe clippings in the cabinet where I keep my baking pans. Also, the floor was strewn with Campbell’s soup can labels. I keep those in the cabinet too, until I have a big batch to bring to my daughter’s former grade school. I had forgotten to shut the door.

At this point my husband was watching a Minnesota Wild hockey game on the T.V., and they were playing the “chicken” song. I really wanted to dance along with it, and swear I could have. My husband would have even joined me. But the doctor had said “no exercising until your broken rib heals.” I assumed parading around doing the chicken dance would be considered exercise, so I had to forego that.

Since my husband loves potatoes or rice with his meat, I wanted to make my “to-die-for” potato dish with rubbed sage and cheddar cheese, too. (It’s high in calories, so I don’t make it often, but it’s super nummy! If you’d like the recipe, e-mail me at I did plan to get to bed at some point, since I’ve been working between 9 ½ to 10 hours every day lately, and I have to get up at 6:15, but there were miles to go before I could sleep. Besides, I still wanted to work on an article I’m getting ready to submit, so I did that for a bit, then peeled the potatoes, then wrote some more, then mixed the other ingredients. Finally the corned beef was cooked, and I replaced that with the potatoes. So as it nears 11 p.m., I’m writing this.

Problem is, I still have to write a letter to a relative, and I haven’t been able to answer my friend’s e-mail and so want to. But also, my cat is running around in circles and meowing, because I’ve ignored him all night, other than when he sat on my lap during NCIS. He wants to play hide-and-seek…

There, we did it! Gotta admit it got the old rib aching, especially when he chased me up the stairs and I chased him back down, but it was worth it. Now my eyes are getting blurry—it’s after 11, but the darned potatoes aren’t done! Can I get an e-mail out? Then I can write the letter tomorrow morning before work.

Yeah, I’m the old-fashioned kind that likes to make her husband happy with a good meal. But I like to make myself happy with a good meal, too. If I left it up to him, he’d open a can of soup and make a salad, and that’s what we’d eat. When I get home from work, I’m famished, and I want something I can sink my teeth into!

Mind you, I don’t have to do any of this. These are all things I truly desire to do (at times). How does that old song go? “I am strong, I’m invincible, I am woman!” I can do anything—but I sure wish I had more time to do it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What It’s Like When You Break a Rib

I now know firsthand what it’s like if you break one of your ribs. Also, whether your rib is broken or cracked, it’s the same thing. One side of what should be a continuous bone is completely separated from the other side, with a gap in between. In my case, said parted bone is in back of me on my left side. (Please read all of this, because there’s a purpose!)

We’ve all seen on T.V. and in the movies how the male hero has a broken rib, is lying on a bed and cuddles up with his girl. White teeth flashing, he’ll gallantly smile and tell her he has to take it easy, and then he’ll pull her closer. Well, let me tell you, that ain’t easy! First of all, you have to ease your body down onto the bed, then ease it under the sheets, and then ease it into a comfortable position. Once there, if you want to change positions, that becomes a matter of trial and error.

One false move and the two halves of bone shift, a shot of pain surges through that area, you make an involuntary gasp and have to try and catch your breath. But once that pain eases, you’re fine.

You soon learn a method for maneuvering your body. If the break is on your left side, don’t reach for things with your left hand. (Note to self: Tomorrow, when you bend down to get the newspaper, remember to reach for it with your right hand, dummy! You know mornings are the worst!) Don’t open or close any doors with your left hand either. Getting dressed and undressed takes a bit of patience, and you’ll have to work on the best way to get in and out of a car. For sure, the body fares much better if you sit upright instead of reclining on a couch.

Performing normal bodily functions is another obstacle to surmount. I can’t sneeze, blow my nose, clear my throat, take a deep breath, laugh normally or do anything that’s going to make my lungs expand, but if I can do these things gently, all I’ll feel is a twinge.

Other than that, I can cook, bake, type, almost anything I normally would do, as long as I’m careful how I position myself. (This really increases one’s self-awareness!) The only thing the doctor forbids is doing any exercises. But I know I’m healing quickly, because each day my mobility and lack of pain increases, and I’m doing things I couldn’t do before. (It’s just trying to change positions in bed that’s a real killer.)

It happened Wed., March 1, when I was in the attic trying to reach an overnight bag because we were going out of town. There was no way to get to the bag, so I straddled my legs above the top of each side of the attic stairs, and using a mop handle, hooked the handle of the bag and pulled it towards me. I’ve done this before, but this time I was only wearing socks. One foot slipped, and when I went down, I slammed my back against the abutment I had been standing on. I went to the clinic several days later, when we returned home.

At this point I must apologize for not having written anything here for so long, but my mother had been admitted to a hospital several weeks ago, and every day had become an extreme up and down for her. I was getting and making a slew of long distance calls daily, both at home and at work, also because the doctors urged that I make arrangements for her funeral. They knew it was inevitable, and eventually it happened.

All the people who advised and supported me were wonderful, as was everyone who helped my mother to the end. As for the eulogy and service, they were beautiful—a true dedication to her. Through my blogging, I have made some dear new friends, and I cherish that relationship. Therefore, it feels only befitting that I draw on their gift of friendship to dedicate this post to my mother, Florence, May 28, 1916-Feb. 27, 2006.