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.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I add plum sauce rather than ketchup to my meatloaf.

3/15/2006 7:39 AM  
Blogger Zareba said...

It is called burning the candle at both ends, and Idid it for years before it caught up to me big time. A home, husband, daughter, carreer, accounting business on the side.....Twenty years ago, The Creator had other ideas for me, so the carreer went south and I bought an old farm in the boonies. I must say, I enjoy this life but still tend to forget to check all the pillars. Usually, it is the physical that take warning, that body has to last you a lifetime.

I would love your meatloaf recipe. Most of them taste remarkably like dog food, and your potato recipe sounds wonderful as well. My DH and I both cook, and lean toward the gourmet and exotic, but love to do comfort foods as well.

Take care of yourself ...Z

3/15/2006 9:35 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I know you're right, that I am burning the candle at both ends (and have too many irons in the fire), and I too have been doing it for years, but now I'm doing it more than I ever did in my life. The reason is that even though I'm no longer writing for a living, the need to write is still there. So that's why I've taken up writing online articles. It's rewarding for me because of the research entailed, so I can both learn, hone my writing skills, and get my writing published. And although the pay isn't much, I'll take anything I can get.

Having my blogs also fulfills another need--that of reaching out and finding people like you and the others I've met through them--such wonderful, unique people. You people have made my life even more rewarding, and I truthfully feel honored by having your friendship.

I try to keep in tune with what my body tells me, and back off when it says "that's enough!" Yesterday I admit I pushed it, but sometimes my body has to obey my wishes. I'll treat it with the rest it needs in a couple days.

For awhile, after our daughter left home, I was going through a spell of boredom, and that's the bane of me. Now I feel enlivened, and more fulfilled, and that in turn makes me want to do even more. But please don't worry...I really do pace myself as often as possible. But also, I was right. Both the meat loaf and potato dish were great, and as comfort foods, they definitely achieved their purpose.

3/15/2006 6:36 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Anvilcloud, I'd love to try your idea of using plum sauce for meatloaf. Bet it would be delicious. But when I suggested the idea to my husband, he nixed it. The only way I could try it would be to make and serve it without saying a word, and then wait for his reaction after the first bite. (Trouble is, I might end up having to eat it all myself.)

Have you ever tried that cocktail weiner or cocktail meatball sauce (1 lb. of ground beef) that uses a half teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and 12 ounces of chili sauce, with 10 ounces of grape jelly melted in? I'm guessing the resulting flavor would be like your plum sauce. We should try that too, sometime.

3/15/2006 6:57 PM  
Blogger Hayden said...

good to meet you, Darlene! thank you for your note. What ever it is that was wrong with the Google server my blog is on appears to be fixed now, if you want to try a return visit. I've barely scratched the surface of yours, looks like I'll settle in for a good read here in the next couple of days!

3/17/2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Two of our son's just moved out, for the second time, and my problem now is cooking for two - I hope to be inspired by your production list here. But, the garden must be turned over first - it's spring.

3/19/2006 3:38 PM  
Blogger Rauf said...

I am a pampered brat Darlene, I know how to eat, can't even heat water. Mother took care of every thing now my sister does. not to mention a few dozen mothers I have who have made me very very lazy.
I really wish I could cook, I tried but was not allowed into the kitchen as I have a history of goofs and disasters, fear of burning down the whole house kept me away. too late to learn now anyway.

3/26/2006 3:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

My goodness, you've been through the wringer since I last read your blog. I'm so sorry for all you've been through.

I admire your writing very much. It has a true depth that reveals so much about you.

My husband is a better cook than I am. I'm a country cook. He prefers exotic food. So, one night we have meatloaf and the next pad Thai Works for us.

Take care of that rib. I had a bruised rib once and I know how painful it is just to breathe. Next time, you hide and make the kitty find you. :)

3/26/2006 6:08 AM  
Anonymous Sherrie Rae said...

Dar, your article on Rudeness is totally true, I always try and be polite, as what goes around does come around, and everyone appreciate kindness. I think your meatloaf recipe is the same as mine, LOL, but I have a new fantastic one for you also. My friend mentioned she adds a grated potato to the meatloaf and its just fantastic!! I made one the other nite, and the taste is great, please try it. Take care of the body as its the only one we will have. Love ya, Sherrie Rae

4/08/2006 8:58 AM  

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