Did Marisa Tomei read me a book??

Well- she absolutely did- she did a marvelous job, too, and it didn’t cost me a penny either.

*I’ve been a fan of hers since her EPIC performance in “My cousin Vinny”, and then she went on to “Seinfeld” and did that EPIC 2 part “the Cadillac” episode, and there you go- one talented lady in my opinion. and beautiful too-. plus now I can tell you she knows how to read books aloud- which by the way is a form of art- not every person with a good voice knows how to change intonation and cadence and volume in correspondence with the plot- she does.

So- how did I get so lucky?

It has nothing to do with luck.

I have a library card. and a few years ago the librarians said something about a new reading app called “Libby” that maybe I would like.

Maybe???

Listen, people- if your library is connected to Libby- just go get signed up. pronto!

#1: It’s free of any charges. just sign up and start downloading your preferred reading material.

#2: The variety is enormous: thousands of books– even top of the Amazon current list ones, plus- the Audiobooks– and lately- also many free magazines! why pay good money and have to go and recycle afterward- or worse- get stuck with a book or a newspaper you didn’t exactly connect to when you can read for free and return to the library- online without having to leave your couch?

#3: I need to point this one again- no need to get aggravated with a book you thought was going to be great and turned out a fail. just return it and get another one, no hassle, no customer service. that’s the point of a public library.

#4: Actors reading books ” project: this one is new, and I simply can’t get over how great this is.

I mean- come on- can you imagine Marissa Tomei’s Italian accent reading “The lying life of adults” to you? this is really something to make even a cynic like me over joyous. then Tom Hanks read “the dutch house” by Ann Patchett. And Merryl Streep read “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron, and Glenn Close read “Sara plain and tall” and more.

#5: No WIFI option– once you download your book-audiobook-magazine- you can plug a wired pair of headphones- and listen as much as you want without thinking of any health cautions.

#6: Lately I’ve been going on small hikes to see the sunrise from the hills surrounding the village I live in and I’ve listened to many books this way- wow the experience.

#8: Listening to an audiobook allows you to clean, cook, hike and run while enjoying a good book. this in my opinion- is time well spent.

#9:I ‘ve discovered that listening to a book allows me to get past some more complicated books than reading them. perhaps it has something to do with tired eyes, or static reading position, or the need to clean -cook -whatever. but try it- maybe you’ll even visit those great classics you promised yourself that you’ll read this year.

#10. Well- books- who needs another reason??

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Why I do my best to avoid paracetamols.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

I’m sure you think to yourselves- what? there’s no pain whatsoever when you retire early! there is no pain to kill in paradise!

Well then- perhaps all other early retirees don’t experience any pain- I get the occasional headache, and backache. whatever age-related ache.

Because that’s life and it isn’t all fun and roses -even in early retirement.

#Not that early retirement isn’t the best decision I ever made- it’s just that I do my best to keep it as real as possible here- and the reality contains occasional aches.

So what’s the big deal? take generic paracetamol (or 2?) and get on with your life!

Well- no.

At the risk of coming across as an (aging) new age mumble-jumble believer- (which I am not- simply too sarcastic to be included), I believe that pain is our body’s way of saying something to us.

Screaming- more likely.

I believe that mild headaches -(I am not talking migraines -these need special and professional care!)are a sign of physical or emotional stress and definitely mean “stop! take care of yourself! something is wrong, and deal with it now before anything else. “. quite a long message- and yet.

The same goes for rising fever.

I remember those long days at work, going to court feeling sick, and sensing at the entrance that my fever is rising- sitting in my car and popping 2 Advills -only to go inside and keep going until the day is done- and so am I.

Some days are like that- I know. been there. but there are many other days that reaching for the pain relief pill box is the automatic response- not always the right one for your body, because if the body needs to stop, and use the rest time to mend the cause of the pain- then going on isn’t going to help.

I just want to point out that as I am writing this very post. my back is acutely acting up, as a direct result of collecting and sawing wood through all of last week- I mean daily 2-3 hours of labor, aside from my usual walks+swims. I kind of knew this was going to happen but ignored logic and kept going, driven by my all-time “no rest until everything is done” motive.

So?

So- I can tell you what I do instead of taking painkillers:

I take a good shower, drink a lot of cold water, and lie down, in a quiet place, and try to relax. maybe even sleep.

*Actually- sleeping the headache off is my preffered method- (I don’t drink alcohol so this isn’t hangover or anything like that- if you happen to feel an urge to know why I stopped all kinds of alcohol- read here in the link: How I improved my blood works results.). I found out that often times I get a headache when feeling stressed or sad (yes- despite early retirement- some days I feel sad- but it passes- time heals etc ). I also found out I cannot help my anxiety or sadness in the midst of the occurring situation- but after a good night’s sleep- I see everything so clearly! so- sleep, definitely sleep.

But! please don’t get me wrong- I don’t mean sleep the headache off and ignore its origin- on the contrary- when I wake up, I try to write down in my diary ( told you- nerd) what it was that upset me to begin with- then try and attack it logically.

As for my current back pain- I put some lotion -not affiliated or sponsored or anything- just a reliable product- called “Perskindol”- that helps with muscle tensions- and put an ice pack , the necessary shower, and I try to rest- which is the most difficult thing for me- because of that above mentioned “no rest ” motive.

I try to think about the pain- and try to just go through it- instead of ignoring it, because pain – in my experience- is part of being alive, not a fun part- but still- a necessary one- so I can appreciate all the really good times of just being.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

My 10 favorite books!

I love reading.

Actually, it’s a necessity for me.

I am a class A introvert, and a stellar nerd, avoid people’s company as much as I can and don’t watch TV. at all.

But that’s like saying I read books because I get bored, which is not the case.

I read because I love the sense of escapism. of flipping the page and immersing in the story, the lives of the heroines, and the plot.

So this week I read a book where Ann Patchett wrote what her favorite books were, and I thought immediately of myself and wondered what my 10 favorite books would be.

I am not about to start the list with a lengthy apology about it not covering all the books (because how could it?) or about possibly forgetting a few favorites (of course I forgot ), the list consists of 6 of the all-time favorites (the first 6) and of the 4 current loved ones.

I warn you though- it won’t be the conventional “classic lit list”. I mean- come on people. lists that put “Mobi dick” or “Ulysses” as their first choice are lists I will not keep on reading. because I did read Mobi dick but struggled hard to finish, and as for Ulysses- well- I couldn’t get past the first chapter.

I find it very hard to relate to people who take themselves too seriously. and that includes writers who believe in writing long and tedious self-absorbed existential books. but that’s just me. (by the way- it was told that Joyce said he “set out to write the greatest book of all times” when writing Ulysses. say no more.

Also -I noticed many lists put “little women” and “pride and prejudice” in the top 10- and since I read both, I wonder about this choice- especially when made by women. I really liked both books, but the reality described in them is a bit difficult to fathom in my opinion- women not working, not going to school, designated to wait for a groom to take them away from the house they do almost nothing in: they don’t clean, or cook, or garden, just read or stroll in the garden- basically waiting for the next ball where they can meet a suitable husband. or engage in endless gossip.

Even the heroines- Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March- free spirits as they were didn’t end up alone. not that being alone is necessarily a sign of freedom but I felt a need to get girls -in both books- settled with a husband- as the book’s highlight. or maybe it’s just me.

#1: Winnie the poo: A.A. Milne.

Oh, this book- what a treasure in my opinion. I love it so much I’m afraid if I happen to stumble upon a bear somewhere -I will just run to it and hug it fiercely.

#2: 3 men in a boat: Jerome k. Jerome.

19th-century English humor at its best- in my opinion. every time I pick it up I can’t stop laughing.

#3:Love in the time of cholera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

One of the most beautiful love stories.

#4: The day lasts more than a hundred years: Chingiz Aitmatov.

Heartwarming- in spite of the cold.

#5: The corrections- Jonathan Franzen.

wow, he keeps everything so real.

#6: Zorba the greek: Nikos Kazantzakis.

Just listen to Zorba.

#7: Calypso- David sedaris.

Funny, sad, heartwarming. real. intelligent.

#8: Anything is possible: Elizabeth Strout.

Fell in love with Strout’s writing in “Olive Kitteridge” and have been a devoted fan since. “My name is Lucy Barton” is a trilogy- and anything is possible is #2. loved lucy barton too.

#9: A state of wonder- Ann Patchett.

Reminded me of Josef Conrad’s “Heart of darkness”. but with a female heroine.

#10: The Thursday murder club: Richard Osman.

Witty, entertaining, wonderful caricatures.

Of course, there are more- July Otsuka ( “the swimmers”, “when the emperor was divine” ), Ruth Ozeki, Ami Tan, Chekov, Kafka, and Frederic Backman (“anxious people” and “A man called Ove”).

You can see this is an eclectic list- that s probably an understatement-but this is me. a good book in my opinion is a book I find hard to let go of- I truly want to know what happens next, I care about the characters, and forget where I am.

Love books.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Look at it from a different angle.

A month ago I was washing dishes at my kitchen sink when I realized my eyes were closed.

The sun was directly in my pupils.

The thing is- we have a huge tree that shades most of our garden most of the summer, but this year it was shedding its flowers and not yet blooming for the whole month of May.

The result was apparent- or -not so apparent- when washing dishes.

I immediately thought of putting back the short curtains I had hanging there before- but they didn’t really solve the problem, so I decided that before rushing to the Amazon site, I would check the garden shed, where my partner keeps all kinds of things that aren’t immediately needed at home (small house . told you).

Truthfully- he would have happily stored everything at home, but I vetoed that saying I can’t find anything at home when everything is crammed and stuffed in the closet.

It wasn’t easy- but I won, after several instances when he was sure something was gone and I found it after a minute search. case proven.

Anyway- I went to the shed and found a closed set of IKEA curtains I didn’t even remember were there- bought about 18 years ago- when buying our house.

Now I am well aware that people tend to snob Ikea and say it’s cheap for a reason- but I totally disagree.

*I have nothing going on with Ikea, no affiliated nothings, not related to anyone there- I don’t even know anyone from Sweden. (sadly by the way.I did like ABBA as a teenager if it counts as a connection then I disclosed it).

All the furniture we bought at Ikea 18 years ago stands still and looks and functions great, so I will not board the snob train.

No shame in my opinion in getting simple clean structured furniture that also gives a bang for your buck, and since it isn’t that heavy on the purse, it’s OK to paint and repaint it and accommodate it to your changing needs.

Which is exactly what we did.

The curtains were plain creme colored, and had a special seam for inserting the curtain pole, which is fine- but the curtains were too long for our living room. see below: the curtains on the left- as opposed to the curtains on the right side.

Action had to be taken, so I bravely suggested sewing all of them by hand to accommodate the curtains to the sofas, but my partner had another idea.

He looked at the bottom of the curtains and noticed there was no seam there- probably to accommodate exactly our situation (the need to shorten the length and thus sew another seam), and suggested turning the curtains upside down, and that instead of sewing 4 large curtains- I will sew only 3 strategic points in every curtain- since the weight of the curtains will pull them down anyway- and the pretty seam will be apparent- while the no-seam will be transparent-since the upper hem of the curtain will be folded inwards-to make a new and wide curtain pole.

I know this may sound confusing- so I drew a picture of the scheme.

The point was to turn the intended curtain upside down and use the designed seam to our advantage.

But what about the kitchen you ask?

Oh- the kitchen got the previous curtains from the living room- folded in the middle- and sewed in 5 places as well- because these curtains were turned upside down too- I just folded and sewed the hem in a few strategic places, and now we have a double-layered curtain in the kitchen and “new” curtains in the living room- for 0$$ -because of the Ikea curtains form 18 years ago.

Lessons I learned?

  1. Sometimes you need to look at things upside down, out of your Matrix.

2. Although I am a minimalist- saving the curtain pack was a good idea- because it takes little to no space( neatly packed tight) and they were in good shape. I refuse to recommend saving old and non-functioning bits and pieces that “you might need one day”. sure you might need it- but even if you do find it -it won’t be useful anyway.

3. trees grow their leaves really fast. now the shade blocks the sun anyway.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Why did I let go of my motorcycle dream?

3 years ago I bought myself this beautiful motorcycle as an early retirement gift.

I know, flashy, and not exactly frugal. but I reasoned myself that the costs of maintaining a 2-wheel drive are considerably lower than those of a 4-wheel drive.

That, apparently- was only half true.

Apparently, my small 125 Honda PCX insurance cost the same as my Mazda CX5 regardless of the enormous difference in initial cost between the 2.

The reason became apparent after a short while on the road.

Nobody sees you when you are on a small 2-wheel drive.

This means that cars race by you regardless of the fact that you earned your place on the road as much as they did. (assuming being a taxpayer+driving a metal thing with an engine reserve you the same right to use the road as anyone else).

The car drivers seem to believe that since I wasn’t driving above the speed limit ( both because I am a law-abiding citizen but also (OK-mainly) because my 2-wheel drive wasn’t up for more than the limit) I need to clear out of their hurrying way, and drive mainly on the right shoulder, or as close as I can to it.

The thing is- for some strange reason- the right shoulder is almost always the side with the road bumps, the holes, the cracks, and whatnot.

Car drivers usually don’t notice these obstacles, but when you are on a 2wheeler, you absolutely do.

Because you fly high and land back on every bump, and that’s actually the best-case scenario.

Then came winter- the roads were slippery, which was bad enough, but the bumps were covered in water- there was no way to be warned of one and at the stop lights. the little droplets of oil from standing cars, were surfaces once the rain came.

The combination of oil and water is a no-go- so I gathered when I fell off my 2 wheels once the light turned green and I started driving. or didn’t- more swirled on the road, luckily no truck was passing by, because then you would have read someone else’s blog. which is a pity.

Speaking of passing trucks.

There is a BIG difference between seeing one roaming towards you when you are in your little compartment of a 4-wheeler- and totally exposed on a 2-wheeler.

Add to that people’s tendency to forget to turn on the signal every time they make a turn, a tendency that eventually lead me to simply stop at almost every junction just to make sure no one was going to surprise me by taking it without notice-

You get the picture.

The fun free ride became tedious and caused me huge amounts of anxiety instead of elation.

I hesitated before deciding to let go because I didn’t like quitting. and because I already paid for the motorcycle, inertia, ego, and plain stubbornness.

But then something nice happened.

The guy who came to buy it from me was so nice and appreciated the motorcycle and the great shape I kept it, so I gave him all my equipment too- a costly helmet, 2 Dainese coats (not sponsored, just come on- Italian design- really they know their way +the necessary safety pads). gloves, a cover, and the lock I used.

The sale went smoothly and reassured me I did the right thing to let go.

Sometimes it’s OK to give up. to let go, someone else will do it. will enjoy it. just not me. I’ll go back to my car and listen to audiobooks on the way to the pool.

But every time I see someone on a motorcycle- I slow down and try to make them feel safe riding next to me.

Lessons learned the hard way.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Family gatherings V. diet!?!

Ok, so since you already know I tell you quite a lot of unflattering stuff about myself (though admittedly not everything- no need for you to feel superior), the following incident didn’t make me proud but did teach me an important lesson- so here it is:

A few years ago, my sister got divorced (amicably– that’s the most important thing to remember about divorce in my opinion-remembering the bigger picture at stake, leaving ego behind especially if you have kids! *not a marriage counselor or anything of the sort).

Anyway- she came to a holiday dinner at our house with her boyfriend. (seems funny to call people that when over 40 but they weren’t living together or anything so they weren’t partners-if you have a better word for it please comment).

Said boyfriend was a licensed dietitian (and- just so you get the full picture- very lean and handsome- this needs to be recognized- because jealousy probably accounted for much of what happened afterward) and everything was as usual during the first course (vichyssoise- french leek and potato soup – I was trying to be fancy- it was a few years back- don’t do that anymore), but when the main course was served (beef my mother brought with all kinds of sides-again going fancy then)- the guy took out a small tight lid container and put a slice of baked salmon on his plate- and started to eat it.

Everybody stopped talking and eating and just stared at him in disbelief.

I mean- this was the first time we met him, and nothing prepared us for the salmon appearance on his plate.

We got back to usual a while later, but wow the jokes told behind the poor guy’s back were vicious.

I mean reminiscing the “salmon situation” at e v e r y family gathering after, and adding a cruel joke about any other odd situations the guy encountered- he seemed to have chipped a tooth chewing on a carrot, threw up on a merry go round, cried on various occasions- I mean we were mean. the only thing I can say in our defense was that it was never when either he or my sister were there.

The thing is-

I am well aware he had every right to eat whatever he wanted, and since he evidently followed a rigid diet- to not have our family gathering compromise it.

I understand this because I am exactly like that.

Told you I wasn’t proud of myself.

I believe in respecting other people’s food and diet choices – because I believe my choices should be respected as well.

So what happened there? why did we make such fun of the guy (albeit only behind his (lean) back?

I am not proud to admit I think we were just plain jealous of the guy- not only for being so dedicated to his profession (+looking that way ) but also for having the freedom to just do whatever he wanted, regardless of what we may (why may? did in fact) think of him.

Looking back on the incident- I am sorry for being so small and envious because now I definitely expect everyone to be accepting of my “strange” eating habits.

I’ve been vegan for almost 9 years now, I don’t eat deep-fried food or anything else that strikes me as unhealthy- and to top all that- I practice intermittent fasting for up to 20 hours each day- leaving me with a 4-hour eating window- which is very convenient on a routine daily basis- but not as easy going when family gatherings are concerned…..

I tried to think of ways to tackle this obstacle- for any of you who might face this situation from time to time (us introverts perhaps less frequently but family is family-and the inconvenience is even more present IMO when parents are concerned) and I think perhaps these 3 tips might help:

#1: Make sure to be upfront about your food choices in advance:

Don’t expect everyone to remember your current diet restrictions/choices – apparently, people have other concerns too, which may sound strange -but alas is true. I believe it is more respectful to approach the entertaining person in advance- before he or she goes shopping for the meal and starts cooking it- and even before they start planning it- and tell them that you avoid whatever food or foods that you avoid, and doing it in a pleasant and polite way, is much better than to take out a container of your own food at the middle of dinner. you can ask the person cooking politely what is planned, and see if you can accommodate yourself in a way that won’t compromise your diet choices- but will enable you to participate with everyone else. if there’s nothing for you to eat- or only one dish and you love eating- then hop over to tip #2!

#2: Don’t expect everyone to comply with your every whim: bring a few dishes for everyone to share!

Perhaps you are the only vegan-no gluten- or no dairy in the family- I believe that expectations of elderly parents preparing a full range of dishes just for you- is a bit too much. why not bring a signature dish or two of your choice- that way not only can you enjoy dinner with everyone else- but they can taste your food too- perhaps enjoy it as well! I happen to believe in the “everybody brings a dish to dinner ” way as a rule- mainly because as parents grow older-they can’t handle cooking for big family gatherings, and even if they can- why should they? if everyone brings something- then everyone washes dishes and cleans up – the host can actually enjoy hosting and being a part of the conversation.

#3: Should everything else fails -just eat before.

If you practice intermittent fasting and the gathering happens to gather at an hour far from your eating window- just let the host know you will be enjoying everyone’s company but drinking herb tea only- and make sure they are not offended. explain that this way of eating is important to you and you don’t eat at these hours, but you love them very much and would very much enjoy their company -whilst not participating in the specific eating situation.

Hopefully being upfront about the situation in advance- thus saving the host the trouble and expenses of including you in their planned cooking and the fact that you will be as polite and loving about it as you can- will help make this as stressless as possible.

I personally don’t believe in making exceptions to a diet regime because of social pressure- be it family or friends, but I also don’t believe that being rude about it is the way to go.

Hope this helps anyone- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

“Oh, it’s OK-It’s only date sugar!”

Every now and then, life presents me with a conflict of sorts.

This time, it was my obvious overuse of date syrup.

“So sugar is off limits- everybody knows it’s not good for you, so I’ll just top everything with date syrup- if it’s made from dates, and it says “no added sugar”- then I should feel free to pour on, and on!”.

Well.

If there’s something I’ve learned in my almost 54 years around here- it’s that if something is too good to be true- it is too good to be true.

Date syrup is super sweet and adds a great flavor to all kinds of things- but it’s not “sugar-free” or “healthy” per se.

1 tbsp of date syrup is 60 calories, 13 grams of sugar, (that’s for the no added sugar kind!) but – it supplies potassium (154 mg for 1 tbsp) and magnesium (10 mg).

There I was- slashing that syrup on everything as if there’s no tomorrow- but then tomorrow did come, and I discovered that drowning everything I eat in date syrup isn’t the best idea at almost 54. because my body isn’t as forgiving as it used to be.

So- no way to stop using it altogether- what I decided to do was slow the process: meaning- put a lid on it. meaning: pour the syrup from a squeeze bottle instead of from the generous mason jar.

Like that.

I know it’s plastic- but it’s totally re-usable- and the mason jar was put to good use- holding dry bulgur.

Now- you may wonder what the big deal is- and the answer is- it’s a known kitchen fact that you can always pour something narrow to something wide- but you cannot do the opposite.

Meaning- pouring the syrup from the wide-open mason jar to the narrow squeeze bottle was quite a challenge- until!!

Until I understood I was going about it the wrong way!

I tried to keep the syrup from spilling all over the place by attaching the jar and the bottle- when actually- the secret is to pour from higher and further.

Remember to do all this kind of potentially messy stuff over the sink– and not over wooden countertops (I am taking the 5th here……………………) and the trick is to hold the bottle in one hand as low as you can considering the sink- and the mason jar- at least 20 centimeters higher! yes- higher- the trick is that pouring from above thins the syrup and slows the pour, thus enabling you to complete the task mess-free in a matter of 30 seconds.

The same goes for my tahini dressing. I bought the tahini in the squeeze bottle once – and now it is destined to function as the “tahini dressing squeeze bottle forever.

Why not just buy the squeeze bottle every time and not bother with the over-the-sink effective high to low pouring technique?

Because– those squeeze bottles are still plastic+they cost more than 25% more than their mason jar equivalent. so not environmental nor frugal.

Having said all that- I do miss those happy times of topping everything with a ton of date syrup.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Who forgot the red lentils??

“Despite a reputation for being slow, giant tortoises from the Galapagos and Seychelles Islands demonstrate remarkable memory skills over time, according to the results of a new study. The massive reptiles are not only capable of learning new tasks quickly, but can remember their training nearly a decade later, researchers say.“( this excerpt is from “psychology today” and here is the link to the full article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-minds/201912/giant-turtles-have-surprisingly-strong-memories

My daughter visited friends who happen to host “charlotte” the giant turtle in their backyard. I haven’t seen a turtle for quite some time, I wonder where they all went.

The thing is- charlotte and her great memory probably wouldn’t have forgotten she had a container full of red lentils waiting for someone to do something with them.

Why is that , you may ask?

Well- because the only thing I know how to make with red lentils is red lentil stew, and it’s summer here so stew isn’t exactly the go-to dish.

But!!!

Salads are definitely the IT thing now, the greener the better, so here’s what I did to use those red healthy nutritious tiny things, that is a great source op protein ( 24 grams for 100 grams of raw red lentils!!! that’s more than 100 grams of raw red meat! *cooked red meat contains 28 grams of protein -so not a lot more- and for a fraction of the price. )

I soaked a cup of raw red lentils in hot water for 10 minutes, then stir-fried them in a nonstick skillet with just a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper, tossed and turned it around on the skillet- they tend to cluster for some reason- don’t let them. add some boiling water -say half a cup- and keep stirring until tender but not too tender! be firm with them, although they are tiny, they need to understand the values of standing on their own. when I finish tossing them about and they are nice and tender-firm, I divide them to portion size containers and tuck them in my freezer for next time, except for 1 portion- which I add to my green salad, drizzle tahini sauce and lemon, some salt- and life is great.

voila

the great advantage of red lentils- in my experience- is that they are easier to digest than other legumes, plus- they are colorful and cute and nutritious and super cheap so why wait??

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Walk the talk.

So, a few months ago my partner retired (early) and joined my blissful early retirement.

Blissful until he joined. I mean.

I’ve heard of couples enjoying every minute of their mutual retirement, I’ve read their stories (albeit not many of them, sorry- all that perfect sticky theme gets on my nerves). “we travel all the time to exotic places!”. “when we return home- we cook together ambitious pretentious meals!””when we finish we cuddle and exploit the fact that the kids are grown and rekindle our lust!”. Oh, come on. just give me a break. either you’re lying or you have no clue what’s really going on in your life, or you happen to be a true unicorn. (if you’re the latter- congratulation!).

OK, I realize how bitter and jealous I sound, but I happen to believe my sarcastic point of view was well earned by almost 54 years of reading books and observing people- almost 30 of these years spent going through thousands of criminal files- revealing a totally different story than the immediate surroundings thought they knew.

Of course- I could be wrong, and everybody- except me- is spending early retirement constantly holding hands with their significant other, but then again- maybe I’m right.

I think people should know that early retirement is a huge decision to make- and take into consideration being joined by their partner, thus changing the situation.

What’s the big deal you wonder?

Well- I had the house for myself for 3 years- from morning till the afternoon- I didn’t throw wild deep purple style parties but I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and where I wanted, without being considerate of anyone else.

I have 3 kids and went to work for more than 30 years -until my early retirement at 50.

I never ever had the house for myself- there was always someone there- someone I needed to take care of. or be considerate of. or just there.

Suddenly- at 50- everything was quiet.

Heaven.

I listened to my classical music radio station on my speakers, at whatever volume I felt like, I cooked whatever-whenever- cleaned, napped- read- just did whatever I wanted.

For 3 years.

now my partner joined me, and he and I are 2 super opinionated strong-headed people, who used to be bosses at work- and now can’t decide who’s the boss.

In case you’re thinking “but why does there have to be a boss? you’re both retired! enjoy each other’s company!”

No.way.

Told you- 2 very opinionated independent people, used to doing things by themselves -(until now we split the house chores to get them done with work and kids and things)- but now? we both have all that free time!

I hate quarreling, and I especially detest quarreling at home, where your neighbors can get a taste of other people’s fun right outside their window.

So we found a way- and since yours truly is here for you- I will share the useful method of “how not to lose your mind in mutual early retirement”.

Go for a walk.

No no no- not alone “to get some air” –together.

Not a few minutes –an hour at least.

Not once a month- every day.

Not close to your house- try to go as far as can –on foot.

Why?

Because then you can talk everything out. and quarrel if you need/want to. shout at each other- that happens too at our house. not proud of it- and it doesn’t happen all the time- but it does happen, and I admit at first I was intimidated by it- but then I realized how cathartic a short session of letting go can be, then again- not near the neighbors- hence the long walk.

I am most certainly no expert on relationships- all I know is that after more than 20 years together- adding the 2 type A personalities that we are- territorial fights seem inevitable.

Again- this is my experience– if you and your partner of more than 20 years just hold hands all the time- enjoy.

But- if you’re experiencing constant quarrels that resemble what I wrote above- try my method and go for a walk, so you can talk the talk.

If it doesn’t help- consult with a professional.

I just have such a huge ego that I believe I can try and fix everything on my own.

The thing is- don’t get intimidated by the fights and quarrels- just keep walking- talk about the issue itself- or about how this makes you feel- or about both- but let it out, don’t hold back- if you have a beach or a trail close by- that’s great- nobody will think “oh that couple is having a quarrel! ” (as if they never have lots of them-or worst- suppress their true feelings in a passive-aggressive way).

I need to say that I am talking about walking and talking- not anything physical or abusive or degrading that’s a red flag for me– I mean the regular “your mother-my mother ” “I did you didn’t” kind of issues, that in my experience- happen to be a part of living with another person for more than 20 years. and can really turn my day around.

At least you get some exercise in.

The cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Minimalist vegan entertaining?

I already told you -about 90000000 times- what a stellar introvert I am.

I love staying at home, don’t mind being alone, and to sum this up I get anxious when I need to entertain people at home.

You might be asking yourself: “well then why should I listen to anything you have to say concerning entertaining???”

The answer is- because if you happen to be anything like me and the mere thought of having 5 or even 3 (ok- couple) of friends over gets your heart racing – then simple and focused entertainment is the only way to go.

And I happen to be available to tell you all about my tricks in the vegan department- not that I’m anywhere close to the Martha Stewart style- on the contrary- I keep everything simple and deliberately do not try and go overboard with the food and the plates- mainly because our house is small and I don’t own any “fancy” stuff, and I don’t have any wine glasses since no one at the household drinks alcohol anymore (I stopped a few years back -here is a link to my previous post on the subject- How I improved my blood works results).

So that’s the first “problem” I have- I don’t have alcohol at home so I don’t serve any- but my (2)friends know that and bring a bottle of wine they finish while here and everybody is happy.

Why is that a “problem”? because alcohol is usually #1 on the host’s list of “must serve so everybody will be smiling”, which means that if you have no issues with alcohol- and your guests don’t either- enjoy yourselves-and if you or one of your friends are avoiding any kind of alcohol fear not – I’ve got you covered.

Why vegan entertaining?

Well because if you happen to be vegan that’s probably your comfort zone, and even if not all your friends are- veganism is “a thing” now- so people like to “get the vegan experience” and “see what the hype is about”, plus it’s cheaper than the alternatives, easier to make and more environmental. If you’re not vegan-then why not learn a trick or two that might come in handy if and when you get a vegan friend? also, it’s healthy, nutritious, and cheap food so what’s the harm? no harm.

Tip #1: oh the mighty freshly baked bread!

People love freshly baked bread, so unless you happen to have no carbs no gluten guests- here is a link to a previous post where I tell you how I conquered the sourdough monster. The sourdough starter monster.

What to put next to it?? well- vegan butter is an option, olive oil too, pesto, tahini, and hummus are great just add some cut veggies on the side, and if you happen to have any olives- great!

Here are 2 links- to my tahini and hummus tricks:The tahini trick .+ The Hummus secrets!

#2: Soup- or salad?

if it’s autumn- or better yet- full-on winter- then one hearty soup or stew is all you need to entertain- especially if you happen to have the bread mentioned above to go along.

What kind of soup?? veggie soup, lentil soup, bean stew, you can even go wild and add a vegan sausage to the stew, and the whole stew will taste “heartier”, pea soup, corn chowder- whatever. can never go wrong with a freshly made soup when it’s chilly outside, it messes only one pot, and it’s super filling and nutritious.

Here are links to a post about your options: “Stone soup” 5 ways!+The perfect pea protein!

Summer? go salads, one big salad with a lot of fresh greens -and cooked stir-fried beans or lentils- can satisfy anyone -if accompanied by #3.

#3: Antipasti!

the Italians know what’s there to know about food- so they invented the ultimate dish- a variety of veggies cooked in the oven and drizzled with olive oil and some salt.

To shorten the baking time and save a little on the oil front: boil the potatoes before baking. they come out tender and yummy. add condiments- and serve next to the big salad with legumes- with a side of tahini from the first course. because tahini is yummy and healthy and goes great with salads and antipasti in my opinion.

#4: dessert: banana ice cream -with whatever you like!

People usually can’t believe this is vegan- because if your frozen bananas are ripe enough- they turn into a sweet creamy yummy texture that goes with just about anything you like: ground coffee, (coffee flavor) cocoa powder (chocolate flavor), frozen berries- wow, nuts, dates, coconut- add a little lemon peel or ginger- already upgraded.

#5: tea and a little something.

Yes- even in the summer- people seem to enjoy finishing their meal with green tea – I have herbs in my garden- they are easy to grow but also easy and cheap to buy. put these Medjool dates’ oranges and walnuts- and you are settled. in summer- summer fruit- grapes, apricots, etc.

What to serve instead of alcohol? I serve soda water with ice and lemon. that’s what I have and although I don’t mind my friends bringing over their wine and having it while we eat- I’d instead not buy and stock alcohol at the house. I remember my drinking times too fondly to be absolutely immune to it, and I know that in my case- moderation is a fiction not a reality.

The important thing I try to remember each time is that anxiety won’t get me anywhere, and my family and friends would probably rather have me relaxed and attentive- with simple food, rather than stressed and upset- with supposedly fancy food. (which I have no clue how to make anyway so).

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.