Time to pair up!

I have enough (too much?) time to wonder why pears don’t enjoy the great PR apples do.

Oh wait- before I start persuading you to occasionally switch between the 2, need I remind anyone that I am under no circumstances a registered dietitian or anything of the sort?

Pears are in season now , as apples are, and although they are as nutritious, and as tasty, they somehow get shoved aside, and you never hear anyone say :”a pear a day keeps medicare away”.

All those great apple pies, apple sauces, stews, etc.

And sad little pears? ??

(I do have too much time. this childish talk was never my style. I actually detest it when people do that).

Any way- before writing this, I checked the numbers, to make sure I shall not be misleading any of you on this super important topic:

So- 100 grams of pears contain:

57 calories, 0 fat, 15 grams carbs,116 potassium, 3.1 grams fiber, 0.4 protein, 25 milligrams vitamin A, 7 mill magnesium, 10 grams of sugar and 4.2 milligrams vitamin C.

Whereas- apples- again- those 100 grams, contain:

52 calories, 0 fat, 107 potassium, 14 grams carbs, 2.4 fiber, 0.3 grams protein, 54 mil vitamin A, 4.6 mil vitamin C, 5 mil magnesium, 10 grams sugar.

As you can see-

pears are almost identical to apples in major departments- such as calories, fat, sugar, and vitamins.

Apples have less (!) fiber and a little less potassium, and still- are considered the healthiest fruit alive.

Now- don’t get me wrong- I lovvvvvvvvveeeeee apples!

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But-

I do not like injustice!

So-

Since pears are in season here- thus being nice and sweet (and cheap- makes them even sweeter), I do my best to incorporate them into my meals.

How?

Well, my friends, like so:

1.I swap the apples in my apple sauce- for pears( try it- tastes great!).

2.I add them to my smoothy instead of frozen fruit.

3.I planned on baking vegan cakes with them , but decided not to-because why would I work for an hour on a cake that has flour and oil and sugar in it, when I can take a pear and simply eat it ????

And don’t forget doing those wretched dishes too.

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This here is an “asian pear” that looks- and tastes -like a combination of apples and pears.

Amazing.

The nutritious benefits of pears are obvious-the low calorie+ high fiber +nice vitamin count+sweet taste- make them a win win win in my opinion.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Yummy healthy post workout breakfast!!

Autumn is here, finally.

Love this short, sweet season.

I guess everybody does, I mean what’s not to like about fair weather, falling leaves, the promise of a cozy winter (things always look better when expecting them- also see- trips abroad: a dream before- many times a disaster during, a dream in retrospect. that’s the beauty of the human brain).

Any way-

I decided it’s time to switch from my banana smoothy/ice cream , to a more heartwarming comforting satiating filling dish.

Before boasting on the super recipe I am about to distribute here (my own invention people!) might I remind you for the 20,000 time that I am no registered dietitian or health anything, just your simple retired lawyer+health enthusiast+vegan looking for better ways to implement plant based protein to my diet.

Back to my wonder recipe:

oatmeal (more) protein porridge, complete with lots of protein (goes without saying), vitamins, minerals and a super satiating feeling.

The best thing is that it is a hassle free meal, that you can make at work too, and requires a minimal amount of dishes to wash!

*I really cannot understand those cooking shows where you see the cooks using a separate bowl for every ingredient, and stirring different pans -that end in the same dish anyway.

I bet they don’t get near the sink, that’s why .

But we do.

So no extravagant bowls and pans and cooking utensils for me , thank you very much.

Minimalism at its best.

Ingredients:for 1 serving :

2 Tbsp ground oats -as in oatmeal.(I grind them with my hand mixer /Vitamix)

2 Tbsp ground /thin bulgur ( if you don’t have bulgur , don’t like bulgur, are allergic to it or if it costs more than 2$ a kilo (this is a great value for money food staple at our house hold ), then swap it for 2 more tbsp of ground oats. perfectly fine.

The reason I added the bulgur, was I was looking for a change, and wanted something filling. the bulgur is super satiating, believe me. and nutritious too: in 100 grams of dry bulgur, there are 357 calories, 76 carbs, 10.4 grams of protein, iron, manganese, and folate.

I admit bulgur contains less fiber than oatmeal (actually- considerably less- 100 grams of oatmeal holds 9 grams of fiber, where bulgur contains only 0.6 grams), but I really love the combination of the 2 , and I feel it is more satiating for me this way.

As usual- do whatever you want.

Here is a proper article on the benefits of bulgur, should you wish to broaden your horizons.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bulgur-wheat

*3:  1 tbsp ground flax seeds: ( I grind the flax seeds with my Vitamix, and freeze in a mason jar). 

*4: 1 tsp chia seeds. no need to explain why. super food etc. 

*5: 1 Tbsp vegan protein powder

*6: a dash of salt. yes, salt. salt . adds taste, believe me. porridge is an all time English breakfast favorite, and Jamie Oliver says a proper porridge is never complete without a dash of salt, so there you go. or as I used to say- “I rest my case”. 

*7: 1 Tbsp of home made date spread. 

What??

Yep. 

Should you need reminding of this 8th wonder , then here is a link to a previous post where I disclosed the well kept secret of making home made date spread. easy, healthy, yummy, nutritious. do it. 

Cheap thrills: 3 easy money-saving hacks for free!!

*8: 0.5 cup vegan protein yogurt. I am not going to recommend brands, since I have no idea what your stores keep. buy a brand you trust and like, and doesn’t cost too much. 

***The yogurt is a necessary side to the oat bowl, it doesn’t mix in with the rest of the ingredients!

As shown in picture: ( the small container to the left). a mix of yogurt and apple sauce. yummmmmm!)

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*9: speaking of apple sauce: 0.5 cup home made apple sauce!

Should you need a reminder -here is a link to my previous post babbling on the subject of home made apple sauce:   

Apple-sauce instead of what??

*10: a dash of freshly ground nutmeg.

Don’t give me that look!

You know very well I am far from being one of those fancy show offs that require strange ingredients for the sake of showing off.

The thing is, I am telling you– it does make a huuuuuuge difference.

I know it’s easier to buy ground nutmeg, but the smell and taste (ok, its aroma!) of the freshly ground one- wow.

If you have pumpkin spice- I would try it. we don’t have it here, so no pumpkin spice for me.

C’est tout!

Oh sorry- 1 cup of boiling water. perhaps a drizzle of soy milk, for good measure.

How to:

In the bowl you intend to eat in, put all ingredients aside from the yogurt and the apple sauce, mix well, microwave for another minute if you feel like it (though not necessary), and eat -alternating one spoon of porridge, with one spoon of yogurt+applesauce.

This is so good, I just know you will love it.

now to macros:( thank you Myfitness pal app! (no affiliated nothing here, just a simple thank you.)

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As you can see, the numbers are quite nice, the taste is great (sure, I know, to each his own, but some things are just, you know, a joy for every taste pallet ), easy to make, carry as dry goods in a jar to work (separate container for yogurt +apple sauce), just add boiling water , wait a minute, stir and be the center of attention cubicles around the world. 

Oh- and plant based too- did I mention that?

Enjoy- the cooliflower.  

Apple-sauce instead of what??

Apples are a favorite of mine.

I absolutely think fruit are nature’s fancy cakes, and I am risking being labeled as a douch/purist/hippie/all 3 together-and I don’t give a f%^&.

Because-

I am a true skeptic, and almost everything in life-in my opinion , is to be seriously doubted and double, if not triple-checked before implementing or believing.

Everything- except fruit.

Fruits are, well, you already know that, don’t you? the most nutritious, healthy, tasty, nurturing, sustainable, cheap(in season, in the long run and compared to other manufactured sweetened stuff, especially if you consider the significant cut in health care cost).

So?

So- this time I am celebrating the apple season (fall) , and urging you to consider the benefits of apples even during colder weather, when all you want  is something hot +savory. and sweet. 

Since, sadly, I don’t have an apple tree, I buy my apples, along with all my other groceries, on line. 

Now buying on line has many many benefits, especially these days, but it has its downfalls, and since I don’t hand pick my fruits, sometimes the apples come with a bump , that progresses as time progresses. plus- sometimes an apple that looks great from its exterior, is, alas, rotten on the interior. (don’t judge an apple by its cover etc). 

And sometimes people just don’t crave apples as much as they did a week ago-

Any way- there can be a number of reasons why you would have  a bunch of (very) ripe apples that need tending to- asap. 

I buy green apples in my supermarket, specifically for making apple sauce, since I simply love that thing. 

Apparently in my supermarket they cost 30% less than red apples, so win-win there. 

Of course- needless to say- if you have any access to an apple tree- or an apple tree owner, or family member- get going. 

Oh almost forgot the headline:

Apple sauce, among other great benefits -is a great substitute for oil in baking recipes!!

Check me out in case -for some strange reason- you need to check everything anyone tells you (in which case-good job! guess we have something in common).

Here is a link- https://www.asweetpeachef.com/substituting-applesauce-for-oil/

(just picked a site that agrees with me- pick another one just to make sure).

But that’s not all! (oh the excitement. )

Apple sauce is also considered a decent replacement for eggs

in vegan baking.

I have to admit, I usually replace eggs with the traditional “flax egg” thing: (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water, after 10-15 minutes it becomes quite smooth and does the job of incorporating and uniting dry goods, but-always up for more interesting options, especially if they add a nice apple’y taste.

If you don’t mind splashing oil around and bathing in eggs, you can still enjoy a good apple sauce, mind you. 

Because fall is around the corner, and, just for instance-  my preferred breakfast  changed from ice cream smoothies, to oat power bowls, with a side of  apple sauce and some vegan yogurt. 

But this seems to have been going on too long -so I’ll just tell you quickly how to get yourself a yummy frugal homemade healthy  apple sauce, and how to keep it on hand for baking purposes:

Simply peel a few apples, cut them, put in a pan, add a little bit of water- just until the apples get settled, a bit of cinnamon, (maybe nut meg?), a little bit of salt, and a few grains of sugar (if you went for the green apple-it’s a bit more sour) or- if you prefer -a pear instead of sugar (yes I mean that- try it!), or some home made date spread, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes on low. then mash it with a fork or don’t mash at all, and store in fridge -keeps a few days. 

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Now- should you want to use it for future baking- 

Then simply mash it up nicely with a hand mixer , and freeze in a silicone mold, then when it’s all frozen- move to bag. 

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For those who can’t see the justification for peeling a good apple out of its perfectly great nutritious skin (I really can’t understand that peeling thing. and it takes time too! what??) simply skip that part, let simmer and everything-but- there is a small catch here– if you want to use the apple sauce for baking, then use the almighty hand mixer ( mine is a Braun one, does a great job, I get nothing for saying that, which is sad, yet true. if you have any other king- use it, if you don’t have one- what??? it is a basic super frugal useful utensil, I use it every day and I mean every friggin day- at least twice daily!) and the result will be a smooth healthy great tasting apple sauce- peel included!

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Enjoy- the cooliflower. 

Why I keep asking myself “why?”

When I was “somewhat of a boss” at work. I attended a management course at the university.

They taught us all kinds of methods to engage workers in the work they are meant to do.

The work they get paid to do.

I know I sound old , but all the while I thought “why do we keep courting our workers and pulling amazing enthusiasm tricks on them and group counselling and stuff when at the end of the day, this is their job, they get paid for doing it, end of story?

Of course I was wrong.

I am well aware of that now.

I get it that people cannot do the same thing every day , even if they do get paid for it, without , at some point, getting super bored and un-happy.

I’m just not sure the instant you get promoted to be a (junior) manager, you automatically get magic powers of a well-being guru, leading your team to joyful happy content working days.

I know I was no guru- that’s for sure.

Any way- that’s completely off point, as usual.

The point was supposed to be, that one management class, while trying not to dose off (told you I wasn’t cut to be a junior boss) the lecturer was telling us about the benefits of repeatedly asking “why”.

It didn’t really sink in at the time, for various reasons , most of them having to do with the fact I was trying to climb the career ladder, while keeping up appearance at home too. (not sure which was more of a disaster, long story short it’s a good idea I retired a few years later).

When I retired, I suddenly had ( have, I still have) a lot of time to contemplate things.

Not that I like contemplating things.

On the contrary.

I’d much rather read a book, cook, (eat- naturally), or work out. I’d rather clean than contemplate.

But, things started coming up and dragging me to think about them.

Freedom is dangerous, no wonder people fear freedom, and hesitate whether to retire early or not.

For a while I didn’t sit to meditate, falsely thinking I am in no need to sit since I am mainly alone and have tons of free time to “be” any way.

That proved to be wrong too-

The mere fact that I retired early didn’t necessarily mean I figured it all out.

I didn’t find “NIBANA” (AKA “nirvana”).

Nevermind.

There you go- work isn’t to blame for everything that went wrong on your path to tranquility. (or- more properly -equanimity).

At least for me .

So I started sitting (as in meditation) again, but the swirl of thoughts wouldn’t stop.

So I decided I am going to defy all ruled of meditation, and instead of only observing the thoughts that seem to hurry and invade my quiet peaceful mind as soon as I sit to meditate-

just go on-

And face them.

Confront those thoughts directly , and ask “why?”

It goes something like this-

“me: sitting”

“thought #1: “I keep feeling uneasy every time I talk to my mother on the phone.”

“me:”why?”

“thought: because I keep saying the wrong thing, or thinking I said- or am going to say- the wrong thing”.

“me:why?”

“thought:because our relationship is complicated”.

“me:why?”

“thought: oh, its been like that forever. nothing new”

“me: why?”

” thought: ….”

(I’m still on it, still have a long way to go).

As you can see, the distance between a seemingly innocent question and matters of hardcore being and childhood Freudian messes- is merely a matter of asking 4 times “why”.

The difference , and it’s a huge difference mind you- is that you ask the “why” in a quiet (hopefully relaxed) state of mind, as you are in a meditating position, (though not properly meditating).

This has helped me tackle some of the most frightening “why’s” -though, I seem to have no shortage of overwhelming disturbing disturbances to keep me going for a long time.

Any way- I seem to have a lot to work on.

The only thing I can say is-be gentle with yourselves.

Kind may be a better word.

The cooliflower.

Perfectionist? sorry- absolutely not.

Last week we were watching some cooking show, and this lady couldn’t finish her dish because she was so meticulous. she couldn’t let anything go. she had to understand every little detail, check and double check all the ingredients, the dish had to come out perfect -or it was a disaster , all in all- the stress was pouring out of her all through the hour.

I personally thought it was hard to watch.

My partner -on the other hand- was very sympathetic.

The reason being- as opposed to yours truly- he is definitely a perferctionist.

He never leaves the house unless he checks, double checks, and checks for the third time- the oven, the keys, the destination, for at least 10-15 minutes.

He sits down in his car-ready to go -and then starts checking if his seat is in the exact same place it was yesterday afternoon when he parked the car.

mind you that change is highly unlikely-since he is the only one using this car- unless an alien decided to visit us earthlings, open his car- of all cars in this universe- and -of all things that alien could do with his time- fool around with my partner’s car seat.

I’m not saying this scenario is totally impossible. things happen.

Then he checks if he put his water bottle in the exact same place he put it yesterday- and the day before, if the mirrors decided to take initiative and move around when everybody is sleeping, etc.

When he decides to do a wood project- he is tremendously talented and almost everything at our house was handmade by him- it takes at least a day of pre-designing, a day of measuring, another day of adjusting the previous design to the accurate measurements, another day to get the exact supplies needed, another day of rest before starting the job- and half a day of actually doing it- since-as I said before- he really is talented.

These are just examples- there are more.

On the other side of the tiny house- there’s me.

I start a project- gardening, cleaning, cooking- at the exact moment the idea pops into my head.

I get up and get going- not checking if I have the exact ingredients ( I am not talking basic stuff- but exact condiments and garnishes. well maybe some basic stuff substitution will happen too- you never know..)

I love cooking, and gardening, and most of the time I like cleaning too- and I refuse to turn any of them into a tedious meticulous chore.

For years the debate at our house was which method is more efficient:

The steady- detail respecting -perfection fan -will last forever version-

or the quick fix -let’s tackle problems as we go along -the important thing is to be done and enjoy the result even if it’s not perfect version. 

turns out there was no real reason to climb so high up that argument tree.

(can you spot our white cat up there? I gave him a big applause for this trick. he was oblivious).

When my partner and I paused the cooking show to discuss my reaction to the cook’s inability to complete the task because of her need to be perfect, he asked me outfront what exactly was bothering me.

“I can’t stand it when people act as if perfectionism is a good thing” I replied. “It got to the point where your’e supposed to list it as your one and only “flaw” in work interviews, knowing darn well that not only is it not a flaw, but actually a virtue in the eyes of interviewers”.

“so?”

“so what is the point of that obsessiveness anyway? everything is temporary, nothing lasts forever, and the attempt to make anything perfect troubles me from the philosophical point of view”.

“really?wow”.

“Yes, wow”

silence. each contemplating his/her actions”.

“you know” he said, “I am a perfectionist too, and I can tell you that for me personally, it’s no virtue, but a real burden”.

“?”(me- still have’t found a ladder to climb down that high tree of righteous “philosophical” anger I developed).

“yep. the time I spend checking and re-checking every move I made, every plan I make- you really think I don’t understand that 80% of it is fruitless? I simply can’t help it. If I don’t double check and triple prepare- I can’t go on with a project. for me it’s kind of an OCD thing almost. not a leisurely pamper of a spoiled “I have the right to be perfect and I will exercise my right here and now at everyone’s expense”, but more “I have a problem and I am trying my best to learn how to cope with it”.

“oh”

ladder wood blackandwhite old
Photo by Khimish Sharma on Pexels.com

“actually”, I said- once safely on solid ground, “maybe this is simple envy I am experiencing…maybe the thought of people actually having the ability , patience and skills to make something absolutely perfect, simply makes me feel inferior, with my “oh I finished that chore 2 weeks ago, procrastination?? you kidding me??done is my middle name!” and so on” .

“maybe”, he said. “you can be happy with what you are, and not get upset with other people’s traits?”

“………..”

“But what will I do with all the free time I will have, if I stop judging and criticizing other people?????

“………..”

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

The day we had a power cut.

So a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, in the middle of the day, a super hot and humid day might I add, everything stopped.

No lights, AC, computers, and the internet -shut down.

Apparently, there was a fire close by, which caused our life to rewind to the ’50s in a split second.

At first, I just sat there, dumbfounded by reality.

When just sitting there became a hazard, since it was so hot I almost got stuck to my chair, I got up- and started pacing back and forth around my (small) house.

That didn’t get me very far (literally), so I sat down again.

I started feeling sorry for myself 3 minutes into the situation, that got me through another 6 minutes of good solid self pitying.

“why now? why not in the middle of the night? who cares if there’s a power cut in the middle of the night? or in wintertime- I would be slouched in front of the fire anyway, but in August??? its probably over 100 degrees, I need to check this out-oh right. no internet. feels like 200 degrees anyway. maybe the ceiling fan. no. they need electricity too- although they had them in the 50s..its so hot inside, maybe it will be cooler outside? hell no, its over 300 outside in the sun. how long is this going to last? is all my food going to defrost? maybe I should eat it all right away so it doesn’t go to waste? but how will I heat it? this is crazy”

This internal ramble could go on for hours if it weren’t for something amazing happening at that moment.

I froze.

A door opened -and from that door- my youngest son appeared. 

He is almost 16, and I haven’t seen him since summer vacation began at the middle of June.

He was home all the time, and so was I- I just haven’t seen him.

He wakes up almost at noon, eats something, and goes back to his cave.

If you are one of those educational lecturers on the topic of “too much internet is hazardous to the brain of teenagers” , I have 3 things to say:

#1: I am not absolutely positive they even have a brain.

#2: he is my third child- I tried this BS of limiting tv time and computer time and all that.

Come on.

Who are we kidding?

#3: I have no idea how this happened, but this kid turned out even more of an  introvert than me , and that’s saying a lot.

Maybe its because his dad’s an introvert too- so 100/100, whereas my mother is a total extrovert, and COVID 19  is giving her the creeps since she misses seeing people. (!)

So if anyone feels like lecturing – go find someone else to lecture to. and good luck with that.

So this son of mine emerges from his room, looking bewildered, and suddenly opens his mouth and says something.

I don’t think I heard his voice since the middle of June, so I was startled.

He looked taller too.

And skinnier, while we’re on the subject.

He said:” there’s no internet”.

Wow.

So profound.

You can clearly see no damage was done to any of his faculties.

I contemplated my response, then just nodded .

At that point he was still optimistic that the power will return shortly, so he just said “what’s for lunch?”

But after I called the electricity company, and heard that they estimated no power until 1 am- he became grim.

He had no idea what to do with himself.

I suggested he read a book- he just looked at me with a look that could mean so many things- none of them good- so I just pretended  I was joking.

Meanwhile, it was so hot inside, things were really becoming unbearable.

If we only had those ceiling fans.

We got through lunch lighting the stove with matches (!) , and found out (the hard way) that in hot and humid temperatures, it’s a good idea to take multiple quick cold showers to cool you off a bit.

When evening finally came, I marveled at books I downloaded to my iPad (yay free digital library!) and was quite content with the peace and quiet that suddenly surrounded us.

My son, on the other hand, was still upset, and even the fact that power was back by dinnertime didn’t help- because the internet wasn’t due to be back until the next day.

My partner took a chance and suggested he watch a classic movie with him- one he had recorded ages ago.

The teenager reluctantly agreed, having no other means of entertainment available.

They ended up having a great time watching that mentioned “classic”: “Rocky 3”- if anyone is interested. I have no idea whether this is really a classic like my partner claims, I thought all those bloodshot eyes and raw egg drinking was quite enough for me so stopped after Rocky 1. I still think shouting “Adrian we did it ” is a classic so if I get a chance- I will definitely do that, and I don’t care what people think of me.

Alas- bonding was nice but didn’t last for long- the next day the internet was back, and since then I haven’t seen my son except for those “what’s for lunch” exits.

Still- it was nice while it lasted.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

The cheapest “renovation” ever!

2 cans of paint ( 2 shades of blue)

20 door knobs (ceramic multi colored -from Amazon)

Cest tout. 

Before-

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After-

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A

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A great trick for lazy bums that the mere thought of taping endless duct tape and spreading old sheets all over the place (which, of course-is the right way to do it, mind you!) makes them wave the whole project off:(I discovered personal experience can benefit you in the lazy area!)

Magic sponge!

I have no shares or affiliated anything here- on the contrary- I bought mine in a 100 piece bulk on eBay, some generic who knows what it’s name is brand.

Before getting all excited here-

Do not use it on: hardwood floors, non stick pans, and generally- when you are not sure how a certain surface will react.

Other than that? simply soak in water, add a few tiny drops of dish soap (that magic frugal cleaning agent, can’t beat it) squeeze those excess water out, and keep close when painting.

I mean really close by. reachable .

It cleans walls-and saves you from having to repaint every 6 months -simply “wash” the walls using the same method as before (soaked sponge, few drops etc).

Dont go wild on the scrubbing though- it looks soft and innocent- but has a kind of scraping quality- hence the great job cleaning surfaces.

I also use it to scrub tubs, kitchen counter, fridge, you get the point. it is basically re-usable- unless you went over board with the elbow grease- in that case the sponge will diminish until total disappearance.

I love the idea of fresh paint-as a way to bring color and quick change of atmosphere into your home.

Sometimes we need change.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Criticism- can’t take it.

I know, I’m a grown up.

I’m 52 to be exact.

That’s a fully grown up.

Actually , soon I might be entering the “growing down ” phase, that’s how much of grown up I am.

And yet-

I resent any kind of criticism -about me or my kids.

Not other people- don’t be funny now.

Criticizing other people is a hobby of mine.

I am not proud of myself, don’t get me wrong.

Quite the opposite.

I tell myself that this trait is a direct result of my upbringing.

Growing up, I was constantly compared to others- grades, popularity (……..whereas grades were easy to get- friends? well, told you already, introvert….though not knowing what an introvert even meant back then , I preferred going to the library by myself over any other social activity, especially those horrible parties. wow-looking back I can’t help but to feel sorry for young me, unaware of the fact that it is absolutely OK not to follow everything other people do, especially if it involves slow dancing wayyyyyy too close to a 5th grader to the sounds of “I am a woman in love” (B.Streisand +The Bee Gees, wait , sorry- only Barry and robin)).

Any way- the thing was- every grade I got- I was interrogated exactly what grades my friends got, then only was it considered a hit or a miss.

In my (highly unprofessional) mind, this left me with a need to feel superior to others, and, needless to say- a very judgmental caricature.

Oh, and that thing too-

That feeling of tremendous hurt and shame, every time I am criticized by anyone. about anything.

The thing is, I rarely get criticized.

Not because I am perfect-although this absolutely sensible to gather that-

But because I believe it a part of the social contract-to hide your true opinions and criticism, and save it for behind the person’s back gossip events.

Even when I worked, in a public office, I was very rarely criticized by my bosses.

Again- because bosses are taught to criticize “constructively”, plus -during 27 of my 28 years of hard work- I worked really hard, and did a good job I think.

Not outstanding, not brilliant, but definitely a good one, even a very good one, compared to others. (sure- why neglect an old horrid hobby ? sure I compared myself to others).

While on the subject of constructive criticism:

To be absolutely honest- I can’t stand that either.

Once I became “somewhat of A Boss” (don’t get all excited- the system provides names and titles like there is no tomorrow , so everyone, no matter his/her skills and contribution to team effort, can have a chance of being a “somebody”.it keeps the machine working, keeps people at their highest level of performance all the time- because they are told that if they excel- they will be promoted to junior boss/mini boss/almost boss/nearest to boss-and one fine day- they might even become the actual Boss )-

Anyway- once I became somewhat of A boss, they taught all of us “somewhat bosses” the proper way to criticize workers:

Just in case you haven’t heard that before- it is called “the sandwich method”, because you hide the harsh filling ( and, of course-feeling), between 2 layers of undeniably nice and tasty compliments .

Meaning:

When you need to criticize a worker , don’t just go over to him and tell him rught off in front of everybody, or even alone in your office.

This- according to management courses is a total faut pas:

Instead, you should call the about to be criticized worker to your office, and start the conversation with a general compliment:”you are an important part of this team mate!” etc.

Only then- you can say :”this is exactly why I regretted seeing your somewhat decreasing results last month” etc.

Then- when your workers face has sunk to ground level- you put the other lovely tasting plain piece of white bread- AKA the final compliment:”I think highly of you, and so does management” (other bosses-even bigger than your boss), “so I know you will get your act together in no time!”.

Now- I am a sucker for compliments as much as anyone (whoever tells you he is immunized to compliments, simply hasn’t heard the right way to compliment yet), but- as much as I like compliments- they are severely tainted when accompannied with that bitter tasting criticism hiding in the middle of the sandwich.

All I’m saying is-

Just keep gossiping and criticizing me behind my back.

I’ts totally ok.

I have no urge to know everything.

Knowledge is not power.

My back can handle criticizm.

My face- can’t.

The cooliflower.

I discovered I am a double-standard hypocrite.

A few years ago, I went to Barcelona with my long (long) time friend.

I love her, she’s funny, intelligent and I like listening to her insights.

So, we were waiting to board, and she was looking around (you see, one of the reasons I like her is that she enjoys the horrid game of judging people as much as I do), then she said in contempt:” my god, all those people hurrying to the duty free shop as if shopping was banned in their destination.people are so shallow, I tell you!”

I smiled, and said nothing of the 4 stuffed duty free packages she just laid on the floor next to her, containing “bare necessities” as she discalimed a few minutes before.

When we returned, I told my partner about this amusing incident ( in my opinion), when he looked at me and said:

“you do realize we are all guilty of having double standards ?”

“Say what??-no way- not me- I can spot hypocrisy from a mile!”

“Emmmm……you sure about that?

“Absolutely!”

“ok- what about your constant ranting about people who litter and put on loud music with little to no respect for their neighbors?

“What about that?”

“You do realize that letting our beloved dog run leash free is kind of doing the same thing?

“How is that the same? he loved running with us, it was part of his identity, and everybody knows a dog can’t really enjoy his run if he’s tied up!”

“……………………………………..”

“And what about your constant rant about the need to look for truth , your dislike of false mannerisms, of the social contract that claims people compliment each other on various things they know are complete lies? “

“What about that? I stand behind it 100%!”

“Fine- but how does that go along with your complete and utter inability to hear any criticism about yourself or the kids?”

“………………………………”

(Silence- that last one was really below the belt- since not only is that absolutely true- in itself it was, well- criticizing- and as stated above- I can’t stand to be criticized…)

“That’s not fair- as it happens- all 3 kids are objectively fabulous so any criticism would simply be BS!”

“OK, but what about yourself?”

(He really doesn’t let me off the hook easily)

“Well………..it’s because of how I grew up…I was always compared to other people, I felt I could never be enough just as I am…

“Well, maybe other people were raised the same way and have their issues with truth? maybe most people don’t want to deal with the absolute truth of their existence every minute of every day, hence the social contract of false compliments and phony conduct?”

“……………………………………….”

I can tell you I was really upset after this conversation, but- it did make me think.

I though about my habit of judging superstitious beliefs, when in fact- every time someone says something good about any of my kids, I quickly knock on the nearest table as if my life was at stake…

I consider myself a frugal beast and keep preaching about it in this blog on the one hand-

But go to Guatemala, Thailand, India- “to learn about different cultures “-sure- and yet- those were pricy trips non the less..

And while on the subject of going abroad- all of my recycling and vegan frugal conduct- isn’t my carbon footprint -considering those plane trips abroad-the same as every-bodies?

To be honest- I have many more examples, but I don’t need to bore you (or so I tell myself).

Discovering my self deluding double standards wasn’t easy- I can tell you that.

But-

In the long run-

Maybe it will help ease that righteous rage I feel when judging other people.

Maybe.

The cooliflower.

The best birthday present ever!

So, last week I celebrated 52 , and I got the perfect gift from my kids.

I am not just saying this because they are my kids.

Or because the eldest is a devoted subscriber and frequently comments on my content.(in private messages though. I guess its uncool to publicly comment on your mother’s blog). 

I am saying this was the perfect gift because for me- it absolutely was. 

I rarely like stuff other people give me, I have my own (distinct) taste in everything, and that includes books, paintings (I mean what was my mother thinking buying me a painting from a painter she happens to like ?a depressing dark blue painting, that I absolutely could not hang in my tiny house without having to constantly look at it- and start contemplating my existence).

I know-  a civilized person might have taken the painting with a fake smile and would have hidden it in an over-crowded closet , swearing to remember to hang the painting when visited by mother, and probably failing to do so, but- I didn’t. 

Since I have a small house, I make a point of not keeping things I don’t use and don’t like (go Mary Kondo!!!I have so much respect for the idea of only keeping things that spark joy and not “I know its broken but maybe I’ll need that broken thing in a 1000 years). 

I don’t like overcrowded walls and bookshelves, I read mostly on my Ipad, thus saving space and keeping it dust free, plus -its hard to compete with the large font -right light advantages of reading on devices. 

Oh and there’s that free digital library thing too-

No need to drive 20 minutes over to the dusty (strange smelling) library nearest to me, only to discover the librarians kept the “just arrived ” for their neighbors. (sorry- this is what happens in my library- I am sure it is totally different in yours- growing up I loved my library and spent the best hours there- this specific library is a downer, but- that’s exactly why digital library is a great idea for me). 

Anyway- back to the birthday present-

I really wasn’t expecting a gift- 

Because I really don’t need anything, and whatever I need I’d rather get on my own , hence making it impossible to get me anything- and everyone knows I’d rather not get anything because stuff for the sake of stuff doesn’t do it for me. 

But!!!

I wasn’t prepared for this-

I received an email from a donkey haven , letting me know that now I am the proud sponsor of Jodie:

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This- is jodie!

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Jodie, mind you, has a “special friend” , which automatically got me wondering.

You see-this is one of the dangers of early retirement.

You have a lot of time to wonder about your adopted donkey’s special friend.

(By the way- I had no idea that a she donkey is called a jenny or a jennet).

We recently lost our beloved dog, and this was so heartwarming- to know I am helping Jodie maintain her good life at the haven.

I actually started crying.

Anyway-

If you happen to have a haven like this where you live, and happen to have a strange person like me as a friend or close relative, I think this is the perfect gift for them.

I was really proud .

Of my kids- sure- but mainly of myself for raising them to be such excellent people.

Told you it’s not easy to dump your ego -even when you retire early.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.