Running errands as an introvert!

A few days ago, I was talking to my good friend (we go back more than 25 years of blood sweat &tears at work, and kept our friendship through retirement), and she has this thing where she insists on talking with me when she runs errands around town. 

 The thing is, she gets really worked up whenever anything annoying happens to her- which is almost every time she runs errands -whether I am online talking to her- or hearing about the mishaps later-via same phone. 

she is a petite woman, very funny and intelligent, now retired-as I am- from long years of being a litigator- meaning she knows what acceptable behavior is supposed to look like- 

And yet- 

I hear her start shouting at passing cars that honked too loud-in her opinion- or didn’t stop at the crossroad she was using, at electric bike riders that- again- in her opinion -were super close to running her down, at the post office- at other people in line, at the hairdressers- when other people display their political beliefs, at the market -etc. 

last time I heard her getting all worked up and shouting- 

#1. I was glad the conversation was over-( I was beginning to get worked up too).

#2. I thought-oh my- if she could hear herself. how embarrassing. (I know- I exercise my right to be a bitch every now and then).

#3. I thought about the errands I needed to run the day after- and thought of ways to avoid getting all worked up about it. 

#4. I understood that she gets this way probably because she is anxious and getting out of the house and running errands takes a toll on her well being. 

SO- I guess what I’m saying is if you read the title and thought “what the F?”, then you’re definitely not an introvert

Because an introvert knows WHAT THE F.

An introvert knows that leaving the house and being in constant need to contact people in order to get things done, is a HUGE task, one that leaves you drained of energy and many times frustrated-so much so- that many simply avoid running errands all together and join the “bureaucracy phobia gang”. 

Being a stellar introvert myself, I’ve managed to organize quite a method -if I do say so myself- to minimize the toll.

So if you are an introvert- or- if you are a lucky happy “let’s go out and have fun” extrovert- but have introverts as family or friends- then hear me out on this one

Before I start- 

I am mentioning the obvious here- since I am no health certified anything- told you- an early retired litigator- whose only certification on the subject comes from 52 years as an introvert- this is not professional advice, and If you feel you need an expert- find one. 

My approach is the opposite– 

Instead of trying to change me-

why not change the circumstances?

What I mean by this bold statement is-

#1: whatever you can do online- do online- most things can be bought/sorted out/ discussed -online- via phone- or much better yet- by Gmail. 

 lucky for us introverts, the internet was invented a few decades ago, saving us not only time and money but also the agonizing fear of actually leaving our safe and comfortable home- only to be challenged with the task of dealing with a lot of other people.

The mail method is brilliant because there is no way you can get worked up and start behaving like my shouting friend, though I am aware that it is possible to do that via Whats App voice messages- that is why I recommend the good old Gmail.another plus is that every conversation or negotiation is “on record” for future “I can’t remember what exactly was the offer” or such mishaps. 

#2. If you can’t sort it online- try to pack up as many “on route” errands as possible. that saves you money (gas)+time+ the agony of leaving the house is minimized significantly if you run all your errands at one time. 

This, naturally, requires some planning- I mean- sure you can just go about wandering the busy streets , but, then again- you can’t . 

Because -at least for me- being an introvert means I like hiking alone in nature, but roaming busy streets full of people? malls? stores? no. way. 

I get tired easily and then- get upset easily, and when this snow ball starts rolling-

Once I realized this chain reaction, I decided there is no need for me to wander about and waste my energy , I need to be super focused and just get things done in the most efficient way I can think of. 

planning ahead means- at least for me- writing down every errand I need to run as soon as I notice it- (get more gardening soil, get new hot water bottle -old one tore after years of excessive use, annual blood works, annual car check up, etc. no need to reveal all my exciting activities here). then- before planning my route- checking all the lists and checking for possible new errands to be run. 

#3.Make sure you are set and organized for the task: OK, I know this sounds as if one is going on a trip around the world, and not going out to run a few errands , but- 

For me- acknowledging the fact that both activities are equally stressful- plus the fact that I usually need to run errands every few weeks, but don’t travel around the world that often-  

I think you get it. I learned to respect my odd reactions, and as they say- “own it”. 

Any way- 

By being all set I mean- check I have my list, (see #2 above) , my water bottle (I take it everywhere), plan my breakfast/lunch -before? after? I think it’s common knowledge that errands ran on an empty stomach are good for nothing. (Winnie the poo?possibly).I also check my cell phone battery, (what?? just in case?),my GPS navigator (me getting lost is not a pretty sight), plus I go over the route beforehand to check that it’s the most efficient route possible . 

#4. I dare say this is a major super important tip here, although it’s hidden after 3 other tips.

Be the first person in the store!

 I mean it. 

people tend to dismiss the timing factor, and I , on the other hand, tend to give it my utmost respect. 

The thing is- 

early in the morning- the streets are quieter,  people are nicer and calmer, less noise, more space, and -if you go to the market- fresher produce. 

If you are a late sleeper- well then- I really have nothing to say, because I’ve never slept beyond 8 am in my whole life, and now I wake naturally-at 4-5-6 am . 

I have to insist on this tip- unless you live in a quiet distant village, that sees 10 people and a goat max a day. 

(Now that- sounded great by the way. then again- you don’t really need any of these tips if that is your situation).

I’ve lived in cities before, and I hear my friends go on and on about traffic, and parking space, and crowded stores, and I keep thinking- why don’t they go out earlier? 

I am well aware that “be the first in the store” can generally apply only to the first store you go to- but- planning ahead can get you started in the busiest store first, and build your route from there on. 

5. Take into consideration that you may not succeed in checking off all the errands on your list. things happen. accept it before hand, and be joyful if everything worked out great. 

Oh, and by the way- just as I was finishing my chat with my agitated shouting friend, she exclaimed:”wow-don’t you miss the great bakeries we have here in the city? they are fabulous!it’s so difficult to live in the far far away village of yours!”

Yea, right. 

Enjoy- the cooliflower. 

 

Perfecting my on-line grocery shopping skills!

I know- Pfizer+Moderna+Astra-zenica+ more labs are on it- soon everybody will be happily hugging sweaty people they barely know, and everything will be back to normal.

But-

Us introverts, have believed in social distancing since the stone age, certainly before Covid began, so we needn’t change our non social habits just because vaccinations are in town.

I am not about to write what I have to say about these vaccinations, although I do have my opinion , lets just say I think each person should do his/her research , and decide based on their own parameters what is good for them.for that matter- regulating mandatory vaccination is not something I believe in. I do think-however- that those who choose not to take the vaccine- need to keep practicing the same routines as now- meaning wearing a mask and keeping 2 meters away -for the sake of people who cannot use the vaccine due to their immune system or other medical reasons.

On that note-

I think mastering the art of on line grocery shopping is crucial , and I believe it not only saves introverts from having to manage the whole “going out of the house ” production (yes, it is a production.), but mainly- saves a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of energy, and yields better results than regular grocery shopping.

How’s that? 

*1: you do your shopping from your couch, or desk at work- there is no need to start the car, drive over, find a parking space, in the shade, but close to the entrance, not to close to someone else’s car, so that when they stuff their car with their shopping bags, they wouldn’t accidentally scratch your car, or bump it trying to wiggle out of the narrow parking space.

(saving: gas costs, car repair costs, time it takes to drive to and from store).

*2: you do your shopping from your couch or work desk, where you can control the temperature surrounding you by opening the window, lighting a fire, switching the fan on, or even- if needed- using AC.

Whereas-

driving to the store in hot and humid temperatures, can get you pretty messed up +upset, can get other shoppers upset- thus zero patience (+zero tolerance), if you bought ice-cream or other refrigerator friendly products- the chances of them making it safely to your freezer are 0-0.1, thus making you even more agitated.

(saving: money spent on freezer needing products that lost hope on the drive back in the Sahara’s temperature car .possible wrinkles from all the agitation and anxiety)

*3: If you have kids, than you blu**d^ well know they like to sit quietly during shopping- as if all is well- but! when you get to the cashier! those marketing “geniuses” put all the little useless plastic toys /cheap chocolates/other useless if not hazardous stuff right in the face of your precious organic eating , lettuce loving teddy bears- and in an instant they become the nightmare described by Avenged sevenfold.

(saving: money, endless time spent building those wretched “toys”, cleaning up after they crushed them, and going to a therapist, trying to maintain your peace and quiet).

*4: If you are anything like me, than you absolutely have a list carefully made before you leave to the store. sure you do! come on! the thing is- I seem to remember quite a lot of dishes I was intending to make- as soon as I pass some of the isles, resulting in cramming the carefully prepared list in the bottom of my shopping bag, and continuing “free style”!

(saving: a lot of money, a lot of produce that “for sure will become a new quiche(!)” but ends in the compost bin. )

So-

Here are my top tips on how to save time+money+energy- and enjoy home made healthy cooking :

  1. The list! the beauty of online shopping is that you have your list ready to be altered every minute. no more driving home and “oops, forgot x,y or z”. but- make another list- stuck to your fridge door (for, well, obvious reasons), where you can write all those -“oh and I need extra celery to make that pea soup from that excellent blog:

The perfect pea protein!

make sure to add all those additions to your on line shopping reservation, otherwise you will have to swap another carrot for that celery.

2.About those coupons.

All I can say is tread lightly in this territory.

Unless you have a hugeeeee pantry, the expiring date is year 2030, and the sale is preposterous.

In that case- go for it! what are you waiting for??

3. On the other hand- you need to restock on beans and legumes? dates ? olive oil? soaps? I don’t shy away from a good sale, but do remember all this stuff needs to be stored somewhere accessible- so don’t over do it.

4. while on the subject of buying in bulk- do me a favor and check the sell by dates once the groceries arrive, and before you put everything in place.

The reason being- that way you can not only return the products that are past their sell by date-and get your money back- but also avoid falsely believing you have the ingredients to make the great breakfast from the above mentioned stunning blog :

Yummy healthy post workout breakfast!!

only to find out , alas, that the oats are not in the best shape of their life.

5. Be sure to get your delivery when you have time and some energy to put things where they belong , otherwise- you won’t find anything a week later- causing unnecessary stress.

If you are a pro on line buyer- then go ahead and peel your carrots and soak them in water -in fridge. keeps them fresh for 2 weeks- even more- provided you change the water every 2-3 days. same goes for celery.

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That’s enough for now-

Have a great new year and enjoy!

The cooliflower.

“Tell me lies, sweet little white lies”. (not Mac, Fleetwood).

white lie: (Merriam Webster)

Definition of white lie

: a lie about a small or unimportant matter that someone tells to avoid hurting another person.example:”He told a (little) white lie as his excuse for missing the party”.

A few days ago I heard a Fleetwood mac song I didn’t know , so it’s only fair that I should keep last week’s promise and tell you how I was brought up on the concept of “white lies aren’t actually lies”.

(By the way-just in case you were interested, the Fleetwood mac song I heard was “I’m so afraid”, go check it on YouTube- whether you know it or don’t- you will enjoy one of the greatest guitar solo’s out there- performed by Lindsey Buckingham).

So-

Before you start rolling your eyes at me and going all high and mighty about how you shouldn’t lie and all that, let me ask you a few simple questions:

#Have you ever met a good friend of yours and told them they look great , the whole time thinking “oh. my. god. what. happened. to. them???”

#Have you ever chatted in a meeting/class/convention-whatever- and once caught -told the lecturer “we were discussing the subject”? (yea right, subject of how bored you can get in a 20 minute meeting).

#Have you ever been asked by a friend to tell the absolute truth about his-her partner, and told everything but the truth?

#Were you ever asked by your parent how was lunch-dinner- whatever, and complimented the whole dang thing although if you could take back time , you’d rather chew on your car tires instead?

I believe you got the point.

You really wish you didn’t have to lie- but between lying a “harmless little lie” and facing the implications of telling the truth- you’d take lying any day.

Growing up I simply didn’t get it, and my mother- an firm believer in the concept of “white lies” , had a hard time convincing me of the purpose of “a lesser harm”.

When I grew up and came across workplace politics, not only did I embrace the “white lies” concept- I believe I stretched the limit of the concept like no man ever did.

I discovered even the harshest of bosses are human when it comes to flattering their “brilliance and wonderful understanding of the human nature”, not to mention their “hilarious sense of humor!

Also discovered the art of getting your workers to do extra work or take on a huge project : well, you get it- shamelessly flattering them on their great work and telling (each and every one of them) that they are the only one that can get this project done right, all the while wishing you had totally different people on your staff.

“That’s life, Amiga!” I told myself.

But although I perfected the “art” of telling little lies as to “not hurt people” and stretched it to the direction of “getting my way at work quickly and efficiently”, I did remember it was, at the end of the day- lying.

I retired early- so I can’t give you any advice on the complex subject of using harmless little whatever colored lies, as a way of avoiding the consequences of telling your actual opinion to people.

I thought of 2 possible outlets -see if it works for you-

#1: instead of lying- Maybe try avoiding the subject and deflecting it to another subject, counting on the terribly short span of attention everybody has.

#2: “shrink them”- if you are presented with a question you can’t tell the truth to or you won’t see the end of it- use the all time TV series psychologist tactic: ask right back :”and what do you think ?”

The cooliflower.

Take care of yourself. the rest will follow.

This morning I woke up, and it was chilly, and the mere thought of going out for a run was giving me the shivers.

I got up and made myself a cup of strong coffee, filled my hot water bottle and got back to bed to contemplate my next steps.

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Now I know you may be thinking:”this here is an old lady, sad little thing, goes around with her warm bottle, to get the old bones moving”. 

Frankly my dear(s)- I don’t give a damn. (Butler, rhett. “come on millenials- “gone with the wind”??)

Because- I can’t stand AC air, and I love sleeping with the windows open, hence my fondness of said water bottle, plus-there is a long way to go between A (warm bed, open windows, contemplating going out) and Z ( actually going out for a run when it’s cold out).

The warm water bottle gets my muscles going much faster , plus it gives me the ilussion of on going warmth, thus enabling me to go out- falsly believing the warm temperature I feel is going to last.

The mind (mine, anyway) is quite naive at times.

While on the subject of the naive mind:

I discovered many times I can fool myself with little tricks I play on my behalf.

That doesn’t give me much credit- not for fooling myself, and mostly not for managing to be fooled by myself- but- since this is the situation, might as well try to make the best of it. (when I get too many lemons, might as well make lemonade cubes and freeze them- etc).

For example-

When I still can’t get out of my lazy funk and go running, I promise myself a hot shower and a great yummy meal afterwards.

Now- since I don’t lie to myself ( nor to anyone else for that matter- well except for “white lies” ( I am making a note to myself to tell you all about the miracle of “white lies” -AKA “the Schrodinger cat of lying truthfully”

I get up and set the hot water boiler on, and make sure I have all the ingredients for that promised yummy meal when I get back.

This does work, surprisingly more than once , that is if you keep your promise to yourself, and don’t get caught in “life, kids, work, internet, whatever” stuff.

Because- as life has taught me -if I don’t make a point of taking care of me- well then- too bad , because it’s no one else’s responsibility but mine- to take care of me.

If I slack on my workouts, nutrition, sleep, work (back when I used to work)-whatever- because of the “oh so many excuses life brings on”- then that’s my choice- and it’s fine- as long as I don’t expect to enjoy the benefits of putting the effort and taking care of the above list.

The thing is-

The body is very forgiving when you are younger, and tends to take the little nasty note book out once you reach 45.

The little nasty notebook is where the body writes down all the incidents where you neglected to take top notch care of yourself.

I am not about to go into examples, you all know what I’m talking about, no need to turn me into a food hater or something, although- I really can’t see a scenario where a grown (ok, mature, mature) woman can eat a doughnut and get away with it.

Sorry.

My opinion here. (don’t get all upset- I told you I wasn’t a dietitian or anything).

Perhaps you are thinking:”come on! you only live once! I love them pastries and burgers! .

Yea, well.

Fine.

As always- do whatever you feel like.

I can tell you I haven’t eaten a doughnut in about 30 years (actually- I think more, but- who’s counting?), have been exercising seriously since I turned 30 ,and clean eating since I became vegan 7 years ago-and I still woke up one morning to find my body heavier and weaker.

Apparently- after you reach 40 , you lose 8% of muscle each year (!!!).

Just in case you were thinking -so what if I’m not Schwarzenegger-that’s not the point at all.

Muscles are super important at any age- but not only because of the obvious- but also because they build bone mass (yes, that ‘s right, not dairy Bu$% sh*%, and not store bought calcium- muscles)https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles. (click on the link- I am guessing Harvard is good enough a source for everyone).

Also- the more muscle you have- the more energy (as in calories) your body uses (as in burns).

Meaning- the stronger you get- the leaner and healthier you get, and vice versa.

Also-

The less you sleep -and the less you hydrate (on water, not alcohol) your skin will react as if you’ve declared a war on it- and it has to prepare for war by getting wrinkled up.

I am not linking anything to prove my point. this is in the lines of “goes without saying”.

So-

What I’m saying here is-

Take care of thy selves, because no one else will+

Sometimes you need to promise yourself a treat to get yourself back on track with the taking care procedure.

Now the treat need not be a sugary oily pastry- (a bit counter-productive I would say)-

It can most definitely be in the lines of a hot shower, a healthy nutritious home made meal, a good book, great music ( Beethoven’s “emperor” for example? YouTube it and thank me later- AKA piano concerto #5), doing your nails, putting on a great body lotion, whatever. (make your own list of favorites).

What I realized is- that sacrificing yourself for others may benefit you in the short run ( others will be grateful for a while, you feel mighty and gracious and oh so powerful), but not so much in the long run.

The people you sacrificed yourself for tend to feel pressured to be constantly grateful, and end resenting you for it, and you end up unhealthy and not pleased with your body- the one you got for this journey, and can’t replace-thus resenting the same people you just sacrificed yourself for.

Ah-the irony.

Instead of complicating it-

Simplify it.

Take care of yourself- the rest will follow.

The cooliflower.

The introvert’s best friends.

I live in a rural village.

Pastoral. 

Rustic.

Serene.

well-not exactly.

I am surrounded by neighbors that aren’t exactly big fans of peace and quiet.

While I seem to have an acute problem with noise.

 I am fully aware that they are the “normal people”‘ I am the problematic one +that I sound like an old nag.

Being aware is 50% of success!!

Now-just to make things even clearer- here are some tedious facts: 

The neighbors to my left– have 7 (!) kids, some of them grown up with friends, and since my neighbors had to build a pool in their back yard, almost every day during summer time, they  feel an urge to start shouting by the pool, while grilling meat (in an open barbecue- so as not to miss any of the fun of inhaling the stinky smoke) while playing music on the (loud) loudspeakers.

The neighbors in the back side of my garden- have only 3 girls, but the girls are teenagers, and very keen on karaoke .

They seem to believe they have a good voice and a good sense of rhythm, quite contrary to the actual truth.

Quite often, they start quarreling and calling each other names and stuff not appropriate for a  proper blogger such as I to repeat.

The neighbors next to the ones in the back– own 2 organic food shops.

You would expect them to appreciate the sounds of silence- but the man seems to think he can manage his shop from afar- thus having long and loud phone conversations , that are well heard due to strange acoustics in their house.

The neighbors to my right– have 2 young kids, and I really thought I hit the jackpot when she told me she is into meditation and teaches bibliotherapy.(oh- and yesterday I heard her telling a potential client on the phone that before the biblio part (or side by side to it) she assesses the feet.

But- she seems to be enjoying a unique kind of meditation technique, where you keep talking loudly and giving orders to your family members- while in deep meditation.

The neighbors across the street used to be really quiet, until a month ago they decided their 23 year old son has to open a pizza place in their garage, thus having all the kids in the village-and some grown ups too- happily (and loudly) “going out for pizza” in my neighbors garage.

Teens these days seem to be very opinionated on various subjects, and where I live they seem to believe that he who speaks the loudest- is automatically right.

I would be quite miserable if it weren’t for my best friends:

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I have no idea what brand the earplugs are, and I don’t believe I have enough knowledge to recommend a certain kind of headphones.needles (I hope its needless!) to say that I have no shares in the earplug-headphone industry, just in case you were suspicious .

I truly believe I am not meant to live in agony of any kind, and I also believe there is always a way . as long as you have the will to find it.

Since I go to sleep early (between 20:00 pm and 21:00 pm, on good days- even 19:00 is a good time to lay my head) and the pizza parlor-karaoke singing-pool shouting- store management- active meditation -is still going on, I simply shove my blue buddies into my ears and give myself the much needed peace and tranquility. ( I always sleep with my windows open, even in winter time I open a bit).

During the day, I listen to my classical music in my living room/kitchen, or in my room using my headphones’ and nothing can bother me.the corded headphones and bluetooth ones are for running+working out+working in the garden. 

If, by any chance, you seem to “enjoy” the same kind of “lively” neighborhood -get yourself a pair of earplugs, and if ‘ by any chance- you have a musical ear and the sound really does make a difference to you -do yourself  favor and get a good pair of headphones, and try listening to music on a PC -as opposed to cell phone or even Ipad.

You will thank me later- it makes a huge difference. 

No use in getting upset/angry/going over there to give them a piece of your mind.

You need to believe me on this one- since I tried all the above, to no avail.

“SERENITY NOW!” (Frank Costanza).

The cooliflower.

The perfect pea protein!

If you are vegan/avid health freak/ curious George- than you couldn’t have escaped the pea protein craze.

Evidently, a lot of vegan protein powders are made of, mainly , pea protein.

So-

I thought to myself-( I do that a lot. it’s definitely a good thing to befriend yourself, especially in times of social isolation- but not only then).

Why not go to the source?

Then I remembered I don’t particularly like pea soup.

I have no idea why.

I mean- now I do know why- and I have an urge to share this revelation with you.

Turns out I don’t like dried peas, that’s all.

I know, I know- I’m vegan, I’m supposed to love everything remotely resembling a legume.

But I don’t.

I don’t like quinoa, either. (in case you cannot go on reading without getting to the bottom of this strange dislike for the almighty quinoa- then here is a link to the explanatory post).

Sorry- dont like quinoa!

But- there is hope, so it seems.

As it happens- a few weeks ago I bought 3 packages of frozen peas, (huge sale in my online supermarket), and since I have this thing against keeping stuff for too long in the freezer, I got up and decided to make something with a large bag (OK, not that large- 800 grams )of frozen peas.

Rice and peas? ok-its tasty- but- what about some soup?

So I started the way I start every cooked dish- I diced fresh onions, garlic, peeled carrots, peeled potatoes, condiments, a dazzle of olive oil, salt&pepper.

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I pan fried the lot for about 10-15 minutes- until the carrots were tender. then added the bag of frozen peas, and stirred every minute or so- let it fry for a good 10 minutes or so- then added boiling hot water, a little bit of coconut cream , and when everything was nice and ready- used my hand mixer to blend everything to a soft consistency.

This is my hand mixer, next to the all time favorite apple sauce.

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Don’t get discouraged- this might look a bit odd- but I assure you the taste is great.

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This yummy soup is not only super healthy , but is also creamy, satiating, warming, comforting, and I think that’s about it. 

A cup of Fresh peas ( not the soup- but the peas themselves) contains 124 calories (that’s practically nothing! this is like a medium apple !) , 22 grams of carbs, 8 (!) grams of fiber (that’s a wow, mind you), and 8 (!!!) grams of protein. aside from that- they contain antioxidants, vitamin A, folate, manganese and more. 

Here is a certified link to assure you of the above data.  

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-peas-are-healthy

I have 3 things to say:

1.No wonder so many protein powders use peas as a main source of protein.

2. this soup is so filling and comforting, you will be grateful you made it when you’l look for your lunch on a chilly autumn day in the office.

3. I wondered whether frozen peas are as good as fresh peas, and my My online research on the subject concluded that there is no significant difference- since the freezing process keeps the freshly picked peas in good condition, whereas the time that passes between the farmer picking the peas and you actually enjoying them- is many times not a short while

But! if you are one of those dream gardeners that grow peas, or have any kind of access to one of these people-

Well then. 

You know what to do.  

Sides?

1:toasted leftover bread.

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2.home made spelt TORTILLAS. (easy recipes are available online).

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3. bulgur.

4. coriander/parsley + homemade toasted nuts.

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Who said vegans don’t enjoy great -healthy -protein packed food???

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Does changing your mind=failure??

So, I’ve had this “math fantasy” for a long time.

There you go-

Just when you thought you’ve heard every strange fantasy, comes a strange new one and opens your perspective.

The thing is, when I were in high school, I liked the cleanliness of math equations. the fact that there was a clear cut solution. (this is high school math, not higher levels where everything gets complicated).

I was fascinated by the fact that other than the necessary 3-4 sentences , there was absolutely no need to write a mini novel in exams, and that when you get the point- you can relax for a while- because the point wasn’t to cram as much information possible to your poor head, but getting the logic of it.

Mind you I wasn’t the brightest math student -far from it, but- I was on a mission to succeed, because that’s who I was (and continued to be until I became 50 and age became wisdom. well some wisdom , anyway).

So I got a good grade on my math SAT’s , but never crossed paths with the clean equations again.

Because I had never tested this ideal perspective of my math abilities in real life, I kept thinking that once I retired, I will get a university degree in Math,you know- for the sake of pure intelectual interest.

Now this- is a fantasy.

A huge one , too- for me .

For years I nurtured the thought that I am fully capable of jumping to the next mathematics level -and that the only obstacle was time .

Well, now I had (have, I have!) the time, lots and lots of it, and I decided it’s time .

So I enrolled in the open university, to get a math degree.

Now- you need to understand this was totally unnecessary in every aspect:

1.I have no intention of going back to work, even if I did have to go back to work-

2. I would go back to being a lawyer long before I would try to get a job with a math degree, and

3. the cost of this degree was quite high .

But- dreams are there to be pursued , right? believe in yourself? there’s nothing you can’t do?

Emmm……

The beginning was promising.

I was so excited when the books arrived!

I immediately started reading -though the semester hadn’t even started yet.

I was on the top of the world, I tell you.

I spread my books and notebooks all over the place, arranged magic markers in different colors, sharpened the pencils, got on line to buy refills for my uni ball pen, only to find out that buying 12 new pens costs 50% less than buying 12 refills (!!!!!! people! that is so non environmental! I made a point of buying a pen that can be re-used!) and prepared a list for future note pads and stuff.

Great time, really.

But then, I started doing the assignments, (that part was still ok)- and checking my answers,

Well.

I personally was really surprised at my grand failures.

I really thought I nailed it, until I checked the correct answers.

But that wasn’t the worst part:

The worst part was the on line classes.

There I was, sitting shameful in front of my computer, trying to follow the professor’s lecture and not really succeeding, when I realized that about 20% of the class, is made of 13 (!!!)year old kids, getting math credits even before they finished high school! even before 9th grade, for that matter!

The mere fact that those 20% existed wouldn’t have bothered me so much, if it weren’t for the fact that they understood the professor much faster than I did, and kept hurrying her (I swear this happened) with lines such as :”come on, that’s obvious, let’s move on. everybody gets it”!

“HELLO NOT E V E R Y B O D Y!

Of course I didn’t say anything.

Are you kidding me??

I just watched the online lesson again and again, until I thought I nailed it, only to check the answers and find out that, well, not really.

To say this was frustrating would be an understatement.

But even worse- it was friggin humiliating.

There I was babbling to my partner about “the beauty of pure math, that is the basis of philosophy as Plato said, and needs only the sharp mind to grasp, no need for excessive explaining and much talking, only pure logic”-etc, when in fact- clearly my skills weren’t up for the task.

I kept going on, because that’s me-

That was me for so many years- failure is only a temporary state to overcome by hard work!” “if you don’t get it the first time- you’l get it the 300th time!”, “nothing ever came easy for you (that’s true by the way), but you always hung on and kept going till mission accomplished!”(also true).

I grew up knowing that “you always finish a book you started

“you always finish eating from your plate” (I have a lot to say about this-promised myself I won’t do the same to my kids, even if it did mean being really creative about leftovers).(I can tell you I double checked with my kids prior to writing this- in case I was delusional about this, too. turns out they confirmed I never made them finish what’s on their plate, at least that is off my plate when my maternal sins shall be counted ).

And the last one:“you always finish a task you start”.

I can tell you I stopped reading books I don’t connect to- (but still feel a bit queasy about it), sadly- still finish everything off my plate, and up until now- I always pushed through every task.

I think I would have kept on going- if it weren’t for the fact that on the second on line lesson, the professor divided us into on line study groups, and I heard a chat between 2 of my “study mates” (only 3 in that room), chatting about the course.

They were as amazed as I was at the 13 year old’s, but then one of them told the other that “this course is considered very easy , compared to the next advanced courses”.

WHAT?????

No no no.

I can barely keep my head over the water in this course-having to watch every recorded class a few times only to find out I am not really getting it- and this is the easy course????

I immediately turned off the computer, ( it was the middle of the class, mind you), and told my partner I can’t go on.

The next day I enrolled on 2 on line classes -no assignments or exams involved -therefor no degree granted-

One on empowerment in classical music, lectured by a famous conductor, and the other about french art .

At first- I felt relieved.

I could read again, sleep well, rest like a pro, drill holes in thrown buckets, re paint them –

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drag a thrown out table , fix and re paint it- turning it into a nursery workshop-

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You know-

Enjoying myself.

But then, the old feeling crept.

“Seriously? you quit? isn’t that what a loser does? you wanted to quit so you told yourself you can’t handle it, when in reality- you were simply lazy!!

(You can tell I ‘m kind of “tough love” with myself. )

I contemplated these feelings for a few days while meditating.

I think I’m more at peace with myself now.

Mainly because I found multiple justifications, and some of them valid, too.

“I would have continued in “real life”- now I am retired, and have no need for this degree- so no need to put that massive pressure for no real reason”…”I wanted to study music too- here’s my chance, and a gread conductor is lecturing, so!”

Etc.

I love justifications.

My brain’s method of handling cognitive dissonance.

I accepted I failed, I quit, I didn’t follow through-

And that’s ok too.

I think.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

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.