The other day, for no reason that I can explain, I decided to make split pea soup. This is odd, because in the past 52 years, I have never made split pea soup, nor, to the best of my recollection, have I ever eaten split pea soup.
Still--the urge was there, so what could I do but go to the grocery store and buy...split peas?
I got home, cobbled together a couple of different recipes, and an hour later, this is what I had:
My Completely Made-Up Recipe for Split Pea Soup
4 C chicken stock 2 C water 1 pound dried split peas, rinsed 1 onion, coarsely chopped half a bag of baby carrots, coarsely chopped 1 bay leaf 3 T olive oil 1 T butter salt, pepper and dried thyme, to taste
Heat butter and oil in deep soup pot, add onions and saute on medium heat till softened. Add stock and water, split peas, carrots, salt and bay leaf. Simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes (peas should be soft but not mushy). Remove bay leaf and puree about 3/4 of the soup using immersion blender or food processor, and return to pot. Add a pinch of thyme and more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Soup will thicken on standing--add more stock or water if needed.
Serve excruciatingly hot with a crispy roll and your favorite wine. Or you can go to the Internet--I hear they have recipes there!
Since my return from the frozen South, I have been in what, for me, is a frenzy of cleaning, organizing, straightening, re-pairing, re-placing, re-locating and re-cycling. What I have not been doing much is "re-laxing." So I guess I can forgive myself for the other morning, when, after reading the newspaper, I went back through and read it all over again, in case I had missed something. (I hadn't).
Then I made another cup of coffee and nursed it while I did the New York Times crossword puzzle, the San Antonio Express-News crossword puzzle, the Sudoku, the Jumble AND the Cryptoquip. And I don't even like doing the Cryptoquip. The Cryptoquip is essentially the Everest of comic page word games--I had to do it because it was there. And because I didn't want to start a new project.
I did eventually shower, though, so at least there's that...
As I have mentioned before, I daydream a lot. Whether I'm driving or showering or doing laundry or shopping, my mind is generally elsewhere, having some fun on its own. I don't actually consider this a problem at all--it's like getting to live two lives without having to deal with the problems of multiple personality disorder or the inconveniences of reality.
Prior to my latest adventure in Argentina and Antarctica, I never once daydreamed about traveling the Pan-American Highway, which runs from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. It is 17,848 kilometers or about 11,100 miles* (don't you appreciate how I always convert the metric system for you?). Now I find that lots of people make that journey--some by automobile, a surprising number by bicycle and some on foot (really).
Even when I'm power daydreaming, I don't really imagine myself walking 11,100 miles through mountains and jungles and swamps and deserts and forests. (O.K., I did imagine it, but my fictional self quickly dismissed the idea as too hard for my real self).
Still, if I had, this is what I would have seen at the end of the journey.
Prettier than I could have daydreamed.
*estimates of the "real" road distance of the Pan-American highway vary so widely that I just used the as-the-crow-flies distance from the sign. If I wasn't just daydreaming, I would have to be more accurate.
Every so often, something occurs in the universe that simply cannot be explained. No scientist, no historian, no philosopher can say how or why certain things happen. One of those things happened to me this evening, and to say I am surprised would be a monumental understatement. And yet, it happened: I somehow watched Betty White's 90th Birthday: a Celebration of America's Golden Girl. All of it. Every minute.
Now, I am not without discernment, and I do know how to use the power button on the remote. Earlier in the week, I did not watch the Miss America Pageant. Just yesterday, I did not watch the Golden Globe Awards. Still, tonight I watched.
As a result, my heart is so utterly full of sweetness and charity and warmth that my brain is unable to focus on writing a wry or witty post. So I am taking the easy route and simply posting flower photos. Here's to you, Betty.
Adjacent to the pier in Ushuaia, Argentina is a small public remembrance garden. On New Year's Day, anxious to board the ship to Antarctica, but forced to wait ashore, I wandered over to the garden and shot these photos of poppies.
Not bad, eh?
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Yesterday in San Antonio, the sun rose at 7:30 in the morning and I totally missed it. After a long, long, long return trip from the Antarctic peninsula, I peeled off my traveling clothes, took a hot shower and fell blissfully into my own bed, where I slept undisturbed for an uncharacteristically wonderful 9 hours.
But 10 days ago, while our ship was crossing the Drake Passage and after an equally long, long, long trip from Texas, Florida, Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, I was not at all ready to sleep when the sun was setting at nearly 11:00 p.m. Instead, I put on my big red parka, grabbed my new camera (thanks, boys!) and ventured out on deck to capture the sunset.
Although the views were amazing, I finally forced myself to return to the cabin and get some sleep. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I was a little careless when closing the blackout curtains, and was awakened just a bit over 4 hours later by the light streaming in. So what could I do but put on my big red parka, grab my camera and go out on deck to see the sunrise?
Pretty cool, huh? (And just so you know, these photos are completely unretouched.)