Thursday, April 21, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 04/20/16: Never Stops Being Special, Spinach Yogurt Soup, Loneliness Studies

1. I was remembering today the giddiness I used to feel when I was a kid when Mom and Dad would take our family to the Sunshine Inn for dinner -- and, I remember one Su nday morning when I had a paper route, going for French toast breakfast with either Mom or Dad. This morning I realized that I still feel some of that giddiness when I go out to eat. It's funny. All I did this morning was cruise up to Panera in Beltsville for a wild blueberry scone and a cup of dark roast coffee to enjoy while I continue to read Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and that old feeling of enjoying something special, of being treated, came back.  I guess I've never quite reached the point where I take going out for a bite to eat, even if it's just a scone, for granted.

2. I sometimes forget I have cookbooks.  Back in December, Sister Christy gave me a very handsome cookbook, The Heart of the Plate. It's a Mollie Katzen cookbook and part of what I enjoy about having it is that starting about 30 years ago, I cooked out of Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook and her Enchanted Broccoli Forest all the time. So, today, I made a spinach rice soup with yogurt.  I was simple, quick, and very delicious.  All I had to do was chop up an onion, throw the pieces in hot oil, add cumin and tumeric, add garlic after the onions got soft, let that cook a short while, add spinach leaves, let it cook, and then add vegetable broth and let it all cook at a very low heat for ten minutes. In the meantime, I cooked up some rice and added it to the soup along with a cup of plain yogurt and the soup was ready.  The Deke and I enjoyed it a lot and I will make it again.

3. Today I read reports about studies connecting loneliness or social isolation with heart disease and stroke. Coincidentally, loneliness has been on my mind a lot lately. I've been troubled by how lonely I was, off and on, at certain periods of my life. I don't know if this loneliness affected my physical health, but I've been thinking a lot about how it distorted my judgment. I did stupid things and, looking back, I can see how much I was trying to cover up how lonely I was. I suppose this connection between poor judgment and loneliness is a common psychological insight, but I've only recently begun to see it as I get older and as things I did in the past flash forward to me, usually uninvited.  By the way, I made some very good decisions back then, too, and am proud of many things I accomplished -- but those good things don't seem, as Joan Didion put it, to "come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night, and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, and who is going to make amends"  (qtd from "On Keeping a Notebook").

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