I’m grateful for finishing this fun puzzle of Carmel, with all its miniature businesses, restaurants, shops, and homes, little people in windows, giant garden gnomes, and myriad other tiny details. It was challenging in a different way than the birds puzzle, and easier but not much. I’m grateful for puzzling friends and sharing puzzles.
I’m grateful for podcasts, of which I listen to quite a few when I’m puzzling. I listen to Lions Roar podcast, Upaya Zen Center podcast, NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”, Catherine Ingram’s “In the Deep,” and several others, including random recommendations from trusted friends, and one I stumbled upon the other day, The Brain Health Revolution podcast. This particular episode is a marvelous overview of research from 2022 including correlations between napping and dementia, cannabis use and cognitive impairment, and evidence that some people in a coma may be conscious–followed by a lively discussion of how we don’t even know what consciousness is. It’s a couple of neurologists, Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, with an easy way together, sharing their enthusiasm about the research in their fascinating field.
I’m grateful for the technology that allows me to have the world at my fingertips, from the laser cutters at Liberty Puzzles, to the digital opportunities for learning and growth.
I’m grateful that I have learned a few things about relating with dogs over the years. This little one is super smart, communicative, and skittish. I don’t want to damage our relationship by forcing her to do things. This evening when I drove up to get mail and meet a friend for a handoff, Wren wouldn’t get in the car. She used to jump right in the car and into her seat. Tonight she ran far away. She did not enjoy her adventure to the Black Canyon last week, and is still, I think, reeling from hanging herself out the window. So I took her back inside and tossed some treats into her crate and shut her in for the twenty minutes I’d be gone.
A couple hours later, after puttering in the garden, I went back out and just sat in the car with the door open. Wren ran far away again. I read a magazine. She approached but then ran far away on the other side of the car and sat and watched me some more. After awhile I didn’t see her, so I called. She came running and jumped up into my lap. She smelled like Russian sage. She had snuck back through the gate and rolled in and chewed on it. There are a few worse things she could have rolled in and eaten, but the smell is antagonistic to me and it took me a few minutes to figure out what it was. We sat there together for about ten minutes, then I ushered her off my lap, rolled up the windows, and we came inside. I’m grateful I know to take time to desensitize her to the car, and hope that one day soon she’ll be excited to go for a ride again.
I’m grateful for the easy early harvests of Ukrainian radishes, golden snow peas, and cilantro, and for knowing how to preserve at least two of them. I popped the snow peas right into the freezer without blanching, they are so fragile I think that will be ok. I’m not sure what to do with the radishes except wash and refrigerate them, and eat them pretty quickly. Friday for lunch I sliced one up in a stir fry with snow peas, arugula, orach, rice, and an egg. It was delicious, but today the thought leaves me cold.
I’ve preserved cilantro before in herb butter, which is in the freezer and I keep forgetting to use. Today I tried cilantro salt: finely chop 1 cup cilantro and mix with ¼ cup kosher salt. It’s supposed to keep in the fridge for a year! I’m grateful that the row of cilantro I planted did so well, and that I bothered to cut it back and preserve it for later before it went to coriander. There are plenty of stray cilantros going to seed in other beds. I never seem to have it when a recipe calls for it, but now I will.
I’m grateful that I felt like eating something, anyway, today, even if cooking and vegetables didn’t appeal. I tried a piece of buttered toast around noon. About three I made a simple cheese sandwich with some cilantro scraps, Havarti, and mayo. And when we came in from car training, I turned to my old foolproof hangover remedy which I haven’t had occasion to use in many years: orange Gatorade and potato chips. I’m grateful to have both of them in the house; grateful to have plenty of food, even if I don’t want it right now. Tomorrow is another day.
I’m grateful for every day that Stellar and I both wake up alive, and are both able to walk to Ice Canyon. He’ll be 13 two weeks from yesterday, and boy will I have a lot to say about that then. We both stumble and wobble a bit in the deep snow and icy path through the woods, and he naps hard when we return to the cozy house. Some days he could probably make it down there, but I don’t have the energy; other days he stumbles just a bit too much to go that far. So each day that we make it is extra good.
I’m grateful I had time to squeeze in the simple pleasure of cooking soup and baking cupcakes today, and the patience to squeeze out buttercream frosting from a new piping kit this evening.
Each day is precious and unique, and its opportunities come but once. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be of service to my community, as I was this day, and grateful to be part of an excellent and conscientious team working to make the world a better place. I’m grateful again today for technology that makes it possible for me to contribute to community without leaving my hermitage, and to connect with and see the beloved faces of faraway friends.