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 After my somewhat snivelly post yesterday, and a shower where I wept copious amounts of crocodile tears in a fit of feeling sorry for myself, I got off my ass and did things. I can’t change current circumstances, but things are looking up.Yesterday, we went to the chicken farm. The chickens weren’t out and about, and it seems they had a run on chicken breasts, so I couldn’t get any of those.

So I got a box of whole chickens. Fresh whole chickens. I like these chickens because they’re quite lean from running around all the time. I find if I get chickens at the supermarket, they’re quite fatty; when I dress them, I end up with chicken fat under my nails and all over the place. These ones, not so much – or at least substantially less. I ended up getting 8 chickens for $90. That’ll last us awhile. And they are sizeable – their “small” chickens are in the 5-6 lb range.

While we were out, Darren had his iPod playing in the car with one of his personal development things on it. Written and read by this guy. And I liked it so much, and it made me feel so much better and have some hope that I have some control over what’s going on, that we went to London Drugs and I bought one of these so I can listen to these things rather effortlessly while I’m on my two hours of commuting every day.

On this program, the author was talking about not listening or watching the news because its depressing, angrifying (that is so a word), and etc. I’m usually dreading going to the office anyways, so the last thing I need is to listen to anything that might make me more upset. I also have a habit of turning on the tv in the bedroom to the local news station while I’m getting ready – probably a bad idea. So we got a rain check for a speaker dock for my iPod.

I usually listen to one of the local radio stations on my way in and out. While I enjoy the morning show (the deejay is quite amusing), the news itself is rather depressing. The general idea is that I’ll be listening to more uplifting stuff than I have been.

In the evening, we cleaned out the cupboard under the stairs. No, there are no small magical boys there (although, that might be kind of cool :)) and I’ll have a full post about it later once I fix wordpress so I can actually upload photos.

So yesterday, I relaxed. I was feeling pretty mellow and finally slept well last night for the first time in a couple of weeks. Add to that the contract I was supposed to be teaching has been postponed due to administrative issues and it makes for a relaxing weekend.

Today, I got up early – the clock hadn’t even hit 7am (although when a person gets up at 5:30 every weekday, 7am is sleeping in). Made coffee, futzed around on the internet and wrapped Sunshine’s wedding gifts. Darren got up a bit later, finished off the coffee. I ran the dishwasher and then set about cleaning the upstairs patio.

The upstairs patio was in a sorry state. I didn’t clean it last year (although I had 12 weeks in which to do it but I have an aversion to wasps and we had quite the infestation last year). Quite honestly, I don’t think it had ever been cleaned. Even if I had a picture of it, I wouldn’t post it because I’m that ashamed of it. The floor of it was black.

While I was cleaning it, I found out that if I hit the grime with a bit of water pressure, it would come clean. Unfortunately, my neighbour’s power washer is broken, so I ended up scrubbing. It looks a helluva lot better now and is actually usable. I also drowned about 8 wasps out there. They’re just out of hibernation so they’re kind of stupid at the moment and its easy enough to drown them when I have the hose going.

And now, the laundry is going, I have a glass of wine and and have the new Def Leppard album* playing. Life is good.

Later: making hamburger soup to freeze and a chicken for dinner tonight.

And incidentally, I don’t just chuck the chicken bones. I cook them up into stock. The marrow in the bones provides the tastiest stock around. I don’t follow a recipe – I just throw some stuff in a pot with a lot of water and then leave it to cook for 3 hours. If you have a chicken carcass, just put it in a bag/container and shove it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

Recipe follows, although chicken stock is so easy it barely requires a recipe.

What you’ll need:

1 chicken carcass
1 large stock pot
various herbs (whatever you like, really – I use Italian Seasoning since that covers a whole bunch of herbs all at once)
Garlic (unless you don’t like it – I buy the bigass container of diced garlic at costco and then put in however much I like)
Other veggies (onions – dehydrated works – , carrots, celery, leeks if you have them and aren’t using them)
Water

How to do it:

If using garlic/onions: spray your stock pot with cooking spray (or heat a tablespoon of olive oil in it) and cook the onions/garlic over medium heat until the onions are transluscent or the garlic releases its flavour (you’ll smell it). Throw the chicken carcass with the veggies in the pot and cover with as much water as you can. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Skim the foam off the top. Add your herbs and if you’re like me add the dehydrated onions. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 or 4 hours. Or however long. It doesn’t matter, but if the chicken carcass isn’t covered by water any more, add more.

When done, remove from heat, remove bones and veggies and let cool. Strain through a cheesecloth (make sure you put a bowl below it. Not that I would know anything through personal experience about this. Really). Put a couple of cups in ziplocs (they are reusable if you wash them) and freeze, upright or flat until solid. If you have limited freezer space, freeze them flat (this will maximize your freezer space). Oh and squeeze as much air out before you freeze it (again, I wouldn’t know about this from personal experience. Really).

To thaw: submerge bags of chicken stock in warm water for awhile for a quick defrost. If you’re in a rush, put some warm water in the sink (you can use it for dishes or your plants later) and put the bags in for a few minutes just to soften them so you can dump them into a pot on the stove and and reheat. Cook your brown or wild rice in it. Add some beans to the rice for fibre, or chickpeas for…whatever chickpeas give you (protein? fibre?). Toss a bit of low-fat romano and parmigiano on there. Yum.

*I am sorely disappointed with the new Def Leppard album. Way too poppish. They tried to go back to their ballads on a couple of tracks, but its just not the same as Bringin’ on the Heartbreak or Hysteria. I understand having to change your marketing approach, but really. I should have known that it would be disappointing when I found out its primarily for for Guitar Hero.

 

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  • Comments Off on Remembering to BREATHE

The problem with working two jobs is, well, working two jobs.

The Bread-and-Butter job that pays the bills and fills my fridge (which for some reason is currently quite empty) and that shall not be talked about too much as I do not want to be dooced, has been, shall we say, hellish lately. I’ve had to do about 3 weeks of work in one week. ‘Nuff said.

The Dessert job (or as my mentor calls it, “your cruise job” which makes it sound more glamourous than it really is) is on top of this. It pays for my vacations.  And I love it. Really. Its such a part of me that when I went cold turkey off it a couple of years ago, I literally felt like part of me was missing. It was a bit of a rough patch until I figured out that it wasn’t the JOB I hated.  It was the recreation aspect and the sense of entitlement people had coming into public community centres.

But there are days where going into the dessert job is not all its cracked up to be. I walked in on Friday, the third-to-last day of doing some apprenticing on a certification, after having pulled out on the stops, worked through lunch hours for two weeks, not getting home before 7:30 for two weeks (and usually more like 8:00) and having my best friend say to me earlier in the day “Why are you IGNORING me????” (to which I replied, if anyone cares, “Go AWAY.”

I got there 15 minutes before beginning. My mentor got stuck in traffic after dealing with his own work problems all day and was almost late. I stuffed a sheaf of papers into his hands and got the class going, all the while thinking “I want to go HOME, and curl up on the sofa with my honey and watch a MOVIE.” I could feel the tears starting to come

Except, then, the candidates for the course? they.got.it. Their swimming strokes were fantastic compared to the previous week.  They were pleasant. They were happy to do what I needed them to do, even though I was grumpy about it.  And I remembered why I was there.

My mentor, after getting changed into appropriate swimming attire came out and asked, “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” I responded. “I’m breathing now.”

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