5 Things I Saw Today – March 2022

1. Bread baking – I should say what I smelled instead of saw in March, because as beautiful as golden, loaves of bread baking in the oven are, it’s the smell that is unforgettable. I love making bread, of any kind. But I longed to make the kind of bread we used to get in the bakery in Paterson, NJ, La Borinquen with its bold blue painted store front. They made a lard bread so pillowy white, soft, unbelievable. It would seem after eating that bread, that maybe, man can live on bread alone, at least while it’s in the mouth. I found a recipe on-line, purported to be Puerto Rican lard bread and I got right to it. It had no milk and no butter but it did have lard. The bread was fantastic, not quite the same as La Borinquen, but close enough that I’ve made two times since and will make it again tomorrow. Hunting for recipes on-line takes courage and a little know-how. If the ingredients seem way different or much less or more than most, chances are it’s a dud. I got lucky with this one. I made what were supposed to be hamburger buns the week before and they will never be made again. March 2022 will go down as the month that lard bread became a staple in our house. Cheers for new recipes!

2. The impact of a fresh coat of paint, not on the walls which can no doubt transform a room but fresh paint on the ceilings, not something that’s done often. In my house, we may be the first since it was built. It’s been awhile for sure as the new paint is blinding white next to the old paint that is grayish, dull, sad. With each stroke of the paint on the ceiling, the house felt new, like it went from uncared for, to finished, complete, ours. I didn’t know it until after it was done that the dingy ceilings made the whole space seem tired, used and not put together. Sometimes the reason for that feeling of defeat and dismay is right there in plain sight, something neglected that just needs your attention. Could be your need for rest or a partner’s need for a hug or that it’s time to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ or ‘sorry’. The painting wasn’t easy. Arms ached reaching, legs ached getting up and down the ladder, and covering floors, furniture, the cat, took some amount of effort and time (I could have been writing!) but what I got in return was a sense of home that I didn’t even know was lacking.

3. Oil light – I never have trouble with my car (2014 Subaru Forester) so when the red icon of an oil can came on in the middle of my hour commute, I was in shock. I’m spoiled. My husband changes the oil in my car. I don’t even think about it. My pre-marriage rate of oil changes was not so great. Of course that old car was a beast and could run on vegetable oil…no I didn’t try that, just saying. Those days oil came in a can. Now it’s in a handy plastic bottle. Twist off the cover and pour it in. Thankfully, my husband noticed the oil seemed to be burning up fast and put a spare bottle in the car. Didn’t even know it was there until I relayed the news of the nasty red icon. You never know when some trouble will jump up and scare you, especially these days right? If we could always be so prepared as I was that morning, with a quick fix, back on track, forget it even happened solution. We can try; buy extra packs of TP, stock up on canned beans, fill a gas can before it goes up another dollar. We put money in a 401k and it leaks out, might as well buy a boat then save in an account tied to the economy. No, my friends, we can’t insulate our lives from all the troubles that we will likely need to endure, but we can be courageous, get up everyday and do our best. It helps of course if you’ve got someone in your life who can think ahead a little and when even they fall through, if you believe, there’s an open line to prayer.

4. The wonder of a solar generator- it may sound crazy but I’ve had a dream to live solar powered my whole life, long before it was a realistic option. So, part of my dream came true the other day. I finally bought a solar generator and a solar panel with enough wattage to power our micro- teardrop camper. We can now go off boon docking without a gas can, the noise and the hassle of starting up a combustion engine. I feel amazingly free! Of course, we can’t boon dock for another couple of months, but people I’m ready.

5. A mother having her children parceled out to strangers. I saw this in a dream, no less alarming than what’s on the news, but in a dream, I’m there like VR, as a mostly helpless bystander. The dream was of a mother with an infant, a toddler and a couple of preschoolers. She was trying to round them all up to leave the room they were sheltering in. Something happened and she couldn’t care for them. The toddler was pulled away, crying and devastated being given to a couple who could take him in. All I could think of was how traumatized the child was, how heart broken the mother, how little I could do.

Sorry to end on a down note but maybe these musings will stir something in you. Write on! Help on! Be someone’s peace today.

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