Saturday, April 11, 2015

Looking for Good News at 3:31 in the Morning

I'd like to find something to complain about, but that would be no fun. It's 3:31 in the morning. I'm awake at 3:31 in the morning. It's not even close to dawn. It's not even close to the sound of birds singing or Nick and Mike sitting down to another video game marathon and some hearty arguing about whose turn it is on Skyrim. So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out what is good to say.

I'm a little more upright than I was yesterday or the day before. The virus doesn't seem to have hold of me by the neck the way it did. What else?

The hum of the refrigerator is keeping me company. This is one of those nights when it might be a joy to open it up and stare at the contents, but I know what's in there and if I were fourteen, I'd stand there with it open for ten minutes and declare to no one in particular that there's nothing in the fridge.

There's nothing in the fridge. The truth is that I'm incredibly bored by what is actually in the fridge. Uncooked bacon, cheese, smoked salmon, four or five kinds of cheese, three kinds of milk, old strawberries, ham, one serving of chicken fricassee with too much rice, flaccid celery, apples, a kiwi, an old grapefruit, snap peas, hummus, a cucumber if Mike hasn't finished it, shredded carrots - can you tell that I'm going drawer by drawer in my memory now? - Perrier, two kinds of plain Greek yoghurt, uncooked cheese tortellini, tomato soup that I made yesterday. Mmmm. Tomato soup.

Okay, so maybe there are some things in the fridge, but I'm not clicking on anything, so I need to go on. What else is there that's good to say this morning?


I'm thinking. Hold on a bit.

Teddy is snuggled up on the pillows on the couch. What is it about making something forbidden that gives it so much allure, even for a dog? I've given up and we now have flat, earthy-smelling pillows on the couch. The good part of that is that when we are eating a meal balanced on one of those pillows on the couch, there's a very good chance that we are boosting our immune systems. Did you know that having pets in the house boosts your whole family's immune systems?

All you mothers out there take note. Cleaning, to a certain degree, is not good for your health. When I tried to put that onto the page, it resisted. My mind went to salmonella and bed bugs and the way there are as many germs in your kitchen sink as in your toilet.

Not a good thing to think about at 3:58 in the morning.

I was just trying to make some messy moms feel better.

I know, but it's gross.

All things in moderation then. Right. Let's get on with things. I was coming up with good things to tell you at this hour.

The highway is quiet. Oh, I don't mind the highway. I've always liked it if I'm telling the truth. It's like a river that runs past my house. We live in a tiny eddy off the main current. People flow along the river.

In both directions. That's rich.

Yes, in both directions. I listen for the Doppler effect, that lowering of the whine of the tires as a car goes by. There's something satisfying about that moment, when the sound releases, like going just past a climax. In a story. Right. In a story. At this hour, I can tell you, the highway isn't a constant flow of sound, but single events. The good thing about that is that I imagine that population that is usually going by my house at sixty miles an hour and I can tell you that most of them are at home asleep right now. Blissful sleep. There are a few people rushing, either going to an early job or coming home late. The good thing about that?

I don't know, routine, maybe? Peace found in a busy society. You have to imagine that person who's going to work at this hour can be by herself for a bit before the morning rush begins. There are things to do, but no one else is hovering over her as she does it.

And there are people who's nights have just ended and they're finally going home. I try not to think about how safe my road is at this hour. What time do the bars close, anyway?  I've heard difficulty out there on occasion. Mostly, people are getting home in one piece. That's a good thing.

Okay, I'll admit that it's hard to come up with good things at this hour.

<more crickets>

Well, you couldn't really tell, but I just took a little break to futz around in the kitchen for a moment. It's nice to futz around in the kitchen at 4:39 in the morning. And I've come back to sit with you with some good news.

The good news is peppermint tea. Yes, if you have to be up at 4:41 in the morning, peppermint tea with just a touch of sweet in it it will cheer you right up. Your favorite mug will warm your hands and the steam will soothe your sinuses, and you have to admit that it reminds you just a little bit of Christmas.

The other good news is that if you cut up your flaccid celery and put it into a dish of cold water, which I did yesterday, it perks right up and tastes fresh again, as long as it wasn't slimy. There is no perking up slimy celery, so just throw that shit out.

Of all the things in my fridge, you might want to know why I'm going for celery. The answer is peanut butter. If you can't crash around in your kitchen without waking the whole family, peanut butter is your man, well, your legume. And it will help with your tepid response to that celery, even after it has perked up in the cold water in the fridge.

I always feel a little like a kid when I eat celery and peanut butter.

And here's one more trick. You know those foods that are the new thing? Like, what is it about quinoa? I had never even heard of quinoa a year ago and now it's in almost everything. Quinoa groatmeal, and quinoa burritos, and quinoa smoothies. Yuck. I just haven't found a way to incorporate quinoa into my daily diet. So, forget quinoa.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a package of chia seeds. Chia. Spellchecker doesn't even recognize chia, so I must be on the leading edge of this health food wave. Ha! Me, on the leading edge. Imagine that.

I read a book that said I should be eating a lot more seeds and nuts than I am. Well, okay, I'll try to eat more seeds and nuts. Peanut butter counts, right? Especially since I buy all natural peanut butter, right? Never mind the sugar in it. Never mind that.

So, on top of eating more peanut butter, I tried finding ways to incorporate chia seeds into my diet. I started adding it to stuff. I tried them on my salads and it didn't quite work. I tried chia in my oatmeal and it wasn't bad, but I wasn't amazed. They have very little taste and the consistency of kiwi seeds and I didn't want kiwi seeds in my oatmeal. I couldn't think what I was going to do with this huge bag of chia seeds that seemed to spill all over the floor and the counter whenever I opened the bag. Then, I dipped a bit of peanut butter into a tiny bowl of chia seeds I had leftover from a salad one day. Perfect.

Chia seeds make your smooth peanut butter taste crunchy without messing with your fillings. And that makes eating a whole bunch of previously flaccid celery a lot more appetizing. There, without realizing it, you've eaten whole servings of celery and didn't even grimace once.

I'll warn you that you'll spend the next twenty minutes picking fluffy chia seeds out of your teeth, but it's all worth it in the name of staying healthy. Plus, I think they puff up in your stomach and make you feel more full after eating a bunch of celery. Calories? Forget calories.

My guess, based on the current wave of chia in health food, you can eat as many chia seeds as you can fit onto a big glob of peanut butter.

And that's my good news for the night.

The last bit of good news I have for you is that it feels divine to crawl back into bed at 5:23 in the morning, absolutely divine.

Thank you for listening, jb

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