An Indian chief is talking to his tribe about two dogs fighting in his mind; one is a white dog that is kind and courageous, and a black dog that is vengeful and angry. Both dogs are fighting to the death. A young brave, unable to wait till the end of the story, asks, "Which one will win?", and the chief replies, "The one I feed".
I've not been in a very good mood lately. Frankly, I've been kind of a miserable thing to live with. Very negative, irritable, sarcastic. Smiling has become a bit of challenge as of late. My weight is creeping up. My house is messier than it should be. I would rather go shopping than do my work. To boot, my cooking sucks. When we had family over to eat about three weeks ago, I made a beautiful porcini mushroom risotto. Guess what? My heart was hardly in it, and it tasted that way. My rice was too raw. My beautiful idea and fantasy of how it should taste was ruined by my crappy attitude. Dried porcinis are pricey, too. Thank God I had some scotch there to make me feel better temporarily. I made a really nice vegetable stir fry for my grandson's birthday party last weekend. It was crisp, fresh tasting and very good when it was cooked, but I put it in the crockpot to keep it warm as the party began. It quickly turned soggy and not at all appetizing, and you know something? I really didn't care much. For 12 years, I have made dinner to satisfy the needs of the hard working hubby and the growing teenagers, but, as I have described in an earlier rumination, your head and heart have to be in it as much as your mixing spoon does. I'm not there lately. My cooking is something that, prior to my funk, I took pride in. It is something that I pretty much learned out of necessity. My parents are by no stretch cooks, so I bought cookbooks and watched a lot of Food Network to get the education that I needed to feed something nutritious to my new husband and his children while most of the people I went to high school with were still in college. Not much time to experiment and have fun. I've got a hungry crew to feed and a budget to do it with, as I'm sure most readers can relate to. When did I slip into Martyr Mode? I wasn't like this a few years ago. I was happy, energetic and outgoing, not afraid to do something that others would disapprove of. I have flamingoes in my front yard, for Christ's sake. Where's that chick? I miss her. I am still pretty brave compared to most, but when you throw 'doesn't give a damn' in there, it becomes a problem for broads like me that are quick with their sharp tongue. When my sister asks me how I am and she laughs hysterically at my answer, I feel like me again. Where have I lost my ability to see the humor in my day to day? When did stuff start getting to me? When did I start paying so much attention to the quirks of others to make me read into them and let them bother me? I'm not perfect, so why should I get impatient with others when they are not? Why do I let the actions of others affect me so when they shouldn't in the slightest bit?
I am feeding the wrong dog, and it is making a total mess of things.
It makes sense to me that I need to return the focus to myself, obviously the most important person in my life. When I was an EMT, they taught us to never put ourselves in danger because if we got hurt, we wouldn't be able to help others (my favorite was the lesson for a Hazardous Materials Incident Management where it was explained that we needed only two pieces of equipment- a lawn chair and a pair of binoculars).
So what are the things that I enjoy doing that I need to get back to after a long grumpy winter?
I wanna eat.
I wanna cook.
I wanna be active and walk my cute little dog and take our tortoise to play in the backyard.
I wanna grow my veggies. I haven't done it for two years because we spent all of last summer packing up the house we were moving out of.
Today, I started 144 seeds in the starter pots. Peppers, lettuces, collard greens, daikon radish, lots of arugula, peas, parsley and basil. And that's just in one raised bed of my new house. I have a lot more to do. I'm looking forward to growing my own food again. Two years ago I sent my husband, who I practically worship, to work with a nice salad from our garden almost everyday. My labor of love for him. I feel an enormous sense of pride when I create a meal made out of something from my own backyard. I wanna tell the world that I worked for this meal from beginning to end, dammit, and it tastes delicious, its more nutritious than anything that has pesticides or wax coating from the grocery store and it was nurtured with time, sunshine and fresh water. That's part of my personality- I take care of things, and I try hard to do it right.
I am the only one who can do anything about my crappy outlook. I started exercising again about 2 weeks ago and I'm already seeing improvement. Today, I've chosen to start my garden to give me something to replenish the self worth that the cold winter has taken from me. It's time to plot and plan my apologies to my stepchildren for being crabby and condescending. Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I've picked a recipe for a chocolate cake made with Guinness. I've got a stash of audiobooks to go through. Leisurely of course. Making myself a good person again is not a chore, but it should be something that is enjoyed because I'm doing it for the right reasons. Sounds strangely like making sauce. Hmmm....