Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday cooking and catch-up

I didn't do any shopping this week, determined to cook using stuff I already have on hand. I invited people over last Thursday for raclette so I still have plenty of cheese and bits and pieces leftover from that. Trying to think of something to do with the jar of courgette slices in oil sitting in the fridge, my eye fell on the large packet of chickpeas I got from the Turkish supermarket a while back and since I also remembered the remains of the curry paste in the fridge, I decided on chickpea curry.

I soaked the chickpeas overnight (400g, as I checked my WW book and saw a portion given as 100g dried for 4.5 pts) and after getting back from the pool this afternoon set them to boil. I also sliced the last of the potatoes from the other night and fried them up with a few dried tomatoes and some cheese. So that was lunch while the chickpeas were cooking. Later on I sliced a red onion, a yellow onion, five cloves of garlic as well as a just over an inch-long piece of ginger. That all went into some olive oil to fry off for a bit while I rummaged through the spice cupboard. I wasn't following any particular recipe, just had a quick flick through a few cookbooks for inspiration. I added some mustard seeds to the pan, followed by a small amount of ground cumin, some tumeric, a couple of curry leaves and the seeds from four cardamon pods, which I smushed up a bit with a pestle. Then in went three teaspoons of the curry paste and a few minutes later, a tin of tomatoes. I then added the chickpeas to the whole lot and five or six spoonfuls of the cooking water, as 400g of chickpeas is really quite a lot. I'm wondering if WW really intended that 100g dried is a portion or if it was just given as 100g is a convenient amount to list. I left it simmering and it was only about half an hour later, while talking to my sister, that I remembered that the whole point of the exercise had been to use up the courgette slices. So, back into the kitchen and in they went (minus as much of the oil as I could manage to leave in the jar). Just had a small bowlful and I have to say, it's very, very tasty. Looking forward to eating it over the course of the week. In fact, I've just gone back for a second small bowl and put the rest into Tupperware and it only fit into three containers - really two and a half so it looks like portionwise, I wasn't too far off after all. I'll spread it out by having the half portion with rice. In fact, if I were to eat them all with rice I'd have five portions - we'll see how the week goes.

I haven't really felt much like blogging this week. Haven't even really felt much like reading blogs this week, which is unusual but I'm just going with it. The visual journal idea has fallen by the wayside, too. I have gotten some stuff done though. I've been making a big effort to try to get things under control at work. I seem to have lost the ability to just keep everything on track, my head just hasn't been the same the last few months. I know grief can do strange things but it genuinely feels like I'm kind of broken. My memory is completely shot.

So, rather than waiting for myself to get back to normal, bearing in mind there's no guarantee that'll ever happen and that it doesn't seem to happening now, I spent some time a couple of weeks ago writing out lists of all the stuff I need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. There are a lot of tasks that I need to do which don't take a huge amount of time if I do them daily but build up to enourmous loads if they're ignored (or forgotten about!) for a few days. And other things that we don't necessarily get reminders about but which it is very important to take care of every few weeks.  So far, it's working out fairly well although it's bringing back to me just how much is involved in my job. There are so many little things that might only take a few minutes but of course a few minutes multiplied by twenty starts to build up into much larger chunks of time. And this is just all of the background stuff - my main tasks of dealing with what correspondence and other stuff that my boss and the staff I work for need still have to be done too. To my list of stuff, I've added clearing ten old emails every day. This is working out really well. I've completely cleared my sent items, except for stuff I need to still keep an eye on, which is about seven emails. And by the end of next week, I should have my inbox completely cleared. I do still have some very old emails that at some stage just got moved to a temporary folder - they've all been dealt with and just need to be moved to the appropriate place or deleted so once I've finished with my inbox I'll keep going with that and finally get them all dealt with, too. Honestly, I'm kind of thinking ahead to the end of the year and wanting to make sure that I leave everything in order when I move on.

These are kind of small steps but they are giving me back a measure of feeling in control. This weekend, for the first time in a long time, I didn't spend most of the time thinking that it really would be better if I could go into work for a couple of hours to clear some of the backlog and get ahead a bit. Yesterday, I got the washing done and then I met a friend in town to go to an exhibition of Alexander Calder's sculptures. I'm not much of a one for modern art and yet for the third time, I found myself heading for K20, the only art museum I've actually made it to in the five years I've lived here. Go figure. We also walked around the normal collection and saw some really lovely stuff (as well as some really, scratch-your-head-how-is-that-art kind of pieces. Cough, Joseph Beuys, cough.) I got to finally make a note of one piece which I really, really like, even if it is modern art and looks so simple a kid could have done it. It's called Gamma Gamma and is by Morris Louis. I did get given out to for standing too close to it though. Oops. The Mark Rothko pieces I've seen there before weren't on display but there were two huge pieces of just blocks of colour, which were actually knitted pieces over canvas. So simple but the sheer size and the depth of colour were amazing. They're the kind of pieces you could look at a photo of and think it's nothing special but when you're standing in front of them really are breathtaking. Can't remember now the name of the artist. It seems I'm destined to keep having to go back to check names of artists.

At least my BahnCard got me a discount and my friend told me about a special ArtCard you can buy which gives you admission to all of the museums and galleries for a full year. It costs around 55 euro and I'm going to get one and we've agreed that we will go together once a month. She made the point that a lot of the time what she uses it for is when she's arranged to meet someone and is ten or fifteen minutes early. She can go and wander around for the few minutes she's waiting - not enough time to justify paying in, but if you can get in, enough time to soak up a picture or two.

Otherwise, my take the stairs challenge is going pretty well. I didn't do much else this week in terms of movement though. I did two mornings of stretching and then my back was a bit sore so I didn't want to exacerbate it. I was wearing my older boots and orthotics as I'd had to leave in my good shoes to be fixed again. I got new soles just a few months ago and one of them started to come unstuck. It turns out that I'd worn almost through the insoles so there was no resistance or something like that. So now I have new leather insoles (32 euro) and they re-fixed the soles (free). I got them back on Friday morning and by Friday evening felt such an improvement that I walked home without any problems. So it seems like it wasn't the stretching doing my back in, it was just the old shoes. Must remember that because I know I've noticed it before. I walked home from town on Saturday as well and then this afternoon I went swimming. Just for half-an-hour but it really felt good. I love being in the water. Along with a nice conversation with my brother yesterday evening, staying in bed late reading this morning, keeping on top of the washing up and getting some cooking done, all in all it has been a very nice weekend. Hope everyone has been enjoying theirs, too.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

It somehow gives a great sense of control to clear out emails. I find swimming a great stress-buster, too. Hope you are enjoying this weekend as well!