Guided by prompts from WDC blogging challenges... and of course, life
This is a collection of writings prompted by WDC blogging challenges from "Journalistic Intentions" , "Blogging Circle of Friends " , "30-Day Blogging Challenge" and, well, life.|
|"Journalistic Intentions" October Entry 5 - Fish and Chips
While the concept of fish and chips still exists in my neck of the southern US, we do things a bit differently down here - and we don't call our fries "chips". Not a big deal really, it's just that if you say you'd like some chips in my part of Texas, you would be handed a bag of either potato chips or corn chips to eat with your fried fish. But, that's just a difference of locality that changes the lingo. However, how we fry our fish is also different. Rather than making a batter to dip the fish filets into, we use a dry cornmeal mixture to coat the fish before we put it into the deep fryer to cook. Rather than using saltwater fish like cod or haddock, we tend to use primarily freshwater fish such as catfish, bass, and crappie when we fry fish. We like our fried fish so much in the southern US that we have this thing called a fish fry where copious amounts of fish is fried up for large groups of people to enjoy while we socialize with friends and family. There are plenty of fries to be found at a fish fry too. Like I said we do fish and chips, we just do it differently. And at a fish fry you can almost always find additional sides like coleslaw or baked beans and some kind of roll, biscuit, or bread (my choice is cornbread).
But you know, as I discussed the differences and similarities, I couldn't help but wonder where the term "French fries", or "fries" for short originated. So, I looked it up thanks to the world wide web. But, there are so many different stories about when and where fries were created that I'm going to save that discussion for another day.
|"Journalistic Intentions" October Entry 4 - Lion's Mane Mushrooms
This topic has come up many times in my daily life over the last few weeks, so I decided to research it more and write about this little mycological and culinary marvel. There are precious few fungi that are both used in culinary creations and medicinally. Usually, you find one without the other. What exactly is a lion's mane mushroom? How are they used medicinally? What kinds of things do they treat? How are they commonly cooked and eaten? I intend on answering all of these questions here.
The Latin name for lion's mane mushroom is Hericium erinaceus and in various parts of the world has also been referred to as "bearded tooth fungus", "bearded hedgehog mushroom", and "monkey head mushroom", to name but a few. An interesting fact about the Latin name of this fungus is that both the genus name, "Hericium" and the species name, "erinaceus" mean hedgehog inn the Latin language, according to Wikipedia (how correct this piece of information is remains to be seen, but it is interesting).
The lion's mane is native throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, preferring hardwood trees as hosts. While the lion's mane is native throughout the northern hemisphere, it has been listed as threatened in the UK, however, they are produced industrially in the US on a small scale and on a larger scale in Asia. The mushrooms (the fruiting bodies of the fungus) generally produce in the fall months, between August and November. The greatest spore production within the lion's mane mushroom happens during these months around midday each day and tend to produce more during warmer days with moderately high humidity. This particular fungus has a slow mycelium growth (the main part of the fungus that is found within the tree it is growing on) and has been known to be able to last decades within the host tree.
Lion's mane is a specialty mushroom commonly used in gourmet cooking and has a flavor that has been likened to lobster, shrimp, or crab. The mushrooms can be dried, fried, cut into steaks and pan cooked, cut into strips and sauteed with chopped garlic, onions, and the like, or even eaten raw. One of the recipes I found worth trying was a vegetarian ceviche . Check it out some time.
Lion’s mane mushrooms have been known for some time in parts of Asia to be great for various body functions and conditions. For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has used lion's mane mushrooms for aiding in the cure of certain ailments. In Japan, Buddhist monks revered and understood it to be almost a mystical source of nutrition. Studies have shown that lion's mane could possibly stimulate brain cell growth, protecting those cells from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Studies have also shown possibilities in regenerating cells damaged due to peripheral nerve injury, to potentially slow the progression or reverse the spread of certain types of cancer, to improve digestive and circulatory health as well as supporting the heart, prevent blood clots, and to reduce inflammation. These mushrooms have also shown promise when attempting to improve immune function, manage diabetes, and improve mental health.
The only side effect of ingesting lion's mane I was able to find was caused by an allergic reaction to the mushroom. It sounds too good to be true, right? Makes me want to try some right now! Today supplements of lion's mane can be found in powder form, pill form, and as a tea. And don't worry. You can buy the raw mushrooms at specialty grocers or if you reside in the US, you can order a kit so you can grow your own lion's mane mushrooms!
|"Journalistic Intentions" October Entry 3 - Cheese
All my life I have had a love affair with cheese. As a kid, I would get into trouble with my mom by sneaking into the kitchen around dinnertime and eating the crispy browned cheese off the top of dishes like pizza and lasagna. Grilled cheese sandwiches were my favorite lunchtime fare until I got into high school and learned you could add hot ham to the sandwich and make it even better. But even today, if I am feeling bad all I want to eat is a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of either chicken noodle or tomato soup. For me, cheese in any form is the ultimate comfort food. It is the best food for the munchies and is an excellent addition to any meal. I married a man who is just as enthusiastic about cheese and our girls also share our love. We joke we are like a family of mice we like cheese so much. It is probably our most purchased and eaten food item. Shredded, sliced, block - I buy them all every time I go to the grocery store to shop. You will also find cottage cheese, soft cheeses, and curds in our fridge. Recently, I have seen signs that my husband is even more bonkers for cheese than I am. I have caught him sleepwalking to the refrigerator in the middle of the night and grabbing slices of cheese or handfuls of shredded cheese. I have even awoken in the morning to find slices of cheese in bed with us, stuck to his arm or torso and even stuck to the bed sheets. Cheese is by far my favorite food though. In fact while I have been able to survive without eating many greens due to one of my health conditions and one of the medications I am on, I really don't think I could go a day without eating cheese. I would be like I was as a kid or maybe even take a few lessons from the hubby and sneak it every chance I got.
Here's to the love of cheese! Possibly the world's greatest culinary discovery.
|"Journalistic Intentions" - October Entry 2 - Cabbage
Cabbage is an acquired taste. There are people out there who won't touch the stuff no matter how it is cooked. But for me, it has always been a part of my life. Cabbage dishes are found at every family holiday gathering; boiled up with some bacon on Thanksgiving and Christmas, chopped up and made into slaw to accompany fish or burgers on the Fourth of July. Momma made cabbage rolls in the colder months while I was growing up too. I always looked forward to those. And sauerkraut as a side to smoked sausages. Cabbage in our salads. The women in my family always believed that cabbage helped with ills as well as putting food in our stomachs. Having urination issues? Eat some boiled cabbage. Constipated? Boiled cabbage. Need to lose some weight? I have had family members who actually went on all cabbage diets and did in fact lose weight. Now, whether or not that was a healthy way to do it is still in question. But there are circumstances in life where a person isn't able to eat this delicious vegetable due to its Vitamin-K content. All green (and some red and purple) fruits and veggies have notable amounts of Vitamin-K in them. People who have to be on blood thinners, like Coumadin, are told to reduce the amount of greens they eat. Vitamin-K helps blood clotting in a person's body, something that is needed to remain healthy. Fewer greens means less cabbage as well as less salad greens, okra, green beans, olives, etc. Let me just tell you, it's hard going from having cabbage as an important part of a diet to being restricted on the intake of it. But, I still cheat sometimes during the holidays. Sometimes, there's nothing better at soothing the soul than cabbage.
DAY 3258 October 14, 2021
Let's talk about the psychology of fright. What do so many people enjoy about being terrified? Discuss the physical and emotional needs that are filled through this experience.
I think it's all in the chemicals our bodies put out when we put ourselves through things that scare us. The adrenaline is a rush better than any drug. That is why someone somewhere coined the term "adrenaline junkie" - some people just cannot get enough of it. So here's pretty much how it all goes down.
1. A person experiences fright in some manner
2. The fear response starts in a region of the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is an almond-shaped area in the temporal lobe (base) of the brain that is dedicated to detecting how stimuli will affect us emotionally.
3. When the amygdala interprets the signal as one of fear, it sends signals to the pituitary gland which in turns signals the adrenal gland, where the Fight-or-Flight response is triggered: "our breathing and heart rate can increase rapidly, the peripheral blood vessels can constrict which can cause our extremities to lose the capability to perform fine motor functions whilst central blood vessels around our organs dilate to pump oxygen and nutrients to them so they can keep functioning at a high level. Our muscles will be filled with blood priming them for action."
4. Once these signals are running rampant through our bloodstream, it finally reaches the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex which help the brain interpret the perceived threat. They help a person know whether a perceived threat is real, or when a threat has passed. This is when a person will begin to "come down" from their adrenaline high, as the brain begins to signal that the threat is not a real one or that the threat is over.
These responses are primal and deeply ingrained in each of us. WHy do some people love to be frightened? Easy. They like the high.
|Life is like a tornado. It has picked me up and held me prisoner in its vortex for the last few days. All these doctors! And my new "part-time" job has sucked any remaining energy from me. I've been passing out before 8pm every night this week. Makes it hard to keep up with my blog or household chores, but I'm sure I'll get into the swing of things - or I'll have to turn in my notice at work. Health comes first after all. There's still a whole mess of personal things going on too. It is what it is though. The Lord wouldn't put me in a situation I couldn't handle though, and help is just a prayer away. I'm reminded every day of how blessed I am to be able to wake up and enjoy all the Lord has given me. Things could be worse for me, they already have more than a few times. In fact, I'm kinda like a cat with how many times I've been at death's door and somehow come through it. My death doesn't scare me. You want to know what truly scares me? Outliving my daughters or losing my memory completely. My memory is the only place some of those most dear to me can be found now. As far as the kids, some drama happened recently that reminded me of how much I love my girls and how despondent I would be should either one die before me, or have terrible things happen to them that they would then have to suffer/live through. Let's suffice it to say that circumstances scared the living shit outta me! I would do anything for my girls to be safe - even drive thousands of miles across the country to rescue one of them from a bad situation.
That's a summary of why I haven't posted in a while. Life is too short. Better enjoy what you have while you have it.
|I haven't been on WDC as much as usual of late, as I've been out of sorts. I had to go in today to have some cardiac tests run. Lemme tell you, those myocardial stress tests suck! And it took the hospital TWO hours to get an IV in me for the darned procedures. I guess I'm just special like that - but I did warn them that I'm a hard stick. Two regular sticks followed by three using ultrasound guidance before they finally hit a vein. Came out of the place all bruised up, looking like a junkie. Then the stuff they pumped into me, I thought that stuff was gonna be what finally killed me! But I'm still alive, and more than a little worse for the wear. Tired as can be. The only procedure that wasn't absolutely horrible was the ECG. I've probably seen more of the interior workings of my own body in my 45 years than some see in their entire lifetimes. But, those were the cards I have been dealt so those are the ones I must play this game of Life using. Yesterday evening, there were even more problems. Had the hubby worried to absolute death! I was napping on the sofa when a massive cramp in my left thigh woke me up. Hurt worse than when I was shot in the leg. I don't say expletives often but a whole string of really good ones came out - those I am generally offended by in normal situations. Massive leg cramp in the leg with the blood clot and my body temperature plummets. WTF?! Still don't know what caused that little crapisode. But, I'm still alive and somewhat kicking. Being ill makes me so tired though. The Lord is my comfort however. And I am reminded each day that there are still people out there who have it worse than I do, this is just a test of my conviction to Christ and to life. And giving up on either would be a cop-out. Cheerio's for the day everyone! May the Lord bless you all and keep you all safe, sane, and healthy (or at least relatively so).
|Its October!! Soon, the temperatures will be cooling off and Fall will be able to actually be seen down here in Texas. This month, I am participating in "Journalistic Intentions" and continuing to participate in "Blogging Circle of Friends " - and of course, life will be visited from time to time as well...
Day 3244 - October 1, 2021
“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”~ ― Rainbow Rowell
Let this quote inspire your writing today.
Call me crazy, but I have always been a fan of corduroy. Love that fabric! I bring out my corduroy pants as soon as the weather gets cool enough to wear them. October is one of my favorite months too. There are so many great things that begin to happen in October. In Texas, the weather usually starts to become chilly, the farther into the month we go. And I love Fall, with the leaves falling everywhere, the crispness to the air, the hint of scent of plant decay outside. It's all so beckoning to me, it pulls me out of doors to interact with nature in all her Autumn glory. I love that this is the time of year we can start cooking and eating heartier meals, those that were too heavy for summertime consumption, like stews and chili and casseroles. And pumpkins! I love pumpkins. I keep them as decorations, then right before Halloween, I carve them up and pull out all the seeds and pumpkin meat and then create ghastly faces which will glow from within on Halloween night. And the seeds, I salt them and roast them for an extra special treat for the family! And who can forget all the Halloween candy! I buy candy knowing full well that trick-or-treaters seldom show up at our doorstep, but also knowing that I'll then have an excuse to eat all those sugary treats myself. So much to love about this time of year, and this month in particular! October! You're as close to perfect as any month can get.
"Journalistic Intentions" October 1, 2021
Prompt: American Butchery
I grew up in an area of Texas farmland where we raised our own animals for slaughter. We'd name the animals, of course, but we knew they would eventually end up on our table so we gave them names like Sir Loin, T Bone, and Pork Chop - some of them had normal names after a while but we still knew that they would eventually become sustenance for us. We knew what our animals were eating and we knew there were no growth hormones or other additives.
I learned early how to slaughter an animal, how to bleed it and skin it (or remove the feathers from birds), how to cut it up. Butchering the animals took the whole family. My favorite part of it was making burger meat. The grinder we used was a manual one and required someone to turn the handle for the meat to be ground. It was messy and strange noises came from the meat as it was being ground up. I'd be covered in blood and gore by the end of my task. But I enjoyed it.
As Momma and Daddy became older, they decided to take the animals to the local slaughter house for processing. We lived in a predominately Czech area of Texas, and the spice blend they used in the sausage was unlike any I can find in the stores today. The flavor of the meats we grew and slaughtered ourselves or took for local processing was much fresher and tastier than anything I have been able to find in my adult life. Then again, small time processing will always be more favorable than mass production in my opinion.
|It's been a great September. I'm looking forward to October though. Roasted pumpkin seeds, lots of candy, leaves falling from trees, a hint of decay on the finally chilly air...yup, fall is the time when I come into my own.
PROMPT September 30th
Wow, it's the end of the month! It's time for our last prompt, and to ask you for any input you may have for future prompts. Here's the prompt for tonight. Where do you want to go on your next road trip? Who would you like to have by your side as you experience this?
I would simply like to get into the Jeep with my husband and just go. Pick a direction and just drive. It doesn't really matter where, as long as my sweet Canadian is with me. I know it sounds sappy, but the best road trips have begun this way.
DAY 3243 September 30, 2021
Three months left of 2021, I always find this time of year is great for introspection. Did you accomplish any of the goals you hoped to have completed? Or do you still have time before the year ends? Or have you tossed them into whatever land?
I don't generally set goals for myself, unless you consider living a goal. I seem to be doing that fairly well. I threw getting healthy out the window a long time ago. I'm not one to lie to myself that any of my diseases can be cured. I can only be medicated to lessen the effects and maybe give me a wee bit longer to enjoy life and appreciate my family and the world's beauty.
PROMPT September 29th
A different kind of prompt tonight. "Speak soft my name" Tell us your thoughts about it. You don't need to write a review of this poem, read it, tell us what you think.
I enjoyed how the poem's energy mimicked a tsunami, slowly building up, peaking, and then ebbing into stillness. I loved it. Beautiful and left me speechless.
Day 3242: September 29, 2021
Prompt: Write about forgetfulness.
I forgot to remember that I wanted to forget that particular memory. It was a doozy when it hit me again after all this time. My heart clenched just like my fists as I remembered everything: the hurt, the letdown, the emptiness. I remember how I so wanted for it all to never have happened. But of all the memories I had to remember, this is the one that stays. Forgetting would have been so much better on me.
PROMPT September 28th
What kind of goals would you like to work toward over the next five years.
My goals for the next 5 years are pretty simple:
2. get healthier/stronger
3. show loved ones I care
4. find the beauty in each day
5. finally get on SS Disability