Setting my Intentions: A Change in the Weather

Our CSA haul for the week. Full of promise! Just like me? (Let’s hope so!)

This weekend, the weather in Hampton Roads turned from persistently warm to cold and rainy. In short, fall began to really feel like fall. Fall has always felt like my time of year:  something about rotting leaves, gray skies, and a chill in the air makes me want to hunker down and write or read or cook. Not that I don’t do those things year-round; it just feels its most natural when the trees turn orange and I can wear a sweater and a scarf without feeling over-dressed.

Today, as I was coming home, I thought about my blog. Over the past two weeks, my grading has run away with me. I’ve been sick, plowing through boxes of tissues and ending each day too tired to sit down and blog. And since I haven’t been cooking (because I’ve been sick) and I haven’t been writing (because I need to grade papers), I haven’t felt like I had much to say.

I hate that jammed up feeling, the kind where it feels like no matter what I do, I’m not doing enough. I’m not doing what I should be doing.

I like the act of setting these intentions each week – what I’ll cook with the goodies I got from my CSA – because it seems like a way to make a promise to myself. And since I have to eat, then I know I’ll keep the promise.

But there are promises I make to myself each week that I don’t keep. I end up shorting myself on writing, mostly. And the thing is:  I have to write. If I want to the jobs and the life I want, I have to write. But writing doesn’t pay my bills. I don’t have students waiting for me to give them chapters of my book. I have a limited system of accountability, and sometimes, it’s easy to run and hide from it, to make excuses, to cook and work and leave no time for writing.

Vicious cycle.

But it seems that the best I can do is to keep at it. Keep setting those intentions. Keep making those promises. And beyond just making the promise, make the effort as well. Make the conditions perfect; clear my schedule, clear off my desk, clear out my mind. Use this change in the weather, this romance I have with cooler weather and the sound of rain on my window, as a kick-start to do my work.

My CSA Intentions

Red Delicious apples:  These are perhaps my least favorite apple. So in an effort to boost their flavor and make them more edible, I’m trying overnight apple butter in the crockpot. I have a beautiful dream of spreading apple butter over my toast in the morning. Any leftover apples will go into a Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp.

Turnips:  I remain in a struggle to make turnips edible without the use of copious amounts of cream and cheese. This week I’ll try again. Maybe in a soup?

Collard Greens:  Paula Deen Braised Collards, y’all!

Asian Pears:  No preparation needed. Put them in my lunch bag, and I’ll eat them for lunch. Yum!

Sprouts:  Last time I had sprouts, I made wheatberry bread with them. This time, I have alfalfa sprouts that are a bit more savory. I must admit that I’m a great big novice when it comes to sprouts, but this Pan-Seared Beef recipe looks delightful.

Hanover Tomatoes:  Hanover Tomatoes are a special and signature tomato grown in Hanover, Virginia. I intend to have what will likely be my last tomato salad of the year – sliced tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with salt and pepper. But they also might garnish a soup or salad this week as well.

My intentions are set. Writing. Cooking. Reading. Eating. Repeat.

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