I do love a good putter. I might suggest I am in fact the Queen of Puttering. I can draw a chore or a task or an errand out for a good length of time, and I enjoy taking my labors slowly. But there’s something to be said about getting all the stuff that you need to do, even the stuff that you want to do, out of the way early in the day to clear up your schedule so that then you can do absolutely nothing.
I hate the term hack. So let’s call this something else. Call it whatever you like! My trick is this: wake up as early as you can handle on a Sunday morning and get everything done in X amount of time. After that, the day is yours. On days when I’m really out of sorts, but I know having done something will make me feel better, I give myself an hour. On days when I’m more motivated and energetic, I might say, “ok, I’m up, it’s 7am, I will give myself till noon to do all of the things I can fit into that time, and then I am DONE!”
Last Sunday I was up by 6am, I scraped my overnight-risen sourdough into a boule and into the refrigerator for a cold ferment, I soaked some dried black beans, I dumped all of the vegetable scraps into a pot to make broth, I made two Pullman loaves of white bread, I pinned out a shawl, I started the black beans on their all-day cook, I folded laundry, and I made a chopped salad for lunches during the week. I made two casserole dishes of mac and cheese. I tried a new thing, a Japanese paper marbling technique called suminagashi. And at noon I called it quits and then I read and watched movies for the rest of the day.
All of these were things that I actually wanted to do! I just…didn’t want to spend all day doing them (although trust me, I could draw even one of those things all day long) because I also wanted to be cozy and curl up with some stories. This is my compromise.
I’m a bit of a bean snob. I get a little upset when I see people dump a can of plain, unseasoned black beans on top of their nachos to float on top of that beautiful river of molten queso like a bunch of little mouse turds. COME ON! Cook them properly! This is my tried and true recipe, although you can really adapt it and make it your own. It makes for the most delicious and flavorful pot of beans and you if you try it, we can possibly be incensed together when the mouse turds inevitably show up in someone’s vegan nacho Instagram reels.
The chopped salad is a thing I’ve been seeing all over TikTok, it’s basically some veggies in a vegan green goddess type dressing, chopped up all tiny and you scoop it up with tortilla chips. Here’s an interesting variation that includes tahini and feta, which looks good! Anyway if you don’t want to click any of those links, do this: chop up a head of cabbage, a couple of cucumbers and some scallions. Blend up a shallot, a cup of spinach, a cup of basil leaves (I would use more spinach and less basil next time), the juice of two lemons, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, and 1/4 walnuts. I also added a fresh jalapeno! It really made for a lovely lunch throughout the week.
I’m trying to eat less by the clock, and more just when I feel hungry, and less “proper meals” unless I really just feel like it. Sometimes at lunch or breakfast I really just want a snack, not a whole big thing. So I’m trying to pay attention to that! And then sometimes I actually do want a whole big thing, so I am trying to plan for that ahead of time and have things like macaroni and cheese already on hand.
Doing new things is hard! Especially if you see your less-than-perfect first attempt and you tend to beat yourself up about what a moron you are, a dumb-dumb who can’t ever do anything right. So sometimes it’s just easier to not try at all. At least you didn’t fail, right?
Yeah… me too. It sucks!
I have been interested in the art of suminagashi for some time now (here’s a nice video if you want to see how it is done.) One of my sisters got me a little starter kit for Christmas or my birthday sometime in the past year or two, and I stashed it away immediately and have been afraid to even look at it ever since.
I finally gave it a try. I would say “I’m not sure what prompted me,” but I am pretty sure it was Yvan, and I tell you what–it is really good to have an objective party with no attachments to the outcome egging you on and keeping you accountable. Even if it is just to say “are you really gonna let that nice gift your sister got you collect dust in the corner?!”
It was fun. It was fun! I HAD FUN. I can’t even believe it. Dripping that ink in the water, watching the concentric circles grow, and slowly swirling it to watch the patterns change and evolve was meditative and lovely. If you are a scaredy-cat like me who wants to be creative but doesn’t know how and you want to do an art but you don’t know where to begin, I highly recommend giving this suminagashi kit a try.
So…why was I trying to get all this stuff done and clear up my afternoon? Because I have been dying to watch Woodland Darks and Days Bewitched and I knew it was a three hours long documentary! And I also know it takes me twice as long to watch a thing as the thing actually runs…so I really needed to clear some time on my calendar, ha.
If you are a folk horror enthusiast, this is an outstanding resource. It is so well-researched, so beautifully crafted, so very worth every second of that three hours you spend with it. And there are so many films mentioned that I had never even heard of, my goodness! Luckily, some thorough soul has put together a list of every movie referenced in Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched, so now we can work our way through all of them.
In the meantime, unrelated to anything, and I know you didn’t ask, but let me leave you with the best piece of advice I have ever come up with:
“It may well be one of those days when the devil’s gonna try and show you his butthole every chance he gets, but friends the secret is …you don’t have to look”
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