It was a wonderful Saturday.
I have found where my happy me rests, and that’s in motion. I also know now, after 15 years of marriage, that I feel loved by my husband and girls when they show me what it’s called in the five love languages “acts of service”. And I also know it’s a good fit with my husband, who also likes to be always doing several things at once. Today, he used a new foam he bought for the carpet, and cleaned the carpeted stairs. I don’t know why this makes me insanely happy. Along with my youngest, they were tying up some wood, and with both girlies they were flying their new helicopter which they named “Yellow Rose of Texas”. We gave my husband a remote control helicopter, red, this christmas, and the girls wanted to operate it. He refused. They bought their own together, and it arrived yesterday.
I woke up to search for some books I’ve been wanting to buy, and found them. I’m not buying as many books as I used to buy one or two years ago. Our needs have changed, and my buying now it’s a quality trickle.
The girls cooked pancakes in the shapes of Pearl and Tedwaldo, their soft toys, if you want to see them, they are here!, and I started to cook chili (this time using my new electric pressure cooker). My oldest, now eleven, has had Tedwaldo since birth, but she started to mind it when she was 4 yo, and my youngest, now nine, has had her Perl (Perla, or Perlita) for many years too. A friend from church cleaned her daughter’s bedroom when she married and moved out, and gave us a bag full of soft toys. Pearl was there. I know that others may feel the same about this, but my daughters are the best to name soft toys. My oldest named a bunny rabbit Bunniella, they have a donkey named Brighty, a recent brown bear named Regulus…
Back to the chili. I believe I should call this dish a ‘light cowboy soup of sorts’, to not rekindle the chili discussion, because it gets ‘hot’ easily. The blur in the picture is the steam. I’m liking this electric pressure cooker. Mine is a Faberware, not the ultra famous Instant Pot, which, quoting my lovely friend Blossom, “does everything but the dishes”. The Instant Pot has a “yogurt” function, mine doesn’t, but I wanted it maily for soups and stews. And for that, I’ve used it three times with pleasant results.
Here I was browning the meat. After, I drained it from the water it releases, then I sauteed onion and peppers, added the meat back, seasoned, and then added the contents of the rest of the cans (one kidney beans can, one black bean can, one tomato sauce can, one diced tomatoes with green chilis can -this one not drained-, and 1/2 cup of beef stock. I closed it, press on the soup/stew setting, and 35 minutes after it was ready.
Have I told you? We have a grapefruit tree, and our neighbor has a huge one in the corner of her home with ours and our next door neighbors. That tree has given us bags and bags of grapefruit we share with friends. I have a glass of squeezed grapefruit juice every day. I love it. It’s energizing, and I believe it helps me prevent colds.
We also have a lemon tree, and all this bounty you see. I squeezed lots of lemons today, and stored in the freezer several bags for lemonade at other times.
I had my own glass too! I like my lemonade plain, with some water, ice, and no sugar.
I went with my oldest to run a couple of errands and to the bookstore to see if I could find some of the book club titles. Book two for the book club is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley. I got the book and CD’s at the library. I saw it was a book that won’t hurt my daughters if they got to listened to while I did, and I played the CD’s on our way to their class, and it grabbed us all from the beginning. I later saw Bradley is a children’s author, YA author, and that this book is the first in a series. We are already Flavia de Luce fans! I know I’m always excited at the beginning of each and every book I read, but we are on chapter 11, a bit less than half way, and it’s safe for me to tell you this book will delight anyone who loves chemistry, books, art, music, mysteries, Great Britain, pies, candy stores, etc. The many allusions to all these topics plus Flavia’s quirky personality are a hit.
I only found Shanghai Girls from the book club list. And the last two pictures are the sky as we came back from those errands. It was getting dark, so you don’t see the amazing stripe of pink we saw which was beautiful.
I got to the subtitle of the post, Not All Audios Are Created Equal. Some like to listen to podcasts while cooking, others prefer music, I occasionally do both of those, but I prefer audiobooks. Not all of them work, though. If you have tried to listen to, say, Paradise Lost on audio -which I do but in a concentrated setting, with book in hand to follow the words too-, you may have found you cannot both cook or clean AND listen. If you are listening from Librivox, many of the narrators -and I should first thank all those volunteers-, have monotone voices, and that doesn’t work for me either. I have found lots of free audiobooks at Youtube, narrated with gusto. They are in Spanish (sorry, ;( ), but I’m sure you can find them in English, maybe even more, or in any other language you may want.
The list of well narrated findings:
My audio today, while cooking, was
EL ARTE DE LA GUERRA (The Art of War), by Sun Tzu
Enlace al audiolibro
Argentinian male narrator, and what a VOICE, so theatrical, as if a general were talking to me. He kept me up and cooking!
I’m not going to abandon you, I’ve located a wonderful audio in English:
THE ART OF WAR
Link to audiobook
Because, once I talk to you about it, you’ll want to give it a try (right?)
What am I doing reading a book titled The Art of War?
It may seem as quite a bore. Wrong. You may think it’s a brick. Wrong. The full book it’s just narrated in FULL in just 1 hour, 20 minutes, and 50 seconds. And it left me pining for more, so I went back to minute 47:00, and listened to the last portion twice.
As I was listening, my husband passed by and said they read this book at West Point (once he said so, I would have guessed so, -grin). This book will DELIGHT your boys for sure. I would say teens and older. I know my daughters will love it too a bit later on (or maybe soon, they have enjoyed our Plutarch reads, specially the strategy and battles).
I could draw many parallelisms between the Art of War, and the War Art of Parenthood. Many teachings can be applied to us as educators too. Some sayings are simply profound and insightful. I even found an idea that goes with my upcoming presentation about knowing yourself. Anyway, it was such a gem to listen to this book. I’m going to repeat this for sure. Even though it’s a serious matter, war, as Tzu says, a matter of “life or death”, the book is not a downer. I highly recommend it.