Anything Can Happen Friday: Butter Knives- The Conclusion

Last week I brought up the great butter knife debate: Do I really need them? I asked the group and here’s what I learned about butter knives, how others use them, and how I use them:

Most people stated that they could not spread butter or frankly spread anything with a steak knife. It was at that moment I realized I don’t have as many spreading needs as others do. Want to hear our families dirty secret? We don’t own a toaster- If we want something toasty, we either put it on broil in the oven, or we fry it in a pan, and toss in the butter in the pan so it melts into whatever we are toasting. But we just don’t toast things on a regular basis. And if for whatever reason we are having a baguette with dinner, we use the little butter spreader that came with our set.

We don’t make that many sandwiches in our house. I don’t often spread condiments on bread- I think I make a sandwich once a month- more likely every other month. Occasionally my husband will make tuna (you might remember the tuna v tuna salad debate in our household) but he uses a spoon to add the mayo and a spoon to spread it on the bread.

If I am having people over for dinner, I don’t serve bread. I figure there is always enough of the other stuff so bread is just not needed-

I don’t have children coming over to dinner- my ten year old niece is as close as it comes, but as she lives across the country, children using these things are not a concern.

I also own service for ten of “good” silverware- I have utensils for pretty much every eating need if need be- In fact- it would probably be in my best interest to use my “good” stuff every day.

I don’t have a tremendous amount of storage space- I have two drawers and they hold not only eating utensils, but all things that I need to cook and bake. I tried putting the steak knives with my cooking knives in the knife block, but then it becomes too hard to get the proper knives I need when doing meal prep- which leads me to get very frustrated. I want to store the steak knives in the drawer, but steak + butter is just too much.

Conclusion

Here’s what I have decided to do:

I am going to put five butter knives in a box where I keep my dishes, and keep one butter knife with my prep knives. If I need the extra butter knives within the next three months I’ll keep them. If I have no need for them, I’m donating them.

The Truth

A few months back I wrote a post https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2022/02/10/contextually-speaking/. The comments from this post made me think of the following:

Is there such a thing as “truth” or are there only statements that can proven or disproven? Does truth really exist?

I went to our friends at merriam-webster.com for their definition of truth:

  1. the body of real things, events, and facts
  2. the state of being the case
  3. a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
  4. the property of being in accord with fact or reality
  5. fidelity to an original or to a standard
  6. sincerity in action, character, and utterance

What do you think of when you hear the word truth? Is there always going to be another side to the story, no matter what the story is? Does each individual own their own truth?

I had a conversation with someone the other day-

Person A- But you need to tell B that they are wrong

Me- I don’t tell adults what to think

Person A- But you should tell them statement 33

Me- I don’t tell adults what to think

Person A- did you tell them statement 35?

(this went on for a few minutes with different statement numbers entering the argument)

Me- Back in 1999, when you were stockpiling supplies and food and hiding money in the house because Y2K was going to be the end of the civilized world (no joke- Person A just finished those supplies like two years ago) did you listen to anyone who said you were crazy?

Person A- well, ahhh, ummm,

If someone believes something strong enough, does it become their truth? Will someone find their own facts and proof in order to back up how they think about something? Does truth exist?

Here are some talking points for today:

  1. How do you define truth?
  2. Is there something you believe in even though others do not?
  3. Do you think truth is individual or universal?
  4. Is there such a thing as truth?

Value v Time

I ride public transit. In order to ride, I need to pay. Though we’ve recently adopted the OMNY system, which allows us to swipe a credit card or an Apple Pay tap, until very recently we had to rely on Metrocards- fare cards that needed to be refilled at the station.

When you need to refill your Metrocard, you go to a machine, insert your card, and you’re given two options:

  1. Add Value
  2. Add Time

Add value or add time.

I had never really thought about the impact of those words until recently, when I read the book Smile The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl. The author became afflicted with Bell’s Palsy after giving birth to twins, and the book is her memoir about dealing with the effects of BP. There is a section where Ruhl talks about refilling her metrocard and facing the options of adding value or adding time…

I have always been confused by these two options, which never fail to glimmer with existential meaning: Do I prefer Value or Time? But isn’t time value? Could I not have them both? A subway car often came by while I contemplated this question: value or time, time or value… Sarah Ruhl

When I read this section, my first thought was: How have I never overthought that as I refilled my metrocard. Maybe I have to turn in my “Biggest Overthinker in the World” badge, because for twenty years, I never had an existential crisis at the machine while opting between value and time… I just always added value and scurried off to the turnstyles…

I never considered adding time- it was always value for me…

I guess I can overthink that statement for a bit…

In my life I guess I do attempt to lead a full life. I guess I would rather have five great years than ten average ones… I mean, I’d probably prefer ten great years…but what if that’s not an option?

What if it’s either/or? What if it’s value or time but not both?

I think I’m always choosing value…

What would you choose: add value or add time?

Simple and Meaningful

Everything we do as human beings is precious. If we are to find meaning in what we do, we must first become our own protagonist in the work. You have the leading role in your work. If you approach work with this attitude, all work becomes meaningful and invaluable. Shunmyo Masuno- The Art of Simple Living

Do you consider everything you do to be meaningful and valuable?

Are you the protagonist in your life?

I would like to think that I give my all no matter what I am doing, but I freely admit that I only give about 50% when it comes to cleaning my bathroom. I know that my bathroom needs to be clean, but I figure that “clean enough” is good enough for me- But for the most part, I do think that giving 100% on each task I perform, no matter how small, really does add to my overall enjoyment of life.

Effort matters.

If you go into something, I think you should give it your all. When my daughter was growing up, I would let her try out anything that appealed to her. The caveat was, once she signed up for something, she had to treat that activity as it were precious. She wanted to play T-ball: that meant she went to every game and every practice. No excuses. I told her that she was part of a team, and that members of a team rely on one another- that by signing up for t-ball she made a commitment to 14 other kids and 3 coaches that she would be physically and mentally present. She needed to listen to coaches and give her 100% every time she engaged in T-ball. She needed to make sure her uniform was ready, and she had to bring all the appropriate gear- she was responsible from the age of four for getting herself prepared. Her learning how important it was to take responsibility and give her all has served her well in life.

How you handle the big and small of you life matters.

Your mental attitude matters.

There is meaning in even the most trivial matters if we allow our minds to think that way.

For today:

Are you the protagonist in your own life?

Do you find the value in the things that you do?

Are there things that you think don’t matter?

Discuss:

The Martha Stewart Cake

I have never been much of a baker- I’m more of a cook. I can sort of follow a recipe for a meal, but I am known to spin or add or finagle things once I start cooking. Baking is an exact science- you need to be precise about how the ingredients are being mixed, and I’m just not a precision sort of gal.

This year I decided to give baking a spin- I figured why not see what the fuss is all about…

Ha ha ha…

So I decided, like every beginning baker should, to do a Martha Stewart recipe…

Yup….

Martha *&&%$^ Stewart…

Have you ever seen one of her cake recipes?

The one I chose to make had two different creams/frostings. They required double boilers and whisking to certain thicknesses, and chilling for hours…I was looking up terms and trying to figure out what the mixture was supposed to look like and trying to taste things without burning my tongue (unsuccessful was that). There was folding involved…and if you’ve ever watched Schitt’s Creek, you will understand just how funny this can be when you are trying to do it…

This cake took about six hours in total for me to make, and I don’t remember if that includes the chill this portion…

And in my infinite wisdom I chose to make the creams first, because they need to chill, and I forgot the cake has to completely cool before I could frost it-

I think I cursed this cake and Martha at least a dozen times…

I contemplated why exactly I thought baking would be a fun, relaxing hobby…when sitting on my bottom, reading a book and eating a store bought cake would be much more fun…

But finally the cake was cool, the creams were ready, the cake was dressed and adorned and put in a cake carrier to go up to our friends for dinner…

And you know what?

It was a ridiculously good cake.

It was better than most store bought cakes, and better than a lot of professional desserts that I’ve had. The chilling and the heating and the stirring and the folding were worth it…

Martha really does know what she is doing when it comes to baking a cake…

Is there a moral here? Hard work does pay off? The ends justify the means? I don’t quite know…

Would I ever spend six hours working on a cake again? Maybe

Will I ever make another Martha cake recipe? Yes- since this cake I’ve made two- both delicious and complicated

Will baking become my new hobby? Not a weekly thing, but perhaps a monthly thing

So here’s my questions for you:

  1. Are you a baker?
  2. Have you ever made a Martha Stewart recipe?
  3. Would you spend six hours baking a cake
  4. Is there a hobby you’ve been wanting to try? If so what, and what is stopping you from trying?

What Inspired Me: 5/15/22

  • I love a Bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and Blank Slate does an exceptional one!!
  • Chicken Rice at Veranda was delicious, but the real star of this restaurant is the greenhouse dining room and the Kaws statue on the terrace
  • Dutch Baby pancake at Sona, which is actually an Indian restaurant, so the dutch baby was spiced with cardamom, served with pineapple jam and coconut cream
  • Spent my birthday at American Bar. For dessert, they present to you a sundae toppings menu so that you can make you own sundae. Yum!!
move out successfully completed without crushing one another

Gratitude and Mindfulness: 5/14/22

I have been going to body conditioning classes twice a week. During these classes we use free weights and body bars, as well as exercises to tone various muscles, such as squats and lunges.

So the other morning, I was in class and doing my plie’s. Legs hip width apart, toes pointed outward, I bent my knees. As I started lowering my body, I let out the loudest fart ever recorded in the history of workout classes.

I am grateful that the music in class was VERY LOUD.


My mindfulness and journal prompt for the week is celebration.

Here’s how it’s used in the books I’ve been reading:

  1. Or the crowd could be celebrating her lanky older sister, with the straight, ashy bangs, who has finally, after some struggle, learned to read. Emily Henry
  2. I was smarter than Christine. But she was happier because she celebrated all victories, real or false. Qian Julie Wang
  3. When Herbert came, we went and had lunch at a celebrated house which I then quite venerated, but now believe to have been the most abject superstition in Europe, and where I could not help notice, even then, that there was much more gravy on the tablecloths and knives and waiter’s clothes, than in the steak. Charles Dickens
  4. It’s human nature to strive for more, but if you want to cultivate an abundant mindset, you must also focus your energy and attention on noticing and celebrating the abundance of what you already have. Shira Gill
  5. Stand By Me. Because despite being a film about a search for a dead body, it is a celebration of youth and friendship and life. Matt Haig
  6. I took her by the hand and led her to the bus stop. Aminat stomped in the puddles and splashed water all around. I hardly reprimanded her, though, because my own heart was celebrating. Winter was fading; the snow was shrinking into itself and turning gray. The air was warming and filling with scents. The trees were still bare, but their branches had a new vitality. Alina Bronsky
  7. Mama takes me over to a wall covered with hundreds of white bras, some with lace and little frills or doilies like party favors, as if undergarments are a cause for celebration. Parneshia Jones
  8. Whether we’re lucky enough to have a big cosy kitchen or not, it is never just to store and prepare the food. We work in there to create the meals that celebrate the company of friends and family, where spontaneous kitchen discos can happen as we feel free to dance to the radio, a chance to let go and have some silliness in our lives. Kate Peers
  9. Peter and I, feeling optimistic and festive, plan a party to celebrate our union. Delia Ephron

Here’s some thoughts that I am going to ponder when thinking about the word celebration:

  1. Do people want to celebrate little things, or do we wait for BIG things?
  2. Are people afraid to celebrate because others might not have the same things? Think Mother’s Day and Valentines
  3. I’m reading a book of poetry that is supposed to be dedicated to women. Why does only one poem in the anthology contain anything about celebrating. Are woman not supposed to celebrate?
  4. Does celebrating make one feel bad or does it put too much pressure on someone?
  5. Do some people need to celebrate more than others?
  6. Has celebrate become a bad word?
  7. What’s the last think I celebrated and why did I celebrate it?
  8. Why do quotes 2 and 4 resonate with me?

When you think celebrate, what thoughts does it bring to you?

Anything Can Happen Friday: Knives

I’m amidst spring cleaning and purging of unwanted items. When I was in my kitchen cleaning out drawers and cabinets, I began to seriously debate butter knives. I have six butter knives and six steak knives. Do I really need to keep the butter knives? Can all my cutting while eating needs be accomplished with just the steak knives?

Show of hands:

Who thinks butter knives are necessary for everyday use? Who think butter knives are outdated?


And while we are talking about knives…


The week of Mother’s Day sees three kinds of posts:

  1. Those who ignore it completely
  2. Those that embrace it fully
  3. Those who remind us that maybe we shouldn’t be celebrating Mother’s Day

Every time someone writes something disparaging about Mother’s or Mother’s Day, they are writing against women. If a man writes something bad about mothers/mothering we call him a misogynist and cancel him. If a woman writes something bad, we call her a feminist and put her on the cover of a magazine. Why do we feel the need to sabotage ourselves? I have a rocky relationship with my Mother- this does not mean that I don’t think others who have better relationships with their Moms shouldn’t talk about it- in fact, I’d say it means we need to talk about it MORE. We know how bad parenting can affect us personally, so shouldn’t we work on it? To begrudge someone because you lack something they have is envy. If you live your life envying others, you will never be content or happy. You will just be the person who is looking for something external to make their life better. Why do we feel the need to tear down something that someone else might be proud of?


And while we are still talking about knives…


A few weeks ago someone told me to stop following them because I wasn’t positive (there will be a full post on this in a few months). The other day I saw that this blogger had posted the most negative comment on someone else’s blog. I made a very passive aggressive comment back to the blogger. Not my finest moment, but maybe if we find something bad about another, we should look to ourselves to see if we are the same way.

What if You Don’t Like It

A while back I had a conversation with a fellow blogger. We were discussing books and ratings and the blogger, who is also a published author, said something along the lines of:

We shouldn’t say a book isn’t good or give it a bad or low star review because the author worked really hard at writing the book, and those who have never written a book shouldn’t judge.

Here are some things I know:

  1. It is very difficult to write a book.
  2. It is even more difficult to publish a book
  3. No one wants their work criticized

Here are some other things I know:

  1. No one wants to read a bad book
  2. If I am talking about a book I am going to be honest about how I felt about it
  3. My opinion really doesn’t matter in the world of opinions
  4. If you are going to put your work out there, you have to be prepared that someone is not going to like it.

Should we be truthful when reviewing books (or anything else for that matter)?

Should we not give a book a two star review because someone worked hard on it?

How do we feel about reviews, reviewers and criticism in general?

Discuss:

Acceptance

A few months ago I bought a tub length rubber bath mat to prevent slipping in the tub.

There.

I said it.

I have reached the age where I am not so sure footed in the tub and I worry more about slipping than I ever did before so I researched non slip bath mats that can be thrown in the washer to sanitize and were long enough to cover the whole tub and I ordered one.

Why is it so tough to admit that?

I admit it’s odd that this post is scheduled the day after my 58th birthday- back when I bought the mat and thought about this notion, I just wrote the blog idea down, not even really considering the date that I scheduled it for. Then just last week I had a blog conversation with the always thought provoking KE Garland, and we talked about the reluctance to accept that one does indeed get older, and some things do indeed need to change. http://navigatingthechange.com/2022/05/06/diary-of-a-peri-menopausal-woman-acceptance/

I am getting older.

I prefer a non slip bath mat.

I like comfortable shoes.

I walk slower now.

My neck hurts if I fall asleep on the couch.

I have really bad gas pains if I eat too much.

My natural hair color is much more grey than it is brown.

Sex is not quite as smooth as it used to be.

I need to accept that my body doesn’t do things quite the same way anymore. I need to make adjustments to how I go about my day to day. There is no shame in this. It would be silly to expect my body to behave the same way it did 5, 10, 20 years ago. This is just life. I am grateful for the privilege of aging. It is an honor to be 58 and I hope to have the honor of being 59. I do not take these years for granted. I accept my age with all the good and not so good that it entails.

I needed to take my Mother to the Doctor a few weeks ago- she has been having some not so fun and new issues. She said to the Doctor-

I’ve never had this before.”

The Doctor gently said:

“You’ve never been 81 before.”

My Mother scoffed at this. She basks in the glow of people telling her how good she looks for her age. She just can’t handle that her body isn’t quite what it used to be- that some things are breaking down. She can’t accept aging. She doesn’t want to adapt to the new normal.

We all need to adapt to the new normal…whatever the new normal may be. And that includes accepting that as we age some things must change. Why do we fight so hard to remain young? What is wrong with getting older? Why is society bent on telling us aging is bad when in reality, aging is a gift?

I’m not advocating orthopedic shoes and when you’re forty and going grey if it’s not your thing- I’m just saying that it’s OK to make some concessions as you get older. It’s not giving up. It’s getting on with life.