Shara's E Zone

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Archive for the month “January, 2009”

Practicing Silence

I’ve been watching way too much TV lately–oddly enough, when there’s been nothing on. The holidays bring on a slew of repeats and weird specials, and in January they move everything around so I can’t find it again. Luckily my DVR can, but that’s not helpful when they put 3 of my fave shows across from each other.

But I digress…this was supposed to be about silence.

It’s really hard to sit in silence since my mind is so loud most of the time. Then there’s the dog barking and the washer spinning, not to mention the ever present suburban sound of leaf blowers buzzing. But the main enemy of silence is that itchy feeling I get when the TV’s off and the ipod’s unplugged and I don’t even have itunes radio blaring on the computer.

Does that feeling denote withdrawal from TV? Maybe, but I think it has more to do with being with myself–quietly. Like last night I curled up on the chaise in the red room with my books and my journal, with a glow of light diffused through glass. I was trying to write just for writing’s sake. Write anything without judgment. But my dog seemed to have that antsy feeling I usually have. He kept looking at me and when I’d get up to follow him, thinking he wanted to go outside, he’d lead me back toward the living room, like he couldn’t stand being so far away from the TV either.

Maybe I’m projecting…

So I’ve tried to sit in silence for half an hour now. Pretty soon my hubby and son will be home, and the house will be filled with chaos again.



Making pepper jelly…

Before Christmas I was determined to finally make pepper jelly out of my chile crop from the summer. All chile peppers had been frozen, and I had enough serranos for the recipe I planned to follow. The recipe was simple, so the process should be simple too–right?

Hah! Me plus the kitchen…never simple.

First I had to devein/deseed all the hot peppers. No problem, except this started the problems for the rest of the process and beyond. Why? Because no matter how many times I washed my hands that STUFF was still on them, ready to burn my eyes if I touched them. I tried really hard not to touch them.

So everything goes into a food processor to puree. Easy. Then goes into “heavy bottomed sauce pan” to bring to a boil. I don’t have that many heavy bottomed sauce pans to choose from, ie. one. But it looked big enough. A rolling boil should be manageable, slow, stately big bubbles, not foam cresting at the top of the pan threatening to overflow, right?

You guessed it–I got overflowing foam, so I scooped as fast as I could to get the excess into an adjacent saucepan. Then that pan threatened to overflow. I couldn’t win! More importantly, have you ever sucked in the steam created by a cup of serrano peppers?

Ouch! All my soft tissue membranes were screaming.

Somehow I managed to finish the boiling, add in the gelatin, and pour into the cans. I didn’t worry how much jelly went all over the floor, the table, and the chairs–because hubby’s in charge of the mess AFTER I cook. Needless to say, the kitchen was completely coated.

Success: the jelly actually tasted like pepper jelly I’d had in the past and it had set up properly. I now had several jars of Christmas presents. Problem: one half of my right eye was BRIGHT RED. What? Was I going to go blind? Did I need to see an opthalmologist right away? Luckily I was able to speak to my mom’s eye doctor, who said the red would eventually go away. I just had to live through most of Christmas with people avoiding looking me in the eye.


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