I’m Speechless So I Guess Hell Froze Over

spinahricottaballs

I’m Speechless So I Guess Hell Froze Over

For those who know me and would never have fathomed I’d ever run out of things to say, I must announce that the day is finally here. Hell froze over and I’m speechless, dumbfounded and can’t even think of anything to write about.

This of course is no surprise because in order to find new and interesting things to say you need to live your life out in the world. Since that is something I can’t do right now thanks to COVID, what is new and exciting to report?

The world is an interesting place when you’re in it, but since we’re forbidden from venturing forth into the outside climes, well I have to admit it’s a bit boring.

Sure I could watch television and moan about the people going out sans mask, partying and spreading the virus to innocent people. Freedom schmeedom, because we’re free can we explode a bomb in a crowded theater? I think not.

Or perhaps I could bitch about the fact that the geniuses that run the states and cities are letting criminals out of jail so they can go on killing, raping and committing crimes in a safer environment. Should I sleep better at night knowing that someone who raped ten women is not in danger of catching the virus?

Maybe we can talk about the fact my hair looks awful, my nails are non-existent and my roots are growing faster than a politician’s lies.

We could talk about these things I suppose, but why? Life is depressing enough right now.

I’m well aware sitting home, watching television and eating isn’t a hardship, although most men would be far happier if their television schedule included sports. Sorry about that, guys. There are worse things than staying at home, sitting on the patio reading a book, feeding the squirrels and zooming with your grandchildren all day.

Yet, I’m afraid these activities don’t really make for very interesting conversation.

How many times can you ask a friend, “So what did you eat for lunch?” I sound like my father who felt monitoring his children’s caloric intake was akin to brushing your teeth each day.

I imagine one could ask, “So what did you buy online today?” Yet truly having Amazon deliver a box of Softsoap isn’t the most sparkling topic.

Besides who needs to shop when were all in our pajamas and sweats?

Okay, so here’s the deal…I’m making up a pretend life. After all I’m a writer and should have a vivid imagination so now’s my time to prove it. I’m going to tell you about the week I wish I’d had, but couldn’t because I can’t leave the damn house!

So in my imagination I’m in Roma. Italy, not Ohio. I didn’t need a plane to fly there because I took a magic carpet that I borrowed from a friend down the street who just returned from her pretend trip to Istanbul. Maybe I’ll fly there next week, no masks and lots of empty seats beside me on the rug.

Anyway we’re back in Rome and I’m walking toward the Spanish Steps. Boy, those are high and my feet are already complaining. I decide to sit for a moment observing all the thousands of people walking about in the square hurrying toward their next destination or favorite outdoor café for the world’s most delicious pasta.

Ahead of me is the Via del Corso, the premiere shopping area in Rome and women rush about carrying bags labeled Fendi, Gucci and Dior as their heels clackity clack on the cobblestone streets.

In the distance are the hills of Rome; magical and legendary like a painting by an old master.

Two kids walk by eating cones with gelato dripping down the sides, their mother wiping their hands as they struggle to keep licking their precious treat.

Four young men are standing at the base of the steps speaking Italian, smoking, laughing and checking out women as they pass. Italian men, gotta love ‘em. Some women pretend not to notice, but smile as they walk past flattered to be noticed and admired. I think how nice it would be to be young again as I pull out my phone and check Vatican tour times.

I grab a cab and head to St. Peter’s Basilica to see the impressive statue of St. Peter, his feet shiny and worn from all the pilgrims who’ve rubbed them in a desperate attempt to garner his blessings and help.

I stare up at the magnificent dome created by Michelangelo and I’m stunned by the way it catches the light filling the space with color.

To my left is a small alter containing two confessionals of dark, ancient wood. As I get closer I notice the worn steps at their entrances where so many have entered to ask forgiveness and a blessing.

I’m in line to enter the Sistine Chapel and look around at the unbelievable splendor of St. Peter’s Square filled with tourists, priests, nuns and worshippers from all over the world.

Some obese guy I’m guessing from New Jersey by his accent, in Bermudas and Adidas bumps into me and almost pushes me over as a bird poops on my shoulder. Damn, I just had this pashmina cleaned and I search for a Kleenex in my purse.

Ecstasy returns in the chapel as I’m instantly stunned by the sheer magnificence of the space. My eyes hardly know where to focus first. I sit on a bench and look up confused about what side to stare at and my eyes become glued to Adam and God nearly touching. I sit transfixed until I hear a loud clap accompanied by a loud shush. I return to earth and notice the room is still and wonder what’s happening. I continue to stare and in another twenty minutes the clap and shush once again.

I inquire about this strange incident to a nearby observer and I’m told it’s the Sistine Chapel shusher who regularly claps and shushes to reduce the noise level. I decide to apply for that plum job as soon as I leave and remain staring upward until my aching neck insists it’s had enough of all this magnificence.

I head out to an inviting restaurant in Rome’s ancient, Jewish ghetto to experience another Roman culinary masterpiece. My fat self is praying they have good stuffed squash blossoms as taxis and people whiz by me on the busy streets, overflowing with bougainvillea and the sound of clinking glasses and murmurs of “chin chin.”

I’ve left Rome and now I’m back from my adventure sitting on my couch, typing in my jammies and wondering if there are any of those yummy zucchini chips left over.

I’m wishing to see Rome again someday when all this craziness is only a horrible memory and life returns to whatever it will be. As long as Rome is still there, I’m good.

Happy travels on your own magic carpet, everyone.

 

Spinach Ricotta Balls

 

1 package 32 ounces of ricotta cheese.

1 package of spinach fresh or 2 boxes of frozen (if frozen squeezed out well)

Salt

½ cup of Parmesan Reggiano

A pinch of nutmeg

2 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

Spaghetti sauce (optional)

 

Drain the ricotta cheese in cheesecloth over a bowl until dry

Pour the ricotta into a bowl and add spinach.

Mix two eggs in a separate bowl. Add salt and at this point you may add a dash of your favorite Italian seasoning like basil or oregano to the eggs. This is your choice.

Add eggs to the ricotta and spinach and mix then add flour and mix until just incorporated.

Form into balls

At this point you may do a few things as you choose.

First add the balls to boiling water and cook until done and floating. Then serve them with sauce of your choice. May be tomato or make a sauce of brown butter and sage by melting butter in a pan with fresh sage leaves until the butter turns a golden color and smells nutty.

Second you may cook the balls in tomato sauce in the oven sprinkled with cheese. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO SENSE OF URGENCY

 

urgency

No Sense of Urgency

To procrastinate: delay or postpone action; put off doing something

One of the things I’ve found during this crisis is that I have rediscovered and am now channeling my inner procrastinator. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said, “I’ll do it tomorrow in the last few months, well you know”

Yes, that concept we have been taught to avoid because it focuses on short-term happiness and goals seems to be the operative word now.

However, can we be accused of acting hedonistically when short term is all there is to focus on right now? Can we plan our lives even a week from now? Sadly no.

Aside from those that are lucky enough to still be employed and out functioning in the world, the rest of us seem to be busy trying to fill our days in captivity.

Of course there are many productive activities we can and continue doing like working from home, but many hours in the day we filled with more compulsory endeavors are now more discretionary.

I must admit that even I as an avid motion picture fan am growing rather tired of on demand, live streaming and Turner Classic Movies.

Yes, I do keep up with the latest Netflix offerings and read everyone’s comments on Facebook about the Tiger King and Unorthodox so I’m not living under a rock, however it does get old.

So begs the question, is a sense of urgency what’s necessary to cure procrastination? Or are human beings wired to move quickly when probed, like swatting a burro on its hindquarters. Andalay!

Mothers and fathers are now tasked with more to do as so many are working from home and must help teach and plan activities for their children. I know some young Moms who contend when this is over they will feel like they’re on vacation.

Perhaps these days of seeking ways to fill the time have been good and bad in many ways.

One good is obviously the fact so many have now embraced their inner Emeril. Cooks all over the world are drawn into the kitchen to refine their skills and experiment with new recipes and concoctions.

However this trend must be traced back to a primal urge for humans to eat when hungry or many times, bored, aggravated, bathing suit shopping, family dinners, depressed, hating a new hairdo or you run out of Cherry Garcia ice cream; and yes an entire carton is considered one serving.

So, the serge in cooking is actually predicated on the desire to first and foremost eat and second to fill the day. This is a positive outcome of the time in quarantine and will probably translate into new vistas of adventure for many that have never previously left the sofa to order take out.

There are many areas however one can point to and say, “Uh oh, procrastination has sunk in.” For example dressing up.

After all when you’re wearing sweats everyday and walking from the bedroom to the television screen not so much need for wardrobe changes or jewelry.

Although there are those who are exercising regularly outdoors as well, when at home it’s the bare minimum in fashion and the maximum in comfort one seeks.

Hair has become such an issue for some women that they are literally threatening to drive to other states to find a hairdresser to color their roots. Hello, Girlfriend, shampoo in tints, Amazon delivers, and a no brainer that even a baboon can do.

Elastic waists are ruling the roost now allowing room for all the extra cooking and tasting going on.

Where once women that lived alone could argue I put on make up even when I’m home just for myself. Out the window, cause unless you’re zooming not so much grooming.

Americans especially are a nation of urgency junkies. We love to receive a good kick in the behind because that’s what has always worked so well for us in the past.

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor we were up and running. We even had a theme song, “Over There Over There.” Should be played now, “The Yanks are Coming the Yanks are coming, the drums drum drumming everywhere.” We jump into action and never look back. We’re a country of scrappers and we love a good fight.

When Japan attacked General Motors, we leapt into action once again and fought back. Okay, so Japan won that one, but we did make a heck of an effort.

World Trade Center, we fought, we conquered, we rebuilt. It’s what Americans do.

Human beings need a sense of urgency, which is proven by the way they’re fighting to get businesses reopen although the virus is still out there as strong as ever.

People need a reason to get up in the morning and yes, although a new Netflix movie may be exciting it’s not enough to fill our lives.

I think one example of a positive is the virus has forced us to spend time at home with our families. To cook, eat, watch television, read, exercise, talk and create new activities together. Sadly it may be a boom for divorce lawyers, but I doubt that, last man standing rule and all.

Perhaps there was a sense of urgency to slow down and smell the roses and if anything good comes from all this captivity, I vote for family time. The other side of course is not being able to see family and grandchildren.

The scale tips both ways, but as I’ve said before we rise to the occasion.

Expectations from others and from within ourselves are what drives and propels us to achieve more and greater goals. That sense of urgency we experience every day is what flicks on the light switch within us and forces the electric current into our creative selves.

So if you’ve been home channeling your inner chef, Picasso, Dior, or Hemingway, once life returns to normal it will be a sense of being in the world once more that sparks you up to the next level. New businesses, books, creative outlets will be born from captivity, but sadly one doesn’t have the luxury to plan when right now. Let’s face it, the song doesn’t just say “where”, but also “when” and that’s a big factor in giving one impetus to move ahead with life, dreams and goals. Perhaps there was a sense of urgency for you to delve into your inner dreams.

Much will change in this new normal we face, but one fact remains the same, every so often we all need to slow down, relax and procrastinate just a little. Get in touch with parts of oneself forgotten or ignored. But I think everyone will agree, enough already!