Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back aches and Scotland

Two posts in one day! It's because that Spam one was written a long time ago, and I just got around to emailing it to myself at work so I could post it--maybe I could do that at home, but if so, I haven't figured it out Next experiment.
But back aches and Scotland are on my mind. Sunday I did some weeding--not all that much, not like I worked for two hours or something. Probably ten minutes. But Monday morning my back ached a bit. I decided to work out anyway, which made my back ache more--but I remembered that old training thing about "work through the pain" and I persevered--up to a point. I didn't do as many toe touches--because they really made my back hurt--and I didn't ride the bike for as long. But I was in real pain all morning--getting up from my desk and that first step were really awful. After I got going it wasn't so bad. Much better today, and I have decided two things: "work through the pain" is a bunch of hooey, at least at my age, and I'm going to hire someone to do my weeding. Actually I have a good yard man--he just doesn't know what's a wildflower and a weed, so now I'm on a mission to teach him. But the thing about having a back ache that severe--or any other ailment that makes you think a lot about how you feel--is that you think of yourself as fragile. And that's a mentality to be defeated.
My Scotland explorations continue. Fred Erisman saw me through graduate school and a dissertation as my major professor, and he remains both good friend and mentor. When I told him about my insight into the similarities between the Scottish Highlands and the American Old West, he reminded me that Mark Twain blamed Sir Walter Scott for the American Civil War. Twain thought Scott's romanticization of chivalry and the code of honor and fighting inspired the South, which was, of course, mostly inhabited by people of Celtic descent. Makes sense to me.
Then today a new friend, a successful author of mysteries set in England, wrote me. She travels to England frequently and was once married to a Scotsman. She directed me to a book, some b&bs and the Braes. I finally had to write back, somewhat shamefacedly, and ask what the Braes are. But since I found it on google--a remote and wild area in the north of the Isle of Skye. I told Jeannie we have to go there and suggested instead of two weeks we should be spending three months in Scotland. Earlier that suggestion led Jeannie to offer to fly over with me, leave me, and come back three months later to get me. But I think I'd like to go to Skye and the Braes. There's just so much in Scotland that sounds intriguing!
Susan in my office responded to my tuna post with two recipes, one for creamed tuna on toast. I tried creamed chicken last night--didn't have milk but made a sauce of chicken broth (that good organic kind that comes in a box) and white wine, added green peas and a bit of thyme. Put it on sourdough toast, and it made a tasty dinner. Tonight, because it had thickened, I added some sour cream--still very good.
Got to get to work on revising the cookbook.

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