Oprah had, or has, a regular column by the same title, usually full of pithy wisdom and meditative insights. What I know for sure, on the other hand, runs more toward the pragmatic than the poetic. Here, then, is my wisdom:
- When the dewpoint is in the seventies, any temperature above 80 is too bloody hot to sit outside all afternoon watching a baseball game. Even if you’re in the shade.
- If you must attend sporting events when it’s that hot and sticky, put a couple of water bottles in the freezer the night before. They’ll double as hydration and as ice packs.
- Stay well away from beer or any other alcoholic drink in the above situation, unless you really like to feel queasy, sick, and get a splitting headache.
- On the topic of health, it’s never a good idea to put your medical symptoms into a Google search.
- That goes double for any search that you’re thinking about doing between the hours of midnight and 6am.
- Developing this theme further…don’t read the four chapters in the Horse Bible on the numerous and bizarre diseases that can afflict the horse you are thinking about buying. I am sure that there is a great time to read that stuff, but the period during which you are contemplating your first horse purchase is not the right time. It’s just Far Too Frightening.
- This probably goes triple for reading the same four chapters in the Baby Bible right after the stick turns blue.
- If you must do either one of the previous two, invest in your relationship with the vet/pediatrician – you’re going to be seeing an excessive amount of that individual, so you may as well get someone you like.
- For a change of subject…having time off isn’t going to Recharge Your Batteries. It’s only going to make you want more time off.
- Don’t bother buying the cat toy. Just wad up a bit of paper, or leave the empty box lying on the floor.
- Better yet, leave the empty box on the floor and forbid your cat to look at it, let alone touch it.
- Leash the dog when you’re in public, even if he is the Perfect Canine and always comes when called. Otherwise, you’ll inevitably become the subject of an angry Letter to the Editor.
- One call to your local city councilperson requesting more enforcement of the leash laws is likely to yield a more permanent effect on the problem than 5,000 angry Letters to the Editor.
- Even the most expensive custom window treatment will have at least one improperly machined mounting bracket and have to be hammered into place, just as if you had purchased it off the shelf from a Walmart.
- When preparing to execute any home improvement project, start with the assumption that the drill/screwdriver/reciprocating saw battery will be completely dead when you unpack it. Charge it the night before. And bring every tool in the house to the work site, whether you expect to use it or not…unless you are the sort of person who will require regular applications of Cooling Off Periods in order to keep your temper in check and your knuckles unbloodied. In that case, leave the tools where they are and use the inevitable trips for more unexpectedly-required items to blow off steam.
This is pretty detailed stuff, so I’m going to close with a few Universal Truths. They may not give anyone the Warm Fuzzy that reading Eckhart Tolle does, but I promise, they’ll dramatically improve your quality of this life, possibly this week.
- Don’t store tomatoes in the fridge. Leave them out on the counter.
- Never buy shoes that hurt your feet in the shop, no matter how cute they are. And don’t talk yourself into doing this by telling yourself that “they will stretch”. They won’t.
- Get the furnace serviced in the summer, and the A/C serviced in the winter
- Have your chimney swept every three years whether you think it needs it or not. And don’t forget to change your HVAC filters four times a year, whether you think they need it or not.
- Take the comforters and winter coats to the cleaners in the spring; don’t let them sit around all summer with Winter Ook on them.
I’ve seen a lot of people talking lately about having to make that Rough Decision between “sleep” and “eat”. As in, “I need to eat but I’m so exhausted I may just have to go to sleep.” Here’s a fantastic dish for nights like that, as long as you can keep your eyes open for 30 minutes:
Provencal Tomatoes and Eggs
1 lb. fresh tomatoes
a lump of butter
a few cloves of garlic, minced
parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, herbes de provence, or similar herbs out of your stash. Fresh is great, dried is fine.
¼ C milk
Set a saucepan of water on the stove to boil. Cut an X on the bottom of each tomato, and drop into a pot of boiling water until the skin cracks and starts to peel. Remove with slotted spoon and plunge into dish of ice water. The skin should fall off directly. If you’re really tired, skip this step and just pick the skins out after everything is done cooking.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and put them into the melted butter with the garlic. Add the herbs. Cook over medium-low heat until tomatoes melt and cover the bottom of the pan. This may take a while, but you can seize that opportunity to crawl into your PJs, all the better to collapse into bed with a full stomach.
Beat eggs with some more of the herbs and the milk. As soon as the tomatoes have melted, add egg mixture and allow to cook through, stirring occasionally. Serve with toasted french bread if you have some, or just eat it directly out of the pan.