Tag Archives: I am a busy mofo

Spice is the variety of cooking! Uhm, or something like that.

Posted by Erin B.

Sooooo…I’m totally diggin’ this experimentation. It’s definitely much easier than last month’s, and requires much less sacrifice–though sacrifices aplenty have been made so far, in the form of cutting work hours, missing parties, and getting much less/no time with non-work friends, it’s all for a worthwhile pay-off. Which got me thinking about applications and takeaways, because the hope of an experimentation is that you glean some life lessons over the course of it, and I’m not sure what I’m gonna get. I already know I love hanging out with my family, and while my normal routine has fallen into a place where I hardly ever get to eat dinner with them, I feel like my life is the way it is right now for a good reason and purpose, and therefore am not going to continue cutting my work hours back after February. I’ve also realized how many meals I eat with people as a part of my normal routine. This concept is not one that rocks my world–I’m totally a people person and have long valued the magic of conversations that happen over long meals with good people. Once a week I meet with friends over breakfast to talk about how our weeks went, I rarely eat lunch at work alone, and when dinner isn’t on the fly due to job#2, I am most of the time eating it with somebody (usually a friend) at a table face to face, engaged in conversation–and absolutely with the T.V. off. So I’m not learning the value of conversation over meals, or the concept of People as entertainment (no other forms necessary!).

But I am defintely getting something out of this, even if I can’t put my finger on it quite yet. Every day around 2pm, I start looking forward to dinner. Maybe it’s the comfort of knowing something wonderful is consistently happening at the end of each day, that I’ll get home and the house will be filled with something delicious smelling, and the family will all converge at the same time like our table is a magnet. Part of my dinnertime excitement is enhanced by not asking what we are having. I am a sucker for variety and very much enjoy being surprised. Last night we went out for a celebratory dinner and I purposefully didn’t ask where we were going until I arrived home, and then when we got to the restaurant (Micheal Deans), I did something I’ve always wanted to do. When the waitress came around, I told her to just pick something for me and tell me what it was when it came out (it could be seafood but no other meat). My meal was only so-so, but I’m definitely going to do that more often. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.


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Scenes from the dinner table, and in turn, my life

Posted by Erin B.

Last night like magic the family all converged at 6pm in the kitchen. I had come home from work at 10 ’til, and had just come downstairs from changing when my dad walked in the door. My little brother and sister cleared and set the table while my mom cooked and my dad gave us a visual run through of his workout that day which, if viewed through the window without context, would have looked like a large muscular man doing an interpretive dance. On the stove was one of my favorite soups ever that is a regular at my family’s table, but that I haven’t had in a long time due to my frequent food experimentation and busy schedule. At dinner, among other things, we discussed food and my theories of food being magically delicious. See, I have this theory that if something is magically delicious, not just delicious but a level above delicious, to the point where it is inexplicable, then it contains: cream, butter, and/or fish sauce (I’m debating whether or not cream cheese should be its own category or a sub-category of “cream”). My family agreed with my theory, and we shared anecdotes about when we’ve found this to be true. Dinner lasted about 45 minutes, and I rushed off to job#2 feeling like my day was suddenly well-balanced.

Tonight was the same. We all magically converged in the kitchen at 6. There was no interpretive dancing, but dinner was delicious again and we spent it laughing and talking about our plans for the rest of the week. I find myself really looking forward to dinner during the middle of my day. I haven’t even been asking what my mom is making because I like the surprise, and these days I like just about anything. I’m in it for the company anyway.

After a long full day, I again feel well balanced. A break in between jobs, even just an hour, is strangely rejuvenating. But now I am tired, and I will leave you with quote that my dad just now said, and the disturbing mental image that goes along with it: “I have to go suckle on the teat of sleep.”


Filed under Conversation Topics, family, Recipe

the space we make for Things

Posted by Erin B.

Timing is an interesting thing. Such as: today is the first Tuesday gap day in 28tables (or 24tables, as it were, or possibly 25tables since my little bro’s birthday falls on a Tuesday and we will probably all eat together. But I digress), and I was walking out the door just as my family was waking up, ran into the house to literally change clothes between jobs, grab a banana, and run back out of the house, and arrived back to the house after everyone was in bed after job#2. This is the typical schedule that I’ve been on for the last few months. Some weeks I don’t see my little sister for days even though we sleep in the same room. This would be the case if I lived on my own, so I’m not saying it’s necessarily it’s a big deal, it’s just weird.

Today one of the other supervisors at job#2 got fired for stealing (who DOES that?!?!?!), so lots of holes have appeared in the schedule, ripe for me to fill them. This is great, as I am in a mad work-as-much-as-I-can-and-save-up-all-my-monies craze that will last approximately 2 years. All this is to say that with everything you do comes opportunity cost. Everything displaces something else. This week with both jobs, I’m looking right around 70 hours of work time. Work displaces something. But here is something that it will not be displacing this month: dinner with my family. It’s nice to know that I have an hour set aside every day so that when I run into the house after my job and my little brother and sister start their ritualistic show-and-tell immediately upon my entry, I’ll have time to listen to them (or nod my head and smile, as it sometimes goes).

An opportunity cost model I recommend applying to everything you are thinking about doing:

Thing: 1 hour with my family, sharing a meal
Opportunity: Digestion of food, our day, and life issues. Grounding (I have always looked to my parents for grounding. Though when I was a kid, this meant something entirely different…)
Cost: An hour lost at work.
Assessment: Totally worth it.

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My name is Erin, and this is my deal-io

Posted by Erin

Hey y’alls!

My name is Erin, and in case you haven’t caught me on one of the other blogs I write or contribute to, I’ll fill you in on some basics that will help you understand how this experimentation will be effecting me.

My time: I’m super busy. I work full time as an animal keeper at a science museum, and part time as a supervisor at a custard shoppe (and refer to my jobs as: “My job” and “Job#2”). I also am a musician and spend a lot of time writing and not as much time as I’d like performing. I’m also quite the social being, and do my best to maintain and grow friendships that suffer under my two job pressures. For the most part though, I do alright, and I am very happy with where my time and energies are going.

My eating: Well, that’s a complex one. I’ve been a vegetarian for 3 years, spent the last year eating vegan, a week of last year eating nothing but corn, the last month attempting an experimental raw food diet, and my whole life being off and on again with soda. My perspectives of food have been ever changing, and always for the better. Currently, I am on the path of (vegetarian) moderation, with attempts to eat vegan most of the time, but be very flexible with myself. I love to eat, I love to cook, I love to try foods I’ve never tasted before, and try again foods I think I don’t like, just to make sure I don’t like them (and if I don’t, I’m usually disappointed). I am kind of allergic to some types of soy, and I’m allergic to some raw fruits, veggies, and nuts.

My family: I live with my family, and there are currently 5 of us and a dog living in a green house in the Raleigh suburbs. I have an older brother, Matty, who does not live here, but might as well, and will probably be making several appearances at our table this month. My mother (who will be blogging) is witty and more useful than wikipedia and google maps combined, and enjoys cooking and recipe experimentation. My dad is ever entertaining and hilarious, and a guaranteed way to never ever ever have an awkward silence at your dinner table. My little brother Dominic will be turning 12 this month, and is brilliant, sincere, and tells brilliantly sincerel horrible corny jokes. My little sister Chloe is 8 and draws better and has better fashion sense then I can ever ever ever hope to have. She’s a fan of telling looooooooong hard to follow stories at the dinner table. My dog Cocoa is the sweetest pup, and enjoys resting her head on my lap at dinner, even though I am the least meaty of the bunch. I really enjoy living here and spending time with my family, and am quite looking forward to making time with them a priority this month.

How we’re gonna do this thing: Since today is Super Bowl day, we are eating a lunch together instead of dinner. Then for the rest of the month, we will be eating together every day except Tuesdays (my parents have a prior engagement they cannot get out of). On Sundays we have what’s called “Community Dinner” where we invite a bunch of people over for a big dinner. I have moved my job#2 hours back to 7pm (when usually I start anywhere from 4-6pm depending on the day), so on days I have to work there, dinner will be at 6pm sharp and I will probably be eating donned in uniform so that I don’t have to be rushed. My dad has some out of town days at the beginning of the month, and wants to have dinner with us via conference call. I’m thinking my mom and I might try to share the cooking responsibilities, like we’ll cook together on nights I don’t work or I could take over some meals altogether. On February 26th, we are leaving for a week long family cruise, so dinner together will be effortless.

I’m excited for a) the increased time with my family, as dinner together is something that gets lost in my shuffle of things, and b) to be doing an experiment that does not revolve around what I’m eating, but where I’m eating it and who with.

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