Week 3: Blindness, Belly Dancing and Ham and Cheese Mini-Frittatas

Settling nicely into the third week.  Before I know it, I’ll have finished the first entire month of this year accomplishing some goals.  And making some nice discoveries in the process.

Before I continue, there’s been requests for puppy pictures.  This one is my favorite so far, though it was taken a couple of weeks ago and she’s grown since then.

Why?  Give me one good reason why I can’t have the rest of your french fries.

For those of you that miss pictures of Daphne as well, here’s one of the two of them together.

True Love

I’m starting to really question my sanity at this point.  Caring for Matilda in this early phase of her life has been so much more stressful than I imagined.  Housebreaking is the literal worst, but just worrying that she’ll get into something that will hurt her…it weighs on me.  People tell me how big she’s getting, I tell them “It’s because she’s eating my happiness.”  But after this week’s reading assignment, I can no longer be mad at her…I’ve grown a battalion of love in my heart that is attacking the worry and stress and slowly, but surely…we’re getting there.

Even if my carpets are suffering.  And my vacuum and spotbot have both given up.

The Book

Never heard of this book?  That’s cool.  If not for my swinging job with Nielsen in the mid-aughts, I probably wouldn’t have heard of it either.  During my tenure there, the market research team I worked for was assigned the task of recruiting and surveying an audience for the film version of this movie.  I wasn’t able to attend the screening, but a week or so later, when discussing another possible project on the film, one of the analysts called it “That smelly movie.”

Here’s the thing: the book (one of two major works that helped author Jose Saramago win the Nobel Prize for Literature) centers around an entire city that suddenly goes blind.  The major characters are the first to be infected: a man (Known in the book as the First Blind Man), his doctor (The Doctor) and the doctor’s wife (The Doctor’s…you see where this is going).  There is also The Girl in the Dark Glasses and The Man with the Black Eyepatch.  The lot of them (and some others) are quarantined in a run-down mental asylum and given…basically nothing.  The little food that arrives from the army is fought over and, since none of them can see, personal hygiene takes a significant back seat.  Once they escape the asylum and discover the entire city has been infected, it’s more of the same, only on a much larger scale.  So, when I asked the analyst why she called it a “smelly movie” she explained this situation, saying “the smell of it practically comes off the screen at you.”  And, because it’s the book and can go even more in depth, suffice to say…there’s a lot of feces in the narrative.

The one stroke of good luck our blind patients have encountered is the Doctor’s Wife, who, for some particular reason or other, has not gone blind.  She helps the small band of them survive, not only assisting them in their sanitation and acquisition of food, but also going as far as committing desperately violent acts to keep the rest of them alive.  She is, to put it mildly, a Badass.  The best heroin I’ve seen in a novel in a long, long time, Katniss Everdeen has nothing on the Doctor’s Wife.  She loves without condition, gives without taking and risks her personal security for the good of the whole.  Best of all, she is not a martyr and thinks rarely of herself.  She inspired me to love more selflessly and endure my everyday obstacles with less belly-aching.

In a sea of Dystopian literature, I feel this book has been staunchly overlooked.  It’s packed with literary goodies like foreshadowing and metaphor.  And told in the most unpretentious poetry:

“How it was possible to know that these things happened so and not in some other manner, the reply to be given is that all stories are like those about the creation of the universe, no one was there, no one witnessed anything, yet everyone knows what happened.”

When I first scanned through the book, I noticed that it did not have any chapter breaks.  Very few paragraphs, very little punctuation.  I thought, “Is there no dialogue?  Does no one say anything?”  But as I got into the book I discovered that, like a world gone blind, Saramago has purposely left the book with little structure.  It reads smoothly, regardless of the format, once you get used to it.  I would highly recommend it.

And ironically enough, all the light bulbs in my house starting dying the week I read this.  I think it metaphysically effected my life.

The Recipe

This week’s recipe was the Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas alluded to in last week’s blog.

It had ham.

I’ve always wanted to cook mini-things in my cupcake tin.  This recipe allowed me to do that.  Though, the entire time I was sure I was doing something wrong.

So…I think it’s really cute that they wanted to cut down on the calories by using mostly egg whites in the frittata instead of whole eggs.  I tried separating the yolks, I really did.  But…I ultimately went rogue.  I put full blown, cholesterolly eggs in there (though I did use two less than the recipe called for).

I’d also like to have a serious conversation with the lovely lady (or gentleman) who wrote this recipe as to what consists of a “baking potato.”  It called for two of them, finely chopped.  I bought the Idaho Bakers that come separately in the store, thinking this is what they meant by “baking potato.”  But by the time I got halfway through chopping the second one, I thought to myself, “I enjoy potatoes, but this is getting ridiculous.”  Indeed, the dish itself came out more than a bit starchy, shall we say.

I added some greens.  Would make a good brunch, no?

I’m all for comfort food, but I’d like to try it with chopped broccoli instead of potato next time, I think.  In fact, I may try some random-stuff-in-a-cupcake-tin frittata next week, just to test my sensibilites.

But, Jason ate it (and went back for seconds – BOO-YA!).

The Fitness

Quite possibly the best part of this week’s docket was Tiazza.  I found this workout after googling “Best YouTube Workout Videos” and coming upon a listicle.  Tiazza was about halfway through.  But, in my book, she’s the tops.  She’s got grace, style, she doesn’t go too fast or too slow and explains the moves in a way that make them easy to execute without feeling like a fool.  And ‘dos abs, tho.

For real, I watched her belly button most of the way through.  It’s kind of mesmerizing.

This workout (and the subsequent training videos that I did after…I might be really into bellydancing) is, in my opinion the best kind of workout because it doesn’t feel like I’m torturing myself and I don’t feel like a pig in a tutu.  This workout got me in touch with my hips.  It made me feel feminine and I held my head up a little higher all day after doing it.  Plus, instead of the sensation of buying into some “latest-craze” fitness meme like some other workouts out there (Burpees, I’m looking at you), I felt more like I was participating in an exotic, ancient custom.  By the end of the video, I was practically screaming “BRING ME THE HEAD OF THE BAPTIST!”  (Matthew, chapter 14).

And I will be doing this one again.  And others like it.

Tune in next week for:

BOOK: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

RECIPE:  Crockpot Beer Cheese Soup

WORKOUT: Jenny Ford’s Latin Zoom


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