Winter dawn is the color of metal, the trees stiffen into place like burnt nerves.

Sylvia Plath

I think nerves are a good topic for this week. Because of things getting on them. Like the persistent below zero cold, the ice-covered driveway that forbids me to take more than take one ginger-step at a time, the sameness of the house and the company. I am craving interesting things and if I find something new to do, eat, read, watch, I am on it. For instance, I have a pretty bowl near my teapot upstairs with cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and whole cloves in it. I have been adding one or two of these things to my tea to give me an energy boost in the afternoon. Then, I have agreed to work on creating a podcast for Crows Feet (one of the publications I write for on Medium). I have made a plan to have my second memoir published by the end of the year and actually purchased the ISBNs for it. I am reading a book about Saskatchewan in the thirties, the second of two Anthony Doerr books (Cloud Cuckoo Land), and a new one by Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway). I submitted three poems to the Crazy Horse Poetry Contest. (I hope to win. Now, while this is nearly impossible to imagine, I’m allowed to hope for it and I do) And tonight for supper with friends I am making “smashed potatoes”, which I have admired from afar but never made. So you see, I am working really hard to keep some enthusiasm for life. I would love to hear how you are managing to do the winter blah season. Email me at empowermepeople@gmail.com and I’ll add some of your ideas to the next issue. Stay warm and wonder-filled.

In Cooking This Week

Recipe of the Week

Winter Carrots

Winter carrots are not tender slender sprigs pulled fresh from the ground. If they are pulled from the ground it must have involved a shovel and some work cleaning off the roots stuck in the half-frozen ground. The ones I found in the health food store this week were fat and stubby, with plenty of grooves and detours from making it this long in the garden. They called for a preparation that was a little more robust than I might have used in the summer. Caraway seeds, a whole garlic clove, some salt and lemon juice, and parsley. And lots of olive oil.

Winter Carrots

This recipe uses about one pound of carrots, washed, peeled. If they are large, cut crosswise then in one-inch chunks. You can use orange carrots or a mix of colors here to get a variety of antioxidants. Put them in a pan with enough water to cover and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until tender but not too soft. Drain then put back into the pan and shake in the residual heat of the pan to dry them out a little. 

Meanwhile, mash a large clove of garlic with a tablespoon of caraway seeds, ½ teaspoon salt, a tablespoon olive oil, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the seeds a bit and mash the garlic with the other ingredients into a kind of slurry. When the carrots are done and dried out a bit, mix the oil and garlic mixture and the juice of half a lemon into them. Stir carefully to mix being careful not to break up the carrots. Serves 4. 

This is a very flavorful and colorful mixture and went well with a steak and baked potato. The next day I heated the rest of the carrots with some leftover noodles and added a little cream for a tasty lunch.  

A Seventyish Woman Tells You How to Accomplish Something That You Really Want To Do

Even if you’ve already dithered around and procrastinated and forgotten about it for ages.

So, here’s the secret I wanted to share with you today. I don’t really want to be a wall or rock or mountain climber right now. But I know that I could if I wanted to. If there’s something that you have been really wanting to do — wishing for or dreaming about — I can tell you how to go about getting at least a version of this dream. It’s simple, actually: you must take some initial action.

Published by Jean Anne Feldeisen

I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, raised in Galloway Township, and graduated from Oakcrest High School in southern New Jersey.I attended Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, and graduated from Stockton University in Galloway, NJ in 1974 with degrees in Philosophy, English Literature, and (almost) music. After that, I taught piano to local children and adults in the 70s and 80s, had a catering business "Jean's in the Kitchen" from 1980 to 1992, then went to graduate school at Rutgers Camden to obtain my Masters's Degree in Social Work. Since 1996 I have worked as a therapist and counselor first in New Jersey for five years and then, when our family moved to Maine, in Augusta, Maine for five years. For the past 17 years, I have had a private psychotherapy practice in Gardiner, Maine, During the pandemic, I packed up and moved my office home to Washington, Maine. In the year of my seventieth birthday, I decided to write and self-publish a memoir about our parents' World War II romance, Dear Milly. I began blogging on Medium in earnest in 2020 and have posted more than 240 stories including a block of stories about my catering career which I hope to turn into a book in the next year. I have been writing and collecting poetry since childhood but never showed it to anyone. Recently, I learned how valuable it could be to join a group for feedback and support for my writing. I have taken several courses and written many poems and recently had my first poem accepted for publication. Off in a new direction, again.

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