Breathe . . .
It just doesn’t stop around here. It’s impossible to tell if I go to work to rest up for the weekend or if I use the weekends to rest up for work. In truth, I think neither is happening. Case in point? Last night, a Monday, I was snoring in a recliner by 8:30pm. Now, I know I’m getting a little older, but cheese o’pizza – 8:30?
Bike riding weather has arrived finally. We’ve had a chilly morning or two, but the afternoons have been gorgeous. One Saturday morning I rode to the Y (to do a spin class – go figure) and it was a whopping 38 degrees. All I wore was bike shorts, my bike shoes & socks, a t-shirt and a lightly lined windbreaker actually made for biking. Now, it’s a 4.25 mile ride to the gym, and at 6:45am there isn’t usually much wind. But throw in a bike doing 17 – 20 mph and you have instant wind chill. Surprisingly (to me) my legs seemed to not mind the temperature. Of course, they were working pretty hard, but that’s on the inside. The skin still wasn’t complaining. My hands, on the other hand, (sorry) were hurting. Lack of activity? Maybe. Lack of gloves? Definitely. On a positive note, it warmed up 5 degrees or so during class so the ride home was much nicer.
Riding in to work these past couple of weeks has been fine, mostly. Except for yesterday. 36 degrees when I left the house at 5:10. Had gloves this time. Biking gloves – padded palms, fabric on the backs, terrycloth on the thumbs (handy for cleaning up after, well, voiding certain pores) and no fingers. Still kept the hands reasonably comfy. But at 36 degrees the legs start to complain about the wind chill. It warmed up considerably during spin class, so the ride from the Y to work wasn’t torture, just a wee bit cool.
This is something that has rarely or never come up here, but I am a lover of hot foods. Extraordinarily hot foods. Now, while native New Mexico Chiles may not be as hot as a Scotch Bonnet of Habanero, the work a few people are doing to try and preserve some of the natives is still important. Here’s a nice little article about their struggles:
The first time I noticed that maybe I had an unhealthy taste for hot foods came about 20 some years ago. The kids were still little. We were eating spaghetti for dinner one night and the kids ran out. We dad sauce left, but no noodles. Poor Zach is sitting in his chair, messy face, empty plate, and a tummy growling like only a famished 5 year olds’s tummy can growl. I still had a healthy pile on my plate so not thinking at all, I separated a portion and scooped it onto Zach’s plate. Poor kid never knew what hit him. I did, as soon as I saw the size of his eyes. Ya see, when I have spaghetti (or chili, or some soups, or scrambled eggs or even a tossed salad), I tend to just take the top off the jar of red pepper flakes and shake a bunch out onto my food. Can’t get too much really, because commercially available red pepper just isn’t hot. Well, not to me. Zach didn’t think so though. It did cure him of ever wanting to take anything off my plate though, so some good did come of it.
I’ve also taken to growing and drying my own peppers. Then I can crush them up and get some stuff that’s really hot. For the last bunch of years, my favorite drying method has been to do them in the smoker with a little mesquite. I have some smoked habanero flakes that are just special. I can actually get away with using a teaspoon or so in a 2 up serving of chili. Don’t quite break into a sweat while eating it, but I sure do know I got hold of something. The smokiness of the peppers if just a bonus. If anyone would like to try it out, lemme know and I can send you some. I’ve still got plenty from last year. Turns out habanero flakes last a long time – or it takes a while to use them all up.
One other important thing I learned – no more grinding peppers in the house. I am officially banished to the garage when it comes time to crush up the season’s harvest. Seems that the food processor scatters the finer dust all through the house and some of the more delicate residents (everyone but me) find that objectionable.
One other important thing I learned. I had been working for several hours cutting the stems off the chiles, chopping them in half and getting them into the processor. After a while the mornings coffee and water kinda reached critical mass and I needed to pee. Let me just say that it is critically important to thoroughly wash your hands – several times – before peeing. I tend to not wear gloves because the oils just don’t seem to get through the callouses on my hands. But the callouses on my hand are more than happy to act as reservoirs from which one may deposit all that lovely capsaicin onto, hmmmm, LESS calloused parts of ones anatomy.
Now, I just have to get this poted and go watch Lost. Season finale ya know.