Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Banana Pudding Crisis Response

Thanks, readers, for your feedback on my existential angst and yesterday's post. Your perspectives were all invaluable! I think it is indeed an American "disease" to build our personal identities around our careers, as one of my readers pointed out -- and our careers, in our minds, are those activities that make us money.

When I mentioned my discontent to Dave, he pointed out that I do a heck of a lot of work beyond my part-time, income-producing job. I do all the cleaning, all the laundry, I pay the bills, I manage most of the errands. Not to mention all the time I spend on photography, even if it is more of a hobby than a job. So, yes, I am doing a lot.

And I am going to be quiet about all that now, because no one wants to read ad nauseam about my personal doldrums. (As my brother succinctly but correctly put it: "How exhausting.")

I took Olga on a long walk yesterday morning in Hyde Park, beneath low gray skies. The weather has warmed but the ground is sopping wet and squishy with mud, and there are lots of standing puddles. This made for a disastrously muddy dog by the end of the walk. I had to throw her in the shower when we got home in order to hose off her undercarriage. (And she loved that -- NOT.)

Her surgery seems to be healing well, by the way. She hasn't paid any mind at all to her incision. I'm not sure she even feels it, really. I am so thankful she hasn't had to wear that awful cone.

I made a bit of comfort food on Monday -- banana pudding with Nilla wafers, a specialty of my childhood babysitter and one of my favorites! Dave and I brought some Nilla wafers and boxed pudding mix back from the states when we visited at Christmas, and I layered it all together and topped it with whipped cream. It wasn't quite my babysitter's recipe -- hers did not involve boxed pudding or whipped cream and it had meringue on top, which means time in the oven -- but it was close. We still have some wafers, so maybe I'll try a more authentic second batch from scratch one of these days.

(Photo: Camden Market, last week.)


Ms. Moon said...

But does that vender carry Time?
So, Olga is at least part bulldog, right? I used to own bulldogs. A succession of them and one of their common features was what seemed to me a huge tolerance for pain. I think it is part of their breeding as fighting dogs. They can get wounded and ignore it.
Just one of my many theories.
The best banana pudding I've had lately is from the buffet at a local Chinese restaurant. Go figure.

The Bug said...

Ooh I LOVED my mom's banana pudding! She used the instant kind of pudding (well, when I was little she had to use that kind you boiled), but she always made meringue. Yum!

I don't mind hearing about the doldrums. I often find that writing about them helps me to feel better, so it's fine with me if you want to keep us posted :)

utahDOG! said...

Did you flip a coin to decide who gets to work and who gets to do the laundry? What happens when you get a smoking job offer out of the blue that takes you to, lets say, Spain, and Dave has to quit his job and do the laundry and cleaning? I'm sure he would express the same lack of purpose that you are feeling and I can't imagine it would be much of a consolation prize to be told that cleaning the house is 'doing a lot'.

I do not expect that a once editor for the New York Times be satisfied with cleaning house and I don't think it is unnatural at all for you to feel that way too. Motivation to be more is good for us. Do not mistake that motivation to be financially driven. Making a difference is important to all of us and I think the realization that cleaning windows does not make much of a difference in the long run is a given. It has nothing to do with the 'financial career'.

Photography and writing is working. Cleaning is not. Photography and writing develops you as a person learning and growing, cleaning does not. You should treat your writing and photography as a full time job that takes the commitment of your day. Then, when Dave comes home from his job the two of you can split the household tasks knowing that you both have already worked a full day to move yourselves forward for the benefit of the both of you.

Nobody does my laundry but me.

Linda Sue said...

Utah DOG- right on! Advocate for the one who "stays home"...YAY! The banana pud sounds very sweet - comfort food under the soggy darkness that is London winter. So glad Olga gets to be a dog for a few minutes- I know Dexter LOVES smelling gross - becomes disappointed when I give him a bath- his collection of "perfumes" down the drain...
I am going to go to the co-op now and buy some bananas and cream! YUM

ellen abbott said...

Well, I disagree. Cleaning IS work but not enjoyable work, at least not on a daily basis. And plenty of people get paid for cleaning not that I'm advocating getting extra work as a maid.

Steve Reed said...

Ms Moon: LOL! And yes, Olga does have that apparent obliviousness to pain. Amazing.

Bug: Maybe my babysitter used the box pudding you cook. I don't really remember!

Utah: I know what you're saying, and moving forward intellectually and being challenged is important. I also don't mean to imply I'm the ONLY one doing housework. Dave does all the grocery shopping and all the cooking. But maintaining a house IS work, and I think dismissing it entirely discredits people who, for better or worse, spend a lot of time on those tasks! I do consider it part of my "job," part of the collaboration that I have with Dave while he's the primary breadwinner. But it isn't ALL I do, by any means.

LindaSue: The essential ingredient, at least in my banana pudding, is the Nilla wafers. I don't know why they work so well with banana pudding. I don't think I'd ever eat one any other way!

Ellen: Actually, and perhaps perversely, I do enjoy cleaning. I've always liked it. That's why I handle the cleaning while Dave handles the cooking (which he enjoys but I loathe).

Wayne said...

It was incredibly warm for this time of year wasn't it? Strange weather.

Also, I am extremely envious when it comes to the American approach to desserts. Ours suck to put it bluntly.

37paddington said...

I'd say write of your malaise or whatever brooding feeling you're having as often as you need. Your a writer. This is partly how you process.

Is Utah dog your brother? Only a brother...

I wanted to tell you that i saw a photographic portfolio of storefronts and street scenes from1940s NYC and they were fascinating and wonderful. It made me think of your London storefronts. Keep doing the work you do photo wise. You never know where it will lead. Or when.

Photokismet said...

So enjoy your posts...and now I desperately need dessert!