Every day I get up and wait to see what will happen. I always have a “to-do” list, but it’s more of a “wish list” than a practical planner. Oftentimes I end my day by writing down what I did and crossing it off for some feeling of accomplishment.
We have to eat – I think most of my energy is centered around meals. I like to eat, and I like good food, and I find it’s usually better if you make it yourself. So, I try to plan and arrange my time to accommodate “scratch” cooking with basic ingredients that I try to keep on hand. That usually means, thinking about dinner at breakfast time, or even the night or several days in advance.
I don’t do meal planning too far in advance. I mean, if we have a lot of chicken one night, we think about a follow-up meal using the left-overs. Or once a week we look in our freezer and see what we might need to get out for the coming days. When we go to the grocery store we try to get the ingredients for several meals, having looked in our cupboards to see what we already have. And, I try to keep certain staples on hand, stuff I know we will eat within a couple of weeks. We also try not to buy weird stuff we know we won’t eat, or buy massive quantities of stuff that won’t keep.
Something we like to make from scratch are tortillas, and they’re simpler than you think, but they still require thinking ahead. I always keep the ingredients on hand – flour, salt, shortening – but you have to get the dough made and let it rest for at least two hours before you want to handle it, so you want to have a plan in your head by morning so you can give the dough plenty of time. You can make it in the morning and come back to it in the afternoon, just wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and leave it on the counter.
In the meantime life goes on. Sometimes I feel like I am running in 40 different directions. I want to balance my home life with other stuff I think is important, but more and more I feel like my energy outside the house is wasted.
Hey, do you ever read my other blog?
Chico Taxpayers Association is my attempt to “get involved”, but more and more I feel like I’m just running in circles with my hands held over my ass. Over the years, I’ve tried to keep abreast of the local government agencies, the agencies that can add taxes to our lives, the agencies that forever seem to be trying to get their sticky little mitts in my purse and my cookie jar. Boy, sometime I’d like to snap that sucker shut so fast, they’ll be drawing back a stump!
But they get in there anyway. For example, look at your Butte County property tax bill. There’s the assessment for the mosquito district. Ask yourself, when was the last time you heard of any fogging in Chico? They spray the rice country – Durham, Biggs, Gridley – with your money. The rice farmers pay 17 cents an acre, you pay DOLLARS per acre. I tried to tell people about the assessment that went out last year – it passed with 58 percent, because the California legislature lowered the threshold for tax measures last year. I tried to tell people about that too, but I oftentimes wonder if I’m babbling to a field of crickets. I write letters to both newspapers, I blog my ass off, the crickets chirp.
I tried to tell people about the rate hikes from Cal Water and PG&E, but it seems about 99 percent of my target audience had hung the “Gone Fishing” sign on their brain. Of course, now that those hikes have kicked in, everybody expects to be allowed to bitch about it. When I read the letters from these people in the paper I want to grab their hand, hit them in the side of the head with it, and see if they say, “Doh!”
When I heard about the most recent rate increase proposal foisted by Cal Water (turned in to the CPUC July 3), I tried to contact the CPUC “Advisor” with questions but was told by that office there was no such rate increase proposal. They gave me an e-mail address and I wrote my inquiries about this latest “rate case.” That was Wednesday, they said I’d get a response within “one or two days.” Well, it’s Friday, and I ain’t got nothin’! Did she mean Earth days? Cause you know, a “day” on Saturn is like 56 years, maybe she meant a Saturn day?
Meanwhile, a handler from the CPUC contacted my District 3 Supervisor Maureen Kirk, who I had cc’d in my inquiry. Maureen says she’s already got a meeting with this guy, who is driving all the way from the Bay Area to meet with her in her office later this month, to discuss rate hikes at both Cal Water and PG&E. Maureen says he’s going to “explain the rates” to her. Hmmm.
I’m going to have to get back to Maureen with a list of questions I want her to ask:
- who handles the pensions for Cal Water and PG&E?
- how much do Cal Water and PG&E employees pay toward their pensions?
- what are the unfunded pension liabilities for these companies?
But for now I need to get back to the kitchen. The tortilla dough needs to be divided into 24 little balls, and then I need to roll each of those out with a pastry roller. I’ve been practicing for a while, it doesn’t take long – you just flatten the ball on your board, then start rolling from the center out, all the way around, until you have a nice sized cake. Then you put it on a hot skillet.
It takes about two minutes per side. It will bubble – in fact, the whole thing might balloon up – DON’T POP IT! It will relax again when you take it off the griddle. Lay it on a paper towel and cover it with another paper towel, and then put a nice pot lid over the stack to keep them steamy and fresh.
As much as I’d like to be wrapping some pencil neck’s ass up in one of these babies, instead I’ll use some leftover steak from the night before. My father-in-law likes to raise his own beef, and twice a year we take a big ice chest down to his ranch in Southern California and load up on some of his homegrown steaks.
I love the taco wagon, but home made is better.