Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marking Time

This is a phyllo-sophical post. Later, near the end, I am going to do something lovely with phyllo dough. But at the moment I am thoughtful about time, timing, and the passages brought by time.
I always seem to be in a rush, and yet it also seems that very little gets done. Most of what I do is not dated or marked in such a way that I can look back and say, "Hey, I built that in ...!" or "We went there in....". So little actions like groceries and banking, getting gas in the car, or cleaning the bathroom are not really marked in a significant way. They are controlled by "routine" which gives them a regular amount of attention. This is an example: I clean out the refrigerator bins before doing a big grocery trip about one time per week. When the routine gets interrupted, the fridge gets stinky with rotten produce scraps. We also pay the bills on a regular (routine) basis. If the routine gets interrupted we get charged late fees. We keep a calendar on the dining table to help us remember the time of month and what day it is. We have been very disrupted for quite some time now and we lose track of time easily. I feel it is a major accomplishment under the circumstances to keep the clothing washed and the bed clean. It is taking both of us to get everything done. And that produces redundancy, which is not efficient. But we are keeping on top, barely, of the emergency things.
In the bigger picture, there is time to do big projects. But if you don't actually start and finish the project, years can go by before a small project really happens. Large projects are even more difficult to schedule and complete. My example: I planned the kitchen for two years and actually started it when the counter collapsed and we had an emergency. It took about two months to complete, except there was a long recovery period in the middle, so it ended up being about 2 years. The kitchen was operable and nice within the 2 months, but the last part of tile and paint and new window took a month after a two year hiatus. This also happened with the living room remodel. The stuff of life, emergency stuff, gets in the middle and makes things take longer. But I can look back and say, "We started the kitchen in 2003, so that surgery would have been in 2003/4." Time marked by big events is easy to remember.
Anniversaries, major events, special trips are my friend. My life is remember in these events and the things that surround those moments. But little stuff, like when I ground that beef or cooked that chicken need to be written down in permanent marker on the freezer bag. Don't worry, the phillo dough is getting closer.
SO, by researching some records, we found that Eduard's father started building the Milling machine project in 1995, but didn't actually do any work on it until 2001, and he was not able to actually work much on it after about 2004 because of health issues. He died in 2009 at 78 years old. The project is about half done even though it has been 17 years since he started it. I could say that maybe he put off the actual work a bit too long, but that would be trite. I have no idea what issues preempted his efforts through the years. I do know that some dreams and projects die on the planning board, or should have died, because we just didn't get around to it in a timely manner.
OK, now it is time for the Phyllo dough part. Timely manner- I have been craving some spanokopita (spinach pie) for a week. I bought the spinach, had the cheese, and thought I had the dough. But, no. So time passed and I finally got to the store for the dough. The spinach has died now because the routine of cleaning the produce bin has been disrupted and I forgot when I bought it. Now I have dough, cheese and no spinach. Argh! This has been my life for the last 6 months. It is driving me crazy. I need lists, routine, order in the chaos. I need spanokopita tonight!!! This is why there is frozen spinach. I know I have some of that, but it is buried in the freezer because there has been no time to clean out the freezer. ARGH!!

Recipe- Layers of phyllo painted with melted butter (about 15). Layer of cheese/spinach mix. Layer of 15 butter painted phyllo sheets. Bake 350f for 40min. Cool for 10 min. before cutting. I use a roasting pan about 9x13 in.
Spinach/cheese mix: I like to cook the spinach to dry up some of the moisture. Then I cool it before continuing. For frozen spinach, just let it thaw and drain (squeeze out excess water). Use one pound raw spinach or one package of frozen spinach, one cup of ricotta cheese, one egg, on small pinch of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup grated romano/or parmesan cheese ( you can also add a tablespoon of grated onion). Mix well and spread on the first layer of phyllo dough.

There, it was worth the wait for the recipe. Now I have to go to the store and get some spinach.

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