January 29, 2020
While shopping for fresh fruits and veggies last Thursday, I was greeted by a friend in the grocers. He accused me of being the cause of coming bad weather. (We did get snow flurries, a bit of rain, more heavy snow, and strong winds Saturday, causing icy roads Sunday.) He claimed the weather always turns nasty upon the return of the snowbirds. I protested that title, as we’d only gone south for a short vacation. That encounter prompted me to look up the official definition of snowbird.
There are three: 1) birds that winter in cold climates, e.g. Junco or fieldfare (need to look that up also); 2) informal, a person who vacations in or moves to a warmer climate during the winter months; 3) a person addicted to heroin or cocaine. The first definition had been in use since the 17th century. The second came into use in the mid-1920s. The third is from 1915.
A side note: this term, as regards to people, was first used to describe men who enlisted in the armed forces in order to get food and warm clothing during the winter and deserted upon the arrival of spring. Then it was applied to northern laborers who flocked south when winter set in up in the North.
Being as the English Learners Dictionary says snowbird refers to those who spend the winter months (I stress months, plural!) in a warm place, and we were only in Florida slightly less than three weeks, I was correct in that we are not snowbirds. Yet!
A second side note from my research: snowbird also denotes an unincorporated community in the Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah. The ski and summer resort opened in December of 1971. They have a Facebook page should you be inclined to go skiing and not escape the cold and snow. I’m not so inclined.
We arrived home a week ago Tuesday, late in the day. It was dark, but not bedtime. I opened the blinds and curtains we’d pulled to help hold in the heat while we were gone. That led to the discovery of another of my amaryllis bulbs in full bloom. (The one that had been blooming when we left was, of course, done.) It was a nice surprise. The newest of my amaryllis bulbs is still only producing leaves, but they’re very healthy, large leaves.
I was also pleased to find only a few houseplants has expired during our sojourn south. I lost the lemongrass and the begonia. Neither was unexpected. The ice plant that was sickly is fully gone. One large pot of geraniums looks very ill, but the ivy in both those last two pots is going strong. (Our daughter came up to the check the house and water my plants once for me while we were away. I’d only requested the one trip up here. She did well. Her dad had her come up almost immediately to reset his weather computer. He feels a strong need to check on the weather at home while we’re elsewhere.)
I’m again doing the Whole Life Challenge this year. It makes me accountable for keeping up with my exercise and mobility (stretching), as well as watching what I consume. I’ve paid for the program (which is another incentive to do it). I check in each evening, self-scoring my day in the areas of nutrition, exercise, mobilization, sleep, hydration, and well-being. (The well-being practice this week is 10 minutes of meditation each day. Last week it was avoiding electronics for two hours before bedtime and for one hour after waking. TV was excluded from electronics. This practice changes weekly.)
My recipe to share this week is for pork chops. I’d copied this one some time ago and finally got around to actually using it. On my nutrition level (kickstart, the most lenient) some sugar is allowed for savory dishes, and since I subbed amino acids for the soy sauce I feel this one qualifies. Plan ahead, as the more time spent marinating, the tastier and tender the chops will be. I used bone-in chops from a mixed package that was on sale last week. I only grilled two (George Foreman is very handy in the winter), so the others are still marinating and should taste even better. Air fried sweet potato wedges and canned spinach with apple cider vinegar competed my meal. Dennis had air fried russet potato wedges and no spinach. (I watched a lot of Popeye as a child, and love canned spinach. Fresh is better, of course, especially from my garden in the summer, but canned is just fine, too.) Fresh pears and blueberries were dessert.
Chinese Pork Chops
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C brown sugar
2 Tbl lemon juice
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder
6 boneless chops
In a bowl, mix the first six ingredients. Reserve some for basting. (I didn’t do this step.) Pierce chops on both sides with a fork. (Didn’t do this, either.) Place chops in a ziploc, pour marinade over. Seal bag, turn to coat, and refrigerate 6-8 hours. Grill on oiled grill, 6-8 minutes per side, basting with reserved liquid.