When you find it, grab on to it, and smile.

Archived | October 12, 2009 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It’s tough to listen to a show like that and not forget the world for a while. I imagine that’s why a good number of us listen — to tune in the happy thoughts and tune out the bad. Not that there’s a lot of particularly bad things going on lately. Depends how you look at it, of course, and I like to think that life is pretty good and there really isn’t much to complain about as long as a person has work, and something to look forward to, and someone to love. And one’s health, of course. Really, things are decent. There’s even snow on the ground and how can you beat that?
But you think about it, and the answer to what makes a person happy is as colorful and storied as the number of people on the planet. Some people don’t care much for work, and others are content in the moment and there are people with terminal illnesses who know more about happiness than most, I imagine. And I suppose there are people who don’t think much about love, can take it or leave it like the cucumber water at the hair salon. Might be nice, but you won’t die without it.
Not my friend Angela. She’s not desperate by any means, but she’s looking for love with gentle yet unwavering determination. She believes, in the marrow of her bones, that life — her life in particular — was not meant to be lived alone. So, after months of not really meeting anyone just doing the things she likes to do (my suggestion), she joined an online dating service. Thing is, Angela also believes her life was not meant to be spent with someone with whom she is the least bit uncomfortable, someone with whom she feels she must pretend to have qualities she doesn’t have, or someone whose desire for her is disproportionate to her desire for that person. And vice versa.
Long story short, Angela has been on three dates in the last two weeks, and she has another planned for this coming Saturday. Her one observation I find it rather interesting: in the photos posted along with their profiles, the majority of men are posing and smiling and holding a fish. Whatever floats your boat, I say. Happiness is elusive. When you find it, grab on to it, and smile.
Hearty Beef Stew
It’s cold out there, and time for something to keep you warm all day. Serve this up in a stew bowl with fresh dinner rolls or a good, dense bread. Because stew is an art form, no two batches should turn out exactly alike.

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs. lean beef (or venison) cut into 3/4-1″ cubes
  • 2 T flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 T cooking oil
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 T minced onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1-2 small shots of Tabasco or 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (if desired)
  • About 3 cups peeled potatoes, cut into cubes (If reds, you don’t have to peel ’em)
  • 3-4 med. carrots, peeled and chunked
  • 3 large stalks of celery, chopped into small chunks

Shake meat in paper bag with flour and a little salt and pepper. Brown in oil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add onion near end of browning. Turn heat down to low, just barely cover meat with water, and add bouillon, garlic powder, thyme, basil, and bay leaf. Simmer in covered pot 1/2 hour or so (more if meat is tough). Add tomato sauce. Stir occasionally. When meat is just about tender enough, add carrots, celery, and potatoes, in that order, at about 1–2 minute intervals. Simmer further until vegetables are tender, adding more water, if needed, just to keep covered. Stir occasionally, checking for doneness of vegetables. Add Tabasco or cayenne, and more salt and pepper to taste, if needed.