Me, Myself and I
Went to the show Saturday, and it was not bad. Yep. I went. Just me and myself. It was a last-minute thing, and I just had it in me to see it all one last time. And, frankly, it seemed alright to go alone as I have so often listened to the show alone, and I did, and it was a fine time — me and a lot of good people all singing along and clapping and laughing a whole lot. If I could change a thing about it all, of course I’d have had Mr. S there with me (he is off in Raleigh, North Carolina, doing a talk called “Down and Out in the Dead of Winter,” something about fighting the blues) because — though I don’t mind alone time — I have to say some things can be better shared.
Like lunch at a Chinese buffet, and dinner at home. And walks. And movies. And a large bed. Dessert. Spring days. A trip to Alaska, or Ireland, or New York City. A bad day. A visit to an amusement park. Church. Road trips (though I do enjoy a road trip solo, I must say). Birthdays. Doctor visits, especially when the diagnosis isn’t so good. Grief. Sunday evenings.
Depends who you are, I guess. There are people in the world who love to be alone, and people who don’t. I am among the blessed who enjoy both. It’s been a challenge here and there, but I’ve learned to have a good ol’ time with me, myself and I, learned to find ways to amuse myself in a large and quiet house. Anyone can, I’m tempted to say, but it’s not always easy (sometimes reasons we’re alone are painful) and I don’t mean to make light of what may be, for some, a difficult thing. Trust me. I’ve had lonely days, and likely will again. But. If you give it a bit of thought, there are all kinds of things to do with a stretch of time where you are your only company. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Open and begin that book you’ve been wanting to read. Read it, all of it.
- Try a new homemade food. Like portabella ravioli. Or egg rolls. Or apple tarts.
- Turn on some music and dance around the house. I recommend Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly,” for starters.
- Stay in bed til noon. Get your laptop in there with you, and some pancakes.
- Go on an adventure in the woods. Wear gear. A headlamp is good, and don’t get lost. Or get lost.
- Watch a movie. A mini-series, even. Serve yourself popcorn and some good Moscato.
- Visit your home town, or places you used to live. Knock on doors and say hello.
- Plant something. Herbs, flowers, pumpkins.
- Open all the windows, air out the house, and do whatever cleaning you feel like doing. I’m a fan of cleaning out drawers and “making light.”
- Take a class just for fun. (I’m considering belly dancing, just because, only I have told Mr. S yet because I’m still thinkin’.) Yoga, canning, finances, mosaics. Pick a class.
- Fly to a city you’ve never been to, and see a show there. (You aren’t too late for A Prairie Home Companion in New York, or Spokane, or Atlanta, Highland Park, St. Louis, or L.A.)
I could keep going for a good while, but you get my drift. And if you’re alone and really feelin’ the lonely edge, call a friend you haven’t called in a good long while. Make a lunch date, or simply talk. Or call a family member and catch up. Or have a chat with yourself. I do it. And find, at times, I have a thing of interest to share. And I’m a pretty decent listener, too.
Mr. Keillor, last Saturday night, mentioned Darlene making homemade macaroni and cheese, and a hankerin’ was born. Dug up a recipe and gave it a whirl. Save it for a chilly rainy day. It’s got beer and cheese and bacon, and will send you to a happy place for sure.
Beer Macaroni and Cheese
1 package (16 oz) elbow macaroni
¼ cup butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 T ground mustard
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
2½ cups 2% or whole milk
¾ cup amber beer
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups (12 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups (8 oz) shredded fontina cheese
2 T grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 T minced chives (optional)
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente. As the macaroni cooks, heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually whisk in the milk, beer and cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat and stir in 2 cups cheddar cheese, fontina cheese and 1 T Parmesan cheese until melted. Add chives, if you wish.
Drain macaroni and stir into sauce. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, and bake uncovered at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and heated through. Top with crumbled bacon. Let stand a few minutes before serving.