Me, Myself and I

Archived | February 25, 2016 | By

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:

  1. Open and begin that book you’ve been wanting to read. Read it, all of it.
  2. Try a new homemade food. Like portabella ravioli. Or egg rolls. Or apple tarts.
  3. Turn on some music and dance around the house. I recommend Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly,” for starters.
  4. Stay in bed til noon. Get your laptop in there with you, and some pancakes.
  5. Go on an adventure in the woods. Wear gear. A headlamp is good, and don’t get lost. Or get lost.
  6. Watch a movie. A mini-series, even. Serve yourself popcorn and some good Moscato.
  7. Visit your home town, or places you used to live. Knock on doors and say hello.
  8. Plant something. Herbs, flowers, pumpkins.
  9. 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.”
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

Enjoy!