Month: September 2020

Comes With Age by Lois Hewitt

As the 1980s rolled in, I was in my early 20s. A time when I probably should have had some direction in my life, but I did not. A time for ambition and drive, neither did I have. Women were being recognized as forces to be reckoned with, I was not that woman.

I just came off my turbulent teen years with no real education that could further me anywhere and no plan. I was as aimless as I was as a teenager. I did know, however, that it was the time to get my act together and start being responsible. A lesson learned, by the way, over the next few decades. You do not just wake up one day and are responsible.

I never really had any grand ideas of working as a lawyer or anything like that. I deep down knew it would be retail or food service in my future. I did get my GED, but I was still just a dumb kid with a very small world view.

I met a very nice young man who actually treated me well and we had fun together. We decided to get married. I actually enjoyed the experience of being married and felt a baby was the next step. Many of my friends were having children and I thought if I did I could stay home and nest full time.

There was no pregnancy and I thought it would happen soon so I quit my job at Kmart to stay home and have babies. All was well at first, but still no babies. The longer I stayed home the more pressure I put on myself. I thought if I was staying home without children I needed to do everything Martha Stewart perfect.

This pressure then took the fun out of everything and made me paranoid. I thought everyone was judging me for not working. Most people probably didn’t even care but I had all day to think and obsess about it. Eventually, the marriage just faded into oblivion. Then I had to work as I was late 20s and single.

I continued working but took one year off to get pregnant by my new husband. Again nothing. My dream of a June Cleaver life was dead and buried. I worked, sometimes two jobs, but never really felt it was me. But it was what society and my mountain of bills dictated.

Fast forward to my time before leaving Ohio. I was done with the grind and wanted out. I had been planning my exodus for decades. Finally in my 50s, the time came. We were financially ruined anyway, might as well go all the way. We packed the car with a few items and hit the road with no solid plan.

We built a new and much different life. Things were good. I had a nice job that I loved and it was fine. March 2020, when everything changed. Now I’m suddenly not working full time and really wondering what I was supposed to do. I have talked about the depression and insecurity. Then I found a cooking show that ignited something in me.

Now I’m working a cool part time job but more importantly, I doing what I thought I always wanted to do. I’m cooking, cleaning and taking care of my family (Mike and I). Those old feelings started to creep in, am I just lazy? What is wrong with you, why can’t you just go to work? But I threw those out of my mind.

Could I have been this happy when I was younger? Probably not, I had to live and experience some things. I had to walk through the fire before I could be grateful for this time. The pressure I felt, real or imagined, reflected who I was at that time. With the drama gone now, I can fully enjoy my calling. I’m not saying this is all it will be, but it is more in line with who I believe I am.

My wish for you today is that you are filling your life with your purpose and things you love. They say life is too short to not enjoy it and I think they are right. Find your happiness and enjoy the day. We all need more of that.

A Convert by Lois Hewitt

It seems official, I am a veg convert thanks to the cooking style of Jamie Oliver. He has inspired me to cook as many things as I can from scratch and add veg to every dish. I can feel myself getting stronger. After being so anemic this summer that I walked with a cane for a while, it is wonderful now to feel so much better.

Since I am cooking every day, I have tried to come up with some easy ways to make the veg prep go faster.

I put red onions in almost everything. I love them but hate cutting them. What I do now is put on a mask ( a great use for them) along with my glasses and I cut upwards to six at a time. The mask and glasses protect me from burning eyes and such. I can cut them all up in less than 20 minutes and pop them in the freezer. Ready to be cooked at a moment’s notice.

I also keep bread ends and stale bread in the freezer. When I get enough I make buttery garlic croutons out of the thick pieces. I save the thinner pieces in a separate freezer bag for bread crumbs. When I need bread crumbs I will throw the thin pieces in the food processor and grind them into crumbs.

I also slice multi-colored carrots along with celery and mix them up and freeze them. They work great in soups, casseroles, and other cooked dishes. I don’t know how many times I’ve bought celery for one recipe, then ended up throwing the rest away after it went bad. No more waste, which means my food dollars are going further.

Today I cleaned and cut leeks to put in the freezer. Another great veg to add to so many dishes, cut and ready to go with little to no waste.

Tomorrow I’m planning on making a batch of fresh basil pesto to freeze. After it’s been in the freezer for an hour, I take it out and slice it. Then when I need pesto for a recipe, take a couple of chunks and start cooking.

My freezer used to be cram packed with unusable leftovers I was too embarrassed to throw out, unhealthy processed tv dinners and useless scraps of bread that only ended up in the garbage. Now it is full of useable, healthy food that makes cooking a joy. Now I can concentrate on creating and not spend so much time chopping.

The funny thing is that when I ran away from home, my intent was to not cook again. I hated it, it was a chore. Now I realize that just throwing things in a pan doesn’t constitute cooking. What I made was okay but not necessarily tasty. My meals today, for the most part, taste so much better and are making me healthier. I am so thrilled that I found someone to inspire me.

My hope is to get my energy back, lower my blood pressure naturally, lose some weight and just feel better. The difference is like night and day…and I just started.

I hope that today you are inspired in whatever you want to do. I was so unhappy without inspiration in my life. What a wonderful surprise this has been. Find your joy today!!

Back, But Different by Lois Hewitt

A few months ago, I gave up on this blog. I ran out of things to say and, truthfully, I lost my ability to be positive. We all have our Covid story and here is mine.

In early March 2020, I had just celebrated my second year anniversary at a job I loved and was looking forward to retiring from that job in five years. Since my husband and I had been sharing a car for quite some time, we decided it was the perfect time to buy a new one for me.

I was nervous about a car payment but the future did look bright so we did it. Within two weeks I was furloughed from work due to covid. But honestly, I thought it was only going to last a couple of weeks, then a month, then two and so on.

At first, I thought of all the things I could do that I hadn’t had time for. I took a nap a day and then two or three. As the furlough continued I slept more and did less. I would have anxiety attacks every morning as I worried about the world’s state of affairs and as I tried to value my own self worth.

Due to a few health risks, I barely left the apartment. Mike did all the grocery shopping and I did all the cooking. I had cooked most of my life, but never was really good at it. We had made the decision to not do any carry out at all.

As you can imagine, my ten or so go to recipes got old fast. My self esteem began to plummet. I felt less than useless. Then the reality set in that I would not have a place at my beloved job anymore. The depression was deep. I was afraid, and probably still am, of this new world we live in and I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere.

Then I got sick and became so weak that I could not even do small tasks. I had a small surgery thinking it would make me feel well again but the recovery time was longer than expected. Luckily, my health insurance was still in effect for that time. Now I’m back to none but I have learned about alternatives which we can talk about later.

I really wondered why I was here. Just taking up space. Then one day Mike planted a container garden on our porch and asked me to tend to it. I agreed but wondered what the point was. It all seemed so hopeless. Things began to sprout and it started to renew my outlook.

I thought I would quit looking at social media so much, and decided to learn something new. Gradually my outlook changed. I found a chef on line who has absolutely inspired me. I started cooking healthier meals as my strength came back so did my self-esteem.

I started using my planner to figure out cleaning chores so they all get done timely. I started planning meals and shopping lists a week in advance. I realized that I did and do have value. I coined myself the Apartment Homesteader because I started doing everything home made. Turns out there is already an Apartment Homesteader. But that’s ok.

I slowly realized that this is what makes me happy. We are eating healthier and saving loads of money over eating out, which we did a lot. I’m learning new skills all the time. I have a part time job at an organic grocery and have access to locally grown foods.

A few months ago I felt that I had lost all my value as a person. I wondered what I was going to do. Then new doors opened. I felt that where I was before was my only option, but as I should know by now, there are always other options.

So I thought I would write the blog some more. It will be different and if you want to unfollow it, I certainly understand. This blog has had as many changes as my life has had…and that’s a lot. This is a new and fun stage. Homemaking has always been my true calling, sorry to anyone that offends. I thought I would write about the things I’m learning and the wonders I’m seeing.

If you are going through a tough time right now, please please find someone to talk to that can help you. I thought the world looked completely bleak but the sun did come out along with the realization that the world was different now but still negotiable. Don’t give up!! Now is the time to think outside the box.

I’m back and it feels good. Please be safe out there and be sure to find your own happiness! Talk to you soon!