Monday, August 24, 2015

An Election, A Rejection, and Fried Okra

I wonder what it is like to see the entire political landscape in all black-and-white.  Is there really such a creature as a true liberal or conservative?  What brought up this question was a Facebook posting by an old friend, wearing a Hillary for President tee shirt and holding  a Stand With Planned Parenthood bumper sticker.  Maybe it's my adult attention deficit disorder, but I can't settle on one clear political path or the other. Whenever I registered for one political party, I always ended up voting for the major candidate from the other. I finally threw up my hands and went the Independent route, which is thankfully not a real party here in Florida.

Voted for both of them (twenty years apart) while registered to their opposition party. Confused, I am.

I mean ... sometimes I really like Hillary but there are days I would gladly vote for Mike Huckabee or Donald Trump.  And I've previously subjected you all to my views on women's rights, abortion after the first trimester, the death penalty, and Planned Parenthood, and I am all over the place, I know. And just to be clear, I'm not targeting liberals or Democrats or even socialists like Bernie Sanders. My conservative friends can be just as focused a
nd single-minded in their beliefs.  I just wonder what it feels like to be totally devoted to one party.  I've never been there, even on my first go around in 1972, so it's not like I've evolved or something.  Confused, maybe but not evolved.

Today (Sunday) I managed to accomplish something, a big something for me.  I made it to the office and cleared out, not all, but about two-thirds of my stuff. Maybe three-quarters. Rob and Cory were with me and helped with packing, plus did all the heavy carrying.  I left the Magic Cookie Bars where they would be found (I told you they weren't for home) and also left the finished Pandora knock-off bracelets I'd offered to fix for Terry and Brenda quite a while ago.  I felt good about the whole thing.  I will go back tomorrow or Wednesday, when the lawyers are not tied up in court with Attila the Hun, and finish the packing, turn in my keys and phone, and finally say adios.  This is such a huge thing for me - it probably sounds silly, but I have been emotionally frozen and it took my going in on a Sunday, with both my boys, to break that ice even a little bit.

Monday I got my disability rejection letter from the Division of Retirement folks in Tallahassee, and their letter was nicer than the dismissal letter that was generated locally.  Someone in their office should give letter-writing lessons to someone in Orlando.  I was expecting the initial rejection, as both of my doctors were - how shall I say this delicately? - less than helpful.  I will appeal it, and the appeal allows me to, in effect, introduce all the evidence I was restrained from providing the first time.  I also sent in the initial documents to the Social Security advocate, including an agreement for representation.  Let's hope I can hold myself together long enough to follow through.  On bad days, I am useless, to myself and others.

Having said all that, the pain is getting worse, and more frequent. Having picked up the spare cane I left in the office, I am now leaving it in the car.  Although I try, I really can't be without it.  Even cooking is become more difficult for me, as I cannot stand for any length of time.  I also can't sit for any length of time (same problem - it triggers pain) so I am constantly jumping up, and that has negatively impacted my knitting.

I finally collected enough pods off of my okra bush to justify heating up enough cooking oil to fry the little darlings.  Tonight I sort of forced myself to do the frying, even though my back is breaking, by dumping the remaining buttermilk over the pods.  No choice but to coat them, fry them, and ask Robert to taste test them.  He said they were good, and crunchy.

There is nothing magical about frying okra. The method is quintessentially southern: soak the whole pods in buttermilk (I added Crystal hot sauce) for a while.  Combine equal amounts flour and cornstarch and season the flour mixture with salt, pepper, and anything else you like.  Dredge the okra in the flour, and fry in 350 degree oil.  Drain, salt, and eat.  Here's a link to the recipe I used. I happened to notice nice bags of fresh whole okra in Publix, just in case you don't have a 6 foot okra bush in your yard.  I like to dip them in a horseradish sauce, but the lady at the link recommends malt vinegar, like for fried fish.

I'm still working on those smoked meats. But when it's 100 degrees, I tend to think twice about lighting up the grill, especially when I can stay in my air conditioned house and work on my disability paperwork. What a great choice.

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