Most mornings I wake up jazzed and ready to write. Whether I rewrite an article on conservation, start a new blog post, create a recipe, or craft a silly day in the life of tale like this one about making lists and roasting garlic, most mornings I have a plan. And a list. Since I quit my day job (almost a month ago today), I am busy rewriting, editing and compiling a “Chef Inspired” section for my ebook, “Salmon.” These days I feel like I am on an endless zip-line, cascading high above the canopy of trees through the clouds, dizzy with energy, ideas and unlimited potential. Today, I woke feeling as though I was transported back to the 1950s. A vapid feeling followed me around like Linus and his blanket. Housewife is the term that comes to mind.



Roasted Garlic MCB

5:30 a.m. I wander through the house like a robot to the laundry room. I turn the knob on the dryer to “refresh” and then walk back to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher. I think of the braid of garlic in the pantry to roast later and the fresh fruit I need to buy for the salmon recipes. I place knives in the drawer, lining them up side-by-side. Midway through the unloading, I write a shopping list-dog medicine, bread flour, butter, dried instant potatoes, a birthday card for Sarah. Then I pour a cup of black coffee and saunter to the back patio. The dishes can wait.

I sit still and watch hummingbirds whiz in and out to sip from the feeder. Robins and blue jays swoosh across the manicured lawn low to the ground. I have a brief thought about this, but it amounts to pure conjecture. I chalk up the low-level flying as a territorial thing. A woodpecker, hidden in the dense foliage, pecks on a pine tree. Tap, tap, tap-tap. The air is damp, wet in a pre-dawn spring shower way, just enough to make the seat cushions damp and my hair frizzy.

In a few hours, I will drive forty miles north to shell out over one hundred dollars to have my hair cut and processed. Money I don’t like to spend, but don’t know of any other solution, since I can’t bring myself to buy boxed product from the drugstore and screw up my hair and my only spa-like luxury. It’s enough I do my own manicures and pedicures. I digress.

While I like my hairdresser Emily, I wish I were going to see Michael Jon, my Florida hairdresser of thirteen years. Michael Jon understood me the I don’t want to work but I sure do like the extra money dilemma of my current life. Emily is a pleasantly plump (see, just there I wrote as if this was a 50s script) thirty-something, not prying, but eager to converse, I’m happy to talk about whatever you want and take your money kind of hairdresser. She is also an educator and shareholder of the salon. So while she lifts, brushes and cuts my locks, she instructs other stylists, “Use number 35 on Mrs. Rimmerson,” or “see if you can sell Judy a treatment.” The latter out of the side of her mouth; one eye on my thinning curly blond hair, the other on a hairdresser mixing color to her left, a slender gay dude who wears black on black and a throat beard.

I never feel fully comfortable with what the outlook of my hundred-dollar plus haircut might look like. Emily doesn’t disappoint most times. Although two times ago, she gave me a tad too many low-lights. But I’m willing to stick it out. This will be my sixth time going to her and I’ve been to four hairdressers since I moved here two and a half years ago. My track record sucks.

It’s only as I type this it occurs to me I need clarity. It’s the same feeling I get when I try to tweet something clever, but all that comes out is a Mrs. Middle aged rural voice who used to write for the weekly rag and watches birds in the mornings while she sips coffee.

“How are you handling not working?” asked Emily. She’s parting my hair as if she’s inspecting my skull for bed buds.

“I’m a little anxious,” I say. I hear my voice crack. Then to overcompensate, I launch into my what I did on my California vacation tale. I regal her with snippets of my good fortune and how I’m expecting 60 pounds of salmon in the mail tomorrow to recreate and photograph “celebrity chef” recipes. My voice is smooth and confident. I finish with, “I think I’ll go back to work in the fall at the library.”

“Won’t that be exciting?” she asks. When I look back to see if she meant it, (the voice always betrays) she was watching the other salon partner measure the distance from the wall to a chair with a retractable ruler. Apparently, the salon is expanding.


3:30 p.m. Back from the hairdresser and the grocery store, I scrimmage through my purse for the list I made earlier.

I didn’t buy one thing on the list.

I do have a bitching haircut and color I can live with for the next six weeks-a not too warm, not too ashy kind of blond. A bought a new hairbrush, a Mack Daddy can of hairspray, a $7 cotton teal-colored sweater that would be perfect for sailing, except we don’t live anywhere near a large body of water, nor do we own a sailboat. I bought a tube of mascara and a three-pack of a shaping, smoothing buffing manicure tool that for a reason I can’t fathom, I cannot find in Walmart, Walgreens or any other store in my little country town. I bought wine, croissants, sardines, organic chicken, smoked salmon, and a monster bag of produce.

I turn on the oven to 400 degrees to roast the garlic and beets, and to write my second list of the day. One that I will use to develop recipes for “Salmon”, the project that is costing me more in time, money, and mistakes than I’ll ever make on the sale of said book.

Pineapple, pears, peaches, raspberries (sense a theme?) for fresh fruit salsa. Rosemary and basil to season said salsa, champagne and balsamic vinegar to finish. Asparagus, beets and garlic to roast. Spinach to wilt. Green onions for a springy pop of flavor and color. Goat cheese, Parmesan Reggiano and Feta cheese because whoever said seafood and cheese don’t mix has never eaten any of my salmon dishes.

Just as I smell the pungent, sweet, caramel scent of roasted garlic, the kitchen timer chimes.

Thanks for reading.

Roasted Garlic Spread MCB

Roasted garlic recipe ideas: Smear roasted garlic on sourdough bread. Serve with mission figs, cheese, fruit, and a beverage of your choosing. Use roasted garlic in mashed potatoes, cauliflower puree, in scrambled eggs and, what else? Baked salmon of course.

Appetite required.

Are you a list-maker? What’s on your list? If you aren’t, what tactic do you use to remember the this is what I need to do today kind of stuff?