Gimpy and Blanche – an appropriate scene from one of my all time favorite movies, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
So, I committed to do this thing for the month of November since I have a little bit of free time, but it’s a good sort of thing and I think it will a be fun opportunity to connect with other bloggers. It’s simply called, “Blog Every Day in November” or #BEDN on Twitter and it’s being organized by this lovely lady over here at Rosalilium. Basically, there is a topic du jour and each writer involved puts their own personal spin on it. Today’s topic is: “Introductions.”
Hi there. I’m Lady Sensory and my real name is Stacey Rowe. I’m more comfortable sharing that now because I’m free. Free from being the marketing and public relations persona at a local non-profit; and free to write about whatever the hell I want, and pepper it with some profanity if I so desire. It’s quite liberating and it’s also a little scary. What if you decide you don’t like me anymore?
For the most part, I’ve written about cooking, food, and travel, with a scattering of art and local lifestyle bits along the way. If you haven’t visited before, feel free to hang out and hit the ‘About’ section or peruse previous posts if you’d like. For this post, I thought I’d tell you an anecdote which will likely confirm that I’m the most accident-prone person you’ll ever encounter. Seriously. I can sit in a chair at a garage party and a shovel will fall on my head. That’s a true story – it happened two weeks ago! I will now recount the tale of how I broke my foot this past summer while attempting to make greens and beans.
Gimpin’ aint easy – getting scoot-tastic at the local Wegmans and rocking some fierce ortho footwear!
It’s no secret that I enjoy a good cocktail or three and I particularly enjoy a good afternoon cocktail with friends who have a shared interest in the fine art of daydrinking. The very last week of June was a whirlwind of work, work, work, and getting all the things ready for a huge press conference announcing the new name of my former organization. I worked a 60 hour week. I left on Friday with a headache and a strong desire to not think about the place that shall not be named for the entire weekend in an effort to come in relaxed and calm for the event on Monday. I visited the Titus Tavern, a local establishment we’ve affectionately dubbed the TitTav, for their Sunday afternoon Bloody Mary bar. ‘Twas a glorious afternoon spent indulging in snack-filled Bloodies and wine, taking over the jukebox with some Daft Punk, Robin Thicke, and a bit of Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” for a good dose of old-school flair. I even got a mild sunburn. Glorious day, I say.
About 3 hours later, I decided I needed to eat something before going to bed. I was feeling fine. I had escarole in the fridge. I had chicken stock. I had beans. I got up on my bar stool at home (naughty – don’t do it, kids!) and proceeded to pull down my 4.5 qt. fancy pot, set it on the stove and well, unlike Kerri Strug, I didn’t stick my olympic dismount.
Gimpy’s Beans & Greens
Yes, I got that “Boom-Boom-Pow” in the form of a broken fifth metatarsal (the bone that connects to your pinky-toe). I texted several friends and one came to my rescue. After a couple of hours at urgent care and a visit to the orthopedic office it was confirmed: I would be “Gimpy” for the summer: non-weight bearing for at least one month and the bone would take approximately 3 months total to heal completely.
Despite my general clumsiness, I’d never broken anything in my life. I spent all of July on crutches and in a wheelchair at work because it was easier to get around. The crutches were pinching the nerves in my underarms. I tried to insert “Gimpy” humor wherever I could but truthfully, I was in horrible pain and exhausted. I’m not by any means suggesting a broken foot is as traumatic or serious as other health conditions, but for me it was a personal worst. Thankfully, I had friends and family in town who were able to help with laundry and picking up groceries. You don’t appreciate those stupid little things until you can’t do them for yourself anymore. The funny thing is, between my mother’s illness and working with senior citizens for 9 years in my ‘previous lives,’ I’d always felt like I understood the whole loss of independence thing… until it happened to me. Then I finally got it. Admittedly, I’m stubbornly independent and hate having to ask anyone for help, particularly for very basic things. Being able to shave my legs or taking out the trash were personal triumphs! So yeah, it sucked, but it also gave me perspective and an appreciation for the people and things that actually matter. I’m also more aware of people around me and for every stranger who was too oblivious to hold a door open, there were others that were over-the-top helpful.
Aside from all of that and with November upon us, did I learn any lessons from a summer of being Gimpy and the fall aftermath? Sure. Here are a few takeaways:
1) Don’t get up on a tall stool to grab a 10 lb pot after 8:30 at night. Better yet, don’t attempt to cook anything after daydrinking, no matter how many hours have passed. Be more like your friends: grab a garbage plate and pass out.
2) Try not to get burned out because that’s when accidents happen. Perhaps more importantly, if a CEO (or anyone in senior management, for that matter) screams, swears, or throws something at you, or causes you to question your own intelligence, strengths, talents, and abilities – your inherent sparkle – please get the f*ck out. Please. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit. Darling, you are not working for leaders, you are indeed working for douchebags and douchebags don’t change.
3) Carry on. Hold your head high, but not so high that you get distracted and wind up dropping the lid of your fancy-ass Le Creuset pot on the toe of your previously injured foot, you idiot.
Lady Sensory Gets Knocked Down But She Gets Up Again Gimpy Beans & Greens
1 bunch (approximately 2-3 cups, chopped) of dark leafy greens (I’ve used escarole, chard, or spinach)
2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of crushed red pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your greens)
1/2 cup Freshly grated parmesan cheese (and if you have the cheese rind to throw in the soup – that’s even better!)
4 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for the vegetarians)
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
This one’s super easy for the non-clumsy. Warm a 4.5 qt fancy pot up on the stove (any large soup pot will do) and finely dice the onion. Add the oil to the pot and allow it to heat up. Place the onion in and cook until very golden brown (caramelized). This will take about 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes longer, then stir in the beans, red pepper and salt and black pepper. Cook for about three minutes and add the chopped greens, allowing to wilt slightly. Add the stock (and the cheese rind if you have it handy) and simmer until hot and greens are tender. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and serve with a nice crusty roll or bread. Serves 2-3 and is tasty the next day.
As a fair warning: you might not want to transport this spicy, garlicky soup in your vehicle. On that note, I’m really digging my new rubber VW mats. Oops.
Gimpy’s crutches overlooking scenic High Falls from the Genesee Brewhouse