Taken September 2007 Mediterranean at dusk © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas all rights reserved

Guide to living alone and surviving

October 2007

Words to wise - Laws if alone
Story - Augie the Baby Antelope
Helpful hints to eating right
On getting out of house
Recommended sites
Computer use tips

Word To the Wise Column
Story of the Month

Laws If Alone
(on different levels)

  • Do not eat the same thing twice in one day. You don't want one failure to follow another. But then, there are those for whom there is no choice. In that case, at least fix it differently. What was boiled at one meal, fry with something green in the next. A meal must be something to look forward to, if not for the companionship and good conversation, then at least something to break up the rest of the day, and to be enjoyed. We have too few of those moments already. Make an effort to increase them if only just a little.

  • Perhaps the most important law – do not break with your principles because you are lonely, frustrated, angry, sad. You will only live to regret it.

  • The next in importance - do not overload others with your situation, your grief, your helplessness, your to-be-pitied circumstances. Others have enough worries of their own and will tend to avoid any extra load. You may find yourself increasingly isolated. If it is to grieve, do it to the fullest extent but within yourself. If it is to find pity, pity yourself - do not ask others to do it for you. If it is to feel helplessness, do not ask those around you for help unless you are willing to carry the burden and do everything necessary to solve the problem by yourself and rise above it. Your basic stance should be "I'm O.K." or "I'm dealing with it. Thank you for asking."

  • The most helpful activity during the most painful season of loss is to reach out and help someone. Meeting their need becomes an instant source of healing in your need. Submitted by Gail Thomas To this can be added finding an animal which needs you. There are so many out there.

  • And finally, I repeat from last month's edition - never go outside the door without your keys.

    If you have other laws, write to me..

    By the way, look for the phrase "dos and donts" on the internet. Amazing list of sites giving the "right" word on everything from cell phone etiquette, interviewing, PowerPoint presentation, dating, and on and on.

  • _____________

    Read it here or on full page

    Story of the Month
    As told to Tamara

    She said "tell me a story".

    So I started:
    Once upon a time in Africa there was this herd of antelope. What is an antelope? It is a majestic animal that roams the plains of eastern Africa in huge herds. And they eat grass and roam from place to place looking for the best and also to find the sweetest water when the seasons change.

    Well, in this one particular herd, a calf was born - a baby antelope, and her name was Augie. Why Augie? I don't know. That was just the name her mother gave her. Augie was up and standing on her own two feet, I mean four feet, almost 3 minutes after she was born. That's a record time in that part of Africa because it usually takes 7-9 minutes and even more for a newborn antelope to stand for the first time. Well, Augie was up and moving around just like that and you knew that this was some special little antelope.

    Now, Augie was not partial to this herd stuff. Everyone from the moment she was born was saying "Stay close to the herd". "Don't leave your mother's side", and stuff like that. But, Augie had her own ideas, and she would wander off, but not too far, always keeping the lower left side of her mother in full view because that was where she was going to get her next meal.

    Well, as I said, she would wander off, and what would she do in these wanderings? She would leap in the air and move her four legs around and, well I guess you could say that she was practicing new ways of moving. That's it, she would dance - no pirouette type of stuff because antelope can't balance on one foot - but she would jump and practice fast movements because in a vision - she didn't know what that was - just something that appeared before her eyes - she had a vision of a people. She had heard others in the herd talk about people but she had never seen one. She had heard talk that they moved very fast and separated themselves from parts of their body - from the part that had round things at the bottom, and they would hold black things up in front of their faces and sometimes wave sticks around that made a sound. Anyway, in this vision, she saw herself as a beautiful, what she guessed was a people, with long black hair - much longer than she had and this people was standing on two legs and doing exactly what she was trying to do but, so far totally unsuccessfully. It is sort of like she knew... well, we will leave that to some other time.

    On this one particular day, she was doing her usual thing and suddenly she felt a pair of eyes staring at her. And all of the hairs on her back were standing up straight. Now, she had never seen a lion because no matter how far she got from her mother, she had always been surrounded by herd. But she knew now why the herd sometimes stampeded suddenly without any apparent reason - she just knew that this was the reason. She turned around to go back to her mother but, for the first time in her life, her mother was not there and neither was anyone else. This was one of those cathartic moments when who we really are comes out. And Augie thought to herself, there is only one thing that I can do. I am going to do what I know best. I am going to be totally me. And she started dancing and jumping and doing all sorts of crazy stuff that this particular lion had never seen before - you could tell that the lion was enthralled. And because Augie did not know lionese, she talked to this lion in antegrams - you know - mental pictures. Something to the effect, I will dance for you if you do not hurt me, and then she thought of her mother and she added her, and then in a great magnanimous gesture or - thought that is - all the herd.

    She didn't know if she was getting it across but by this time there were what she guessed were people detaching themselves from the part which had these round things on the bottom and putting black boxes up in front of their faces and others waving sticks around and that sort of thing. National Geographic had arrived. And they were all amazed that this lion was standing there not moving and apparently having no intention of moving, or crouching down or anything that lions were instinctively supposed to do. And there were all sorts of lights flashing as Augie danced and thought. Finally, when she could no longer move or think, she saw the herd out of the corner of her eye as they edged cautiously closer, and slowly, slowly she went the long distance and she found her mother.

    And in the annals of National Geographic and in all the thousands of pictures taken, that day became known as the day that the lions stopped preying on antelopes - at least in that small part of Africa. What will happen in the other parts, as the news travels, we do not know.

    The moral of the story is, when you are up against it, do the best you possibly can and be the best you possibly can be, and who knows, you may just save the whole herd, or the world, or at least something.

    And I call this story - The Day the Law of the Jungle Changed Forever.

    Morgan © Copyright October 1, 2007 All rights reserved



    For those suddenly finding themselves alone
    or temporarily single

    Published monthly: Volume I No. 2
    To ENLARGE text size, go to View
    and then Text Size in many browsers

    If you read this intro box last month, its a repeat,
    so skip down to Helpful hints to eating right

    This is for all of you who are either recently divorced, in the midst of deciding on getting one because you are living alone, have decided to go it alone from friends and family, or are suddenly alone because of a loss.

    This is particularly useful for those who have not done much cooking before. However, even if you were the one who did ALL of the cooking, you may find something of value in here. One of the tendencies, even when you did do all of the cooking, is not to cook, not to follow a routine. If so, then this is for you.

    What this is not.
    This is not a cookbook telling you how to make meals taste better, look better or how to cook. This is not a page on gracious living even though single. This is not tips on how to become un-single. It is not an attempt to give nutritional advice – I eat to stay alive not to have beautiful skin, clear eyes and healthy hair, or for that matter, to live longer.

    This is not a lot of things, but it is a method of survival during the first couple of months of being single and living to tell about it, as well as including a number of other things – many other things.

    Hope it helps and that you will enjoy reading parts of it.

    How it will work
    I will add a page a month until I run dry. So, if you are interested, you can do one of two things: Sign up to receive a newsletter each month or keep coming back - or get un-single and leave all this behind you.

    Part II: Helpful Hints On Eating Right Without Trying
    Continued From September

    Check out On Getting Out at bottom

    I continue this month where I left off – on food and items to buy. But first, with additions to last month's Double-ups - important things with a backup so you will not suddenly run out.

  • Pasta - spaghetti, noodles, etc.
    Just have it around. Stores very well and it is there when all else fails. To get the real lowdown, go to a site that calls itself the National Pasta Association
    I love Pasta. Take a look at their gallery of pasta shapes. Very nutritious.

  • Coffee creamer
    For those who are big coffee drinkers or cereal with milk users, being without even coffee creamer is unacceptable although bearable. Coffee creamer if premixed with water and refrigerated is not bad. Also, I have been advised that those small cans of evaporated milk for those out-of-milk-emergencies, can be a life saver. Actually, I remember that when I was young and on a camping trip, I had my first cup of coffee with evaporated milk in it. I may have been tired, or very hungry but that was great - the only cup of coffee I actually remember although I have had thousands since.
    Also, long life - Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk in unopened cartons can be kept around for quite a long time un-refrigerated. When opened, needs to be refrigerated like any other milk product.
    The other choice and some swear by it: Sweetened condensed milk which is a thick syrup of sweetened milk from which water has been extracted.
    A side note on coffee with condensed milk: For the troops during the U.S. Civil War 1862: A resolution of the Senate of the 6th instant, relative to the purchase of extracts of coffee for the use of the troops. War Department, Washington, January 15, 1862. Also, it is at the base of coffee preparation in a number of Southeast Asian countries. For those who want Evaporated and Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipes
    Pick up one of each of the above and you will never run out of milk again. And about coffee? If you are like me - well, just never run out, although I have been known to go a day without it.

  • Bread, Rolls, Pitas
    My favorite are pitas (Wikipedia defines it as double-layered flat or pocket bread). They hold just about anything without falling apart.
    "What's that hanging from your belt."
    "That's a pita. I have my comb, money, pen, and theatre tickets in there."
    They are great with burgers, and anything with a sauce which tends to drip from all other sandwich preparations. Plus they are very good for dips, and for making individual pizzas (just slice and you have two individual pizza shells).

  • Humus, Hummus
    (no, not the stuff you put on your plants to fertilize them and not the psychedelic band from Mexico, or the urban rock band from Prishtina, Kosovo(a). - This is made from chickpeas which goes with just about anything and provides a high degree of nutrition and protein in your diet. Of course, there are other dips out there according to your taste. But it is good to have at least one of them on hand when everything else fails.

    "Humus", to quote from Pita Break " is a healthy mix of ground chickpeas and ground sesame seeds (tahini), mixed with a little garlic and some spices. Sesame seeds are high in protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids and contain a high percentage of vitamin B. Humus is not only highly nutritious, but it's also a delicious dipping partner for our pitas. "

    I buy mine already made, but if you try it and like it, you may even want to make it yourself. If you do, see the link above. By the way, some say that it freezes well and others say that it doesn't. You have to try it and decide, but do not refreeze once it is thawed. It is best to make a number of portions for two and freeze them separately. Who knows who you will have over, or maybe you will be particularly hungry sometimes.

  • Rice
    It can be hulled and polished (white rice) or brown which has most of the original nutrients left on. It takes longer to cook and tastes different but some find it preferable. Wikipedia on Brown and White Rice Brown has the advantage of retaining its magnesium content and the bran oil which are lost in the milling process to produce white. If you want to back this up with recipes, see 573 Brown Rice Recipes

  • Baggies
    Except for the 'doesn't self destruct (I guess that indicates intent - so decompose) for 1000 years pollution problem', they are ideal for just about everything - well almost. After you read the following from Fortune: Saving the world - one plastic bag at a time you may stop using them - well, reduce it a little bit at least. Some countries, states, municipalities, stores, groups, and individuals are doing their utmost to reduce the problem.

  • Wipes
    Ready to use small wet cloths in a packet. The advertisers have worded it better. But, do not get to depend on them. They cost an arm… but they can be washed and reused. Not with the same microbiotic action but as something handy to have when something spills, etc. Someone told me they are great for absorbing spills from just about everything, from carpets to clothing, and they are good on cleaning coffee cup rings from tables, floors (if that is where you are sitting these days).

    I would like to hear about other double-ups from you

    (I give credit or assign responsibility whichever is appropriate).


    Continuing with the items on your list to buy

  • Oil
    Very important: Be sure that you do not try to save too much money on this. You use it for your cooking and for salads and according to some, there are 101 uses for it. I don't know about that, but it really is the basis of a lot of the foods you eat. A good place to start is
    The Olive Oil Source which also covers many others i.e., corn oil, canola, safflower. Also see Wikipedia cooking oil for a very good rundown of different oils used in cooking, what used for, and saturation.

  • Cheese One tip from me: If you have been eating that already sliced, comes in a plastic wrapper yellow cheese, branch out and try something different. You will realize that you have been needlessly depriving yourself all these years.
    You might think that it is not so important but the cheese people and those who know the nutrients in it will tell you differently. It adds something to a meal with that on top (actually everything if that is all that you are eating), or simply for itself in a grilled cheese something and is very easy to use and cook. And best of all, you can use it straight out of the packaging without cooking.

    Take a look at The Truth About Cheese (Beware: this site has music when you go in so have your speakers on low unless you like being overwhelmed. Has an internal mute at the top but if, like me you were on full volume, you won't be able to find it fast enough). This site has some very readable descriptions of cheese categorized by country of origin, category and alphabetically. For instance, he describes one cheese as follows: "Perhaps the worst sheep’s milk accident since the Etruscan Period, when Emperor Nemoy was heard to say, “This tastes horrible...” [but then he recants] "Actually, that description is probably wrong. It’s more likely, I have now realized, that the store I bought it from just sucked, and let their cheeses hang around too long...". Apparently this guy has tried them all or at least most of them. And writes "Please email me if you know more about cheese than I do...[and then he tempers it a bit] No, seriously. Tell me what you know".

    The best I found for pictures of each cheese (American cheese that is) is the, you guessed it, American Dairy Association. See Cheese Guide at the top for an A to Z Cheese listing. Go here only after you have eaten, because you invariably will find that you do not have the best looking ones in the house. Some good recipes here, although I just put a great piece of cheese in a pita and enjoy the taste. And you can even plan a tour of cheese farms, and also find out what kind of cheese person you are.

    For some very good photographs of cheese from different countries, see The Cheeses Of England and Wales with a list of selected countries under the title Cheese Shop at the bottom of the page.

    And then you thought that cheese was only for eating Cheese Rolling Gloucester, England - YouTube.

  • Cuscus or couscous which is semolina
    I know, I had never heard of it either until someone said, "It's great. No cooking and it's ready to eat in five minutes. Just pour boiling water on it, stir and wait for five minutes. I am talking about the instant form. Here is an article from The Epicurean Table which mentions the instant form in disdain and won't even discuss it. You can add all sorts of things to it – there are even frozen vegetables out there packaged just for cuscus. Me, I just buy some of those instant soups in a packet and mix that in together with anything I can find in the refrigerator. The article above gives this definition: "Semolina is the endosperm or heart of the durum wheat kernel - a hard wheat variety with very high gluten content and high protein to carbohydrate ratio. Durum wheat is more coarsely ground than other flours." The article tells you how to really prepare it and makes the important distinction between it and farina breakfast cereal which is a smaller grain not made from durum wheat and sold in the United States and also sold in Europe under varying names for the word "semolina", which it is not. Sorry for all of this, but because I did not know, I had to find out.

  • Beans
    Very important for protein, fiber, and they have now found antioxidants (if you really want the source on that and why it is important, write to me). Usually takes a long time to cook, so be ready. For a quick look at the types of beans (legumes) and their uses Beans and other legumes: Types and tasty tips by the Mayo Clinic. It has been said that if you add lentils to rice, you get a complete protein – but there are many other combinations which will give you what you need in that area. The one I like is peanut butter on whole wheat - does not need cooking. If you want a full explanation Complementary Protein and Diet. In any case, if you do the rice and lentils thing, throw the rice and the lentils (legumes) into the pot together and start the cooking process. After about 5 minutes pour it through a strainer or just pour out the water and put in fresh – hot boiling water from the coffee maker of course. Why, because the lentils turn the water brown when first cooked and the end product is really unappetizing. If you want to cut down on the time it takes to cook and have the foresight for this, throw them in a pot of water and soak overnight. Haven't tried it. I am told by a very credible source that it cuts the cooking time in half. For some helpful hints on cooking and other information about beans, go to the webpage of the Central Bean Company and also to Vegetarians In Paradise for tables of grains and for beans and legumes giving the grain/bean to water ratio, cooking time and the yield (how much it is when finished cooking). The important thing to note is that you should let it rest after cooking. It needs lots of rest!

  • Meats, Poultry, Fish, Sea Food
    In this, you are on your own and need no help from me. However, I found a box of cheese tarts in the freezer section near the soy and tofu preparations which is great. And the corn fritters with soy are also good for a fried side dish. And about the other soy products? You should try one sometime. They have become very sophisticated and surprisingly tasty. While not necessarily replacing meats, poultry and fish and other sea food, they do a more than credible job of giving you the protein you need in your diet.

    Let's see, I have all of the food groups: Grains: bread, cereal, rice and pasta; Fats: oils such as olive, different grain, butter, lard, mayonnaise; Sugars; Fruit; Animal products: Meat and fish: or their substitutes, soya and tofu, eggs; Beans, Nuts; Milk products: milk, yogurt, cheese; Vegetables.

    O.K. that's it for me. Now someone else can add to this.

    On Getting Out

    This is absolutely crucial. Even if you work but just come straight home afterwards, this is very important. If you haven't gotten out in a while, try the following:
    Shave (I'm not talking only to guys, you may shave your legs)
    Brush your teeth - they could do with it once in a while.
    Take a shower
    Comb your hair
    Put on some good clothes
    Open the door
    Shut the door
    Lock it
    And go eat somewhere, go buy something you need, or just take a walk.

    One thing -before you go out, and probably before you take a shower, straighten the place up a bit. Trust me on this. It's very important. Straighten up the bed, throw the clothes on the laundry pile - including those which are piled on the chair because you think you will wear them again, clean up the worst of the top of the stove - no, I can't see into your apartment. At least you will come home to a straightened up place - I didn't say clean - that's for some other time.

    The whole thing will give you a new perspective.
    Who knows, you may see an old friend, see someone you can ask about something, meet someone new. If all of these are truly unlikely, you really are isolated, so just enjoy the walk. In any case, you will be able to think more clearly in a changed environment. And, take a sheet of paper and a pen with you. Why? You will find out when you get out there.

  • Photo of the Month

    Backup  © Copyright 2006-7 Morgan Thomas all rights reserved


    Each month a new photo, having absolutely nothing to do with the content of the site, will be put up showing some aspect of my immediate environment. From time to time, the works of others will be displayed.

    Recommended Sites

  • M.O.M.S. The International Non-Profit Single Moms and Dads Organization aka Single Mothers On a Mission. Highly recommended. Memberships from 65 countries.
    One of the many articles within this site: On divorce: How to answer your child's questions


    Wise Column: Keys, Story of Month: Ants, Foods to buy - Part I, Foods to double-up - Part I, Advice on eating out, Monthly photo

    Computer tips

    Before I get to my own tips, there is a very good site which sends out daily tips for PCs by email. Computer tips from PC Mechanic Some very good tips here reaching back to October of 2004 (that's a lot of daily tips). And if you also want the weekly email, PC Mechanic. One of the best general coverage of things PC I have run into on the web.

    Now, My Tips
    Instantly clear screen
    Fast line copy
    Fast save of what just typed

    These are things I use all of the time.. They may or may not be in the daily tips above.

  • To instantly clear your screen all the way back to desk top, press:

    the middle button between
    Ctrl and Alt together with D

    (will work on most PCs. Puts everything into minimize mode at the bottom of your screen.

  • To fast copy word/line(s):
    with the mouse, select what you want to copy, and then press:

    Ctrl together with Ins key.

    To paste it, press:

    Shift key together with Ins key.

    I find it much faster than using copy and paste. It can even be used to copy the files themselves in a folder. One word of caution – be sure you have clicked on save for the file or document before you try it until you get proficient. In fact this is good advice before you try anything - always do a backup.

    And the last tip for this month:

  • To save a file fast and easily as you type so that what you have just typed is saved and safe, press:
    Alt, then F and then S

    Do it slowly the first time so that you can look at the popup at the top of the screen and see what the F and S keys do when Alt is depressed (you should see what it does when its happy).

    The following is a true story. I have a friend who is a novelist. At the behest of his son, he started using the computer to compose his chapters. One day he wrote a whole story as it formed in his mind and suddenly the electricity went out. He lost it all. I asked him why he had not saved it as he went along and the answer was something to the effect that it was too distracting to go to the mouse and go look for save every time.

    With the method above, saving becomes almost automatic and you can save all of the time without even touching the mouse.

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    I wish to thank the following persons for help in editing and suggestions:
    Sonia Penny, Tricia Semmelhack,
    Kit Weiss, Gail Thomas.

    Other Sites I Work On

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    Site Updated: 10 October 2007
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