Life Gets in the Way; Oh Noes!

Likely the biggest head shaker for me these days is the way I observe so many people conducting their lives in a sort of planned, scheduled manner. It’s not the idea of planning or scheduling that makes me grin, but the underlying ferocity of it — as though it’s some guarantee that you’ll be alright if you simply plan, schedule, then employ the discipline to see that planned schedule through with enough righteous resolve to lop off any heads that get in your way.

From a man’s perspective, I think women are generally more susceptible to this, especially with young children and particularly, first time mothers. And I say that because I have as reference a mother who raised us four boys — myself being the oldest — and two grandmothers who raised two daughters (maternal), and five boys and a daughter and got them out of post WWII Germany to America in the 50s (paternal)…as well as a great grandmother (maternal) who raised a boy and a girl on her own through the Depression and who I had the great privilege to grow up around (she had my grandmother at age 14). She didn’t die until I was in my late 20s. I must tell you: growing up with a great grandmother is quite a special thing. The stories she told… Those women were all giants to me, all different, and none of them was the slightest bit like what I observe in women here on a daily basis. I dunno: "Quantum Overprotection?" Anyone have a better moniker? It’s weird. If anyone had reason to be super protective given the nonexistent "social net" and a host of other "hazards," it was those great giants of women in my life. Now, you have "mothers" slathering their kids in every anti-bacterial product and sunscreen they can buy. Shrewd marketing leading the blind and ignorant, I guess.

…This post is all over the place, by the way, and it will include much food porn.

As you know I’ve been moving house, over about the past week. But this time, I handled it quite differently. Rather than dive in and go, go, go, I just flowed naturally. We used professional movers — guys I and my family have used before. We did some of the packing, had them do some. Then they did the move, but the unpack is for us to do. I want to get rid of tons of stuff (see here, though that’s just inspiration: 100 Things). But even so, we’re taking it very easy. All the stuff was moved in last Thursday. That night, Bea & I decided to have a few cocktails and go out for a nice dinner, instead of doing anything (the bed was set up).

Grass Fed and Corn Fed
Grass Fed and Corn Fed

Friday happened, she was way tired and I just went out, got a roasted chicken from Lunardi’s down the street, and we did nothing. Nothing.

Saturday and Sunday were supposed to be the big work days. Well, our friends Robert & Julie from the lofts called around 10, intending to stop by around 11; and so they did, but with a bag of groceries, grassfed franks from Lunardi’s and other stuff — just three minutes down the street (and across the street from Whole Foods). So we grilled those up, dived into the scotch (wine for the girls) and they helped us unpack, organize, and get the living room and dining room into shape. After all, we had a marathon to get through. Cards (Spades) happened until about midnight. Robert & I won, as is the natural order. :)

So by letting a little Real Life in to disrupt our "schedule," we actually ended up better off. But that was unforeseen. Just a bonus of life, of friends who we’re already missing because we no longer live in the "Friends" or "Seinfeld" dynamic we moved away from.

But grassfed franks for lunch was not enough. I made another run to Lunardi’s, my frozen stock was in the freezer, and all I needed was a bottle of red wine and some fresh garlic.

Four Big Filets
Four Big Filets

Sunday was some work on our parts, and dinner was not worth mentioning (crap fest, but we were too tired and frankly, craving a bit of McD crap).

So Monday comes after Sunday and while we broke down a few boxes and I did a bunch of cleanup (including getting the housekeepers going at our old place), we just took everything in a leisurely stride. We’re here, things are getting done to our liking, and we’re not killing ourselves under a schedule with no discernible purpose. Invigorated by the memory of Saturday night’s very pure reduction of red wine, stock, and garlic, I went at it again, this time with ribeyes.

Grilled Ribeye
Grilled Ribeye

Not enough. Not yet. Yesterday, Tuesday, we made good little progress on the whole project. I had to meet Bea at the veterinarian (HUGE post on the 1 1/2 month ordeal with Rotor — probable pancreatitis — and Mr. Peter Hyperlipid’s life saving help; coming up) in the afternoon, showing up barefoot, yeehaa! There are lingering issues, but I’ll blog that in a series or a long post. Just goes to show that animals — including humans — can do marginally in a modern, non-wild world.

The sauce reduction was great first time, a little less good second time, and I nailed the syrup the third time. It may have been that I chose ribeyes for round 2. For the third time around I went back to flilets and exercised patience with a very slow reduction. Here’s the deal: 1/4 cup red wine per serving, reduce by half, add stock about double that amount, and slow reduce, like on low. Add some butter (1 tsp per serving, or more) and spices to taste along the way.

Filet Syrup
Filet & Syrup

Yep, I got this reduction better than right. I also got the grill right.

Perfect Grill
Perfect Grill

All this, in the middle of a move. Maybe a lot of people would have gotten it done a lot sooner. Has to be done, y’know. On the other hand, I have a certain contentment that in keying on the raw energy of the change, the move that we are excited about, I’ve turned it into various other things, including cooking, that I can imagine will serve our memories of the thing a bit better in the long haul.

I am impressed — that concept goes both ways — far too often with people who shun & spur life’s serendipities for the sake of discipline and a schedule that was put into a computer or a planner, and damn life!

Fuck that.

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  1. Organic Gabe on September 16, 2010 at 08:37

    Good looking steaks!

  2. Dan on September 15, 2010 at 20:33

    You sure are loving those steaks!!!! And I don’t blame you because your sauces look amazing. I think we have very similar tastes actually from other meals you have made. But I could quite happily live on meat and gravy sauces for many days.

  3. Bay Area Sparky on September 15, 2010 at 21:38

    Now that sounds like a memorable and “moving” experience.

    Can man survive on steak and demi glace alone? Let us know.

  4. Richard Nikoley on September 15, 2010 at 21:50

    “Can man survive on steak and demi glace alone?”

    I hereby volunteer myself in the unselfish interest of science to die trying.

  5. Alex on September 16, 2010 at 05:56

    What kind of grill do you use?

  6. William in DC on September 16, 2010 at 06:36

    re: On Planning. More and more I beleive in simplification of my life where possible. Translating it to diet, it’s the way Mark Sisson says not to count calories, or walk around with mini-spreadsheets. The less schedules and charts and lists the better. There’s enough of that at work. Even simple stuff like doing groceries, I don’t write a list for that anymore. What I’ve found is that less planning allows more spontaneity in my life, and also I’ve found that I don’t always have that feeling that I “should” be running or rushing somewhere….but nice post, and I like the thoughts you share and how you weave them into food!

    • Travis on September 29, 2010 at 13:29

      “More and more I beleive in simplification of my life where possible.”

      I second that William. It’s amazing how much better I feel when eliminating truly unnecessary possessions or activities. It’s a work in progress for me. Over scheduling, owning too much junk, and quantifying everything in sight kill spontaneity. I was once married to a checklister/hyper-scheduler. The funny thing was she was never on time for anything because she was always overbooked and overextended. :-))

  7. TPSW on September 16, 2010 at 06:39

    I have a random comment, if memory serves me correctly I believe that you are a RUSH fan? Have you seen the section on the new DVD extras disc of the band having dinner at a hunting lodge where A.L. orders pork belly? It is humorous as to be expected and if you haven’t seen it I suggest you take a look if you have the chance.
    TPSW (dianne)

    • Richard Nikoley on September 16, 2010 at 09:23

      Yea big Rush fan and I have heard that story. Don’t have the DVD yet, but I’ll look into it.

  8. adam on September 16, 2010 at 07:22

    This one really struck me. I think you have the right idea, here. Moving is a natural part of life (especially for younger people – this is the longest I’ve lived in one place since I finished high school) but it becomes a rush to get it over with, like so many of our other activities in life. Kinda like your reductions, it’s better to slow down and let it happen organically. I like it!

  9. Mallory on September 16, 2010 at 09:08

    goodgot tired reading that! and had flashbacks of when i moved from MD to MS…guey…dead of summer, no A/C haha horrendous alabama tan driving through…haha

    and thn i drooled…over your absolutely hands down PERFECT looking steaks!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Paul C on September 16, 2010 at 09:12

    This reminds me of the Dalai Lama’s “The Art of Happiness”, avoiding the negative and focusing on the positive.

    Speaking of positive, annual lipid panel after 1 year of primal:
    HDL: 49, LDL 110, Triglycerides: 61, Blood Glucose: 82, body fat%:15

    That is an improvement from 18% body fat last year (and glucose of 99), 20% the year before, and 27% 5 years ago. My HDL had been in the 37 to 43 range for 10 years. GERD gone on day 2 of primal. Major GI issues faded and completely gone within 6 months. Strength and conditioning much improved in every way.

    I’m happy to be one more data point showing you won’t keel over eating tons of delicious fat and zero whole grains.

  11. Helen on September 16, 2010 at 14:22

    Richard Nickoley wrote ” Now, you have “mothers” slathering their kids in every anti-bacterial product and sunscreen they can buy.”

    Sad, isn’t it, how what it means to be a good mother has been warped by corporate hucksterism? Even though women like that love their children and mean well, seems to me that they are just plain stupid and/or gullible. Its like they put more trust in a soul-less corporation than in their own mothering instincts. You know what I hate to see…bike helmets on little ones, or worse, babies being carried around all over in those baby bucket things. I used to work for a giant corporation that shall remain nameless, and the departments I hated working in most were the Infants and Children’s department and the Toys department. The sheer, naked exploitation of infants and children made me sick.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 16, 2010 at 15:19

      He’ll, there are now full face m/c style kelmets for small kids just learning to walk. Protect them from learning any damn thing you can. Naive.

  12. Trinity on September 17, 2010 at 09:55

    Well, we live in a human zoo, and our zookeepers tell us to avoid discomfort at all costs, even if it costs you what is most precious, our human experience. Our keepers also tell us to follow their directions, and if we do then they will keep us safe and we will have done the right things which there are gold stars in return for having followed directions. No need to think for ourselves at all, everything is taken care of. And big punishments for acting outside the box… most just stay where things feel “certain” and safe. It is sad.

  13. Dan Hagg, MD on September 17, 2010 at 11:41

    you sure have nailed it on this one, Richard. quantum overprotection. nice.
    was just having this exact conversation with a colleague. i can’t find any friends at work/kids school who are just available for hangin out on any given night. trying to arrange a playdate with their kids is a real laugher. it takes some of them about 2 days to search their calendars for what the kids have scheduled. bummer.
    the suncreen thing is a crackup. a scary crackup to be sure. at my kids daycare, they offer spf 50 for the 30 minute partially covered outdoor recess as if their clothing covered bodies will be crispified in the rarified oregon air. unbelievable. we are the only parents in the WHOLE daycare who have written NO SUNSCREEN on all the permission slips. i get looks.
    i feel bad for these moms. raising kids is hard enough without all this self-induced pressure. just let the kid play, they love it. hang with them. they don’t need scheduled play, just the opposite.

    enjoyed all your steak pics. good thing i just ate a huge omelet with salmon on the side.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 17, 2010 at 14:07


      As an MD, curious to see what you think of my latest post where I challenge an MD. Did I get it right?

      • Dan Hagg, MD on September 17, 2010 at 15:55

        I can’t say that I know a whole heck of a lot about ruminant digestion, but I think you got it right.

        one of the things i wonder on a daily basis with my own near paleo experiment, is whether i should be eating more liver/marrow etc and fewer filets/pork chops/bacon. surely, prehistoric humans didn’t have a choice. anyway, i just picked up a bunch of marrow bones and pastured beef liver at the store and will start giving it a go.

        The crazy thing about veganism is that it requires so many mental gymnastics/disregard of anthropological data to justify its superiority. i feel the same way about religion and veganism. if that’s your belief, great. just keep it away from me and my family.

        on the kid scheduling, i find it hard enough to get any time with my kids. scheduling them into a million things doesn’t seem right. my daughter loves gymnastics so i take her. we do rings and stuff together in the basement on non-class days. i take my son with us so we can all be together. i like music and so do my kids so we take piano/guitar. otherwise, we hang out in the backyard or the basement or the park or wherever. last week i opened all the kid pain in the house and set it in the yard with some cardboard boxes. they had a blast. i had to shower them a lot since they preferred to pain themselves rather than the boxes, but it was great fun.

        anyway, thanks for you blog, it makes me smile most days. i usually don’t comment though i’ve been reading about 4 months but had to on this one as the topic is close to heart.


    • Richard Nikoley on September 17, 2010 at 14:10

      Oh, and by the way, that whole kid scheduling thing has always been a head shaker for me, even long before paleo. So many kids are on a 24/7 schedule and it’s sad. From their context of knowledge they must sometimes wonder what the point was of even being born.

      In my modestly structured kid life with whole summers totally free to do what I wanted for days and weeks at a time, such question would have never occurred to me.

      • Helen on September 17, 2010 at 16:31

        The better to make them into cogs in the Machine, maybe?

  14. Richard Nikoley on September 17, 2010 at 18:58

    My paternal family got out of Germany in 1952, if memory serves. Not POWs, just a family (they were fortunate to have a sponsor in the US). My dad was born in Stetin, now a part of Poland after redrawing borders after the war.

    And WASP mothers carry on as though nothing ever happened. They’ll be the first to bite it in real shit and unfortunately, so will their offspring not old enough to have realized that mom’s a fucking ignoramous with zero sense of history.

  15. Blanche on September 19, 2010 at 05:31

    Wow, you hit on a few important topics without missing a breath. Good to the point bottom line thinking. I love that you have such good response to your post. I would think that people would get it, however that’s not the case many times.

    It seems we are a market economy, and anything can be sold if it is repeated often enough. Simple, but powerful points were made in this article. You talk about real people not automated responders. What a waste of time and vitality playing the corporate game.

    You have pictures of food that would naturally make anyone with an appetite desire. Also, it is real food is for people, who want to remain strong and healthy.

  16. Richard Nikoley on September 19, 2010 at 06:36


    My dad got separated from this parents and siblings while visiting grandparents in WWII, for several years. He was in a place in the East controlled by the Russians when the war ended and consequently starved. He’s the shortest of all his brothers. When his mom finally did get him back he had to go to a special home for malnourished kids for a few months to be fed well.

  17. […] meal, I have something else to put up. The meal was grilled filets and instead of the typical red wine reduction I do, I toasted garlic in butter, strained, then browned the butter and finished it off with fresh […]

  18. CrossFit Peachtree | CrossFit in Buckhead | CrossFit in Atlanta | CrossFit in Midtown | Personal Training Atlanta | Atlanta Strength and Conditioning Coach | CrossFit Football in Atlanta | Atlanta Speed and Agility Training on December 15, 2010 at 05:53

    […] Life Gets in The Way; But Not of Good Filets […]

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