Apologies are required

I owe you an apology, I know. I’ve rehearsed it in my head, the words I will use, the tone of voice and the subtle “I’m sorry” it will include. I owe you an apology, I know. But you’re probably never getting it.

My father used to do this thing where he blew up, he would make mountains out of molehills, leaving us baffled over his extreme reaction to small things. As I’ve grown up I’ve realized he was reacting to other things, but that was never any consolation.

He never apologized. He would be extra nice for a while, and we all knew why. He was trying to make up for whatever he said or did without having to say the words “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong.”

I guess I’m more like him than I thought.

I’ve previously written that my first reaction is something I’ve had to learn to ignore. My first instinct is to confront, argue, yell — never the reaction that will make things better, never the tone that will solve the issue.

Today I did that. I lashed out on something that wasn’t a big deal to someone who actually wasn’t really at fault. And I knew immediately that I was wrong.

I’ve been practicing my apology in my head all day. And that’s where it stayed.

I never said that I made sense.

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image source: WikiImages / Pixabay

Recipes & Food Posts, July 4

Breakfast Cookies

I am never going to make these myself, but I am going to try and find someone else to make them for me… Breakfast Cookies! Made with apple sauce, oats, flax seed, pistachios, dried cherries and other good stuff.

Cooking Tips

This post at The Splendid Table covers five cooking tips, with instructions:

  • Never drop potatoes into boiling water;
  • Preheat the pan before you roast vegetables;
  • Cut onions vertically if you want them to hold their shape;
  • When mixing a batter, alternately add wet and dry ingredients; and,
  • Press tofu to achieve a golden crust.

Curried Cauliflower

Cooking with curry is something I’ve started doing more in the last few years. I’ve made it a rule to keep yellow curry powder and coconut milk as common items in my pantry. This recipe for Cauliflower Chickpea Curry looks like something I will definitely try.

Fried Chicken

Want the secret to great fried chicken? This the kitchn post tells us to pre-cook the chicken before frying, so you only have to concentrate on browning and crisping. Sounds good to me.

Herbs

Learn more about herbs from Lifehacker’s “This Infographic Tells you How to Best Use Herbs in Your Cooking.”

Grilled Peaches

If you’ve ever wanted to make grilled peaches, then this recipe from Modern Mami is a must-read. Basically, you halve and pit the peach, grill (yes, on a real grill), then cut and toss with brown sugar. Top with ice cream. Check out the recipe for additional do’s and don’ts, and some luscious-looking pics.

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Image source: Hans / Pixabay

An unexpected smile of delight

To help get me back into the blogging groove, I’m trying out The SITS Girls daily writing prompts. Today I am supposed to discuss what brings joy into my life.

As cliched as it’s going to sound, it’s my family that brings joy into my life. And, honestly, the younger members (niece and nephews) accomplish this with very little effort.

Last week I was driving my youngest nephew to Spanish camp. My sister’s school doesn’t break from Summer school until this week, so she needed some help getting him to camp on days when she couldn’t arrive later to work. I pitched in a few days, my sister-in-law pitched in a few days, my niece did a day, my brother did a bunch of days, and between us we were able to cover the morning drive.

My youngest nephew is a surprise, a child who exceeds all expectations for intelligence and whose point of view never fails to astonish me. His mother enrolled him in the Chinese dual language program (instead of the Spanish one) because she hoped it would prove challenging; it hasn’t. He has been bumped up a year, the result of which is that he’s the youngest (and smallest) child in his class; she refuses to bump him up another. She has enrolled him in a multitude of after-school activities, including some sports, to keep him engaged and entertained. He goes to school for socialization, she tells me, and does middle-school level reading and math on the weekends for fun.

Smart kids are normal in my family. It’s common to hear from teachers about how well “we” are doing/have done in class. Even allowing for the different personalities, none of us had any difficulties in school. Yes, a few of us were distracted students, failing to turn in schoolwork and even failing to turn up for class. But, usually, there would be a test or something (for which little studying was done) and the term would be saved. We are used to seeing the children in our family be at the top of the class.

None of us were prepared for my youngest nephew. If he hears it, sees it, reads it, then he remembers it. And he makes connections with what he’s learned to apply it correctly to conversations or situations. He is a walking endorsement for “educational television” and proof that there’s educational value to Youtube.

Last week’s ride is an example. I had news radio on because he doesn’t care what I listen to as long as he has his iPad for the ride. I never count on conversation, he doesn’t “do” conversation on demand. There was a story about a Bob Dylan memorabilia item being auctioned off. I think he only caught the end of the story, when they kept repeating just the last name, “Dylan.” This caught his attention, since he recognized the last name as a name from school.

“Dylan?” he asks, a bit puzzled.

“They are talking about Bob Dylan,” I tell him. Then I proceed to try and explain that who Bob Dylan is, but he cuts me off.

“I know who Bob Dylan is,” he says. “He’s a guitarist.” Then he proceeds to tell me a lot about him, more than even I ever knew.

As he tells me that he knows all of this because it was in an educational video at school, I can feel the smile of delight on my face. My 7-year-old nephew knows who Bob Dylan is, I tell myself in a moment of awe.

A week later, that’s what I remember about that morning, not the fact that ten minutes later he threw up all over the back of my car. Because even the smartest 7-year-old is still a little boy.

What brings joy to your life?

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Image sources:

My superpowers

To help get be back into the blogging groove, I’m trying out The SITS Girls daily writing prompts. Today I am supposed to discuss what my superpowers would be… if I actually had them.

If I were a superhero I think I would be Dessert Girl! As Dessert Girl I would have the power to turn anything I touched into a fresh, fabulous dessert. And the great part would be that it would only work when I wanted it to work, so I could still touch things.

I am fairly certain that if I ran a log of what kinds of desserts I created (with my mind) I would end up with a large amount of cheesecake. I can eat cheesecake every day — plain, with caramel, with nuts, with fruit, with whipped cream. All kinds.

What would your superpower be?

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Image source: Hans / Pixabay

Recipes & Food Posts, June 6

Brine

In case you were wondering, Food52.com tells us “How to Brine Meat — And Why You Should Bother.” A good post to bookmark for next Thanksgiving.

Cheesecake

I know that this recipe for Ricotta and Sour Cherry Jam Crostata isn’t identified as cheesecake, but it looks very similar to the Mexican Cheesecake my aunts make. Those use cream cheese in small quantities. I’m going to try this, though I doubt I’ll make the crust from scratch.

Garlic

And for another cooking how to, Lifehack.org has a video showing us “How to Peel Garlic.” Of course, I buy my garlic already minced. But I never claimed to be a gourmet anything.

Meatballs

Meatballs are a good recipe for something you can make in advance and just reheat when needed. Weelicious has a good recipe for Meatloaf Meatballs to try out.

Picnic

Planning a picnic? Moms Confession has a complete list of what to bring in “Planning The Perfect Picnic This Summer.”

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Image source: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Sorry for having a moment of levity

In a moment of weakness I agreed to do a favor for someone when I don’t have the time and really didn’t have the inclination. I’ve come to regret that in a major way.

I’ve been out of town quite literally watching my grandmother die one breath at a time. It’s an excruciating experience.

I have been unable to meet with the “contact” for this favor. I sent a brief email explaining that I was dealing with a family issue and would contact her as soon as I was available again.

Tonight I got a message telling me that since she saw that I was posting “fun and informative updates on Facebook” she was going to assume I’d resolved my family issues and was available to meet. My reaction is not printable.

I explained that I advance post many many of my updates and that my grandmother had in fact died in another city, where I was staying for a few weeks (nowhere near the actual state where the meeting would have happened), so I was just a little bit too busy for her volunteer activity. In other words, back the fuck off!

Yes, I’ve been posting the odd little moments of my day as I move along — the truck stops and the weird food and the moments of hilarity that have made these weeks bearable. And now, because I was too stupid to say no when I should have, she expects me to justify this.

I will remember her name.

Image source: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Hospice

I just learned that the doctors have given in — they’ve told my family that there’s nothing else they can do for my grandmother. She’s too weak to survive any more treatment or the surgery.

My mother is devastated, though she says she already knew this was coming. But I know that you’re never really ready for your parent to die.

My grandmother is being placed in a hospice for end of life care. They are going to try and “make her comfortable,” but they’ve told my family that they need to start making arrangements. What they mean is that we need to make plans for what happens when she dies.

I don’t know what happens in the meantime. I’ve offered and offered and prompted and bullied my mother to no avail — she says she doesn’t want to go see my grandmother while she’s in pain and so sick. And I keep telling her that I think she’ll regret that later.

What she feels and why she’s made that decision are personal to her, and not something I feel I can share here. They’re not mine to share.

And now we wait…

Image source: Giuliamar / Pixabay

Dear Non-profit Organization

**I’m exaggerating,¬† but not by much.**

Dear Non-profit Organization,

I am starting a new non-profit that will provide the same kinds of services that a dozen other small non-profits already offer. Since this service will be helpful for your clients, I’d like to partner with you. I’d do most of the work. All I need you to commit to doing is providing the space (dedicated) for 6 hours a day three days a week, at least three staff members to help set up and organize the services, and to promote the new service in all your marketing items.

I am applying for grant funding. I need to include a letter of support and commitment from your organization with the application. Can you get that to me today by 5 pm without reviewing a copy of the application, vetting my background and credentials, or checking to ensure that I’ve actually received 501C3 status?

By the way, the letter needs to be signed by your president.

Thanks.

Yours truly, new non-profit service provider

Image source: OpenClips / Pixabay

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Recipes & Food Posts, May 2

2013.11 Recipes-smDulce de Leche

I’ve never made Dulce de Leche myself, but I love having the candy when it’s available. Food52 has a recipe that I’m going to try out, I think. It seems simple enough that even I can make it.

Pineapple-Lime Tequila Cooler

Sweet Life Bake has a good cooler recipe that will be good to bookmark for the summer. The main ingredients are pineapple juice, lime juice and tequila.

It’s a sign

The point at which you realize that you’ve been having nightmares about work… maybe it’s a sign that you need to change where you go every day in exchange for a paycheck. Maybe I should consider a change?

ramicm / Pixabay

Recipes & Food Posts, April 4

2013.11 Recipes-smChicken Fried Rice

Modern Mami has a Chicken Fried Rice recipe that uses only 5 ingredients: oil, chicken, veggies, rice and soy sauce. Simple and easy.

Chocolate Covered Bacon

I really want to make this recipe: Chocolate Covered Bacon. I mean, it’s bacon covered in chocolate. What could be better?

Mac and Cheese

I love love love Mac and Cheese, but I’ve never been able to make good mac and cheese from scratch. Food52 pulled together a few recipes you might want to try, I know I will. I am determined to master this dish to my satisfaction. Because, really, making a good mac and cheese should be a requirement.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

These are among my favorites, but I’ve never made them myself. Going to have to try this recipe from Latino Foodie… someday.

Spicy Shrimp

I really liked this Spicy Shrimp with Orange Brown Butter recipe. Mostly, I really like the orange brown butter sauce on it. Yummy.

 

You want me to tell you what?!?!

OpenClips / Pixabay

Is there a polite way to tell people to back the frack off and that what they’re asking is none of their business?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.

At a breakfast this morning someone I barely know grilled me for 10 minutes on the retirement plan at work. And I was polite, I really was. I answered her questions as vaguely as I could, growing increasingly irritated at her more pointed and less polite questions as they came my way. And at no time did she realize that she was being intrusive and offensive.

The most important thing here to note is that we were having breakfast so she could ask me to do some committee work for her group. She was asking me for a favor, which I’ve already declined once, and the way she did that was to make me irritated and upset.

I honestly don’t think she knows that she essentially guaranteed that I would not take her up on her invitation to be on the committee and that she’s also ensured that we never become any closer than we are today, which is not at all. I’m petty that way.

When did it become OK to ask someone whether they have a retirement, what they pay for it, what their employer pays, and how long you have to be there to be vested? Unless I’ve made an appointment with you to review my retirement plan, these questions are out of bounds. And, for future reference, if you ask me intrusive questions on a day when I’m not feeling polite… well, the dislike will go both ways.

No effort at all

In my default setting I am wearing pants, comfortable shoes, no makeup, my hair up in a ponytail, dressed to go to work for a long day. If needed, I can dress for war or I can dress for play, with the bold face and the accessories and toys. But I always revert back to the original setting.

In my default setting I am nice, sometimes funny, often grumpy, prone to moments of petty observations but not behavior, quiet around strangers and too honest around friends. I can make my “too loud” voice smooth out and speak about the weather and the food for hours if needed, without having said one real word, but that always takes more energy than I like to waste.

In my moments of comfort and joy, my voice and words will make you wince, wonder that I communicate for a living, look around to see who I’m offending, reminding yourself that the curses are terms of endearment. I can go quiet, with sweetness dripping from my sentences and movements, controlled propriety as I sit there being reasonable in response to your very bad behavior, and you may not understand you need to fear me in that moment.

What’s your natural state?

How to Prepare Cake Pans (video)

American’s Test Kitchen has an interesting video that shows us how to prepare a cake pan to ensure that the cake doesn’t stick to it. Honestly, it seems like a lot of work. If I ever get back to baking cakes again (which seems unlikely right now) I will keep this in mind… though I don’t think I’ve ever bought any parchment paper.

About the video:

Don’t find yourself in a sticky situation: http://www.onlinecookingschool.com/sc…

What is the America’s Test Kitchen Online Cooking School? We’ve taken our 20+ years of experience in the Test Kitchen, our favorite recipes from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and your favorite chefs from our two public television shows and wrapped it all up to create a cooking school unlike any other. The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School provides personalized culinary instruction from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Learn more at:
http://www.onlinecookingschool.com

Turbulence

After a few hours in your presence I am struggling for air
blinking furiously
trying to keep the moisture in my eyes
from becoming drops that will break me

It’s my fault, really
I became distracted
I forgot who I was with
I let too much of my real self shine through
I let me be me in enemy space

Your reaction was predictable
a blast of destructive cold
leaving an unforgettable aftermath
wondering if today’s scars will heal
when others haven’t

That I love you truly is not in doubt
I would give you my life
I would take someone else’s in your defense
I would not choose you, did not choose you
I do not like you
You do not care

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