Letting the world get to me

I’m sitting here trying to center myself. I am scheduled to speak in a few hours at a big conference. It’s kind of a big deal and I was thrilled to get asked. I felt honored.

Today it’s hard to connect with that feeling.
My new job has robbed me of all the joy from this experience. From making me feel guilty for taking the day, to making it impossible for me to make it to the conference.

Just getting in to the conference was an exercise in frustration.

The nice volunteer who checked me in noticed immediately. She very nicely suggested I take a few quiet minutes to destress before delving into the conference. Ten minutes later I am much much better.

If I hadn’t taken her recommendation I would have gone around with a dark cloud ruining the day for me. And that really isn’t the way I wanted to go through today.

image source:PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Recipes and Food Posts, November 7

2013.11 Recipes-sm

Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

A great variation on pumpkin pies, this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Parfaits will be a big hit with your kids. The recipe is from Weelicious Lunches.

Turkeys

Lifehacker claims to have the best “this is how to cook your turkey” approach/recipe. I came across this last year, when I was cooking turducken, so I bookmarked it to share this year. Source: This Is How You Should Cook Your Turkey (to Avoid Wasting Hours) || Lifehacker.

More proof that God hates me

I spent the day yesterday making a road trip to visit my niece at her university. This is supposed to be a nice thing,  I think.  Regardless of the family drama,  it was a nice visit.  My niece is glowing,  she’s so happy at her new school.  It was great to see;  I’m so proud of her.

Did I mention that I volunteered to drive me car? On the way back a rock hit and cracked my windshield.  It has to be replaced, there’s too much damage for a repair. The cost won’t be covered by my insurance.

No good deed goes unpunished.

{Written on my mobile device. More details to follow in another post.}

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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