Friday, July 19, 2013

That Could Have Been Heavy

So the Health Department and Mental Health Department sponsored a "Suicide Awareness Walk". I decided I should be supportive of my place of employment and went. The walk itself was a piece of cake - three times around the track. That made a mile. But the thoughts of why we were there started weighing me down.

There were families and groups there with matching t-shirts, some with the name of the person they were honoring or mourning or remembering. No one was sharing stories {which was a good thing overall} but it left me wondering just what their experience had been. That's when it started getting heavy in my mind, me putting together possible scenarios. And also me seeing what that person who had died had chosen to leave behind.

I knew specifically one of the people being memorialized was a grandmother. She babysat her grandchildren. She chose to end her life just before Paisley was born. I remember holding Paisley in the hospital, crying for what this grandmother would be missing and, at the same time, grateful to be blessed with something living to hold in my arms.

There's a saying, "We're all just walking each other home." I guess, in a small portion, that's what was being done during this walk. I should be more conscientious all the time, though. Everyone walking on the road I'm walking on has a story and chances are, I won't be privy to it. Just as they are not necessarily aware of my story.

But, here we are. Walking together. Trying to get home. Trying to help each other home.

I need to say - I'm not judging these people. I struggle to understand. I KNOW mental illness is real. When I say they made/make "choices", I realize there are extenuating circumstances that hide the thought processes a basically mentally healthy person uses to make choices.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dough and Beans and More Experience

I finally had my first experience with frozen bread dough. It wasn't all as negative as I was anticipating. Nor was it one of those experiences that keeps you from ever doing anything remotely similar again. I didn't break out with a bad case of hives, either. But I wasn't bouncing with thrilling exhilaration, though. So was it good or bad, you might be asking yourself. Well, not so bad I wouldn't do it again but not so good that I'd use the frozen dough - probably make my own dough. It did stir up long ago memories of another all nighter, however.

I decided to bottle chili beans. I'd gone to college, eventually majoring in home economics education. I'd taken a lot of cooking classes. I'd been raised by a mother who was a home economics major and raised during the depression and big on being self reliant so I'd had a lot of learning experiences. I knew that beans expanded so I got a really big pan to soak them in. They're supposed to soak overnight. I put them in the very large pan and covered them with water. Before I went to bed, I checked them again.

Holy growth spurt!!

I plugged the sink and dumped them into the sink and again covered them with water. Then I went to bed sure that I had them well under control. Next morning, they had expanded and were flowing over into the other side of the sink.

Needless to say, although I spent a lot of time bottling chili beans that day, I didn't have to can them again for a few years.

So, back to the freezer dough. I was making some Mexican Monkey Bread for a morning meeting at work. New recipe. I know. That's the first rule of Cooking 101 - never try a new recipe when it's for company or a work meeting. It's the rebel in me, I guess, that thinks it will be different for me.

Working backwards from when I needed to leave for work, and {believe it or not} reading the instructions on the package, I deduced I needed to get this freezer dough out at 1:00 am to begin the thawing process. I cut each roll in half and didn't even fill a cookie sheet. Panicking, I opened the other package and cut them in half. Now I should have enough for two layers like the recipe called for. That means it's 2:00 am when I'm trying to go to bed.

5:00 am and my alarm goes off. I get up to get started on the remainder of the process, {having thought it all out in my head several times when I should have been asleep} and stopped dead in my tracks. The dough on the cookie sheets had overflowed and grown together and, all in all, became two pansfull of yeasty grief. That's when the chili bean experience came back to the front of my brain.

Needless to say, I got to work separating the overgrown pieces of dough and putting my concoction together. Might as well have been working with a bowl full of dough as individual pieces were indistinguishable. The baking process caused the dough to grow even more. I had to pull the top rack out of my oven before I could even pull them out. Awesome. I guess you realize that means that I didn't put nearly enough cheese in between the layers of dough since the layers of dough had multiplied two hundred fold. Oh, well. It was okay. They ate it.

I've bottled chili beans a couple of times since my first experience and I'm sure I'll try this recipe again. Manned with more experience and more reasonable expectations, of course!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You Gotta Love It!

So, for Father's Day, I gave LOML a shirt...and me a matching one. Surviving the 70's/80's, it was sorta done as a joke. All the girls in the family having dresses out of matching fabric and the menfolk all having ties or vests that were also out of the same fabric was really cool.

Because of LOML's reputation for chatting and visiting with anyone and everyone whenever we go out in public, and the differences between he and I, I often get deserted. No, that's not right. I ALWAYS get deserted. Anyway, the reason for purchasing the shirts was, when {if} we wore them out in public, at the end of the function, he would happen to look across the room. As he looked, he would see a familiar shirt and look down at his own shirt and say to himself, "How strange. There's someone else wearing a classy shirt like I am!"

And then he would think {again to himself}, "I should go meet that person! Maybe we'd hit it off." And then when he got closer, he would say, "Hey, I'm from a small farming community just west of Fillmore... You look familiar but I can't quite remember your name."

And then I would put on my sort of angry eyes, my smirky mouth and it would all come back to him. "Oh, yeah, that's right! You came with me!"

Well, I don't know if we'll ever find out if the shirts work or if that scenario would be close to what I imagine it would be. We should have had them in Provo this last week at the IFA meetings, though. LOML lost me.

I'm sitting {yes, SITTING} in the restroom when my phone rings and it's LOML.

Me: "Hello."

LOML: "Where are you?"

Me: "In the restroom."

LOML: "Which one?"

Me: "Duh. The women's!"

LOML: "There are two restrooms..."

Me: "I know that and I'm in the women's."

LOML: "Which one? There are two...."

Me: "I'll be right out. Just stay where you are!"

So, maybe you would have had to have been there {either in the WOMEN'S restroom or wherever LOML was} for it to be so hilarious. Maybe the shirts would have helped but only if he would have come in the women's restroom looking for me or I would have been in the 'other' restroom - the men's. What's scary is that, the older we get, either of those scenes could easily play out!  {Just for the record, there was a north set of restrooms and a south set - which was what LOML was referring to}.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Being in the Right Place

Sitting in my new birthday camp chair in one of my most favorite, beautifully created spots in the mountains, enjoying the peace and quiet and all the butterflies and the how all the different kinds of trees grow together into a plush foresty area...and my cellphone notifies me I have a text message!

What a way to interrupt an oncoming inspiring thought! I lost cellphone service at least a mile down - if not farther. I keep my cellphone with me because I have no watch and, also, because the camera comes in handy sometimes.

So, it was good timing that I did get the text. It was Amber letting us know they were coming for dinner and there just might not have been enough food if I hadn't gotten that message at that particular time. And that was just in the afternoon of Day 1 of the camping trip.

Needless to say, I kept my cellphone with me even more religiously Day 2 through Day 5 - because , who knows, I might get another important text message. But only if I'm in exactly the right spot at the right time and listening for the sound of my phone's notification. If anyone had been watching me, they'd have guessed I had a nervous tic or an uncontrollable muscle spasm, the way I would check my phone. Looking for messages. Searching for places where everything lined up so the signal could get through.

So why am I not more concerned about finding those perfect spots so I can get the messages my Heavenly Father has for me? They're just as welcomed and unexpected and merciful and timely and perfect and even more personalized and meaningful. The messages from my loving Heavenly Father will help me be prepared in more ways than just putting more food on the grill.

 In the mountains, I had to find the rare spots where the random messages would get through. In life, the spots are not so rare. The messages are not so sporadic.

I guess that's another goal I need to work on. Standing in the right place. Listening with a grateful heart. Being ready to go forward with sure feet and willing eyes.