Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What A Pan of Cornbread Dressing Really Means

This was the first ever Thanksgiving meal I prepared on our own after George and I got married and were living in Buffalo.  This was either 1996 or 1997.   George came home and helped at some point probably on Thanksgiving day as he was working round the clock in residency.  We enjoyed this meal at our home with several of his fellow residents (all dudes), and they didn't offer to help clean the dishes.  Not that it stuck in my craw at all...

Well, I had no idea how to cook the big dishes of that meal.   I called home several times and my dad talked me through how to do so.  I did not feel connected in many ways to my dad but this time I really needed help and my dad came through for me.  This included "the dressing."  My dad's dressing was one that he had perfected over many years from what he remembered his grandmother had made.

On this first holiday without him, I went back and forth about whether to cook the dressing.  I haven't made it myself in years and it's an ordeal, containing cornbread, rice and turkey meat. And this year,  I was cooking everything else for the entire meal as well, which is quite the undertaking and sometimes simpler is better.

But it won't seem like the holiday without having it.  So...

Yesterday, I pulled out the eighteen year old piece of paper I had written down the instructions on all those years ago and began the process.  Two trips to the supermarket later and twisting of my children's arms to help with some other sides and voila.

Here is the dressing, ready to be put in a dish and baked - except for the green onion that I still need to add.  I will admit that I ate a small bowl just to see if it tasted right. {smile}


This year, I'm sad that my dad is not here but I feel his presence around this dressing.  I feel connected. I felt it cutting and chopping and the blending of all of the ingredients. It brings a warm feeling even with all of the effort.  My children will tell you I don't always cook mostly because when I try something new the kids don't eat it.  Aarrggghh.

The jury is out to see if the girls will ever like it as much as I do.  Sometimes it takes time for appreciation to kick in. And then there is George who grew up in the North with the bird stuffed and different food traditions and he wants to make his own stuffing with sausage in it.  The poor man has had to eat our Southern cuisine for all these years. {grin}

Leftovers, anyone?  We will have them. And I look forward to making some turkey and sausage gumbo after as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  May the tradition that warms your heart be yours on this special day.

In Annie's Eyes

By: Mallory

One early morning I was ready to leave my sleeping box (aka crate)  and eat. But I stayed in my sleeping box for another hour! Finally at 6:47 I left my sleeping box  to go get food. My brother Brinkley wakes up earlier than me. Finally I was getting food! I jumped up and down until someone fed me. After what felt like forever, my food bowl was set down. I ate as fast as could, so Brinkley wouldn't eat it. Even though I knew he wouldn't. Then after I ate I went outside to pee. After I peed, I got a treat. Then I took a nap. When I went on a walk I saw a squirrel. But I really did not care. Of course Brinkley went nuts, barking and running toward it. Carol pulled him back. There were very  interesting smells. When it was over I watched TV with Carol. Then I took another nap. I must have taken a really long nap. Because when I woke up my owner was home. When she ate a snack I begged for a bite. She said it was dog poison. Then I watched TV with her. Then she went to her room and did homework. I am just glad I don't have it. I have a feeling it would interrupt my naps. The only thing that interrupts my naps are Brinkley. He licks me and that wakes me up. So where was I. After she did her homework she watched TV. I slept though it. Then the evil, mean,and furry cats chased me around. Finally George came. He always gives me food. Did I mention I love food! After a long time we went for a walk. I got food on the walk. I also ran into a lot of friends. There were like 27 different smells. I peed in a lot of front yards. When we got home I went into my owners room and a took a nap. Finally after a while George put me in my sleeping box. I dreamed I could eat all the food I want. It felt like heaven. That is my typical day.

Yours Always,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Introducing...Dr. Shefali

Note: The video is smack dab in the middle of Dr. Shefali's nuggets.  You are smart people and can read around it.  This is me accepting my imperfection and I can't get the video to move without a lot of time and effort.

I watched Dr. Shefali Tsabary last night on OWN's Lifeclass.    As she started talking, I was astounded and amazed.   What she was talking about takes my journey of consciousness to another level and THE most important one as a parent.  If you read this blog ever, my mode of operating is to evolve my thinking and new ahas rock my world.  This has to do with my children and their role in my spiritual development.  Dr. Shefali says that our children are hear to evolve us.  I have learned that any body that pushes my buttons can teach me something about myself.  It's not just that they are a pissy person.  They can push me further down my path towards enlightenment.

Here are some of Dr. Shefali's nuggets:

We rarely ever parent from the present, we rarely ever not parent in fear.

The ego is so seductive.  It believes there is only one way to affirm the self.  But it is a fear based way.

Get yourself out of the way of your children and allow them to EMERGE.

How can we tell our children that their best wasn't good enough?  How would you feel if someone you loved told you that? 

These children are so full of expansive spirit and we try to reduce them to one thing: a grade, a sport, etc.

We come from a place of wanting our children to be empowered and complete as possible.  But then we project our fears onto them.

I know who I am - Listen to your child. Don't try to mold them into someone else.

This one I'm not sure if it is from Oprah or Dr. Shefali.  These questions are the ones that I am learning to ask myself when I engage with my children. This is what is on their minds: 

Do you see me? 

Do you hear me?  

Do I matter?

Dwarf Hamsters And Unconditional Love

Oh my goodness, I just witnessed in dwarf hamster land what goes on in my world on a daily basis.  I got up while it was still dark outside and went to the keeping room to read and have quiet time.  I could hear a repetitive metal banging that indicated the hamsters had no water.  "Give me water!!"  I refilled the water bottle and attached it back and watched to see if it was working.  One of the two started pushing the metal and it wasn't as loud as before so it must have been working. Then I watched tiny hamster #2 come up to the trough as well. The first one made a tiny squeak that said "Get out of here, I'm not finished" to the other and then body slammed her to get her out the way.

As a mother of two tween siblings who seem to antagonize each other daily, I lost it and started laughing madly in the predawn hour.

Oh my gosh.  These tiny animals are the same as humans.  We all want a little bit of water, a little bit of love. If we don't get our needs met, we will push others in physical and verbal ways.  This has become so evident to me.  We had an incident a few weekends ago whereby I learned just what it can be like as a Middle School girl in a drama filled wasteland.

Not pretty.

I saw this video on Upworthy yesterday.  It says it all.  It's a simple message but one that is so hard to abide by.  When someone hurts myself or one of my family, the natural instinct  I have is NOT to love.  It is anger, and to think what did I do to this person for them to treat me this way? And over time, I have learned this isn't about me, it's about what is going on with the other person.

But what is more Godly than to give love back?   And as Jason Mraz says in the video, it will stop the aggressor in their tracks.

I really, really understand the noble idea of returning hate with love.  Learning how to do it in real time though, is the ultimate challenge for me.  It takes practice.  I practice it with my kids most every day.  They don't send me hate but they react and tell me everything is my fault, and I don't love them when something doesn't go their way (or their love tank is empty....)  As my stomach turns, I take a deep breath and in the moment try to figure out how to give them love and not react in defensiveness.  I have been practicing this with each interaction in earnest  for the last weeks after watching Dr. Shefali and her ideas of conscious parenting.  It can push every one of my buttons when someone reacts in what I discern as "against me."  Sometimes, I just become silent and know at least I am not yelling back.  Some days, I have been magnificent and listened to all of the emotion that the child needs to express and doesn't know how to handle and am just there, present.   I am there soft place to fall.  Sometimes, when I tune in and show sympathy, the emotion from the other person gets louder and more intense because they feel safe and have to let it all out and eventually it dissipates. And it is magical when the anger falls away.  Simply magical.

Not every day, do I have the where with all to do this or does it work out magically, sometimes boundaries have to be put in.  Some days, I'm physically or emotionally drained and I don't have it to give.  I have learned to tell the child I'm approaching my yelling point, so I'm going to walk away and calm down.  And after some time, I'm able to come back and engage.

It's a work in progress and it takes practice, so very much practice.  And luckily, there are opportunities nearly every single day (or at least the last two weeks there have been)!

The hamsters are just going to have to work it out amongst themselves.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I HEART The Mindy Project

I have a new TV obsession.  It's the Mindy Project.  Not sure how it happened but I'm so glad it did.

Dr. Danny and Dr. Mindy

The show is just slaying me right now.  And the interesting thing is that I started watching it in the middle of last season which was their second season and my appreciation didn't kick in until now.  I think I know why, but more on that later.

I found the first season at the library and had a marathon session over a several day period and just fell in love, head over heels in love. Dr. Mindy Lahari is an OB-GYN in NYC and the show is set at her practice with a collection of oddballs.  Really well defined odd ball characters that add immensely to the mix. She also happens to be of Indian descent and not a size 2.  As you know this is not the norm for a main female character in a sitcom.  There are blogs devoted to her character's fashion choices.  All very inspiring as I am not a size 2 either.
The Mindy Project is so well written and fast paced that I have to rewind it to catch the jokes. There was a bit where the character Morgan, the male nurse, high on a marijuana cupcake does a dive into what he thinks is the pool, and hits the ground with a thud.  I had to pause the show and just laugh.  A fantastically hard belly laugh.  I think the reason I never caught on to how good it was because of distraction.  I find myself watching a tv show, even one that I enjoy immensely while I'm on the internet - AT THE SAME TIME.

I wasn't paying attention.

That says something about my obsession with web surfing, being able to relax and I'm taking note.

Focus on one thing at a time.

When I don't focus on one thing at at time, stay in the present moment, I miss things.  I have found that when I'm really tired, I don't know how to disconnect.  My mind races and I go from website to website filling my head with trivial information.  When what I need to do is just sit still, rest the brain and decompress.

What really appeals to me about Dr. Lahari's character is that she owns herself, unapologetically.  She is who she is.  She doesn't fret, she just plows forward even if it is misguided.

And the show is hilarious.

Freaking hilarious.

I'm also obsessed with Dr. Danny too!  Or shall I say Diamond Dan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Mindy Project

I have fallen in love with "The Mindy Project"  I will explain why later. Just watch and enjoy.