Mmmm, Mmmm, Good

chocolate chipsWhile I’m unable to remember a meal that I enjoyed as a child, I do recall one single item, I suppose one among many, that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was something I used to sneak. Or, at least I thought I was sneaking it.

We had a staircase in our house that rose two steps to a small square landing, then you’d make a sharp left, and go the rest of the way up. That landing, and a couple of the steps to the left, were open to the kitchen. If you wanted to, you could climb right onto the kitchen counter, from the stairs. I’m guessing, when my dad built the house, he left this spot open to have a direct view of the front door.

I clearly remember, quiet as a mouse, descending one step at a time until I reached the counter. Directly above the counter lived mom’s baking cupboard, filled with wonderfully, sweet baking supplies. Now this particular spot on the stairs could not be seen from any other place in the house, not including of course, the front door and the landing at the top of the stairs. So I would put one foot on the counter to brace myself, while opening the cupboard and reaching in, past the chocolate chips, straight to the raisins. I would sneak raisins. What child does that? Since it was all in the ‘baking’ cupboard, I assumed it was off limits.

Little did know, until years and years later, that mom knew all about the raisins. She let me think I was getting away with it, because they were healthy. Apparently, she kept the cupboard stocked with raisins, just for me.

I don’t know when I started hating raisins, but I think it had something to do with how many I ate as a child. The texture, especially when baked, and the sickly sweetness of them, turn me off. It’s a great thing when it comes to baking, because if there are raisins in anything, I have absolutely no desire whatsoever, to have any. So, in a weird way, my dislike for them now, has saved me many a calorie.

Writing 101            Comments are always welcomed!

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A Mother’s Grief

An older neighbourhood, with 1950’s rancher style houses. Lawns well-kept, lots of trees flourishing, and all of this was tucked away, hidden if you will, from the busy streets just two blocks over. Jake, was not overly enthusiastic, but I think my jubilation moved him. Or, it was my non-stop chattering about the feng shui, and the flow of chi, and blah, blah, blah. I’m sure he just wanted me to stop talking.

Three weeks later, we were the proud owners of our new house. Unpacking some boxes in the kitchen, I came across a folded piece of paper that was stuck under the bottom drawer. I reached into the awkward space, and retrieved it. The paper was not old, not faded or worn, and the creases still young. It looked like something from a small notepad, one you might write your grocery list on. Unfolding it, I notice the writing, or printing, actually a combination of the two, similar to how I write with pen and paper.

hand written letterI read it once, not thinking too much of it, maybe not understanding. It sat on the counter while I finished unpacking the dishes. It was a warm day, so I opened the kitchen window, which overlooked the back yard. I knew this house had a nice flow, as the gentle breeze made it’s way into the kitchen, and through to the living room. Getting back down on my knees to start on another box, the paper was blown off the counter, striking me on the top of my head. I like to think there are reasons for everything.

Scooting my butt back against the fridge, I began to read it again. This time, more slowly. It read like a novel, so the third time through, I held on to each word, letting them sneak inside me to spread their meaning, to help me understand. The emotions within the words became mine; devastation, fear, betrayal, guilt. I felt the love of this woman for her sons, and the genuine, heartfelt, apology that completed it.

The lady who lived in this house for fifty years, had passed on, and that’s why it had been for sale. I didn’t know the whereabouts of her family, but I knew I had to try to find them. This might have been the last thoughts she wrote down, the last treasured piece of her, lovingly handwritten. A true keepsake. The letter held everything, I imagined a mother would feel, for her children. I grabbed an envelope from one of the drawers, gently folded the letter, and placed it inside, with care.

Writing 101; Day Five  Feel free to leave your comments below, they are appreciated.

Kid’s Can Too; The Travel Checklist

colourful suitcases travelI am a list maker. It gives me confidence. Freeing up a little space in my brain is a definite plus. When my kids were little, and we were planning a trip, I found myself searching online for a packing list. Something that my kids could easily follow, ticking off items as they laid out their belongings. I found a couple that were, ‘just’ satisfactory. Not one seemed complete, to me. So, I made my own. This is not the same list, from years ago, but, a much better one. I love organizing, so this falls into the category ‘FUN FOR ME’!

I have created, the one and only list, you will ever need for your pre-travel, packing, purposes. If your kids can read; they can pack. As the every time winner of, ‘Who’s Doing the Packing’, I delegated. I think the kids even thought it was fun, having such responsibility. Of course, I still did the final checks, just to be sure.

This list is geared towards a family (with kids), who’ll be leaving the comfort of their home. You are more than welcome to alter, adjust, add, subtract, scribble, draw on, recycle, or whatever else you fancy doing with the list. You might also find it useful, just the way it is.

Family with Kids Travel Checklist

Since I love lists, here are a couple more examples from Word & Excel, that might be useful. I have saved them as a PDF; if you have any issues, please let me know.

Business Trip Planner

Camping Checklist

Please let me know if I have missed something of importance. I like to think I’m perfect, but alas, that is not always the case. If you have a great list to share…do it!

If you enjoyed this post, leave your comments below, and do have a peek at the rest of my blog.

Rubbing Shoulders With Alcoholism

It is a misconception, that a lot of Alcoholics have, that their drinking doesn’t affect anyone else.

Children can have deep-seated psychological and emotional reactions, to growing up with an addicted parent. The child will slip, according to their personality, into a role they will fill, to compensate for their lack of control. They are: the family hero, the scapegoat, the lost child, or the mascot. In any case, there are feelings of confusion, anger, abandonment, rebellion, rejection, loneliness, inadequacy, fear, and low self-esteem. The list goes on. They grow up judging themselves, constantly seeking approval, becoming super responsible, or are in trouble with the law, they just don’t know what ‘normal’ is.

The spouse can feel hatred, self-pity, avoiding their social contacts, exhaustion that may lead to becoming physically or mentally ill. Depression is prevalent. The family responsibility shifts to one parent. There is financial loss. Divorce. Maybe an inconsistency in their parenting, becoming neglectful and demanding; all in an effort to maintain some control. Being torn between the drug and not wanting to harm the family, they feel doubt, hurt, shame, fear, and a sense of failure, when their attempts to help don’t work. They get dragged down with their partner. They are stuck.

The parent of an alcoholic son or daughter, struggle to deal with quarrels, and bad language, upsetting the peace. The one using, gets all the attention, and the other is neglected. Parents fall out, they feel helpless, and don’t know how to handle it.

Denial is essential to keeping the family together, because, the idea of the loss of the family, is too great to imagine.

girl with drinkAside from the inheritance of genes, other risk factors such as; peer influences and availability, contribute significantly.

Alcohol abuse is different from alcoholism. There are three types of alcohol problems.

 

Binge Drinking:

  • 5 or more regular drinks at one sitting, for men, and 3 or more for women
  • generally younger, 18-21 years
  • increased incidents of assaults & unwanted sexual advances
  • increased damage to property, trouble with authorities, more injuries
  • large portion are college students

Alcohol Abuse:

  • Impaired performance, neglect of responsibilities, legal difficulty
  • driving while impaired
  • continue to drink despite the knowledge of consequences

Alcohol Dependence:

  • chronic & progressive
  • a general, predictable course with recognizable symptoms
  • influenced by a combination of genes, psychological factors, and effects of culture, on drinking behaviour and attitudes
  • a strong need/compulsion to drink
  • withdrawal symptoms
  • increased tolerance; need to consume more to keep feeling good

guy with drink

There are five types of Alcoholics.

Young adult:

  • early twenties, binging
  • usually fairly functional, with some lapses

 

Young Antisocial:

  • teens
  • manipulative
  • exploitive
  • trouble with the law that is carried on into adulthood

Functional:

  • working adults
  • usually middle years
  • carry on relationships
  • not daily; 3-4 times per week, generally binging

Familial:

  • mid-teens
  • learning from relatives who are often alcoholics themselves
  • takes 15-20 years for them to develop true psychological addiction

Chronic:

  • most people think of this
  • 1 in 10 alcoholics
  • usually men
  • there is loss of family and jobs

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse statistics reveal that,  4% of the population over the age of 15, is dependent. There are twice as many males and the age group of 20-24 years, has the highest rate. Twenty percent of current or former drinkers, have had their jobs and/or finances affected by their drinking behaviour.

It is everywhere. Cunning, silent, unnecessary, suffering. Unresolved past issues, no coping skills, pulled into a desirable, unconsciousness. Everyone has rubbed shoulders with alcoholism.

Note: This stems from my personal experience.

A New Study by the Centre For Addiction Nd Mental Health

Fact Sheet for Drinking and Alcohol   

Have you been affected? Are you suffering in silence?

Fun or Frosty? The Family Soirée

soi·rée [swah-rey]
noun
an evening party or social gathering, especially one held for a
particular purpose: for conversation or music.
Origin:
1810–20; < French, equivalent to Old French soir evening

Am I the only one who shrinks from the knowledge that a family soirée is rapidly approaching? My family has begun a once monthly, potluck dinner for those of us who live near enough. We alternate: meat dish, vegetables, and dessert. Our gathering place is our parent’s trailer. We’ve been doing this for a few months now and I don’t fully understand my reaction to it. Part of it is the commitment of coming up with a food dish and then preparing it. This does take some effort and I dread the hours leading up to it. What’s that all about? Its only a once a month obligation.

Through this, a long-standing personality trait of mine keeps rearing it’s head; my reluctance to socializing. If I leave commitments open, they will not happen. In order to keep these connections going, I must set a date and time on my calendar, with a reminder. If it’s on my calendar, I seem to feel less pressure to pick up the phone, or go for coffee, or…attend a family soirée. No room for laziness or excuses. What’s your excuse?

Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author Unknown

Once we are all in attendance, however, and the conversations set about, and the laughter commences, all that initial silliness dissipates completely. I love being with my family! Allowing myself to relax, and delight in all the love, compassion, intellect, and abundance of humor, always seems just what I need. Now, I am only speaking for myself, but my impression is that my family feels the same way. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, the in-laws are enjoying themselves too.

Why don’t we do it more often, you ask?

Everyone has their work, their own families, and their own obstacles to the idea. Yet, I see everyone setting off for home afterwards, with a smile on his or her face. An important element here is, we all seem to get along which definitely takes the pressure off anyone who feels they have to show up. I know Mom and Dad treasure these moments, of watching their children engage one another and share the different stages of life they happen to be steeped in at the moment. For those of us who have children, is it not joyous to watch them interact? It is for me. This is how it is supposed to be and we can all gain tremendous comfort from this closeness.

A family reunion is an effective form of birth control. Heinlein…hahaha! 

I will be leaving in a couple of hours, for a family ‘lunch’ of waffles, bacon, and a cornucopia of delicious toppings. At this point, I am looking forward to it completely. Maybe that has something to do with the fact I’m the helper of the waffle preparation, and not the only cook, or maybe, the emotions uprooted from writing this post have me all mushy, gushy now. Pretty sure it is the latter. I would love to jump over the initial, self-induced, frivolous, reaction and get to the part where large helpings of happiness, abundance, and love are dispersed. (Mental note made)

I guess the main point is, (and you are all probably thinking that it’s about time); we can certainly go about our lives with our own families, our work, our hobbies, and achieve great things, but, there is something bigger within a family. So I put my crap aside and enjoy those whom I have a bond with. When I make the effort, be mindful, be open, and chill, I always leave with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.

Family isn’t something that’s supposed to be static, or set. People marry in, divorce out. They’re born, they die. It’s always evolving, turning into something else. Sarah Dessen

CHALLENGE: Pick up the phone, go for coffee, or take a weekend trip to spend time with your family.

Let me know how you feel about getting together with your family, if you have similar responses, and how often your soirées occur. Do you want more of them, or less?

Disclaimer: These are the opinions of myself only. No one else contributed.