peachyteachy

For realsies

A Human Being/A Human Doing January 12, 2014

“I am a human being, not a human doing.” Such a trite little New Ageism, probably coined by Stuart Smalley, back before Al Franken became a US Senator.

Actually, I did come across a blurb that encapsulates the sentiment:

 “I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

The To-Do List is, as we all know, never done. NEVER.  What a freaking recipe for disaster. Even if every item were ever crossed off, another five or so would stand up, front and center, to remind us of our basic, gnawing,  inadequacy.   Sweet.

I have a colleague who writes stuff down and shoves it in his pocket, a sort of deconstructed to-do list.  There is a certain genius in this, I think, not because it is foolproof and he will never forget something, but because he WILL.  There is space for a human being to accidentally wash away the reminder of the human doing when the jeans hit the wash with one pocket uncleared.  Disaster? Hardly.  I, for one, need to remember from time to time that the world is, in fact, NOT going to come crashing to a halt if something on the list slips through the cracks.

But what if it’s something important?

Really? Is it? Will it be in a year? Will it result in  someone being deeply hurt by me? Mostly, even seemingly crucial deadlines would, in fact, end up compromising my ego more than anything else. For me, some of my most egregious errors probably were in the following category: I am freaking out and sick to my stomach about the message I am getting that there is no way I can do enough or be good enough at work—and that pain and fear makes me edgy and impatient with my loved ones.  Oh, yeah, priorities straight as an arrow there.  Doing a couple more hours of data recording for my teaching job is going to take care of everything.

What will take care of everything? How the hell do I know? I suspect it has to do with shutting up and letting my son’s words wash over me when I am overwhelmed: “You’re the best Mom ever.”  When I forget, he tells me again.

I was reading something the other day that gently reminded me of the fact that we really are all just a mess and that’s okay and no one knows how the hell we’re going to traverse the next little bit.   So we try to make a little to-do roadmap and it never feels as neat as we think it should.  Because to-do keeps on collecting, tenacious, like dust.

“You’re the best mom ever.”  It is super shiny, every time! No to-do attached! What a relief.

 

 

 

Image: http://www.holisticwithhumor.com

 

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Some “Burgers” Should Never Be Made October 3, 2013

 

 

This is one of them. 

My son ran across this page in one of my cookbooks.  I probably cooked these evil morsels and wrote this upwards of ten years ago.  These are the very notes I added on that fateful day.   I resented this recipe for a long, long time.  But perhaps this goes without saying. . . As you can see, I was a passionate cook, even then.  

The title, “Hell’s Kitchen” was, it seems clear to me, created due to the existence of this recipe. If, for any reason, you find yourself tempted to Google this recipe and try it, know that this temptation is arising from the bowels of the underworld, and that nothing pure and holy can result.  

DON’T DO IT!

Consider yourself forewarned.

 

 

For Mild-Mannered Rap Daddies (and Moms) September 8, 2013

Filed under: family,humor,music,parenting — peachyteachy @ 10:52 am
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I am a little bit embarrassed at how charmed I am by this.  If you are extremely cool, you may want to go Keurig yourself while the rest of us are saying, “YO. What?” under our breaths.

 

Messy Mother’s Day May 12, 2013

Filed under: family,flowers,gardening,life,parenting — peachyteachy @ 9:44 am
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Five years ago, on May 12, it was also Mother’s Day.  It had been a lovely day with my kids, and I had spoken that afternoon with my 80-something mom, who was on what she was determined would be a temporary stay at a nursing home.  Her voice had been so raspy that it was difficult to understand her.  We had talked about the upcoming commencement when I would celebrate the completion of my master’s degree.  She had spoken of sharing with the nurses the photo I had sent of my then four-year-old son.

That night, I was awakened by a phone call telling me that she had passed away.

Obviously, Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me.  It’s also complicated.

Thanks to my mom for all of the important things that she taught me to do and be.  Mom shared with me her passion and respect for the natural world.  I love the plants in my gardens like my offspring,  I feed birds, and I refuse to use pesticides.  I am a rabid recycler.  I apologize, however, for not saving every piece of used aluminum foil.

At least as importantly, I give my thanks for the lessons in how not to be.  Overcooked macaroni, asparagus, and most everything else led me to a determination to teach myself  to cook! Mom burned the bottoms out of enough pans to fill the quota for the both of us.  However, Mom could turn out a mean apple pie (and raspberry, and blueberry), and so she gets credit for the fact that I can make pie crust from scratch.

I also learned from my mom how important it would be to take responsibility and apologize to my children when I screwed up—not because she modeled this, or told me to, but because she didn’t.  I cannot remember my mother ever saying to me that she had been wrong about something.  What pressure to put on oneself.  This sort of coping strategy was typical of how my mother masked her considerable fear.  I resented it when I was younger, gained compassion later as I worked to be mindful of my own fearful behaviors, and slowly learned to make different choices than she had.  Sadly, the fear that my mother clung to also acted as a cloud, a protective barrier, through which I could never clearly see.  Some healing, I have discovered, has to be done after someone has gone.

Mother’s Day, then, is messy.  But it is full of love, and I will cut lilacs and bring them in (I picked Mom a bouquet on every Mother’s Day that I spent with her. She preferred these treasures from our yard above the more perfect, less heartfelt arrangements that florists charged an arm and a leg for).    Thanks to my mom, for all of it.

image source: elizabethpatch.com

 

Survival sans Food Processor and Deep Fryer April 25, 2013

What?!

How can it be? How can someone who bloggingly refers to baking on at least a bi-monthly basis not own a food processor OR a deep fryer? I have asked myself that same question over the years, more times than I care to admit.  Usually this question arises directly following the gift-giving  holidays, when I come to terms with the perpetual reality of not having received a food processor. Again. Many couples receive food processors as wedding gifts, right? I got a “Footprints in the Sand” wall clock.  So you see how it is. (Just so you know, clock gifter, that one ended in a divorce, so. . .)

That’s cool, I tell myself.  Processed food is frowned upon.  Paleo dieters certainly can’t employ a food processor in their pursuit of pre-historic living.  Tell them that, will you? Tell them, while I mortar and pest the hell out of my fresh pesto, in preparation for my upcoming woolly mammoth hunt.

As for the deep fryer, that would definitely be a deep-sixed item in my house.  I understand that many wedding gifts meet a similar fate.  Do they still have the Fry Daddy (by Presto), and the Fry Baby (by Presto)? I don’t think that the Fry Mommy ever made the cut.  Fry Mommy would never let them eat all of that fried crap anyway. Fry Mommy doesn’t bow to Presto, either. She’s more of an Abracadabra kind of girl.  She’d be sneaking the shredded zucchini into every frittie-fried thing she would turn out.  You know it’s true.

The way I imagine it, there are so many lonely wedding food processors out there, languishing on the shelf, like unloved Velveteen Rabbits, waiting for just one new, special, forever home in my kitchen.

Preferably a Cuisinart.

I will pay the shipping.

 

Destination: Grease February 20, 2013

Filed under: family,food,humor,life,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 7:16 am
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If you are looking for the YouTube link to Sandy and Danny belting out “Summer Lovin’,” you are about to be sorely disappointed.

I shall, instead, detail our periodic mini-vacay to visit the number one son at college, in the tiny town that can no longer support a substandard tapas restaurant (see Tapas con Pepsi and you will get the idea).  The good news is that the tapas place has been supplanted by a much higher functioning sushi- based establishment, and the shrimp served there now does not produce the aroma of ammonia.  Sadly, due to some tummy sensitivity issues, I am wary of much of the beautiful variety available, and went with a safe “teriyaki” dish.  Clearly, not the priority of the kitchen, so mediocre at best.

The next evening found me eating a sandwich whose plate level bread was sodden with whatever moisture should have remained separate from the bread.  News flash: insufficient grilling of grilled sandwiches makes for grease sponge.

Clearly, I am in need of a new strategy for eating out on a weekend out of town in Culinary Desert, USA.  As always, your suggestions are shredder fodder  welcome, but I am leaning toward one new and shining policy: 

Order dessert as main course.

It’s cheaper, so if they screw it up, one feels less disappointed and pissy.

Restaurant staff can relax a bit, and may be inclined to add extra whipped cream to show their appreciation for your loving gesture.  I keep my favorite blog/waitress in mind here, javaj240.  Surely, it is logical to assume that dessert orderers are a more jovial lot than your average customer. . .

In a related story, I am also considering just bringing along my Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, which is my new favorite product of all time based on Amazon published reviews.  I think you’ll agree that it was worth wading through the drivel above to get to the drivel below.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33,960 of 34,241 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more winning for you, Mr. Banana! March 3, 2011
By SW3K
For decades I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana. “Use a knife!” they say. Well…my parole officer won’t allow me to be around knives. “Shoot it with a gun!” Background check…HELLO! I had to resort to carefully attempt to slice those bananas with my bare hands. 99.9% of the time, I would get so frustrated that I just ended up squishing the fruit in my hands and throwing it against the wall in anger. Then, after a fit of banana-induced rage, my parole officer introduced me to this kitchen marvel and my life was changed. No longer consumed by seething anger and animosity towards thick-skinned yellow fruit, I was able to concentrate on my love of theatre and am writing a musical play about two lovers from rival gangs that just try to make it in the world. I think I’ll call it South Side Story.Banana slicer…thanks to you, I see greatness on the horizon.

Was this review helpful to you?
18,720 of 18,905 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved my marriage July 30, 2012
What can I say about the 571B Banana Slicer that hasn’t already been said about the wheel, penicillin, or the iPhone…. this is one of the greatest inventions of all time. My husband and I would argue constantly over who had to cut the day’s banana slices. It’s one of those chores NO ONE wants to do! You know, the old “I spent the entire day rearing OUR children, maybe YOU can pitch in a little and cut these bananas?” and of course, “You think I have the energy to slave over your damn bananas? I worked a 12 hour shift just to come home to THIS?!” These are the things that can destroy an entire relationship. It got to the point where our children could sense the tension. The minute I heard our 6-year-old girl in her bedroom, re-enacting our daily banana fight with her Barbie dolls, I knew we had to make a change. That’s when I found the 571B Banana Slicer. Our marriage has never been healthier, AND we’ve even incorporated it into our lovemaking. THANKS 571B BANANA SLICER!

Was this review helpful to you?
10,766 of 10,886 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Gift August 3, 2012
Once I figured out I had to peel the banana before using – it works much better.
Ordering one for my nephew who’s in the air force in California. He’s been using an old slinky to slice his banana’s. He should really enjoy this product!
 

Good Luck Merry December 24, 2012

Filed under: family,holiday,life,parenting — peachyteachy @ 5:26 pm

Pretty peaceful here, right now.  We don’t have Christmas Eve obligations, and so I don’t have to cook like crazy.  I am making a pot of chili for dinner! Rebel on the loose! Seven fishes can be eaten by seven million other folks–I’m not Italian, anyway, and fish has been known to make me hurl.

I enjoyed being out for some last minute items early this morning, and I have been reflecting on how different things are, here and now, from the way they were when I was growing up.  I’m not referring to world events or periodic apocalypses.  More personal than that.

When I was a kid, we had many Christmases when there really wasn’t much of anything to speak of in the way of presents. And if you are expecting me to affirm that it didn’t matter; that we were together and we had each other and that was enough, well, I am going to disappoint you.  Did I love the cookie baking and the tree and the carols? Yes, I truly did.  I carry on these traditions joyfully today. But the fact is that I was not a virtuous enough child not to notice that, when I called my friend early in the afternoon on Christmas day, there were some major gaps between her description of what she had received, and mine.  For example, one particularly lean year, I received an Avon rose-scented cologne in a glass container that looked like a plaid dress.  And that’s it. I said ‘Thank you,” and of course I was oblivious to how difficult that must have been for my parents.  I resented the fact that my mother believed for a second that it would be a good idea to spend what she had to spend on something so completely removed from anything that I would have liked or chosen.  I kind of thought that she actually liked it.  I was thrilled when it smashed to bits some months later, although it smelled God-awful in my bedroom for awhile.

I have, not surprisingly, made it a point to work hard to make Christmas abundant for my kids.  It is pretty small scale compared with what lots of folks do, but even if I have to wrap little things in big packages, it all feels special and we have a lovely time together with lots of laughs.  My younger son is aware of the fact that things are pretty tight these days.  He said, “Mommy, I wouldn’t want you to get me a Wii U–I wouldn’t want you to spend that money on me.”

For two years after my mom passed, we found a bird nest in our Christmas tree.  It is said to bring good luck. I feel that it connects me with my mom, and those nests are part of decorating the tree each year.  I do feel lucky.  She did the best she could.

Me too.

 

 
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