This is where 'everything else' goes.

What, Me Worry?

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , — Wigi @ 9:56 pm May 21, 2008

Somehow, I think this is backwards.

I know some very capable people. I also know some pretty broken people – addicts and alcoholics… In a lot of respects, those two groups are almost completely mutually exclusive.

Among my group of capable people – and by capable, I mean people who are totally able to take care of themselves and family, face adversity and ultimately thrive – there are some that are facing challenges. These aren’t challenges that are catastrophes, but they’re important, potentially life-changing events.

I worry about them.

Among my broken friends, the very nature of being broken makes them likely be close to losing jobs, losing life partners, losing their health, and even the possibility of becoming homeless.

I don’t worry about them so much.

There are certain realities about both groups. The first, and perhaps most relevant to me is that my intervention isn’t going to change anything for members of either group. Even if I wanted to, the most that I could do is stand by and watch… I can’t carry their burden for them, no matter how much I love them, and how much I might want to.

The broken ones don’t realize this. They’ve reached a point in their lives where the dialog starts and ends with their pleas for help. Of course, they aren’t looking for help with their burdens, but with the trappings of their burdens – money for gas (because they drank or smoked their cash), a couch to sleep on for a couple days, help selling some possession at bargain-basement prices to get a deposit for a new apartment… that sort of thing.

For my broken friends, there is an inevitable course that you must follow, and my twenty dollars isn’t getting them down that road any faster. For them, it is a matter of getting to the end of the road and discovering it is a dead end. I will know things have changed for them when they start asking for help getting off that road, rather than further down it.

My capable friends, on the other hand, more or less suffer in silence. They smile and laugh, go to work, take care of their family, have fun… but deep down, you know they’re hurt. You also know that they’re among the most talented and capable people you know, and that they’ll get through the pain, and come out on the other side even stronger.

Why is it that I worry about the ones that can take care of themselves, and don’t lose sleep over the broken ones?

There are a lot of reasons, but ultimately, it is about feeling empathy and sympathy about a situation that is cause by something external to them. I love them. The fact that they hurt is not their fault. I would do whatever I could do to ease their suffering.

About the best I can do is stand by and watch.

Late Night in the Checkout Line

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , — Wigi @ 9:47 pm May 11, 2008

I was at the grocery store just a bit ago, and the woman ahead of me had a very interesting set of items:

20 Mothers Day cards
1 bottle of Tums

I suppose if you need 20 Mothers Day cards, it is a good bet you need Tums.

Forward Progress?

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , — Wigi @ 9:45 pm

One of my favorite things to do is to make breakfast on Sunday mornings. I used to like to go out for breakfast, and truthfully, I still do enjoy it… but I am a good enough cook that I’ve gotten kinda picky about the food I get in restaurants, and greasy hash browns and rubbery eggs just don’t cut it anymore.

Fortunately for me, the kids don’t care for my cooking, or breakfast could be an all-day affair, and turn me into a short-order cook. A gallon of milk, Cocoa Puffs and a shovel (and safety goggles) will suffice for them.

So today, I made one of my favorites – french toast – which is both easy and tasty. I have a special recipe for the batter… and I use both cinnamon and ground cloves, as well as sugar, half and half and eggs. The big advantage there is that the cloves make for a very fragrant presentation, without overpowering the taste.

There is one other ingredient that is a must have, and that is real maple syrup. I went to make french toast a couple weeks ago, and discovered that I was out of maple syrup, so before I could make it, I had to run to the store. [As an aside, don't you think that totally defeats the purpose of breakfast? The idea that you'd have to get dressed and go to the store to get something before you could come home, get undressed and put your jammies back on, just to enjoy the meal? By the time you get dressed and go out, the breakfast clock is running down, and it is already getting to be lunch time.]

“Pancake Syrup” – the brush I will paint the entire market from Log Cabin to Mrs. Butterworth’s – is an abomination… but more importantly, it was one of the first baby steps of the food industry into the realm of corn sweeteners. Without going into the horrors of High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which one could easily look up in any search engine, the idea of substituting pancake syrup – basically liquid sugar – for a flavor that is so unique that it defies substitution just boggles the mind.

Sure, real maple syrup is expensive. But it shouldn’t be treated like a staple, it should be treated like a spice or a garnish. A little dab will do ya… and a small bottle of maple syrup goes a long way. If you’re concerned about the serving size your kids would use, put it on there for them… you don’t let them decide how much garlic to put in your tomato sauce, do you?

I am not a food nazi… but just think how much more enjoyable having those dishes the way they were intended.

Like margarine before it, corn sweeteners will end up being a nutritional failure. So why settle for sub-standard anyway?