Mirror, Mirror

I often see a reflection of myself in the people I encounter.  Although we are different in many ways, the members of the human race are also very similar.  As I watch how others behave, I have realizations about myself.  It is very difficult to see them on my own.  But when I am watching others, I see behaviors and attitudes that I possess.  It’s as though we are mirrors for each other.

Broccoli Greens and Being a Good Steward

My son planted a garden for me this spring.  So far, we have enjoyed red leaf lettuce and butter crisp lettuce from it.  I have also used the spearmint we’ve grown in a cucumber and pineapple dish that I love, and in iced tea.  Because my broccoli began flowering, I researched whether I should toss it or whether it was still edible.  I was fascinated to learn everything that could be done with broccoli.

As it turns out, broccoli can be eaten after flowering.  In fact, the flowers alone can be purchased in some places for consumption.  The stalk can be grated and used to make cole slaw (which  I have seen but never tried).  What I found most surprising was that the leaves could be cooked and eaten like any other form of greens.  Tonight I cooked the broccoli spears and I also cooked the leaves, adding some bacon bits to them as they wilted.  I was surprised at how good they were.  They had the texture of kale, with a milder flavor.

I share all of this to say that I have always strived to be a good steward of what has been entrusted to me.  In this case,  food is the currency.  I often use leftovers to make soups, stews, or casseroles.   I just can’t stand to throw things away.  Incidentally, growing my own broccoli and studying it has allowed me to use all of the vegetable.  (I actually think I like the greens better than the florets.)

If you have any recipes that use other than traditional parts of plants,  or recipes that utilize leftovers, I’d love to hear them.

Ten Terrific Things This Tuesday

As I was looking through my WordPress reader, I noticed Tuesday was full of lists… tens, twenties, and twenty-fives of things.  In light of this, I have decided to post ten terrific things about this Tuesday.

1.  Spending the day with my granddaughter.

2.  Finishing a book I was reading.

3.  The support of friends.

4.  Going for a walk.

5.  Helping a friend set some meaningful goals.

6.  Homemade gluten-free pizza.

7.  Cabernet Sauvignon.

8.  Watching movies with my son.

9.  Coldplay on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

10.  Being married to a good man.

Kitchen Garden

My son set up a raised bed for me the other day. Since we have once again switched seasons (from spring back to winter), he is waiting to set out the plants until the chance of freezing temperatures is gone. It seems we have had crazier than usual weather this year… 79 degrees one day and snow the next. Yesterday I went out in short sleeves during the day and a sweatshirt in the evening. Today I pulled out my winter coat again. (My garden may remain in my kitchen a bit longer.)

Kitchen Garden
Spearmint, Heirloom Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Buttercrisp Lettuce, Red Lettuce, Flat Italian Parsley, and Broccoli… all awaiting their place in the sun.

Hoping Spring Has Finally Sprung

Although we have certainly had warmer days already this year, I heard something tonight that was music to my ears.  As my son and I got out of the car, I heard frogs singing from the nearby creek.  We stood outside and just listened for a few moments.  I am hoping spring has finally sprung.   

Buyer, Beware

If you know Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, you will understand the title of this blog post.

My husband and I often catch clerks off guard because we are buyers, not shoppers. For example, we walk into the store, buy a laptop, leave, walk back into the store because we forgot to buy a chair, we buy the chair, and we leave again. We know what we want. We get it. We go back home.

Needless to say, I don’t get many invitations to hang out with the girls.

Connecting Through Social Media

Today’s post is informational rather than narrative. 

As a next step along my writing path, I am linking my blog to my Facebook page.  This will enable my Facebook friends to read posts from Help Along the Path.  As I continue learning how to utilize social media with my blog, I will determine how to make the best use of this ability and will connect with my other accounts.  Stay tuned…    

Not a Typical Post for Me

*This is not a typical post for me.  In my quest to write every day this year, I am completing an assignment that is a bit off topic for me. 

For today’s assignment in the Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog challenge, I am referring back to a post I commented on yesterday.  Ben Orlin’s January 9th post entitled American teachers work the hardest. (After Chileans, of course.) caught my eye.  His blog name, Fifty-Five Million, refers to the number of students enrolled in American schools.  The subject matter is American education statistics. 

Although my comment was directly related to the content of the above mentioned post, I was interested in the no-nonsense approach to statistics used by the math teacher/blogger.  As a fellow math teacher, I felt validated by the data showing how hard we work, compared to teachers in other countries.  As a fellow writer, I enjoyed Orlin’s sense of humor, reminding us that “numbers, like hips, don’t lie.”  

Notice I did not include data and humor in the same sentence.  Orlin does just this. If you have a nerdtastic sense of humor, like me, check out his Math with Bad Drawings.  I found it quite entertaining, although the drawings ARE bad.      

   

This Cracked Me Up (Literally & Figuratively)

I’ve been working on a post that isn’t quite ready yet. So in the interest of keeping my daily posting commitment, I will tell you about something that happened this evening. Since we had no children at home tonight, my husband and I went out for dinner.

It was Saturday night so the restaurant was packed. As we waited to be seated, I spotted my chiropractor and his wife sitting at a table near the bar. As I am still in a wheelchair due to my accident, I had my husband wheel me over to their table. I proceeded to share that I had not been to his office in the past couple of months due to my injuries.

After catching up a bit, he asked if I would like him to give me an adjustment while we were there. I jumped at the opportunity to get some relief from the stiffness that had been increasing in the past few weeks. So we went outside long enough for him to adjust my neck without calling attention to ourselves. We thanked the kind doctor by paying for dinner for him and his wife. (We had their server bring us their check.)

Afterward, my husband and I enjoyed a nice meal together. I enjoyed a quartino of red wine, a salad, and a mixed grill. There was more food than I needed, but it was so good that I kept eating until I was more full than I’ve been in awhile. As I forced in the last bite, I looked at my husband and said, “You’re going to have to roll me out of here!” [rimshot]

Hurdles

Just like every year since I can remember, I have spent the last few days of December reflecting on the year and thinking about the coming one.  But this year is a little different because I was hit with the reality that this year could very well have been my last.

I lost my dad in 2010, and as much as I loved him, that was different than being faced with my own mortality.   Although I know I will write more about my accident in the coming days, today I want to focus on the gratitude I have for life.  When I awake each morning, I am thankful for another day.  As cliche as it might sound, it’s true.  Yes, I was appreciative before now, but I had never experienced how fragile life really is until this year.  I realize I only delayed the inevitable.  The gift in all of this is that life is sweeter.

Looking over the past year, I have lots for which to be thankful.  My first grandchild was born.  Her father and mother married (my oldest son and the baby’s mother).  My step-father beat death a few times.  One of those times he says he actually died.  Being there with him, I don’t doubt what he says is true.  And I survived a traumatic accident.

2014 is a new beginning, as are all years.  But I am especially excited about the coming year, because there was a moment when I thought I might not have a 2014.  I was faced with the reality that I may never get to jump the hurdles I have put in my own way.  I am no longer willing to not do things because I feel anxious or inadequate.  I may never get another chance.  I’ve known this on an intellectual level, but I now I have had an experience that has driven the concept home.

So, as I watch the ball drop and toast in the new year with a glass of champagne, hugs and kisses from my husband and son, and text messages from my grown children and other family members and friends, I will remember that each moment is a gift.  And as I begin carrying out my new year’s resolutions tomorrow, I will do it joyfully.  After all, my whole purpose in making them is to become closer to my ideal self… to become more of who I really am.