Saturday, December 07, 2013

Notes of gratitude

Recently I have been taken by the idea of sending out "notes of gratitude" to individuals that have made a difference or just brought a smile to my face. I sent one to my aunt and uncle, telling them how much I loved and appreciated how they were always so kind to us as kids, ready with a quick smile. I'm glad I did not wait to do it, as my uncle passed away less than a month later.

So today I chose to sit down and send out some more cards. They ranged from people who I knew 20 years ago who supported me in my decision to get married young and move to a foreign country, to new in-laws who opened their arms to me, to distant cousins who continue to look after my folks since none of us children are able to be there for them on a day to day basis.

If my husband knew what I was doing, he would probably question me as to why I feel the need to do it. Simply put, I think everyone would like to know if they have made a difference or had a positive impact on someones life. We are always so quick to judge, to point out the negative things that go on around us, sometimes it is just nice to get a confirmation that we are appreciated.

I don't know if the recipients will feel quite the same as I do about my notes, but as my note to  my uncle and aunt proved to me, I certainly should not wait to find out.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Thought for the day

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Caramel Sauce made with Skim Milk does not a caramel sauce make.

I have a general rule of thumb in my house that if I want a sweet dessert, I have to make it. The thought process behind that of course is that I must really want a treat if I am willing to make it (always from scratch), bake (wait 12min - 1hr depending on the item) and then clean-up. It normally works in my favor, but there are times when I am craving certain sweet and I just don't have the ingredients on hand.
Case in point: turtle brownies. A rich combination of chocolate and caramel, rich and sweet. I knew I had no evaporated milk on hand, which meant I hand to find a recipe that created the caramel from scratch. I did find one, but it called for heavy cream. Other than butter, the only dairy product in my refrigerator is skim milk or Greek yogurt, neither of which is a suitable substitute. But I was desperate, I figured I could add a little extra butter to make up for the missing fat in the recipe.

I found a Microwave caramel sauce , which was even better since it would be done quickly and in one container. If you like, go try and make it now. Watch out for the step where you add the heavy cream. When you use skim milk as a replacement, the extra water content in the milk contributes to an overwhelming amount of steam release and "froth-over". It also does not thicken the mix very well either.

My end result was a soupy, sticky mess that didn't taste like caramel. I only cooked it in the microwave for 4 min (time frame 4 -8 min), but it still tasted burnt. I'd try the recipe again, but with the right ingredients next time. On the bright side, the subsequent excitement with the bubble over and resulting clean-up did distract me from my cravings for turtle brownies.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Lost found lost dogs

Meet Mello and Princess Pita, two strays that found their way to my door (literally) on a rainy day. These sweet babies were in my life for only a week, but they touched my heart. Mello was so easy going, so grateful for attention. He would walk up to me, put his head in the center of my chest and just lean, almost as though he was grateful that he had someone to share his burdens with. Princess Pita was definitely the alpha dog, even though she was a female. She kept Mello and Ollie in line, herding them across the yard. Poor Ollie, I would throw the ball to him, he would grab it, go to bring it back to me and Princess Pita would stop him five feet from me and take the ball from him. Pita would chew, on everything, from her dog bowls to her harness, to the blankets she slept on.
I was in the process of finding home for them with the assistance of a Lab and German Shepherd rescue when they were stolen from my backyard. I'd like to think that the owners saw them in my yard and were too embarrassed to knock on my door to claim them, but I doubt that is true.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crushing Moments

I just finished watching a video by Ze Frank about crushing words ( you can check it out here), those words that can suddenly change your whole view of life, and usually not in a positive way. It got me thinking about crushing moments, those time when all is going well and that simple nondescript action by another, be it a friend, stranger, or enemy, completely knocks you down. I've gone through a few of those lately.

As part of a cohort at school, I am with the same folks, day in and day out. We've been together for 6mths now, enough time to form bonds and friendships. Or, in my case, to be isolated. It's not that people aren't cordial, they are just not inviting. I can be in my seat in the classroom, at my table with 4 other people and tables around similarly loaded, and each person will be having a conversation. Only, none of the conversations are with me.

Before you start thinking that my classmates are horrible people, they are not. They are almost always cordial, and if I start a conversation they will engage me. But I am the one who has to start the conversation, no one cares to start one with me. When we eat, in the lab or in break area, I can be sitting at the same table, but no one will be talking with me They will literally turn their backs to hold conversations with others at the table, but I am never included. Why? I do not know.

Perhaps I appear standoffish, although I do my best to greet everyone with a smile, so I don't know why.

As long time readers of my blog know, depression runs in my family and I have suffered from it in the past. I can work myself into downward spiral when the right mix of stress, loneliness, and crushing moments happen. These moments are enough to challenge me, to weaken my resolve with my desire to continue school. This is a tough program and I need the support, the camaraderie of my classmates to succeed.  Yes, I know I can push through it alone, but it hurts me deeply.