life

Leftovers

Let’s talk leftovers.

I came from a far away place called the 70’s. During that time, most moms were “stay at home” and many didn’t have cars. Our moms did their marketing once a week and usually purchased enough for breakfast, lunch and supper for the entire family, which usually included a special meal for Sunday after church. Yes, in that far away place, we all went to church on Sunday morning, even if you weren’t feeling like it!

We rarely went out to eat as this was reserved for “special occasions”. Furthermore, the idea of “ordering out” was just foreign to those of us that came from the 70’s…and I am being totally serious here! On rare occasions, my dad might suggest getting a pizza–for example, if it was just “too hot to cook”–but, even then, he would drive to the local pizzeria, order and bring it home. Keep in mind microwave ovens were just being introduced in most homes then and they were still strange and possibly dangerous, too. One of my neighbors insisted that we do not stand in front of theirs while it was “in use” because, well, “radiation”.

The 70’s was a strange place, indeed. ūüėČ

But–getting back to my point–when I was growing up, food came from your kitchen and was usually produced by moms. Sometimes you’d be lucky and have a mom that was a really good cook or even a bit inventive. Sometimes not. Sometimes moms would have a rotating schedule, similar to a school lunch menu, but usually without an alternate. Your alternate was “take it or leave it” usually. My point being she would churn it out and we would all sit and eat at the same time…no tv, no devices, just conversation and eating. Isn’t that weird?

Invariably there were leftovers. Sometimes it would be just a tiny amount of food, but it was food and we never threw it out; it would be saved. Maybe it would be a spoonful of peas & carrots. A slice of ham wrapped in tinfoil, perhaps. Occasionally there might be some rice no one could eat.

And we kept it all! What’s weird is we never ate these leftovers the next day, because it was Wednesday and it was spaghetti day. So she would collect all these bits of leftovers in tiny Tupperware or Pyrex fridge containers, which would sit in the fridge for a couple of days. And, on Saturday, she would take all the leftovers and heat everything up to go with our hamburgs (you heard me…that’s what we called them) which were cooked in the broiler on a tinfoil wrapped broiler pan that no one liked to clean. It was a potluck of sorts and, I have to tell you, it was our version of being adventurous.

These days I am hearing and seeing dinner being handled in far different ways and it’s sort of scary and strange. What about the leftovers? Where are those weekly “pot lucks” of days gone by? Do people actually throw food away now? What do you eat with your Saturday night Hamburgs?

As a single mom of one child, I must admit I have struggled with the idea of “family meals”. It seems odd making a full meal that your child won’t eat and I have no desire to eat what he does most of the time. Lately I might cook something big–like a pot of soup–and eat that every night for a week, while–at the same time–being a short order cook for MO. It sort of works for us right now, but it does change my ingrained beliefs about leftovers.

I suppose that’s why I get really excited when Thanksgiving or Christmas rolls around. Suddenly I can have a conversation with an adult! I can show off my culinary skills! I can have…LEFTOVERS!

Autism · Cricut · life

Why Kindness *Still* Matters

Let’s face it, it’s been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. The news alone can cause even the most optimistic person reason to lose hope. And, unfortunately, all the online back biting and label throwing has truly interfered with daily life. It’s made me pretty grumpy a few more times than I’d care to admit, which has forced me to think about the true nature of people.

However, recently I’ve had a few experiences that have reassured me that kindness–once very commonplace in workaday life–still exists and, more importantly, still matters to us all.

Yesterday I went to see my old friend and amazing chiropractor, Dr. Scott Kline, from Back on Track Chiropractic. My neck and lower back have been zapping me of energy for a while now and regular visits to his clinic really have been helping me get around much easier.

Dr. Kline’s office is fairly open and you often interact with other patients during your visit. When my son MO and I arrived, we couldn’t help but notice the extra large flatbed truck in the parking lot and said “hello” to the truck owner when we got inside. A few minutes later, Dr. K asked me–sort of out of the blue–if I had ever taught at one of the local schools and I replied that I had been a “para” at the high school a while back, but for a short time.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the truck driving young man was a former student of mine–with a very good memory–and came over to chat with me. I was SO happy to hear my help with Algebra actually helped him in his daily life and that he had remembered me for the kindness I showed him in the special ed classroom. I was even happier to know that a once somewhat troubled kid had built a wonderful life, complete with a talented and darling fianc√©, in spite of some educational setbacks.

It was a true “A HA!” moment for me, helping me to understand that even the smallest actions can have a big impact on someone else.

After the young couple left, Dr. Kline–being the terrific guy he is–took some time to interact with MO, telling him a few jokes and asking him questions. This is his usually modus operandi (M.O.!) so I just listened to the conversation. But then I was nearly floored when Dr. K surprised MO with a wonderful gift of an inversion table!

Now…Dr. K said the gift was because I had been so helpful to Debbie with her new Cricut Maker, but I knew better. Dr. Kline is just a REALLY nice guy! He has a heart of gold and he knows MO struggles a bit without having good male role models around. This unexpected gift was an investment in my son. A “kindness seed” if you will.

Needless to say, MO and I were both tickled PINK at his gift! But beyond that, I truly felt the love of another person reaching out to a young boy–who has had his share of troubles–for no other reason but to sow a seed of kindness that will hopefully grow and bear fruit in the future.

As MO and I sat in the car–inversion table carefully stowed between us–we marveled at the extraordinary gift we had just received. MO exclaimed with great enthusiasm “I am SO HAPPY!”

And the beautiful thing was, I know he was. I really know he was!

And so I see–from a chance encounter with a former student and an unexpected gift from a good doctor–how kindness can and does matter. In spite of all the chaos in the world…in spite of the anger and vitriol coming across from everywhere…kindness can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of others.

I’ve got a renewed interest in spreading love and care to my little corner of the world, and I hope–after reading this–you might feel the same. Won’t you join me in this important and life changing crusade? Won’t you reaffirm your pledge that “Kindness Matters” in your life and the lives of others?

And, one last note, if you are local to me (North Shore area of Boston) and need a little help with some back, hip, neck or knee pain, please consider making an appointment with my friend, Dr. Scott Kline at Back on Track Chiropractic in Peabody.

While I can’t promise gifts, I can tell you you will receive the most caring treatment around!

recipe

Illness is a message

I’m sick today.  I’ve been fighting something and today I’m done fighting.  I decided I didn’t want to fight it today, so I’m sitting this morning out.

I’m pretty sure I “caught” whatever-this-is from one of Master Owen’s visiting friends, who was visiting last weekend.  The boy often forgot to cover his mouth when he coughed or sneezed.

I suppose I should be a little irritated about being sick, but I’m not.  It’s not as if I enjoy being ill–who does–but I’ve found it can provide me with some valuable insights about my life, my routines and what I’m trying to accomplish.  

I know, leave it to me to come up with a positive spin on being sick, but I believe there is meaning in the most mundane.  And, what’s more mundane than the average head cold or flu bug?  You are left lying in bed, knowing there are things to do but having no strength to do them.  Eventually you must make choices about what will get done and what will have to wait.  Perhaps you might even wonder why you do certain things at all.  I know I do.

Being sick also helps me ponder what life would be like if I weren’t the person I am or if I weren’t around at all.  If you are the head of your household, as I am, you probably know what I am talking about.  

Usually I’m the first one up and moving in the morning.  Heaven knows getting my tribe going in the morning is a monumental task.  Those constant issues of preparing for the day–breakfast, packing snacks and lunches and dealing with incomplete homework–keep me so busy I hardly think on the average day.  It’s only when I’m temporarily “benched” do I get a chance to see if anyone is following my established routine.

Just a little food for thought.  I’m afraid I don’t have much else today, nor the entry to share it.  I’m hoping a little rest will get me rolling again.

But, if you’re wondering how my tribe did without me, I’d say they still need me around for a while yet.  

Autism

The Big Reveal, Part 2: My dilemma

If you read Part 1 of “The Big Reveal”, you know that I gave you my “In a Nutshell” story of how I got to this place in my life. ¬†If you forgot already (or didn’t read the first part, in which case “shame on you”! ¬†Just kidding!), I’ll “bottom line” it for you: ¬†I spent about 45 years not knowing I had Asperger’s AND I am the very proud mother of a 10 year old boy, who also has autism. ¬†Oh, plus, I am a dyed-in-the-wool crafter (now being called “maker”) and¬†have been since I was a kid. ¬†Plus I am a rabid fan of corgis! ¬†<—“rabid”…heehee…get it?

So here is the dilemma: as someone who was diagnosed late in life, I don’t just naturally think about Asperger’s and autism. ¬†Truth be told, I don’t think about it all that much until I run into a situation I can’t figure out and then I have an “Aha!” moment.

No, mostly I think about what I can make or do…or cook…or clean…or organize.

I suppose it might be a little bit “Aspie” of me that I have a need–a compulsion, really–to analyze things that grab my curiosity and figure them out.

Yeah. ¬†I’m that person.

I’m the lady that looks up word origins for the fun of it. ¬†The gal who sees something odd–like: “Hey! Why have all¬†the Hess gas stations changed names? And: “Now where am I going to get my annual Hess Truck?”–and must research it and find out “why”! ¬†(Here’s the why:¬†Hess decided to get out of the retail business in New England, so you have to buy the annual truck online if you live around here.)

Thing is…I always thought everyone was like I was. ¬†I mean, how can you just look at something and not think about it?!?¬† ¬†It is part of my very core to find out the “back story” of everything…and EVERYTHING has a back story. ¬†Hardly anything is happens for NO reason at all. ¬†Believe me…it doesn’t. ¬†I researched it. ¬†LOL!

And that’s¬†one of the reasons¬†why I simply ADORE my son, Master Owen (aka MO)! ¬†He thinks just like me; he was blessed with this insane need to find out the “whys” and “hows” of life. ¬†Because, honestly? ¬†Having this drive of curiosity is the BEST¬†way to live life, especially in the digital age when you can find out anything online. ¬†It makes life a ginormous ADVENTURE.

Only…I now realize not everyone is “so blessed”. <big grin> ¬†Some people are content with not knowing the history of the Patriots mascot. ¬†(You are now dying to know, aren’t you?)

Some people can actually admire someone’s work without asking: “How did you do that?”

It was a shocking revelation to me and, quite frankly, something I still struggle with.

And–take it a step further–how am I suppose to maintain a blog simply about autism?¬† Won’t that get boring or whiny? ¬†Seriously…autism¬†is part of who I am…of course it is, but it is NOT all of me. ¬†Of course not. ¬† I am so much more! I am the mittens I knit. ¬†The birthday banners I design. ¬†The tote bags I sew up. ¬†The lobster pie I make. ¬†The dog poop I diligently collect and dispose of <gross, I know!> ¬† I am all those things and more. ¬†I can’t contain myself. ¬†And, what’s more, I won’t contain myself.

And, so, the¬†“Big Reveal” is I NEED¬†to blog about, well, everything.

Corgis, LEGO sets, Cricut crafting, knitting, sewing, soap making, DIY…and, like I said, everything. ¬†You name it and I’m giving myself permission to write about it. ¬†I can’t be a one woman show. ¬†It’s too restricting. ¬†And I’ve spent way too much of my life trying to fit into everyone else’s ideas of who I am.

Is that all right with you, dear reader?  Will you come along on a journey with me?  Or at least tolerate it when I just want to gush about my latest project?  I do hope you will, because I want to share it all with you!

Let me know in the comments below, won’t you?

P.S. I write like I think, so I sometimes have run on sentences.  Plus I use a lot of exclamation points and ask a lot of questions.

P.P.S. I’m a HUGE fan of the “P.S.”