A little about me...My mom & I run a Health Food Store together. I love what I do because of the opportunity it gives us to help people. Also I love to create, so my jewelry that I make allows me to do that.
Spring is such a wonderful time of year. No matter how heavy your heart, no matter what kind of funk you're in, no matter if you've lost hope, your heart can't help but be lifted and brightened by all the rebirth that takes place in the spring. Little flowers popping up from the earth. Beautiful blooms on the trees. The Robins bouncing around looking for worms. The horses and cows basking in the sunshine. You can't help but feel hopeful, surrounded by all of this beauty.
I felt really badly today. A man called and asked for Papaya Concentrate. I don't carry that & told him so. He sounded a little out of it, so I grew impatient when he asked a few more questions. He asked if I was sure, yes I was sure, & he asked if I knew where he could get it & I told him he could call Whole Foods. Well, I waited on a few more customers & the phone rang again, my mom answered it. I could tell by her responses that it was the same guy. I'm giving her faces that indicated he just called & I said no! Well, as a few minutes passed, my mom was almost in tears in response to the conversation. Turns out, this man's father is in Hospice, with Pancreatic Cancer, close to dying & he was looking for a few things, anything that might help. I felt my stomach drop as I realized what was going on! While my mom was still on the phone with him, I tried getting a hold of a few other Health Food Stores in the area, they didn't have it. I can order it but it won't be in til next Friday. It's easy to forget that there is a lot of pain out there and each individual human being is going through something, sometimes extraordinarily sad circumstances that we have no clue about. This man told my mother that he had found our website and by reading through the newsletters and blog, he realized how much we cared about people and that's why he called. I was reminded of that by this man. It's easy for me to lose patience, but I'm going to work on that. I want to be of help at the other end of the line, not another burden for the person who's calling. It ALWAYS pays to be KIND.
Another reason why I love my job? Our customers. We have the pleasure of dealing with so many sweet people with so many interesting stories. Today, I was finishing up with one of my customers, who happens to have a French accent, and she mentioned that she'd be going back to Canada soon, and another customer who was standing next in line waiting said: "what part of Canada are you from?", "New Brunswick", the other customer replied, "I was your neighbor!". Come to find out, the customer waiting in line was from Maine, and the two ladies lived just across the river from each other. The conversation continued, and names of towns were exchanged and it was becoming more evident that they were truly "neighbors". Then one customer mentioned the name of someone and it turns out that the customer who's from New Brunswick, that's her best friend who she is going to see in a couple of weeks when she goes back! They started telling stories of how they would ice skate across that river, the Canadian girls would want to skate across and see the American boys and the American girls would skate across to see the Canadian boys...........we all smiled and laughed and it was just such a nice moment shared. It's most certainly a small world.
My sister lives in Pennsylvania, three and a half hours away. Besides the times that we get together and play, she is always, always, always here in times of need. My step-dad has been near death for the past week and finally passed away. When we called Robin she appeared. She is strong and she is the glue that holds us together. She is calm and she is smart and she is wise and she bridges all the gaps. I'm the loud, and impatient sister. I want my mom to get to the point and my sister allows my mom to get to the point when she's ready. I do better when I'm working, not so good sitting by someone's side as they slip away. My sister can do that, and she does. We do this interesting dance of she doing what she does best and I doing what I do best. My sister is such a gift, words cannot express how much I love her and how much I admire her and how much I appreciate her. My sister is a gift.
My step-dad passed away today. We had an interesting relationship to say the least. Suffice it to say, it was a relationship consisting of a lot of the drama that is inherent in some step-dad/step-daughter relationships. That aside, I will always be grateful to Herache for this.......my own father was sick and dying from Cancer when I was 18. My dad could no longer take care of himself and Herache agreed to let my dad come live with us. My sister and my mom and I took care of my dad until the day he passed away. Herache didn't have to agree to that, and I will forever be grateful to him that he did. He allowed for my dad to pass away with dignity. Today I am reminded of that and grateful for that, and I am grateful that Herache is no longer suffering. Goodbye Herache.
Today one of my very, very regular customers came in to our store. I was cashing someone else out and my mom was putting the items in a bag, and we were chatting as usual, laughing, chatting, laughing and chatting. Our "very regular" customer was waiting patiently for us to finish up with the other customer, and I could just tell that she wasn't quite right. My mom noticed it too, I could tell.....we've been together for 43 years now, it's all pretty understood between us. We finished with the previous customer and rang up an item for our "very regular" customer. My mom said, "are you o.k.?", and I said, "you are not o.k., something is wrong". She burst into tears and told us that her daughter's dog had passed away. Her daughter had adopted her 4 or 5 years ago and now she was 12 and had had a stroke and passed. Our customer was broken hearted, and as a mother was of course absorbing the pain of her daughter. You can say all the things you're supposed to say, but it really doesn't matter, it's horrible to lose a pet. We are dog lovers and know that pain. Our customer proceeded to tell us that the vet came to her daughter's house and "took care" of the dog while she lay in her daughter's arms. I admire that. I don't know that I could do that. I have my own dog, he's 12 years old now, I know he won't last forever, but I fear "that day". I just don't think I can have him in my arms when that happens, that feeling will haunt me, I know it. I worried about that today, whether or not that is selfish on my part, I still don't think I'll be able to do that. I don't know, I guess it's just best to take it one day at a time and love my little gift while I have him and cross that bridge when it comes. Our dogs definitely leave their pawprints on our hearts forever.
I'm reading the new book by Andre Agassi, 'Open'. It attracted me for the reason that many of us get caught up in the "what should be" for us, instead of really figuring out what we want and what choices we individually want to make and live by. I also admire him for his foundation that he has set up and runs and the success rate that it has had. It's really all so simple and just gets all complicated by all the red tape.
So I was talking to my sister earlier this week. She told me about a party that my grandnephew and grandniece went to. A friend of my sister's had a "Cookie" party. It was about 9 or 10 kids, 17 or so recipes, and my sister's friend had all the different cookie dough's made so that when the kids came, they rolled out the dough and cut out their cookies with cookie cutters and then decorated them etc. Then, when the cookies were done, the kids had to grab a name out of a basket full of names, older people that they knew, disabled people, etc. They wrapped up cookies for not only themselves, but for the person or persons whose name they picked. Then, the next day, my sister, took my grandnephew and grandniece to deliver the cookies! All the other kids and their significant others took them to the people whose name they picked!! Imagine the smiles and the warm hearts..........all because of a good idea and some cookies :)
When I woke up this morning I looked out the window and I starting thinking. As I watched the light snow falling, and watched it spin around in the blustery wind, I lay there in my warm, cozy fleece-flannel sheets, with my little dog by my side and I thought: 'how fortunate and grateful I am to be safe and warm. I imagined how sad it must be to be homeless in this weather, homeless and alone. I am so very grateful for what I have. Sure there are some things missing, but all I really need is right here.'
Then I watched the CBS Morning show as I usually do and I really enjoyed learning about a girl named Dafna Michelson. In the midst of all the crazy bad news that we are bombarded with, she travels the united states looking for good people doing good deeds for good people in need. Awesome!
And last but not least, what do I do on Saturday when there is a 1/2 hour left before we close the store and there are no customers?? I wrap my boy Tango up in my scarf, he indulges me, and looks at me as if to say: 'make yourself happy, take my picture, uh huh, ok, now take this scarf off! :)'
I love to learn new words. Today I was reading and came across the word 'profligacy'. I found the word in this quote: "Every generation has a challenge, and this, I think, is ours: to foot the bill for yesterday's profligacy - and to create instead an authentically, sustainably shared prosperity. -Umair Haque. Profligate: -> adj. 1. Given over to immorality; dissolute. 2. Recklessly wasteful; extravagant. -> n. A profligate person.
We get this little booklet in the mail called: "Bits & Pieces". It's full of quips and quotes and short stories. I was just reading through it and this quote caught my eye: "If what others thought of you wasn't important-if the only thing that mattered was how your heart felt about your life-what would you be doing differently?" -Melody Beattie. It's an interesting thought to ponder. How many boundaries, self-imposed or otherwise, do we allow to impede our heart's desire? What IS our heart's desire? How important is what other people think or expect of us?
I was listening to the news this morning and the issue of Holiday "Correctness" came up. It made me think. I think that everyone should be respected for whatever their beliefs may be. They were discussing the schools this morning and what is proper or not as far as the Holidays are concerned. I went to Renbrook, a private school in West Hartford CT, there were no Holiday decorations or any favoritism showed towards any particular group. Did that mean that kids were not able to celebrate whatever they happened to be brought up with celebrating?? Absolutely not, that is what family traditions are, just that, family traditions. There are people who celebrate Christmas, there are Jewish people, there are Jehovah's Witnesses, there are people who celebrate Kwanzaa, etc. etc. etc. Each and every person should at least be respected for what they believe, and what they choose to celebrate or not, and people's beliefs should not be imposed on others. If someone wants to say "Merry Christmas" go ahead and say it!! If someone wants to say "Merry Christmas" back, go ahead and say it!! If you don't want to say "Merry Christmas" back, a simple "Thank You" might be appropriate. In my opinion it all boils down to respect. The majority shouldn't always rule, respect should.
It's amazing to me how I never get tired of looking at the same things, in a new way. The snow fell all night long last night and we got to wake up to a winter wonderland. I love seeing the little foot tracks of the birds in the snow.
I spotted this bird right in the middle of all of the branches and I swear he was posing for me because I think he knows how much I love birds :)
Snow on branches is always simply beautiful.
Last but not least, my little boy looking outside, fascinated by all the neighbors shoveling or snowblowing their driveways.
Friday, one of my customers came in with her two little boys. She asked her older boy to tell me where they were going next and he let me know that they were going to Grandma's house to make Pizzelles (delicious homemade Italian wafer like cookies) with her. I let him know that those are my favorites! Really, my favorites. So, we laughed and chatted and off they went. Well, Saturday my customer's Mom and Aunt came in to my store with arms out with a foil wrapped package. Inside were the best Pizzelles!! As if that wasn't sweet enough, I took one out and in the middle of the cookie was "LS".
Then came another gift, the story of these Pizzelles. "LS" was Lorenzo Sanzo, my customer's grandfather. He made this press that weighs over 60 lbs. and is over 100 years old. It has stayed in the family and they make these cookies every year. They have to use this press over a gas stove and they can only make one at a time. They made about 150 of them this year. I just love that story. In each bite of the Pizzelles, you can just taste the history and love that is mixed in the batter, and then artistically pressed in Lorenzo's handywork, generation after generation after generation. What a gift.
Tonight I went to volunteer at My Sister's Place and we played this game. Just like the TV show, we all had to answer questions, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and so on. Turns out I'm not smarter than a 5th grader!! :) It's all good though, there was just a small group of us, 3 kids and 4 adults and a lot of laughs!! The kids proved that they are listening and learning in school because they got quite a few answers right!! That's a good thing. Then I came home, in the dark, dark, dark of winter, but when I got out of my car, I looked up and the sky was overflowing with beautiful bright stars. I guess I can handle the early darkness.
I found this recipe for meat loaf in the newspaper and I made it last night and it was deeeeeeeelicious!! So, I wanted to share it. There is nothing like the smell of meat loaf cooking on a cold winter's night. Here it is:
"This Is It Meat Loaf"
1 pound beef 1/2 pound ground pork 1/2 pound ground veal (I used 1 pound of ground pork instead of using the veal) 2 Eggs, beaten 3/4 cup finely chopped onion 2 cloves minced garlic 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs 3/4 cup tomato juice 6 strips bacon 8-ounce can tomato sauce
In a large bowl, mix meat, eggs, onion, garlic, parsley, Worcestershire, mustard, salt and pepper, using your clean hands and fluffing the loaf, not compressing it. It should be wet. Add the bread crumbs and tomato juice with your hands again.
Place in a shallow baking dish, shaping it into a loaf 8 to 10 inches long and 4 inches high. Cover the top with bacon strips on the diagonal. Pour the tomato sauce over the entire loaf.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity... -Gilda Radner