The One Where It Ends

There are times in my life when I think things can’t get any better and then times when I think life can’t get any shittier. This is a post about both, at the same time, because this is my life we are talking about. . .

I moved back home (Nashville) a little over three years ago, taking a position with a company that I was very familiar with and had thought, gee, I would really love to work there. While I loved my job, my coworkers, etc. my boss was umm, a challenge. The boss kind of reminded me of my orthodontist. . . I wouldn’t wear my rubber bands on my braces and my next visit would be, Wow! Great job! but then the following month I would wear them and he would say, This is horrible!. Yes, someone talking out of both sides of their mouth yet not really making any sense. That was my boss. In the end, after much back and forth I took a leap of faith and ended up with a job that I feel like is a better fit for me.

I have had bad bosses before, I have had coworkers who were bullies and I have also had the pleasure of working for family (something I don’t recommend). But with each challenge I have always kept plugging away because, well my parents aren’t wealthy and even if they were, I was cutoff a while back. I have always taken away with me new lessons, reminders to always be kind and grace to not burn bridges.

But the personal side of my life has taken a hit as well. One week before I start my new job I am relearning how to be on my own. Trying to not beat myself up too much but I do feel like an idiot. While I don’t believe I did anything wrong, I am embarrassed. Maybe that is a gene Allan didn’t get when the good Lord was passing out feelings. The Bug took the news okay, at least that is what he told me. I opted out of that discussion.

I pray that whatever it is he is looking for he finds it but I don’t want him darkening my doorstep with apologies.

It is hard to find yourself feeling so grateful for having this little family to call your own and then it is gone the next day. I remember several times when we were spending time with his siblings and their significant others, feeling overwhelmed that these were my people. That I had lucked into such a warm, opening family, cause let’s face it. . . I have had the opposite experience before (umm, Bubba’s family?!).

So here is to new beginnings on all fronts of my life because hey, when it comes to really stinking up the joint, I do a great job.

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Remembering 9/11

15 years later and that brief moment where our country came together is now a distant memory. Today everyone hates everyone, someone is to blame for someone else’s lot in life, our political system is broken and it’s all just sad.

I will stress this little lesson I learned when I was kid, there are always bad apples in every bushel. Can we please stop making blanket statements about people based on the color of their skin, the religious or sexual preference? There are good people in this world, lets shine the light on them, let’s respect each other and understand that there are a lot of ways to get from point a to point b.

For those who lost their lives on 9/11, they were just going about their lives. They died because someone hated us enough to high jack planes and crash them into buildings. Think about that, what can we do to make the world a better place? Because this is a piece of history I do not want to see repeated.

 

14 years later and I still don’t have the words to express how much this one moment in time touched me. The attacks on New York City, Washington DC and Shanksville, PA made me realize that we were not immune to such senseless acts of violence.

14 years later our nation still struggles with how we treat others: race, sexuality, religious beliefs. . . we are all still at each others’ throats because neighbor A doesn’t fit into our box of beliefs and neighbor C puts their trashcan on the right side of their driveway. Yet people are still dying because one party believes they have been wronged by the other party.

Did we not learn anything from 9/11?

But today, let us put all of our differences aside and remember those who lost their lives and to those who have sine passed. Hold tight the ones you love and always be thankful that you are here another day.

911-names1

The One With All the Tomatoes

Last year I decided I was going to figure out how to make pasta sauce. .. I am such a fan of going to the farmer’s market and while I am not the healthiest of eaters, making food from scratch helps offset the addiction to chocolate.

Then I realized that I would either need to start feeding the entire neighborhood or freeze the sauce. So every weekend I would hit up the local markets, buy all kinds of colorful tomatoes and cook. Basically, my weekends consisted of football and cooking. But I had a problem, the whole getting the sauce in ziplock bags was messy and I ended up with limited space in my very small freezer.

Enter canning: okay here’s the deal, my granny used to do this canning thing. I don’t remember it but I remember my mom saying that it was tricky and well, mom did have a full time job and family back then, so no canning. I first went to Google, aka my bestie, to figure out what was needed, what I would need to do and the most important part, not harming myself or others with this little venture.

I had no interest in using a pressure cooker because, hello, I am a disaster waiting to happen. After consulting a few people here and there, I came up with the tools needed to can and tried it one weekend this past summer. I have learned that it gets very hot in the kitchen while trying to can and that no amount of cold air will keep you from sweating.

I was a bit miffed when the first few batches came out and I only yielded about seven jars of sauce. But I just keep marching forward, buying more tomatoes, bell peppers and onions. The Green Door Grocery loves seeing me pull in on Saturdays because they know I am about to have a field day with their produce.

Yesterday I made my weekly visit and went big this time. . . 20 pounds of maters for about $1 a pound. These are the seconds, the ones that don’t make it into their CSA baskets. To me, they are just fine to cook with, so let me grab several boxes! Just kidding, I believe one box per weekend will keep me busy.

This morning I quartered tomatoes, bell peppers and onions. . .dumped my seasonings and olive oil in to three stock pots and let them loose on the world. I also made salsa (thank you Alton Brown for the recipe, PERFECT!), This weekend’s yield: 15 jars of sauce. . .

People, I still have several more weekends of fetching maters, put your name in for some sauce. I think at some point I will try canning salsa and while I am at it, my BBQ sauce. I really should branch out more but I only have limited counter space for prep work.

The most satisfying part of this is hearing that little POP! when the suction has completed. My mom even likes my sauce. Who knew?

Doing some really rough math, each jar of sauce costs me about three bucks, which is about on target with the sauce at the grocery store but doesn’t have the preservatives and junk in them.

So yes, I have a problem, I can’t stop buying tomatoes and making sauce. I would apologize but I do feel like this is a great use of my free time. Maybe one day I will show up on Food Network hawking my skills. Or maybe I will just hope to have my dream kitchen at some point.