Off balance

It’s been an odd past week.  Michael got very sick, fainted and then proceeded to puke his guts out for 10 minutes in the middle of a Chinese restaurant parking lot.  I spent last weekend so worried about him that I didn’t want to leave the house.  Then I spent the rest of the week pissed off as hell because my manager betrayed my confidence and threw me under a bus.  So I decided to try to talk to HR about it, and I just got a pep talk over the phone and then stood up for the appointment the guy had set to speak with me about the situation.

I’m  down.  I’m reeaalllly down.  I can’t leave this job, traveling to another store would probably cost more in gas than I can handle while trying to finish paying off my debt and start saving for a house.  I WANT to be positive, but it takes SO MUCH energy to keep trying to plug along and give my managers chance after chance to actually do the right thing, to be the leaders they are supposed to be, and be disappointed time after time after time.  I’ve outgrown this little store, and I desperately need something else.  I guess the next lesson is learning how to cope with this whole situation, but I just flat don’t want to.  I took a half day yesterday, moped for the past 2, and today, I’d rather just call in, but my sense of responsibility won’t let me.  My imaginative side wants to call in and just let them handle the big project tonight, but I KNOW all they’d do is just dump it on someone else, one of my fellow DH’s who already have WAY too much to do.  I can’t do that to my team.

It’s time for anarchy, for a revolution, and instead of being able to put the temp on high and boil, I have to be content simmering on medium.  I guess some of the best foods are made on a simmer…patience, young grasshopper.

On a positive note, I’m trying to drag my sorry ass out of this funk.  I’ve booked a jewelry party with a friend of mine, and will host it on Nov 4.  I’ve been pining to try some appetizing appetizer recipes I found, and the only party I’ve ever had here was my bachelorette party.  Now that I have this fabulous new dining table, the extra chairs from the same, and a little more confidence in my cooking abilities, it’s time to invite some friends over, put on some heels and host something.

Here’s my menu IF and only IF enough people tell me they’re coming.  Even though most of it is Weight Watchers, I’d rather not have this much food clogging up my house.

Cucumber, lemon, basil infused water

Parsley and paprika mini cheese balls

Veggie Platter with a Feta/Spinach dip

Lemon pepper chicken tenders

Potato and Pea curried Samosas

I haven’t decided on dessert, but I’ll get there.  I might even put Michael in charge of that, or just buy something easy.  I found some incredibly delicious looking recipes in the most recent Southern Living, but I’m not quite sure if I want to roll and press caramels into apple leaf shapes just to have some people over.   Yeah…who has time for the stuff Southern Living does anyway?  Jeez…it’s like the Pottery Barn of hosting.

Well, I’m off for the day, let’s hope I can stay positive…I did start with a good onion today – a red one, in a Mexican style eggs benedict, with avocado, limes, cilantro and low fat yogurt over spinach, eggs and an English muffin.  It’s a recipe my mom sent me, and I loved it!

Can’t leave you without some quotes.  I’m tempted to start stenciling these things all over my house, but then people might think I am crazy. 😉

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.
-William Ellery Channing

There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.
– Phyllis Battome


And, back to the food

Cause that’s what life is really about, huh?  Dad, I hope you’re not reading this, cause I’m not sure that french anything fits into Weight Watchers.  I had a very trying day… I have a customer, (who I’m actually quite fond of), who is the equivalent of Diane Keaton’s character from Baby Boom on steroids.  She has just lost it on me several times in the past few days, and after the screaming fit ended this morning, every customer I worked with seemed to have a chip on their shoulder.  BUT!  BUT!  I didn’t get upset, I didn’t get mad – I just made as many jokes as I could about the situation and tried to take care of everyone as best possible.  However, when the day was done – I knew that the universe owed me a good night in the kitchen and a dinner with my husband.

So I got off of work, bought some french bread, brie, a splendid wine called Nelm’s Road, and proceeded to make a recipe I’ve been eyeing for some time…Summer Vegetable crepes with a lemon sour cream sauce.  I actually had to stop in the middle of cooking and said, “thank You God for brie cheese.”  I really did.  I know it’s silly, but it tasted so good, and I was FINALLY in my kitchen cooking again, and I just felt grateful.

I had to vary it just a bit – I thought I had green beans and didn’t, so I added chopped onions, tomatoes and peas.  The coolest part?  I couldn’t find pre made crepes anywhere in town. I’ve been looking for three days…

That’s not the cool part, we’re still getting there…


He’s awesome – he’s the baker, I’m the chef.  He was very suspicious of this whole recipe, but was happy to help.  We sat down and he was still giving me this, “not so sure this is gonna taste very good, you know neither of us are real ricotta fans, and this is all just veggies, and I’m fairly certain I’m going to eat this and then head straight for the snack pantry” look.  Then we both took a bite, and I started smiling, and he was trying NOT to smile, but it was creeping across his face.  YAY!  He loved them!  He even had seconds, and that’s always proof that the dish is good.

Huzzah for la nuit Francais at the Siegenthaler household!  Universe, we’re even again.

In honor of French inspiration, here’s some Voltaire for you:

The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.

There but for the grace of God go I…

Until I lived in Walla Walla, I’ve never really known anyone that was on unemployment, WIC, food stamps, or any other dole of any kind.  Or at least I didn’t know I knew them.  Partly this is due to the incredible hard work of my mother and father, who have always taken care to put us in good schools and good neighborhoods while growing up.  Partly, I’ve never lived in a rural area before.

I’m working class now.  Let’s face it.  I slave at a depot, break my back, put in the long hours, and I don’t get to wear high heels, that’s for damn sure.   I’m on an hourly wage, I clock in and out, and if I have to miss a few weeks of work for some terrible reason, I hope to God it’s on disability or magically approved (and PAID) LOA.  I live in a smaller town, and very few of my in laws have more than a high school education, if that.  There are people all around me who have more bills, more kids, more expenses and less pay than I.   There are also people all around me who are on unemployment and other sorts of support (thank you, oh great American politics).

Some, SOME of these people are rightfully on this aid.  There are those with recent let go’s, or a mom I know with 4 kids of her own, 2 “step” kids and a significant other who is employed occasionally, but not full time.  She deserves every penny she gets, and she works SO HARD.  She’s a great mom, a great employee, and she deserves five times what Home Depot pays her.

The rest….the rest.  The rest I’m about to turn into the government for cheating on their unemployment.  The people I know who used their severance pay to take a trip to Costa Rica and are collecting unemployment, and lied about having renters in the house.  The guy who has been on unemployment since before our wedding last year…I’ve never heard of him searching for anything; he lives with his mom and does nothing.  There are others, but you get the point.  There are the people that have constant aches and pains at work, that need paid time off for the slightest of ailments, that can never work at 100%…  These people aren’t looking, they AREN’T trying, and it pisses me the F off.  I want nothing to do with them, I won’t claim them and I’m about ready to write them off of my list of human beings that would be allowed to breathe air in my imaginary kingdom.

I get all worked up about this, and then at the end I always stop and think, “Bethany, do not judge.  Pray to God that you don’t end up there one day.”  I thank God that I have a job, that I have a healthy body that can work hard, that I have a brain that gets me through the day.  I thank God that I had parents that instilled such a great work ethic in their children, that they set the example, that they didn’t fail in raising responsible adults.  I do have some debt, which I am working very hard to reduce to nothing.  One day I want to be able to stand up and say “I owe no man a thing.  I pay my way, I am in debt to no one.”  It will be a great day.

But I will owe my thanks to God.  Because without His Grace, I would perhaps be from a different lot, I would not have my education, pride in my work, or the people that support me in my efforts. Thank you, to those of you who inspire me daily, and who set the example to the rest of us.

I’m feeling a little Rand-ish tonight.  🙂 – Here’s some quotes from one of my dad’s (and my) favorite authors, Ayn Rand:

The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction [that] you give it.

There’s nothing of any importance except how well you do your work.

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.

Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.

A thought on families

You know, I’ve written the first line of this post at least 5 times now.  I can’t think of a good way to start it.  I’m not quite sure if this is about weddings or funerals or families, or missing mine, or adopting a new one or what.  All I know, is that I’ve learned a lot about families lately, and when I look back, and I foggily remember the past five years, I’m not sure that I was supportive enough, and it makes me wish I’d been a little older and wiser, especially while Mom was sick.

There’s a lot that’s happened to me since ’04!  I moved to Seattle, I moved to Walla Walla, got married and am STILL learning to live with my new family of in-laws, a step-son and all the things that come along with that.  I’ve driven to Portland to visit my sister-in-law while she was pregnant with the twins, flown to Houston to celebrate my mom and her fight with cancer for a hair shaving party, watched one of my best friends give birth to a beautiful little boy, fought and made up with in-laws and family, been to Pendleton for a funeral, Houston for Nanny’s funeral, and this month Michael’s brother is getting married and now my aunt Cathie is very very ill – I’d love to drop everything and travel to see her and support my dad, because it’s family, and that’s what we’re supposed to do.  Not sure that I can make it, but after the past few years, I guess I feel like when else are you gonna drag yourself away from your life, unless it’s to celebrate or to mourn?

Ugh.  I wish family could be the people you see every day, not just when they’re “needed.”  I have a family of people I see daily – I see them at work.  Seriously.  I’ve grown very very fond of several people at work, and sometimes they are the only thing that keeps me going.  How backwards is that though?  I can’t celebrate daily triumphs with my family, even the ones that live in this town, much less my mom, dad and sister.

I guess that’s what family is about though.  They are the people you can ignore and forget or pass by until it’s TIME.  Until it’s time to get together, to make it work, to cook the food, to travel to and fro, to plan, to support, to BE there, even though we don’t see them all the time, or talk to them with any frequency.  How is it that blood can do that?  It’s amazing!….and it’s one of those things that really make me believe in God.

I don’t know why that’s the final conclusion of this strange string of thoughts, but it is.  Family makes me believe in God.

I realize I haven’t written much about food.  It was the inspiration for this blog, or at least the intention.  I just haven’t had a creative moment of food making wonder to share…there’s been so much to think about with work and life these past few weeks.  I’ll get there, one day.