Karma Baby or Second Chance!

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zen*

zen* (Photo credit: Rocío Lara)

If we believe in what goes around comes around, karma, you get what you deserve; all those things your mom, spiritual advisor, yoga master your Zen friend have been telling us……then how do we also believe in second chances, reinventing, turning things around, change is good?

What are or should be the criteria involved from which we will accept or not accept that change.

I’m not talking about Grade A, you committed murder, are a sex offender sort of stuff here so let’s establish that fact right from the start. I’m not even talking about people who have an addiction.

I’m talking about me and maybe you. I’m talking about the kind of people who were broke or lost their job for example and maybe even some of it was their fault.  The person, who was successful, traveled, was savvy and now makes not even a quarter of what they did.

 I’m talking about people who could have taken better actions in the throes of a personal crisis but didn’t and inadvertently hurt someone (feelings not physical!)

I’m talking about someone who suffered from, not even depression because that is also a medical condition, but maybe it was fear that dictated their actions during a certain circumstance in their life.  Maybe there was collateral damage and they just didn’t see it coming, or did see it coming but could do nothing at the time to stop it, they had no resources to avail.

I’m talking about someone who in the process of surviving, of living, they may have hurt someone else emotionally by dropping out, not sharing the details of their plight, that they caused there to be a loss of trust on some or maybe even a deep level.

Maybe to get themselves together they let some friendships slip by the wayside. Maybe they just did not have enough energy to expend in maintaining relationships while figuring things out and living each day being a parent, working, cooking diner, job hunting, worrying about bills, how to help their child do better in school, mourn a lost loved one……….surviving.

If the end is for your personal survival of some sort does it justify the means in these cases?

We are not a tolerant society in many respects; I never realized how judgmental sometimes we all are in our personal lives. We all feel we have a right to judge or comment on someone else’s life, that mom from school, that couple you see socially sometimes, a sibling, your friends’ kid, your spouse’s friend. We judge based on what our perceived self standards are. We say to ourselves, “I wouldn’t do that” or “I would do this” or “what were they thinking”

We may disassociate ourselves for this reason, thinking “they are not who I thought they were” we suddenly hold them in less esteem.

Did we ever think that the person we are subjecting this to have not lost a sense of their selves or are unaware of what they’re doing; that they may have been fully aware that due to their circumstances they are making short-sighted decisions that they may have otherwise not made.

How much explanation does someone owe a friend or relative to justify what they did or are doing or feel they need to do to stop the slide, survive, or get a handle on their life? Do you know in facing challenges its exhausting how much energy you expend to keep yourself together, even being in denial is exhausting. Fear is exhausting. 

If you have not been in that position does that make you better, more together, smarter? Or are your cracks somewhere else, somewhere that you hide with arrogance and self-righteousness.

Maybe somebody who is challenged is just done with being judged by others because they are so busy judging themselves and beating themselves up that they really don’t need another’s help with that. But do they also need to expend the energy to make sure we know that? Really?

And let’s explore if the troubled person, at the core of their being knows that they have a good heart. One who has demonstrated goodness and support and selflessness for others before the hard times started.

What if the troubled person believes it is easier to give than to receive, and maybe that philosophy contributed to them not wanting to constantly share the bad times. But is hiding your vulnerabilities unfair to those who maybe now judge you?

Is being nice and being generous the same as arrogant because it’s how you hide when you feel vulnerable or avoid being honest about your pain and circumstances in some way?

My goal in life is to be as good of a person m...

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. (Photo credit: monkeyc.net)

But still if you are a person who has demonstrated that you put others first and use to have it all together or there has been history to the relationship; shouldn’t that weigh in on another’s new opinion of you because now you struggled and failed?

I think there are two scenarios, one, the people who jump ship quickly; you have to wonder if you were misled to begin with.

Second, I think sometimes that it’s still another’s or society’s’ perceived correct behavior that influences. For example the husband that continuously harps on why is the wife still a certain person’s friend, maybe she still believes in her downtrodden friend but listening to these opinions constantly influences her to judge and get tired of defending.

There is No right way to judge others or yourselves. Society these days is complicated; guess what, our personal societal circles are just as complicated. Hell, people in general are complicated, families and friendships are complicated.

At the base of it all we are expected to uphold certain societal rules which most of us do; but realize that sometimes when your back is against the wall or you have personally painted yourself into a corner and even though you know you did it now that your there getting out of it is so overwhelming and the thought of trying to explain exactly how you let it happen to those that you wish you could ask for help from or who just think you should offer an explanation in general is like slicing your wrists!

That subjecting yourself to “that” look in someone’s eyes, their disappointment, and their sighs (which you know means I think you’re a stupid jerk) is more than you can take? What they can’t appreciate truly is that the brave front you put on is you holding onto the little piece of pride you have left, not denial or stupidity.

Here’s the worse part, when you do or are forced to publicly in your circle accept defeat (I’m not talking about the governor who slept with the prostitute at a press conference), bear your wounds and failings for all to judge, when do you start to deserve the benefit of the doubt? Only after this? Is it a prerequisite to that second chance that you have to say “I know I may not deserve it, or I could deserve it more” when good things start to happen?

Do you have a right to believe that bad things but more important that bad decisions happen to good people and that everyone should feel the same?  Even if you may have been stupid?

I hope you don’t think I have the answers cause I don’t; this is me working out some kinks in my re-invention. Laying some ground work of things to come to terms with, some understanding.

I can’t be the only one out there like me.

Maybe it is a chip on my shoulder that makes me think about these things, maybe I am still judging myself too harshly, maybe I’m trying to expel so I can move on with my re-invention maybe this is part of the process.

Maybe I think there is too much gray area in our lives and that navigating that is where the difficulty is. Maybe I am haunted about how to get back some of those relationships; but I still have shit to work out before I do.

Maybe I need to re-invent myself first, get back my pride, so that I can strongly stand up for myself and tell some people maybe you shouldn’t judge so much because I’m flawed, because you are too but you do a better job of acting like you’re not. Or maybe those people have a stronger disposition of “this is who I am like it or not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still judge your flaws get over it”.

Maybe I gave them the power and now I have to take it back. Maybe these people won’t care, and all is lost.

To that I say don’t forget what goes around can come around, karma is a bitch, and we all end up with what we deserve, so don’t judge till you walk the proverbial mile in the other persons shoes, but if that were to happen Wayward Winifred says you deserve the benefit of the doubt and so does she.

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Monday Second Chew- “My Mandatory Sunday Night Dinner”

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So I decided to try in my blog every Monday sharing a recipe or easy cooking tip. Not that I am Rachel Ray but I have picked up a few tips that allow me to cook well while being broke and not always having ready access to ingredients. However Monday’s blog is coming on Tuesday this week because I had a hard drive failure last night just as I was ready to publish. Check out my recipe page for more detailed instructions, also I do have pics and they will be added shortly. I invite your comments would love your feedback or maybe you have some thrifty and easy tips you could share……….

Monday Second Chew “My Mandatory Sunday Night Dinner”

So as the parent of an almost 20-year-old still living at home, several weeks ago I got tired of her never being home (I am sure you can relate) running around partying, hanging out with friends, sleeping all day stuff. I always get lax on Sunday dinner during the summer and early fall but winter time it always just naturally happened till a couple of months ago that I realized I was cooking but who was eating? So I re-instituted Sunday night dinner, but this time I made it mandatory.

One of the benefits of cooking Sunday night dinner is having leftovers on Monday eliminating a night to cook, sometimes two depending on what I made. Not this week, I think I have enough left over for lunch.

You see making Sunday night dinners mandatory means “that’s fine I’ll be home but I may not be alone, I may have an entourage”. Now the Irish Mom in me wants to mother all these strays with a good home cooked meal that they won’t otherwise have during the week when their away at school or working odd hours. And I just love to be adored and one sure way is providing food to teenagers that they don’t have to pay for, and if I can’t get that adoration from her (remember she hates me every other day or 5 minutes) I’ll get adoration from someone in her posse for sure.

The problem is we are transportation challenged at the moment and even though yesterday I had the means and ways to shop I didn’t to pursue things more fun. So I had a wish and a prayer while opening the cabinets and fridge to see what I could do with the chicken I did have the foresight to defrost two days ahead. So I am sharing some of my tricks for what is always considered a darn good roast chicken.

1st ingredient a glass of wine for the cook.

I only buy roaster chickens when they are on sale and I try to have one back up in the freezer if possible for when the mood strikes because they are expensive if not on sale. The plus for us is that even a small amount of leftover chicken provides us with another meal in the form of quesadillas. If you have tortillas (which are inexpensive) in the fridge at all times and shredded cheese (which you can purchase on the cheap a lot now) quesadillas are a great easy dinner or snack and you can use even the smallest piece of meat, even if it is just 2 or 3 slices. Don’t throw anything away!

After washing and drying your roaster chicken (I usually use the kind with the little thing that pops, I never have a working meat thermometer, nor always remember to look at the time when I put something in the oven) salt and pepper the inside well.

I usually do not stuff chickens with bread stuffing like at Thanksgiving. I go for aromatics and this can pretty much be anything you have, even slightly aged veggies because you’re not going to eat them (Not soft, mushy or brown things, just a little old). Cut up onion, celery, carrots, peeled garlic cloves whatever is hanging out in your vegetable drawer. You’re especially fortunate if you find any fresh herbs or parsley in the fridge; I got lucky this time and found I had fresh thyme that had not completely wilted so that went in too. Last always use some sort of citrus cut up and placed inside as well, which for me usually means a lemon but last night for example I had limes not lemons and whoa it worked deliciously. I definitely could taste the difference from the lemon but it was really good. Once it’s stuffed I usually tie the legs Martha Stewart style around the butt to keep it closed.

Now here is the real tip for a great chicken, chop garlic (have done it without it) any herb (last night was the thyme but could be I just have parsley hanging around) and mix it into about a 1/4 cup of softened butter (maybe a little more depending on the size of the bird) add a little kosher salt. Take your finger and loosen the skin on the breast from the meat and you can also work your finger around to the top of the legs. Using a spoon slip it under the skin and working with your fingers on top of the skin move it around so the butter mixture covers the breast meat on both sides and if you can also the top of the legs.

Rub the skin on the outside with a combo of olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of softened butter, sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper and for other options you could add garlic powder, dried herbs or fresh herbs just lightly over the skin.

I always bake my chicken on a rack, and under it I place carrots and onions and garlic cloves both to eat with the chicken and to provide additional aromatics. I usually always have a bag of carrots or especially baby carrots, their pretty cheap and the kid likes them. If I have chicken stock I will cover the bottom of the pan about a 1/2 inch with the stock, if not I use water. You can pour a little wine in there if using water for added flavor it just depends if that’s all that’s left in the bottle, a little, than the pan gets just the water.

Ok, my last roaster chicken tip, put the chicken in legs first. I cannot stand it when the little thingy pops and you start carving and the thighs are still pink or there is some blood running through the juices and you have to put it back in. Put it in legs first and I guarantee it will come out perfect the first time.

Here is my tip for rounding out the side dishes and again not wasting something in the fridge. I always buy grape tomatoes; I find they are universal to have, are cheaper and in winter better tasting than some available tomatoes and they stay fresh a decent amount of time. I can put them in salad; cut up a few if I’m making quesadillas, put them in pasta dishes whatever I am making they seem to work. But you will notice sometimes that if not used right away they get a little wrinkly. They still taste okay but the skin is just starting to get a couple of wrinkles and are not as fresh or attractive looking (just like us). Now to clarify I am not talking soft or squishy here, those throw out. But take those slightly wrinkled grape tomatoes throw them in an oven proof dish, toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh or dried herbs (like Italian seasoning or basil) and roast them in the oven till they just start to burst about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Viola, re-invented just like me! You can serve them by themselves as a side dish or as I did last night throw them into some frozen beans that I sautéed with garlic and shallots.

Last night was an extremely lucky one because I did have some fresh stuff lingering in the fridge from Super Bowl cooking. Not always the case when I am ready to cook something and cannot get to the store, I’ll be sure to share some of my more challenging scenarios as they happen.

I hope you recognize that though I have visions of grandeur with my cooking, that a Rachel Ray, I am not; but I try to use pieces of what I learn from watching cooking shows and reading magazines. I realized a long time ago that all I have to do is apply the one or two techniques or ideas that work for my style and not everything they say, let’s be practical we can’t always have or like everything they put in a recipe. I can’t always have fresh because I may not be able to go to the store every week and things wilt and die.

So the results were exactly as I hoped for, chicken was a success and everybody knew that it was cooked with love. Believe me you know when I slap something together and don’t give a @##$, doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Yet even in those times I am pretty good at hiding just how much it was slapped together with techniques I have learned from watching cooking shows.

If you pick up on one of my ideas, like with the slightly wrinkly grape tomatoes or putting the herbed butter under the skin of the chicken that elevates the results of your cooking even a little without costing you more money, if it helps you to be a little thriftier with using what’s left in your fridge then I’m happy. It will make me feel that you get me a little and how I look at things and that I contributed or helped another single mom or just a stressed mom who does not want to just slap the food on the table and is short on time and dollars and lets face it our imaginations and creativity tend to take a vacation during those times.

I learned a long time ago that it is cheaper to shop and cook and though we need quick and painless none of the things I do really takes a lot of time truly. I started after Christmas not going to the local coffee shop and buying my coffee every day. I occasionally could not resist sometimes a bagel or tasty cake. When I analyzed it at the end of a week I was spending a good $25.00 sometimes more. I now make sure I have coffee and cups to go and make it myself, you can reuse those to-go cups several times I have found, and if someone has been to Dunkin Donuts their cups sail through the dishwasher. Even with my indulgence in my Keurig coffee pods it still saves me bucks and time.

Actually using the Keurig and the pods is not as wasteful as making a pot that no one finishes, and Prodigal daughter only likes flavored coffee so we now each get our favorite.

And that’s okay thrifty Wayward Winifred indulge yourself a little you deserve it!

I am a wacky Irish Diva but I’m cute, and I’m starting……..

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Just like anything else getting started is always half the battle.

Like getting off the couch is half the battle to accomplishing almost everything. Funny how writing, at least for me involves sitting on the couch, hmm I will ponder that later. Anyway this blog is my getting started to accomplishing …….stuff.

Don’t get me wrong I do have some specific goals in mind, but for my writing I think I need to work out some kinks. And then there is the whole getting noticed thing to figure out. But through this process so far I have learned patience, research and baby steps help you to get it somewhat right.  Is there such a thing as a perfect blogger?  Or is it a fluid ever evolving goal to attain?

I also learned that sometimes you just have to pull the trigger, rip the band-aid off, let er rip.

I pulled the trigger a couple of weeks ago when I set up my domain, my blog name, my tag line. Since then I’ve been playing with this blog theme for two weeks, yesterday I decided it was newbie good, so I pulled off the band-aid.

Than last night without having written an “about me” page; fueled by several glasses of port (remember the Irish Diva thing?) I decided I had to let the first post rip. In my stupor of accomplishment, of breaking the proverbial ice, metaphorically getting off the couch and yes let’s admit the port helped; I glowed and thought I was a true genius in only her first post.

Until the sobering light of day and I found several typos! Who is going to respect me? How many potential followers did I just alienate with my sloppiness? I needed to go bloggers confession or jail or time out or something so I could show my remorse and prove to the WordPress public that I was properly ashamed and chagrined. That I do get that it is the quality that matters, that I am just a newbie and will work harder! I promise you will like me, you will really really like me! (Sorry Sally Fields, just had to steal that)

Not to digress (though I love to), but maybe there is a bloggers community in there somewhere; the ashamed and chagrined writers community, promising to improve everyday in some small way.  Isn’t the first step admitting you have a problem?

Anyway, so I learned about the Edit feature and figured that I am not curing cancer here, my typos didn’t cause any deaths, not even to my blogging career. Just don’t publish at night when you have been drinking port, use that draft feature and wait to publish with your coffee in the morning!

But I have also realized of late like some “other” things that I have to get up off the couch to accomplish, that writing and art and being creative are also muscles that you need to use and flex and you don’t get better till you do. We always have certain platitudes handy for our kids, or partners or friends. We need to have them handy for ourselves. And that one of Rome wasn’t built-in a day…..actually that makes me feel a little better surprise, surprise.

To let a little cat out of bag, I started writing this post as my “about me” page, but it got a little out of control. Perfect example of what can happen when you’re flexing that writing muscle, wow.

The other muscle that I am flexing is the one I use to be proud of myself. Though accolades are great, I’m working on ways to hold my self in a little more esteem with myself. Ways to pat myself on the back not be patted. Sometimes it’s okay to do that.

I am just what my tag line suggests a little wacky, definitely economically challenged but for me this is more about finding pride and flexing those creative muscles.

I promise though that to come like a proper economically challenged Irish Diva I have many thrifty insights to share.  That tag flowed out me in a heartbeat and I’m sticking to it.

But one day one post at a time Wayward Winifred, Rome was not built-in a day.

Single but in love after 50

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I am in love. I am single. I am 53.

Last night I had an amazingly rare night of hanging with my daughter who is 19 and one of her girlfriends.  I have been in a relationship for 5 years and my daughter I know thinks (me and boyfriend I mean) are cute and disgusting at the same time.  Her friend only recently met my boyfriend.  Not to get random from the story but should boyfriend be what a woman in their fifties refers to they’re monogamous relationship partner as?  Something to explore; I always feel silly referring to him as my boyfriend but why?  And significant other or partner seems weird.  Anyway I digress.

So the girls were having a rare moment of sharing.  Of course the topic at that moment was boys.  I was inspired at one rare moment in the conversation to make it about me (really I went there).  I mentioned about something he did and then by the way isn’t he cute?   I had a truly I’m sixteen moment.  Do you remember when you were young and in love and couldn’t resist an opportunity to tell your girlfriends every cute detail about your moments with him, whether they wanted to hear about them or not?  I suddenly felt that way.

My daughter, who is a fan of my beau, proceeded to elaborate about the romantic ridiculousness of me and him (she secretly loves it), which only made me smile bigger.  To hear your 19-year-old, to whom everything is about love and guys and moments, extol on how her mother and her boyfriend say “I love you” on the phone, and giggle at each other ( I don’t think we giggle, we make each other laugh) and are too cute was truly an experience. Her girlfriend after only a couple of times in our company jumped on the bandwagon of how “cute” we were.

Really?  Where’s the edge, the day-to-day excitement of where is he, what’s he doing, is he going to call, not be a jerk, is he worth my favor; all those things in young love that make each day edge of your seat drama.  Then you fall in love and together you dream of your future.

Well I felt like a peer to my daughter and her friend.  I do think about or I should say relate to the feelings of one who is young and in love and who would dream about their future together in unchartered waters of a first wedding and raising children together.  Does falling in love later in life rate less or not count as much because it does not include as many or those specific milestones?  Do those major first milestones in one’s life count more than what’s left with someone else after 50?

I don’t know…….

I do know that while this interchange with the 19-year-old girls was going on that he called as he does every night no question.  His thoughts as I clued him in of the opinion in the room of us was, “one day you wake up after life may have beaten you down and realize what is truly important”, that did not weaken those girls opinion that we are too cute and disgusting.

As for milestones, there may be new ones to cherish together just in a different ways.  There are marriages of children that are his and not yours together.  I can say I was as excited and invested regardless because it was his child.  His first grandchild was born and I cried.  One daughter moved into her first apartment and I was thrilled and yet again cried (you will see a trend here) because she was so proud and he was too; and another daughter invested into her own business .

In these moments you have to recognize that they are his and that other special person that was a partner previously.  But I know what those people mean to me, and I know what those people and those moments mean to him and that is all that matters.  To see a man you love hold and love his first granddaughter is a very special milestone.

But here’s the point to all that, without me in his life he would not have someone to share his happiness with.  Someone to bear witness to those moments with him; someone who he can make all his little comments and observations to; say the things that he would not say to someone else.  That other special person remember is no longer his partner.  I am.

I do struggle with the thoughts every day of what is my place in his life or his in mine going forward, what is our future together just like when you’re young.  But it’s a different future in your fifties when you’re in love that you wonder about than when you’re young.  Financial worries and considerations are different, retirement plans, health later in life.  It’s very weird.

But after 5 years of dating, he holds my hand, makes me laugh, sits with me watching TV and it’s not boring…..and I’m nineteen again, maybe that is all that’s important in life.