Coffee Chat: Pre Christmas Lull

Come in and let's sit down with a cup of coffee and a homemade cookie...What will you like best?  I've got Magic Cookie Bars which I made with a bit of a twist this time...Stove top cookies and Sugar cookies as well.  I confess the Sugar Cookies are my absolute favorites.  It's the best recipe for Sugar cookies I've had to date.  The Magic Cookie Bars were made using graham crackers but I didn't quite have enough.  So I crumbled Matzoh crackers and added those to the graham crumbs.  I was a bit nervous about that sleight of hand in using what I had.  These cookies are one of Sam's favorites so I told him right off what I'd done.  He said, "Ooh!  I'll bet that will be good!" And it was.  The slight bit of saltiness, the decreased sweetness of the crust, makes a nice balance with the rich topping.  I'll have to buy Matzoh crackers again next year to make these cookies.

Well the family week/weekend came and went.  I didn't get to see Katie and her family after all and I won't even lie that I wasn't a whole lot disappointed, but I did understand her need to decrease stress in her life...You see she's moving into her first house of her own this week and packing and moving and baby equals a stressful time.  Dear Bess did it during June all on her own with our almost 1 year old grandson, as Katie was busy recovering from surgery and tending to her baby and I was in the hospital and Sam was already working in Florida.  I was, I admit it, rather proud of Katie for being woman enough to see that she had to prioritize.  I'll also own that while I was deeply disappointed my pride nearly busted that all to pieces anyway.  It took me forever (as in until June of this year when I had that little life changing experience!) to learn to say NO and mean it and to omit those people who created the most stress in my life from having too much space in my life.

I have always been a people pleaser of the worst sort, the sort that just went off the deep end and fell apart while trying to spin every single plate I was handed.  And I am the sort who is always left standing about wondering just why, when I've tried so hard to please, no one ends up feeling the least bit pleased with me and I am even less than pleased with how things turn out myself.  No, I'd much rather Katie admitted to overwhelm and prioritize her life needs rather than try and please me and end up being miserably aware of all she might be doing were it not for a four hour road trip and a two hour family visit.

We enjoyed the time we had with our family.  They came in on Monday unexpectedly (I thought it was Tuesday they were arriving), and they left early Tuesday morning to head to visit Bess' folks.  They came back late Wednesday and we'd planned a day out with them on Thursday.  Thursday was such a pleasant day for us with Sam and Bess and Josh that I could hardly say the week was spoiled in any way.  Samuel asked if we'd go to the Air Force Air Museum with him on Thursday and then go out to eat with them before heading to Bass Pro to get the baby's photo made with Santa.  John almost balked. The idea of a whole day away from home when he'd planned to get so much done while off was his reason.  Sam promised to help with the main project and John got busy and worked his way down the rest of his list (mostly things I'd asked he'd do for me) so that his day was free.  I pointed out that just now we've very limited time with grandchildren and I want to enjoy every bit I can when there's one around.

So, despite staying up entirely too late Wednesday evening visiting when the kids came in from visiting Bess' folks, we got up early Thursday morning and all got ready and out of the house by 9am.  I walked and walked and walked at the air museum and finally Bess and I let the guys wander on and we sat and had a very nice conversation.  Then we went to the Vietnamese restaurant.  I was pleased to find I could get brown rice with my entree.  Oh my, the food was good.  I chose a dish called Shaking Beef which had sirloin cubes and green onions and bell peppers in a nice brown sauce.  John ordered the Mongolian Short Ribs.  Bess had a lemon grass chicken and Samuel, predictably, ordered Pho.  We all had a taste of everything except Pho...Samuel dumped in jalapenos and these just happened to be very very hot jalapenos.  Watching his eyes tear up was no fun at all and no one even asked for a taste of Pho!  His dad recommended he eat some rice.  John drew on his own experience with a hot pepper in Thailand and the advice given him by a native was to eat rice which absorbs the oils more quickly and tempers the heat.

While we drove to Macon the littlest boy took a nice nap, so he was refreshed for his visit with Santa.  No one was shocked that he cried.  He is not the sort of fellow who likes to be held by strangers and his list of strangers include Grammas and Grandpas.  He might smile and twinkle and dimple for us but we don't pick him up.  We don't take it personally.  The twins trained us too well for that, lol.  Eventually they were thrilled to see us and we know that one day Josh will be happily hugging us and climbing into our laps.

We walked about Bass Pro only a little.  Samuel led us to the big aquarium of fresh water fish and Josh was much amused with those.  We adults were kind of fascinated, too.  John insisted I have a new coffee cup (all of mine are mysteriously chipped.  I suspect the dishwasher rack is the culprit).  As we headed to the check out line we all stood about looking at the sweet things.  I have not lost my desire to have at least a bite of something sweet following my main meal each day.  One look at carb counts on the packaging of everything convinced me I could have nothing available.  Samuel and John looked over the Moon Pies pretty hard.  I ended up buying some for them, but I knew I couldn't eat any of those.  Far too sweet for my needs.

So Bess and I went through the checkout, me with my bottle of water and handful of Moon Pies and her with Green Tea.  Are you familiar with Moon Pies?
Sam got one each of banana, strawberry and salted caramel Moon Pies but John got a chocolate one.  They are a Southern confection.  The girl at the register had never had a Moon Pie before and said she was determined to buy one and try it.  "I was told to put it in the fridge first..."  Bess and I, being Southern girls from the grit up to the top of our heads looked at the cashier in complete horror.  "No!"  I think we shocked her with our ferocity.  "Well...should I just eat it as it is or...?"  We told her to eat it as it was or the very best way was to heat in the microwave for 5 seconds. There is nothing like a warm Moon Pie.

I might have been buying Moon Pies, but the consensus was we'd go out for cupcakes.  That wasn't our next destination.  We did a bit of shopping for necessary things and then went off to the cupcake shop.  What a lot of disappointed people we were!  No more cupcake shop.  There was a huge bakery there but oddly no cupcakes at all.  They had some oddity called a Cruffin which is made in a muffin cup and is a yeast dough item.  Not a cupcake.  You'd have thought we were children we were so very disappointed.  And for the record, a half baked cruffin is nowhere near a cupcake!

The only thing I wanted at that point was supper and a cup of coffee.  Bless John.  Sam stopped to get gas and John went in to the store and bought a cup of coffee for us both.  It was just the pick me up I needed and was very much appreciated.  The baby took another nap on the way home after taking the last sip of my cooled coffee.

It was such a lovely day.  And we were all agreed it was a lovely day, evidenced by each of us periodically saying "Wasn't it just a nice day?!"

I'm afraid the week of visiting and traveling had caught up with my family on Friday and they lounged about in pajamas.  Sam made homemade pizzas with the very best tomato sauce as base that I've ever had.  It is a homemade sauce that starts with fire roasted tomatoes and it smells amazing as it cooks and tastes wonderful.  He gave me a hint: a pinch of baking soda soothes the acidity of the tomato sauce.  There was a little something new for me to learn.  I've used sugar but I've found at times sugar is the last thing I want and it always tastes sweeter.  I'll be trying that baking soda trick in the future.

I had an odd sort of week last week.  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday we had nice days overall, but each one of those days there were misunderstandings that caused all sorts of woes.  I asked John  late Wednesday afternoon, "Just how did this day go so wrong?!"  It started with a trip to pick up a bench I'd said I'd like to have for the yard.  It wasn't available naturally and we went over to the Sub shop to get a  sandwich for supper.  While there I became very nervous/anxious due to how some young men and the cashier were acting.  When I came out to the car, John misread my anxiety as being upset with him. Though I explained why I was upset, I think he felt I was masking my disappointment over the bench.  Tension built. That led us to have words over another matter a bit later.  Well the truth is we've swept this last matter under the rug and it was just as well that we had words.  It made us sit down and talk out some things that really needed to have been discussed more deeply for a long time.
Thursday while Bess and John were buying cruffins at the no longer cupcake place, Sam confessed that he felt John was mightily disappointed in him over a decision he'd made.  I didn't think that was true but Sam obviously felt it and was upset by it.  Later while John was buying coffee and Sam was pumping gas, Bess said "I feel like Samuel is just really upset with me...I can tell he is by the tone of his voice."  Just about that time, John came around to hand me coffee.  I quickly said to him "Sam thinks you're disappointed in him for the decision he's made."  I turned to Bess, "That's what's wrong with Sam, he's worried about his dad's opinion of him at the moment."   Well John and Sam had a nice conversation later that evening and got their misunderstanding squared away.

Friday wasn't a bit different.  I was trying hard to avoid a certain situation that was just determined to happen.  "No" wasn't even considered as an answer when I said "No."  In the end, feelings were hurt, anger was directed at me when I'd done all I could to avoid the very thing that caused the upset.  In the midst of all that came Katie's text saying she couldn't come and my bitter disappointment had to be completely masked and covered up which prevented me fully realizing how smart she'd been for her own sake.

Saturday brought another situation that caused tensions to rise.  I'm not for one minute saying any of these days were totally spoiled by the incidents that occurred because they weren't.  We had lovely days each one of these days but there was always this one thing that was just hard and I do mean hard.  They weren't minor things that blipped up and threatened to spoil the day, they were big things and they had to be faced whether or not we were in the mood to face them.  I don't know just why we had to contend with all that during a time that I'd looked forward to having with my family and which I'd hoped would be nothing but pleasant and happy.  The tests came anyway.  Would we rejoice in the good and acknowledge the bad but move on or let them deplete our joy?  In the end we chose to rejoice anyway and while tears were shed they were shed in private where they spoiled no one's enjoyment.

This week is a normal one sort of stuck amidst the holiday doings.  We do have a work party to attend but it's basically a glorified cookout, quite nice and all that but not a party per se and really seems to have little to do with the holidays over all.  I mean that this is a nice gathering but it's not festive.  I don't know as many of the co-workers as I did in years past.  I'm afraid we're the 'old folks' now that John is nearer retirement age and the others are very much younger.

 I remember 20 odd years ago when we were the new folks.  It makes me smile, truly it does, to remember how young we were even though it was John's mid-life career change.  And now here we are more than 20 years later.  We wondered then if we could make it on an EMT's pay which was less than he'd been making in maintenance at the hospital.  In the end, we decided we just had to stand on faith and we've done it.  I guess that should make me feel reassured that we can indeed manage on whatever we'll have for retirement.   I needed to make that connection between one faith step and another one.

Well dears, it's a short chat, I know but I must get busy once more.  I've a long list of things I want to accomplish yet today.  I had just the break I needed to sit down and talk with you.


Lana said...

Oh, the family misunderstandings. That is what I dread abut Christmas week. Our one DIL takes everything I say and do as an insult and after 11 years I just don't know what to do with her anymore. :( We will muddle through and then hubby and I are going to put away the Christmas decorations and head to the lakehouse for New Years. Now matter how wrong it all goes we will be refreshed after time away.

Kathy said...

I'm glad that you were able to spend time with family, but I am sorry about the misunderstandings and disappointments. Sometimes the ones we love, can hurt us the most. I'm glad that you were able to rejoice in the good, and I hope that is what you will remember mostly instead of the disappointments.
I hadn't heard the trick about baking soda in tomato sauce; I usually put a pinch of sugar too.
Hope that Katie will be very happy in her new home, and I hope that you will be able to spend some time with her over Christmas.

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