Old(er) People

Should never be allowed in the kitchen. OK, well maybe never is too long a time to be banned. This morning, the Babe and I began our task of cooking 30 pounds of hamburger to make Sloppy Joes for the PTSD presentation/Talk Saves Lives Training the VFW Post 2503 is hosting on Sunday at noon. The Post is donating the lunch, and we’re doing the work at home to give the cook a break. They already have to cook for a Craft Fair tomorrow. Funny thing is, they’re making Sloppy Joes and Hot Dogs.

In South Dakota, the locals call Sloppy Joes “Bar-b-ques.” Isn’t that funny? Local differences, just like “soda” vs. “pop.” America is great, isn’t it?

So the browning of the hamburger went well, I had 3 large cans of crushed tomatoes and 3 large cans of tomato sauce. I pre-measured 3 separate cups that contained all the seasonings for each 10 pounds. Salt, Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Italian Seasonings, Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Sugar, and whatever else. All set. Then, the battle of the can openers happened. The header photo finds them poised for action. The white one, on the left, is the new Pampered Chef one, is specifically made to be used by those of us who have arthritis in our hands, fingers, and need a little assist. I like it because there are no more sharp edges on the can lid once it’s removed, like the one on the right creates while cutting.

The first can, no problem. In fact, the first five, no problem. Then the opener became a diva and wouldn’t cut the last can lid. The Babe tried it. Nope. It just doesn’t adhere to the can, you can feel it doesn’t engage, and therefore, doesn’t cut. I tell the Babe, “I did drop two cans, maybe this one is one of those.”

We decided to turn it upside down and try it on the bottom. Nothing. I picked it up, turned it right side up and there it went. The cut lid that looked intact gave way. And there went a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes all over the counter top. Wow. I said a couple naughty words, and we started to move it off the counter top and into the pan, where it belonged. And that, boys and girls, is why older people shouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen. Don’t you agree?

We had a laugh or two, and kept cooking. I can hardly wait to start baking the nine boxes of brownies I get to do. It’ll be fine. Really, it will. There are no canned goods to open.

More from the book, “Wired for Story,”

Tone and Theme are stressed very early. So is the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Have you ever known someone who can tell such great stories, jokes, and anecdotes they always have a crowd at their elbow? They’re the one we always want to be an emcee at our events, and maybe even give our eulogy at our funeral. They really know how to tell a great story. We can learn, with practice.

Another incredible thing I just learned – all story is emotion based. If you’re not feeling, you’re not reading, according to Lisa Cron. I get this. Have you ever read something very emotional for the protagonist, and you feel it, too, as you read? The author has done a good job.

Emotion determines the meaning of everything. If we’re not feeling, we’re not conscious. Most of us were taught emotion and logic were two opposite things. They are, but one must exist for the other to exist. I haven’t read further than this yet, and I hope to do so tomorrow, in between baking brownies. Who knows what madcap hijinks the Babe and I will engage in? I’m sure we’ll enjoy it, and have some good laughs. Have a great evening, see you tomorrow.

Third Step: Don’t Take Anything Personally.

Yesterday’s Agreement, “Be Impeccable With Your Word” sets the mood for the other three agreements. Being prudent with your words, positive talk to yourself and others, helps pave the way for you to not take anything personally. How?

Remember, people say negative things when they’re not in a good space, when they feel inadequate, and they try to poison us with their venom. Don’t drink from their cup! Deflect their words, their negativity! Right back at them! Remember, this is not about you. It’s about them.

Personal importance is the place in life where people think everything is about them. And most of life just isn’t about them. It’s about each individual in their own scheme of things. The Babe knows a lot about where I am at on any given day, but he only experiences it through his perception of me. He cannot experience things as me.

If you can not take things personally in the midst of a fire fight, you have it made. Truly. Let them eat their own emotional garbage. This is particularly hard if you grew up in a household with alcoholic, narcissistic adults. It takes more of a conscious effort to not take things personally. Still, it’s about them, not you. This one was hard for me. I’m getting much better at it.

If you react when someone is talking, thinking what they’re talking about is about you, you start a lot of conflict. Conflict over your position on any topic, how they violate you, how you’re too busy, how you think you’re complying with what they want, on and on and on. Back the truck up. It’s not about you. It’s never about you. Why do you think you are so important? Why so defensive? What makes you think it’s about you when probably three people in the room are as guilty as you are. They’re simply solving a group problem. Don’t muddy it up.

When you stop taking issue with what other people say, think, express, and do, you free yourself of a whole bunch of negative behaviors. Envy is gone. Your jealousy and anger are gone, too. Wouldn’t that be nice? You no longer react. You don’t get angry. What a difference in everyone’s life, especially yours.

This is short, but has much food for thought. No, we won’t master these overnight. I think they make perfect sense towards living a better life, don’t you? There will be two more blogs about the last two agreements, tomorrow and Friday. Then I can let you in on a couple things that are pretty exciting. Life is getting better every day. Hope yours is too. See you tomorrow.