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.


All humans make mistakes. Even us. Let’s look at our mistakes with compassion and honesty instead of shame and embarrassment. How? Deep breath, boys and girls.

The world will not end when we goof up. It’s how we learn the best. The difference is, however, in if we repeat behavior in a relationship, that is not good for us. Yes, if we repeatedly accept poor treatment from others, it becomes our fault. Why? Because we can stop it by ending the relationship. How can you do that?

If the person is unwilling to work with you to change, if all you hear is empty promises and see no improvement in behavior towards you and others, you need to take action. I know it is frightening, but it is the best thing I ever did. Truly. The road was long and hard. I’m not telling you it is going to be easy; I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it. Trust me. Prepare to work hard. Prepare to incur criticism. It just goes with the territory.

Sometimes, mistakes and admission thereof cause us rejection, not only from others, but from our harshest of critics; ourselves. We have to give ourselves a break! Telling someone else, “Look what you made me do!” is such a terrible thing to do. Growing up, my cousins and I heard that a lot from our mom’s. Our grandma taught her daughters that phrase. Not knowing any better, they used it on us. And some of us grew up thinking we caused our mom’s to mess something up. That’s a lot to carry as a little kid.

Hear me now: Nothing someone else does is your fault. You do not cause your mom’s negative behaviour, your husband’s bad mood, or your boyfriend’s drunken tirade. You certainly don’t cause him to hit you or your children. No one deserves to be abused verbally or otherwise. Get some help and prepare your action. You are not safe.

Sometimes, I still feel the sting of being blamed for things that were not my fault. It’s just how they are. I cannot change them. I can only change how I react to it. Usually, a quick session with the Babe nips it in the bud. I am forever grateful to him in so many ways. He has taught me how to let things slide that used to disable me.

Whenever I do something and it doesn’t turn out like I’d like it to, I learn not to do it again. Think of another way. I’ve learned to laugh with myself, not at myself. There’s a tremendous difference. I’m basically a calm person, and that has seen me through a lot. We all remember those character building events of our lives. Sometimes I feel my character is just fine, Jesus, so please, no more! But then I know He knows what’s best for me. Acceptance of that fact helps a lot.

Today is another appointment for Mom and I need to hit the road soon. It’s another beautiful, sunny day at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Make compassion and honesty your words of the day. Enjoy, and we’ll see each other again tomorrow. Be safe.