Sunday, July 25, 2021

Resolution Review

     This year I took a different approach to New Year's Goals/Resolutions. 2020 was such a year of losses and grief for everyone, especially for our little household. We are still reeling from our new reality, the loss of my dad. That loss colored my approach to goal setting for 2021. I knew I needed to make a resolution that would set me up for success, that I couldn't take any more failure or loss. I also knew I wanted it to somehow honor him, distract and calm my churning mind, and maybe bring about some sort of good in the communities I belong to, somehow, in some small way. 

    After a lot of contemplation I came up with this plan, to try at least one new cookie recipe, new style of cookie decorating, a new dessert, or candy each month, that would be at least 12 new things this year. My dad was a great cook and he really loved to eat all the dessert I would make,

    I happened to start well, dove in when I had moments of ability to focus, and baking is a cozy thing to do during a cold Michigan winter. I also decided to share my baking experiments with others, especially with parents of friends of mine that found themselves having to be assisted living care or have lost their spouses, and always making sure to make my mom plates of treats. She has no interest in my new experiments. For her, I make her tried and true recipes, favorites that her mother, my grandma Marie, used to make. My mom's choice is usually either brownies or chocolate frosted chocolate cookies.

    I am happy to say that I have reached one aspect of my goal. I hoped to try at least 12 new desserts this year and I have already exceeded that goal! I have also shared many plates along the way, learned new stories about friends and family as I shared these treats, and have healed small parts of my heart. 

    Along the way, many people have sent me recipes they want me to try, so that has now shaped my approach on what desserts to make next. I also have been studying  more on the history of baking, cookbooks, recipes, and ingredients. Happily, this has proven to be a very satisfying endeavor.

    Here are the new to me treats I have made so far this year: 1.Almond Molded Candy, 2. Almond Melt Away Cookies, 3. Blueberry Muffins, 4. Chocolate Chip Roll-out Cookies, 5. Chocolate Frosted Chocolate Cookies, 6. Coconut Macaroons, 7. Espresso Cookies with Mocha Ganache, 8. Ginger Turmeric Shortbread, 9. Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies, 10.Key Lime Sugar cookies, 11. Lemon Lavender Cookies, 12.Lemon & Thyme Shortbread, 13. Molasses Cookies.

Monday, July 5, 2021

PSA-Let's Talk About Death

     I'm not sure why it was never discussed. I don't know if it was just us, or if other families have this same issue. I have started asking other folks about it, now that we went through this last year.

    My parents didn't have a will. Even after all my dad's health trauma in 2019, and him moving in with me and my husband in July of that year, we never discussed the possibility he might die some day. Even with all the years of my mother being ill, we had never discussed-what if she actually died, or he did. Even when it got to the point that he had already outlived the time frame of his immediate family by a decade, it never occurred to me to think about a time that comes to all people, that one day he might not be here with us any more.

    Once my dad moved in with us, we were so busy just getting through each day; finding small pleasures in watching old movies and me making him his favorite foods for breakfast, lunch, and supper, it never occurred to me to think about the what ifs. It never crossed my mind to consider if they had burial plots or ideas about their funerals. And being 2020, would any of their plans have mattered in the cluster mess that 2020 was???

    As it became clear toward the end of 2020, that time was not on our side, hospice was called in for help. And their help was invaluable. They helped guide me each step of the way. They helped me reach out to the national archives for my dad's discharge papers for his military service since he was entitled to a burial plot for himself and my mother, to military honors funeral, even if it had to be abbreviated due to Covid-19, and helped me find a funeral service company, Michigan Cremation and Funeral Care, that works with veterans and their families.

    At least now, since we have been through this with my dad, we have talked with my mother, about what she wants, what her thoughts are on death and after death. I have written down my thoughts in regards to the what ifs for myself, and advised what notebook they can be found in. My husband and I have had the hard conversations. It can happen to anyone, best to think it out now while everyone is well and can say what they want. Because if the unthinkable happens-a life altering illness or injury-it is hard to make those types of decisions for someone you love so dearly.

    My hope is that if even one person can have a bit of their pain lessened from the lessons we learned, then it will make all the panic and confusion we went through have some sort of meaning. We need to do better as a society in making conversations about death just as much a part of life as all the other things we fill our days with.