Friday, January 29, 2016

I'm Not Happy You're Sick, I Promise

I spent this morning doing something I really enjoy - cooking.

My house smells REALLY good - lasagne, tortilla soup and chili are all in little containers ready for delivery to a friend who is having surgery today.

I was thinking about how fun it was - I love cooking almost as much as I love stamping - however, I can't do it as often as I stamp because we can't eat enough food to keep up with all the recipes I want to try. At least when I craft, the end result is a card I can send off. But you can't just go put a pot of beans in the mailbox. Well, you could, but you'd probably get in trouble.

As I was enjoying myself, I felt sort of bad, because it's not like I'm happy about the fact that people get sick or injured enough to need meals made for them - I don't have some food version of Munchausen by proxy, I promise. Chefhausen by proxy?

I think that cooking and making cards for people are fun because it's something we feel like we can do in a situation where we are otherwise incapable of helping - we can't make people feel better or speed up their recovery time. But we can take away a burden with some yummy meals, and cheer them up with cards, so we do, and it's fun. So next time you feel like saying "let me know if you need anything" - just bring over some soup instead - everyone loves soup, and no one loves asking for help, so it's a win win. I read this article a long time ago and it really stuck with me because I used to say "let me know if you need anything" all the time. It's that Lutheran urge to be non-intrusive, I think. I've tried hard to lose that habit and say - "when can I bring you some: food, water, cards, groceries, whatever? instead. Amazing how many more people take me up on the offer with just that little change in language.

Not long ago, I bought this cute little Newton's Nook stamp set, and again - I'm not happy anyone isn't feeling well so that I get to use it - I'm just happy I get to use it. :)

I colored the kitty with my Caran D'Ache Pablo pencils, and deliberately left some streaks for sort of a stripey, furry kitty look.

The circle is from Simon Says Stamp stitched circles dies, and the cute stripey paper is the new It's My Party DSP stack from Stampin' Up! I created what looks like hard shadows around the kitty with a black pencil before popping the die cut up, and now I realize that the real dimension and the faux dimension sort of blend together and it looks a little flatter here than it does in real life. 

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Hard to tell here but there's clear Wink of Stella on the hat and on the kitty's ruff. 

Wanna stamp with me? The Understand Blue Mini-Retreat for April in Salt Lake is filling up - don't miss your chance! Register here!

And a few things in the random life stuff category - if you want a beautiful, custom address stamp or a stamp with your logo - check out Bossy Joscie - she does gorgeous, fast work, and I love the social media stamps, etc. 

Cat lovers - check out this kickstarter!  I've supported several Kickstarters, including Exploding Kittens and Louie's Box, and always been very happy with my preview products. 

I recently discovered a source for non-Chinese ginger and Turmeric too - it's grown on Fiji. Not cheap, but also not made of floor sweepings from a political prison. Also this is SIX OUNCES of ginger - that is a ton of ginger.

I am reading a non-fiction book right now, and I will say up front it's not for everyone - at times, it's very difficult to get through - but it's powerful. Also, by "reading" I mean "listening to on Audible." It's about a story that I never heard about - even though these events took place before the glorious 100% news blackout I've been on for many years. It's called Five Days at Memorial - and it's the story of five days at Memorial Hospital after Hurricane Katrina, where doctors and nurses were indicted for euthanizing patients, so that the staff could leave the hospital, which flooded a few days after the hurricane, and had also lost power. It's interesting because stories like this remind me of fiction like Lord of the Flies, Blindness (one of my top ten favorite books ever), and Jude the Obscure - none of them cheery in the least - but all of them grappling with that ethical question about just what you would do when the world goes to hell in a handbasket. I'm a very sunny, Pooh Bear type person, but I'm also a world class Irish Worryer Girl Scout - and I worry constantly about being prepared for things - and so I think that's why I'm drawn to these stories about people being tested. Part of it is information gathering - so I know what to do should the zombie apocalypse surprise me. I also think it it speaks to my belief in self-reliance - because if this book shows you nothing else, it shows you that the government and your health care system are not going to be there for you when things get hot, dark and dirty. That's a fact, my people. You, your family and friends are the ones who you should rely on when the zombies are headed your way.

It's a really, really powerful book and if you have the stomach for it, I recommend it. One of my favorite audiobook "sherpas" - someone who always recommends books I end up loving - Vicki Doyle - recommended this one to me.  Thanks Vicki!

If you have any audiobooks you love, I'd love for you to leave them in the comments - I don't really make time for paper books any more - I'd rather be watercoloring with an audiobook going. (And please note I say "make" time - we all have the same amount of time, and we all get to decide what to do with it. Unless, of course, you're on hold with AT&T.)

Anyway - thank you for stopping by! Make food for someone and listen to a good book this week - life is short! :)



  1. Love that little article - there's also the burden of actually having to realize what your needs are when you're in a tragic or traumatic or less-than-well state when you're doing well to remember to breathe... we've been so blessed by people just coming and saying, "Here, you're going to need this." addition to the meal or groceries or listening ear, you have the realization that someone lovingly got into your head, and empathically felt your need for you.

  2. That's a darling card. Hope all goes well with your friend's surgery. Your kindness will be a blessing.
    I started listening to audio books last year. Can't "read" a book without falling asleep. But I can craft for hours listening to books. My favorite one I've listened to do far is "Lamb" by Christopher Moore. I'd read this book years ago, but wanted to listen to it as I've been on a Christopher Moore jag lately. But my library didn't have it on audio or CD. So how did I listen to it? My amazing, lovely daughter narrated & recorded it for me as a Christmas gift!!! She even did all the voices & accents! And now, I will forever be able to listen to her tell me the story of Biff, Christ's childhood friend.

  3. Christina Henriquez' book The Unknown Americans was fabulous on audio-book with all of the different accents and correct pronunciation (at least more correct than I would be doing it in my head). I just downloaded A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara for 7+ hours in the car tomorrow. What is different about those pencils than others?

  4. Doesn't Newton's Nook have the cutest stamps? LOVE your card! What a sweet helper! Woohoo! I totally agree with you about Bossy Joscie! I stumbled upon her blog during Season's Givings hop. I have been wanting a stamp with my name and blog on it for a long time so when I came upon her blog I knew just where to get my personalized stamp but I still didn't buy it....cuz that's the way I am. Then I won the prize she gave away and that was the nudge I needed. I now have my very own personalized stamp and I love it! Hugs and have a happy weekend!

  5. I read the story about Memorial Hospital when it first came out and reread it recently. Ironically Charity Hospital in NOLA faced the same obstacles and had a very different and positive resolution. I attributed this to that institution's long experience with making do with less. Unfortunately Charity never reopened.

  6. Your card is really sweet Lydia!

    I love to cook for people too! My friends Mother passed away just after the new year and her son came home for the funeral. We all know how hectic it is at a time like this... you come home from somewhere every day, hungry but too exhausted to make something healthy which you especially need at a time like this! I of course added a beautiful sympathy card for both her and her son. Something else I always do is add a tag with a small elastic, to the knob of my casserole dish that says "Made with love by" and there is a place to sign it so they know who to return the dish to. It also has a place on the top of the tag to write what the dish contains. I feel better because this way you ARE doing SOMETHING! She was VERY appreciative!


  7. You are so welcome but now I'm worrying that I have added to your Irish Worry Gene! I live with that (in my Other) and it can be a problem ... just sayin'
    It was a pretty amazing - if info dense - book. And I didn't remember hearing anything about it either nor did the members of my book club.
    Once again - I love your card. That hard shadow/pop up combo rocks!

  8. Speaking of books, with your obvious skills perhaps you should write one. You're blogposts are so easy to read and well organized. Always informative, clever, hilarious...not enough adjectives...because I don't write as well as you, duh!
    Your card epitomizes how I see you...caring, bright, sweet and a cat lover.

  9. I loved this post , not so much for the card , even though it's cute, but for the thoughts and advice you shared. I teared up at the end , because I felt the concern you have for fellow humans .
    You care deeply and are a philosopher too! Thanks for sharing.
    Best wishes to you and your friend!

  10. I suspect you already heard Kitchen confidential by Anthony Bourdain, just listen to a classic - to kill a mockingbird and loved it, so I had to listen to ho set a watchman by the same author - beautifully read. Non fiction - Ghettoside. Going to put add two you mentioned above into my wish list!

  11. I love the audiobook of "All The Pretty Horses" because it is read by Brad Pitt. Then, the movie starred Matt Damon (swoon!). You can't go wrong!

  12. I wish I loved to cook. Right now, I'm putting off going into the kitchen to start preparing the chili I promised my husband which we both actually love. I hate all the chopping and dicing and then tomorrow when I put it all together I'll have to be watching the pot for hours as it simmers. Thank goodness we will have several meals to enjoy, but I'd settle for eating anything that is easier just to not have to deal with it all.

    My brain is not capable of putting on an audiobook and then doing some other activity unless it is really mindless activity. I started listening to books when my eyesight got so bad I could no longer read even large print books, but if I try to listen to them and do other things that actually require thinking my mind goes off the book and then I have to rewind and listen to all that I missed all over again. Just too much trouble, so I've almost given up on books altogether. I used to love to read so much. I love real books and miss reading so much.

    I'm not big on most "cutesy" stamps, but that kitten is so sweet. I do like that one. Great card!!

  13. Thank you so much for this blog post!


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