Archive | January, 2012

Day 293: Victoria

24 Jan

Victoria and my daughter have been friends since they were in grade school. They were similar in several ways:  they had red hair and freckles, they loved to make art projects, and they were smart and liked to do well in school. Now they are young women who are smart, beautiful, funny, and caring.  When I see them together, I feel optimistic about  the future of the planet.

One day when she was about 5, Victoria came to our house to play.  As dinnertime approached, Alexandra asked Victoria to eat with us.  She said that she needed to ask permission first, so she called home and then reported that her Mom had said it was okay.  After dinner, her Mom, Karen, came to pick Victoria up. She shared that when Victoria had called her she had said, “Mom they’re having macaroni and cheese for dinner… and it didn’t come out of a box.  It’s a casserole!”  I was honored to have been held in such high esteem by a small child.

Tomorrow Victoria will turn 23 years old, so tonight I brought a Chocolate Cream Pie to her house.  I thought it might be nice to start her birthday celebration a bit early since tomorrow’s schedule sounded like it was already pretty full. However, at the time I delivered the pie, I forgot to say this:  “Dear Victoria, may the coming year bring you all the joy and happiness you deserve. Happy, Happy Birthday!”

“Some people make your laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter, and your life a little better.”— Unknown

 

 

Day 292: Marshall brings Hakatai tiles to Helman School

23 Jan

Marshall Malden showing a mosaic to the class at Helman Elementary

As a member of the Ashland Rotary I have gotten to know quite a few of the local business owners in town.  We see each other at meetings of course but you can really get to know them better if you participate in one or more of the club’s activities.  In our club you might help with the Rotary Garden,  the Rotary Run, or the annual Holiday Dinner to name a few.  In addition, we have something called “The Circle of Friends” where a small number of Rotarians meet once a month at a member’s house or business and share a lunch.  At that time the host tells “the friends” about their business, their family, and their life.

A few years ago, Marshall and I were members of the same circle and one day he hosted the lunch at his place of business, Hakatai Enterprises.  There Marshall told us the story of his career and how he had traveled to many places around the world and how he was now importing glass tiles from China.  After he told us about his life, he took us on a tour of his warehouse and showed us some of the beautiful mosaics that had been made with the tiles.

Near the end of the tour, I saw several boxes of tiles and I asked him if there were ever any tiles leftover after a mosaic had been made.  He said that at times there were and asked why I was interested.  That’s when I told him about my friend Mia, a kindergarten teacher at Helman Elementary.  I told him that she is always on the lookout for things that her students can use for art projects and I knew she would have a field day with those tiles.   That day Marshall sent be off with a box of tiles for Mia.

A week or so ago I emailed Marshall and asked if he would please come to Mia’s class and talk about his tile business and to bring some tiles with him if it was possible.  Marshall wrote that he could come to the class when he returned from a trip and we agreed to meet at Helman School today.

When we arrived Mia was reading a book about the Chinese New Year to her students.  I thought, “We could not have timed this any better!”  After a few moments, Marshall was introduced and he showed the children some examples of the mosaics that had been created using his tiles.  Then he spoke a little about the tile making process and answered questions.  Finally he showed the students the box of glass tiles that he had brought for them.  It was really great to see the kids so engaged.

To thank Marshall for his graciousness and generosity, I had to do something nice for him… and I thought that he might like a Bacon, Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche.  It was the very least I could do to express my gratitude for his kindness.

Day 291: Garth

22 Jan luv shack

Garth lives just a few blocks from us and he is one of the most creative people in town!  We have watched in amazement as he has turned a small, nondescript house with a big yard into an incredible structure surrounded by beautiful gardens and artwork.  This happened over a number of years but bit by bit the corner where he lives has been transformed.   There seems to be no end to his imagination and I find that very inspiring.

The above pictured “luv shack” is also one of his creations and in addition to being a most remarkable piece of art, is also quite functional (maybe you’ve seen it on the highway?)   It has been in the Ashland Fourth of July Parade and made the journey to Burning Man in the Nevada desert.  Here is an excerpt from an article  in the Locals Guide about the creation of the “luv shack” written by Aaron Bloch:  This maverick formed his vehicle first and kept all the functions to a minimum. Gas, brakes, a turn signal or two, were all secondary to what his vision was for the Moonshine Luv Shack.  Pretty amazing, eh?

Tonight I brought a “Kick-Ass Apple Pie (topped with toasted Almonds) to Garth to recognize him for what he has done for our neighborhood – and for being an inspiration to dreamers and tinkerers everywhere.

Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!  ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

Day 290: Carrie and Brian

21 Jan

Apple Crumb Pie

About fifteen years ago I met Brian and Carrie at church.  They were welcoming and funny and I felt a kinship with them almost immediately.  We both had two children and there were times when we would commiserate about the challenges of parenting, while at other times we would laugh about our kids antics.

One Sunday I brought my kids to church and found Brian was in charge of the younger kids during Sunday School.  Since Brian is a wonderful photographer, he used his camera to entertain the kids and hold their interest.  He said he’d asked the kids to each do one serious pose, and then he told them they could each do a silly pose.  Later he gave me a few photos that he’d taken of my son, Coco.  They are still among my favorites of him!



Coco age 3

Tonight when I delivered their pie to them they were as warm and welcoming as ever even though they were all a bit under the weather. They sat me down and asked all about my children (whom they haven’t seen in a while) and introduced me to their little dog, Zippy.  We talked about books and movies and, of course, pies.   After a while I realized I’d probably been talking way too much and gave a Brian and Carrie air hugs (at their request) and gave Gracie a real one and bid them all farewell.  If I stayed too long, I guess it was because I felt so at home with them.  And I hope they know how much I appreciate that feeling.

Coco at age 18

Day 289: John

20 Jan

Key Lime Pie

Today was cold and rainy for much of the day.  Even so, I decided to make a Key Lime Pie.  What’s funny  is that this is the first time that I have made this kind of pie this year.  The idea for it just came to me this morning and one of the things that I have learned over this past year is not to fight my intuition.

The recipe I have is similar to this one .  It makes a lovely pie in no time at all… which I imagine is an important consideration for many people.  And it was important for me today because I had several important things to do in addition to making a pie including a volunteer meeting, a memorial for a friend, a work meeting, and an appointment to donate blood.   Oh, and I needed to deliver a pie!

My daughter was the one who suggested today’s pie recipient.  His name is John and he is one of her professors at the School of Business at Southern Oregon University. He was not working on campus today so I called ahead to make sure it was okay to stop by his home for a moment. He said it was and in short order I was at his front door, pie in hand.

Once he saw the pie, John asked me to tell him what this project was all about. He’d heard about the pies as some of his colleagues have been recipients, but he hadn’t heard my story before. I shared that with him and then we talked about how we’d both had kids who’d been exchange students and how those “kids” have gone on to become world travelers. We agreed that it would be a great thing if more kids took that step.

Then it was time for me to go. As I left, John thanked me again for the pie. And (this is my favorite part!) then he told me that Key Lime Pie is his wife Amy’s favorite pie. Like I said, I’ve learned to trust my intuition.

Drawing of John’s dog “Pearl” staring into the Fridge

Day 288: Wanda

19 Jan

Before I got busy baking a pie today, I wanted to make home-made play-dough to send to my niece Olivia.  Olivia will be turning five in a few days and while I had already purchased clothing for her, I thought that she might have a lot more fun with the play-dough.

To begin, first I found a recipe for the cooked form of play-dough.  Then I gathered the necessary ingredients and in just a few minutes I had a batch of dough that looked like this:

Then I slipped on some kitchen gloves and mixed in food coloring and Voila! Play-dough!  This stuff is so easy to make and so pretty once it’s done, I don’t know why you wouldn’t make this. Surely you have a child somewhere in your life that would love some of this play-dough.

Once I got the play-dough in the mail, I was able to focus on today’s pie.  The recipient had been on my mind but she was also recommended to me by Peggy, pie recipient #270.  When I spoke to Peggy she thought that Wanda might like a quiche so that she could share it with her brother and his wife.  That’s the kind of lady that Wanda is – always thinking about someone else.

If you donate blood to the Red Cross in Ashland you have probably seen Wanda. She is one of the volunteers who offers you a cookie and juice after you have completed the donation process.  And this is just one of many volunteer activities that Wanda is involved in.

Tonight I brought Wanda a Bacon, Onion and Spinach Quiche along with a small plate of brownies.  I wanted to thank her for all that she does to help others.  Without Wanda and folks like her, our community would be a very different place.

Day 287: A Quiche for Debra

18 Jan

As has happened many times before, today’s pie recipient was suggested to me by a previous pie recipient.  I think it’s kind of nice that the pie recipients want to share the good feeling that they had with someone else and I’m delighted to help make this happen.  In a way it is like a game of dominoes where each person that has been touched in turn touches another until finally everyone has been included in the game.

This sounds so lovely and yet I am very aware that on my own I cannot reach everyone.  As it is, I have less than eighty days to go before my year of pies is completed.  However,  I have heard from some people that they have been moved by my story to do something for someone else that they might not otherwise have done.  Perhaps they baked a loaf of bread for a neighbor, or made a pot of soup for a friend, or brought farm-fresh corn to someone new in the neighborhood.   Making a difference in someone’s life is really as simple as that.

If you were to consider being a part of this “game” you would not need to bake a pie by any means.  You need only find a way to share something with just one person and if they seem interested in the game, you can ask them to “pie” it forward.  If more of us do that,  then it is more likely that everyone will be reached.   In any case, I believe with all my heart that it’s worth a try.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.  Walt Disney

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