Archive | February, 2012

Day 322: Al and Rita

22 Feb

Coconut Cream Pie

Recently my friend Linda asked if I would make dinner for her parents, Al and Rita, once a week.  It’s just a way to help them out and make life easier for them.  What Linda asked for was simple meals – meatloaf and mashed potatoes, roasted chicken and vegetables, quiche. Today I decided to make Manicotti and had prepared homemade crepes to use as the shells and made a filling with fresh ricotta, Asiago, mozzarella, and spinach.  To complement the pasta dish, I  made a Caesar Salad.

Once dinner was prepared, I thought about the possibility of dessert.  Usually that is not part of the deal, but today it occurred to me to make a pie for them. Though I have never met Al and Rita, I have known their daughter for more than 25 years and their granddaughter, Ariana, used to babysit Alexandra for me.  It just seemed like I was making a pie for some long-lost relatives and when Linda saw that I had made Manicotti and a pie for her parents, she knew they would be pleased.

An hour or two later, my phone rang and it was Linda.  She said that her parents were thrilled that I had made a vegetarian entrée for dinner because today was the first day of Lent.  Then Linda showed them the pie and they said, “But we have decided to give up sweets for Lent.”  Linda considered this and then said, “Well, then I should take this pie back to Karen so that she can give it to someone who will eat it.”  Her parents were silent a moment and then asked if maybe they could begin their fast tomorrow and extend it one day past Easter (to complete the full 40 days).  Linda said she thought that was a reasonable offer and once they all agreed, they each had a slice of pie.  As she was finishing her piece of pie, almost as an afterthought, Rita said, “I think God will forgive us for this” and I think he will too.

Seize the moment.  Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.  ~Erma Bombeck




Day 321: Wink

21 Feb

Apple Crumb Crust Pie

This pie journey has introduced me to many people that I might not otherwise have met.  About four months ago I gave a pie to Adam Walker Cleaveland and his wife Sarah.  It was the day that our congregation was to vote to confirm Adam as our new Associate Pastor and I thought that in the stress of that moment, this couple deserved a pie whichever way the vote went.  Fortunately for us, he was voted in.

Afterwards Adam shared with his readers (he writes a blog called Pomomusings) that a lady at his new church had given him a pie.  And what a wonderful response came back from his last church… they were so pleased to see how much we appreciated Adam and Sarah.  It was a lovely beginning for us all.

Just a week or so ago I received an email from a man named Don.  He knows Adam from the last church he was in and he told me that he’d been following my blog since he’d heard about it from him.  Don asked if I would please consider bringing a pie to his cousin, Wink who lives in Ashland.  Don told me that when he was a teenager, his father got a job in San Francisco.  That year, Don moved to California from New Jersey and lived with his aunt and uncle while his brothers and Mom stayed back in New Jersey to sell and pack up the house. During that time, Don shared a room with his cousin, Wink.

Don said that that year in California was his best year in high school.  I can imagine how it could easily have been the most difficult – with a new living situation and being separated from his family, but it seems that his aunt and uncle and cousins welcomed him with open arms, and that made all the difference.

Tonight I delivered an Apple Crumb Crust Pie to Don’s cousin, Wink.  I hope that she knows how much it meant to Don to have been treated so well by her family.  It is a gift he will never forget.

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.  ~George Eliot

Day 320: Vonna and Robert

20 Feb

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Thank goodness I did not have much planned for today.  After the long drive this weekend and the emotions that kept surfacing, it was good to take it easy.  For me that meant going on my morning walk, eating breakfast, and then taking my daughter’s suggestion to take a nap.  At first I thought, really?  A nap?  Then I thought, why not?

Outside the day was cool and grey and a nap was the perfect remedy for my blues.  After an hour or so, I awoke refreshed and better prepared to tackle some tasks.  One of those tasks includes my daily practice of writing “morning pages” that I began in January.  I’ve mentioned it here before, but it bears repeating.  Each day I commit to writing 750 words, which equates to about three pages.  This is a practice found in the book, The Artist’s Way, and I have done it before.  However, this time I am doing it online via this website.  Each day I get a reminder email sent to my inbox and after I have completed my words, or pages, a quick analysis of my writing is given. Writing each day is a wonderful habit and I encourage you to check it out!

After my “work” was done, I prepared a lovely treat – a Chocolate Peanut Butter pie for a couple of neighbors that live up the street.  Perhaps I had been thinking about them because my “baby” has moved away and one of the memories I have of them occurred after their last baby was born.  I was so delighted for them and oohed and aahed over their little one.  After that meeting, I occasionally saw Robert or Vonna walking the baby in a snuggly.  It brought back fond memories of me doing the same with my children.

Fast forward to a year or two ago when I  was visiting my friend Mia’s kindergarten class  at Helman Elementary.  There I saw Vonna at one of the small tables helping a child and was stunned to find out that the child was her “baby” and he was 5 years old!  Which means that today that little boy is seven and in the second grade!  I am constantly amazed at how fast time goes by and how short a time a child actually spends as a baby.

This afternoon I brought Vonna and Robert my pie creation.  Vonna seemed concerned that there were Lego‘s on the floor of the living room.  I think it is wonderful that her child’s playing and creativity is given a priority.  We can always have a clean house, but raising healthy well-adjusted kids, now that’s a far more admirable accomplishment.  In fact, I can’t think of a better one!

The cleaning and scrubbing
will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up,
as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep’

Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Day 319: A New Adventure

19 Feb




My Family on our trip to Missoula, Montana

This past weekend our family spent more than twenty-eight hours driving to and from Missoula, Mt.  My son, Coco, has decided that he would like to live there and last week he asked if we would take him.  As we all wanted to see where he would be living, and truly wanted to “see him off”, Friday night we packed up our car and began the journey.  At about 11:30 PM that night,  we landed safely in the arms of our dear friends Mike and Julie in Portland.  It was important to me that Julie see Coco at this juncture, because she was present at his birth – and this moment in time is similar in so many ways.

After a light breakfast the next morning we all piled into the car and resumed our journey.  We listened to many of Coco’s favorite CD’s while we passed around Turkey and Swiss sandwiches (on Dave’s Killer Bread – yum!).  All the while we kept at bay the reason for this trip: Coco wants to see what it is like to be on his own; he is ready for a challenge and it was time to let him go.  And as easy as that is to write, it is much harder to actually do it.

This “leaving home” thing is not new for me.  Both of my children have spent time living in other countries and have come through the experience quite well.  While they were away they learned a great deal about themselves and I believe they realized that they were quite capable (and pretty neat) individuals.  I wish every kid could have that experience!

Last evening we unloaded most of Coco’s worldly possessions into a house in Missoula.  We did not get to meet his roommates because they were busy elsewhere, but in addition to Coco’s “stuff” I also left an Apple Pie. I want to extend my thanks to his roommates for welcoming Coco into their house and send my very best wishes for this transitional moment.

“Loving someone is setting them free, letting them go.”
~Kate Winslet

Day 318: Michaela

18 Feb


Michaela is my niece and I have known her since she was about six months old. She is beautiful, smart, and funny. However, she can also be very serious when dealing with discrimination or injustice because she knows we can do better.

Michaela recently completed a nursing program in Florida and she and her family have moved back to the Philadelphia area. She will be looking for work once they get settled.

I am so proud of Michaela for working so hard to finish her coursework and pass all the difficult exams. It was not easy but she has been transformed by the experience.

Today Michaela received a care package from me with small gifts for her children and a Brownie Pie as well. I want to send my sincerest  congratulations to her on her accomplishment…  I am so very happy for her!

Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.
William James

Day 317: Jessica’s Closet

17 Feb


A few days ago I was listening tof the radio and the DJ said that it seemed to be raining throughout the region.  However, I saw about an inch of snow from my window and called him to tell him so.

After we talked about the weather, he asked about my plans for the day.  I told him that I would be making a pie as part of my gratitude project and explained how it helped me to focus on my blessings

As we continued to talk, he told  me that his daughter Jessica had died three years ago. Then he told me how he and his wife had found a way to turn such a tremendous loss into something that helps others. It is a place called Jessica’s Closet.  Jessica’s closet is a “store” where disadvantaged young people can get the things they need at no cost. 

Though Jessica’s parents knew that their daughter was kind and generous, it was only after Jessica’s funeral that they found out just how many people Jessica had helped with clothing, food, money, and her friendship. Creating this store was a way to carry-on her amazing legacy.

This morning I brought a Marionberry Pie to Jessica’s parents. I am in awe of their ability to honor their daughter in such a beautiful and compassionate way.

To live in heart’s we leave behind is not to die.
Thomas Campbell

Day 316: An Amazing Gift

16 Feb

Chocolate Cream Pie

A few weeks ago one of my fellow Rotarians approached me and told me that he wanted to recommend someone for one of my pies.  When I asked who it was he wanted me to bring a pie to he said it was the gal who worked as a barista at his favorite Starbucks.  Then I asked, “Why does she deserve a pie?” and he answered because she is expecting a baby.  And the best part? She is a surrogate mom… the baby that she is carrying will go home to live with someone else.

Since that conversation took place, I have been fairly busy – if you can call a vacation to Mexico busy that is – but I never forgot about that barista.  I wanted to acknowledge the gift that she was giving but also wondered how to approach her.  After all, she was pregnant, and I thought she might be reluctant to take food from someone she did not know.  How would I explain this project?  What would you do?

Today I thought I would just call that Starbucks and talk to a manager and tell my story.  When I called this morning and asked to speak to a manager, the person who answered the phone said she was a supervisor and could help me.  I explained my story and asked if she thought that I could give a pie to the most generous barista on the planet.  She told me that she was that barista’s best friend, and she thought her friend would love a pie.  That is why tonight I brought a Chocolate Cream Pie to Starbucks, and though I did not meet the barista, I was assured that she would receive it.  This was my gift to her to acknowledge the tremendous gift that she has given.  The world is a wonderful place because of people like her.

The only gift is a portion of thyself.