Search results for 'day 83'

Day 284: Rachel and Mike

15 Jan

A few months ago I wrote about a young man from our small town who was the victim of a violent homicide.   His name was David and he was only twenty-three years old. As a parent of two young adults I felt deeply moved by this tragedy and my heart ached for David’s parents.   As a small gesture I sent a quiche to his Mother and offered my condolences on the loss of her son.

At this point in time, the killer has not yet been found.  And somehow the residents of Ashland try to go about doing what they have always done while living with the knowledge that they aren’t as safe as they had once thought.  And, of course, for David’s parents, life will never be the same.

Recently I was told about a couple who are friends of David’s Mother.  For the past few months they have been helping her get through the most difficult time of her life.   I am very grateful that she was able to count on them for the help and support that she needed and hope they realize what a comfort they have been to her.   Today I brought them a Dutch Apple Pie to thank them for the gift of their friendship.    My hope is that we will all have friends like this when we most need them.

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”  Henri Nouwen
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Day 270: Welcome 2012

1 Jan

This morning as I scanned Facebook posts wishing everyone a Happy New Year, I read a note written by my friend Aimee.  She mentioned that she had recently been told about a website called 750 Words.  You can read more about it here, but in a nutshell, we are encouraged to begin each day by writing 750 words (roughly three pages).  It is based on an idea promoted in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  As I understand it, it’s a way to release all the “clutter” in your mind so that you can allow the important thoughts, ideas, etc. to come through.

I’d read about this “practice” a few years ago, and from time to time I have begun my day in this way.  The first time I tried it, it was hard to imagine what I would find to write about but in a few minutes the words began to pour onto the page and in ten or 15 minutes I was done.  Each successive attempt at writing my three pages has been equally successful.

So, why don’t I do this more often?  I suppose sometimes I get lazy or I forget about it or maybe I feel too busy with other things.  But I think that will change with the “750 words” website.  One big difference is that you are typing and not writing long hand (which makes reading my work infinitely easier!) and there are little rewards built-in to make it fun.  Today it took me about 15 minutes to get to 750 words and I felt better at the end of the exercise.  While not really a New Year’s resolution, I hope to make this a daily habit and encourage you to see if it is something that would interest you.

As for my pie of the day,  a neighbor of mine mentioned that her friend Peggy might like to receive a pie.  She thought a quiche might be appreciated and that was pretty much all that I needed to get started.  I cooked bacon, spinach and onions and grated some sharp white cheddar for this pie.  In no time at all it was in the oven and an hour or so later we were on our way to deliver the quiche.

I was met at the door by a man who welcomed me in and went to announce me to Peggy.  When she first saw me, she definitely seemed a bit curious.  Immediately I mentioned my neighbor’s name so that she would feel more at ease and then I briefly explained my pie project and that today’s pie was for her.  When she had heard my tale,  Peggy’s beautiful smile was the best reaction I could ask for… and an absolutely wonderful beginning for the new year.

Because that’s what kindness is.  It’s not doing something for someone else because they can’t, but because you can.  ~Andrew Iskander

Day 264: Got Jumper Cables??

26 Dec

This morning we prepared to leave the home of our friends Mark and Connie. We had spent a glorious time in Gold Beach and we were ready to head home to Ashland. We did our best to leave their place in perfect condition, with the addition of a few bottles of wine, some chocolates, homemade biscotti and a bacon, spinach and onion quiche (pie 264!)

After we loaded up the car, we began our drive south to the Oregon border. We’d heard that there might be whale sightings along the coast and so we pulled into one of the viewpoints along the highway and parked the car near the bluff overlooking the ocean. We sat there and watched for about half an hour and did not see anything and then tried to start the car only to find that we’d left the lights on (it’d been foggy before) and our car would not start!

My husband thought we should call the company that provides our towing service and he went to find out where we were on the highway (specifically what mile marker). And I started thinking, how can we get someone to just give us a jump? I looked around in the car and found a brown paper grocery bag and used it to make a sign that said, “Got Jumper Cables?” I met my husband at the entrance to the viewpoint and showed him my sign and asked if he would stay with me for a few minutes while I “begged” for help. He said he’d give my “sign” 15 minutes before he was going to call the towing company.

It felt so strange to stand on the highway with a sign as people zipped by… it gave me a small idea of what the homeless folks experience each day that they do this. Fortunately as one truck drove by, I saw that the occupants waved. That was nice because most folks didn’t even seem to look at me. But I was determined… after all I didn’t think I looked too pathetic… and I had faith in the human race.

And my faith was rewarded for we were very lucky that the couple who waved came back to help us. They told me that while they could not really read my sign, they kept wondering what it had said and just had to go back to see. Thank heavens! We were on our way in no time and I gave them a couple of free coupons for Dutch Bros. Coffee… which they seemed happy to have. How wonderful that they were willing to come back to help us! I hope that there will always be people like that who are willing to help others that they meet along the way.

PS An update on pie 262: As we passed the border between Oregon and California I stopped to ask how agent Greg liked his mixed berry pie. The agent on duty told me that the pie had been much appreciated and that a few of the agents had taken some home for Christmas. I was thrilled… and as I walked back to our car a few of the agents called out “Thank you” to me. As we continued our ride home, all I could think was “this has been an absolutely amazing day.”

Day 199: Jim Amberg of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

22 Oct

Tonight my daughter and I had tickets to see August: Osage County at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. My daughter, Alexandra, worked as an usher for OSF for a few years and met some really nice people while she was there. This evening we prepared a Mixed Berry Crumb Crust pie for one of those people, Mr. Jim Amberg.

Jim is the Access Coordinator at OSF, and that means his work is to make the experience of attending the theatre open to everyone. Accessibility goes beyond providing ramps and seating for those in wheelchairs. It includes such things as providing sign language interpreters, audio description on demand, or as in the case of tonight’s performance, open captioning. In addition, OSF provides thousands of assistive listening devices for those with moderate hearing loss.

This past summer, Jim and audience services manager, Radawna Wallace, were selected to receive a 2011 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Award for Emerging Leaders. The two were honored for their work adding services to assist audience members with disabilities. The criteria used to select the award recipients is as follows: Recipients are selected for having sustained accessibility efforts over a significant period of time, demonstrating either an individual or institutional commitment to the inclusion of all people with disabilities.

Alexandra always spoke very highly Jim and tonight I was delighted to bring him a pie to recognize his sincere consideration of others and his unfailing devotion to his work.

Day 188: Mike and Mary

11 Oct


We met Mike and Mary many years ago because they are friends of our neighbors. We knew them for years before I realized that I had worked with Mary’s brother at a restaurant when I first came to Ashland in the eighties. It always surprises me when things like that happen; finding those little clues that prove how connected we really are.

About six years ago Mike came to my aid when I was working on a project to send blankets to Pakistan after the earthquake in Kashmir. With the help of Ashland residents I had collected almost 400 blankets and needed to get them overseas. The Consulate General of Pakistan in Los Angeles told me that if I could get them to him, he would include them in a shipment to his country. That’s when Mike asked his company, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, if they would ship the boxes to Los Angeles without charge. It was a very generous act on his part and most appreciated.

More recently, I have had the pleasure of catering the weddings for each of Mike and Mary’s daughters. It was a joy to work with Mary on the menus and other details and I was thrilled that everything came together so beautifully. I loved seeing their friends and family on those occasions and felt honored to be a part of it all. I especially appreciated Mary’s faith this past summer. She did not doubt that I would be able to cater Ali’s wedding three weeks after I had broken my rib; her trust meant more than I can say.

This afternoon I made a Mushroom and Sausage quiche for Mike and Mary. They are both pretty busy and I thought it would be nice for them to have dinner waiting when they got home… a small gesture to thank them for the gift of their friendship.

Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things. ~Author Unknown

Day 187: Berniece

10 Oct

As I was thinking about my pie of the day this morning, I thought of Berniece. I first met her a few years ago and I was immediately impressed by her spunk and determination. Berniece is a fireball and I really am in awe of her. She has more energy than people half her age and she always seems to have something positive to say when we meet. That is a gift in itself.

A few years ago, I was working with Berniece on the committee for the 100th Anniversary of the Elk’s building in Ashland. The volunteers met several times a month for nearly a year to help make this event a success. Berniece was instrumental in helping us succeed. She and I put together several gift baskets for a raffle to raise funds for the anniversary celebration. Berniece put a lot of effort into creating lovely prizes for those raffles and we raised a tidy sum of money for the Elk’s centennial fund.

What I (factually) know about Berniece is minimal compared to what I feel that I know about her. Berniece is all heart… and that is apparent from the moment you meet her. She is tenacious when she needs to be and is fearless as well. We can all learn a lot about living by spending a few hours with Berniece.

This afternoon I brought a Mediterranean Quiche to Berniece at work. Unfortunately she was not in to receive the pie, but the young man who was working for her told me that he would call her right away to tell her that a pie was waiting for her.

What I would have said to Berniece if I had seen her is : Thank you for being such a great role model of living life to the fullest. I am honored to know you and I promise to do my best to follow your lead. With much admiration,
Karen

Day 145: Ruth

30 Aug

(Oops… I tried to delay this post til last night and must have done something wrong ’cause I had to go and look for it today!)
Today I was excited to make a pie with the apples from the tree in my yard because for what seems like the first time they are delicious. We have had apples in the past, but they were always disappointing. This year they taste like my favorite variety – the Macintosh. What a wonderful treat!

I picked about 16 apples for this pie because they are pretty small.

Once the apples were peeled, cored and sliced I realized that I didn’t have enough to fill my pie shell and so I added about two cups of blueberries to the mix. Then it was simply a matter of adding crumb topping and placing the pie into the oven for about an hour to bake. All the while I was thinking about where this pie would go.

Then Ruth’s name popped into my head, I knew she was the one. Ruth is the director of Peace House in Ashland. The first time I remember meeting her was at a fundraiser about a dozen years ago. I’m not sure of the details but I think it was in response to a hurricane that caused flooding in Honduras. Peace House held a big “yard sale” at the United Methodist Church and appeals went out to the community for donations.

My family put together a bunch of items to donate and I drove to the church with my son. There I found Ruth amidst boxes and boxes of “stuff.” She was calmly working to organize the donations even as they kept arriving. She looked so small and yet Ruth was unruffled by the chaos that surrounded her. I felt compelled to stay and help out as much as I could (luckily my son had found the toy section and kept himself busy for hours).

Though I don’t remember the dollar amount that was raised, I do recall that I was impressed that the money was raised so easily. Folks came by and opened their wallets and their hearts to help people they’d never meet. And I think it helped that there was someone in charge who was credible, knowledgeable, and dedicated.

Though I don’t see Ruth often, I am always happy when I do. She is a remarkable individual who works tirelessly to help those who are less fortunate.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~William James

Day 134: Kathryn

18 Aug


Kathryn enjoying her pie
For the last few years I have been catering a variety of affairs including luncheons, memorial services, birthdays, and of course, weddings. I love to make yummy food (which you might have figured out by now) and also like to help people with their events. But to do this job right, I need the help of special people – and Kathryn is one of them.

She has been such a great person to work with. She is calm in the face of chaos (which can happen despite the best laid plans), helpful to and considerate of the guests, and fun to have around. And she raves about my cooking – and that is definitely appreciated!

I got to know Kathryn because she and and my son have been friends for years. In fact, they just completed their senior year of high school and they were co-presidents of the student body. They said that they planned on doing this since they were freshman and, by golly, they succeeded. They both put a lot of time and effort into their roles and took their positions seriously while also adding a bit of levity. We couldn’t have been prouder of their achievements.

Kathryn and Coco, aka, Mrs. Claus and Santa

Tomorrow Kathryn heads off to college. We knew this day was coming – and we are very excited that she will be pursuing her goals – but that doesn’t mean that we won’t miss her! Today I asked Kathryn’s Mom if it would be okay if I made a pie for their last dinner together for a while – and she said yes. Late in the afternoon, Kathryn stopped by where I was working to say goodbye and I was able to surprise her with a double crusted apple pie. We all wish her the very best and look forward to hearing about her adventures!

Kathryn’s friend Ian sure seems to like his pie!

Day 121: The Southern Oregon Humane Society

5 Aug

While listening to the radio the other day I heard that the Southern Oregon Humane Society (SOHS) was in serious need of donations to continue its work. What follows are a few facts about SOHS that you might not know: 1) Animals are never euthanized to make room for other animals, 2) It costs about $11 per day to care for each animal, 3) Approximately 12.5% of the humane society’s budget is received through adoptions,etc. The remaining funds must come from contributions by private citizens, businesses and foundations.

I wanted to bring a pie to this fine organization yesterday, but things didn’t work out too well. And that is why I baked a strawberry rhubarb pie today for the staff and volunteers at the humane society. I appreciate the work that they do and want to support their efforts on behalf of the animals that they save.

For more information on how you can help, please call the Southern Oregon Humane Society at 541-779-3215, ext. 110 or visit them at 2910 Table Rock Road, Medford, OR.

Day 90: Sharing with Others

5 Jul


Each day I receive daily emails from a number of sources. Among them are the Animal Rescue site which helps animal shelters, What’s New from Sweeties (a contest site), and several recipe sites. Another one comes from “The Daily Om Horoscope“. They usually send a positive message or suggestion to help live a more peaceful, thoughtful life. A few days ago, this was the title of the email: Give to Show Gratitude.

That title sure seemed to coincide with what I am trying to do with my Pie a Day project. Here are two excerpts: “Sharing what we have with others is a wonderful means to acknowledge the ways in which the universe has been kind to us.” and “Accepting our lives as they are allows us to see that we have been given a lot by the universe and that when we give to others we are simply channeling the universal energy we have received into something beyond ourselves. Our good fortune can then become a conduit for the universe to work its mystery in this world. By giving to others, you will let the power of the universe work through you to make the world a better place.”

Sometimes when I am with my son and I come upon a situation where I am being asked to help – for example, a person asking for food – he will tell me that I don’t have to help everyone I see. And while I know that this is true, I feel that if I can help someone in need, at least a little bit, then I should do that. We never know when it will be us asking for help and will want others to be understanding and generous.

Today, I brought an Apple Pie to the young lady who came to my aid when I was hit by a car the other day. She was at work and I only stayed there a moment – but I wanted her to know that what she did was appreciated. She didn’t have to stop – but she did. And I am so grateful to her for taking time to help when she could easily have gone on her way.

Life is short and we have not much time, to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us,
So be swift to love, make haste to be kind, and may God’s blessings be with you today and always.