Tag Archives: Voltaire

Good Grief!

20 Jun

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It’s been about seven weeks since my Dad passed away and my moments of grief have come unexpectedly.  For example, a few weeks ago I walked into a store and saw the men’s department and the first thing I thought was “what does Dad need” and immediately remembered, “he doesn’t need anything.”  I was both relieved and deeply saddened by the realization that I will not be caring for my Dad anymore

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Baking pies for friends has helped with my grief… it’s something I can do on autopilot.

Another day I ran into a friend who’d always asked how Dad was doing.  She looked at me and began her question, “How is he… ” and my eyes grew moist as I gently shook my head. We talked and cried and finally hugged.  Later, my friend said that she felt bad for asking but I was grateful to have had the chance to release the tears.

On several occasions I’ve found that when I mention the news about Dad’s passing that it seems like I’ve given permission for others to share their pain.  I’ve found myself in the aisle of a store with a friend laughing and crying as we listened to each other’s stories. Clearly we both needed to share, and in doing so, were given the opportunity to heal just a little bit.

Then just a week ago I was asked to take in a dog that is going through a loss of her own. Emile’s Mom had to move into a place where dogs are not permitted.  Now her dog, Lily, and I are both experiencing loss and somehow we have to figure out how to live in the new world we now find ourselves in.  I hope that I can help Lily as much as she is helping me.

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Perhaps what I am most grateful for at this time is that my Dad took care of legal matters years ago and that has made things much easier than they might otherwise have been. Truly, these last months I’ve felt like I was walking around in a fog and if I’d had to be making difficult decisions I don’t know how I’d have done so.  I encourage everyone to start thinking about taking care of those details for your loved ones.  This site is a great place to start:  www.gyst.com.  The initials stand for “get your shit together.” Think about it –  the death of a loved one is hard enough to handle without having to locate a will or figure out passwords.  Please take action soon – I know your family will thank you.

“Tears are the silent language of grief.”  Voltaire

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Chocolate Cream Pie… and gilding the lily

23 Jun

Tuesday evening I left my home in Oregon to take a red-eye flight across the county to “release” my Dad from the rehab facility where he’s been for the last couple of months.  The folks there say that he has reached the goals that they had set for him and that he is ready to find another place to live.  Trouble is, my Dad can’t really live alone right now and the “assisted living” place that we visited left much to be desired.   So, in a few days Dad will come and stay with me for a while.   I’ll share more about that at another time… suffice it to say that this will be a tremendous challenge for both of us.

In the time before I left, I really needed to spend some time making a pie.  It’s my way of finding my “center.”   One of my favorite types of pies is Chocolate Cream Pie and, in fact, the last two pies I have made were of this type. One pie was given to honor a new baby named “Chloe” (Congratulations to Carla and Brandon and big sister Sophia!) and the other was given to a family that I had learned was leaving the area after having been here for too short a time.   They were moving back to the mid-west to be nearer to family and as I listened to their story, I heard a touch of sadness at the prospect of leaving and knew that a pie would help ease the transition.   I mean, really, how could it not?

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When I make chocolate cream pie, I follow a recipe much like this one (but mine uses a bit of half and half in addition to the milk).   Once the filling is placed in the cookie crust (I use crushed Oreo’s or these by Newman’s Own), you must let it cool completely.  To finish the pie,  I begin by making sweetened whipped cream.  Occasionally I  will add a splash of Kahlua to the whipped cream instead of vanilla for a more scrumptious taste… but a spoonful of vanilla works just fine too.

Once the cream is whipped, I spoon it into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and then I pipe it onto the cooled pie.  Now, here is where some folks differ in what should happen next.   I think the pie looks fine as it is… but somehow I can never leave well enough alone.  Instead, I prefer to top it with a pile of chocolate shavings or a drizzle of melted chocolate or even by topping it with chocolate covered espresso beans. Someone close to me refers to this habit of mine as “gilding the lily“.    I’d love to know what you think!

chocolate cream pie before adding chocolate shavings

 

chocolate cream pie with chocolate shavings

 

chocolate cream pie with drizzlePhotos from Karen's camera 406

 

The superfluous, a very necessary thing.
Voltaire