Thanks Giving and Reflections

Up here in Canada it is Thanksgiving Day and as you all know I have much to be thankful for so I won’t bore you with listing them all off again. My family isn’t having a celebration dinner this year, not on the day anyway. I have been extremely sick lately, that is why I haven’t been posting or commenting much, I have been flat-out sick in bed. It started with a sore throat, moved to a head cold and now has settled in my chest. I do worry a bit because I have had pneumonia several times in my life along with bronchitis and once you have had either one you tend to get it again and I am not one to sit still for long and think I can just “work through it” which is not always the case.

Plus my brother’s job, which is absolutely HUGE has to be finished this coming Thursday and seeing as my son is site foreman they are both working this weekend to get the job done.

Two weeks ago my brother had asked me to cook a lunch for the crew on Friday and I had said sure, thinking I would be over this flu and I want to help out as much as I can.  With subtrades there was probably 40 people to feed and my brother requested my Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I worked for 2 days cooked the pork in the slow cooker, making potato salad, coleslaw and marinated peppers plus a dessert. Now I don’t have a stove, well I do have a stove but I haven’t been able to buy propane for the stove for over a year. My heat is electric and being alone I don’t consider having a stove a priority and have gotten by using my microwave, crock pot and an electric pancake griddle, so cooking for 40 presented a bit of a challenge but I got it done and was struggling with this dang flu the whole time.

My brother also hired a chef to do barbecue ribs on the barbecue and my son messaged me after the luncheon that all the guys thought my pulled pork was better than the ribs which was nice to hear because I was worried. When you cook for that many you want it to be good. I was really pleased I pulled it off. I made up a no bake dessert using a graham crust, pudding, cooking apples and thickened them added them to the pudding, mixed in some Cool Whip and sprinkled the top with graham crumbs. The potato salad was red and yellow potatoes and sweet potatoes and really tasty if I say so myself. I had  a bunch of peppers given to me by the neighbour lady and used my blowtorch (left from my scrap hauling days) to “roast” the skins off of them and made a marinade. I heard my brother telling the chef that the peppers were delicious and the chef tell him he didn’t make them, I did! The pulled pork turned out quite spicy but every bit of it and the coleslaw were gone.

I had a rather eye-opening experience while serving this lunch. An ex boyfriend of mine is doing some work for my brother, he had I have remained friendly, we dated for about a year, about 20 years ago. I saw he was leaving just as I was bringing out the food and asked if he wasn’t staying and he said he was vegetarian now. I told him to have some salad and dessert, take some home for his girlfriend, so he took me up on the offer and then we stood talking for a while. He said to me,”Now this is what you should be doing full-time.”

I said, “Oh no, I don’t like to cook THAT much.” my face must have shown my confusion and I could see the confusion on his face.

Then I remembered; I used to love to cook. I was a wonderful cook and entertainer. I used to cook for 30 + people all the time without a second thought, (mind you I always had a fully functioning kitchen and all the serving dishes and large pots etc needed to do it). When he and I dated I always cooked lavish meals, I loved to plan meals, I never followed a recipe and could pull a meal together at the drop of a hat any day of the week because I kept my cupboards so well stocked. When I met the wospos I was a great cook, he used to rave about the meals I could throw together out of seemingly nothing, and then we spent the major part of the next ten years without a kitchen. I realized that anyone who knew me 15+ years ago still views me as this fantastic cook.

For the first few years without a kitchen it really bothered me, cooking and being a homemaker had been such a huge part of me but I adapted and I learned new talents, like painting. After the wospos and I split I was afraid I had forgotten how to cook but obviously I retained some of my cooking skills, the thing I didn’t retain is my passion for it. I can do, I can enjoy doing it on occasion but it is not a something I define myself by any more.

It was an Aha moment for me. I used to show my love for people by cooking for them, I entertained to make friends, cooking and feeding people was who I was; but we all grow and change, my ex is now a vegetarian. People who haven’t spent time with me the past 15 years really don’t know me at all now, sure the basic me is the same but so much of what I thought was important and I couldn’t live without means nothing to me now. But in their place other things have become just as big a part of me, I am even more passionate about the things that are important to me like my blog, my education, helping others, my son, …………..things that really matter.  Who wants “She made a mean pasta sauce” on their headstone? I would much rather have, “She made a positive difference in the world” on mine. The whole time I was cooking lavish meals I was feeling inferior and like I wasn’t living my purpose but I didn’t know what my purpose was. Maybe a person’s purpose changes as they age. Maybe being step mom to 4 kids was my purpose at that time, maybe running a daycare was my purpose for that period of time in my life and now my purpose is to raise awareness about domestic abuse. I just know I have stopped wondering what my purpose in life is and knowing that I have helped someone have a better future is a lot more gratifying than knowing I cooked a good meal.

I had taken Kato’s ashes with me with the intention of spreading them at the river where the wospos and I used to take Kato because this job is very close to where wospos used to work. I went to the river but the tide was in, the river feeds into the ocean; and I couldn’t get to the spot we used to go. I left to go to another spot on the river where Kato and I used to go almost daily behind Amix. I drove past where JC used to work and they are gone, closed. The company had been around forever and all the trucks were parked but the company was gone. Then I went to go the other location and the roads have all been changed and I don’t know how to get there any more. I tried to find another park Kato and I used to go to and once again I could see the road I needed to take but now the new road totally bypasses it and I couldn’t go there either.

In five short years, everything has changed. I stopped going down to that area because I didn’t want to run into the wospos and in that time it has changed so much I hardly recognized it. There was a day I knew the whole area like the back of my hand.

There was a day I could remember exactly what it felt like to kiss the wospos, I could remember the feeling of being in his arms, there was a day I ached for him to hold me. I thought I would never be whole again, that I would never find “me” again.

As much as we want things to stay the same, as much as we don’t want to let go of what we know and we think we can’t survive losing what we have……….everything changes, the world, our world, the people around us. We lose pets, lovers, ourselves but every time we lose some thing we get something in its place, who knows it might even be better than what we had. But we have to know when to let it go, when it no longer serves us to cling to something and be open to accepting what is waiting to take its place. It takes courage to let go of what we know for the unknown but if we don’t we stagnate and we will never grow, we will never be better than we were we will never have better.

So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for change, I am thankful for all the wonderful things that have taken the place of those things that made me who I was because they make me who I am.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all with love.

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