October – Fall into Halloween – Quotation

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I had wanted to share some quotations from murdered journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, but I couldn’t choose. So please visit The Washington Post and read what he’s written including his last column, published posthumously. 

Also, if you’re so inclined, please support the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, define yourself.”

-Harvey Fierstein

October – Fall into Halloween – Reflection

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​I mentioned in my initial blurb earlier in the month that October is my favorite month. The leaves are changing colors, the pumpkins are in full force in the neighborhood, the kids are talking about their costumes, I’m preparing my own costume, my son’s birthday is happening, we go applepicking, there is usually a one day retreat, comic store activities, the return of The Walking Dead, my parish’s anointing mass, the Living Rosary, and a host of other motivations and inspirations for writing and centering.

This year, however…

Ugh.

It is 15 days before the midterm elections. Most years I vote, but I don’t pay that much attention. I trusted President Obama and even President Bush, who I did not vote for, to keep the country steady. I trusted Congress, even in its usual disfunction to keep a check and a balance on the President, although the Republican Congress during the Obama years went a little crazy on the obstructionism. I trusted the Supreme Court to follow the law. Even Scalia, who I didn’t like and disagreed with on almost everything, had a moral compass.

But this year….Good Lord. The hyperbole is strong – this may be our last free and fair election. Vote now, you may not get another chance. This is the most important election of our lifetimes.

And you know what?

It is all of those things.

In early 2017, I re-read 1984, and i was kind of amazed at how much of it I had forgotten, and also amazed, and petrified at how much of it seemed to be coming true with the new Trump Administration. I hesitate to call it a Republican administration, but the Republicans in  Congress seem to have forgotten their function in favor of…I don’t know what it’s in favor of.

So, yeah, long story short, tl;dr, yell, scream, run, don’t walk to your nearest polling place, and VOTE!

We also were not able to go applepicking this year. This is the first year since we’ve had kids that we haven’t gone. Even when my son was nine days old, we still went applepicking. I’m so torn about this.

My oldest child is moving out.

I know; it’s time. He’s ready. I’m not, but I probably would never be, but he’s ready. He also has two jobs, a car, and has been feeding himself for mostly a year now. He’s ready. I need to keep telling myself that.

I was late to my doctor’s appointment this  morning, and I would have only been less than five minutes late. Except for the speeding ticket. I can’t even.

I was going to go as a Hufflepuff professor for Halloween. I just needed a witch’s hat, and then Jamal Khashoggi was brutally assassinated in Istanbul. In 2016, I went as a journalist because of all the attacks on the media by the Trump campaign. Back then, I had no idea how bad it would get for the journalists and their colleagues. I would have never expected any President of the United States calling our free press an enemy of the people. I even less expected that after the murder of a US Permanent Resident, writer for the Washington Post, that any President would take the side of the murderers and make excuses akin to covering up that murder. So I’m recycling my journalist costume, both in honor of the free press and in memory of Jamal Khashoggi.

Let me try and think of three positive things before I go.

My brother may come for a visit for a few days. The kids are excited and it would be nice to see him. We’ll have to come up with something interesting to do. We’re a boring group, but I think we can fake it. We’ll need to start cleaning now. Like right now.

I’m planning on doing Nanowrimo this year. I loved how last year it gave me focus and motivation. I need that again, and am very much looking forward to it. It begins in ten days!

I got hearing aids this week. I’m still getting used to them. Some things are a little too loud, but the amount of times I say “what” and cup my hand over my ear has gone down by about 99%, so that’s a bonus. I’ve noticed a real difference in church, hearing the kids talking to me from the backseat of the car, talking to a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, and I’m more disturbed by the rattling that I can now hear my car making.

October – Fall into Halloween – Recipe – Quiche

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Apart from a hearty soup or stew, chicken or turkey pot pie, or creamy mac & cheese, I find quiche to be a really great, warm, easy to eat, easy to make comfort food. I think the common link of comfort foods is softness. Something you can savor and hold on your tongue without changing the consistency or the taste. Quiche is like that.

I’ve adapted this over the years, but the original recipe that I started with came from The Kitchen Survival Guide by Lora Brody. We bought this book when we first got married, and it was wonderful for teaching all the kitchen basics that neither of us knew anything about.

After putting either a non-stick spray or greasing the (8×8 or 9×9 square glass) pan with butter, there are different bases that can go on the bottom of the quiche. The original recipe called for bread. During Passover, I’ve used two layers of matzo, and just last week, I used two layers of Ritz crackers. So be creative, and use what you and your family enjoy.

I’ve also mixed all the ingredients and poured them over the base and I’ve layered each ingredient and then poured the egg mixture over. I think I prefer the layered version.

Put diced or chunked onions on the base. (1 onion)

Cover the onions with the cheese. I like cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, mozarella. Any of those individually or any of them mixed with each other. (Use about 8oz. of cheese or how much you like.)

Put spinach over the cheese. If you use the frozen box of spinach, drain it well. You can use the whole box.

Combine 8 eggs (the original recipe called for six), 2 cups milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1 TB pepper. (You can add 2 tsp. garlic powder if you like that extra flavor and/or 1 TB dill weed).

Mix with a fork or whisk.

Pour over the layers.

Put the quiche in the refrigerator for one hour.

After one hour, put into an oven preheated to 325° and bake for 40 minutes. If you like the top a little more well done, you can leave it in for another five minutes or so.

Serve hot with salad or biscuits (or any bread/roll that you prefer.)

October – Fall into Halloween

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​October is my favorite month for a lot of reasons. It is also the beginning of a very stressful and anxious time for me. It’s almost every year, and once this was brought to my attention, I was able to pay attention to the signs, to be self-aware, maybe a little overly self-aware to remember to take care of myself and to enjoy what I do enjoy and push through what I find difficult.

For one thing, school is humming along. All of the back to school paperwork has been handed in, drama club has begun, my son’s birthday is in two weeks, the leaves are changing, we’re planning our applepicking day, choosing Halloween costumes, not buying candy so we don’t eat it before the 31st, and I’m kind of getting ready for Nanowrimo. For the past two Halloweens, we’ve only started buying candy on the 29th and 30th. So far, so good.

I have a lot of medical stuff getting done this month. I’m about to schedule a mammogram, and my physical and colonoscopy is near the end of the month. I’m getting hearing aids in two weeks, which is nerve-wracking, depressing from a getting older perspective, and also excited anticipation so I can hear half of the things I’ve been missing.

I was also just informed (cautiously, nicely, with as much gentleness as was possible) that my oldest child is moving out. To be honest, I know he’s ready, and he’s thought it through, and he’s good and decent and it’s time, but also to be honest, I’m devastated. I can’t think of anything else. He’s been working two or three jobs for the last year, so it’s not like I’m used to seeing him around anyway. His main job is an overnight, so he gets home in the morning while I’m still sleeping, and he’s sleeping when I get up for the day. He hasn’t eaten dinner with us in weeks (months, really), he only answers about half my texts, and so physically not much will change.

But I’m still distraught.

The depression is building.

It’s also an election year – it is the most important election year in our lifetimes. That is no exaggeration. It’s time for those of us in the majority show the rest of the country what that actually means.

We are about to seat a new Supreme Court Justice, and the nominee (without the baggage of credible allegations of sexual assault) is the least qualified, the most lacking in temperament, the most self-entitled man to be chosen by any President in modern times. I’m also still deeply pained by the disgusting partisan insulting treatment of Judge Merrick Garland, and the traitorous  behavior of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not only for that, but also for refusing to sign onto a bipartisan statement informing the American people of the Russian election interference in the 2016 election.

I am not over that election. I will never be over that election.

A foreign government put their finger on the scales of a fair and free election, and our Republican party helped.

I do apologize for this political outburst. That is not what this monthly blurb is about, but this hangs heavy over my October this year.

I’m going to take a deep breath, and make a few suggestions to you, and to myself while I try to keep October on an even, mindful, centered keel. As the campaign season winds down to Election Day (in thirty-four days), more than likely we will all need some form of self-care, and October actually lends itself really well to some unique ways to bring ourselves back to the center.

1. Take a drive to see the fall foliage. Many regions of the US have a beautiful change of season. I am very lucky to live in the Northeast, so it goes from green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows, sometimes in a matter of days.

2. Go applepicking. While you’re there, definitely eat one apple from the tree. Clean it on your shirt, and listen to the sound of the crisp, juicy snap of that first bite of the apple, its stem still attached, the leaf brushing against your nose. My favorite variety is the snapdragon, a relatively new hybrid.

3. Cook something comforting. Stew, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, mac&cheese, apple bread, apple pie.

4. Have a cup of tea. Or better yet, a mug. And keep them coming.

5. Light a scented candle. I like lilac.

What would you add to this list?