In which I ramble on endlessly about many things…

Yes, it’s been two weeks since I sat down and put words into some kind of a cohesive order here.

I have about a half a dozen notes here on my desktop about ‘blog posts I should be writing’, or just plain things I’d like to share with you, and other rambling thoughts. So, the chances are very good that you’re going to get all, or most, of them in one long in-cohesive post.

Michael Ruhlman wrote a very interesting article a little while back about bringing chefs into hospices, to create meals for the clients. I was deeply moved by and taken with the idea. As Ruhlman says, “because meals are about family as much as they are about food, and last meals are important.” However, reading the article what i don’t get a sense of is how often this is done. Are these event meals? Once a week special nights? Or have the created a system where every evening meal is this sort of family meal? What I think I’d like to see, what ought to be done (if it isn’t what they’re doing now) is bringing the chefs in to help create menus and planning and teaching cooking staff the techniques so that every evening meal in hospice care can be this kind of family moment. Sitting down for a meal as a family shouldn’t have to be an occasion or event for those in hospice, but something that’s just there, a quiet background thing that removes one more stress from the family, removes one more barrier from that feeling of ‘home’.

I hope that’s what they’re doing.

Poverty. Kathleen Kerridge writes this article on the face of poverty today. And this follow up article about all the stupid things that get said when you start talking about poverty. While Kathleen is based in Britain these are still valuable and enlightening reads, the numbers and systems may differ some between our countries, but the truths don’t. They’re eye-opening if poverty isn’t something you know; understand or have experienced. If poverty is something you have an intimate relationship with it’s good to hear you’re not alone.

For me, personally, aside from a period of about two years of my life, ‘working poor’ was the correct demographic description, but what it boiled down to was we were and are now, poor. We were and are exceptionally fortunate that James family was able and willing to help us out (albeit with a scolding), and that within a week of being turned down for social assistance I found part time work. Oddly enough we were denied assistance because I’d cashed in what meager retirement savings I had, and in playing shell games with credit accounts to stretch things out as best we could – we couldn’t adequately explain later where/how that money was spent. The thing of it is, I read Kathleen’s article I find myself more sympathetic to her poverty as “no fault of her own”, after all she didn’t choose to be ill. I’m less forgiving of myself and am inclined still to be embarrassed by and apologetic for our poverty, which can be directly attributed to certain choices I’ve / we’ve made over the years. My children grew up in poverty because I *chose* to leave my first marriage, oh I had hopes and dreams and potentials when I left, but the ‘poor’ came ultimately because of that choice, and choices I made later. Later on, our current situation is a direct result of my *choice* to leave my employer on March 3rd 2010 and thus effectively committed professional suicide. I didn’t think it would turn out that way, however, it did, and it was a direct result of my choices. In the end the relationships I ended that landed us in this mess were abusive ones, but that doesn’t make my abusers responsible for my choices. The thing of it is, I don’t want it to sound all noble “I’m poor because I chose a higher moral ground’, but nor do I want it to be “it’s all your own damn fault!”. In the end I did what I had to do for me, I didn’t want it to turn out this way and we work daily to move forward from here, but it’s neither to be commended or condemned – it simply is. I need to learn to be more forgiving of myself.

Writing. I’ve been thinking a lot of late of favourite phrases. I’ve long had a fairly short list of favourite words; turtle is one, I love the bumpy chewy texture of it in my mouth; but the list of favourite phrases is longer yet I haven’t really written about that. Sometimes they’re catchy and people (myself included) will use them as tag lines, but more often than not they just simply illustrate a point – succinctly or amusingly or with a particular panache. As a writer a well crafted phrase, an elegant painting of words, is a beautiful thing and I tend to collect them. I’ll often laugh out loud a little in delight upon discovering them, some of them I’ve written, some I’ve collected elsewhere. So in no particular order:

  • He couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag without a lamp and a Labrador (mine)
  • She ain’t pretty she just looks that way.(Northern Pikes)
  • A plethora of famished cliches. (Jack)
  • Quasi-superfluously noncommital. (Ken)
  • Sooooooooooo really not so very rambly…. there was a looooooooooooooong interesting bit that’s been rambling around in my head for a while on art, artisans, arts and crafts, Ayn Rand, Pierre Berton and The Plan®…….. but after 2 days of writing on it – the computer ATE that part. I know I know *sigh*, ‘save your work, save your work often.’

    Anyway, it eventually grew to a point where it really deserves a post of it’s own, so I’ll have to try and recapture the spirit of the thing again tomorrow :)

    Til then…..

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