#Worth Revisit: Belonging Edition

Because I just can never shake that Square Peg In A Round Hole thing, I had to jump in on today’s #WorthRevisit linkup at Reconciled To You.

c4125-leaningtowerofbeveragesHere’s my contribution: You Just Never Know, recounting an afternoon when I was shaking in my boots, out of my element but doing something I loved.

I’m still pushing through those same feelings, and I’m always grateful when someone comes to the rescue–even (especially) when that’s entirely by accident.

It was a rough night last night at the Tech Week Dinners.  Nothing bad happened or anything, but through a perfect storm of my usually-barely-controlled social anxiety, a heavy introvert tendency, and my current hormonal state, I really wasn’t dealing with even a small disturbance in the force field I prefer to generate around myself at all times.

And that force field was breached when the sweet and energetic mom who coordinates these dinners asked me to bring the muffin trays to the table where some other moms were setting out bagels.  Instant Mom-timidation ensued.  I was wearing a red t-shirt, tan capris and running shoes (after all, I was carrying 5-gallon jugs of lemonade, mixing iced tea, and standing for three hours on end.  I was dressed for the job, apron and all.)  They were wearing fashionable wrap dresses, strappy sandals, and coordinating jewelry.  But that’s not all.  The Mom-timidators launched into complaints about a lack of tablecloths, centerpieces and matching balloons.  For a pancake-and-bacon dinner for 75 teenagers in a high-school cafeteria.  Then they started lining up the butter, syrup and jelly in perfectly straight lines.

To be fair, these moms did nothing and said nothing that should have bothered/upset/intimidated me.  Really, they didn’t.  I’m sure they’re perfectly lovely people, but I can’t know that because I couldn’t stay there.  As soon as I could, I got out of the Mom-timidation Sector and went to my Cozy Corner with the big stack-o-beverage coolers and got busy pouring lemonade and iced tea.  I vented a bit on Twitter, just to blow off a little steam.

A friend came over at one point to tell me some funny stories of things that had happened to her that day.  That was well-timed, though I’m sure she doesn’t know it.  (She may have seen those Tweets of Desperation, though).  It gave my brain a break from dwelling on my completely irrational response to the Mom-timidation that I was completely aware I was imagining, but couldn’t stop myself from feeling.

When dinner was over, I cleaned up the drink stuff and headed home.  It took a while to wind down from my strange emotional response, which I’m seriously hoping didn’t show on my face all evening.  And this morning, I got a quick email from the lovely Tech Week Dinner coordinator, thanking me for showing up, stepping up, and jumping in and getting things done.  She’s very faithful and very sincere about thanking people.  And boy, that 3-sentence email could not have come on a better day.

Yet another friend saw those Tweets of Desperation and tweeted me this morning to make sure I was OK.  (yes, and thanks!)

The moral of the story is:  you probably never know the effect you are going to have on people.  So if you have the chance to do so, have a good effect on someone.  Send them that quick “thank you” email.  Give that compliment.  Tell that funny story.  Especially if someone has that Deer-in-the-Headlights look, like I probably did yesterday.

To the folks who came to my rescue, intentionally or not:  thank you!  I love you!

Stop by the #WorthRevisit linkup and see what everyone else has shared!

Photo copyright Barb Szyszkiewicz 2012. All rights reserved.

2014 in 12 posts

Here’s a fun linkup:  sum up your year by choosing 12 posts from the blog! There are supposed to be photos too, but that didn’t always work out. Oh, and there are a few more than 12 in there. (Sorry, not sorry.)12 in 2014Dwija at House Unseen is hosting.

In January, I was feeling consumed by Little Brother’s six-week-old diabetes diagnosis and finding ways to navigate both of us through a day.

This is what 3 months' worth of diabetes supplies looks like--not counting insulin, which lives in the refrigerator.
This is what 3 months’ worth of diabetes supplies looks like–not counting insulin, which lives in the refrigerator.

One day at a time. One meal at a time.

In February, I started my new cooking blog. blue and gold 2012 setup pasta pansHave you visited it? You don’t have to be diabetic to enjoy the recipes I share at Cook and Count. (Maybe this year I’ll finish transferring recipes from the old cooking blog.)

In March, I organized a week of Tech Week Dinners for the cast and crew of the high-school musical. leaning tower of beveragesIt’s a labor of love, and I really do love it.

April saw me a little overwhelmed (when am I not?), and finding a new way to deal with it.

May brought out the Mama Bear in this mama when my diabetic child went to a restaurant on a school field trip.denied

And Big Brother finished college.baccalaureate Mass


In June I got my hands on a book I hadn’t read in over 20 years. make space make symbolsIt was worth the search for just one line.

And Middle Sister graduated from high school.

In July we learned that our associate pastor would be retiring and moving at the end of the summer. ed14b-altarserverHere’s my tribute to Father H., priest and scholar.

DSC_0358August’s impromptu vacation was just what the doctor ordered. Lots of relaxation.

September brought the beginning of a new school year, the adjustment to cooking for 3, and that after-summer burst of organizing energy (I’m looking forward to a similar burst right…about…tomorrow!)IMG_0237-0

In October I celebrated the fact that I’m near my son when his health needs require it. Availability is a good thing. Since I substitute at his school, I’m available even when I’m working, and I’m grateful that the school is so understanding.

morning messageIn November, I was deep into substitute teaching and having “one of those days” fairly often. That’s November for you.

In December, I was moved to tears a couple of times daily as my “foster students” (the second grade class where I was substitute-teaching) rehearsed and then performed their Christmas play.

All in all, it’s been a good year.

The Shuffle Your FiPod Game

I don’t have an iPod; my sister would say I have a FiPod (Fake iPod.) Actually, I like my mp3 player very much except for the really weird name (it’s a Creative Zen–have fun with that!)
Aimee played this game and it looked so fun I had to join in.
Here’s how to play: hit SHUFFLE on your music player of choice, and post the first few lines of the first 15 songs that come up, unless they give away the title. When commenters name the tunes correctly, strike them out in the list. (The lyrics, not the commenters).
I did leave out the instrumental music that came up, but otherwise you get what you get!

1. Sitting in the morning sun; I’ll be sitting when the evening comes Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)–identified by Aimee

2. It’s another [TITLE OF SONG]; Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky, said goodbye

3. Raven hair and ruby lips; Sparks fly from her finger tips Witchy Woman (Eagles)–identified by Aimee

4. [TITLE OF SONG]; Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore So Far Away (Carole King)–identified by Aimee

5. [TITLE OF SONG}; I’d be in trouble if you left me now

6. I got a crack in my windshield; I know exactly how it feels

7. [TITLE OF SONG], that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.

8. [TITLE OF SONG] God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

9. [TITLE OF SONG, PARTIAL TITLE OF SONG] wherever he may go, there isn’t an ocean too deep. I Will Follow Him (Sister Act soundtrack, because there is NO END to my cheesiness)–identified by Aimee

10. Hey You, you lost your only friend; You can’t believe you’re broken heart will ever mend

11. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack Frost nipping at your nose (HOW DID THIS GET ON HERE? I HATE THIS SONG!!!)

12. A lonely child alone and wild, a cabinetmaker’s son; his hands were meant for different work Leader of the Band (Dan Fogelberg)–identified by Aimee

13. Moon shinin’ down through the palms, shadows movin’ on the sand. Somebody whisperin’ the 23rd psalm.

14. I’m sittin’ in the railway station, Got a ticket for my destination

15. Oh little red bird, Come to my window sill. Been so lonesome, Shaking that morning chill

7 Random Christmas Things

Ellen tagged me for a “7 Random Christmas Things” meme.

I may have mentioned some of these before, so I’ll link to that if I have.

1. I just learned this week (because my cousins are on facebook) that my parents’ tradition of “Santa decorates the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve” was actually my father’s family tradition, so it happened in all my cousins’ households as well.

2. We only bake one kind of Christmas cookie here, and it’s still too early to do those. If we bake them now, there’ll be none left for Santa!

3. Other than the Nativity Scene, my favorite Christmas decoration is the set of “doily on a toilet paper tube” angels that my older children made in pre-K.

4. I love Christmas carols (not “winter carols” like “Sleigh Ride”) but my all-time favorite has to be “O Holy Night,” followed by “Silent Night” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

5. TheDad likes to taunt me by “hiding” my unwrapped Christmas gift practically in plain sight. For some reason I never notice it, which mystifies everyone (including me). Of course, he’s a last-minute shopper, so he never has to hide it for too long.

6. Childhood Christmas present that I still have and still use: a couple of pairs of mittens knitted by Granma. She had 15 grandchildren and I don’t know how many step-grands, and every last one of them got a new pair of mittens every Christmas.

7. I’m all done shopping AND wrapping! Woohoo!

I know it’s a busy time so I won’t tag anyone, but if you want to play, just say so in the combox!

Six Things that Make Me Happy Meme

Rosemary tagged me for the Six Things That Make Me Happy meme.

In no particular order, here are some big and little things that bring a smile to my face.

1. Music! (Right now, Trans-Siberian Orchestra‘s Christmas Eve and Other Stories)

2. Family and Friends! I couldn’t ask for a better husband or children, or better friends.

3. Reading!

4. Cooking and baking (for family and friends)! I’m not good at arts and crafts, but I do enjoy creating in the kitchen–and I enjoy sharing these creations with my loved ones.

5. Writing! (here and here and here)

6. Being a part of a wonderful faith/parish community and Franciscan community.

I declare an OPEN TAG on this one. If you haven’t yet played, why not do so?

Have you ever…

Tami posted this and it looked like fun.

How to play: BOLD anything you have done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars (in a tent, does that count?)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (DisneyWorld)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (in general)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke – if that’s what you want to call it!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Fast Break

Because Suzanne asked so politely and everything.

1. Three favorite recipes that you think you cook well (you can write the recipe if you like but you don’t have to). That’s easy; just visit my recipe blog. All my favorite recipes are there. I think my best-loved ones are spaghetti and meatballs, Granma’s Biscuits, and Christmas cookies.

2. Two places that you would like to visit and why. I’d love to go back to Ireland again. It’s beautiful there. And the beach is always good, any time of year.

3. Three secret things you’d like to know how to do .. learn to do. No secret: I’d like to learn how to play the organ, speak/read Latin, and use all the features of my amazing cell phone.

4. In your heart, do you feel more close to the Dominicans, the Benedictines, or
the Franciscans? Why one over the others?
EASY! Franciscans! Why? I’ve been raised in the Franciscan spirituality, surrounded by Franciscans of all kinds, all my life. Guess it just rubbed off on me.

And that’s all the time I have today.

The 6th Picture Meme

Interesting idea: display the 6th picture in the 6th folder on your computer I’m following an open tag from Amy Caroline!

This was taken last Thanksgiving, where we celebrated my dad’s 69th birthday and my great-aunt’s 80th birthday. My sister’s kids thought it would be funny to add up their ages for the number candles.

The cake was as delicious as it looked, although after my sister’s famously fabulous Thanksgiving dinner, nobody wanted much dessert!

The Four Things Meme

Just for fun, from Christine at Domestic Vocation!

Just 4 things…each

A) 4 places I go to over and over:
church, school library, Shop Rite, my basement (that’s where the washing machine is!)

B) 4 people who e-mail me most regularly:
my sister, SFO Girl, TheDad, other staff members at Family Corner

C) 4 of my favorite places to eat:
home (really!), Cracker Barrel, the Diner Formerly Known as Burger King, a local Romanian cafe

D) 4 places I would rather be right now:
home (really!), the beach, the mountains where the leaves are turning, a bookstore with a non-Starbucks coffee shop (I don’t like Starbucks coffee)

E) 4 TV shows I watch over & over:
M*A*S*H, What Not to Wear, Clean House, local Fox morning news

A Book Meme

How could I resist? I love books!

I was tagged by Esther for this meme. Obviously she knows that books are my weakness!

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

There were always books around when I was growing up. Mom has always been an avid reader, and she took us to the library often. We loved attending “Story Hour” even when the librarian read The Story of Ping week after week after week after week.

What are some books you read as a child?

When we were preschoolers, Dad worked for Putnam publishing and got a lot of “seconds” (books sewn into their binding upside-down, or otherwise defective but usable books.) Some of these became favorites of mine, including anything by Wanda Gag (I love her artwork to this day) and Andrew Henry’s Meadow, which my parents actually hid so they wouldn’t have to read it to me anymore. When I learned to read, I branched out into series like the Bobbsey Twins, the Little House series, the Betsy-Tacy books, the Tuckers, Cherry Ames and a few Nancy Drew, though I wasn’t a big fan of hers. And I loved Beverly Cleary and Pearl S. Buck’s children’s books.

What is your favorite genre?

For fiction, I love novels (not short stories) that take place in a locale familiar to me. For nonfiction, I enjoy cookbooks and books that deal in some way with human behavior (such as books involving marketing).

Do you have a favorite novel?

Oh yes. Just anyone who visits my blog regularly….okay…A Tree Grows in Brookyn by Betty Smith.
(I didn’t even have to change this from Esther’s answer! Obviously we share the same great taste in books. I discovered this book when I was about 12 and reread it regularly.)

Where do you usually read?

Anywhere I can. I have a comfy spot on the couch right near my desk, with a good lamp and a table for my coffee cup. There are about 15 books stacked there right now (2 piles!) What more could I want?

When do you usually read?

Several times a day but usually after lunch and before I fall asleep.
(recycling Esther’s answer once again!)

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

Yes, of course, doesn’t any bookworm worth their salt 😉
(Great minds think alike, Esther!)

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Yes. I tend to devour fiction books; nonfiction books take me longer to read but I also don’t tend to read them straight through. I might read part of them, put them down for days, weeks, months and then pick them up again and finish–or not. It takes a lot for me to abandon a novel even if I don’t like it; I usually want to know how it turns out.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

All of the above!

Do you keep most of the books you buy?

TheDad would say I keep way too many of the books I buy. But I can’t help myself.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them?

The Little House books, Andrew Henry’s Meadow, the Chronicles of Narnia, Wanda Gag’s works, The Little House and Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, McElligot’s Pool by Dr. Seuss (another of my childhood favorites), and Beverly Cleary’s works.

What are you reading now?

I’m “between books” at the moment but there are a few in my library bag waiting on me.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Yes, I do–in my PDA.

What’s next?

I haven’t decided what to read next yet.

What books would you like to reread?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Flannery O’Connor’s works

Who are your favorite authors?

Betty Smith, Ann Tatlock, Flannery O’Connor, Marian Keyes, Charles Martin, Jon Hassler, Maeve Binchy, Suzanne Strempek Shea.

Tag: Barbara