Change is in the air and I’m ready to feel it! I want to wear it on my skin, breath it in, and bask in the sense of something new after months of anger and frustration and feeling stuck. None of this is actually new. These feelings have been ever-present as caregiving has that way of reducing your sense of freedom while feeding you a cocktail of resentment. I frequently find myself consumed by bitterness, embroiled by feelings of sacrifice without a taste of reward. They say that caregiving is a thankless job and I see the truth there but I also feel compelled to believe there is something better. A silver lining around the corner, hiding in the shadows… It’s there. It’s just awaiting discovery. And without a reminder to counter your perceptions, it’s easy to fall victim to your own worst thoughts… There is no light.
#FakeNews… It’s not that the light is not there, it’s just so hard to see it on your own. I more than know the value of community and feelings of caregiver isolation have only strengthened those beliefs. At the same time, I’m learning that it’s no one’s job to make you happy. My father is impossible to please and my efforts to cater to his every need, as if I’m a DJ for his life, gets old quick, especially when his every response is that of criticism. I can not express how deeply this cuts through me. No movie I play for him is good enough. The CDs I put on are always the wrong ones. Every meal I make is not “normal stuff”… I can accept that he has dementia and this is the result of illness but I cannot accept the feelings that somehow, I am not enough. I personalize it because it’s my every effort. It’s not a single recipe he refuses. It’s me grabbing carrots from the fridge and his head shaking no, already in protest. An immediate refusal to wait and see… Maybe it will be good? “It”… that questionable step forward that might lead us both to a better state of existence if we could both just trust the outcome will be ok. Just a single step so we might see that so-called “light”.
I must repeatedly remind myself that my job is not to make my father happy. My job is to keep him healthy and safe. Unfortunately, that means I must forgo my own happiness as our lives are inexplicably linked. But again, #FakeNews… If it’s no one’s job to provide another with happiness, than it’s a personal mission to find it for yourself. So, in an ode to gratitude I have a few things that are light worthy! Here are some recent highs:
Copper Cutlery Set
This copper cutlery set! It is a first addition set that has been crafted from 95% post-commercial consumer material. The copper was salvaged from a scrapped windlass motor off a boat (a tribute to my old life sailing with the Sea Education Association) and pieces of electrical cable found in a local junk pile. Reduce, reuse recycle? (Hi AmeriCorps Cape Cod! You are another reminder that time remains within us…) The parts were recycled and repurposed for this second life as functional art. They have assorted imperfections due to the nature of scrapsmithing however it’s specifically those details that provide the set with character and tell their story of longevity. Like us, we all live with scars but we can also chose to recognize them as marks of beauty. This cutlery set speaks that language. They are imperfectly perfect! Working with copper is a new venture for me that meets my heart at the intersection of food as craft and production through recycling. This is just the beginning and I am beyond excited to see where it leads.
Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club
I joined a cooking club! Being that I’m a chef, you might think it’s odd that I’m following someone else’s recipes but honestly, I’m tired of wasting mental energy on everyday things. Meals are a must but the what of each meal keeps getting in the way. Time spent determining what to make is just as consuming as shopping for ingredients, prepping a recipe, and cleaning-up afterwards. These tasks are never ending and the churn and burn of making grub, wedged between the needs of caregiving has come to feel like an inescapable rut. It’s not that I don’t want to make good food. I just don’t want the puzzle of “what” day in, day out, when the complexities of senior care continue to compound my life. So, for a change of pace I signed-up for the Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club! I’ve been following Sara Forte, the creator of Sprouted Kitchen, for a while now and her take on food run close to my own approach wholesome. This cooking club has infused some fun back into my culinary game. I have frequently experienced “cooking block” (think writer’s block) over the course of the 3 1/2 years I’ve now been in Florida. Maybe it’s that lack of seasonal change? Who knows.. All, I can say is that this club has come as a sort-of relief. It provides both freedom and structure which is exactly what I need right now, with enough room for creativity when inspiration strikes. Perfect example? Homemade pitas to compliment the Chopped Mediterranean Salad in the gallery photo above.
Long story short, if you are a busy caregiver or parent or anyone in need of some simplified direction on what to make for dinner you might want to consider joining the Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club. This is my first month of participation but I can say with honesty that the recipes are both tasty and wholesome and streamlined for convenience. Put that together and boom! That’s a gratitude bomb in my book. I find myself looking forward to the weekly release of new recipes which is a cheap thrill maybe, but thrill nonetheless! That “light” lives in looking forward and the little things are not excluded.
Spoon Carving Workshop on Cape Cod
Speaking of looking forward, I have something big to throw into the mix! I am excited to share that I have a spoon carving workshop on Cape Cod! I’m collaborating with Milisa Moses at the Plant Work Shop in Orleans, MA for two evenings of fun where we’ll be carving our own kitchen tools! Spoon time! Can you feel my excitement?
I often wonder if “making” has become a lost art. Within the world of technology, manufacturing, and mass production, I find myself yearning for the chance to settle into craft. Almost like a nostalgia for slowness, spoon carving has become my modern past-time. I dream about it happening on porches, around campfires, and in public spaces. It’s a hobby that is both fun to gather for or escape into. It nurtures both independence and togetherness. A foundation for community building...
I realize this is just my biased, dreamy perspective on what many might see as geeky kitchen hobby but in my many hours of carving spoons I can say for sure, that it’s not really about the spoons. It’s about the people! It’s about the conversations and the shared experience and the opportunity to make time to take time. It’s about the stories that are told as well as the silence that’s held. The holding of space…
So, to say that I am excited for this workshop is an understatement! I am over the moon at the thought of returning to my old community to share something I love with the people I love! I cannot wait! So come. We’ll make spoons but let’s also start a conversation! Let’s be together on a solo journey for craft and learn about being us!
If you made it this far, I am impressed! That’s the look of change over here as we roll into fall. A summary of the last few months but with a view of the future. It is with a little pause for reflection I recognize that nothing about life stands still. For all the stagnation I complain about, I have to also remind myself that feelings are just feelings. Feelings are not facts and it takes a concerted effort to recognize the difference. Change is constant and when you make time to take time, you harness the power of moments. Those moments can add up to things that are truly special and with a deep breath I see that. A sigh for light.
What’s changed in your world? I’d love to hear! There is still a quarter left for 2018 which means there is still time for time…