Friday, March 27, 2015

So, yesterday I made a small batch of beignets. First time ever making these tiny pillows of goodness, and they turned out great. And I'm not just talking great. I'm talking the where-have-you-been-all-my-life kind of delicious. Thanks, Mary Jane, for turning me on to this delicacy. I'm not yet sure whether to love you or curse you.

So, I made these delicious little beignets, even got my husband to try one before he left for work. Luckily, it was a small batch, because over the course of the day, one by one, the tiny gems disappeared. I felt a little sheepish last night when Mark asked what happened to them all.

Fast forward to this morning. I brewed another pot of French roast. Hmmmm.... What a waste to have authentic New Orleans coffee without real New Orleans beignets. Awesome, I'll make another batch. I mixed the dough, turned it out onto the breadboard, kneaded it, cut it into tiny pillows, then dropped them into hot oil. Once they were done, I put them on a few paper towels and covered dusted them with powdered sugar.

I tasted one. Oh, dear me. These were even better than yesterday's. Wow, these tiny treats are amazing. I took the plate down the hall to Mark's office where I presented my peace offering,

"I think the difference is that I kneaded them." I said thoughtfully.

"Well, if you didn't 'need' them yesterday, why did you make them?" he asked with a smile. Always the comedian.

Then I noticed it. He was dressed for the office. "I thought you were working from home today."

"Nope, got to go in today, too."

Are you kidding me? Home alone with another plate of these puppies? My waistline is history.

I wonder how they taste if you dunk them...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I am one lucky person. I'm a sign language interpreter and I love my work. I can hardly believe I get to wake up and do this every day, except when I wake up and do this every single day, which is where I found myself in the early part of this year.

I'm an independent, or freelance interpreter. Last year, however, I was offered a position as staff interpreter at a high school not far from where I live. Steady paycheck, benefits, and I get to interpret. Sign me up.

This new gig meant a big schedule change. I'm not a morning person, and I'm certainly not an early riser, but to make this happen, I had to set my alarm for 5 a.m. every morning. Wow. That is so early. I kind of got into the culture, though. I interpreted US Government, Geometry, English Literature, Art. I got to know the teachers and the administrators. I started hanging out in the library after lunch, even ate in the teachers' lounge. I really began to feel like I belonged, and despite the early mornings, I began to really love this job.

I have a few other assignments that I also love, assignments I had long before the position at the high school. Keeping them meant working some pretty long hours and also weekends, but great assignments don't come along every day, so when we get them, we hang on.

Working every day without a break for months on end is enough to wear a person thin, but there's an emotional factor, too. We interpret for people, and people sometimes come with baggage, and problems. It's hard enough when those people are adults. It's doubly hard when they're kids, and that's where I found myself. Day after day, expending so much emotional energy that every other aspect of my life, like a weedy garden, went untended. There just wasn't enough of me left at the end of the day. My laundry barely got done, and it never got put away, I was getting dressed every morning from the clothes dryer. I lay awake for hours at a time every night. My work began to deteriorate, too, and I began looking at my extra-curricular assignments, trying to decide which, if any, I could let go.

And then it happened. My student's family moved, and in a flash, I lost my job. I went from working every day of the week to ..... crickets.


As I stood at the counter this morning, waiting for coffee to brew, I thought about how different today is from all those months when I was up before dawn and dressing downstairs in the laundry room. And how radically different those months were from the ones before that. I really loved this job, loved getting up and out so early every morning. Each day, I saw the earliest glimmers of light as the sun broke the horizon. Some mornings, I even saw the moon hanging low over the treetops as the sun rose in the east. I felt thankful for the day, grateful to be up and out and alive. Today, I slept until 8 o'clock.

I felt out-of-kilter in those early days that that followed. Maybe herein lies the lesson. Keep your perspective, keep your balance. Life may serve you a big plateful of opportunity, but don't lose yourself. Don't lose what's important to you, and don't lose who you are.

Don't lose yourself. Keep your balance.