Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Quotes, Reflections

Eyes That Watch Us

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” W.E.B. DuBois

As the little toddler grows up in the family, certain mannerisms and phrases have been coming along too quickly for his age. From putting into place a cushion seat for his tiny legs during the allotted television time to aligning his shoes, experimenting with his father’s hair gel and picking up phrases of “Wipe your feet”, “no phone during meal times” and the like; highlights how much more they learn as they watch and observe the adults around them.

“What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

As time flies, being parents or guardians of these little wonders, one never realizes how much they significantly imbibe more from the world around them, than what they have been taught in the kindergarten or later even in school. Like the old adage goes, family is the first teacher of a child; the little things that children pick have an immense effect on their future. Whether it be the physical, emotional, mental or social aspects of their life, parents and elders are their first educators.

“Children or babies learn to mimic the vibration of the adults who surround them long before they learn to mimic their words.” Abraham-Hicks

For adults knowing this matters the most; for this silent teaching is what determines the future of those little ones. The errors of the present would require a huge effort in the future to be corrected then, instead of now. Realizing this significance in the present would shape their future thinking, behaviour and character. Time will always go ahead as always. Let the present memories not be those of regret and guilt; but treasured ones as they move ahead in their future lives.

“Your children will see what you’re all about by what you live, rather than what you say.” Wayne Dyer

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don’t.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I learned most of life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, ‘Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.’

– Mary Rita Schilke Korzan

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Posted in Daily, Food

Add the “Cheese”

Being the lone one in the house, as a result of over time and off hours being allotted accordingly, enough and more time was spent on the ads section and advertisements were marked. Imagine when the leaflet advertising the discounted cheeseburger rates for the whole week ( in lieu of the national cheeseburger day, Sept 18th) were seen. As the hunger cravings rose to a peak by noon, the big lunch was foregone with the craving for cheeseburger. With a sparsely stocked larder and takeaway not an option in the downpour (besides being miles away from the town roads), creative cooking was the only option. Considering the leftovers and the supplies in the fridge, it was time to make something light. What happens when one places two mince meat patties with sliced tomatoes, crisp onion rings with a nice helping of cheese between two bread slices (out of buns). Voila, the homemade version of cheese burger is ready.

“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.” Matthew McConaughey

Essentially, a cheeseburger is a hamburger topped with cheese. Although the slice of cheese is added to the cooking hamburger patty shortly before serving, which allows the cheese to melt; variations exist depending on choice of having it melted solid or double extra. As for the cheese, from processed to melt-able cheese, options range from cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, blue Cheese or pepper jack being the popular ones.

With the rise of cattle ranching, fast food chains, commercialization of food industry and rise of fast food; hamburgers had risen in popularity. The late 1920s saw the adding of cheese to hamburgers. Though several competing claims exist as to who created the first cheeseburger. Records repute that Lionel Sternberger (1926) had introduced the cheeseburger at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father’s sandwich shop (Pasadena, California) “The Rite Spot” and “experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger.” Another similar mention of a cheeseburger smothered with chili for 25 cents was listed on the menu of O’ Dell’s restaurant (Los Angeles, 1928). However the trademark for the name “cheeseburger” was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado.

“You dont have to eat a whole cheeseburger, just take a piece of the cheeseburger.” Guy Fieri

Variations like steamed cheeseburger, soy cheese and vegan versions have been seen across the globe, with the ingredients adapting to the local cuisine and customs. All said and done, the cheese part has stayed on. There’s something fun about indulging in the occasional cheese burger ( homemade, fast food franchise made or deli made) once in a while. No matter how old or busy one is, the delights of the cheeseburger do stay strong.

“I take pleasure in the little things. Double cheeseburgers, those are good, the sky ten minutes before it rains,the moment your laugh turns into a cackle. And I sit here, and smoke my Camel straights, and I ride my own melt.” Ethan Hawke

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Work

Across the Choppy Waters

“Sometimes to change a situation you are in requires you to take a giant leap. But, you won’t be able to fly unless you are willing to transform.” Suzy Kassem

The captain of the ship hasn’t got their job cut out easy. While preparing their vessel for the short or long voyage, navigation charts are consulted, weather reports being analysed both the local and global trend, supplies stocked, medical emergencies anticipated as well as men and cargo to be looked after. When smooth sailing is predicted, there is a slight relief but the guard is still not lost. For the sea for all it’s friendliness can turn into a monster driven at times, by elements beyond it’s control. Unlike the land and air, where there may be a way out; for the ship in the sea, locating itself in the vast blue expanse is not always a possible task especially when a Mayday occurs. Despite all this, once the final destination is set, the captain steers his vessel across both the pleasant and the choppy troubled waters; always forging a way ahead.

“When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy

Just like the captain, we all have our own vessels to steer. For a family who has lost their maternal light to the young lady diagnosed with terminal illness or the investor who has suffered a major loss, the farmer who had lost his heavily funded crop, jobs made redundant, loss of scholarship due to poor choices and many more; the immediate future lies ahead bleak, stark and troublesome. Yet it is while navigating these roads that one learns to find their own inner strength as well as work once again, keeping His Word and His Will in sight. Although before starting off across the roads of the future, one has to decide to do so and not be in haste to make quick decisions and bury their head in the sand, hoping it would be all over soon.

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” Unknown

Ask any captain and they will tell that the only way across a storm in middle of the journey is the way through, till one finds a rest stop. Any person who has battled difficult illness and survived, would tell prompt treatment instead of denial will help better. For the student who has lost scholarship, finding multiple jobs and pulling up their grades would help to stay on. Staying at rest for long never helps. Instead face the trouble squarely and find a way out through the tempest. For it is only through the bad situations in life, that one discovers the best and hidden talents of themselves.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

See It Through

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Edgar Guest

Posted in Daily, Food

Of Apples, Pastry and Sugar

“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.” Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost

Peel the apples, uncore the slices and lay them on pastry crusts. The hole from the core may be filled with cinnamon, butter and sugar and sometimes dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas, or currants. Wrap the pastry crust around the apples and seal the seams to form them as dumplings. Place the dumplings on the pan, pour the spiced sauce over it and bake it in the oven. Voila, baked dumplings.
Lack of time or power outage for the electricity run oven.
Boil the dumplings and serve with brown sugar, cinnamon, berry preserve, maple syrup, honey, cottage cheese, chocolate syrup or any toppings of choice. That’s boiled dumplings for dessert.

These pastry-wrapped apple were among the earliest fruit puddings, being a popular add on at major social gatherings and had at all social levels. Served as breakfast, main side dish or dessert, there were popular and could be had cold, hot or just as it was. Although the boiled versions were the initial recipes, it was the baked ones that were more popular across the menus of established restaurants.

“A man cannot have a pure mind who refuses apple dumplings.” Charles Lamb

While the Austrians have their apfelnockerln (“large, soft” apple dumplings), Czech cuisine have their fruit dumplings, including apple known as ovocné knedlíky and are eaten with quark or tvaroh cheese, often served as a complete meal. The German Apfelklöße (1801) are elaborate “small pudding of apples,” cored and filled with jam or marmalade, sometimes raisins or nuts, wrapped in pastry, boiled, and topped with a sweetened sauce containing raisins, sugar, cinnamon, and wine. While in the United Kingdom, these apple dumplings were referred to as form of suet puddings with the prepared dumplings tied in cloth and boiled. On the other side of the western sphere, apple dumplings were considered as cultural staples (United States).

Seasonal fruits were used similarly to make fruit dumplings. Like the Austrian and Hungarian Knödel ( dumplings stuffed with plums), Crotian Knedle sa šljivama (dessert dish of plum dumpling with a potato dough), Austrian Marillenknödel (apricot dumplings) and the traditional Czech recipes of dumpling filled with plums, apricots, strawberries or blueberries. A similar dish is baked apples (minus the pastry shell). Unpeeled apples are cored (some preparations remove only the top part of the core leaving a half-inch at the bottom) and stuffed with fillings such as butter, brown sugar, currants, raisins, nuts, oatmeal, spices and other ingredients.

Made any way, boiled or baked, pastry covered or not, these perfect pocket sized simple desserts are perfect add-ons for simple, elaborate or too tired to cook days. With imagination running riot, what better way is there to make perfect use of the cold weather, indulge the sugar cravings with apples and sweet and make way for this traditional recipe not just simple and wholesome but a treat for the artistic eye and creative cooking.

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World, Work

Share to Succeed

“People achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.” Dr. Allan Fromme

With clearing of the heavy rains, the town had needed a complete revamp of the municipal bock lawns, with tree limbs broken and scattered and muddy pools run all over the lawn. On the first look, clearing of the lawn seemed to be an impossible task. As the council meeting took place, every one of the attendees had pitched in, bringing more volunteers along the way. Slowly order was restored of what had looked like a seemingly impossible task.

“The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better.” Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Above instances and many more similar ones, have always shown that the power of a team or set of people working in a synchronous mode can make the most drab, mundane or difficult task feasible. Each one has their own strengths and weakness. On pooling the efforts, the strengths add on, cancelling out the respective weakness amongst each other. Eventually together the task at hand is settles. While man is an social animal; each one has their own plate to handle. Learning when to combine the plates together for a splendid meal and when to have them independently at the right time, helps to balance the individual mind with the social order. Life needs both, individual as well as group effort. Too much of wither can result in proper gain of none or loss of all.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller

The Stone Soup Story
Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meagre harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat. The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have – the secret of how to make soup from stones.’

Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town’s greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. ‘Now this will be a fine soup’, said the second soldier; ‘but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!’
Up jumped a villager, crying ‘What luck! I’ve just remembered where some’s been left!’
Then off she ran, returning with an apron full of parsley and a turnip. As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast. They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends.

In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village’s best breads and cheese. ‘You have given us the greatest of gifts – the secret of how to make soup from stones’, said an elder, ‘and we shall never forget.’ The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: ‘There is no secret, but this is certain, it is only by sharing that we may make a feast’, then off the soldiers wandered, down the road.
Author Unknown

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” Charlotte Bronte

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Random Thoughts, Reflections

Remove by their Root

“A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.” Dogen

Working on the patch of garden with my little toddler was fun time. Although those little hands were busy with the spade to loosen out the mud; the major fun lay in the activity of pulling out the unwanted weeds, popping up in amidst the patch of chrysanthemums. Initially their stalks used to only come off. Later on he had painstakingly ensured that the entire weed, along with its’ roots was collectively removed. As long as the thrill of getting his hands muddied wasn’t negated, he enjoyed the fun time in the little flower bed. The surprising part about weds is that, one doesn’t water or nurture them; yet they still come up.

“Pull them out by their roots.”

As the weeding process was going on, one can’t help look into the personal weeds in our lives. Whether those weeds be as false influences, challenges, setbacks, wrong beliefs, negative people, biased criticism and so on, the list is always endless. There is always something cropping up in our lives at the wrong time and unwanted places bringing about the negative energy and slowing down one’s own potential. At each stage of one’s life, they occur in different forms.

“ You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” Joel Osteen

 

Letting the crop of weeds grow and multiply out of sheer laziness, lack of prioritizing or neglecting them without foreseeing the future damage, would result in an increased load of work and trouble in the not too distant future. On the other hand, when timely dealt with, these weeds would be nothing more than a difficult situation easily conquered.

“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.” Shirley MacLaine

On dealing with the negative aspects that one encounters in life, is to the to the root of the problem and deal with them one by one. Eventually the unwanted weeds may be regrouped into something more beautiful or removed to make way for the better surroundings to shine. The only caution is to pull out the negativeness in it’s entirety. Else just as one believes them to be removed, they would crop up with double the strength later on, being a nuisance more then than now. As each crop of problems arise, solving and settling them from their root level help us come out of the situation soon; giving fresh courage, experience and hope to face the next crop of trouble or negativeness as they come fresh again.

“As time goes by, you seem to weed out the things that were making your life hard.” Tom Petty

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Maintain the Balance

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” Confucius

Of recent, few multinational companies have been allotting compulsory leave days for their top employees. These few days after every four months or so, come with a half pay and an order not to be seen in the company premises for either completing the new projects, clear the back log or develop new ideas. The whole idea was to “take a break” from the professional life and grow the personal one. In a way, these organizations have done this so as to increase the employee productivity as well as better the general work efficiency on the whole.

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” David O. McKay

When a young adult enters the modern career world, the importance is laid in establishing a good professional life, earning good money and save for the future. As time goes on, one may start a family or become a part of one. Being social beings, we crave for close relationships and bonds as thick as blood. Yet once family and friends arrives, certain things may be taken for granted; especially time spent with the latter. When one realizes the error soon, time may be left to pick up the broken links and rebuild them.

“In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In the process of rebuilding, the metal once scarred or bent mayn’t be as strong as it looks. For the builder it involves immense effort to re-link the chains as compared to when building in flow with the fresh meta links. While wealth, riches, fame and materials are necessary for the social or professional order in life; it is the close knit web of family and bonds that help one to heal, grow, nurture and flourish away from the outside world. As one nurtures or is being nurtured by the family, the children of tomorrow are minor extensions of today. These inquisitive minds learn more from actions and deeds than words. In order to live life to the fullest, learning to balance the entire framework of professional as well as personal life is what brings fruit to the former. Time is always there to reform as long as one decides to put their priorities and focus in the right manner.

“The single most important factor in our long-term happiness is the relationships we have with our family and close friends.” Clayton M. Christensen

‘So now you have a farm, two houses, and four cars, correct?’ asked Marcelo. Ivan nodded. ‘Well done!’ Marcelo smiled amicably to his old friend. ‘And what else have you got? A master’s degree from University of Chile, a good and stable job, and what else? Money, ah, how much money have you got? More than a hundred million pesos, I suppose?’
Ivan did not reply, but his smile meant a ‘yes’ to all of the questions. ‘And with all of these in your hands, you’re still the first to arrive at work and the last to leave, yes?’ For the second time, Ivan nodded. ‘For how long?”Three years and a half.’ ‘Oh, poor Ivan Espinoza,’ Marcelo sighed. For a moment he stopped talking. The conversation that previously was filled with laughter and jokes suddenly turned itself into a deep silence. Marcelo gazed over Ivan and tapped his right shoulder tenderly. An air of confidence was transpired from the light of his eyes, despite his graying eyebrow. ‘My friend, did you see that table?’ ‘Yes,’ Ivan glanced to a table next to them. ‘How many legs?’ ‘Four’
‘If you break one of the table’s legs, will you have a balanced table?’ ‘No’
‘So is life. It’s got four legs: education, money, a job you love, and a family you adore. If you break one of life’s legs, you will have an imbalanced life,’ remarked Marcelo. Sighing, the man paused for a little while before continuing. ‘Now you have a good job, money, and proper education, but you don’t see your children except when they are asleep before and after work. Is that a balanced life? You work for your family, don’t you?”Yes.’
‘So why do you work so hard but spend less time with them?’
Written by Subhan Zein