A Canadian American offers help for those dealing with Electoral Emotion Overload (it’s a real thing)

I’m a Canadian citizen but also a proud U.S citizen too. And even though I live across the border in beautiful British Columbia, I must admit that I am exhausted.

After 14,328 hours of

  • he said/she said,
  • 100 and 1 renditions of “ what is the world coming to?”
  • and a constant bombardment of “if you don’t vote for me…”

I’m feeling a little queasy.

Maybe you’ve been dancing in the streets.

After 8 years of Facebook-bashing the a leader you didn’t like you expect everyone to play nice and be happy for you.

Or maybe you’re duking out your disappointment in angry protests.  Or you woke up the day after feeling very, very afraid.

This election has been like NONE OTHER in the history of the USA.  It’s going to take a little while for things to settle down.

I personally felt like I was covered in a fine layer of everything that’s gone on for the last 597 days. You know the

  • rhetoric,
  • mudslinging
  • racial slurs
  • sexism
  • and grandiose promises

coming from either side of the political abyss.

I just wanted to shake it off (yeah, I know you’re going to hate it) Taylor Swift style.

I wasn’t just sure how to do that until this weekend. Then, I glanced up at a flyer on my fridge. It was a notice about a neighbourhood celebration. The flyer went on and on about road closures, parking bans and parade times for the Gurpurab Diwas-Nagar Kirtan celebration.

For the record, I live in a culturally diverse neighbourhood.

Walking the dog is a daily adventure. Exotic smells of foods being cooked. Elderly grandmas and grandpas in traditional dress walking pushing grandchildren in strollers.  Strains of mid-eastern music coming from white tents during wedding festivities.

But, I’ve never really walked the neighbourhood during religious celebrations.

So, I went and checked it out.

Best medicine for electoral emotion overload.

Perfect cure for campaign-rhetoric-induced distortion of what being human is all about.

As my mom, daughter and I strolled up the streets I took in the brilliant colours of traditional dress, tasted delectable dishes served from tents set up in various drive ways.

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Trust me,  we were definitely a minority. But I felt very much at home.

You see, we all share the same neighbourhood. We walk the same streets. Love our children with the same passion and all of us carry hopes and dreams close to our hearts.

People are people. God’s creations. Fellow human beings.

When the posturing of political parties is done, what matters is the kindness expressed to strangers, forgiveness extended to those who have offended, every act of selfless courage, every human bond that transcends race, colour and creed.

America will be truly great when God’s goodness is seen in the lives of ordinary citizens   every single day.

We are neighbours. All of us. From sea to shining sea.

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When Great Expectations Get In the Way of Celebration–How to enjoy the person that God made you to be.

zuchini cake

I’m not a good cook.

To be honest, I’ve had few moments of brilliance. The rare alignment of the planets when I

  1. stir the ingredients together just right.
  2. put the concoction into the oven at just the right time and temperature.

Everything comes out bubbly and golden brown.

Most times, my attempts at cooking are more like stars colliding.

  • Potatoes have the consistency of Elmer’s glue.
  • Gravy is the shade of a river bottom in the middle of a drought.

Yesterday, the planets aligned.

I was tired. Emotional. Stressed out. Yet, all nine got in line. (Yes, I allowed Pluto back in line. So, sue me!)

What did I make?

1. A delectable chocolate zucchini cake. I found the recipe on therepressedpastrychef.com. I mean, if that’s repressed, let me in on the action.

2. Creamy, savory potato salad –my mother-in-law’s recipe. Now, that’s a feat in itself.

My mother-in-law should have registered her skills with the local authorities. She made killer French silk pie, elk burger chili and Cornish pasties.

Yesterday, I made Tina Hixson’s signature potato salad speak my name.

potato salad

What can I say?

We all have areas in our life that challenge us. Areas that make us face our weakest self. We’re human. We fail. We try. We fail again.

When we do triumph, celebrate.

Maybe you finally break out the band. Dance in the streets. Life is short. I might as well celebrate my triumphs.

  1. Parked your car within the white lines.
  2. Remembered to put gas in the car before it gets to empty.
  3. Told a joke without forgetting the punch line.
  4. Made a meal that actually tasted the way it should.

It’s those little victories that make life sweet.

How to Ditch Fad Diets and Feed the Soul

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I woke up this morning with a Bible verse running through my head.

I know, I know.

You probably woke up wondering why you’re alarm didn’t go off or if there was still enough time to get the trash out to the road before the garbage truck came.

Waking-up-Your-Child

Don’t be intimidated by my spirituality. I often have no thought patterns until well after breakfast.

Waking up is a complex process.

So, to experience one clear thought was exhilarating.

I have to confess, the verse was not about

  • the covenant,
  • end times,
  • immaculate conception.

It was about food.

That may have been because I stayed up until 2 in the morning writing about

  1. hush puppies
  2. catfish
  3. frog legs.

Confession -I struggle with food.

Not hand-to-hand combat with lethal dishes of apple pie or stare-down contests with diabolical beef ribs slathered in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce.

It’s more like the abuse of food.

I use it as an

  • escape from stress.
  • shelter from criticism.
  • distraction from responsibilities.

Sometimes I don’t even taste it. After a while, the pounds start piling on.

I get angry at

  1. skinny people.
  2. calories.
  3. myself.

And I lose the joy of food.

Sure, too much can cause serious illness even death. But, it’s not like smoking or drinking. Total abstinence is not an option.

Fact is- food is a magnificent gift from God.

All you people munching down on cardboard crackers lightly smeared with an artificially flavored fat free cheese, give your head a shake.

I’m not talking about ingredients with names that require a chemistry degree to understand. I’m talking about food with shelf life.

Eat real food.

I know. I am not the poster child (or geriatric pin up model) for body beautiful. I never will be.

That’s fine.

I just want to get healthy, not skinny. Enjoy my food, not force down a skimpy diet of prefab, no flavor substitutes.

Ditch the fad diets. Feed the soul.

Oh, about the verse that ran through my head this morning –

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

No artificial sweeteners. No reduced fat.

Just full flavored goodness.

Food consumption–does who you eat with and why you eat with them have an effect beyond mere sustenance?

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Bentonville, Arkansas.

It’s the home of

  • The first Walmart -Sam Walton’s original variety store. (That’s me in front of the store.)
  • The stunning Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

And, the Flying Fish.

Before you break into a comedy routine about airborne fins and sky-high gills, consider this. I’m talking about a restaurant with one entire wall covered with Billy Bass plagues. Yes, the ones with the plastic fish that sings when it senses motion.

Now that’s impressive.

And a brilliant way to keep folks from stiffing their bill. Just threaten to activate an impromptu concert of “Take Me to the River” Talking Head style or a tinny rendition of “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. They’ll come up with the money just to get  away.

Besides being totally creative, it was certainly not as costly as incarceration.

Another wall was dedicated to something called the Liar’s club. If you bragged about a big fish that you caught you could have your picture up there. The wall was covered with photos.

Disturbing.

So many liars for such a small town.

But, the aroma from the kitchen kept me focused.

Smells of

  1. crispy frog legs with coleslaw
  2. grits and gumbo
  3. mud bugs (boiled crawfish)
  4. pickled green tomatoes
  5. fried okra
  6. grilled grouper
  7. fillet of catfish cooked any way you liked –batter fried or grilled, put in a poor boy or sliced across a salad

My family ordered the catfish basket.

That’s when I made a significant discovery.

Underneath the

  • fillets of catfish,
  • tucked in between golden fries

were three little hush puppies.

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Side note – Contrary to what you may believe if you live in the far north, hush puppies are not extremely quiet canine pets.

They are a deep fried bit of heaven fashioned from

· cornmeal,

· wheat flour,

· eggs, salt,

· baking soda,

· buttermilk or plain regular milk

· bits of onion, garlic and hot peppers.

As the tang of onion and cornmeal exploded on my tongue, I was transported to a scene from my past. People around me munched on hush puppies and drank sweet tea. I saw my Dad, now long gone, listening to the conversations of his parishioners while he watched us kids splash in the murky creek nearby.

Another bite and I was a teenager again. Elbow to elbow, I crowded with my siblings around the table at the local Catfish Cabin. Dishes of Chow Chow and black eyes peas sat next to the hush puppies and fish.

After a few seconds of  being back in time, I shook my head.

Food does that kind of thing, you know.

  1. Wraps itself around the senses.
  2. Binds what we feel with what we taste and smell.

Think about it –

  • In the Old Testament, when two parties decided to make peace they celebrated with a hearty meal.
  • In the New Testament, the early church shared their food with each other daily.
  • Funerals, birthdays and weddings still marked by the consumption of food and the gathering of the ones we love.

Perhaps, sharing sustenance with another human being is more than just

  • munching down
  • or grabbing some grub

What do you think?