March 23, 2010

The Parable of the Pantry


Once upon a time there was a pantry. It started out empty, but then it slowly developed a layer of food items in the back that became permanent residents. Soon that single layer grew into two, then three. Those items once had a purpose, a mission to fill as the key ingredient of a recipe that never came to fruition. But soon that food became invisible as people would look in the pantry that was half full and still declare that there wasn't any food to eat and insist on going to the grocery store to bury that food behind more desirable items.

This is the story of my personal pantry conundrum.

In preparation to move in a couple weeks I decided that I wasn't going to be moving any food. It is a tremendous waste of resources to move food -- time, energy, and packing material. Quite inefficient (and I am the self-crowned queen of efficiency.) So I launched a game a few weeks ago called "Pantry Surprise" with my children. How much could we empty our pantry without going to the grocery store? The game started out ok -- pancakes, mac-n-cheese, chicken noodle soup and casseroles. The more layers I got through the more challenging the game became and my critics started having more of a voice. Frosting-less cake apparently isn't acceptable. Last night was a weak beef stroganoff using a mixture of rotini and elbow macaroni pasta topped with chow mein noodles. Lance asked what country the food was from. I stuttered through an answer. Now I'm staring at Hoisin sauce, hot chocolate, generic Cheerios, spinach pasta, croutons and marshmallow cream. This could be an interesting week.

There is a stomach-turning euphoria I have about every new creation that empties that pantry. Is mine the only pantry like this? I dare you to take the pantry challenge.

March 13, 2010

Under the Big Top


While I live in a three-ring circus under my own roof, there is another circus -- a quaint little circus that comes to town each year. In addition to their regular performances, they perform a free "sensory" circus just for special needs children. Bridger's preschool class went on a field trip there this week and lucky me got to chaperon. Knowing what such outings are like with him, I never in a million years would have spent a cent on a circus ticket for him, so a free ticket was the perfect price tag for such an event.
The clowns, while still clowny, suppressed some silliness as to not overwhelm the children that have sensory issues. They brought out their extra wigs to let the kids touch them and had calm interactions using bubbles and quiet rubber chickens. Bridger was fascinated with the clown he got to pop bubbles with before the show began.

The big top was filled with over 400 special needs children and the people that love them as their caregivers, teachers and parents. So what did I do as all the excitement and lights and sounds of the circus began? I started crying. What crazy person CRIES at the circus?! I couldn't help it -- I was overcome with a feeling that I hadn't anticipated. Being surrounded by all of those children was intense. There was such a feeling of love under that tent and I was overwhelmed with the power that surrounded me being in the presence of so many perfect spirits. The tears quickly dried shortly after the show started, though, as I began my WWF match with Bridger and wrestled him throughout the entire show. I don't blame him -- with his vision impairment he couldn't really see the show at all. I would have been wiggly too.

Then came the extra cool part. At the conclusion of the circus Bear's vision therapist (who LOOOVES him) told us to stay put as the 400+ kids exited the circus tent. She came back to give Bridger a golden ticket that allowed him to be one of a dozen kids that got to go down to the circus ring and have a hands-on circus. Bridger got to touch all the animals, feel the feathery costumes that he couldn't see from afar, and even swing on the spinning-metal-daredevilish-acrobat contraption.

He had a great time and it was so fun for me to watch him enjoy something that we otherwise wouldn't have. My list of "can't do's" and "wouldn't do's" is growing as I'm making my way through this journey and I'm so grateful to companies like the Big Apple Circus that step out of the box and make accommodations to make my list have a few more "can do's" and "will do's".