a moment in time

One of my best, best friends, Jeff reads my blog from time-to-time…he happened to read the post about the car accident I watched last week which reminded him of a moment he expereienced in Cleveland a few years ago and was inspired to write a poem.  I wanted to share it with you because I was moved and touched by it.  I was in his shoes by the end of the poem, doing in my brain what he actually did in person.  It’s sad and chilling but sometimes those things form a moment of beauty and I think he captured it really well.  He is an unbelievably generous guy who’s emotional life is always very present, I’ve always admired him for these attributes.  Enjoy. (The formatting is a little off from his original b.c of the copy and past from document to blog, but you get the idea.)

I didn’t know him personally, but we breathed the same air  – Jeffrey A. Wisniewski

My neighbor killed himself yesterday.
I didn’t know him personally.  Only his unyielding face.
Only his stride while walking each of his three dogs.
One at a time.  Methodical movement.
Every morning, every afternoon.
Gray t-shirt, blue jeans, white worn sneakers.
Green winter jacket, blue jeans, white worn sneakers.
Methodical movement.  Gray hair.
His routine became part of mine, but
I didn’t realize that until yesterday.
We would make eye contact as I drove past.
Me, smiling and nodding hello.
Him, staring through me with unforgiving eyes.
I thought it was me.  Smiling at him.  Nodding hello.

His wife was always the more personable one.
She talked in passing
about the cheap breakfast diner just a walk away.
She offered me the shot of Jack Daniels
when I locked myself out of my running car, 10:30pm one snowy night.
When he answered the door, he looked bothered.
I thought it was me.  Knocking on the door.  Asking for help.

But no.  There was an internal dialogue I would never be part of –
a dialogue that ended yesterday.
An unyielding argument.  Unforgiving.
He had lost.  He had lost
in his fighting attempt to simply stay afloat.

I was the one who called 911.
She stood in the driveway as I pulled around the corner,
“Call 911.”
It was barely a whisper.
Her enigmatic face still in my mind,
the desperate crack of her voice still in my ear.
“Call 911.”
Those words had never been spoken to me before.
My thougths unsure of how to process the request.
Confusion.  Disorientation.
Her eyes hollow and lost.  Void, yet boiling over.

I stood in the street with my phone to my ear
looking for their address, as she ran into the garage.
Their car was in the garage.  He was in the car.
She screamed, hitting the glass, ordering him to wake up.
Then I saw her change.
I saw her see the truth.
He was gone.  Her husband was dead.

Fire and EMS were still on their way.
What do you do?  Tell them not to come?
Because I knew.  She knew.  We’d both seen the truth.
Moving stillness.  Loud silence.
Sirens from several directions.
Other neighbors arrived, faces I had never seen.
They heard the screams.
We circled around her, still keeping our space.  Not
intentionally making her the uncomfortable focus, but still,
we circled her.  What do you do?  What do you say?
Her pain’s cloud engulfed her.
I felt her fear.  I saw her unknown.
She was lost not knowing where to turn.

I made my choice then; I hugged her.
I needed her and she needed me.
We were just scared.  We were just human –
and, in that moment, we were just together.
They circled us then.  She was not alone anymore.
“I’m so sorry.  I’m just so sorry.”
I opened my heart.  I took her weight.
Her cloud included me then.
I breathed with her, held her, squeezed her shoulders close.
Her sobs muffled, hidden against my coat.
I ran my hand over her head with the cordless phone awkwardly propped between us.

I barely knew her, but we breathed the same air.

That moment was imperfect.

That moment was life.

Our breath was real.

brownies always make things better

We’ve got a ‘ladies night’ tomorrow. (Note – this was begun LAST Thursday)  I am making what how sweat eats calls “better than crack brownies”… ‘nough said.  I mean, anything that starts with smashed oreos, right?  We’ll see, literally in the process.  The original recipe is here.  First thing, I used a double boiler not the microwave, however, my chocolate/butter mixture is too soupy right now to do anything, so it’s in the freezer – problem solving!


Ingredients
1/2 lb unsalted butter
2 oz baking chocolate cubes (I buy the kind that come wrapped in their own wax paper and freeze them to use on an “as needed” basis)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 Oreo cookies, crumbled
1/2 cup salted peanuts (if don’t have salted, add sea salt)
1 cup chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

  

Directions
Crush Oreos in a bowl, set aside.  Melt the butter and baking chocolate together – hopefully you don’t get soupy like me. I bet if you chopped up your chocolate and butter you could just barely melt them…and maybe, just melt the chocolate and have your butter at room temp. [DID YOU KNOW – you can’t “over-beat” your butter and sugar mix, it only happens when adding your flour.  So, if you go crazy on the first few steps, it’s ok, i promise. my girlfriend, Janell told me this…I had no idea.  This also could be wrong?  Do you know?] Also,  I think you should use 3 oz baking chocolate.


Another note – it makes you feel healthier if you’re making brownies and drinking kombucha, especially when its friend-made. 🙂


Preheat oven to 350.  When your chocolate and butter are just combined, cream the mixture, this takes about a min or 2.  Then add those 2 cups of sugar and your vanilla, one cup of sugar at a time if you do not have a stand mixer, I don’t and it was a little messy.  Beat this mixture for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy.  Mix eggs in one at a time.  Add flour and stir until just combined.  Fold in cookie those cookie crumbles!  Pour into greased 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, I think I baked too long … I’d try 15 – 20 minutes, you want these just a little done, you care going to be adding more stuff to them!

Now comes the laying affect.  This layering is awesome goodness at its best.  Remove the brownies from the oven and top with peanuts and peanut butter cups,  bake for 4-6 minutes more.  While this civil union happens in the oven, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Stir in cereal.  Remove brownies from oven and evenly pour chocolate mixture over top.  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

So, I was disappointed with these brownies, they seemed dry, they were falling apart…I was sad, I was expecting so much.  So instead of just bringing these brownies, (which probably would have been sufficient) I made a Lemon Raspberry Loaf and brought both desserts, both were a massive hit.  I will give you the recipe for the Lemon Loaf soon because I think any and every person should make this…it’s so freaking good.  I’ll post a picture later!

What do you do if you feel like you have a fail? Begin again and fix or just ‘make do’?
xo

thoughts and things

I baked last night, the post on that will be coming soon. I didn’t love it and in fact, I’m going to bake something else before I go to this dinner party and bring both.  I don’t think this is true, I hope this can never be true, but my first round had too much chocolate….too much!?  Really, Jordan?  That’s not real space…that’s fake person space… I also realized last night, I need new baking gear…pans, spatulas, etc.  On my list of things.

I saw an accident on my way to work today.  Like, not saw from a distance, but literally the car that caused the accident stopped (or made it happen) right next to me.  I’m so lucky.  I’m so lucky I didn’t get hit.  This minivan rear ended a car at a stop light in the middle lane, which led to that car hitting another car, maybe another car hit the minivan and the far left lane also was involved in the damage…I’d say a total of 8 cars were involved.  I sat there, shocked (it was 7:30 in the morning) and I couldn’t take my eyes off the guy in the driver seat of that blue minivan.  His airbag had gone off, someone was in his passenger seat, the minivan was full of stuff and he just stared forward…I think in shock.  The guy in the accident behind him got out of his car and yelled.  He yelled and yelled and yelled, the driver didn’t take his eyes away from forward.  A few other people got out of their cars, a girl on the sidewalk on her way to school called 911 (I think).  I heard her say that there was a fire house just down the street and they were bound to be there soon. 

I kept thinking: that poor man.  How terrible.  What happened?  Was he not paying attention?  Was he having an argument?  I hope he’s not drunk.  I hope his passenger is ok…I hope he is ok.

Then the light turned green.  The car in front of me went, so I went.  As soon as I could I pulled over and called 911.  It’s the first time I have ever called 911 in my life.  I talked to the dispatcher, told him where the accident was.  He asked if I was involved in the accident, I said no, it just happened right next to me.  He asked if there was need for an ambulance, I said I think so, the guy who caused it looks like he’s in pretty bad shape and in shock.  Then I was told that a call had already been placed regarding that accident and thank you for calling.  I hung up, I turned my car back onto the main street and drove to work.  I called Rory, I told him what happened, that I was ok, that I was lucky but I felt like I hadn’t done enough.  I was holding back tears.  The whole thing really shook.  He told me that I did all that I could do and it was good that I had called 911. We said ‘I love you.’ and got off the phone.  I tweeted to my local NPR station about the accident.  I continued to work.

I’ve been thinking about it for 6 hours.  I even googled to see if I could find out if everyone was ok.  I can’t stop thinking about that man’s face.  About the look in his eyes as he just starred forward with his hands shaking.  Could he even hear the guy that yelled at him?  Why was that guys such and asshole?  Yeah, there was an accident and you were involved…but there’s a need for common human caring.  What if he was in the that car, wouldn’t he want someone to HELP him not YELL at him? 

I feel like I could have done more…I should have done more.