Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
What’s Been Going On:
Back in October, we found out that we were having the third RIF (reduction in force) within two years at work, and that we would find out who would be affected by the first of November. A whole month to wait. Needless to say, it was a very stressful month. The tension was tremendous… I had a lot of people stop by my desk for some of “Prudy’s sunshine” over the course of October. So by the time I got home from work every night, I was pretty much good for nothing.
I am sure that some of you have been through this, so you know that both the people who are laid off, and the survivors of an event as large as this, experience a shock, even though they knew that it was coming, and think they are prepared…
I, for one, thought I was mentally prepared. I kept telling people that I had flipped the switch in my mind, and I was ready for whatever came my way. I honestly thought that I was going to be one of the people affected…I actually started preparing for it a month ago. I started cleaning out my desk, taking personal items home.
I can tell you now, that you are never truly prepared.
You’re never really prepared to leave….
And you’re never really prepared to stay….
When it finally happened a couple of weeks ago, those of us who were left standing there in the aftermath were struck with an overwhelming sense of guilt, and profound sadness for the friends we had just lost.
How I Handled It:
The job that you once knew, is now that same job, plus two more…and there is no training available…so you pick up the pieces as best you can… you brush yourself off the best you can….and learn new things that pop up on a daily basis. There is a range of emotions that everyone goes through…some people can handle it better than others.
As we were walking out of the building the evening of the RIF, one of the girls who also survived asked me if I had some of Prudy’s sunshine to spare…and for the first time throughout this whole thing… I didn’t have any sunshine.
Let’s just say that I found myself rather weepy that week.
Yep, little Miss Sunshine couldn’t cope.
It got to the point in which my friends would walk by my desk, roll their eyes, and say: “Again??!!”
I don’t know if all of that tension had finally come to a head… or if it was the shock of losing so many friends…or if it was the shock of surviving… or a combination of all. Some people were angry, which I found out later… that anger is really a reaction. It isn’t an emotion. So those who were angry, were reacting to an emotion that they didn’t want to feel. I think that because I wear my heart on my sleeve, and let my tears and feelings flow… the anger part didn’t really hit me.
Believe me… I know that there are worse things in the world. I do. But you can’t measure sadness, especially when you are feeling sad.
How My Friends Handled It:
And because we didn’t have the chance to say our goodbyes before they left, I reached out to a couple of my friends a day or two later…. And I was struck by their strength, their resilience, and their ability to face a new day….
Where I expected tears and sadness… I was instead met with:
“Oh, I just baked a batch of cookies last night…”
“I was just out raking leaves…”
“I’m cleaning my house from top to bottom…”
“I’m starting to prepare for Christmas…”
Honestly…The strength of the human spirit never fails to amaze me.
I miss them every day. I walk by offices that were once lit up with laughter…that are now dark and quiet, and I’m sad. I miss their personal items in their offices… photos of kids on the walls… candy dishes… silly stuffed cows… and just things. Their things. But most of all, their laughter. We are a close knit group here, my co-workers and I.
Friends. A family. My little work family.
But I want them to know that I’m proud of them. Proud of that strength and resilience that they’ve shown in the last couple of weeks…and their ability to move on, because you know what? The sun does come up the next day. Life truly does go on…
So Now What?
And learning from their strength, I’m beginning to get back into my groove… I feel like cooking again. I feel like writing again… although now I’m working ten hour days, and by the time I get home, I make dinner (sometimes), I do the dishes (sometimes) and my fat rump hits the couch (most of the time).
So now, most of my cooking and recipes will be done on the weekends… and I have a few that are in the works right now…all prepared, photographed, and just waiting for some silly story to be written for them…
I just need to get me, my blog, my work life, and my home life into a routine that works for all.
Bear With Me…
Please bear with me while I adjust to this change, and I promise that there will be a lot more recipes and a lot more stories to come!
So enough of this sad stuff…. Because Christmas is right around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing for what is my most favorite time of year! I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve that I can’t wait to start sharing with you!!
In the meantime, I’ll share this quick and easy baked apple recipe with you, which seriously.. I baked it in the oven, but I used to make this in the microwave for Katie when she was little, and it came out beautifully. It was one of her most favorite bedtime snacks.
I love them, because they’re just like a quick apple pie without the crust, but laden with nuts and raisins and crunchy goodness instead. Like I said, I used to make this for Katie as a snack, but it would make a beautiful dessert too! Make a few of these alongside your pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and let your guests choose between apple or pumpkin… or if they’re like me… a sliver of both please…
You’ll notice a ring sliced around the apple, and that is to keep the apple from exploding. Yes, I can confirm that it does, in fact, explode if you don’t slice that ring of skin off. It’s funny, because I honestly thought that because a hole is cut through the center of the apple, that it would be enough for the steam to escape, or whatever it is that makes the apple explode….but that is truly not the case. So, yeah, slice that skin. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you’re making some of these on a day that you need that oven to be running continuously without having to stop and clean up a sticky mess!
- 4 large apples, any variety
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup oats
- ½ cup pecans
- ¼ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- ½ to 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 9 x 13″ pan, and set aside.
- Core the apples to about ¼” from the bottom. You don’t want to core all the way through the apple, so that the brown sugar mixture doesn’t leak out during baking.
- Peel a strip of skin all the way around the apple.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, pecans, raisins, butter, cinnamon, and salt.
- Spoon the brown sugar mixture filling into the middle of the apple, mounding it generously on top of the apple too.
- Place the apples in the prepared pan, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the apple is tender.
Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener…with Angie as your host, and her wonderful co-hosts, Tracy from Scratch It and Stephanie from The Cozy Cook! This is one of my most favorite link parties, that hosts a lot of wonderful bloggers sharing their fabulous ideas and recipes. I hope you stop by to visit, or participate! It’s a great party, and I know they’ll welcome you with open arms…