Perspective, Pain relief, Parenting, and Potluck Pasta

I was late to work today. I overslept. Never heard the alarms. (Yes, I set two alarms, in case I drift off again after the first…) I slept through both today. So I missed my ride, had to take the car. (Which is actually more convenient since I had to race around a lot today. Also more expensive. There is always a flip side.) Then once I was on my way, I discovered that in my haste I had left my cell phone at home. Normally I would say Fug It, I refuse to be a slave to technology, and keep on going, but there were too many destinations with too many arrangements to be made en route today. So I had to go back and get it. Didn’t help that when I realised it was missing I was stuck at a long traffic light with no option but to wait, then go past and find a different way to turn around… Got it, hindered by a possessed catbeast who was zooming around trying her best to trip me. I got stuck at the same traffic light the second time around too, which added to the aggravation. Those few minutes of backtracking made the difference between fairly empty streets and streets beginning to fill with erratic drivers, arrogant road-hogging truckers, and one terrified learner who got in the way of all the others. (Come on, seriously, who the hell takes a driving lesson in morning rush hour???) I was developing a nice case of road rage, and when the tissue holder on the visor suddenly fell on my head then bounced off into the farthest corner of the car, I knew I had to do something to ensure that it was not going to be one of those days. I pushed in a John Lennon CD, cranked up the music, and it put everything into a different perspective.

I love how music can do that. Thanks, Mr. L. Shine On.

After the usual insane day of work I headed for physiotherapy. I’m going twice a week now, they’re using short wave ultrasound to ease the hip pain. It’s actually helping a bit, there are brief periods where I can walk normally without limping.

After I left the clinic went to pick up partner and we headed for kidlet’s school. This school offers all kinds of wonderful things, not only for the kids but for the families. One thing they offer is a workshop for parents on how to work with teenagers during this volatile time. I’m always eager to learn, so we signed up for the weekly workshop. It was also a chance to meet other parents, which is hard to do with a regional school.

Teenagers. They’re moving from childhood to adulthood, way too quickly for us and way too slowly for them. A friend of mine once compared adolescence to our wonderful kids entering a long, dark, difficult tunnel where they forget all the lessons we’ve taught them and all we can do is wait until they come out the other end, hoping that those lessons have survived. I would compare it more to them going through one of those carnival “funhouses”, with dark mazes and things jumping out at you and all those mirrors that constantly distort everything you know, all making you freak out. Some kids navigate it easily. Most don’t.

So this workshop has been a real asset, team-led by two master teachers who gave us very little theory and a whole bagful of tips and tools to use with our little angels. It was a chance to bounce ideas off of each other, get advice and feedback from other parents in the same situations, share frustration and success. Sworn to silence, what was said in the workshop stayed in the workshop, not even our kids were told what we heard. They only got the benefit of our “homework” exercises as we tried out techniques. Many of the methods were not new to me, but the practice was invaluable. Tools to set boundaries, choose our battles wisely, even how to form statements and questions that promote communication instead of shutting it down. In the workshop we practiced on each other, everything from active listening to trying to describe ourselves through our kids’ eyes.

Partner and I missed a few sessions when kidlet was in the hospital, no way to both visit her and get to the school. But one of the teachers kept me updated with emails, and the other parents were happy to explain the tools. Tonight was our last meeting, so we planned a potluck party.

What do you make for a potluck when you have no time at home? (Well, other than bringing a bottle of wine or buying something ready made….) There are several dishes I like to make for potlucks, all easy. And any other quick-n-easy recipes are definitely welcome!! But I have a foolproof dish that I can throw together in no time, so little work it almost makes you feel guilty about cheating when folks tell you how yummy it is. My no-fuss pasta salad:

Cook one package of pasta. I like to use the tri-colour fusilli pasta, with egg, tomato and spinach noodles, just to make it interesting.

While that’s cooking, I cut up some bell peppers. Since the pasta is tri-colour, I cut up a red pepper, a green one, and a yellow one to match.

When the pasta is cooked, I drain it and let it cool a bit. Throw in the peppers. Then I toss in salad dressing. You can make your own, or use your favourite bottled dressing. I usually like to use honey and mustard, but citrus vinaigrette also works great. To finish off, I add some sliced black olives for zing, both in taste and visually.

And that’s it. (I told you it was easy.) Plop it into your Tupperware or equivalent, and you’re good to go. Tastes just as great if it’s in the fridge overnight, too, so you can make it well in advance.

Bon apetit. It was a hit at the potluck.

Since I started my day needing to chill with John Lennon, let’s end with him as well…

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