Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Janet Knows

I was flipping through the channels the other day when I came across a woman explaining that she’s a Medium and speaks to the dead. I watched for a little while trying to decide how I felt about what she’s claiming to do.

My brain tends to be very analytical. It’s probably a by-product of being related to so many CPAs. Whatever the reason, I have a hard time believing what I can’t prove. But there’s another side too, I can’t really dismiss what I can’t disprove either. So I’m on the fence. Not about the particular Medium I was watching, I have all kinds of questions specific to her claims, but about the possibility as a whole. And yet, I’ve had an experience of my own:

Janet Knows - Bakinginatornado.com

When I first moved here I was looking for someone to clean my house. A new friend recommended Janet. I met her and hired her and never looked back. When I moved from that rental home to my first home and then to this current home, Janet stayed on. She was a staple in our lives.

And Janet had a front row seat to all the stages of my life. From the surgeries, In Vitro, lost pregnancies and the birth of my boys, Janet was here. And I got to know her family as well.

When my first son was born, Janet’s husband made a wooden pegged wall hanging for my nursery. It was decorated with a piece of the wall paper I had chosen, she had snuck it out to keep the gift a surprise. Over the years it’s been painted but we have it still.

When my boys were in elementary school and started to develop their own taste in music, Janet had us stop by her house one day to find that her son had burned my boys a CD of their favorite songs.

And one year, 5 days before my New Year’s brunch, where I typically hosted up to 40 guests, Janet and I fought all day as she cleaned my house. She had the flu and I wanted her to go home but she insisted on doing the basics to get my house ready. Five days later she and her husband were amongst my guests.


Cheddar Mac Squares | www.BakingInATornado.com

Cheddar Mac Squares

When Janet told me that she was forced to stop working because she had just been diagnosed with Leukemia, I was stunned. My boys drew her cards for her room during the times she was undergoing treatment. I brought her family dinner during the spans when she was home. And I joined her in rejoicing in the outpouring of love from so many of her clients who had grown to love her.

Janet Knows - Bakinginatornado.com

My boys were young, but they wanted to attend Janet’s funeral and I granted them that. But it was a full year before I felt able to visit her grave. One warm summer day the boys and I bought one flower each and went to find her tombstone. We sat for a while and didn’t talk to her but about her. I’m glad we went but I won’t be back.

I had many people clean my house over the next few years. For the longest time I just couldn’t find someone who met my standards. Finally about 3 years ago a neighbor recommended Susan. I have to admit that I don’t like Susan. She’s gruff and difficult and can be defensive and angry. She actually intimidates me in my own home. But she did a great job cleaning my house and I hired her.

Janet Knows - Bakinginatornado.com

The day after I hired Susan, I was in the laundry room. The sun was coming through the window and hit an area up on the wall. It drew my attention and high up, stuck on a piece of the wood that holds my rod to the wall, was a feather from Janet’s duster. I didn’t think but actually knew: Janet knows I’ve hired someone.

Later that same day I was in the kitchen when a beam of light from the kitchen window shone onto the upper oven door. It highlighted some fingerprints. Again, a knowledge hit me: Janet wants me to know that no one can care for my home as well as Janet did. And that was SO Janet that it made me smile.

It isn’t as thought I thought these instances through. I really didn’t. If I were to, I’d acknowledge that there’s really nothing mysterious about light shining in windows. Or a piece of feather stuck to a sliver of wood. Or Susan missing a fingerprint on an oven. I don’t know how to explain how a skeptical, left brained woman “knew” that this was Janet, but I believed it then and I still do.

All these years later Susan still works here. I’m very protective of that feather, still stuck to the sliver of wood in the laundry room. And I still miss Janet.

Bakinginatornado.com

Cheddar Mac Squares
                                         ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 # package Elbow Macaroni
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
3 cups Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup cooked bacon bits
2 TBSP seasoned bread crumbs, plus more for top
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp paprika, plus more for top
 

Directions:
*Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Cook macaroni to al dents. Rinse 2 or 3 times with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down. Drain well.
*Mix all the rest of the ingredients into the macaroni. Be sure it's mixed well.
*Put into the prepared dish. Make sure it's evenly distributed in the dish.Sprinkle lightly with more bread crumbs and paprika.
*Bake for 30 minutes. It should be bubbling around the edges.
*Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Cut and serve.

22 comments:

  1. What a bittersweet, touching story. Janet is probably smiling right now :)

    I've been craving pasta dishes something fierce lately. This mac n cheese needs to make an appearance in my belly soon!

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    1. We love these Cheddar Mac Squares, I actually serve them as a side dish. The ultimate comfort food.

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  2. What a beautiful story Karen. And I absolutely love this because I too cannot quite comprehend what I can't prove, but I can' disprove it either so .. who am I to judge. And I have had a similar experience. River rafting ... my grandmother was killed in a river rafting accident and well, it's a long story. But those oddities definitely make you think it's possible.

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•*´
    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    Raising-Reagan.com

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    1. I agree. And in this instance it wasn't that I thought it through, I really just knew.

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  3. sniffles.....wipes tears away....she is so watching over you and what a great angel to have watching you. I know my Grandmother is always watching and protecting us.

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    1. It's a great way to keep her in our lives. She really is missed.

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  4. ohhhh, loved this post, Karen! That's so lovely and endearing that you two grew to have that close relationship. And, as someone who wholeheartedly believes in those sorts of things, I totally believe the feather and fingerprints illuminated by sunlight were the exactly what was intended: a message to you.

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    1. I never would have expected to believe it, but I do. Funny how sometimes we end up surprising ourselves.

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  5. What a beautiful sharing of Janet! Please, don't EVER over think it. Don't analyze it. Just let it be there. That's the gifts Janet left you, so she's ALWAYS there in some way.

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    1. I agree with you completely, Sarah. I need to not try to think it through and just let it be what it is.

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  6. I really loved this story. I am sure Janet would love this too.

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  7. OK, here it is 12:30 at night and I'm craving cheddar mac squares!

    Very touching story.Sometimes we just have to accept the meaning of these things and not over-analyze them.

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    1. Although in general i tend to be an over-analyzer, in this instance I really need to just let this be what it is.

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  8. OMG, while reading this, I sooo wanted Janet's treatments to be successful! She sounds like an amazing lady.

    If you've got some time, look up "les jeux sont faits" by Jean-Paul Sartre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chips_Are_Down_(screenplay)
    We read it in school, and I remember that back then, I was convinced that "the dead" are among us - they are just invisible to us, but if we allow it, we can feel their presence.

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    1. It's been a long time since my college days but I do remember Sartre. You do have to wonder how much more we'd be aware of if we just let down our guard. Interesting thought, isn't it?

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  9. I absolutely believe in all of it. I think the instances of seeing the feather and fingerprints are gifts. THey may not be specifically sent "as" Janet, but more of a reminder of the joyous hard worker and friend. I have similar experiences (as you know) about the people that built my home. I cherish every clue they leave behind. It's a connection. Sometimes we need those to hold it all together. xox

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. I remember your story of the friends whose home is now yours. I think we're lucky to be open to these connections. They're special.

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  10. I love all of your recipes, of course, but the stories you share, is one of the reasons I love your blog. So down to earth and sometimes they mimic my own life....I laugh at the stories you tell about your boys, and can,sometimes, just change the name to that of one of my own children...LOL This story about your Friend is so touching and tender...thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your support. I appreciate it.

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  11. A lovely story about people who come into our lives and their imprint when present or not! Yummy recipe.

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    1. I look back and really hope that Janet knew that I would always remember her, that I would think of her often.

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