Friday, January 11, 2019

Coping, Coding, and Cookies: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: cast ~ ray ~ trick ~ aligned ~ shades ~ coded
They were submitted by Tamara of Part-time Working Hockey Mom.

Parenting is tough, yo (northern speak for y'all). And although I'm sure if you're a parent you already know that, but truth is most of us convince ourselves it'll get easier. No such luck. Bigger kids bring bigger problems.

Starting to write this post actually took me some time. I had to try to get over my visceral reaction to the first word, cast. I am still traumatized by not just that, but also how my son broke his leg while in college 10 hours away and all that had entailed . . . long distance. Hospital visit, I wasn't there. X- rays, I wasn't there. Being in excruciating pain, unable to even make it to his room for days, I wasn't there. Doctors visits, casts, medications, getting to classes, knee scooter rental, even just eating and staying hydrated, he had to handle much of it with his frat brothers and the rest I had to do from far away. 

It was already in the forefront of my consciousness before I even got these words because, just about a month ago, my blogging friend Rena broke her leg. I'm so glad she had her family with her to help her through the process, especially those first days of sheer agony, but it brought up all of those feelings for me, knowing someone was in pain and far away, nothing I could do about it.

All of this got me on a path to thinking about the highs and the lows of the past few years and the learned art of coping. 

We all know that there are times in life when you could easily just pull down the shades, climb into bed, yank the covers over your head and refuse to deal. The trick to getting through these times without having a complete meltdown (full disclosure, partial meltdowns have been had), is in the aftermath, the lessons learned. 

It's possible I'm putting this into computer programming terms because my son is an application developer (or maybe it's my next word prompt, "coded"), but it does help make my point. Looking to the past can often result in finding the best strategy for the present, coded just like you'd program a computer. Life lessons write the code, instructions supplying the learned raw information needed to solve the current problem. There are fewer regrets in life when we find ourselves in not the same situations but similar circumstances, and are capable of dealing in a more meaningful way because of the raw data collected from the past.

A few years ago I wrote a post, When You're Not There, Again about the heartbreak of my son's suffering a loss, the death, of a frat mentor while away at school. It was the second emotional blow in a very short time, when I wasn't physically there for him. I even thought seriously about flying out to Indiana, I did offer to fly him home.

It was a difficult and heartbreaking situation at the time, but it also brought perspective when PurDude later broke his leg. I had been programmed with information, what I was able to comfortably leave to him, what he was best served if I to handled myself, and what I needed my friend (whose daughter was also at Purdue) who lives an hour and a half from Purdue, is a trained pharmacist and has a husband who's a doctor to help me with.

And then, of course, there are the glorious opposites of those pull-the-blankets-over-your-head days. The times when it seems as though all the stars are aligned and everything just goes right. They are like a much needed respite, a chance to catch our breath. Like when that same son who had broken his leg, now a college graduate, gets a great job at a Fortune 500 company 35 minutes from home. Not ten hours . . . 35 minutes.

Or when that cookie recipe that had been rolling around in my head finally came together and OMG, fudgy chocolatey deliciousness.

Fudgy Quadruple Chocolate Cookies are made with four different chocolates, rolled in confectioner’s sugar and baked to fudgy perfection. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

Fudgy Quadruple Chocolate Cookies
Fudgy Quadruple Chocolate Cookies are made with four different chocolates, rolled in confectioner’s sugar and baked to fudgy perfection. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

And knowing that with just a half an hour's notice, I can once again have both of my favorite taste testers sitting at the counter, eating warm chocolate. And just like that, all is well once again.

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Fudgy Quadruple Chocolate Cookies

3/4 stick butter, softened
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
3/4 cup flour
2 TBSP baking cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

about 3/4 cup powdered sugar

*Melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate and dark chocolate chips together until completely smooth when stirred.
*Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for 2 minutes, then beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Carefully beat in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix in the mini chocolate chips.
*Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to a day.
*Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the powdered sugar in a small plastic bag or on a plate.
*Using wet hands, roll the dough into about 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar, then bake for 12 minutes.


  1. Nice when all is right with our own world! I love the looks of these cookies. 4 sources of chocolate seems like a good idea!

    1. Yes, I got lucky this time. Enjoying every minute of having them nearby.

  2. Broken bones are THE WORST. I broke both bones in my arm in college---had surgery twice for it, and I can honestly equate that pain with the intensity of labor. It was awful. And what you said about bigger kids, bigger problems---spot on! Here's to having the stars align in our favor in 2019!

    1. I think I'd like to hear that broken bones in the arm college story of yours one of these days.

  3. I am 56 and have never had a broken bone in my life and only one of my daughters has had a broken arm that was my youngest when she rode a pee wee 50 through a fence

  4. My son broke both his arms (not at the same time). As I broke my leg roller skating when I was 10, I can say I can still feel the pain. But chocolate does fix most things, doesn't it. And those cookies are as chocolately as one can get, I suspect. Alana

  5. Bigger kids bigger problems is true, once a mama, always a mama. But you and he both handled it all well, meltdowns and all! Thrilled he is so close to home Makes my heart smile for you. And those cookies? Oh my, I know what treat I am making for us this weekend!

    1. Yes, of all the places he could have ended up, I can't believe how lucky I got. And enjoy those cookies!

  6. I am so with you about not being there and it being traumatic. Especially when it is our kids. I've experienced it and it's horrible. But what's not horrible is these cookies.

    1. LOL! I know you've been through a few tough times from afar too, so difficult.


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