Silent No More: Talking About Suicide

I heard two stories about suicide today, one on the radio during my commute home from work, and one on PBS Newshour. I need to share them with you.

Addressing Veteran Suicides In Song And Prose is a moving story about a singer-songwriter who was only ten when his father, a veteran, succumbed to suicide.  Dan Johnson, working with a novelist partner, has turned this tragedy into stories and an album, Operation Hemingway, that helps people deal with the pain of being a “survivor of suicide loss”.

Nearly 1 in 5 teens seriously considers suicide. Can schools offer relief? This PBS news story shares the efforts of a Virginia High School to prevent suicide, encourage “mental wellness” and help students see that they’re not alone.

Suicide is born of indescribable pain and causes indescribable pain.

But despite the grim and heartbreaking subject, both of these stories offer hope.

Hope is the only way to climb out of the abyss.

Hope and connecting with others can both prevent suicide and help the survivors of the loss if it isn’t prevented. That’s the point of both of the stories.

I was silent for years about my brother’s suicide, but no more. My late friend Theresa used to say, “you’re only as sick as your secrets,” and this family tragedy is no longer a secret, silent wound that festers. My Brother’s Suicide: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light tells our story, and there’s a poem, a plea, for anyone who is considering suicide to tell someone, just one person.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

StackedLogoColorIf you are a survivor of suicide loss and want to connect with others, November 17 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. There will be meet-ups all over the world where people can gather together to find support and share their stories. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides a link to find local gatherings and a virtual event will be held on Facebook. Their web site provides numerous resources for those who have lost someone.

Please don’t be silent. There’s hope.

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In memory of Steven Thomas Harvell, November 29, 1966 – October 7, 2013. You left us too soon.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

Article: Don’t Make These Scrambled Egg Mistakes at Home

For some reason, articles I share here about cooking eggs always get a lot of traffic. So here’s the latest one I stumbled across, a treatise on avoiding common mistakes when scrambling the humble and ubiquitous egg. It’s a bit more detailed than my Mom’s instructions to me when I was a teenager helping out with the after-church brunch we always enjoyed on Sundays:

Don’t cook them so long that they turn into erasers.

Photo on MSN by Alex Pepper

Read about it in this MSN Lifestyle article: Don’t Make These Scrambled Egg Mistakes at Home.

More articles about cooking eggs in the Glover Gardens archives:

And a little trip down memory lane with: Home Alone Comfort Food: Scrambled Egg Sandwich.

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Finally, a Trip to K-Paul’s in New Orleans

It Started with Mom’s Food Crush on Paul Prudhomme and Her Collection of His Cookbooks

My Mom, an excellent cook, had a food crush on Paul Prudhomme. She bought every cookbook he published until her death in 2000, and those books were well-used. Marked-up, dog-eared and stained, they are family treasures.

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My copy of Chef Paul’s first cookbook is over 30 years old

As my first culinary teacher and mentor, Mom made sure I also got a copy of every one of the cookbooks, too, so I could share in the Chef Paul magic. I was a very young adult when Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen was published in 1984, and I’m sure that his recipes influenced my tastes and later, my recipes.

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That’s Mom and me in her kitchen around the time Chef Paul’s second cookbook was published. Louisiana Kitchen was in the stack right there on top of the oven (on the left), because she used it so often.

When she died, I inherited Mom’s Chef Paul cookbooks (and lots of others). I instantly started using her books instead of mine, because there’s a lot of love and family history encrusted in those pages. Along with the cutting boards my Dad made, these cookbooks are at the top of my Prized Possessions list. My own dog-eared copies of Chef Paul’s complete works are packed up and waiting for my son (known as the Musical Millennial in these pages) to have his own home and kitchen (after college and grad school).

Mom and Dad Fell in Love with K-Paul’s Restaurant

Even with Mom’s food crush on Chef Paul, it took a while for my parents to get to K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, the restaurant in New Orleans that he ran with his wife, Kay. Together, their names are the origin of the restaurant name “K-Paul’s”.  Finally there on a culinary road trip in the late 80s, Mom and Dad absolutely loved their dining experience at K-Paul’s and raved about it from that day forward. (It was one of their first big empty-nester trips, and I’ve never really forgiven them for not taking me along.)

Mom was ill for the last few years of her life and definitely too sick to cook, but she was a devotee of all of Chef Paul’s cooking shows on PBS in the late 90s. It was fun to visit her and watch his shows, commenting on his recipes, reminiscing about the dishes we’d made from the cookbooks, just being foodie nerds together.

Well, I never made it to K-Paul’s with Mom and Dad, and Chef Paul died in 2015.

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen is Alive and Well

K-Paul’s is still in daily operation in the French Quarter, and you can still find tried and true Louisiana Kitchen dishes there. The Grill-Meister and I took a tenth anniversary trip to NOLA this summer, and finally visited this family legend restaurant. More than 30 years after Mom and Dad’s discovery trip, it was everything they said it was, updated for this century. And yet, still a little homey, which is the promise of the sign, the original from the late 70s (as far as I can tell from online research).

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Let me tell you about it.

The bread basket sported jalapeño rolls and two different little muffins, one of which, the carrot-pecan (and molasses, I suspect), had the Grill-Meister enthralled.

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The bread basket, after we gobbled down several of the choices (eat first, pics later!)

We shared Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp, and it was heavenly. Just the right amount of crisp batter on the tomato slices, with shrimp in a piquant brown sauce sandwiched between them.

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Fried Green Tomatoes – crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and made perfect with the addition of shrimp

Oh, the main courses! We ate, and we ate, and we still couldn’t finish them. I had the pan-fried fish and shrimp with jambalaya and the Grill-Meister had the blackened drum. Both came with gloriously sautéed vegetables and the drum was accompanied by a very creamy, very large dollop of garlic mashed potatoes.

fullsizeoutput_255ePan-Fried Flounder with Shrimp and Chartres St Jambalaya

Our waiter was magnificent: well-versed in the intricacies of the menu and daily specials, funny, solicitous and there when we needed him – but without hovering. Exactly the qualities we hope for in a waitperson.

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We made friends with interesting folks at other tables.

The ambiance at K-Paul’s is casual and fun, with recipes on the walls.

It’s a well-oiled machine – we enjoyed watching the food come out and get served within moments.

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Fried oysters, lookin’ good! (Next time.)

Some folks say that K-Paul’s is a tourist destination, and they’re right. That’s just fine. It’s worth the trip. It was for Mom and Dad back in the 80s, and for the Grill-Meister and me last June.

And as for those heirloom cookbooks, they’re still in use here at Glover Gardens. We make Chef Paul’s blackened fish about once a month – check it out here.

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Our blackened fish (tilapia) from Chef Paul’s recipe

Gumbo Recipe (and Stories) Coming Soon

I’m in a Paul Prudhomme mood because I’m making gumbo tonight, and he was one of my gumbo mentors. I’ll publish my version soon, hopefully in time for Thanksgiving and those turkey leftovers. Turkey makes marvelous gumbo.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Haiku: Thank You to Veterans

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saluting soldiers
~ not just on Veteran’s Day ~
thank you, every day

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I always love to see the huge flag at DCA / Reagan National Airport. It seemed especially fitting to share it on Veteran’s Day.

Thank you to all veterans, past and present, for your service.

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Poems from People-Watching at the DMV

Forced waiting in public is a perfect people-watching opportunity that can turn into poetry or prose. Here’s what arose from my recent visit to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed, when I waited over an hour for my number to be called. These ditties aren’t going to win any awards, but I entertained myself mightily!

 

People-Watching at the DMV

 

a slice of americana

at the DMV

 

young dad

with a toddler girl

napping on his lap

her Hello Kitty backpack

resting at his feet

 

college student

with chipped purple toenails 

reading a textbook

chewing her lip 

 

middle-aged man

in a camouflage hat

legs outstretched

almost asleep

 

50-something guy

in a Sig’s Lagoon t-shirt

chatting with a teen 

nervously tapping his toes

 

quiet elderly couple 

holding hands

wearing matching jackets

(Pittsburgh Steelers)

 

young married couple

playing with a baby

whose thick black hair

sported a Mohawk 

 

bored-looking mom

with an adolescent boy

in a surgical boot

playing with her phone

 

uptight man

in a business suit

and shiny leather shoes

complaining bitterly

about the wait

 

people-watching at the DMV:

a slice of americana

Shoes I Saw at the DMV

 

shiny black loafers

leather athletic shoes

strappy leather sandals

blue canvas surgical boot

two-toned brown wingtips

black suede platform sandals

faux leather ankle boots

black patent flats with a bow at the toes

pink Velcro tennis shoes

hiking boots with caked-on mud

black jackboots

red checkered Vans

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Photo from Anthony F. on Foursquare

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

Haiku – Oops! Love me as I am.

Oops!

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I made a mistake yesterday by believing WordPress that my hastily-written post Homeward Bound, published from seat 8A on a small Embraer 175 aircraft, failed to upload. So I pushed the “Publish” button once more, as the plane revved up on the runway at Reagan National Airport.

Then I happily changed the iPad to airplane mode and settled in to finish a murder mystery set in Paris (Cara Black’s Murder at the Lanterne Rouge, for my fellow mystery lovers and Francophiles).
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This morning, I noticed that there are two identical Homeward Bound posts at the top of the Glover Gardens blog – oops! For some reason, this makes me smile. An “oops” haiku instantly springs to mind:

i’m amused by my
obvious imperfection
love me as I am

I’m going to keep both versions on the blog as a reminder to myself that I’m flawed, but still lovable. As are you – would you agree?

Oops haiku

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Flying in the Rain – Haiku

flying in the rain

hoping throughout the journey

to land in the sun

Update (a couple of hours later)

I posted this super-quickly because the plane was about to take off. I didn’t have time to muse that this simple haiku is a metaphor for life.

Also, my wish was granted. It’s a gorgeous day in Washington. Apologies for the unedited photos – the camera today is my iPad!

Copyright 2018 Glover Gardens