Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Normal stuff

"Sometimes, when you don't feel normal, doing a normal thing makes you feel normal."~ George Burns, Oh God 1997. SUCH a great movie. Highly recommend for just a little escapism fun. This quote seems like sound advice right now so I'm gonna write about what I know and love, FOOD. Not just any food but my specialty, comfort food. 

I learned to cook in the 70s and still have a fondness for those one dish casseroles but without the heavy sauces, too much cheese (it can be a thing) and now I add a ton of bright fresh veggies. Chicken Pilau is an old southern favorite, chicken thighs, collards (don't be afraid), carrots, celery, onions and Aidells Mango Jalapeño sausage simmered with basmati rice.... so comforting and flavorful! If you use basmati the rice won't get sticky, just fluffy. 
Chicken Pilau
2 tbs olive oil 
1 1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs cut in chunks
6 oz smoked sausage, I like Aidells Spicy Mango Jalapeño, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot 
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chopped collard greens
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper chicken cubes, saute in hot olive oil until done. Add sausage, onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Stir in broth, rice and collard greens, bring to a boil. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Remove from heat and cover, bake in 350* oven for 25 minutes. 

This makes plenty to share. I'm sure someone you know could use a little comfort too~

Maybe doing the normal everyday things is just what we need. 

Stay well. Stay kind. Stay Hometown Proud. ❤️

Friday, April 17, 2020

Jim and Susie

Some people make friends for life. Once you’re in, you’re in. Jim and Marilyn Chapman are like that and our friendship began in a most unlikely way. 

More than a couple of decades ago Rick received a 3 page letter from a customer outlining a shopping trip to our store. On this trip a couple of things had gone wrong, one of the wrongs had to do with orange juice. It was so long ago I don't think any of us remember all the details but we do have what is lovingly/laughingly known as the ‘orange juice letter’ somewhere :) . The letter was from Jim Chapman. When Rick called him to work it all out, they just hit it off. Rick and I would bike ride with Jim and a bunch of locals, some would ask how Marilyn was or tell Jim to say Hi to her, then he would talk about Susie... I could not figure out which one was his wife and who the heck the other one was! Then I met Marilyn SUE and it all made sense.  We’ve all been friends ever since. You never know when great things will come from those little challenges. 

So let me tell you a about the wonderful friend I found. Marilyn Sue (Susie) is a retired 3rd grade teacher, she has also taught other grades including college but 3rd grade was her favorite and fits her perfectly. There are an awful lot of adults with children of their own that still think of her as Mrs Chapman. She is also an AVID quilter, sooo many beautiful quilts, last year Susie gave me one from her private stock and I will treasure it forever. When I found myself in need of masks for our entire crew I called her wondering if she knew anyone currently making them. She asked a few questions and a little bit later let me know she and Jim would be making them. The next several days they worked night and day to crank these out just as fast as possible. These masks are beyond anything I could have expected. 3 layers of cotton, the middle is muslin to aid in filtration, wonderful prints, each sealed in a baggie with a personal note including a thank up to all of US. This gift was made with love not just for us but for the community the Chapmans have spent their lives in service of. 

HUGE thanks to Jim and Susie, we are blessed to have such wonderful friends that are also Hometown Heroes. 

Apart together

Can you imagine what the isolation must have been like quarantined in 1918 during the Spanish Flu pandemic? Mistrust and fear permeated communities, when people did emerge it wasn't the same. Many felt the friendliness and sense of community was gone. No one talked about it, the fear was so great. Tough to resolve things you're afraid to mention. 

So here we are today. Driven apart by circumstances yet it certainly has brought our community and families together. Text, FaceTime, phone calls keep us in touch with family and friends. What truly matters is in the foreground again. Everywhere I look I see a helping hand, new ideas and a commitment to our overall health. You all make me so Hometown Proud. As I write this my friend Marilyn "Susie" Chapman and her minion/hubby are busy making masks for my WHOLE team which they are donating. This humbles me. David Teeter of Margie's Book Nook has set up a table in our store filled with activities for young and old alike, he is also going through his store and putting together donations for various agencies. Social media is humming with shared ideas and humor regarding our current situation. Barriers are being built to keep the germs away and the people together. Senior Center, Salvation Army, Churches, Schools and individuals all pitching in to help one another with an eye especially toward those that would be gravely affected by this virus. Everyone thinking outside the box to keep our local small businesses operating. Curbside delivery available for salons, restaurants and stores. Mountain Yoga is renting out their spin bikes and taking all classes online, which I signed up for right away. Weight Watchers, churches, support groups all online too. The best part is it's our locals, online or at the curb or in the store. People we know and trust. People we want to protect. The same smiling faces that get us through the tougher days greet us on the easy ones. 

Maybe this general concern for one another isn't always evident, today it is everything.

Meredith Emmot

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, it feels strange to say that since it is so well controlled on a disease modifying drug. I realize I'm one of the lucky ones. RA is an autoimmune disorder and when it attacked me I knew something was systemically wrong. It wasn't just my joints but anything and everything was going wrong with my body. At the time Rick and I were doing a lot of bike riding and racing, we moved all of our riding to our tandem bike because sometimes the pain in my hands, wrist, shoulder was too severe to steer and brake for myself. After a few years we were invited to be on a tandem team on the Race Across America, by then my body had become so unpredictable I didn't think it was possible. Dr Meadows told me "time is our friend", he was right, a series of events led me to (rheumatologist) Dr Naguwa at UC Davis Medical Center and in January of 2011 after a few visits I asked Naguwa if he thought I would be able to do RAAM in June, he said "that shouldn't be a problem"! Sure enough, I did get to race with Team JDRF. 

Both my autoimmune and the medication I take require monitoring through lab test every 6 months. Enter Meredith Emmot at Banner Lassen Draw Station, What a resource. The location is convenient, open at 6:30 am, park right out front, friendly, clean, fast and it's like having your own personal Phlebotomist. Meredith has to draw like a gallon (perhaps a slight exaggeration) of blood from me for all the tests and I never feel a thing as she moves from one vial to another. The best. Meredith has been at Banner for 19 years of a career she began in 1992. Last year the Draw Station was closed for 6 weeks while she had shoulder surgery, I can't be the only one that felt some panic wondering why it was closed. I love that I don't have to walk through the hospital (where sick people have to go) to get labs PLUS if you have to fast you can get it over with at 6:30 am, for some folks mobility is an issue there are 2 spots right by the door and if someone needs, Meredith gets all of her things and (in her cute little Chuck Taylor's) goes out to the lot to do the lab right from their car. She's like that. So much experience, so much caring, as Meredith says "it's the little things". Truly it matters. There are locals that won't have their labs done unless Meredith can do them!

Lab results are posted to My Banner usually within 24 hours, I can sign in and click on any number to compare it to my past results. Dr Naguwa has a sign in his office, something about getting well won't happen without your participation. Banner Lassen and Meredith Emmot make it easy!

Meredith thanks for all you do to keep us Hometown Healthy!

Dania Tynan

"Some people get an adrenaline rush from surfing or sky diving, I get it from public speaking" ~ Dania Tynan, Future Business Leader of America, Checker Susanville Supermarket. IDK about you but I find public speaking frightening!

Store Director Todd Eid is constantly looking for new team members and he knows Lassen High Future Business Leaders of America is an excellent resource. In 2018 Todd made a call to FBLA advisor Dawn Egan and she highly recommended Dania. What a find. She has worked here for a year and a half now and I've always found her to be professional and super friendly with co-workers and customers BUT little did I know what a dynamo she really is. Basketball, Varsity Golf, yearbook editor, FFA, FBLA and interned at the City of Susanville for a bit learning how to write grants. Dania's dad always stressed the importance of communication and she listened, taking her first public speaking class in middle school. After an injury playing basketball Dania needed to go to a physical therapist and was helped so much by it she decided that is what she would like to become. Helping people is the goal for her. Dania's enthusiasm for FBLA, public speaking and the future are infectious.

Last week Dania came in to ask if we could take a picture together for the conclusion of a FBLA project. She finished in first place in the 2020 FBLA Northern Section Leadership Conference in the Interview category! This competition included everything pertaining to applying for a specific job the student would currently be qualified for; dress code, application, resume', interview and giving a public presentation. What a terrific thing to teach our kids, certainly something everyone could benefit from. We could not be prouder of the way she excelled and the way she carries herself every day in the workplace!

Thank you to FBLA for all you teach our LoCaL youth! Congratulations to our own Dania Tynan! You all make us so Hometown Proud!

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