No stress with my holiday meals this year

Last Fall I was concerned about reports of a turkey shortage, that was being hyped online. I was in my local Kroger grocery store and there was an employee by a meat bunker stocking their store brand turkeys on one side. On the other side of that bunker was one large turkey of a brand I bought many times in the past. That turkey was over 18 lbs. (it was me and my two sons here for Thanksgiving dinner), but as I stood there debating whether to buy it, a manager approached the employee and I overheard bits of their conversation. The manager was telling the employee not to try to order more turkeys, but I only heard bits of the rest of their conversation. I made a rash decision to buy that large turkey. I still have one bag of turkey meat in my freezer left from that turkey. I don’t care much for turkey, but my sons love having homemade stuffing at Thanksgiving and turkey goes great with that. I also like to use drippings from my turkey in the stuffing.

After purchasing that large turkey, my local grocery stores had lots of turkeys in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and I felt stupid for first acting on bits of an overheard conversation and second, allowing online fearmongering and doomsday yammering to influence my decision-making. And yes, the more “dire” news and chatter you listen to, the more you’re opening the door to letting fear take up space in your thinking.

This past weekend, I saw Butterball turkeys in my local Walmart neighborhood market and there were lots of smaller size ones, which works better for me. I had been thinking about whether to get turkey or make some other type of meat for Thanksgiving for a few weeks and I had decided that I would buy a turkey, if I found one that wasn’t outrageously expensive and was smaller or I would roast a whole chicken for Thanksgiving. So, I had calmly thought about my meal-planning ahead of time. The Butterball turkeys were $1.18 a lb. and I fully expect some grocery stores might have turkey on sale before Thanksgiving, like other years, but I have the space in my freezer for a small turkey, so I bought it. I have all of the other things for my Thanksgiving meal, except if I decide to buy some fresh vegetables. I’ve got frozen, canned and dehydrated vegetables in my food pantry, so Thanksgiving is covered regardless.

It felt much calmer and sane to buy a turkey, where I had thought out my meal plan and options ahead of time and I wasn’t letting online hysteria about a turkey shortage influence my decision. And, yes, I have seen online hysteria about a turkey shortage again, recently. Sure, perhaps there will be a turkey shortage this holiday season, but by calmly thinking through my meal-planning and having a second option, I didn’t feel any anxiety or worry. That’s how I’m trying to work through both the real economic turmoil brewing and the accompanying news and social media fearmongering and drama now. I have enough food that I could bake Christmas cookies and put together a nice Christmas dinner too, so I’m not stressing about that either. A turkey shortage would not negatively impact my life in any way – it’s something I buy once a year and I’ve got plenty of other options already in my freezer and even pressure-canned meats.

Everything with the economic, energy and other big crises that are unfolding here and around the world are beyond my control. I’m not going to get myself worked up everyday or try to get other people worked up about things that are beyond their control too. I do have concerns about how so many people don’t do anything to become prepared, especially with basics, like food, water, and items to cope with weather emergencies that happen frequently in their area. However, I’ve had this concern for probably 40 years, when as I moved around the Army, I met people from all over the world and with all sorts of lifestyles. Many weren’t like the country folks I grew up around and in my own family, who were prepared for just about anything. I’ve seen many people over the years who got paid and blew their paycheck on stereo equipment, computer stuff, etc. and then complained they didn’t have food to feed their family until the next payday. These kind of people usually bog down government and private charity services, repeatedly, or leech off of family and friends. Here again, I learned over the years that I have zero control over what other people do. The only person I can control is myself.

I bring this up, because a lot of people are selling fear constantly – from the news media to many online formats. It obviously is working for them with clicks, but I’m trying to skip most of that and just work more on other stuff.

In other blog posts I’ve mentioned an elderly friend, whom I visit often. We worked together years ago, when she decided to return to work in her 70s, after she had retired from a job she had for decades. She is almost 86 now and on home hospice care, but she still lives in her home alone. Her son passed away a little over a year ago, so she has no family nearby. I do live nearby. At her son’s funeral service, I listened to the pastor talk about how my friend would need people to do more than just show up that day. He was right. I enjoy talking to her and help her out with errands and some small tasks. I also run into her hospice nurses sometimes when I stop by and most of them I know from my husband’s time on home hospice care and it feels reassuring to know they are looking after her. I enjoy sitting and talking to her, even though we are completely different personalities and have very different views on many things.

In recent months her memory is getting worse and on Saturday when I stopped in to drop off some spaghetti and salad I had made, she was excited about a “big” lottery jackpot. She’s told me many times that she always loved playing bingo, playing slot machines, and playing the lottery. Not that long ago, I ran and picked up MegaMillion tickets for her, because of some big jackpot, so when she was telling me about a big lottery jackpot, I assumed it was MegaMillions and I googled it, but that wasn’t a huge jackpot. She wanted $20 in tickets. I thought she had misunderstood something she heard on the news. Then yesterday morning I saw a news article about the Powerball jackpot is around 1 billion dollars, so I realized she wasn’t confused. I called her and told her it was the Powerball and I went and bought her tickets. I don’t generally play the lottery, or play bingo or gamble, not because of some moral stance, but because I’m not big on risk-taking,

I decided to spend $10 on tickets for myself, knowing full well, I just threw $10 away. She is excited about her lottery tickets, while I’m still feeling nothing except I threw $10 away, but I’m not beating myself up over that – even if the economy crashes tomorrow and everything goes to hell in a handbasket. I spent that $10 and can’t change that, anymore than I can change whether an epic catastrophe happens.

Honestly, my friend’s happiness with her lottery tickets was probably worth the $10 I threw away in the process. She regaled me with hilarious stories of some of her big “wins” at bingo and playing the slot machines. She had me laughing out loud and she was happy remembering the fun she had.

My friend asked me what I would do if I won that much money and I told her I’d probably have a panic attack. I have no idea how to manage a large amount of money like that, even in good economic times, and in this current uncertain economic time, I have no clue. She told me she’s been thinking about some cabbage and sausage, so I told her I will cook that this week and bring her some. She can’t see well enough to cook anymore. I even have a head of cabbage in my fridge and sausage in the freezer, so it’s a no-stress meal.

Instead of worrying about world crises or winning the lottery, today I planted some blueberry bushes in the ground that I had growing in pots, I mixed up some homemade vanilla extract, which I’d been meaning to try for a long time (it only took a few minutes), I saved some more flower seeds and finally some of my sweet basil, that I let go to seed, had some seeds ready to gather. I already saved a lot of lemon basil seeds. And I’ve worked on a few other projects. I also learned something new on YouTube. I glued together some jigsaw puzzles in the past and it was a bit messy. I saw a YouTube video on using glue sheets to just peel and stick on the back of the puzzle, which is mess-free and only takes a few minutes. It’s probably something that’s been around awhile, but it was new to me. I have a puzzle, that I completed over a year ago, that’s been sitting on a piece of foam core board waiting to be glued together, so there’s another easy project.

I’m also reading a book called, Landrace Gardening: Food Security through Biodiversity and Promiscuous Pollination, that a YouTube homesteader mentioned recently. I saw it in amazon and it was a bit pricey, so I checked Hoopla, which is a free ebook/audiobook service available through many libraries. My public library offers Hoopla and this gardening book was available, so I borrowed it. I don’t understand enough about plant pollination/cross-pollination or the scientific stuff referred to in this book to feel confident I’m grasping all of the ideas presented, but it’s interesting.

Here’s the thing, even if something epic, like an economic collapse happens or WWIII starts or some other major calamity happens, each day everyday life still goes on. We’ll have to figure out meals, figure out how to carry on our daily tasks, take care of our families and probably a lot of us will try to help our friends and neighbors too. I’ve found planning and decision-making, no matter the situation, is easier if I work on decluttering my mind from a lot of noise and fearmongering.

I felt stupid last year for letting social media yammering about a turkey shortage lead me to feel anxiety about whether I’d be able to get a turkey for Thanksgiving, then overreact based on bits of an overheard conversation that seemed to reinforce that yammering. We would have been fine and had a nice meal, even without a turkey, because I had a chest freezer full of meat last year too. I was only seeing the glass almost empty, when in reality my glass was full of options already in my own pantry. It wasn’t a crisis in my life in any way, shape or form, even if there had been an actual turkey shortage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Emergency Preparedness, General Interest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s