Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sadness, grief and loss...

"Hey friends! I want to let everyone know that suicide IS preventable. Here's my promise to you: I will always Listen/Talk it out/Be a trusted friend/Get you help. Talk to me if you're in crisis. The Lifeline is there for you and so am I."
#800273TALK #suicideispreventable #LETITOUT 

September 30th is the last day of the Suicide prevention month.  On this day, I found out my dear friend's (from our last military assignment) husband apparently shot himself at home.  She found him according to the news reports.

He was an amazing man.  High ranking Army officer.  But, a Teddy Bear in person.  Always had a wonderful, full, encompassing hug ready and available no matter where we'd run into each other.  A smile and a kind word... always.  Did he seem depressed?  Not a year ago when I last saw him.  Yes, he went for walks with the dog and was a quiet man, but didn't seem "depressed".  His family was amazing and supportive.  Very involved in the community and at church.  Why him??  I, personally, do not expect I'll ever know.  All I can do is to pray for his soul, pray for his family, and pray for my dear friend that her dreams are not nightmares of finding him... AND get the word out about suicide prevention.

Suicide was a growing trend in the military (it 'might' be lowering... slightly in the past 2-3 years).  Presumably from the time spent in deployed locations and the stresses that one is under just from being in the military.

We, in the Air Force, are subjected to yearly Suicide Prevention briefings.  We're taught how to be a "good wingman" and recognize the "warning signs".

But, somehow... my friend's husband slipped through that.

No, he wasn't AF, he was Army.  Yep, they lead the way statistically speaking.  In 2012, the Army had 283 confirmed completed suicides and the Air Force 83.    However, the non-military world still has HUGE numbers, too.  Teens, older Americans (above 65), and middle aged people are all trending upwards.  As a matter of fact, it's the 10th leading cause of death for Americans right now.  Sad.

What can we do?

We can learn the warning signs...

I think one of the things that most people do not realize is that you MUST ask DIRECTLY if your friend or loved one is thinking about hurting or killing themself.

You MUSTN'T tell them they are stupid or weird or wrong... just listen.  THEN, STAY with them!!

Check in with them if they're not in immediate danger or take them to an emergency room or doctor.

Hide items that they might use to hurt themself...

don't just say "Life is too wonderful... why would you WANT to end it??"   Typically, they are in such pain that ALL they can think about is ending their pain... their life is NOT wonderful to them - No matter if yours is to you or if theirs appears to be wonderful from your perspective.

Do NOT place guilt on them... don't tell them how many lives will be "ruined" if they die... just listen to what is hurting them and BE there for them.  Even if you feel like you just NEED to say something... say, "I am here for you" and mean it.

PLEASE help end suicide.  Especially for our military and veterans.

Click here for the National Suicide Prevention Toolkit

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pulled pork deliciousness!

Pork.  VERY controversial!  I've read articles that say that ALL pig meat is bad for humans, then some that say it's OK and others that point to only some people having issues with it.

IF you eat pork (I do)... here's a nice way to prepare pulled-pork using a crock-pot that I came up with after researching how to do it online.  There was just SO much advice that I finally stopped reading and researching and just MADE it.

1 Pork roast - whatever size fits in your crock-pot!
7-10 garlic cloves - peeled and the larger ones cut in half length-wise
sea salt and pepper
apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's organic)
BBQ sauce (you can make yourself or find some that fit your "rules"... mine is NO HFCS or GMO ingredients)

Start with a decent cut of pork... I use pork shoulder with the bone still in.  I have used pork butt and other chunks of pork meat, but my favorite is the shoulder.  Of course, in a perfect world, I'd buy from a sustainable farmer who really feeds their pigs well... but, on the budget we have, that only happens once in a blue moon.

Next... LEAVE ON THE FAT!!  I have tried this in cutting off EVERY single scrap of fat before (the hubby can NOT stand fat) and it does NOT cook well at all.

Slice small cuts into the meat and insert a garlic clove on both sides of the roast.

Place into crock-pot and salt/pepper one side, flip and salt/pepper the other side.

Add approx 1/2 - 3/4 cup vinegar.  Don't worry if it seems like it's not enough as the juices will FLOW while cooking and it'll appear to multiply!

Turn the crock-pot on low setting and leave alone for 3 hours, minimum.

Turn over at that point and cook at least 3 more hours.

Check for ability of it to just tear apart with your fork at the 6 hour mark.  It might need 1-2 more hours.

This one was ready at 7 hours.  I then removed most of the liquid and preserved it in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Next, cut off the HUGE layer of fat on the side.  You can leave it and eat it, but this was NOT from a reputable farmer and I'm loathe to eat the fat from a pig who eats conventionally.  So, off it came and into the garbage.  Remove the bone and shred right in the crock-pot.

Some cooks recommend shredding the pork on a cutting board, but I'm all about the LEAST amount of clean up possible; so inside the pot is fine by me!

Here's what the pork looks like at this point.  I've added back in some of the juices that were taken out and saved in my measuring cup... still a little dry appearing, so I added more back.  Then, the family REALLY likes BBQ sauce, so I add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of that and place the rest on the table for them to add more, if necessary.


Serving:  For the hubby (NOT gluten-free or Paleo/Primal), he eats it on a bun... for the son and myself?  We just eat it with a fork!!  I usually cook up some roasted veggies like cauliflower and broccoli to go along with this and a mixed garden salad.