Preserving vegetables, finding new friends

There I was in the canning department of Walmart pondering over what the optimum size of mason jar would be to really get the most bang for my buck. Recently I’ve been exploring the art of canning. Yes I’ve become a canner (and I’m not referring to the dance). I’ve been canning peppers to make spicy pepper jam. I’ve been canning sunberries and rhubarb to make jellies. I’ve even tried my hand at pickles as of late.

There I was in the canning department of Walmart pondering over what the optimum size of mason jar would be to really get the most bang for my buck.

Recently I’ve been exploring the art of canning. Yes I’ve become a canner (and I’m not referring to the dance).

I’ve been canning peppers to make spicy pepper jam. I’ve been canning sunberries and rhubarb to make jellies. I’ve even tried my hand at pickles as of late.

But most of all I’ve been jarring up loads upon loads of salsa.

It all began with my planting far too many tomatoes last spring. I won’t get into the story now, but I can tell you one thing — getting overzealous with spring seedling will only result in an inglorious mess of vegetation come fall — like 400 pounds of vegetation!

So here I am with 400 pounds of tomatoes. I sure as hell can’t eat them all, so I have been forced to learn how to jar and process them. And hope to God my family and friends are good with gift baskets of preserves for Christmas presents.

Anyways, I didn’t come here to talk about canning, I swear. That’s actually just how my story begins.

Ahem, so there I was in the canning department of Walmart. I am carefully inspecting all of the options of jars when I hear Lars begin to yell in delight, “Mama, Mama, look it’s a boy from my class!”

I turn around to find another mom pushing two kids about the same age as Lars and Sophie in a shopping cart. She too is looking at canning supplies and I feel like for once since I began this insane journey into the preserves world I am not alone!

We introduce ourselves to each other right after she glances into my cart and makes a like comment about being surprised that someone else actually does canning, too.

We small talk about canning (what else?) for a while and eventually part our separate ways. For the next half an hour as I wander the store I kick myself for not setting up a play date with woman and her boys.

Because somewhere along the lines of life getting ‘asked out on a date’ started to mean a drastically different thing. No longer do I swoon over cute dudes on the beach. I now swoon when the rare opportunity comes along that I may actually have something in common with another mom and the scarce idea that ‘Oh my, maybe we can be mom-friends!’ surfaces in my mind.

There was once a time when my hands would get clammy over talking to a perspective date. I would stutter over my words while hopelessly eager that he would ask me out for coffee. In present days, I am lucky to say that my search for the perfect (well, almost perfect) man has been wrapped up and tied in a ship-shape bow.

But a search of a different kind has all too soon clamoured down upon me!

That is the ongoing pursuit for likeminded mom-friends. So when the occasion to meet someone comes along, you can imagine how I automatically revert back to the awkward, tongue twisted weirdo that I used to be when being placed into high pressured situations like dating.

I won’t lie to you and say I ended up shrugging it off, because really what can you do? I missed an opportunity but I’m sure another will come about soon.

No, I wasn’t that rational about it all.

I stewed in my own defeatism and brooded over whether or not I had just missed my opening to gain the best mom-friend in the history of mom-friends. I daydreamed of our children playing wistfully together as children sometimes do.

Her and I sharing canning anecdotes and frolicking around the kitchen with coffees in hand while, The Rain, The Park, and Other Things by the Cowsills plays gaily in the background.

It was a beautiful dream. But the dream slipped further and further away from me with each time I would run into her in the mass department store and only offer a friendly smile in her direction.

The fear of rejection had consumed me — I guess some things never change. I had to get over my self-absorption and fast. Because if I had learned one thing in kindergarten it was that ‘this’ was definitely not the way to make new friends.

I suppose I was not the only one thinking along these lines because the next thing I knew Lars piped up when once again we ran into our potential new friends and said, “Hey maybe you guys can come over for a play date sometime.”

And so you see, sometimes when you fear you may be teaching your kids terrible lessons in cowardice and timidity, really they are the ones to impart a hidden wisdom on you. It made me realize that if risks weren’t taken, so many delightful things would never come to fruition. Things such as canned salsa, new fashion trends, preposterously obscure Pinterest attempts and, of course, new friendships.

So go forth mothers of school age children and ask that mom-friend crush of yours over for a coffee date. I’m sure that in the end you won’t be disappointed.

Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

Dharmesh Goradia, and his daughter Vidhi and wife Chaitali, at the 2017 festival for the Godess Durga, held at the Golden Circle. (Photo contributed)
Draft curriculum misses the mark for central Alberta Hindu society

Meeting scheduled with Alberta Education officials

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees who were furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta’s tourism sector hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ATB Financial

Between border closures, public health measures and hesitancy to travel, Alberta’s tourism… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Most Read