Over the last few weeks I’ve been able to spend some time with good friends. The kind of friends that you can not talk with for months, even years, but when you do reconnect, it feels like nothing has changed. When you’re done talking, you feel calm and relaxed and sort of floppy- kind of like after a massage.
One such friend is my friend D. We worked together when I worked in residential care and our offices shared a wall. She worked with the adolescent girls and I worked with the boys. I will always remember listening to her therapy sessions. In case you’re not familiar with adolescent residential care, it’s tough. The children and adolescents are placed outside of their homes and communities because they aren’t safe without 24 hour adult supervision. This means that they’re angry, depressed, physically and verbally aggressive, self-injurious and/or suicidal and sometimes homicidal. In other words, they’re not quiet, reserved young people.
The girls are known to be harder than the boys. While D. and I each used the white noise machines, we could often still hear the sessions, especially if the clients were yelling. Here is what I’d typically hear:
“WILL you please just LISTEN TO ME!” the client would yell. D. would respond appropriately and calmly, pointing out that it is much easier to talk with her if she does not yell.
She would continue to yell, taunting D., calling her things like “b*&%h,” “c$%t,” and a “f$#%ing a#@$%^e just like all the rest.” She would push the boundary further and further until D. would calmly and firmly announce, “That’s it. I’m done.”
To this the young girl would respond, “You’re done? FINE. SOME CLINICIAN YOU ARE! I should get a new clinician. A real one. A REAL one wouldn’t tell me she’s done.” This, after heaping piles of insults and derogatory comments onto her D. D. had amazing patience for her girls and she has changed more than one young lady’s life for the better.
We got married within four months of each other and ended up planning our weddings at the same time. We’d alternate between excitement and feeling overwhelmed with all the logistics and many an afternoon was spent at work, venting about guest lists or family details or late rsvps. We both left our residential jobs around the same time and we stayed in touch. A year or so later, D. got pregnant and then, a few months later, so did I. It was neat the way we stayed sort of in line with each other.
We don’t see each other much, but when we do we can pick right up where we left off, as though no time has passed. I value her outlook on life, her dry sense of humor and her – sounds odd but makes sense- cynical optimism. I also adore both her husband (we worked together as well) and her son. Her son is one of the cutest boys I know- outside of the little boys in my own family.
I had the opportunity to visit with them this past weekend, after about a year since our last visit. We’d emailed and facebooked (see? a new word!) in there and had even made plans but baby sicknesses and general craziness had gotten in the way. But this past Sunday the baby and I drove the forty minutes to her new house and spent a few hours catching up and laughing. It was wonderful. I saw the house, the babies played, we chatted and I watched her throw her dinner in the crockpot.
As you know, I’m waiting for my new appliances (scheduled! for the 12th! one more week!) so I’ve been cooking very little. Watching D. with her crockpot, I realized I could be utilizing mine. So I asked for her chicken recipe. The one she gave me sounded delicious but of course, being me, I had to play with it a little bit. So I’ll give you both here.
D’s Crockpot Chicken
1 small jar orange marmalade
1 packet onion soup mix
1/4 cup russian salad dressing
4 chicken breasts
Place chicken into crockpot. Mix the other ingredients together and pour over chicken. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Serve over rice.
My Crockpot Chicken, based on D’s recipe
3-4 chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless but might do skin and bone-in next time as mine dried out a bit)
1-2 Tb. beef bullion crystals (or 2 beef bullion cubes)
1/2 of a 12 oz jar chili sauce
1 18 oz jar apricot preserves
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons sweet relish
1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
1/4 cup boiling water
Cook on low 4-6 hours.
I poured the sauce into a saucepan on the stove. I let it reduce a little by putting it on high heat and letting it boil for a few minutes. Then I added the chicken back in and let it warm through. I served mine over red quinoa which was delicious and added a nice texture.
It was quick and pretty easy. Plus it reminded me of D. and left me feeling warm and fuzzy because of that. Can’t beat good friends. Especially if they can cook!