What's More Important: Where you Live or What you do?

Heart

Neither. What's more important is not where you live OR what you do for a living. To me, what's important is how you act. Isn't your question comparing apples to grapes or beer to a vanilla egg cream? What we do for a living doesn't define us or at least most of us. Where we live could be circumstantial or out of necessity. What's most important is what you are, what you do, for yourself, your family, your loved ones. What's important, to me, is kindness, generosity and the strength and willingness of your heart to be open.

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The One Who Got Away

Scared

When I read “the one who got away” I automatically thought of a person, but there was no person that got away from me, except for me. What got away from me for many, many years were chances left untouched because of my inner fear and insecurity. There was a job in Production that I thought I coudn’t handle, the Psy.d in Psychology I was too lazy for; fear stopped me from doing all sorts of things over the years; for that I have no one to blame except myself. Adventure, Risks, Chances did not wait for me to grow up and decide. In the blink of an eye they left, fleeing because I was a loser and they left quickly in disgust. Now, many years later I can separate the fear from function and sometimes talk myself into overcoming the fear. Too late, however and way too little.

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Man Vs Food #2 (An Extreme Foodie Blog Again)

I admit it, I came back for a second helping of Man vs Food. Adam is back again and so am I. Get ready America, he is about to eat something called a “Garbage Burger.”  Sounds yummy, don’t you think?  Do I even want to know what that is made of? Unfortunately, yes I do, I’m disgustingly curious.  A “Garbage Burger” is mostly eaten in the parking lot “Cuz they can’t wait to go home” and the food drips right down your arm.  Located near  Duke University,  this small shop serves comfort food, like chili and burgers and a whole lot more. The “Garbage Burger” consists of:  double, bacon cheese burgers with the works, lettuce tomato, pickles, coleslaw AND chili; it weighs one and a quarter lbs. of pure meat. He ate it so fast I may have missed a few ingredients, forgive me. As disgusting and gross this show can be it has me obsessively entertained and revolted at the same time. I’m still going to complain about the amount of food eaten and the wrong message given to people but, I do admit I haven’t turned the show off yet.

Not only am I watching it, I am watching it with my friend Suzie who is watching it on her television another state away. We are sending each other IM’s that mostly consist of sayings like “that’s gross” or “I’m hungry.”When Adam eats the infamous “Suicidal Challenge of Six Spicy Wings”  we can honestly see his nose run, and hear him he burp. We are so proud.

On another  episode of Man vs. Food, I didn’t want any food near me. There’s enough grease on the show that I can practically get it by osmosis. Tonight’s episode: Kansas City, BBQ,  6.5 lb platter. Imagine this, Adam is the first one to take the challenge. Missouri, we learn is the  BBQ capital of the world , YEE-HAW!  I see the fat oozing out of the meat…it’s becoming a little too greasy in my house. They cook everything, brisket, ribs, burnt ends, and more. The raw brisket looks like the size of a not so small deer. I never knew about burnt ends until this show. I was at a party recently and I thought the burned ends on a plate was a mistake. Oops,  next time I will run to try them, I promise. We learn that there’s even a gas station that has a BBQ restaurant attached to it, really convenient!

Now we are back to home cooking: fountains of water, fried chicken, gravy soaked mashed potatoes and gooey cinnamon rolls. (I wanted to bite into that while watching the show.)  Crispy, juicy pan-fried chicken. It’s fried in soy bean oil, that sounds healthy, right? Crusty bits, “cracklins’ for the gravy…cracklins? Apparently it’s “whole body lickin good” if I heard that correctly.

The ultimate BBQ show down: Ultimate Destroyer:  6 lbs (SIX POUNDS) of Papa John’s, sliced pork, pulled pork, turkey breast hamburger, sausage, all together:  first a hoagie bun, then: 7 beef patties,  pulled pork, sliced pork, bbq sauce, white bread for structural support, ham, turkey breast, white bread for more support, 3 hamburger patties, more sauce, another layer of bread, half a pound of brisket, and half a pound of  sausage, more sauce and it is capped off with the top of the hoagie/sub AND One AND a half pound of french fries. I’m about to gag.   Seriously gross….but let’s see if he can do it. “Let the pig out begin”shouts the ringmaster at this circus and so it does.  I really feel nauseous. “Go Adam go! ” the people scream. Oh no, it seems like he’s hit the “burger blockade!!!” GASP! Even Adam seems unsure of himself….he shoves it in his mouth and food spit comes flying out. Please let this show be over soon.  I’m sorry to report: DEFEAT, he was sunk by the Ultimate Destroyer.  He only had half the sandwich, and he is down, down , down, beaten and depressed. I have no doubt however that sometime in the future he will revisit this challenge. I can hardly wait.

Usually I snack at 10:30 but tonight after watching the Man vs. Food show I went downstairs and I could only face a pure, natural,  plum and it was good.

The Ethiopian Food Experience (A Foodie Blog)

For a girl who grew up on Wonder bread, butter and American cheese sandwiches for most of her life eating Ethiopian food was quite the dining experience. I used to be hesitant (ok, stubborn and frightened) by eating new foods until I met my husband who introduced various ethnic food dishes to me with patience. I eat Indian food, Chinese, Japanese (no sushi though) Asian-fusion, Thai and now Ethiopian (Italian food is a given!)  Not only did I enjoy it, I kept up with my husband in terms of handling the various spices and I admit, I was proud. Food to me now is an adventure and I LOVE it.

We ate in a fairly new, small, Ethiopian restaurant  and it was delightful. I felt like I was critiquing for Gourmet Magazine, I was that excited. The decor was simple and understated but truly reflected the beauty and simplicity of Ethiopia. There were a few black and white photographs from Ethiopia on the warm, burnt orange walls. The tables were classic and made out of wood. The restaurant is like sunshine; our waitress was mostly silent though out our meal but the owner was absolutely lovely and talkative.

I was excited to try the Ethiopian, thin, spongy bread called Injera that everybody was talking about. I love eating with my fingers so diving in to tear off a piece of bread and grab and pinch food was not only delicious but fun too. Across the restaurant I saw two men eating with forks and I scoffed; I felt superior (though I still haven’t mastered the art of chopsticks yet.)I can definitely relate to eating with my fingers and getting messy. It’s a grown-up version of your toddler’s tray table.

We started with an avocado salad that was lovely and light, it had chopped onions and tomatoes mixed in (maybe some peppers too). I did miss a dash of salt but I decided to stay in the moment. Interestingly, we brought some home for leftovers and it seemed to have gotten spicier overnight, perhaps it needed time on the bread to absorb the spices. I admit, on the second day it was a little too spicy for me to handle eating.  It was served on the very thin, fermented bread that many say “you either like it or you don’t.” It has a unique taste alone but once you are sopping up delicious sauces with it, it is much more pleasurable. It acts like a sponge absorbing the heat and spice of the food.

We ordered a tasting platter (again served on their bread) and we were delighted with what we got. The platter contained very small portions of three types of meat and three vegetarian dishes. Honestly, sometimes we didn’t now what was what  but we didn’t care. There was a little chicken, a little lamb and I think a little beef though it was quite indescernible. It also came with three different vegetarian samples: puree of peas, lentil and cabbage. I loved the lingering smell on my fingers from the spicy food.

It’s the type of restaurant you want to introduce your friends to. It really is a sweet gem. You WANT this restaurant to succeed and I have no doubt that it will. I’m eager to go again and soon.

In My Opinion…The GAP

I am a normal, average size woman. Not the normal, average size woman of the size 0 model claim to fame but the universal, real, curvy women of the world. I walked into the GAP this morning looking for a couple of shirts for the fall. The Gap used to be my one stop shopping place to go. Long-sleeved Tee shirts in all colors, I remember looking at the pretty hues, pink, red, blue, light blue, green used to make me happy.  Apparently, I have not been to The Gap in a really long time.

When I walked in I was greeted by racks of  Skinny Jeans and Skinnier jeans. My arm couldn’t fit in those pant legs, I’m quite  sure. What size were they? Oh, two. Two? What REAL woman wears a two? Not those of us who live in the world that I live in. I’m quite sure the universal average size is a fourteen not a two.  I asked the salesman who worked there where the long tee shirts were and he showed me. Here is the color selection he pointed to: black, white, gray.  “What happened to all the beautiful colors you used to have?” I asked sweetly. “We don’t do that anymore, we just have the basics.” You know what? Even the basics were so thin I wouldn’t wear them in the fall, much less the winter.  The Gap, as I knew it, was gone. No long- sleeved shirts other than the “basics?”  “Look on-line” he droned and left.

Now the jeans have become leggings or jeggings or deggings, not sure what they are truly called but they are a combination of leggings and denim. That’s certainly an appropriate look for those of us who are older in age, seasoned, experienced; lovely, mature, beautiful women of the world.

The shoes they sold were all tiny and scrunchy and looked like they couldn’t take a hard pounding on the pavement. The handbags were massive, with a button close, not good for those of us who are neurotic about having  handbag zipper protection. No different styles, just a few, dull, different colors.

I ‘ll say “Good-bye” to The Gap and search elsewhere. I know they are all under an umbrella company with sister, The Banana Republic but that’s too preppy for me. I am leaving The Gap family, and on my search for comfortable, bright grown-up clothes. So much for THAT shopping expedition. May all the size two’s make them rich, I wish them well.

The GAP is a registered trademark of The Gap, don’t sue me, it’s just my opinion.

How I Feel About Swear Words, Goshdarnit

Kelly Clarkson, Perth, All I Ever Wanted Australian Tour 2010

What the hell kind of question is that? When it comes to swearing, I ‘ll admit I will do it under my breath or out loud in the car for those stupid a-holes that cut me off and drive dangerously. I may even lift my third finger, to tell them to “wait a minute.” At home, I am literally shocked by the words that are allowed to be said on tv, on prime time, when kids are watching. It’s over done and totally unnecessary. I’m going to relax and listen to some music,. Just my luck it’s Kelly Clarkson, whose voice I love, singing “My Life Would S–k Without You”.

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Soggy Cereal, Wilted Lettuce, Elizabeth Hasselback and Me

I am too tired to think, speak, eat. Too weary to walk, talk, move. My body is aching and sore from being in the car yesterday for more than 4 hours total. In the car, out of the car, each movement is painful, uncomfortable and is such an unbelievable effort. It was visiting day at camp and we were NOT going to miss out on seeing our kids, who are  really not kids anymore, they are 16 and almost 18. They will, to us, always be our kids, our grown-up babies.

The Imuran medication which I take for the aches and pains of an auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an Inflammatory Disease, Fibromyalgia and possibly Arthritis, has not done a darn thing; at least not yet even though I have been on it for six weeks. I know, I know, I will give it 2 more weeks, just in case.  I’m tired of being a patient, even more so, a patient, patient. I want to stop all the wretched stiffness now; my body is wearing me down and my mood is plummeting. I don’t even think a good dinner would cheer me up and that speaks volumes,  for anyone who knows me. Food is Life, Life is Food. Too tired to even eat? Something is very, very, wrong.

I am part of a club that I don’t want to belong to.  Here I am amongst the champion women of chronic pain, chronic tiredness, chronic everything survivors club. These other women/friends have such better attitudes than me. Tonight my attitude is pure, personal, chronic misery. I feel dreadfully, chronically old. I am 53, I still feel 5 in my mind and over 85 in my body. I think young, I act young and child-like (ok, childish too sometimes) but I move like a very ill old person whose limbs  and joints hurt. Everything hurts me. I know it’s not the end of the world and there are far worse things, but I’ve been going through this for the last three and a half years. It gets better with one medicine and then I have to stop the medicine because of evil side effects. This is medicine number 3 and I don’t see myself going for a 4th. I’m so done.

I am even (gulp) considering a gluten -free diet when I return from vacation (a free cruise, I can’t start now!!)  and when school starts. I’m thinking it over and as much as a foodie as I am my health is more important than the taste of food. I hope. Did I just say that? Seriously?  I wish. I truly believe that because being on a gluten-free diet AND not feeling well will definitely put me over the edge. That, as Oprah says,” I know for sure.” I know there are gluten-free cookbooks out there but honestly, I will not spend my money on Elizabeth Hasselback’s cookbook, no offense. I will probably buy the “other” gluten-free cook book just because I find Elizabeth annoying. I am not saying she is a bad person but she is definitely annoying (not to mention way too conservative).  And so I sit, and wait and creak. Any comments or suggestions from you, my friends, about gluten-free diets would be greatly appreciated especially if you can talk me into being enthusiastic about it!

In Defense Of My Vice: BOOKS

Books behind the bed

My only vice is books. (I really want to say are because it sounds better). Books not borrowed from the library but books I need to buy and own. I am in love with Borders and when I enter the store I feel relieved. Physically, I let out a full breath and begin to relax. For the last year I have been going to the library (at times) and borrowing books due to financial reasons. But, if find a favorite, I will, sometime in the future, buy the paperback copy to own. I reread books, I lend my books to others. My vice probably started every Saturday afternoon of my childhood where my whole family would walk miles to get to the not-so-local library. It was a tradition. Later in life, when I was working, I would spend hours at bookstores, holding the books, taken in by the covers or the titles or both. Why would I quit? I wouldn’t quit; I will still keep on reading and imagining other people’s lives and then coming home, happily to my own.

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Super-Fly

Green Bottle Fly

I would be the tiny, buzzing superhero fly that would be able to listen in on anyone’s conversation. I would be anywhere, at anytime, flying, swooping and most importantly eavesdropping on those people I instinctively don’t trust. I would be able to expose the nasty, condescending person in town for who she really is. Her fake, sugary facade would surface as the scheming manipulator showed her true sarcastic and malevolent self. I am super- fly, I listen, I watch and yes, I tattle.

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Plain and Simple: Unemployment Still SUCKS

‘You can calm down now,’ I tell myself, ‘everything is okay.’ But, it isn’t. I had trouble sleeping last night and I woke up feeling jittery and nervous.  I’m off-balance and anxious and it seems that any little, tiny thing can set me off course. I know the stress must be cumulative. For the last 11 months, my husband has been unemployed. He is trying so hard and there is not much out there. I FEEL for him, I want to see his pleased grin, his crooked smile.  I want this for him, more than I want this for our family and that says a lot.

I have been a stay at home mom with our children and I’ve also been sick for the past four years. I have a chronic disease ( and a few others) and even I, with my limited skill set,  look at the paper for something part-time. Of course the lack of money  is VERY important but really, we live without many frills. Having two teenagers makes it a bit harder and we have college to pay for: one child, in one year and the other child in the year after that. We will deal with it the best way we can, step by financial aid step.

I cannot see my beloved husband’s droopy face another minute even though he puts on a good show.  I am not the type of person to blame the President and the economy for our misfortune. There are many worse misfortunes and I remind myself of that all the time. It would be nice to see the happy glow back on his face, the spring in his step back. I feel useless and helpless and while we have had a nice summer together, the teenagers will be back in two weeks and that changes the family dynamics drastically. There will be more stress, especially with a Junior and a Senior in High School but also, many more distractions. Even though there may be more fighting, there will also be more laughter to replace the still silence that hangs in the air.

One of the worst parts about being unemployed is the way you are treated. I worked in Human Resources for over 20 years and we ALWAYS called the applicant with the decision that was made, good or bad. Now? There have been jobs he has been assured of getting and then? Nothing. No call, no e-mail, nothing. I know there are more applicants than there are jobs now, but please, a little respect would be nice. No excuses.

I am trying, again, to stay positive in my mind. To readjust and focus on happiness. The house has never been vacuumed that much and that often in the last 15 years. I would give that up GLADLY.  Help me in seeing good things come his way; I’ll keep you posted.