The Great Escape (Plinky Prompt)

  • My Great Secret Escape
  • Shhh! This is top-secret so don’t tell anyone about this plan. It’s just between you and me, don’t forget it. Remember that dull party that you go to every Spring? The one with over 200 people who you know and enjoy and I don’t know anyone? Yes, that one. Every time I go with you, you leave me alone and start patting the backs of other guys, drinking your red wine and your bottles of beer and I am left sitting at an empty table pretending to smile, drinking my soda or cranberry juice.Or, I just walk around the room looking like a lost soul. As soon as I see food coming out of the kitchen I eat as many of the appetizers as I can because as we all know, those are the best. I’ve learned where the kitchen doors open and where the waiters and waitresses come out and I position myself carefully. I love those bite size appetizers, I would never leave before I had my fill of those delicate little flaky morsels. Sometimes they have crab meat ragoon inside them, tender and moist, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, teriyaki chicken or pigs in a blanket which I dunk in creamy mustard.There are always a wide assortment of appetizers, fresh vegetables with a dill yogurt sauce, a large fruit salad, the bright red strawberries gleam with pride, four or five different wedges of cheese and assorted crackers, hummus, pita chips and a sushi bar.
    It is after this period, before they serve the dreary buffet dinner with people waiting in long lines that I plan my escape. No one is looking at me anyway so it really isn’t risky. I slip out of the basement room which is extremely crowded and if anyone is around me I murmur that I am going to the bathroom. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do that often anyway. I climb the brown velvet steps, I have my beige cardigan around me ( wearing nothing flashy on purpose) and I step outside into the cool Spring air.
    We have come in two cars so I hand the ticket to the attendant, slip him a crisp 5 dollar bill, smile and drive away. The restaurant/banquet hall is so busy tonight because it’s on a weekend. I happen to know that they are always busy on weekends, every single weekend they host weddings as well; I checked.
    I start driving, my suitcase is already loaded in the trunk, there’s a brown paper bag filled with clear bags of almonds and raisins, diet orange soda, small bottles of Pellegrino, four ham and cheese sandwiches on rye with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Lay’s baked potato chips. For dessert I have purchased a big pack of softly baked chocolate chip cookies that I bought at Costco, you can imagine the size of that bag!
    I have CD’s in the car, and no where in particular to go, I love that feeling. I just drive, I have no idea where I am going and where I will end up. It really doesn’t matter, does it? I’m alone, free, with no responsibilities, no one to put me down. I go from one bridge to tunnel to highway and I don’t fuss because I am lost. I’m not lost. I’m free. I open the window halfway, put on the radio and sing out loud. I don’t know where I’m going and that is the plan. Wherever I end up will be the place I choose, for a short time, that is, until I decide it’s time to go again. I love the feeling, living for me, just me, on the road with nothing to hold me back. The gas tank is full, I’m just following the stars and singing out loud, no one complaining that my voice is off-key. This is my kind of adventure, no one telling me what to do or where to go. Maybe I’ll adopt a dog and tie a red bandana around its neck. That would make it perfect. Me and my dog on a journey to nowhere yet everywhere.

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Predicting My Future? Plinky Prompt

Brother and sister in the street of Qala-i-Sha...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Congratulations, Pass The Tissues
    Ten years ago my son was eight and my daughter was 6. I’m sure I thought about them graduating one day from High School  for a second or two but I was in a dense fog. I just had NO idea how I would feel. With a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old you don’t have time to think about the future; you are busy every minute with carpools and dance classes and baseball and swimming and lunches and snacks and dinner and shopping and playdates. Endless playdates with an equal amount of driving. My son graduates on Sunday and I have been crying a lot. I try to hide it from him, but sometimes he figures it out, it isn’t hard. One quick glimpse of my face and he knows, he senses it, he sees it. We understand each other without words. I expected him to graduate but I never thought how devastated I would feel. My brown-haired, brown-eyed first-born. I am thrilled with him no one could be prouder; his choice of colleges was fantastic. Change is hard for me and I never was good at saying “Good-Bye.” All my life, I’ve hated to say “Good-bye” to anyone I loved.
    My first-born son is leaving and I have written a lot about that in my blog. A year from now, my daughter, my blonde-haired baby will also graduate from High School. Twenty- one months apart yet only one grade year apart. I feel like I am being sucker punched constantly. In a year, my husband and I, will be “empty nesters” and while I am sure that we will enjoy it, now, it’s a bitter, lemon-sour word, near a very open, raw, wound.
  • Can anyone out there with a graduating Senior from High School relate?
  • Previous Answer

The Color Of Spain

Y se hizo el color

Image by Zyllan via Flickr

Having been in Spain for over a week now, the color of Spain, to me, is burnt orange, terra-cotta.  I have pieces of smooth, slippery rocks that I collected from the beach. They capture the feeling in my heart, and remind me of this beautiful country and the interesting dialects and eclectic and interesting food from tapas to wiener schnitzel, pizza and kabobs, paella, different creamy white cheese served on a white plate.

We decided to first stay in the magnificent city of Barcelona for the first few days surrounded by a cacophony of French, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, and other languages we could not decipher. It’s fascinating to see and hear different people all the time, just walking down the busy streets you feel like you are in a United Nations convention. We went walking on the touristy streets in the big city, seeing people “statues” move and delight the crowds. Wait, is that a statue or….hey, it’s a man barely moving for minutes on end. A cup was available in front of them, for tips.

We ate tapas (tastings of many small things that you pick) ranging from something that tasted like cream cheese and jelly (perfect for me) to meatballs, fish, grilled herb cheese with tomatoes, sausages and crabmeat. We (ok, my husband) drank Sangria and wherever you go the drink is slightly different. Sometimes it had sugar in it, other times sparkling water was added to it, in a different place the sugar was not in the drink but on the rim with fruit bouncing happily in the red wine. Sangria was a staple and for me “Coke Lite.”

Just to be in another country was wonderful, breathing the air, seeing the different plants, colors, people, birds. When you are in another country you experience joy from just waking up in a new place excited to go on new adventures. After hours of walking you whisper good-night to each other across a king size bed. Traveling, to me, is a fantasy.  We spent three free nights in a wonderful hotel that included breakfast, croissants and coffee. The croissants have a very tiny sheen of sugar baked on the top, perfect in the morning. Coffee all the time, espresso, regular coffee, double espresso, cafe latte. There were different types of yogurt, cheese, olives, sausage and bread.

Children are running around with their parents pursuing them, excited screams for gelato were heard. Smiling in any language seems universal.

What I Can’t Leave Home Without

Lipstick in application

Image via Wikipedia

Pretty Lips, Clean Hands And Me

I could be boring and say the usual expected things: keys, ID, driver’s license, credit card but those are things I assume I am bringing (at least I thoroughly hope so, especially if I’m driving.) The definitive answer to this question “what can’t I leave home without?” would be lipstick. “Lipstick? You say?” Yes! Having lipstick on or in my handbag makes me feel more secure (how do you spell OCD?!) I USED to have to put lipstick on before I drove, but now I am (a little) more flexible. I have driven without lipstick but I don’t like the feeling. I could go through many years of psychoanalysis to find out the reason, but it’s so much easier to keep a lipstick, or two, in my bag. You know, just in case……My back up answer would be Purell, the hand sanitizer, because IF I can get rid of some germs, I do. Having an auto-immune disease makes me conscious of those things and even if washing my hands is 100 times more effective, I don’t care. I feel reassured with my little bottle of Purell at my side or rather in my bag. I actually LOVE PURELL so much I could be their spokesperson.
Call me crazy, but it is a frightening world out there and if lipstick and Purell are going to make me feel just a tiny bit better and a little more in control? So be it!

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Sadly, The Biggest Fibromyalgia Fog Ever (And Food)

Stairs.

Image by ЯAFIK ♋ BERLIN via Flickr

A few weeks ago on a Saturday morning, my husband woke us up from a deep sleep at 7:45 am, which on the weekends is basically the middle of the night. We went to meet his parents for brunch “in the middle” of our two houses in two different States. What I thought would be a one hour drive ended up being two hours for us. Two long hours, coiled like a bright pink hair scrunchy  in the front seat of a very small car. I didn’t move around in my seat, didn’t ask to stop the car so I could stretch, I just sat there like a block of white marble. Why? What was I thinking? Apparently, I was NOT thinking.

During the trip there I totally forgot that I had Fibromyalgia. How could I forget that I had a chronic illness? I really don’t know but that is exactly what happened. It didn’t occur to me until I felt locked in place and could not get out of the car. I couldn’t turn, I couldn’t extend my legs out, I couldn’t move and finally, the long, first step from the car to the pavement was pure agony.  It was the greatest Fibromyalgia Fog of all:  Blissfully forgeting I had Fibromyalgia…until we got there.  Had I remembered the illness I would have stopped every half hour to get out of the car, stand up and stretch. I should have been prepared, physically and mentally but I wasn’t. I just wanted to arrive at our destination. When we got there every inch of my body hurt like thousands of razor blades performing a pain symphony.

We walked up a long winding, flight of stairs, my new arch-enemy, to get to the restaurant we were going to for the brunch buffet. I looked up the winding staircase and had no idea how I would be able to get up. Being stubborn and independent I clutched the banister with the strength I had left, my stiff legs and knees protesting at every step; I walked like a small child, one step with both feet at a time. I realized anew that Fibromyalgia is a horrible, debilitating disease and forgetting about it entirely was a terrible burden for my body and my feelings; I felt stupid and embarrassed. “Loser” I muttered to myself.

Finally upstairs we were treated to a lovely meal. The brunch was a buffet, a man played the piano, my teenagers were well-behaved, there were mimosas available and it looked festive. We feasted on made-to-order omeletes, mine with mushrooms and cheese. On display were cinnamon buns with drizzled, sweet vanilla icing. They served eggs benedict. an array of cheeses and fresh vegetables and Belgium waffles with a vat of whipped cream and another close by filled with bright red, plump strawberries. They had croissants and rolls and blueberry muffin tops coated with brown sugar. They had serving stations of steak with horseradish mayonnaise and grilled sirloin, all too carnivorous for me so early in the day. There were smoked salmon platters and my personal favorite, a lovely poached pear, the color of burgandy, with brie and walnuts.

Once we were finished I dreaded walking down my nemisis, the evil staircase. I had to take a deep breath with every painful inch that I could move. Each step sent electric shocks down my legs, my hands were red and swollen, as if arthritis had landed in my body unannounced. I stayed behind the family this time and managed with one hand to clutch the banister down and with the assistance of my husband holding on to my other arm. I felt like a 95 year old grandma and while I appreciated my husband’s help, I loathe that I need it. I don’t like feeling dependent, at all. The food cheered me up, it was lovely and presented gorgeously. I tried to remember that and not getting there or going home. Next time, please, someone remind me so I can avoid a Fibro Fog as stupid as this one.

The Best Road Trip Ever

Road trip? Me?

 

Australian countryside :)

Road trip AND Me = oxymoron. I don’t generally like to sit in cars for a long time, both because I have Fibromyalgia and it hurts, second, because I get impatient and childish. “Are we there yet?” comes from me and not my children but they do chime in. The one road trip my husband and I went on was when we were in Australia many years ago. (I admit it wasn’t by choice) I had a traumatic airplane experience when we flew from NY to Australia which stretched my ear drum. The pain was horrendous and wouldn’t go away. I had to see a Dr. in Australia and when he found out we were supposed to fly to Hawaii (frequent flyer miles people!!!) he said “No way.” While we hadn’t planned on this road trip, I wasn’t allowed to fly. We stayed in Australia and drove to other cities, to the beach, to the countryside. I gained a beautiful experience on the road even though I lost most of my hearing in my left ear. While I admit it wasn’t my first choice, I was so grateful that this happened. Road trip took on a whole new meaning for me; I loved it.

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What My Heart Feels

20080329 - Oranjello, the new kitten - 152-528...

Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via Flickr

Nostalgia slips in on tiny kitten paws at the strangest places and the most unexpected of times. Today I went out with my 16-year-old daughter to her annual physical. She got her learner’s permit less than a month ago and drove slowly but easily and with confidence, into the crowded parking lot. As soon as she put the car in Park, the lump in my throat thickened and I was unable to speak.

I started babbling and told her how proud I was of her. That from a shy, timid little girl she had grown into the most amazing, strong, confident and beautiful young woman. She looked at me, as only a teenage daughter can, with a bit of confusion, disgust and annoyance. Frankly, I can’t blame her.

For me,  this week has consisted of writing an essay about my son who is now a senior in high school and writing checks for my daughter’s PSAT test and driver’s education course. Years have slipped into minutes as I felt the twisting and turning, and actual jabbing pain in my heart. We were still right there in the parking lot when my daughter, without a sound, casually handed me back my keys.

The pediatrician’s office was filled with little children, a girl named Maddie, age 3, reminded me of my daughter when she was that age. Inquisitve, bright, lovely with straight blond hair, she danced around the waiting room, talking to the bright yellow and blue fish that swam in the fish tank. We were called in moments later and after the initial hello to the doctor, the pediatrician who has known my daughter since she was about 5, I left the room. The doctor asked my daughter if she wanted me to come back when she had the shots, a yearly tradition, she shrugged her shoulders up and down and said “I don’t care.”  It took me a minute to get up and leave; it was the first time my daughter hadn’t wanted to dig her fingernails, into my skin when she got the shot. I now missed the indentations her polished, blue fingernails would make in my hand.

It is hard to believe that next year my son will be in college and my daughter will be a senior. I feel like singing “Sunrise, Sunset” every day. Life passes by us, without reminders or stop signs. We have taught our children to be independent and strong, birds flying on their own. Times moves on and so must we. I’ve looked at old childhood photographs of when they were young but quickly replaced them with more up to date photos. I need to remind myself that they are young adults now. Once they leave for college it’s all very different. They don’t need us in the same way, we will see them less often but we will be here, quietly, patiently, with love, warmth and excitement whenever they want to come home. We will be waiting here, in their childhood home, with open arms.

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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