FWF Kellie Elmore

Annie looked beautiful when we first landed in the Caribbean for our honeymoon. We did nothing but eat and drink, and relax in the sun. I had worked 80 hour weeks back home, this was heaven.

We went snorkeling in the afternoon to see  glowing yellow and orange striped fish, in the aqua water. The only decision we had been what to order at the swim-up bar in the pool, a lime drenched mojito or a sweet mai thai served with a wedge of pineapple and a fake red cherry.

Dinner was late and I ordered a bottle of champagne and we ate roasted vegetables,  chicken with spices and loaves of thick, crusty bread. There was dancing so we decided to join other people.  Annie wore a bright flowered dress and soon after Annie suggested we go for a swim, we both loved water, especially Annie. We raced into the water, holding hands.

I admit I wasn’t as good as a swimmer as she was, I loved watching her as she laughed and I could see her head, like the flash of an automatic camera, her blond hair in the warm waves, happy she was having fun.

After about twenty minutes I called to her to come back in, I was getting tired of waiting and started yelling for her to come back, I still heard her laughter but it wasn’t funny anymore to me. “Annie, come in,” I shouted as I was approaching the shore.

Scuba diver. Found at Plongée sous-marine & ob...

Scuba diver. Found at Plongée sous-marine & obt’d Image:Plongeur bouteilles.jpg id’d there as (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I sat on the sand, I saw other tourists looking puzzled and  they pointed first to me, then to Annie. The tide was getting rough.  I kept yelling over to her but she would wave and keep going.

I talked to the people on the shore and told them my story. Someone went inside for help, I was getting nervous. The manager offered the use of his own boat and lifeguard. I knew Annie would be mad but I was so worried that they raced into the water on their boat, if she ran into trouble or was possibly sick.

I sat on the beach, like a statue, rocking back and forth. I could not stop crying. Someone offered a blanket, another endless cups of strong black coffee. I saw the coast guard and his team looking with flood lights.  A whole day went by. Finally, the coast guard said they would have to end the search. Someone had called the police as well as emergency vehicles. I was so weak from crying and not sleeping, I could barely speak.

“I’m sorry Sir, there is no body in that water.” We searched everywhere, scuba divers with advanced equipment came and we found nothing. She was not on the property at all, last night we did not let anyone in or out of our community and she definitely is not in the water. I’m so sorry, Sir.”said the head of police.

Finally, I let out a blood curdling scream, “she’s out there, you have to find her” but they shook their heads firmly. Later, everyone walked me to our room and the manager unlocked the door. I looked around, inside, there was not a single item of Annie’s, not her clothing, her make up, her tooth-brush, nothing of hers was there. I saw them look at each other, frowning.

“What did you do to her?” I screamed to the hotel and the police. She WAS here, ask anyone, at dinner, at the scuba diving lessons.” They started to cuff my hands.

“We did, Sir, we did that last night, there never was anyone with you named Annie, you arrived alone checked into this room alone and stayed by yourself. We even called the airlines and you were flying alone there was not an Ann or Annie on the flight.”

I fought with them, I told them she HAD been here but they insisted on taking me to the hospital to get checked out. “But what about Annie? I sobbed. “Perhaps she is waiting for you at the hospital” one police offer said, they gave me a shot and I let them take me, to see Annie, so that they would believe me.

I’m still at a hospital, a different one. Here they also said Annie was not real, over and over again. They call me delusional but even now, after all these months I know that Annie had been with me, for real, even if she had only been in my mind.

That counts, right?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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I Dream OF Cupcakes

Just the other day there was a persistent knock on our front door and a neighbor, who has cupcake1two young girls, was there holding out a plate of pink cupcakes. It was Valentine’s Day and school was  canceled because of yet another snowstorm so she was hoping to give them away to her neighbors.

My husband took two in and when I came downstairs and I saw these two mounds of sweet perfection I nearly wept. I wish I was dramatizing this but I am not. There, right in front of me were two vanilla (my absolute favorite flavor) with pink  icing and little white mounds of frosting on top  cupcakes. Shown to the right. I get happy just looking at the photo I took of the cupcake, yum.

I dreamed about them for the rest of the day, my saliva glands in overdrive, thinking about my pink cupcake, when I should have it, where I should have it but knowing for sure it would need an icy cold glass of milk to go with it. This was serious and I wasn’t going to muck it up for anything.

Sweets are very important to me and these, like angels from Heaven, gifts bestowed unto me, meant so much. There have been so many rough days behind us and I fear an equal amount of rough days ahead of us. These cupcakes were a respite from all that was bad and scary and unknown.

The randomness of a relative stranger, walking down the street in the snow to share her  cupcakes with her neighbors because she didn’t want to waste them was such a loving and kind thing.

Pink cupcakes. A random act of kindness. I will pay it forward…

Dedicated to A, J, and B

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The Taste, Teaser

The best taste

The best taste (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First blog: Nigella vs Jacquelyn

Second Blog: ( Below ) Aren’t You A Sweetie Pie?  Everything Sweet Except For Anthony Bourdain!!

Read it below:

http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/the-taste-aren…-a-sweetie-pie/

Can’t wait to watch and BLOG about my favorite topic and show “The Taste”

Tonight.

Wait for Blog number 3. In the meantime, I’m salivating.

What will the contestants cook tonight? I don’t care,

I’m addicted to food.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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“The Taste” 2 (Aren’t You A Sweetie Pie?)

English: Marcus Samuelsson doing a lecture at ...

English: Marcus Samuelsson doing a lecture at Google in NYC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I never do follow-up blogs on here, but somehow the show “The Taste” just begs to be written about, don’t you think? It’s a great food show but somehow it’s also like a comical farce. Do you believe the characters? Love them but surely they must also be picked for their entertainment value as well as their culinary skills. Right?

The judges, are the most entertaining: Ludow running around, literally running around yelling and screaming at everybody. How can that not be comical? Anthony Bourdain brooding, muttering “I hate dessert” like a five-year old. Nigella Lawson just standing there doing absolutely nothing, the “yellow” star of the day goes to Marcus Samuelsson. Not for the winning dish either but for his calmness and class and just the right amount of instruction. KUDOS, Chef Mark and Team.

I do agree with the other contestants that just because *(sorry, I don’t remember her name) dessert was unusual and unique she should not have won. I never heard anyone say they “loved it.” I heard nothing about the exquisite flavors or different textures, all I saw: scrambled eggs with sugar sauce. Come on guys, really? That was the BEST taste for you or just one that was different?

Anthony Bourdain’s utter dislike for desserts and sweets is legendary, why have that challenge when he is so biased? Would you have a tea drinker judge a coffee contest?  It doesn’t make sense. Why even put it on the show?  If you KNOW one of the judges will hate anything creamy, sugary or sweet why have that challenge at all? It’s a no brainer.

I think that this was a waste of an episode it really should not have been aired, and the special guest star chef, perky* Miss Sunshine? Wow!  Is she always like that? She must be eating a ton of sugar and I get that because I am a HUGE dessert person. I GET desserts, it’s genetically programmed from my German mother and Viennese Dad.

While I was sorry to see *Ms. Food Truck go home because I did think she had have a spark and a passion about cooking I think they kept the right person. Damn that zest and if we have learned anything from that show and for life it is this: Trust your gut instincts. If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. You can use that every single day of your life, many times over. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Pretend I’m Oprah and listen.

* I apologize for not knowing their names, they were not, as of yet, on Google.

The Taste: Nigella vs. Jacquelyn

Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing

Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Hey Nigella, It’s Me, Jacquelyn!” Okay, it’s not really Jacquelyn, it’s just me, a friendly blogger, but I have to say, that really was one of the most entertaining shows I have watched recently.  Jacquelyn, you go girl. I just wish you had walked off the set sooner, like in the middle of one of Nigella’s obnoxious, wishy-washy lectures, her fluttering fussiness and her anxiety driven non-direction, micro-management. Frankly, if I was in your shoes, I would have left way before you. And, unfortunately I probably would have thrown the beer (I’m assuming it was beer but it could have been water or soda) in her lap or face to get more attention.

Jackie, I really don’t think you were treated kindly at all, Nigella did not have control of the kitchen so you, just walked off stage. Kudos!! The timing was a bit awkward, I admit, but subtlety is often quite wonderful. You kept them guessing alright, that did have a stroke of genius to it. Unfortunately, it made Nigella look like the poor, angelic victim and you a bit of the bad boy but I’m sure there are more people than just me that were rooting for you. Believe me. I would imagine the other judges and contestants were rooting for you too.( Perhaps not in front of the camera.) I don’t think Anthony Bourdain was as horrified as he was portrayed,he was practically doing a high-five with his team. I don’t blame him for one minute.

Nigella, please calm down and learn how to talk with people not at people all the time and stop changing your mind and give your contestants some credit. No? Nigella, you need to relax, take a chill pill, ( and no, I am not going THERE) and have a few lessons with a therapist on how you come across. I’m not doubting your ability to cook, of course not. But do you really think that a show like this is showcasing your full set of positive attributes? Right, I don’t think so either. I’m not judging really, I’m a horrible cook and the only thing I can bake is banana bread. So, you definitely win in THAT category. But, relating to your team? I’ve got that by a mile.

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“The Taste”

Anthony Bourdain being interviewed in the WNYC...

Anthony Bourdain being interviewed in the WNYC radio studio 2006-06-21. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Taste”  is a show where contestants cook their signature dish down to a taste (a spoon) to compete for a spot on the show. Then each of the four chefs: Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Marcus Samuelsson taste the ” spoons”with blindfolds on not knowing who cooked them. I like this a lot.

The whole premise is that to get on the show all you need to do, whether home chef or professional is cook an amazing bite of food. You can be 85 or 18,  any race, ethnic background, size, color of hair, wearing pajamas, or standing on your head, it doesn’t matter. It’s like “The Voice” except they are not singing, they are cooking. No rating on anything but talent, as it should be.

Last week, a contestant named Audrey,(aka “the whining blogger in our house) used the word “fans” so many times that the other contestants were mocking her. I was surprised that the other contestants didn’t throw eggs at her (sorry, Justin Bieber, didn’t want to steal your thunder) or maybe in her case, egg whites? Apparently in her blog she makes fattening recipes healthier. Good for you, Audrey, way to go. Now, shut up. Please.

Anthony Bourdain, for me, is the real deal and star of the show, (and yes, he knows it.) He deserves to know it, he owns this show.He is the dominant food dude. He is the bad boy, been around town, charming, smart and who can resist him when he is smiling and there’s a twinkle in his eye? But, contestants, LISTEN TO HIM. He is  incredibly smart and he knows his stuff. If the man specifically says HE HATES TRUFFLE OIL, do not USE truffle oil. Simple, right? You would think. One member of his group either forgot (or decided he wouldn’t notice ) used truffle oil. What were you thinking? AS IF he wouldn’t notice? Don’t be stupid and don’t cross him.

Nigella Lawson, you’ve already lost two on your team and frankly you were seconds away from losing another person the other night. Nigella, you’re scaring me. You need to be more assertive and you are giving female chefs a bad name. We see you running around, doubting yourself and everyone else.  Don’t let a contestant make eggs and bacon if that’s not what you think will win. Can’t you give some suggestions for the sweet element? You are not going to make it, again, if you don’t step up. Now.

Marcus Samuelsson seems nice but he is quiet and understated, I can’t honestly describe him or get a feeling for him, so I’m not judging. He’s no Ludow or Bourdain so he doesn’t have a strong personality.  I’m sure he is a very fine chef but I just don’t know too much about him. The only thing that stood out was that one contestant was clearly confused about the challenge all the way to the end and she should have gotten demerits, at least. He didn’t confront that at all.

Ah, Ludow, Ludow Lefebvre, we know you are French. You keep reminding us. Say no more. Sure you are conceited and competitive but look who has won so far. You shout like a maniac, you micro manage but let’s face it you win. Who can argue with a person that has won the last two times in a row. It’s not my style but apparently it has worked. Good for you Ludow and your arrogant attitude, you deserve yourself. So far, you are in the lead.

It’s a fun show to watch if you like (love) food. Check out the dynamics that go on but more importantly check out the food and the combinations. More importantly, make sure you have a big plate of snacks ready for when you are finished watching the show, my husband and I are starving when this show ends.

Be forewarned.

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2013: Quinoa and Kale (Food Pop)

Quinoa

Quinoa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2013 The Year Of Quinoa and Kale

I know, I’m not in the majority, (I generally never am) but if I hear the words “quinoa” and “kale” way into 2014 I’m going to be sick. I heard way too much of it in 2013. Believe me, I’m not saying I ate a lot of it. I tried kale a few times and I dutifully ate it, albeit begrudgingly, but that was quite enough, thank you very much. Every person I know was talking about the different ways they used kale and the more they talked about it, the less interested I got. What was this, the flavor of the month club? Apparently.

Actually, if it had only lasted a month I would have been quite happy but the kale craze continued (sigh and it’s still going.)  Tied with Kale was Quinoa, something that took months for me to pronounce much less spell and eat. I made it once (it turned out like a cross between cement and glue) but bought it prepared other times. It’s a  grain, YAY. Since then I’ve heard quinoa salads with kale countless times. More than enough for me.

We eat fresh fruit and vegetables and red meat once in a while. Not often but sometimes we get a craving for a delicious juicy hamburger and instead of denying that hamburger we will go out and eat one. We will thoroughly enjoy it and some of those fries (extra crispy, please) and we will be completely satisfied and happy. We eat red meat about once a month or so, not usually more than that.

Now, coming from two different sets of European parents, (don’t ask) both my husband and I will not, cannot give up our sweet tooth (teeth?) I wouldn’t give up my sweet tooth voluntarily unless I had a severe case of Diabetes which I always pray I don’t get. With a Viennese father and a German mother (who has pre-Diabetes) I’m walking a very thin line. It’s worth it. The need for dessert is not just a desire, it is a full-fledged NECESSITY.

Why can’t 2014 be the year of the jelly doughnut?  I miss the good old days. How about a really delicious European pastry (such a lack of patisseries everywhere) just serving café and kuchen? (cake) in the afternoon like they do all over Europe. Maybe everyone is just too much in a rush here. My parents being European always had friends over for coffee and cake. Shouldn’t everyone? Can you honestly replace cake and coffee with a tall glass of green juice? I once added a shot of wheat grass to my apple-carrot juice and it took every ounce of self-control not to vomit all over Mrs. Greens. A true story.

The day is long, the nights are spent with family, a time to eat together and talk. What’s wrong with a warm baguette, some flavored olive oil, a block of cheese and some sweet purple grapes, my favorite dinner? Add a salad or some homemade vegetable soup, that’s plenty. But, please don’t add kale chips or quinoa that’s just so last year, at least for me.

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A Food Fantasy And Then Some…

Fritos Logo

Fritos Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I could, I would eat my way through my misery right now. I would start with bags of potato chips, the real kind and not those baked ones that hide anxiously in our cupboards, ashamed to see the light of day. Along side them would be sour cream and onion dip, one entire, big bowl, set right in front of my face and of course, I almost forgot, Fritos too. Fritos were a favorite childhood snack and I believe they would be so comforting to eat now. I’d have a chocolate shake to go with them.

It’s time to switch to pure sugar, trans fat, whatever fat, I really don’t care. My first stop is to get a jelly doughnut or two, and please don’t be skimpy on the jelly either, I just hate that. A lot of sugar on the top, yes ma’am and thank you so much, your smile is making me enjoy this trip even more. Thank you for not judging me. You are so welcome and here is your tip for your kindness. Little things mean a lot.

I hate alcohol so I wouldn’t even bother wasting my calories on that besides, nothing goes better with jelly doughnuts (and I’ve added double stuffed, fudge covered Oreos too) than a tall glass of ice-cold milk. My salivary glands are working overtime, if you must know just dreaming of these delicacies. No hating allowed, this is my fantasy so shut up, oh and by the way, I’ve just won $600 million dollars so whatever you have to say, say it to my accountant and lawyer who will be handling the money flow because we just don’t “do that” anymore.

Will I GIVE you money? You are certainly not shy, now are you? To those, who have stuck with me, been loyal friends, have treated me with kindness, you don’t have to worry. You know who you are. So, if I worked with you forty years ago and all of a sudden you remember that we were friends for one week, don’t bother.

The money is in the bank, my husband and I (I guess we’ll take the kids too) are traveling around the world, First Class, I might add. The Food is fabulous and plentiful. Our own chef is with us. My son, the carnivore has the biggest steak I’ve ever seen and my daughter the vegetarian has macaroni and cheese four different ways, one with imported bread crumbs on top. My husband and I dine on shrimp cocktail and I will have a platter of different little things or as we call it in my house “a smorgasboard” and my husband will also have a steak with french fries, extra crispy, please.

We will have our pastry desserts, chocolate for my daughter and husband and vanilla/fruit tarts for my son and myself.

Uh-Oh.

I miss my dog. Oh dear, even being this rich has problems? Darn. Nothing is perfect.Well, I guess I’ll crawl out of my bed, stop fantasizing and wake up from my self-induced dream. The dream is fading, the food fantasy is gone, I haven’t won the lottery. But, my husband is downstairs in his office, looking for a Computer Job, my college kids are home for their break to visit, I’m worried about my mom and my dog is lying across my feet and my troubles seem simple, well, most of them. I’m a home-body anyway. I’ll start my new book. I guess I can handle that, for now. I don’t have any choice.

We Give Thanks For Many Different Things

Cake made of chocolate mousse.

Cake made of chocolate mousse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am the meanest person on earth, or at least the most honest and outspoken but I give thanks that Thanksgiving is over. Yep, I said it. You can judge me all you want but holidays can be stressful. Family dynamics,  emotional baggage, demons from the past, they all get rattled and those emotions escape. They slip from your unconscious like slithering snakes darting out without your permission. Filters don’t work, the id, ego and superego are all in repair.

Families members regress, the dysfunctional aspects of relationships become unglued, it seems like anything negative that you can rein in for most of the year just gets ignited during holiday celebrations. Forgive me, don’t judge me. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way.

I used to be the person who loved holidays the most, it WAS my favorite time of year. I sang along with every song on the radio, happily. I loved to shop for hours getting just the perfect present for each member of my extended family. Now, I beg my kids to tell me what they want, preferably with a link online. I don’t feel like celebrating, when did I become Scrooge?

I’d rather appreciate my family as I do, every minute of every day instead of on one particular day.  All the work you have done to prep and prepare and cook and bake is finally here; by the time you sit down to eat, you are exhausted and then the meal is over in literally five minutes. Tops.

You take a breather and move to a different room, everyone moaning about how full their tummies are and the tension moves with you like invisible cloaks. The young “adult” children text, the older generation talks about  people who have died or are very sick  and all I want to do is change into my soft flannel polka dot pajama pants and tee-shirt and climb under my blankets and go to sleep.

However, the chocolate cake with the layers of lighter chocolate mousse winks at me and soon we go back to eat dessert. A lot of dessert. That incredibly delicious chocolate cake with edible sugar ornaments, my vegetarian daughter grins as she eats a sugar “turkey.” There is also apple cake, strawberry-rhubarb pie, chocolate rugelach, banana bread, apple pie and assorted cookies. I’m ashamed to say that the fabulous chocolate cake, with an ice-cold glass of milk cheers me up. I can see the women of Weight Watchers “past” shaking their heads at me, tsk- tsking all the way to the scales. Sorry leaders, I haven’t gained any weight, in fact I lost more weight.

My daughter drives her grandmother home, with a care package that will last her at least a week to finish, complete with forbidden dessert since she is a not-so-so-strict-diabetic, it’s a treat for her, one bite or two at a time. The fact that my sister and her family aren’t here was felt by all, it just seemed empty without them. I missed my sister and the “cousins” being together. My husband’s parents are coming tomorrow, does that make any sense to you? Fill me in if you can figure it out, I can’t.

I see myself going away for a few days this year or next. This time I will go someplace different to be alone, to have some space, to smile at the sun and do some thinking.  It’s my turn now. I’m tired,  physically and emotionally. I need to get a good night’s rest and maybe when I wake up tomorrow morning I will feel just more hopeful. I give thanks for my family, my friends, for the food on the table. I give thanks that the holiday is over and for my pretty polka dotted pajamas. I am grateful for the sleep that is sure to come quickly. Good night.

Take Me Home

Members of the United States Navy serve the ho...

Members of the United States Navy serve the homeless at Dorothy’s Soup Kitchen in Salinas, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had run into each other before a couple of different times, I just didn’t who she was. I saw her at the food pantry waiting in line with her kid, one day we saw each other at the soup kitchen. We knew each other, all of us. We just didn’t acknowledge each other, we kept ourselves private, looking down at our kids or in our bags of free food or me, down at my worn pink sneakers. I heard her name once but nothing else. She was so tall and skinny why I could almost see through her, she looked so frail, like a bird thats broken. What I remembered of her were her frozen green eyes that seemed like they were stuck in her head with glue, like they never moved or blinked.

I guess the only thing we had in common was we were both moms on a mission to protect our children, to protect ourselves. Months later we met at the shelter, The Home For Abused Women And Children. I had been at The Home for a month now, she was just coming in. As soon as we saw each other we nodded, she took the bed next to mine. Her daughter and my daughter looked about the same age and they hit it off,  children were great like that, they were best friends in less than five minutes.

She and I probably took a good couple of hours to speak, none of us were good at trusting but we were  friends pretty soon. Once she made up her bed, with me helping her, we started talking. Not good stuff like you see on funny television, that’s for sure, but stuff we had in common. Both of us had been in abusive relationships; I felt guilty being here but she felt proud. That was what she was like, all the time.

She made me promise to talk to her first if I was ever tempted to run away from here and go back, and I was tempted often. So, when my kid said she “missed her daddy” I would want to leave straight away but Alison always knew before I even packed. She would come over, sit me down and she would not let me leave. We would go back in time, and tell her out loud when Brian hit me so hard my head cracked open and blood was everywhere, how I  saw it on the green tile linoleum, thinking it would be hard to get out. It was kind of out of my body, why would I be thinking that?  The pain so bad I wanted to die. She reminded me of what he said he wanted to do to my daughter and what he had done with my niece and that stopped me cold.

That changed my mind back to reality and she started reminding me of why I had left him and how he was still the same monster he was when I finally got out. Then she and I would hug and I would thank her until the next time it happened and I’d like to say it never happened again but it did. Lots of times.

We stood by each other, like real friends, and we joined a job training group together so we could get jobs somewhere. We all moved to another state, changed our names and started fresh. We shared a one bedroom apartment but we made do; the girls slept in the living room, we shared the bedroom working different shifts. We had “beat the odds” they said at the shelter, we were safe, we had our own home and we were proud.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND HELP:

The hotline number is (630) 469 – 5650.
Why should you call Family Shelter Service’s hotline?
  • You want to talk about your situation with someone who understands, or
  • You want to learn more about services and how to obtain information and help.

I like knowing there is somebody I can call at any time.”
- A Victim of Domestic Abuse