Baking For Cousins

It’s been a rough week, I’ve started about twenty new posts and never finished any but last night I talked to a new friend and it felt refreshing like biting into a piece of lemon cake on a hot summer day. Sometimes, when things feel black, an unexpected opening, like a crack in a window, appears from nowhere and you can finally start to breathe normally again.

Open Window

It doesn’t solve your problems and It may not last,  but at least it makes you remember that “normal” really isn’t the deep-down, below the ground hurt, sadness and resentment you have felt for the last few days. It’s as if you have been given a “time-out” to think about your marriage, your grown up children, your family and friends, your Life.

It’s like taking a break without traveling. It’s NOT dreading the barbeque at your house that you felt two days ago but happily making food. Slicing the mozzarella and the tomatoes, drizzling olive oil, and balsamic glaze and scattering chopped pieces of fresh basil on top.

English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

I’m making my daughter’s favorite, everyone’s favorite, guacamole with avocados that have ripened in a paper bag with two apples. I will squeeze fresh lemon on them, add chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, salt and a few grains of sugar (my secret recipe) to undercut the acidity.

 

My mouth is beginning to drool. My husband and son are at the supermarket buying meat for the rest of the carnivores, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Mostly, I am hosting this barbeque, to see the four cousins together which never ceases to delight me. Jon, Anna, Tim and Jillian. All grown up but still as close as they were when they were young and building forts in my living room with “Milton.” (Don’t ask)

banana bread!

Our house was the favorite, of course, because my sister and her husband were much stricter about food than we were. Hence, when the cousins came over, they said hello, gave us hugs and went directly to our pantry. I loved every minute of it and still do and even though I swore I would never bake another banana bread again…there are two freshly baked loaves waiting for them, on the granite counter.

One with raisins, one with chocolate chips, both with love.

 

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Hostess Orange Cupcakes (Food Cop)

Rumor has it that Hostess orange cupcakes  are back in production. Shhh, you might not want to read this out loud. They’re baaaaack (if  you can find them.) I love these more than Twinkies. When I heard that Twinkies were back on the market I put a lot of effort to find them so I’m back on the job. The year of “The Gazpacho Diaries” seems tame now. Please think of me when you go shopping…I’ll pay you back.

We were visiting our two college kids when we stopped along the way to get gas and a snack. Out of the corner of my eye, winking at me madly, flirting those big, fake, black eyelashes at me, I  saw in the corner of my eye the orange globes with the famous white squiggle on top. They were positively grinning. YES!!!!!!!! Pure happiness for me.

"Omigod! This flavor won't exist for very...

“Omigod! This flavor won’t exist for very much longer…” Matthew tracked down Hostess Orange Cupcakes–research for an upcoming movie/date night. (Photo credit: BoopBoopBoopBoop)eyelashes up and down and grinning like the princess she is, I saw her. I gasped so loudly that people turned around to look at me. After that I squealed. Now, people had definite questions in their eyes and a WTF look.

Two bright orange globes in a package; I  bought (only) two packages and I was in heaven. The first cupcake I ate was exquisite. I am a dessert fan and not ashamed to say it. I do need dessert after dinner every single night (see my post on The Other Stomach.) I’ve trained myself to eat D (dessert) only after dinner and not after lunch.

The other orange cupcake packages has not been opened, I do have some control but I will open this tomorrow when my son comes home, I want to share the joy with him. My daughter and husband are choc-a-holics so these do not interest them. (Thank goodness)

Happiness

Happiness (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

I have not seen these delectable delicacies in our neighborhood or the neighborhood in town, I was starting to get worried. Today, I started working and called the three major supermarkets here and asked for the manager. I, very politely, asked if they would be ordering these?  These people were so kind. They told me that “when the Hostess people come in, they will put it on the order list.”  Thank you. No, Really.

But, in addition I will keep looking or reminding them if they forget, I have my son scouring for them upstate. Welcome Back, you orange cuties, I missed you so much.

Love,

from your devoted fan

PS please don’t forget the pink snowballs too.

 

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Children: The Moon, The Sun And A Fibro Flare Up

Sigh. Welcome. I know you are here even if I don’t have any interest in wanting you to be here. I know you have arrived in town, I can feel the physical essence of your negative energy from the follicles on top of my aching head to the bottom of my over-extended curled toes. It would be too simple to describe how I feel as “everything hurts” or use my example “it’s like having the flu every single day without the temperature.” People try to look sympathetic while they are trying to figure out if I have lost my mind. No, sorry, we are NOT crazy.  My husband was right, my balance is really off and I should have brought my pink cane that I use, on occasion. Fibromyalgia is no one’s friend.

Moon

Moon (Photo credit: Paul Garland)

Thank goodness we have for best friends and Fibro Friends, we understand each other, we know how we feel. We don’t really need to explain. I don’t have to tell my fellow sufferers how I will feel when I have to spend over 6 hours in a car. Yep, you heard me 6 long hours to get home from visiting our amazing children and that’s with no traffic. It’s realistically more likely 6 and a half to seven hours but that burns like acid on the tip of my coated tongue.

We traveled to see our adult children at their perspective colleges and I wouldn’t trade that for anything but on the way there we stopped halfway so my pain, Fibromyalgia, would be manageable. I assumed the same thing was planned for going home. It was not. How did this happen? I have no idea except that my husband did the arranging and he probably told me what he booked but with Fibro Fog, confusion and loss of memory, it did not sink in.

In the end it didn’t even matter, we are now home, we saw our adult children and whatever physical pain I suffered was quadtrupled  every second I was with them. I might make different arrangements next time but I don’t even care. That’s what Love is. Simple, Straightforward, Us, Them, Family.

Think of me, taking whatever drugs I have, including but not limited to, Benadryl,or  Xanax that might relax my muscles enough to get me through the trip, curled on the back seat cushions, going home.

I adored seeing my son and daughter, and I would do anything for either of them. I love them so much, so very much that pain and stiffness and being out of sorts for a few days, will help remind me of why we went to visit.

Sun Rays Dancing…!!!

Sun Rays Dancing…!!! (Photo credit: Denis Collette…!!!)

We went to visit the moon and the sun. Two things I cannot live without and two things that I enjoy simply by watching. My grown-up adult kids. They are worth every darn tingle, ache, pain, IBS attack and a host of many more symptoms; so when you hear me complain, please tell me to shut-up and to remind me of how worth it, it really was. Love, family love is, what matters and pain is just a side effect. It will get better, hopefully, in a few days. Just being around them, gave my husband and myself incredible joy. It was worth every single second of this trip and many more. We have GREAT kids, each one a delightful pleasure, we’re lucky to have them in our lives. We appreciate THEM.

Thank you, kids, for having us, we loved seeing you in your home. It was great for all of us, especially me to show me how much both of you have learned and grown-up. I’m proud of you both. Really proud.

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Haiku Horizons, Empty

Ripped pieces, blood, knife

Abandoned Shoe

Abandoned Shoe (Photo credit: Auntie P)

stabbed, throttled, dark alleyways

Empty, taken, dead.

***************************************

Bare gray beach shack, left

Let's Get a Little House Down By the Beach

Let’s Get a Little House Down By the Beach (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

Abandoned with laughter, joy

*A new home for Life.

*******************************************

People weep alone

Despair

Despair (Photo credit: fakelvis)

gray tunnels of emptiness

Selfish acts of love.

*************************************************

* a new home for Alice.

 

 

 

 

 

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I Have No Idea How The Whole Thing Works

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is Happiness so fleeting when Sadness lingers around like a viral infection, effecting not just you but everyone near you? It spreads too, so easy to catch, physically and emotionally.

Happiness is a moment or two, the snap, pop, gasp of a sudden leap of joy which feels incredibly good, magical, in fact. Like those first moments of falling in love…  but that first gasp, that amazing, weird feeling in your stomach where you can’t possibly eat because you are a jumble of nerves and anticipation, that ends quickly to the “gasp” that perfect O of your mouth, your tongue wetting your lips that dissipates too. After a while, a long or short while, reality sets in and you still do love your partner but “in love?” not so much.

Things, that at first, take on such importance: the first phone call is electrifying and intense, you can still remember the feeling of your aching cheeks. It came with  dancing eyes and a smile so big that you could light the world with its brilliance.

Sadness.

Sadness. (Photo credit: Neil. Moralee)

It doesn’t last long but you do remember it from time to time with great fondness and sometimes regret and yes, you still love “your” person.

Passion can dip, with maturity, marriage, work, children, time…you can sleep in separate bedrooms because “he snores or she snores” or she can’t fall asleep and he needs to go to bed early because he gets tired easily and they are just older now.

You make compromises,sometimes you just have to give in. It becomes okay that he hates to go dancing, his dancing awkward and stiff but how she loves to go on picnics  and he adamantly refuses. Asking why “I just don’t” is not a reasonable explanation for an adult conversation. You settle, you don’t want to wreck the family boat over a salami and cheese sandwich. But, it’s another tear that drops in the sadness bucket.

Now, people are both stuck in the mud, the same old, grimy, brown mud. Are they completely happy? Is everything perfect? No, of course not, I don’t think anything could be. But, you get to a certain age when your spouse is truly your best friend and you love each other and at this stage of your life, friendship, love, trust is really more than you can ask for and less than many people have. It is a blessing to love someone and to be loved by someone.

Sadness, however, deep, depressing, feeling blue and out of sorts lingers and follows you like a shadow. Wherever that black cloud of unhappiness gets deeper and.stays with you no matter how hard you try “to get over it” sometimes it refuses to budge These people need help, need to reach out for support from a doctor or medical professional and friends and maybe you need medication and to talk with a professional. In time, it will go away. And yes, for a small percent of lucky people it could be very short-lived and will float away on its own, the sky will clear and you can wake up feeling happy again.

We all go through a range of happiness and sadness on a daily basis, I’m talking about the above in extreme cases. Some people, (and it is definitely is NOT me) can hide their feelings so well and appear like a blank slate. Not a good match for me.

People are who they are, accept them or don’t but you can’t change them.

 

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FWF: Kellie Elmore, Jhana’s Daughter

 

English: Two candles in love. The flame is inv...

English: Two candles in love. The flame is inverted heart shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My name is Jhana, I am very old but I have a young friend translating for me. She knows ‘Merican language real good. Now we start: “The pain in Jhana’s old heart was searing now. The intensity, the throbbing came and went but there were times when she would kneel on the dirty, muddy floor and weep. She only did that when she was sure she was alone. Jhana’s children, all except one, brothers and sisters all lived near-by but she was not looking for comfort, she knew there was none. None for this type of her anguished heart.

We are alone with our grief she had learned through the hard times even though we have family for whom we bless. It took more bravery and strength to be able to hold on to love, than to dismiss it. Love is fleeting, like birds in the sky. That, she knew. Love was there, deep down but could you feel it all the time? Of course not. You had to imagine it, rely on it, pray that it would be there or come back to you. Have faith. Love was an assumption only.fwf4Apr

Love was not the “smiling, holding hands” we would look at in the American magazines that the girls would find and hide under mats, and yes we let them. They looked at something called “romance” not true love but we let them. They did not yet know our plans to move to ‘Merica in a year or two years.

Here, in India, I would look at second daughter’s face as if I was looking through her, I had no problems with my other four children. Why was this child so different? The love was always there in my heart, in her father’s heart and siblings. What happened that was different for this child of mine? How could she not know our love? Did she not know that her father and I blessed the differences from her and the others. She was our pearl, our stand-alone gem. If anything she was more loved but would not take it inside herself.

The other older children could play and work and keep busy but this one held feelings deep inside her heart or just could not communicate. There was hurt and anger, deep inside hammered in to her heart but yet she could not forgive. Nor would she allow us to apologize for something we did not know about. She would not give in, she would be strong, very strong. But, I knew better, of course I did. Well, I thought I did. I was her mother.

This was not a betrayed love, this was a love that ran so deep, only a mother could know. I waited patiently until the day she would find her way back to me. Where did we go wrong I asked the husband? He said of course “we did nothing wrong, she is the child.” But, a mother is different, I tried to tell him. No, that is not the answer.” he told me.

I imagined looking at your face with my two hands one on each side like pressing on cold, hard glass. Press too hard and chips of glass would embed themselves in your fingers, blood would run down slowly each time. Not enough to scream but just enough to notice. I would imagine you trying to get away, twisting, fighting and screaming but my love for you was stronger than everything. You could not run away forever. I held you close, I would not let you go, ever.

I tried to forget the unforgiving words told to me about what you called me and how you viewed me because I do not follow that life. Love was a mystery that couldn’t be easily explained. Where was the joy, the simplicity, the laughter of love? Did it exist past the many layers of the wall you created? As a mother I dearly hoped but I could not know, you would not allow me to know.

Beautiful child, lovely child. No matter how old you are, you still live in my heart no matter what you do or don’t do. There is the difference. I will always cherish you, always love you,  for the goodness in you that I see, that I feel. Yes, certainly. Two hearts, even those estranged, can come back and beat as one.

Until the last breath I will love you. Do you hear me child? Does anyone?  I will say it again and again since I cannot see you, my eyes have failed me many years ago. But, I would still know your face, my hands might be gnarled and brittle with illness but my heart knows, will always know that you, beautiful heart, was so blessedly loved every second of every day and night.

I will wait until the last breath has left my body, which dear one, I know will be soon. I will never give up on you, you see I was learning Patience too and different ways of loving. None was right, none wrong. I was changing too.

That is a mother’s truth spoken in my body now and in the next life. I promise this to you. I love you now and forever. Look for me at night, in the sky, I will be watching you still, loving you, when I am gone.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A LOVE LETTER To Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Pound Cake

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterbor...

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterborough, UK. A typical sales area in a Starbucks coffeehouse. Showing the till, preparation areas and sales displays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Starbucks,

I love you. To pieces. Well, to pieces of iced lemon pound cake. On this I swear.

I read that Starbucks got rid of a few of its very popular items, but not for long; there were many customer complaints. One of the items they said good-bye to was one of my favorites, the iced lemon pound cake. Gone, Adios. Bye-bye. WHAT?

Yes, you heard me, it vanished from the clean see-through shelves of your local Starbucks’ establishment. Horrors. Excuse me?  MY FAVORITE ICED LEMON POUND CAKE FROM STARBUCKS WAS TAKEN OFF THE MARKET? DEAR GOD, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

I assumed that since my husband and I have been on a strict budget and we don’t have the money to buy anything special like Starbucks coffee everything was still the same. In the very infrequent times that I did treat myself to a latte it was probably in the afternoon when I just assumed they were out of stock of my all-time favorite, deliciously iced lemon pound cake.Yes, I am salivating.

The winter was so LONG and hard that I didn’t go out much, having Fibromyalgia it’s hard enough to get out of bed not to mention get dressed and go out, imbalanced in the snow and ice.  Sometimes “ignorance is bliss.” I didn’t miss my tangy and sweet pound cake because I didn’t know it was gone.

But, there are times when mistakes have been made and corrected without a fuss (not often, I know.) I have to give it to Starbucks, not many companies listen to their customers and right a wrong. YOU ROCK!! I am proud of your establishment and I am saving up money. I don’t know exactly when the lemon pound cake will be coming back but I will be on-line to buy it with a latte just to make me feel good and to give myself a treat. A company that actually LISTENS to their customers and wants their customers to be happy? THANK YOU.

Having not thought about the yummy sweet/tart lemon cake, you know what happens to me. I NEED It NOW. I may have to visit my local Starbucks immediately and ask when exactly it is coming back, date/time/place. I will be there, I promise. Thank you, Starbucks for everything that you do, I would work for you anytime especially if I got a discount on dessert.

My confession: I’m a slut for sour and sweet desserts. Oh fine, I’m a slut for desserts.

For those of you who bake ( and bake well) I’ve LEARNED OF a very good substitute from the delicious Ina Garten. It’s a little too advanced for me. She has a wonderful recipe for a lemon pound cake:

For those like me, who are not advanced bakers come join me. You will find me on-line at the nearest Starbucks, waiting, patiently and with LOVE.

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Love, Like Birds

Cardinal

Cardinal (Photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties)

When I heard the cardinal sing its pretty song, for the first time in a very long time, I stopped dead in my tracks to listen. I was in a crowded parking lot but yes, I was being careful. What sound could be more important and more beautiful than that of a cardinal singing its sweet song after a relentless winter.(With no assurance that it is really over)

I happen to have a crush on cardinals more than other birds, I must admit.They have a special family memory for me. The handsome vibrant red male, his “wife” the beautiful, red-gray dancer singing from one to the other, always together like a comforting, well-balanced, special relationship. They look out for one another, they feed each other, they always communicate in song, first one than the other.

I know, we all know, it’s been too long a winter, we can’t change it but the sounds of cardinals and the perfect blue sky, the weather in the upper 40’s makes it seem like we are on vacation, somewhere South. It doesn’t take much to make us happy now.

I wouldn’t say the trees are budding but they  also aren’t as buck naked as they used to look. They have the promise of blooming, of bringing life on a day like today. It was the beauty of the unexpected, the thing that happens that surprises you, not the droning ritual of a nasal forecaster.

The window of my car was open to let the breeze in, my radio turned up loud, of course the songs were just what I wanted to hear. Today was special, yesterday was freezing, I’m grateful for this moment in time. Spring isn’t here yet but I can see that it really will happen, someday soon.

Enhanced by ZemantaPhoto Credit: BlueRidgeKitties from Wikipedia

Kellie Elmore, FWF

Lady wisdom (2)

Lady wisdom (2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t understand it then, but I understand it now…

…though I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a very long time. Truly, it took almost my entire life to learn this lesson that I so desperately needed to learn. I guess you get small signs at first, maybe you trip you have a pebble in your shoe,a week later you trip over a rock. You, again, think it’s you being clumsy. Still, it’s a coincidence, you barely notice and of course you’ve always been clumsy.

A week goes by and during a heavy rainfall a few small branches from a tree break off and land on the ground but you are not looking so you fall and stumble on them and wind up, wet with sore ankle. Turns out that your ankle was fractured and it has to be in a cast for 4-6 weeks.

Finally you start thinking, what on earth is going on?

What is happening? There is a message waiting for you from whatever God, Spirit, Nature or Force that you Believe in. I never used to see the signs to change my patterns when I was younger, maybe I was too self-absorbed but now in mid-life I pay attention to what the Universe has to tell me and I am grateful.

I used to think everybody acted like me because I was the only person I really knew. My standards were high, different, my style was individual, the friends I connected with were similar; but others weren’t. Some of their styles like empathy and compassion are the same but how they displayed it or didn’t was very different from me.

It’s very hard to get used to, very hard. So you need to trust, trust your instincts and know in your heart that even though D. or C. or M. may love you, they can’t show it to you in the way you need to hear it. It isn’t that they are being obtuse or stubborn it is not something they can do, certainly not easily if at all.

Is that a deal breaker? It used to be, for me. Does it have to be? Absolutely not. Does that mean you need to break up a friendship? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. If you feel you are giving ALL the time and not getting anything back, maybe. No friendship can sustain 100 percent on one person doing ALL the work.

But if you know in your heart that if you called said person at 3AM and desperately needing them and you know without a doubt that they wouldn’t hesitate getting dressed to come to you, you should know better.

It’s the measure of Love.

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