The Joy of a Good Meal (Food Pop)

Roy's Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle

Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle (Photo credit: Mike Saechang)

A third of a steak. Half a plate of small monk fishies, fine, monk fish. Large glass of cranberry juice, no ice but a spritz of seltzer, half of a dinner roll with butter, half of a piece of chocolate molten cake with vanilla-almond chip ice cream. Fine, I know I did it to myself but I fully blame my husband who basically forced me into sharing dessert with him. What could I do? I’m the one who used to say “there is always room for dessert.” I couldn’t let him down and that almond ice cream is not just amazing, its sinful. It’s the one dessert our whole family loves. I asked my husband to take a picture of the dessert before we ate it and send it to the kids and tell them we can come here when they come home from school but apparently we were so excited to eat that we forgot to take the picture until it was half eaten.The cake was warm inside, the ice cream matched the cake to perfection, there was not a crumb left. Yeah, that good.

Ouch, I paid for it when I got home. My stomach was all stretched out and grumbling like an old spitting, cranky man. I don’t eat much these days and for goodness sakes why I ate so much to me is a mystery except that I didn’t have to cook and we were out at a restaurant and I was in the house all day and it tasted SO good and so fresh. I take full responsibility, I am not used to heavy food anymore. I’ve been living on toast, yogurt, eggs, light food. Did I remember that as we were being seated? Hell no. Would I do it again? I’m sorry but yes I would. These tastes were dancing on my tongue. My husband and I agreed this was the best meal we have eaten in a very long time.

Tomorrow, I will go back to plain yogurt with a little honey for lunch and scrambled eggs with toast for dinner. It’s not that I mind eating that at all. Especially when the kids are away at college and I don’t have to be a short order cook. I will happily eat clean food (as we call it) and remember lovingly, the food we ate tonight. What’s a little stomach ache when the flavors did pirouettes in my mouth? The side dishes that accompanied the entrees were exquisite as well. The steak came with some sort of root vegetable minced blend, it tasted like Thanksgiving. The monk fish was nestled on, I have no idea what, but it was soft, creamy and tasted like a risotto with blanched asparagus surrounding it. It was DIVINE and we were both SO happy.

So, while I may suffer a little tonight, it’s okay. Not only do I deserve it, I welcome it. Because a meal like this demands to be eaten and enjoyed. Do I regret eating it and paying the consequences? Be serious. It was worth every single bite and more.

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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.

    Description unavailable

    Description unavailable (Photo credit: The Mitochondrion)

Gray Skies, Blue Ahead

English: Yosemite Meadows – Half Dome in...

English: Yosemite Meadows – Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Français : Le Half Dome vu de Yosemite Meadows, les prairies humides qui couvrent le fond de la Vallée de Yosemite, dans le Parc national du même nom, en Californie (États-Unis). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I miss the lemon color of sunshine, the way it warms my shoulders or how it feels when I lift my face upwards. Blue skies too, I long to see them and not look at gloomy gray skies. I would consider it to be a gift to see the sky a robin egg’s blue without a single cloud. How can you feel incredibly happy when you look up at the sky and see bare, brittle branches leaning against a milky, dull sky. It’s not white because that could give one hope, but a color between white and gray; I’m looking at it right now. I’ve been looking at it every single day for three months.

I have no plans for today, I could have scheduled some but I didn’t want to have any, it’s one of those days when I wanted to do what I had to do in “me” time. For me, that’s slow. Perhaps, slower than most. I still need to shower and do all of my laundry and I haven’t started anything yet. The only thing I have managed is to sip my blessed cup of strong morning coffee in my bright flowered mug and toss a ring to my dog a few times. Now, her curled up against me on the bed is not a great motivator. I need to get up.

I have told myself to get up for the last hour. I cannot even blame my illnesses for this. This is just laziness and comfort and a question mark. Why do I have to get up? There’s really no good reason that I can figure out, but yes, it’s self-indulgent. What’s the matter with self-indulgence now and then? I’m not watching television or eating bon- bons, no one is here to give me a manicure or pedicure. I’m here, alone with my silence, thinking. My sister always has to be moving, doing, acting, she can’t stay still, I am the total opposite. I can sit and dream and read, be still and think. It doesn’t bother me; I hope I stay this way. It comes in handy. I don’t “have to get out of the house” like my mother who seeks entertainment as much as possible.

My husband and I had tentatively planned a vacation, not one that we are really interested in so we won’t pursue it. I decide I need to be closer to nature, something I have stayed away from for many years but I know the time is right He is absolutely thrilled but thinks I’m kidding. I’m not. I have felt the pull for months now, two of my friends, Ash and Michelle have inspired me  I don’t want to camp out (let’s not be crazy) although that is a funny thought, but I want to be surrounded by trees and waterfalls and the smell of the good, clean earth. I want to go someplace (I’d prefer to drive than fly but that’s unlikely) where all I need to think about are the different types of birds, how many shades of green there really are and the taste of exceptionally clean water. I want to see wildflowers and butterflies and rocks.

Waterfalls, mountains, slow hiking, the sun warming me like a light blanket, taking deep breaths that fill my chest like eating honey slowly. I want to see the stars at night, it is startling to say I have never seen a shooting star; it’s always been one of my goals. It is something new to try, something new to love, that is what I am ready for, that is what will happily get me out of bed.

Yosemite Wildflowers

Yosemite Wildflowers (Photo credit: Selected Pixels)

And Now I Shake

ECG complex.

ECG complex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the last six weeks I’ve felt light-headed; I’ve often brought this up to my internist and she has always said that it’s my low blood pressure ( 80/60.) “Salt your food” she murmurs, “stand up slowly from a seated position.” Then she adds: “That happens to me too!!” (Now I’m SURE we can be best friends because we have so much in common.) My husband insists that it has been happening more often and he has nagged me to see my doctor for a few weeks now, I’ve refused.

Yesterday I had an annual physical with my gynecologist who I like but totally FORGOT that she’s a worry wart like I used to be. Notice the PAST tense. I casually asked her if she thought I needed to see my internist about this small issue. She said “yes” and “that it might be a problem with my heart “valve.” The only “v” word I expected to hear from her was “vagina”( if there are any guys reading now is your opportunity to run) valve did not make me happy. I finally confessed to my husband, tried not to look at his smug face and called to set up an appointment.

I described feeling light-headed, having to bend my head down to prevent fainting, feeling very warm, getting a massive headache but never passing out. I could reach a chair or a bed and sit down and I’d be fine in a few minutes. It never happened when driving and obviously if I felt weak, I wouldn’t go out. It did happen going up or down stairs but I always held on to the banister. It was NOT, in my estimation, dangerous.

Now that I had conceded, a nurse gave me an EKG which was perfect with the oddest exception. My whole body started shaking. Once or twice lately I have noticed that my body starts shaking uncontrollably and I can’t stop it. I have asked my husband if he could see it and he has always said “no.” I think it’s one of those “guy” things. The nurse noticed it right away, I’m sure a best friend could as well.

So now, I could add “shaking” to my long list of maladies. Along with Fibromyalgia, almost passing out, Thyroid disease, Auto-Immune disease of the thyroid,  impaired hearing, I shook. I felt like one of those bobble heads except it wasn’t just my head that bobbled, it was my body wobbling. A nurse took five or six vials of blood and then the doctor told me (wait for it…) I had to go to the cardiologist for an echocardiogram and even worse, a stress test. No, No, No! Ugh, this is sweat and embarrassment  in front of others and I hate that kind of stuff. I gave my husband the evil eye, actually two evil eyes. They scheduled me in six weeks, obviously not a crisis situation to them (Thanks, honey!)

My doctor used this new phrase at least five times during my seven minute visit: “due diligence. In my language that means ” I’m running these tests to cover my ass.” For someone who used to get anxious for days, even weeks, I only got anxious for about five minutes which for me is zen-like (and that’s when they  told me I had to see the darn cardiologist.)

As soon as we got home,  I made myself my old standard comfort food, an American cheese sandwich on soft bread with butter, some salt-ridden baked sour cream and onion Lays potato chips( for medicinal reasons only) and a cold Yoo-Hoo to drink. For dessert, nothing speaks comfort more than a dish of really rich vanilla ice cream, softly melting in a red ceramic dish. No drugs of any kind were necessary. No jelly on pizza, I required nothing else. Damn, I was proud. But, I still have to do those stupid tests unless, as my sister suggested, I cancel?! What do YOU think?

Woman in Café with Yoo-Hoo and Cigarette, afte...

Woman in Café with Yoo-Hoo and Cigarette, after William Glackens (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

Haiku Heights – Shimmer

Detail of original engraving "The Hours&q...

Detail of original engraving “The Hours” by Francesco Bartolozzi showing gossamer wings on a nymph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prism

Prism (Photo credit: Andrea Schaffer)

Stretching arms upward

angel smiles, lips pouting, coy

gold gossamer wings.

***
Winter’s brand new frost

shining diamonds in sunlight

Prism, a joyful gift.

***

The lakes’ diamond gold

like a million moons, stars, light

sparkle, twirl to dance

Shimmering Snow

Shimmering Snow (Photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife)

February, Freezing

Weber Grill

Weber Grill (Photo credit: Moomettes)

Charles River, 3 February 2010: Thicker ice ag...

Charles River, 3 February 2010: Thicker ice again, and snow-covered under cloudy grey skies (Photo credit: Chris Devers)

It is gray, gloomy, my mood matches what I see, another storm approaching wet, wintry, cold ice, it pushes my hopeful thoughts of Spring and red tulips further back in my exhausted brain. I long to paint my toes pink, to wear flip-flops that go clickety-clack on the street, even imagining that sound in my head makes me grin. Foolishly, I’m dreaming about back yard barbeques, the smell of food grilling, earning its succulent stripes, that charcoal smell, chicken, corn, cheese burgers, hot dogs. We always have way too much food when we have friends and family over for a BBQ: potato salad, coleslaw, fresh, crispy bread, four different kinds of cheese, at room temperature, salsa and bread, mozzarella and tomato salad with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh, fragrant basil. Hummus and pita triangles and fresh vegetables and dip for our own vegetarians. Potato chips, pretzels to tide us over, pasta salad too with veggies chopped up so fine you can barely see them. We’re always too full for dessert but that passes quickly. The dessert table includes: chocolate mousse cake for the chocolate lovers, vanilla and coconut cake freshly baked brownies, my home-made banana bread with chocolate chips and raisins, fruit salad, a cherry and apple pie. Marshmallows are a given; I like mine burnt completely on the outside, charred, the inside still gooey, runny and soft. Ice cream is in the freezer just waiting to jump out and join us.

I am so happy and…oh wait, I forgot. It’s still February and ice is hitting the windows like little rocks of torture. Reality is difficult. The gusts of wind are my enemy. Let me keep dreaming, please but I know I can’t. I don’t want to leave the house in this cold weather with my bones and muscles stiff. The tender points all over my body from Fibromyalgia are raw with pain, even if I brush against someone’s sleeve. Shoulders lifted, up high, stuck in tension, held in place like soldiers in the military, standing in front of their Sergeant, First Class, saying ‘Yes, Sir, No Sir.” On demand,  feeling unnaturally stiff, not able to make a move, praying they won’t have to sneeze or cough. There is no room for error.

I am staying up late tonight, I smile because it’s my favorite time, 11:11pm.; what a gift to see that on my clock. Somehow, 11:11 AM just doesn’t do it for me. I miss sleeping deeply, the way I was able to do, now I sleep lightly and it is not restful. I don’t know if it’s aging or a medication or a phase but I don’t like it. Maybe if I stay up really late, my sleep will be deeper, my dreams fanciful and memorable, in shades of purple and pink and yellow. Of course, yellow.

It’s been a long winter already, and it continues, I know it’s just February but it seems like it’s been February forever. The weeks seem to go by fairly quickly but the months drag as if they are ground in cement. They drag on like a tired tortoise in heavy, deep, wet sand, barely moving a centimeter every few hours. I know the lesson, I do, we have no choice but to accept it even if we feel angry or impatient, Mother Nature wins. I need to slow down, my impatience will not do me any good. I will try another approach, perhaps I will make lentil soup or pea, start to read another book, listen to music and be grateful I can stay inside today, in a warm house, cooking, cleaning and stroking my red dog’s fur.

Spring will surprise us when it’s ready, not when we are, that we know for sure.

Sometimes when I’m alone I cry (Carry on Tuesday)

i’m not allowed to talk to people,no one or my daddy,mostlly daddy will slap me down. i not saying nothing cause then i get in trouble and i get punished too much,sometimes so purple an blue i cant go to school with my sister and brother. i like school a lot cuz my teachre is pretty and nice an she smiles alot to all the kidss.not jus to me but to all the kids but a lot to  just me. sometimes she puts h er hand on my arm and aks me to stay and tellsme if i wanna talk she would listen. i know that but my daddy. would not like that or mama either. but i want to sometimes. in my heaert where it burns so bad and my hands turn into balls of  fists like fire.

sometimes i feel like i’m gonna explode and when, my teacher,mrs. martin is super nice to me, i don’t know what to do. i can’t tell her, i can’t tell nobody cause if i do ther will be hell to pay and i dont want any more trouble. i got enuf. my backside still hurts from last time and it wasnt my fault, it was ricky’s my older brothers. but he said i messed with him so he blamed it on me and daddy believed him and ricky stood laughin while i got turned over daddy’s knee and i got whipped good. i was strong but then it hurt so bad, i did cry. i didn cry in front of them but sometimes when i’m alone i cry  but i think the  girl downstaiars saw me. i don’t care cuz it wasn’t daddy.cuz i didn’t want to show them that i waz a baby, no sir. i was big now, in fourth grayd even tho peoplee says im small. that aint so. my sistere Robin, my sister didnt laugh but she didnt say stop neither.cuz if it wasnt me it would be her. that’s how it goess here.

everyybody got to be safe for themselves, i know.but when im old enuf im gonna leave here and be good and g row up to be a man or a solid man like my pretty teachre says. i wanna curl up sometimes an hide   under ms martinns desk or maybee just go say hi again to the nice lady who lives underneaath us, the one ewho saw me cryin and gave me a tissue,in the buiding.in aparrtment 1C. we live in 2C.she looks at me funny sometimes but not bad fynny just weird funny.like she has a question mark on her face all the time, her pointy face.I gotta stay away, cuz she has the look of allmost saying something, like she cares but she can’t do nothing and neither can ms martin, cuz if daddy found out, we would likely just kill us an we don’t need nothing like that.i just want to tell her to just let it be. it wont be for forever. just sometimes you gotta get thru stuff an then u disappear.

Childhelp: Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse

www.childhelp.org/

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) Crisis Counselors

Yellow Magic Madness #4 Lemons

Lemons, perfect for drinks, to squeeze on foods, for a
marinade or my favorite, a simple, elegant centerpiece.

Meyer Lemon Study #2: A Bowl of Lemons

Meyer Lemon Study #2: A Bowl of Lemons (Photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife)

Carry on Tuesday: In my life: The Spirituality Of Wisdom

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: atsukosmith)

There has been a fair amount of joy and pain in my long life. One needs to learn to accept that from the beauty of childhood to the path of adulthood. It is the tipping point, like a seesaw that sways you from very young to adult. It’s not always a smooth landing, it is not supposed to be; sometimes  the landing can jar you completely and you end up feeling pain. Do not despair. There is always a reason.

You will learn that not every day is wonderful and gratifying. Because when you are young, it’s unlikely to have a very bad day. You may have a stressful day with homework and commitments but these earlier years, they are magical. I try to tell this to my son and daughter but I know they won’t listen; I didn’t listen at their age either. There are some things in life that can’t be taught. You must discover them on your own: Wisdom. Self-esteem. Your place in the world. Connection.

Clasp your hands together, gently, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Allow yourself the time, the solitude, of silent gratitude. We are here in this lifetime to understand, to learn, to focus. We are here to help each other, to seek kindness from within, to share that with the world.

Much of my past life I suffered from anxiety and pessimism. As I was blessed with age, the gray strands of hair, the tiny wrinkles around my eyes have given me the opportunity, the knowledge to learn, to be able to sigh deeply with knowledge and greater understanding. The  choice has always been mine. I stand now, looking in my  mind’s eye, smiling widely, happy to appreciate what I see, who I am, more importantly who I have become. Appreciate every day, be thankful for your gifts, your blessings. Let your heart be open to nature and to blessings and wisdom, to the ways of the world in peace and harmony, starting from within. Trust the world around you, but most importantly, trust yourself.

Haiku Heights: Sugar

A photo of a jelly doughnut (aka Berliner) top...

A photo of a jelly doughnut (aka Berliner) topped with powdered sugar. This doughnut has been sliced into two to show the jelly filling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake w...

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake with cream filling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAVING A LITTLE FUN WITH THE PROMPT, SUGAR

Your lips plump, like dough

rising, anticipation

jelly doughnut, please.

*****

Granulate me now

Sprinkle sweet loving, baby

Your husband is HOME!

*****

I miss you Twinkie

They took you away from me

They severed a limb.

*****

I will rage anew

My fury will be unleashed

Just cut back on Coke?