I’m Cranky, No, I’m Sad, Whatever…..

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets (Photo credit: Bill Gracey)

I want to slap people, well, not really.  I’m disappointed in people: in general and specifically and now there is nobody I want to be around except my auburn colored dog, Lexi.  It’s not as if anyone has done something horrendous but it seems a lot of people (okay, women my age) are going through a lot of “something-something” (as my friend Barbara would say) at the same time. Kind of a later mid-life crisis for women, different from when we turned 30 or even 40. This is worse, this is mid-life crisis on steroids or acid, maybe both.

Yup, I said it. First I just felt cranky and after a bit, I felt lonely. All along I thought those words were antonyms when in fact, they feel like synonyms today, they are definitely connected. I could blame these moods on a lot of things, certainly the beastly weather. This unbearable heat and humidity for the last week has everybody miserable but I think I would be doing myself a disservice. I’m not sure that answer would be entirely honest. It definitely has an impact on how I feel physically, Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups, IBS, not sleeping well, feeling out of sorts, all are true, but there’s definitely an emotional component as well.

I want to crawl and hide someplace where no one can find me. I want to be on a path, in the woods where I can find my peace, in Nature where nobody will hurt me, I trust animals, I don’t trust people; not anyone. Everyone’s history has its secrets, its shame, hurt, heartbreak. In nature there is innocence, love, and peacefulness. I want to move to a little red cottage in the woods somewhere where nobody can hurt me. Again.

Today is July 4th and here is one time where I want to be social and go to a barbecue. The one family who intimated they wanted us to come over apparently forgot, changed their minds or life got in their way. We’re not invited to anyone’s barbecue basically because every year my husband and I host the barbecue ( Thanksgiving,  parties etc). I’m tired of being taken advantage of and being the one that hosts the numerous meals for friends and my family. I’m right here, I’m not invisible, look at me. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be a pizza on paper plates, it’s the effort and the manners and the feeling of being wanted. I’m both cranky and and lonely, it’s a tough combination.

I told everyone at the last big gathering that “I’m now on strike.” So while I am fantasizing about a Hebrew National hot dog, sizzling on the grill, plumped to perfection and lying in a soft bun covered with mustard, I will be here trying to forget other people’s broken promises and talking myself down from being way too sensitive. Everything is alright, I have to make it alright, I have no choice.

There is only one thing that is a guaranteed fix. Works every time. (No, NOT drugs or alcohol ) The one movie I love more than life itself: The Sound Of Music. It fixes me, I can’t resist singing every song (knowing every word to every song) and relaxing while watching it. So, today while you are eating S’mores and drinking beer, sweating in the horrendous heat and humidity, I’ll be here, on my bed, in air-conditioned splendor singing along with Maria and the Von Trapp Family Singers with my dog Lexi, on my lap.

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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.

The Lingering Smell Of Basil

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard.

Image via Wikipedia

As soon as I feel the first warm hint of spring on my shoulders and see the first crocus I immediately rejoice! It’s Spring, not officially, but in my snow-sickened world it is the start. As soon as Spring is even in the air I start thinking of having barbeques, especially the one BIG BBQ we try to have every few years.  I’m imagining all our friends and family out in the back yard eating cheeseburgers from the Weber grill, dripping with either cheddar or American cheese. I think about   grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and juicy hot dogs, and bright yellow mustard. I also think of potato chips, the real kind, the ones we had as kids and not the baked, healthy, kind either. There would be Heinz ketchup, (of course I’m brand loyal) potato salad made with a touch of mayonnaise, coleslaw and perhaps a large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and a touch of light green extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the vibrant red tomatoes and the creamy white mozzarella cheese. I love how the earthy smell of basil lingers between your fingertips all afternoon.

In addition, we may have small roasted potatoes on the grill along side smokey-sweet yellow and white kernels of corn on the cob.  Red and white plastic table cloths, bright red or blue plastic plates (preferably the ones that have three sections, love those!) and disposable cups. Napkins would be stacked high in your hands as if they were towels. Messy and barbeques to me are happy synonyms.

Once we went to a barbecue at Charlotte’s house, (“Charlotte of the charmed life” as I call her) the table was like a set directly from a page right out of Martha Stewart Living. Everything matched, the beige, ironed linen table-cloth ( l-i-n-e-n),  the highest quality count, and the china decorated with large blue and yellow flowers bursting on the plates.  Of course, all the bowls, the silver utensils, they all matched perfectly as I watched in unmitigated horror and delight. This is not what I thought I was coming to, I felt under-dressed and ill at ease. It was absolute perfection just not MY type of perfection. It was for high-class people with lots of money and so very different from our dinners and us.

We dined on steak and salmon, ( I hid my salmon) a glossy arrangement of bright green, yellow and red fresh vegetables and imported cheeses. There were no sticky fingers and plastic glasses of lemonade, just a beautiful crystal pitcher filled with ice water, ice cubes that were in the shape of tropical fruit. I was afraid to eat, afraid to get the napkins dirty so I ate slowly and carefully and with my luck, ended up leaving a stain on the tablecloth which I fervently tried to hide underneath the matching napkin. There were no s’mores at this dinner, it was too elegant. We had assorted cookies from the expensive bakery in town shaped and iced beautifully like flowers and cars and ice cream cones but utterly tasteless.

At our barbeques we have cherry, blueberry and apple crumb pies glistening on the table inside with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream readily waiting in our freezer. I make my home-baked banana raisin-chocolate chip loaf and there would always, I mean always, be a chocolate cake and brownies.

I put my nephew, Jon, in charge of music so the sounds of Neil Young,  Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and various other oldies will be playing out the window like the days when music screamed from dorm rooms. It isn’t fancy or elegant and it may just be ordinary but I guarantee you, there will be, a lot of food, including s’mores and an equal amount of laughter. Hope you can come.