Food Mess Up? There’s Always A Remedy

I’m not saying that I am the most conventional cook or baker, some would say I am very odd and quirky but I do enjoy my own recipes and remedies and basically that’s all that matters to me. I’m kidding!

I haven’t done a lot of cooking lately, but I made a lovely baked ziti dinner for an elderly man in our community who is sick and needed food and at the same time I taught my college kid how to make her own ziti in the process. You can’t get easier than baked ziti.It’s just a matter of balancing the cheese, sauce and noodles. Once I made it and it was like a grilled cheese sandwich, another time I made it and there was way too much sauce. That is why bread was invented, to dunk into the sauce. No problem here. I would have liked to have added chopped meat to make it more like a sloppy lasagna but my daughter is a vegetarian so that was a strict no-no.

 

My husband has cooked dinner lately, I try to appreciate it every single time he cooks. But, he has a habit of sneaking ingredients in that he KNOWS I don’t like. Perhaps he thinks, that like a 5-year-old, I won’t detect them. WRONG.

He told me he was making chicken burgers which I was looking forward to, he was working and I ate by myself. The chicken burgers looked…interesting three of them looked like they had a special sweet sauce on them, one was plain. I stuck my finger into one of the burgers with sauce and  licked my finger, my mouth burned with fire. The heat of the diabolical sauce filled my mouth and I ran for a tall glass of water. I can tolerate spicy food but that was over the top .I guess I assumed (wrongly) it was sweet. We had peach salsa in the refrigerator and it was up in front so I assumed he used that but it didn’t make sense, I love that stuff.

I then assumed that he must have made the plain one. I took that one over to the counter, seated myself comfortably, took my favorite beverage ( no not a glass of red wine or beer) a Yoo-Hoo and with my fork and knife and

 

English: Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink; Ten (10) 6.5...

English: Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink; Ten (10) 6.5 fl.oz. drink boxes, in package. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

eagerly took a large bite of my burger. Oh dear God, was it me or was my mouth burning ANEW? It wasn’t the old burn but a new source of heat. I contemplated very briefly if my husband was trying to kill me but I knew there had to be an easier way than this.

 

Since we live in the age of technology I texted him “What was in those burgers?” “So spicy I burned my mouth.” I got the usual male answer “Nothing special, a little salt and pepper.”There was no way that was all that was in those burgers I thought to myself. Really? I asked, are you sure, nothing else? There was a very long pause. “Oh yeah, I put  some Worcester sauce in too.” BINGO!!! He snuck the ‘ol Worcester sauce in, knowing I’m not a fan.

 

 

SOME? It must have been a lot because even without the spicy salsa, it was like a flame thrower heating up the top of my mouth and throat. Not to mention he knows, to put it gently, I really don’t like (personal opinion only) Worcester sauce. I was too tired to make anything else and there really wasn’t much in the house to make so I knew I needed to remedy this situation in my own, very special way.

 

I opened the refrigerator and after surveying the items I took out two things. Mayonnaise and orange marmalade. Yes, you read that correctly. Thank goodness my friend Maureen was out-of-town, she still hates the fact that I put grape jelly on dry pizza. What? Oh that, if you get a pizza pie that is not cheesy enough or too dry I recommend grape jelly or jam. It works wonders. (Don’t judge)

Believe it or not, this combo of mayo and orange marmalade was a nice contrast to the burning meat. It knocked the dreaded Worcester sauce to the side and had a soothing effect.Next time, if this happens again, I might substitute plain yogurt for the mayonnaise but the jam stays for sure. Nice touch.

So next time, if you’ve over spiced your food, remember this, there are always techniques to make things less spicy. More spicy is easy. Just be creative and open-minded. Like me.

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FWF, Kellie Elmore, Pain

Uncle Wally

My name is Wally, though people used to call me Mr. Dawson. I barely remember those days but I was you, Mister Fancy Suit, a long time ago. I had a great family and a job I loved, until my life changed and I became who I am today. My whole body is wracked in pain, every bone and muscle, even the inside of my head hurts all the time.

Pain

Pain (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

My liver and kidneys are rotting, orange like rust. I have lots of pain when I am sober enough to look at my life long enough to remember. It lasts only a minute or two, then I pop a handful of pills, drink two or three shots of cheap whiskey

 

and vodka or whatever I can get my hands on just to dull the edges around my sorry life.

I got the needle tracks on my arms, but today I’m hurting with no more crack or heroin to get me through the day. My friend Ben said he’ll come meet me at this here bar. He still isn’t here and I’m going through hell.

English: 2 Gs of Tweak

English: 2 Gs of Tweak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People don’t believe me when I tell them that I was  a white-collar, middle-class family man for more than twenty-five years. I had a little office, a desk and chair. I was a loyal employee and where did that get me? It got me nothing, that’s for sure. I put in all my hours, never took a sick day once and still they let me go.

I dealt with unemployment well the first year, I went on interviews but after a year and a half things slowed down. People weren’t returning my calls, I would interview for jobs and they would never say if I got the job or if I didn’t. I would call up and ask and people never returned the call. First, I thought it was just me but then I talked to some other guys, women too, who had lost their jobs and the same thing was happening to them, to everyone I knew.

I’d spent my whole adult life working here, every single day, being the husband to my wife Adele and the father to Gordon and Jennifer. Why, my office was a mini-vacation for my kids. every year they spent some time with me in “Daddy’s big office.” I loved that, when they came in and Mom made us all sandwiches from home. She’d do something special for herself that day, like get her hair done or her nails and I was so proud that I could give that to her. She was the best wife and mother you could ask for in a person.

Liquid Dinner

Liquid Dinner (Photo credit: Rolling Okie)

What happened to the great country I lived in? No money coming in, now Adele was working part-time. Finally, something inside me died. I couldn’t stand it anymore it hurt so much that I started drinking a lot to dull the pain, I drank around the clock, I stopped shaving and wouldn’t leave the house. My wife used to scream at me, she said I was a “bad influence on the kids.” We fought all the time.

I was a nasty drunk too. Adele, threw me out. The last straw was when I got real angry, so angry that I slapped my wife, well, I pushed her and she turned pale, she was scared of me. She had every right. I was not the man she married. I was not the husband she loved, the father of her children. I was an addict but I didn’t want help, I just wanted out.

Description unavailable

I grabbed a few of my things and stuffed them into a bag. The kids were at school and Adele was working. I took our savings money and I left. I walked out the door thinking it would be better for them. I thought I did the right thing, looking at me now, three years later, I am convinced I was right.

 

 

 

 

FWF, Kellie Elmore- Image Prompt

Image Credit: We Heart It

The” haunted house” has always been in my neighborhood. When we were little we stayed away from it. When I became a teenager and my little sister, Dani, would annoy me I would tell her the ghosts from the haunted house would fly in our windows and take her if she wasn’t asleep. I thought it was funny, you know one of those older sister “things.”

When I was 15 I claimed that neglected house as my own. Eventually it became our crack house,but for the first few months it was our hang out. We’d go there every day, cutting Senior year’s “internship” program. We had a tight circle of five or six friends. We all brought drugs, I stole pills from my mother’s medicine cabinet, there was alcohol, weed, all of us brought food, Benny and Steve always had heroin, my best friend Jenny brought cocaine and chocolate chip cookies.

My parents had no idea of who I had become. All they did was fight with each other. It was pathetic how easy lying was. If you wanted to change your life, it was so simple.  Assholes. They didn’t even pay attention. My little sister played in her room, alone. She barely came out.

One night, at dinner, the tension between my parents was especially bad, thick like the humid rain forests, we had to study. Hard to breathe. I saw my  7-year-old sister sucking her thumb which she hadn’t done since she was 3. I was fed-up with their non-stop bickering but when I tried to say something both my parents would tersely say “not now Tess.”

I pushed my chair back from the table and left, telling them I had study group and they didn’t even question me about what class or where I was going, so I left. I headed to my real home, the crack house where I knew my friends were.


I sat on the floor next to Danny he lit up a joint and we shared a few beers. It felt so good. I tried to forget about mom and dad but it was hard. Danny said there was one thing that would help me forget all about it as we giggled together and he nuzzled into me and whispered in my ear “I have something special just for you.” He laughed and said “Baby. I promise you, it is the biggest high you will ever have, all your silly problems will melt away in a minute.” He showed me the heroin and the idea of escaping my miserable world was so tempting.”Since it’s your first time, I’ll even stay with you if you want.”

We kissed and I whispered “okay” in his ear. He looked so happy that I let him inject the heroin into my vein. First, from what I can remember, I felt amazing, lots of colors and sounds, I had no idea where I was but it was better than any place I had seen. I remember dancing to the music alone, smiling a lot.

Later on, I got paranoid and scared. I just remember screaming so loudly in my ear. Everywhere people were screaming and I couldn’t take all that noise, I cried from the pain, covered my ears with my hands but it did not go away. Hours later there was nobody left and the screaming remained. Apparently the screaming came from me.

I don’t know what happened after that, someone must have called the police because I just remember an ambulance coming and strapping me down. I screamed when I saw both my parents waiting at the hospital, holding hands? The nurse gave me a shot. I felt  asleep in seconds.

When I awakened I pretty much just felt stupid, only realizing then that my problems had just begun.I saw a glimpse of my little sister hiding behind the curtains. I tried to smile but she did not want anything to do with me. I didn’t blame her.

I really was sorry, I guess we all were. My parents decided we would all go to family therapy and they would go to couples counseling. I lived back at home and my relationship with my little sister got better, sometimes I even played with her in her room. The crack house had been gutted and cleared.

I was happy to see it go. More than happy.

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Jacquelyn: Were You At “The Taste 2” Finale?

English: Jean Claude Szurdak and Jacques Pepin...

English: Jean Claude Szurdak and Jacques Pepin (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest judge: Chef Jacques Pepin. In the finals, Marina, Lee and Louise.

The season of “The Taste” is over. As I’ve stated in earlier posts my highpoint of the show was when Jacquelyn exited mid-show, literally walking off stage. She is my Norma Rae. Nigella seriously needs to learn to play with others.

The first test was to make something for the poor and for the rich. It was so uninteresting it really didn’t matter what they made. Basically for the “rich” they added a lot more butter, truffles and caviar. For the “poor,” they all made a stew or soup.

Many past contestants in the audience: I see Cassie and Sarah, Shellie and Don, Audrey and Jay, among others; I am not making this up or exaggerating, I swear, I didn’t know who Audrey was because she didn’t mention “her fans” and she wasn’t complaining.The one person I wanted to see but DIDN’T was Jacquelyn. What, no invite? You people have NO sense of humor.

Final challenge: “Basic cooking: Make me breakfast, lunch and dinner bites that showcase your most dazzling skills.”

They tried. They did TRY.  I didn’t really think anyone made anything over the top that the judges actually swooned over. We’ve all seen good before, the last few episodes missed “stunning and amazing.”The finale did not break the “just ok” pattern. Shame.

Lee: Breakfast: Parmesan flan with bacon quail egg. He forgot that he left his parmesan flan in the oven but remembered at the last second. He saved his behind and put them in the cooler (not his behind, the flan) with bacon, eggs. Pure luck. Lunch: crab cake (he wastes a lot of time trying to get the crabs out of the shell) with avocado. Dinner: strip steak, cauliflower purée..” He was absolutely frazzled,or should I say fried?   Lee plates too soon doesn’t listen to Chef Jacques Pepin who advises him to plate later. Lee is acting cocky, doesn’t listen to the guest Chef.  Poor judgment. Dinner: Strip steak, parmesan tulle, mustard demi glace. Even with his fan favorite girlfriend Cassie giggling (did anyone else notice that rapid fire laugh) nothing could stop him or slow him down.

Marina:  (Chef Pepin looked a little befuddled around her) Marina starts with an (English muffin,?) quail egg, onion, fig and bacon. (“well executed”) :Lunch: Fried spring roll, oyster and pork, deemed (“not that successful.”) Dinner: short ribs, rice, kale, port wine.  She forgets to taste her own food, a definite no-no. Marina won’t take advice from anyone,she listens to no one, she prides herself on that. Marina used chicken testicles and pork blood. She certainly is imaginative. Have you cooked with chicken testicles and pork blood? Me either.

Louise: Breakfast: Fried quail egg with tomato sauce, (similar to Chef Pepin’s model that he displayed.) Lunch: fried oyster po’ boy sandwich, Dinner: steak with red wine sauce (which Chef Pepin salvaged)  potatoes, makes food look beautiful (she is also a food stylist.) She touches the steak and isn’t sure it is ready, Chef Pepin touches it and says 5 more minutes, in it goes. She is more needy and ready to listen to Jacques Pepin and believe me it shows. Her sauce breaks, she can’t use it. Chef Pepin helps her find a teaspoon of meat drippings again. Lousie feels like the underdog (again) and complains about something, was it brioche again? Much to everyone’s surprise, including Louise, she won “The Taste.”  As if she was in “Survivior” Louise flew under the radar, bothered no one, smiled a lot and portrayed herself as the victim.

3rd place LEE, 2nd place Marina, First place Louise

Congratulations? I mean, Congratulations.

The show is over. I’m done. We are all grateful. Would I watch it again? Probably.

*any error of description of food was unintentional and due to extreme fibromyalgia tiredness. I still am annoyed at the amount of alcohol on TV, just sayin’ sponsors?

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Jacquelyn Returns? “The Taste”

Anthony Bourdain being interviewed in the WNYC...

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

Hey, all you peeps at “The Taste.” I’m still disappointed from last week’s fiasco but I will stay loyal and follow out my journey with the show. Especially since my blog post “Nigella vs Jacquelyn” seems to be one of the most popular posts I have written. It’s catching up to “Calling Eppiglottis A Bitch Is A Vast Understatement” and that’s saying a lot.

I have to assume no producer/manager/ TV bigwig read my last post on all the beer drinking on the show because I really would have liked an answer to that. Please?

Call me a pit bull if you want, I take that as a compliment. I guess I’ve got to spread my wings further and go the network route. Okay, no biggie.

Is tonight the last episode? Is it a double-header (wow that would a cause for a lot of beer drinking?)  However, in my dreams Jacquelyn RETURNS!!! She makes a surprise appearance to shock Nigella and then my life would be complete. Jacquelyn would get a standing ovation and Anthony would decide to take all the credit for Jacquelyn’s success and hire her as a sous chef in one of his restaurants. Nigella will fall to the floor, fainting, (we think) Ludow will start screaming (no shock there) and Marcus would peacefully sit down with his team to sing a folk song.

It’s a good ending to the show. Think about it.

Actually, a reality show STARRING Jacquelyn would be even better. You want ratings, you have them. It would be wonderful. You know I’m right, don’t you? The show will be known by one name, yes, “Jacquelyn,” wonder woman with red hair. Still have to applaud you, Jacquelyn, loved the moxie when you walked off the set, love it even more now, actually have loved it since you DID THAT! That is so ME.

Maybe they will give you your own show. Wouldn’t THAT be a riot! Believe me, I would tune in, every week. This is a fabulous idea. Cutie pie cooks are on by the dozen, but we remember YOU. I should be a station manager or at the very least the President of TV Network.

So dudes, before the show starts, bring back some action, some wonderful taste sensations, even ooohs and ahhhs. We need some exciting food with some exciting television. Step up the adrenalin, the spices, even the conflict if you have to because this show is coming to an end. You don’t want last week’s episode to be left on our tongues do you? I want to be dazzled, my lips need to dance with flavor. Bring. It. On.

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“The Taste” Eh. No, Ugh.

Chefs drinking beer around a ping-pong table, red Solo cups…Beer Pong, Really? Should I beerbottlestart my speech about showing beer pong and drinking on this show and how it might be offensive and disrespectful? Nah.  On the other hand, the show IS about food so let me just write about that. Well…wait a minute. There was absolutely nothing special about the food either..Highly disappointing episode. Also,why are they always swigging beer, does anyone know? Sponsor? Bourdain’s contract?

First I was going to write about the challenge in detail: make things to eat while drinking beer (shocker!) but it was so lackluster that to drag it out in detail would punish you, punishing me was quite enough. Marina won first place by not making anything too good. Shehu lost and went home, Lee who had a panic attack about chicken testicles was told by Bourdain to make a meatball just to get through to the second challenge. He also bribes him with tickets to the Knicks (or some team) if he can just make it through to the second round. Classy, right? A man with integrity.

Ludow has to meddle and say so all can hear “I think, what Tony gives you, it sucks.”  Shut up already, Ludow. Nigella is still walking around though she did give one good call that Marcus was spending all his time with Shehu and not with Sarah and she was absolutely right. Marcus did not listen.

For the second challenge, with guest judge Chef Jonathan Waxman the solo candidates were asked (zzzzzzzz) to USE beer in their cooking. What a sorry lot they were. If this had been the first episode I could have given them some slack. But by this time, it was humiliating, they played it safe, gave up and looked totally disinterested. The judges picked up on that, right away. Thank goodness. Sloppy Joes, Chili, Smelt fries, “like apple pie” and avocado fries? Sausages.To win? They sound like kids eating at camp.

Oh, but the judges fear Marina and they are in awe of her….except they didn’t hear her say “I am using one ball or two, I can do whatever I want, I don’t care what they say, I don’t have to listen to them.” Something to be afraid of, right? Maybe when it got back to them that “she likes to kill food and spank them too” they started listening.

OOOH, there was a twist to the game. They had 2 hours to prepare a meal that had to have beer as a component in it. Wow, 2 whole hours. But, guess what? After an hour, and an immature cursing frat boy rivalry “they had to make a complimentary dish” for the next hour. “Dude, stop trash talking in my kitchen, Chef Waxman says to Jeff and Lee while Louise whines “everybody is overlooking me.”Oh dear God will this never end?

When they are waiting in the chef “green room”  they talk about good stars and bad stars on aprons (yellow and red)  Marina’s eight pressure cookers and general chit-chat about who is worse than the other. BTW, The Judges let Sarah go from the challenge which I think was to her good fortune. I’m betting on her.

By the way Ludow seems to have lost his mind screaming maniacally “everybody stop, use the lemons, use the lemons, everybody stop.” My husband says that he thinks Ludow should be medicated and I concur. The show ends with the required speech of how disappointed the judges were and it was not up to their standards and they didn’t like any dish at all. Anthony Bourdain finishes by saying  “celebrate responsibly and next time make us believers again.”

Celebrate what?

PS (Did I really have to see the white out image of Ludow’s “hairy ass”?) Thanks, Bourdain, I could have lived without it.

FWF Kellie Elmore: B Is For Bum

English: Three drug addicts seen smoking a hug...

English: Three drug addicts seen smoking a huge amount of crack cocaine, in a downtown eastside alley, in Vancouver BC Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When you get into a tight place you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Bitches,” Anna growled underneath her breath, what the fuck do they know? These stupid clichéd words were written on a huge, dumb banner in bright red, thick letters right when you walked into the room. A bare room with folding chairs, a typical support group, she was there for what they called “Substance Abuse.” Yeah, you know, weed, coke, meth, snow, uppers and downers and whatever shit she could find to snort up her nose or inject into her spidery veins.

She had gone to court appointed meetings from jail, not like she had a choice, she had gotten busted, “possession of illegal drugs.” Big deal. She only had two more “meetings” to go to get her out of prison and then she would be free. These fools knew nothing. They didn’t even know that right here in the audience she was high.  Hopefully, if she was careful, she could score coke after the meeting but that was tricky.

What did these rich, entitled “group leaders” know about suffering and pain? They stood up there beaming, wearing their matching navy skirts and blazers and talking to us like we were a lower species. Oh sure, they said they had gone through the program too. Really? Maybe they used coke twice or three times at a party  and got busted or hooked and their CFO husbands had found out so they went to some private, fancy, swimming pool facility in a secluded area in the Berkshires or San Diego where it is warm.

They were probably in for  two weeks, paid the fine and out. Simple, easy, if you have money and a really good lawyer. That stupid banner was not for people like me, it was for people like them. Didn’t they get it? The world is divided into those who have and those who have not. My wicked step-mother is one of those kind of people, she lives in the land of entitlement, in a suburb in a big mansion, except there’s no room for her stepdaughter, you know, me the drug addict.

She and my daddy can have five martinis plus and smoke cigarettes but I’m not allowed to sleepover, damn hypocrites with their “own” children now. You know what? You don’t always learn when you are “in a tight place.” Got that? It’s not FOR everyone.  Me? I’ve been pushed into a lot of tight places in my life, gray, dusty, tiny, urine smelling corners and what did I learn? I learned to get out of that space and find another. That’s it. Some people like tiny spaces, especially those whose daddy don’t love them any more.

There you have it twinkle-toes. “Tides don’t always turn” and maybe I don’t want  this tide to turn. Face it, my daddy and I used to be so close, and now he doesn’t even talk to me. She made him like that, I know it. He doesn’t want anything to do with me now, the wicked witch of the north changed him and now I’m trash. So, you see that corner I’m in? Once I get out, I’m hitching a ride to NYC, to live in the streets with my fellow bums, to get drunk every single day with beer and cheap box wine and at night score drugs until I’m dead and gone. You think I want to be alive? Hell no.

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harrietbee126390.html#CjQDWIeOXQhWKejR.99

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harrietbee126390.html#CjQDWIeOXQhWKejR.99

After All Tomorrow Is Another Day (Carry On Tuesday)

glass_1

glass_1 (Photo credit: nebarnix)

Cara? it’s me, Janie.

Car, I fucked up. I fucked up bad and now I’m sitting on the floor in the living room and I look like one of those bunched up rubber band balls we used to make in junior high. Why do you have to ask me that every time? Fine, I had some wine and a few beers. A  lot of wine. I don’t remember it all, damn it!

Little Keith, he isn’t here now, he went to Grandma’s. No, I didn’t send him, he left. I can’t stop crying because there’s more. Car, I’m so cold I’m shaking and I’m covered by all my blankets and the red shawl you crocheted for me for my birthday.

I know we made a promise to love each as best friends always but I did something really, really bad. I made a mistake, but this was the worst one because little Keith saw it and I didn’t know he was in the room.

I’m TRYING TO CALM DOWN, I don’t need a lecture, Cara, I can just hang up. Fine, yes, I am taking a deep breath. Everything just got to me all at once: Johnny’s unemployment, my shift got canceled, all our overdue bills, taking care of my parents, not enough money for food… I swear I never thought we would end up this way and I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t buy the wine or beer, it had been in the house from a long time ago when we had a party and I stashed it there, yes I hid it.

I drank too much and my head hurts bad, real bad, yes I am drinking coffee. I knew I shouldn’t have been drinking again but I FELT so furious and hopeless that I threw the empty wine bottle across the room, hard, and it hit the wall and it sounded like a bomb had gone off. There are shards of glass everywhere.

The worst part was little Keith had come into the room and saw it all. I could tell he had been there a while, yes, with me drinking. I said I was sorry but I knew I had scared him and he backed away from me. I saw it in his eyes and he ran to his room and slammed his door. He wouldn’t let me in, I couldn’t even apologize. A few minutes later he went next door to Grandma’s, without even looking at me. The worst part was I knew I was the one who caused his pain and I couldn’t take it back.

Cara, you’re right. I need help. I need to do this for me and I mean it. I can’t go on like this, hurting everyone. I lied when I told you that I hadn’t read the brochure about the in-patient program in Ellis but I know I need to go. Yes, I mean it. I promised you and now I have to do it for me, me and Keith. Yes, whatever you say, soon is okay. What details? I can’t think with a pounding head. Do whatever you need to do, just let my head get better. I will take aspirin and drink water I am sitting in the black chair, I won’t move. I want it to be like the old days when the boys would play and we would drink lemonade and make oatmeal raisin cookies together and sit on the porch laughing. Do you think that could happen again? Why aren’t you answering me?!

Cara? I am still on the phone, I need to clean up the glass. What do you mean no, it’s dangerous. Oh fine, I’ll leave it till the morning. What do you mean you are here? Is that you knocking on the door? Oh, honey, thank you so much for coming. WHAT? NO, Cara, NOW? I thought we were going tomorrow, not now. Please, just one more night? Can’t I just start tomorrow, after all it’s just another day. Please? No? But I’m scared, Cara. My head is aching so badly. You took care of everything, I don’t know what that means. One more day, Cara, I beg of you.  You won’t change your mind? Don’t you dare call the police, you don’t mean you will leave me alone forever if I don’t come with you. Cara, I can’t take that. I have no one. Yes, I promised.  God, please forgive me and give me strength.

Alcoholics Anonymous :

www.aa.org/

Happy Birthday, Son

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s two days before my son’s 19th birthday and for the first year ever, he’s not with me, his mom and his family. It’s his first year of college and he is having an incredible time; I couldn’t be happier. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss him today and that the thought of him made me cry with selfish sadness. I feel sentimental about my boy, now a fine young man, and I have to get used to the fact that he will be spending his birthdays partying with his friends for many years to come. I know his family is still important but we are in the background now and one day in the future he will celebrate his birthday with his own family.

He is perfectly fine spending his birthday away from his family, it’s just me feeling a little blue. Can you blame me? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I shopped for Thomas the Tank Engine? Or even the horrible fighting games for X Box 360 that we reluctantly bought him when he was older?

I know he still remembers his favorite surprise “Batman” party when he was four when his cousin and his aunt flew up for the party; that was an event he will always remember. Our daughter, his little sister, was terrified of “Batman” and clung to our mother’s helper, Erin, for dear life. He went from “Batman” to beer in a hurry, it seems. I guess I haven’t completely caught up.

Of course I sent him a birthday box last week with sweet treats and a card with a check but I just feel something is missing. That something is him. Right about now I would have been wrapping packages and scurrying to find the special cards that I bought and saved. We would put his presents on the “birthday table” and wait for him to wake up and find them. The whole family would always crowd around the birthday girl or boy, mom and dad. It was always a lot like Christmas every year. Birthdays are really big in our house. Huge.

So on Thursday, I will be wishing my first-born a happy birthday over the phone; I’m scared to “skype” with him because I think I will cry. No matter what, even if I say one word, he will know my infamous “shaky voice” and I don’t want to share that with him on his birthday, his special day. That’s just the type of kid he is, he picks up other people’s feelings in a second, picks up on the same emotional radar that I have. I love you for being a great kid and a wonderful young man. I’m happy and proud to call you my son.

Happy Birthday

Love Always, Mom

I’d Be Lost Without You

2008-10-22 - 010 - Kona, Hawaii, snorkeling, f...

Image by cfinke via Flickr

Every morning I am greeted with a smile, a hug and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. He even sniffs the milk before he pours, knowing I have a super-sensitive nose and will gag if I even think something has gone sour. Today there was a small fruit cup with blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe, sliced with love from a steady, beautiful hand. My hands shake so he carries the full cup of coffee to me, so I don’t feel bad and so there will be no spills on our fake linoleum Spanish tiles in the kitchen. In the middle of the night our feet or hands search for each other for reassurance and comfort. I don’t even mind when he snores loudly, though I do punch him lightly in the arm. Without protest he turns over. I used to say “turn over” but with our marriage code I have shortened the phrase to “apple” as in apple turnover and he knows exactly what I mean.

We have our own language, he and I, built on twenty-five years of togetherness, love and friendship. We are each others’ best friend.  I am not saying we have always had the perfect marriage because no marriage is perfect. We have had our rough years, our tough times but we struggle through it together, knowing that home is not just a place but a feeling. I sat through a Gordon Lightfoot concert for him, he came to see Neil Diamond for me. Sometimes he blurt things out that are supposed to be secret; sometimes I reveal my feelings when I shouldn’t. Sam Adams for him, Diet Coke for me. His Scotch is my Yoo-hoo, his dark chocolate is my milk chocolate.

I want our children to see that our marriage is strong, loving, yet not without flaws. I want them to know that marriage, like any relationship, needs work, a strong commitment and loving companionship. We help each other when difficult situations arise, and in life, they always do. When we were first married, we went through the infertility process together; it breaks many couples apart yet it brought us closer together. We share pain and joy, I am more emotional, he is more practical. We balance each other like a delicate balancing toy, sometimes tipping over, always able to right itself to startling precision.We try to laugh even during hard times. He has taught me to be less pessimistic; I have taught him that it is okay to be vulnerable.

Through the 25 years of our relationship we have grown closer together even after we have grown apart. He likes skiing, I like sunshine, he plays racquetball, I need to write. For a little while we thought it was odd that we did not share activities in common but we adjusted and compromised. We trust each other so that if he wants to go skiing, he goes with a friend. If I need sunshine in the middle of a gray, cold winter, I have flown to Florida for a few days. We can be independent of each other yet always happy to reconnect. We share the joy of traveling together, France, Australia, Amsterdam,  Aruba, Rhode Island. We held hands when we snorkeling on our engagement trip in Hawaii, my most favorite memory. While he would prefer to stomp through old ruins, I would rather walk on the beach finding seashells; we compromise.

He is an atheist, I believe in G-d. We have two amazing children, a boy, 18 and a girl, 16. We share their triumphs and their pain; we help each other deal with our ever-changing reality. If the children attack us, as teenagers often do, we immediately look at each other. The silent language of marriage is a subtle one, but we speak it fluently.

I fear the day that one of us is left alone. I pray it won’t be for a very long time yet thinking about it frightens me. He is the one person that I trust with my life, that I can count on without question. He feels the same way about me. We know the best and the worst of each other and accept and acknowledge both. If I had to, I know deep down, that I could survive without him; I just don’t want to.