Mindfulness, Mine

Clinical research shows Buddhist mindfulness t...

Clinical research shows Buddhist mindfulness techniques can help alleviate anxiety , stress , and depression (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I heard that heavy snow is in the forecast for the entire week and upcoming weekend. Guess what? I don’t even care! I am not even upset about it or cranky.

This would usually put me in a tailspin or a slight depression but I’m not feeling it. What? It’s true, I’m not grumpy at all.

In fact, all I can picture in my head is green grass and red, perky tulips. Who am I?  What on earth has happened to me?

Everyone who knows me will attest to the fact that every single winter from start to finish, and that’s usually May, I complain compulsively about the freezing temperatures and how my body and soul aches every single minute. Granted, having Fibromyalgia, does not help matters at all but still, I hate, HATE cold weather.

Yet, today in the movie theater, seeing Labor Day, watching a record of 7 previews,  I’m smiling. Right before I started eating my naked popcorn and drinking Diet Coke, an image appeared to me. I swear. I saw red tulips and green, green grass (no, not that kind.) I have not taken any hallucinogenic or any other kind of drugs and I am as surprised as you are. This lovely image popped into my head and I felt happy and calm.

A view inside some tulips, showing the stamens...

A view inside some tulips, showing the stamens and stigmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hear the new buzz word is “Mindfulness.” I have tried to be mindful of where my head and emotional self are long before this became popular. I’m happy that it is a new “thing.” I need all the help and support I can get. I have tried not to worry in advance and not look back either.

Maybe the beautiful sight of the red tulips and the green grass is my go-to symbol for my new mindfulness? At least it’s showing I am trying which is better than not. You can’t stop trying to grow, to learn and to teach yourself different things.

I am going to try to hold on to this calmness as long as I can and even when I start getting cranky ( is it inevitable? ) I hope at least I will remember the photos in my head. Or, perhaps one of you will remind me that I did have that lovely image for real.

I really am being mindful of that.

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The Last Book That Bit/Stung Me?

Plinky Prompt: What’s the last book that bit and stung you?

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Photo credit: theunquietlibrary)

  • Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you, and why? See all answers
  • The books that bite and sting
  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. As depressing as you think this book MIGHT be, given the two main characters,  are young and have cancer, it isn’t. It’s a magical book, realistic, emotional but not filled with pity or depression. I feel like a better person having read this book and plan on reading it again. Don’t be discouraged by the premise, PLEASE, they tell you on the first page. It’s a realistic look of young adults in the most amazing way. I promise.

Plinky Prompt: What’s the last book that bit and stung you?

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Photo credit: theunquietlibrary)

  • Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you, and why? See all answers
  • The books that bite and sting
  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. As depressing as you think this book MIGHT be, given the two main characters,  are young and have cancer, it isn’t. It’s a magical book, realistic, emotional but not filled with pity or depression. I feel like a better person having read this book and plan on reading it again. Don’t be discouraged by the premise, PLEASE, they tell you on the first page. It’s a realistic look of young adults in the most amazing way. I promise.

*Where MY Wild Things Are

mischievious max

mischievious max (Photo credit: massdistraction)

Just call me Max, because tonight I live in my own storybook. I’m in a cranky, bad mood and while no one sent me to my room, I almost wished they had. It started off with not knowing where my husband was, he was missing. He didn’t leave a note but he could have left one word on a napkin and that would have been fine. He also left our whining dog, prowling around the house while I was trying to rest and get a little sleep because I felt extra crummy. It wasn’t fair.

It was a bad day for Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, my jaw hurt so much, I had ear pain and TMJ and a headache and no one cared. I wasn’t able to sleep because my dog was annoying me. She wouldn’t even settle down on the bed, up and down, up and down she jumped and I was too tired and achy to get out of bed to put her in the crate. Friends tell me I’m in a Fibro Flare but all I know is that I feel worse, much worse. The weather gets damp and now it’s pouring buckets like my expectations and mood, dumping down on the roof, bypassing the dirty, leaf-filled gutters and ending up in big, thick, muddy puddles. I don’t have rain boots and I can’t play anyway anymore.

I ended up eating a tuna sandwich standing up, alone, in the kitchen, with one foot crossed over the other and I ate it so fast that I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I even gave the dog, “the whining one” some of it. Just as I am shoveling down the sandwich, Mr. Last Minute Ambulance Aider comes strolling in with his fake, perky voice and I feel even angrier. I march up the stairs with the rest of my crappy dinner and the dog follows me for food, not for compassion. My only hope at feeling better is getting to eat the two last bites of the brownies that we saved and I am NOT going to share.

The last two weeks haven’t been good at all, okay, they sucked.  I had the hospital procedure and the horrific mammogram both done this week and I know it’s over but maybe not over one hundred percent because now I’m fuming inside like a chimney with an angry orange fire.  A new friend that I met over the summer,” sisters in spirit,” never sent me a birthday card when I thought for sure she would and I miss not having a dad. I believe in the good in people and then they disappoint me. At the same time a new friend thinks I should self-publish my blogs into a book with photographs. What? It came out of left field for me too. I guess we need to learn about balance sometimes.

My daughter is away at college and is sick again and I hate that. I offer to come up there or asks if she wants to come home but she says “No” and I worry, no matter how old they are and then I say out loud ” I wish you weren’t in college so far away.” I probably should have kept my mouth shut too but I couldn’t.

I am going to sneak down to the kitchen and at the end, I do announce taking the two brownie bites because after all, my husband wasn’t exactly doing a bad thing. They didn’t even taste good. I know that this stupid, horrible, unjust day will look much brighter in the morning when the sun shines, when my jaw stops hurting, after a good night’s sleep. All I’ve been doing is whining, I guess my dog and I have a lot in common.

*Based on the enchanting book:Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Discovering New Books

The Borders book store at the mall.

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Borders, I Miss You.

Once upon a time, in my perfect world, there was a bookstore named Borders in the next big town over. Unfortunately, my life took a huge dive when they closed, my social life as well. Borders was such a great place to meet up with friends, you could both look for books and have coffee downstairs and talk. I would go there at least twice a week if not more. Since they closed, I have certainly have saved money and I use the library much more often, I miss having a place to look at new books.

There used to be a small independent bookstore in my town but that closed too, a devastating loss to the community. I think it’s a horrible situation, are the only bookstores on-line now? That seems sad to me.

I get ideas on-line from looking at Amazon.com, from magazines that review books, from the NY Times Book Review or from a glance at a book cover I find riveting. I ask friends what they are reading or do research on new fiction and non-fiction books. I love the library system and I appreciate them, now more than ever, but I do miss Borders, in every possible way. I thought of it as my home away from home, with their big comfy chairs and everyone talking books. I would start random conversations with strangers perusing books, it was its own community. Sigh, it’s a new world; not one that I particularly like.

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*”Bye, Bye Borders, Borders, Bye Bye”

Borders store closing

Image by scazon via Flickr

Closing all Borders stores is an out-and-out major disappointment. It stinks, big time. What now? Adios Barnes and Noble too? I’m not saying that I don’t love Amazon.com because I do, I like it for its convenience and low prices. Sigh, but really, you can’t sit at Amazon and drink a cup of coffee. You can’t leisurely and lovingly stroll down the aisles to see what the new hardcover books look like or how the new in paperback books are all lined up in a perfect row begging for hands to fondle them. It’s just not right and it’s sad.

Now, there is no where to go and stroll through the aisles, looking at book jackets, stopping to read the titles, gently touching my fingertips to the outline of the illustration. Borders was a great place to meet, it was in the perfect place for so many people from nearby medical offices, stores, office buildings and deli’s to meet.  Closing Borders is closing a network of people who like to linger, socialize and have a damn cup of coffee even it tasted like dirty dishwater. It was a place to sit and not ever feel rushed. You could linger among magazines and mochachinos. You could also meet like-minded people, give unsolicited advice about books, make friends, start a book club, read books to their springy, enthusiastic children.

So now, what do we do? Read our lifeless Kindles (I don’t use the one I ordered years ago) by ourselves, never touching a piece of fine, heavy, cream-colored paper? Part of  closing this particular business is not like saying good-bye to a furniture store or a nail salon, it’s saying good-bye to a way of life. A nice, peaceful way of life where people could talk, they could exchange ideas and suggest books for each other or lend coupons. It was a social place as well as a store. My children may never sit in a bookstore and linger over a heavenly array of different books, with different colorful covers and  eat snacks. They won’t meet other people or share a cup of coffee or talk to other people their age. They will be hunched over their iPhones and all they need, it seems, is a credit card and a computer. It’s a sad statement for our society.

*Sung to the tune of  “Bye, Bye, Baby, Baby Goodbye…” By the Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons

I Didn’t Need To Know Mrs. Brady Had Crabs

The Brady Bunch opening grid, season one

Image via Wikipedia

Really? Does everything in the media need to be mentioned and discussed? Couldn’t I have continued picturing Florence Henderson as the sweet mom on The Brady Bunch without her releasing this IMPORTANT info that she actually got crabs from sleeping with some political dude? I know she has a book to sell but does she really think that image is going to make me EVER go out and buy the book? I have no interest in it anyway but now I wouldn’t read if it was free. Even then, I wouldn’t read it because I don’t want to know and I don’t care and because I think it’s so distasteful, I wouldn’t read it out of spite.  Gross factor: Very High. Advertising technique? Epic Fail.

I want to remember Florence Henderson just like the picture to your right. The sweet, simple, home-maker making sure that all her children and hubby were happy, healthy and safe and NOT picture someone scratching their private parts. I could gag. I may gag. Easily. Hopefully.

It’s bad enough when you see those photos that TMZ puts on (and believe me I am not complaining) about “Where are they now” or “Before and After” because the shock value is fabulous but can’t we draw a line somewhere, anywhere like “crabs.” Yo Flo, major image disaster. I don’t even think I could watch reruns now even if I wanted to.

At least leave Alice alone. We all loved Alice and I don’t want to hear a word about her. I don’t want to see articles written about her or photos that she doesn’t approve of. Mrs. Brady, you have ruined your reputation for generations of people. Please, Alice, don’t do the same thing. We love you. Keep Alice clean.

The Incredible Shrinking Sensa Lady

Cover to The Giving Tree, depicting the tree g...

Image via Wikipedia

Every time I see the commercial for the  incredible shrinking “Sensa” lady on my computer I get agitated. I am like a 5-year-old child that wants to growl. I am Max of Where The Wild Things Are. I am a roaring lioness protecting her young. This stupid Sensa lady appears every day, first she is full-size (and there is nothing wrong with that) and then she diminishes on my computer to become a very skinny (too skinny) cartoon shadow of herself. The commercial comes on practically every time I turn on my computer and I want her to go away. Or gain weight. Or, most importantly, be happy with who she is without shrinking to a skeleton. I want to see her eating chocolate truffles, and fettuccine alfredo with garlic bread dripping with mozzarella cheese. I want to see her with a date, a lover, a friend, a husband, anyone. It’s time for “Single Shrinking Sensa Lady” to hit the road.

I googled “Sensa” and all I could find out is that it is something you sprinkle on food and, allegedly, you feel full faster, but don’t quote me. If it works for you, that’s fine. I am not judging the product because I don’t know it. (maybe I’m judging just a teeny tiny bit?) I’m sure you would get the same results without using the sprinkles and just using a smaller plate!   Brand recognition? Sensa, you win!  I recognize the product each and every time, but it doesn’t in any way make me want to buy the product, it just makes me groan out loud and roll my eyes. Wouldn’t that be negative brand recognition?

As one gets older your body changes naturally. There is not much you can do about it and really, why stress about it so  much. Try to be healthy but don’t hit yourself over the head if you have a slice of warm apple pie.  Life is short, enjoy it. As that great movie with America Ferrara says”Real Women Have Curves.” I’m happy with myself, you can be too. Feel beautiful for who you are not what you weigh. Weight gain, weight loss, isn’t it time we get over it already? Be comfortable in your own skin, be healthy, eat whatever you want in moderation and take a walk; maybe even try to walk a little more every day. Do what you can.

I am no Jillian Michaels (and  heaven forbid, I don’t want to be.) I don’t think people need abs like cement bricks nor do I think they have to be tortured if they don’t lose enough weight in a week (I know it’s a television show called The Biggest Loser, but still……)  Jillian, please stop screaming so much. People are trying as hard as they can; if I was at “The Ranch” your screaming would make me gain weight for the emotional stress you were putting me through. How about a nicer, softer Jillian..oh wait, his name is Bob. Tone it down a little, no tone it down a lot (and I don’t mean in a weight loss way).  Yell at me, bitch, just try. I am comfortable with my body and myself. I am not skinny, I’m closer to chubby, ok, full disclosure; I AM chubby and I am fine with it. Enjoy life, think things through, have dessert, have a big heart and give back to others. Read and reread The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Success is not always measured in pounds, it’s also measured in pride.

Mint Chip Ice Cream Does So Taste Like Toothpaste…..( A Crazy Foodie Blog)

Crest MultiCare Whitening toothpaste

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight I had left-over pizza for dinner. It was dry, it had that too- long- in -the- refrigerator smell and the fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil disappeared. I warmed it up but nothing changed. I had to make it taste better, we were out of food so I did what I have done since college (yes, I have witnesses) I put jam on my pizza. We only had Dominoes pizza way back then ( don’t worry, Dominoes, I’m sure your pizza is better now.) I was out of luck,I did not have Welchs’ grape jelly at home. I knew there MUST be something to help me out.  Two minutes later, I saw it gleaming and sitting on the side of the refrigerator door practically winking with a come-hither look.  A jar of peach preserves sat unopened. It gave the pizza the texture it needed and if I closed my eyes it was like eating French bread with jam. Thank you for saving my dinner.

There are questions that are just unanswerable: For example: why is it that I love peanut butter but hate peanuts? I don’t like chick peas but I do like hummus.  Could texture be an issue? Keep me far away from raw oysters, mussels or raw tuna. Tuna from a can mixed with celery and mayo does not count since it was YEARS before I associated the canned tuna with  real fish.

I’m s little fussy with my food, I admit it.  I also have the nose of a foxhound and if milk is even contemplating spoiling I sniff it out immediately and throw it away . “Dear Grocery Store Stocker, don’t think you’ll ever fool because I know not to take the product in the front and I check the expiration dates. I am on alert at all times, always saying  out loud “Did you think you could fool me? Amateur!!!!”  So what if I get a couple of weird looks?

I love eggs in any form but if I detect the tiniest bit of egg-shell in my food, crunching in my mouth it takes enormous self-control not to vomit, especially if I am in a restaurant.  IF I have been brave enough to swish it away in my mouth with juice or soda, ( can’t do it with plain water) there is no way that I would eat anymore. Also, if the egg white is not cooked through I can’t eat it (see texture issue). It’s almost as bad as  finding a hair in my food (again, think restaurant) which I think is also appalling. That is why, I sniff and explore my food before my first bite.  I think of myself as having certain food requirements: no egg-shell, spoiled stuff, hair in food, oh, and dead insects.

The last time I had a Greek salad in my favorite tiny Greek restaurant it was served with a dead bee lying right on top. Is it too much to ask that people look at the food before they serve it? I haven’t been back to that restaurant in two years now. I know about the chances of having it happen again but still….This is why when I go to a restaurant I face away from the kitchen. As you can tell,  I did read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and it both saved my life and ruined my life at the same time. Blame him.