*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

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When I'm Happiest

Oven roasted chicken

You Can Get Used To Anything

This would have been the easiest question in the world to answer if it was 3 months ago. I am not sure I have felt happy in a long time. Weather wise, I am happiest in the Spring with the kiss of summer almost upon us. The old, brown down jacket gets put away in the closet along with the gloves and the boots and I see the first purple crocus pop out from the thin layer of white snow.

I’d be happier if we were back in our home, making a simple dinner of roasted chicken, potatoes, a fresh green salad with arugula, lettuce, craisins, tomatoes, English cucumbers, broccoli and green apple, all tossed together like a three-ring circus. There would be a loaf of whole wheat French or Italian bread waiting to warm in the oven, banana bread and brownies for dessert and we would all talk about our day.

It’s going to take a long time before that happens since we are unable to live in our house; it has been so destroyed with wood rot and carpenter ants and termites that the entire house has to be rebuilt.(Oh, and of course, insurance won’t pay for a thing.)

I would have to say that I am happiest when I am in my own home, in my small, cozy nest. A home that means, family, safety, nurturing, love, books, freedom and familiarity, my favorite television shows and my dog snoozing and drooling on the bed next to me.

While we are already empty-nesters with one child, next year both kids will be in college. I wonder if the house will still feel like the same home it did before.

I have adjusted to not being home although it is not easy but I am trying now to just look forward to our new, old house with a new bathtub that has jets (hopefully) to easy my Fibromyalgia pain. Change is not something to fear anymore, you can get used to everything. It just makes you appreciate what you had when you don’t have it anymore.

Why did this have to happen? I have no idea, I’m trying to figure that out now. Maybe the lesson is that there are things in life that will always shake us up: go ride the rough waves as best you can instead of staying in the still of the shallow waters.

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…Because That’s Why They Have Xanax

Nanny McPhee and the big bang - Emma Thompson

Image by WorthingTheatres via Flickr

It’s all Jonathan’s fault.  No seriously. This dude (NOT my nephew Jonathan) called my Aunt at 10:35 last night pretending he has searched for her because he has always loved her. Romantic? Not so much. He knew her name and of course, instead of just hanging up on him, she engaged him. (‘Auntie Joan, its not the 60’s anymore.’) Afterwards, she freaked out  and kept the phone in her bed and ever since then weird things have happened in MY home. Lights are buzzing mysteriously, the oven is playing drums while it is baking Ghiradelli chocolate brownies and my daughter’s confident voice sounds timid like a sleepy mouse with slippers.  Something is going on and I am not sure what it is. I admit it, the brownies are frightening me and the washing machine is terribly noisy with a beat like swish-swish, a-swish, yes, you heard me, swish-swish, a-swish. It’s as if the dirty laundry is sneezing it’s resentment straight through the walls and into my agitated shell-like ear drums.

I am trying to breathe deeply but it is not working. I look for toothpicks and come up with a cow bell; I am trying to act like a grown-up but I am spooked.  Sure, I could reach for the anti-anxiety pills but this is too disturbing for even that. I’m too anxious to take an anti-anxiety pill.  Do I sound vaguely like Charlie Sheen?  I feel sorry for him in one way because I really do think he needs help although he could just be a friggin’ genius putting us all to shame and running to the bank with buckets of dough. Neither option is good. “Charlie, get some help and don’t even think of doing a reality tv show.”

I watched   “Nanny McPhee” today and I do think they need a warning label for adults. First, did they not realize that it is a plain rip off from both “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music” intertwined with LSD or perhaps some crack cocaine? That movie, for scary pups like me, should not be watched alone. (Do you hear that Tammy Lou?!)

Thank goodness the Ghiradelli brownies are done so I can escape the scary kitchen and go upstairs to hide. The FedEx guy just appeared like a shadow until my dog started barking furiously as if there was an imminent threat. Am I watching too much TV? I’m not talking comedy shows like the impeccable “Modern Family” or the lovely, realistic show “Parenthood” not even “The Celebrity Apprentice.” (Wait, did I hear something about Donald Trump wanting to run for President or was it another victim of my overworked and anxious mind?) I did see a flash of the news today, the real news and even watching it for two minutes made it leech into my brain and stay there giving “fear” company for “anxiety.”

I should practice the art of meditation. Do I really need to learn how to meditate? I mean do I actually need to pay money (at this point I think there’s no denying it) to teach me to cross my legs and breathe deeply, in and out, in and out, exuding calmness and harmony? Shouldn’t breathing be a natural process? I can make up my own “mantra.” Thank you.

I am trying to calm down, I shouldn’t watch those “scary” movies all alone at my ripe old age of 54. Next time I want to be scared silly, I will order “Nanny McPhee Returns” ( I actually can’t wait) from Netflix and take half a Xanax beforehand. We live in an insane world, how could we possibly feel sane all the time? It doesn’t work; I’m the example. Tonight I will eat calming foods, such as: the meatloaf I made yesterday drowned in ketchup, rice with butter and salt, and mango peach applesauce. I’ll be fine after that, I hope.

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.

Plinky Prompt: What Do You Do When You Are Snowed In?

Snowed In

Image by caribb via Flickr

SOMETIMES DOING NOTHING IS REALLY, REALLY NICE.

We were snowed in last week and with 20 inches of snow and nowhere to go I entertained myself by listening to music, writing, reading and eating. Maybe food doesn’t count because we always eat but isn’t it such a great excuse when you are snowed in?! I made brownies (excuse: because we are snowed in), I ordered pizza (because we are snowed in), I watched stupid television shows (again, because we are snowed in) and I made some phone calls….(because we are, you know the rest). Being snowed in isn’t really bad at all if it’s just for a day or two. I relaxed in front of our fireplace drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, I cradled my 8-year-old mutt and didn’t concentrate or worry about anything. How do you spell “snowed in?” I spell it PEACEFUL.

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What My Home Says About Me (A Plinky Prompt)

Brownies stacked on a plate.

Image via Wikipedia

Home SWEET Home

When my dad was alive he bought me a candle every Christmas. I still buy a candle when I see one that I love. We have a fireplace in the living room and on the mantel above it there are photographs of my husband and me, our two children and one of our dog.The house is cozy (real estate term for small) and “lived in” (a nicer word for a bit cluttered). There are books all over the house; books are my one addiction. The house smells like coffee in the morning, strong and rich. After meals, the house smells sweet like cookies and chocolate and vanilla. Right now I am going down to bake some chocolate chip brownies. Welcome to our home, please come and join us.

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The Brownie Smuggler (A Foodie Blog)

I knew that I would snack at 10:45pm. I wish I could say I tried to stop myself but that would be really lame. Sometimes, you just have to eat. This was one of those times. I started off my “snack”, okay, second meal with the leftover piece of barbecued chicken I didn’t finish for dinner. I can totally justify that, I had half the portion at dinner. What I can’t rationalize are the brown rice, sea salt crackers to go along with it.  Or the watermelon that followed. I am ashamed and I am not. Now I am nibbling on a brownie in my bedroom and no-one is supposed to know. No one DOES know except for my dog, Callie and now you. She sits up in perfect form, her warm brown eyes staring at me, begging to be fed. “I can’t” I say to her out loud, you are not allowed to have chocolate.” She lies down on the carpet as if she understood what I was saying; maybe she did. It isn’t even a really good brownie, it’s the type that you pack in your kids’ lunches, pre-made and wrapped individually. But still, I had to have it and I am not sure that I am done eating and I am okay with that.

So, tomorrow I will try to be better, making healthier food choices but I will not beat myself up about tonight. Tonight, after a stressful day, this made me feel better, comforted me. I know it’s not a healthy living style but either is denying yourself everything. If anyone at Weight Watchers reads this, please don’t write me, I’m not interested.

I watched the show “Huge” for the first time today on Hulu. I think it’s a great show and will do for overweight people what Glee did to EVERY kind of person. It’s called validation. Finally. People come in different shapes and as my daughter showed me on an episode of “One Tree Hill” a woman (not a model) walked the runway with a tee-shirt that said “zero is not a size.” Hallelujah.

Sometimes I get ravenous and all my common sense, my willpower goes swirling down the drain like a tornado. I am the eye of the storm, and I can’t be stopped; no, I will not allow myself to stop until it’s over. Hopefully it will be months before this little extravaganza comes around again. If it does, I will deal with it, eat it and then the next day go back to being…better.

This is why I cannot watch the Food Network at night. I see the food, I want the food and then I hurl myself down the stairs for something to eat. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk always does the trick (with baked potato chips on the side).  Tonight while I was watching “Huge”, I saw a plate of fries and a double chocolate milkshake and it made me hungry. Perhaps I should switch and watch game shows or old movies. It would keep me grounded. Literally.

I am dreaming now of a cheeseburger and sharing a plate of fries with my husband at a local little pub. They have killer (sorry vegetarians and vegans) burgers, inexpensive and made of incredible quality, moist, pink and thick. I am salivating just thinking about it.

Lesson to learn? Do what you have to do, don’t beat yourself up afterwards and start fresh the next day. It isn’t an easy process, for those of us with food or weight issues but it works.