Which Would I Give Up? Easter or Halloween Candy?

marshmallow-y rainbow-y, uh, goodness

Image by McBeth via Flickr

Be serious. There is no way I would give up either one, ever. How could one give up Halloween candy, with those miniature size chocolates that we know DON’T count for calories or carbs. They are fun-sized. The choice too, is endless: Whoppers, and 3 Musketeers and candy corn, and Hershey’s nuggets, not to mention Kit Kat bar, Almond Joy, Mounds or Twizzlers. No, these are not going anywhere. Easter candy? You don’t seem to understand that I wait for those Cadbury creme eggs all year-long. I wouldn’t be happy without those yellow peeps either. While I know now that they sell peeps all year round for every different occasion in every color…that doesn’t make me any happier. It’s the thrill of getting them once a year, the fight to find them that made them so very special. Every year, and I admit, I am 54, my mom still gives me 2 Cadbury creme eggs and a box of peeps. I buy them for my own two children. I have introduced people to peeps who (gasp) didn’t know what they were, I have written about Peeps and Cadbury creme eggs. I’m sorry, I can’t play this Plinky game, Easter and Halloween candy are here to stay. If you’re talking giving up spinach or cauliflower, that game I could play. Spinach, out.

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Ordinary Days Are Magical

chocolate covered cherry

Image by circulating via Flickr

I woke up this morning, not to the shrill blaring of my radio alarm clock, or to a shaken shoulder but when my eyes opened and turned to the window.  It’s been a long few days and today I have nothing planned. I did a mental body check of all my ailments: Fibromyalgia aches and pains were present, my right leg still hurt  but was manageable. My knee still throbbed from my recent fall on the icy pavement but my mood was good. I had ten hours of sleep and while the sun was not shining it could have been. There was no snow in the forecast, reason enough to celebrate.

I started driving to the supermarket, because food, comfort and love equals nurturing for me.  I didn’t really need much except an idea of what to cook for tonight’s dinner and a destination. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the grocery store and new items celebrated my return. Marshmallow yellow chick peeps out the day after Valentine’s Day? Okay. A discounted box of chocolate covered cherries? I love those and I am not proud. Sugar cookies to make for my children and various treats for my dog, Callie’s, upcoming birthday in March. (shh! it’s a surprise party.)

I felt a little guilty because the simple, routine, “mom” things that I was able to do today, I did with less grief. As many of you know, my friend Dawn died on Friday night  and after the wake and the funeral and some time, today I woke up void of a dark, painful shadow. Then I remembered Dawn’s family, her father and mother, her husband, her siblings and her three children not able to escape the haunting grief. I felt guilty for being relieved and it pains me to write this.  I have been in their place before when my father died so I know, I truly KNOW what they are going through and how much it hurts and for how long.  I grieve for my friend, the twinkling green-eyed Dawn, but not the same way her children, her husband and relatives are grieving. Not even close. I feel bad that I have the luxury of distraction.

Strolling through the market I decided what I would be making for dinner, ravioli with a thick marinara sauce that I add a small can of tomato paste to, a store-bought fresh pizza, mozzarella and tomato salad with basil with drizzled olive oil and a multigrain loaf of Italian bread, still warm to the touch from the bakery. It’s rare that my family  eats at the same time these days but I feel happy with them just being home, together for a little while. Next year, with my son in college, it will all be very different.

That is why today, a simple trip to the supermarket and a walk through Target with a Starbucks gift card felt special. I bought a skinny vanilla latte with a shot of espresso to manage my afternoon weariness.  The simple touching of my dog’s fur, and playing with her outside in the snow felt like a gift.  An ordinary day at the supermarket felt, to me, like a five-day vacation to the Bahamas. It’s true that you don’t appreciate normalcy when you have been overwhelmed with an abnormal amount of grief and sorrow or horrible pain from any disease. A simple day that ends with a hot bath, sleepy eyes and a half-smile, is indeed, a miracle.

Chocolate or Vanilla? (Be Serious!)

09 Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream

Chocolate or Vanilla? NO, chocolate AND vanilla, in different forms. I’m an all vanilla girl with cakes, cupcakes, frosting and soft-serve ice cream. IF I had to pick one I would go with vanilla. Is there anything better than a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles? No, there isn’t, it’s the best combination. Chocolate sprinkles are not even an option, ever. However, at night when the sweet tooth fairy invades my body and soul, I reach for the snack size chocolate candies that are left from Halloween: Almond Joy, 3 Musketeers, Nestle Crunch, M & M’s. I don’t expect that I will have to eliminate one from my world of eating but if I had to eliminate one I would pick chocolate. I’d be “Vanilla Girl” as I have been called in the past, but it would hurt. Deeply.

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I’m In Love: FoodCrafters (A Foodie Blog)

Aida Mollenkamp Ask Aida TV Host

Image via Wikipedia

Hello Aida Mollenkamp,

You are adorable as the host of this new (to me) show! I just found this delightful show while I was innocently flipping through the channels. How long has this magnificent show been on the air? I accidentally, I mean blessedly, stumbled upon it this very morning. The show is called FoodCrafters on The Cooking Channel. Today’s episode: candy/sweets: serious, beautiful, artisinal candy made by loving, professional, hands. There are no huge, corporate factories on this show.

First up were beautiful candies made at Papabubbles in NY.  Honestly, for a moment I thought that this FoodCrafters segment was featuring an art show, the different colored candies were so incredibly beautiful. They showed us the intricate detail with which they made their  lime candies. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not talking life savers anymore. This is the real thing, I could practically taste the flavor through the television, so intense and vibrant, so beautiful, so artistic. I made need to take the train to get to this amazing store some day.

Next up was a company called Whimsicals in Chicago. Their claim to fame are beautiful nougat, (I so love nougat) chocolate and caramel candies called The La Dee Dahs. It honestly looks like a swirl of perfection. I would be more than happy to try these if you would like me to. Seriously? My day of heaven would consist of being on the Oprah show (or happily sitting in the audience) while eating these delicious treats.  I promise to share…..at least with Oprah and her best friend Gayle.

We are now visiting the Zen baking company for zen cake balls in Dallas, Texas.  This is a southern specialty but could easily become a national specialty if you ask me. Mini bites (balls) of cake are made, covered in  frosting. They are molded by hand and then dipped in frosting. They showed mini bites of red velvet cake. Did you know that red velvet has chocolate in it?  I had no idea, I just know I love it. The red velvet balls are covered with a cream cheese frosting. (I would have preferred vanilla frosting but no one asked me.) Other varieties are the happy birthday cake (this has my name on it), sunshine lemon (ok, this has my name on it too), cookie dough ( I would be happy to try this too) and I think, one other flavor that I can’t remember because I was salivating so much that I started to drool all over the keyboard.

The last segment featured a store in Los Angeles, California called Milk and Krunchies.  My sweet tooth and basically all my teeth were aching for a taste. This segment featured marshmallow treats and not your ordinary, make- at -home krispie treats (so you feel like an ace mother) either. These are gourmet; a new twist on an old favorite. This place (hey, I travel)  makes krispie treats with flavors like:  cookies and cream, a toffee mix, peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter cup among others. This had my mouth watering with nostalgia and it is definitely reason enough to schedule a trip to the West Coast.

If any of the above stores would like to send me samples so I can REALLY review them, I would be happy to provide you with my address. Please, I beg of you. However, if that is not in your budget or if that does not appeal to you I did hear that you can get some of these delicious delights by going to:  cookingchanneltv.com. Excuse me for the short post but in case I don’t get my samples I may need to run and find my credit card to order……now this is what I call quality television. You rock!

Love from your new adoring fan.

My Favorite Candy

Anything with chocolate is dandy…….

 

Sometimes you feel like a nut…

“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t….Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t. This is not to say that I don’t like Kit Kats, Twix, M&M’s, and 3 Musketeers..but one bite of an Almond Joy or Mounds bar is a quick, easy path to heaven on earth.

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The Most Trouble I've Gotten Myself Into…

Elmer's Products, Inc.

Image via Wikipedia

Candy I Could Understand…..

 

glue army

I was about 6 when I snuck the small size, plastic tube of Elmer’s Glue from Mr. Bees’ store. Why I took it I have no idea, I certainly did not crave glue. Candy I could have understood but glue? Why didn’t I just ask my mom to buy it for me? I can’t give you the answer but I can tell you it sure wasn’t worth it. My mom marched me into the store, glue in my guilty little hand and made me give it back and apologize; not an easy thing for a shy, quiet little girl to do. I learned my lesson though, my short-lived career as a thief was over.

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That Scar of Mine: When We Were Young (Kew Gardens’ Kids)

Kew Gardens’ Kids

Chocolate Egg Cream

In my childhood I grew up with three best friends, Claudine, Roger and Glen. We were together every single day while our moms sat on an old red brick and concrete wall, called ” the moyishen” German for little wall.  Our moms sat next to each other, each and every day, laughing, talking and dreaming together. There was comfort in our everyday ritual: Frankie and the Good Humor ice cream truck, our daily trek to Gussie’s old, dark candy store. Our only decision back then was whether to order a chocolate egg cream, vanilla water, or an ice cream soda; an ice cream sandwich, an eclair, or ice pops. We skateboarded down the hill, we played handball, we jumped rope, and we went rollerskating together. One particular afternoon, while we was on roller skates, I fell down hard on the pavement seriously cutting up both knees, bleeding heavily. I remember the pain of the antiseptic and rough tissues that Glen’s mother, Lotti, carried with her. She was always the most prepared of the moms. I remember the stiffness of both knees once large bandages were attached, layers and layers of white bandages. I still have those scars on my knees but I don’t mind them. They remind me of a happy childhood, an innocent childhood, where we always had someone to play with and our moms were just a hop, skip and jump away.

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On Sickness, Stress and Candy

I’m discombobulated, anxious, confused. I feel funny, like there is something wrong, and there is. It’s not me though, which is worse, it’s that my son is sick and my daughter is disappointed. I hate it when my kids are sick/unhappy. I have a feeling this never ends, the worry moms have for their children. My husband is as involved with the kids as I am, but not in the same way. It’s a completely different style. He isn’t worried, he takes things in stride, he lives in the moment. I wish I could do that. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I wake up and feel that something is wrong. My stomach feels uneasy. Something just doesn’t feel “right.” I don’t think it’s because my daily routine has been jarred, I think it’s my heart. The inside part, the one that cracks a tiny bit, the one that is directly connected, like the umbilical cord was, to my offspring.

There is also this: the incredible stress of unemployment, for my husband and myself. I have been really good, patient, relaxed (as much as one can be) but now these other factors are making my anxiety index reach the sky. I know that things are out of control in my brain, when I can’t put my finger on exactly what’s bothering me and than realize everything is. I try to breathe slowly, it doesn’t help.

Months ago I had lung problems and a non-stop cough. It was horrible. I was then given a nasal spray to help me but I did not know that the taste in my mouth would be vile. VILE, in capital letters, on purpose. I thought that buying some candy would somehow dissipate the gosh-awful taste in the back of my throat but it didn’t. The Good n’ Plenty that I bought for a remedy did not work but at least it reminded me of easier times, when I was a child, eating those pretty pink and white candies, swinging on the swings in Forest park, surrounded by my friends and their moms. Everything was easy then, at least to us kids. Our parents, well, they probably were experiencing what I am experiencing right now. Being a grown-up.

I will get over myself I’m sure, when my children are healthy and happy.  I think then, I can handle my own stress, my own illness, manage my own pain. As long as it’s not the pain of my children, I can handle anything.

On Being A Patient, Again

I never stopped being a patient, not since my thyroid went out of wack 3 years ago, not since I was told I had Fibromyalgia (and then told it was a “lazy diagnosis”)  Not since the prednisone, the hospitalization for eppiglottitis the 24/7 cough that would not go away, not since I was sent to the Pulmonologist, the ENT  the addition of 5-7 different medications. Not since my stint in the packed emergency room with an overnight stay in the hospital with the worst pain I have ever had in my life.

Here I am again, world! Stuck and pissed off with yet another chapter to my ever-so-boring and relentless saga of pain, chronic pain, auto-immune diseases, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, lack of energy and tonight,  a really bad, horrible, disgusted and angry, almost-in-tears mood.

The latest is that my Synthroid level ( TSH) is very, very low, too low said the doctors.  To those in the Club of Thyroid Disorders out there, (COTD- I made it up but it works) I know you will understand. The T4 is perfect. One doctor, the evil endocrinologist (lower case on purpose) sent a prescription (albeit the wrong prescription) in the mail telling me (no, writing me) he was surprised with my numbers but I should reduce the Synthroid medication (buzz word) to 50 mcg. First I was at 88, then 75, now 50???   That’s like telling someone who has the flu, to get up out of bed and do somersaults while standing on their heads, backwards.  I’m down enough people, now this? It makes no sense.

I wrote to my Guru Dr. in the City who handles the type of Autoimmune Disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) as in***THYROID DISEASE  to tell him. He suggested that my” Endocrinologist” do a simple TRF blood test and he guessed I might have something called Secondary Hypothyroidism ( I know, I could so be on Gray’s Anatomy with the amount I’ve had to learn and remember.)

Here’s the problem. The nasty, dull, mean-spirited endocrinologist (lower case on purpose again) who I am going to DUMP as soon as I find a new one, refuses to talk to me on the phone. Just for a couple of questions. “No, come in”,  he said. “I just want to ask him a question” I pleaded to his nurses “No, come in.”  I’m seething. First of all I have never heard of a doctor that won’t take a phone call for a question (I wasn’t demanding to speak to him at that moment) and that absolutely refuses to return a phone call from a patient. Second, he knows about my Guru Doctor in the city since I have copied him on everything. (Do you think this could be a terrritorial thing?)  Third, he did not believe that I had, indeed, a note from my Guru Dr. to suggesting he test me for TRF (whatever it is). No. What? You heard me. No. No phone call, no question, no way, no how. “It is too difficult to explain on the phone” the nurse parroted. Are you kidding me? I had one question about the blood (yes, in the lab in the office) test and a simple thought: wouldn’t it make sense to test the TRF level FIRST (as my Guru Doctor said) then to start on a regimen of a new medicine that could take 4-6 weeks to kick in? Isn’t that throwing the donkey in front of the carrots? (or whatever that stupid expression is.) Not to mention, I do not want to go back to a doctor that treats me with such disrespect (and he always has). I know he doesn’t know that the fifty dollar co-payment would be hard for our unemployed selves. I understand that, but, a 30 second phone call?

Well, you know what the answer is I’m sure. “No”. So here I am, calling new Endocrinologists (one is on vacation until the 20th, the other does not return phone calls) waiting to make an appointment. Oh dear Lordy, Lordy, it’s July and the doctors (at least the ones I’m trying to reach) are on vacation, and of course you cannot leave a message.

I have that creepy, queasy, angst-ridden feeling in my stomach. What now, I ask? I can’t reach any doctor AND short of sending an “I BEG of you” message to my Guru Doctor (which I will do anyway in the early a.m.) I will be sitting home in a flurry of frustration and anxiety. I will be sitting on my bed, fed up, confused and furious and yes, a little scared too. A little courtesy, perhaps DOCTORS?? Yeah, right.

I feel totally helpless and demeaned. I feel anxious and confused and ignored. Does anyone understand this?  Is this the time for an out and out binge on sugar- laden treats?  Can I run and hide from my anxiety for a few minutes with cookies and chocolate,  and that sweet powerful surge in energy? This doctor says Yes. Absolutely. Starting Now.

In Defense of Fruitcake

1/06/09

I don’t know why fruitcake is so maligned. I love fruitcake and I wish people would stop complaining about it. How did fruitcake become the butt of jokes that start in early November and can be heard by any (yawn) comedian, day time, night time, super late night time or all the time. Enough already. I like eating fruitcake and I don’t care if someone regifts it as long as they regift it to me. There’s a type of fruitcake that has a marzipan filling that I adore. What’s not to like? It’s sweet, soft, comforting, so it has a few artificial colors in it, tis the season. I would buy myself a fruitcake but would fear that I would eat the whole thing and then the five extra pounds could go to ten, in about an hour and a half.

Fruitcake, like brownies, and peanut and butter and jelly sandwiches must be accompanied by a large, fresh, glass of cold milk. Very cold milk. It can be one percent, but not skim milk, which to me looks way too gray, and not, almost-cream- full-fat milk which seems too thick now and reminds me of a butter stick. Stay with one percent, you can’t go wrong.

So, if anyone reading this has made fun of fruitcake, hates fruitcake and regifts fruitcake just remember some people (maybe not many) like it and would love to take it off your hands.

I don’t understand the problem with fruitcake.  I think that there are a lot of people that would stand up for their love of fruitcake but they have no forum. It’s “cool” to make fun of fruitcake. If you want to complain about something edible and wintry, go for those horrid little multi-colored candies that have absolutely no taste. No taste, whatsoever. Now that’s something I would happily regift.