Popcorn, Previews And Fruit Cocktail

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for p...

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for popping. – Studio photo of Popcorn. Taken in 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years I was the type of person that would not start eating her popcorn until the movie started, the official movie. I would wait out the commercials, the “Exit” sign warnings, the “Please Do Not Disturb Your Neighbors” and “No Smoking” announcements. I didn’t even start eating my popcorn during the previews which to me, are almost as good as the movie itself. I had rules, my own strict, self-imposed rules.

Until last night where I saw the movie “Gloria” and as soon as we sat down and immediately I began munching on the popcorn and sipping Diet Coke. Hey, look at me! I surprised myself and then thought, “what on earth have I been waiting for all these years?”

Delayed gratification is fine when you are young and you want to save the best for last. The way I used to eat “fruit cocktail” or “fruit cockentail” as one of my kids used to call it was representative of my style. I would eat the most banal fruits first, picking out the pears and eating them first. Then I would sequester the peaches and eat them after that. Next to last would always be the plump, juicy grapes, it was a close tie for first and second but really who could not have the fake cherries as their number one favorite. I mean really, I was a kid.

I think if I would have it now (and don’t put it past me) I would take a spoonful of everything right up front, maybe sequester a few grapes for the end. The squishiness in my mouth is utterly delightful. But, the cherries? No big deal anymore. They don’t elicit the same excitement as they used to do when I was little. In fact, they have no taste.

Maybe growing up and getting older you realize you don’t have to wait to the end to enjoy the best things last. Why wait? I’ve always been surprised when my daughter used to read a book’s ending before starting it. This to me was unheard of but you know what? I kind of understand it now.

I don’t think I could ever do it, it’s just not my style but I understand her now, apparently she was a better teacher than I was. She always wanted to see her birthday cake as soon as it came in the door unlike her brother who wanted to wait until the last second, when I would come in with the candles lit. I admit it, I am more like he is.

I’m learning from my two kids, more and more. I love it.

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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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Truth Or Consequences- The MeMe Tastic Blog

Peanuts

Image via Wikipedia

Here we go:

1) Everybody who knows me knows I love FOOD! Went out to dinner once with hubby after reading a review of this restaurant in the newspaper. It got such a rave review that when we called for reservations they only had a 5:00 seating. Knowing how much we love going out to dinner we decided it must be worth it. We arrived at our “early” time and were surprised to see people eating there already. We were starving. The layout of the restaurant was tight, as if we were in a big city restaurant not a suburban eatery. The menu had some nice things on it and they even had a couple of specials. The specials sounded amazing and I ordered the steak and shrimp special. You know a restaurant is good when that buttery feeling just slides down your throat in degrees of happiness. My husband ordered a glass of wine and I ordered my usual, a Diet Coke. In the beginning of the dinner after we finished our roll, the waiters came to clear the bread plates away. I was surprised, what if I wanted another roll? When we finished eating, looked at the dessert offerings but decided (unfortunately) we were too full. The prices were fairly steep, ranging from 20 dollars to 42 dollars but was worth every penny.

SOME OF IT TRUE, BUT I WOULD NOT SPEND 42 DOLLARS FOR AN ENTREE, RIDICULOUS AND ALSO, WOULD I GO BACK TO A RESTAURANT IF I DIDN’T LIKE THEIR DESSERTS. NO WAY. FALSE.

2) Growing up we lived in a lower/middle class neighborhood.  My mother used to work at night at the local hospital in the ER and there was a Doctor who kept literally chasing her around the desk. My dad made her quit but she wasn’t happy about it. She ended up working for a BMW dealer whose owner would take her for rides and they once picked me up from school on a street corner, when I was sick, in the newest, flashy BMW. Later my parents bought a black jaguar with leather interiors and real wooden trays from this same man. We used to ride to all different neighborhoods and into NYC, waving to people as if we were in a parade and we were royalty. People all around us would wave back and stare into the car trying to place “who we were”as if we were actors and actresses or royalty from another country. We used to go to various restaurants or museums and the entire family, starting with my father, would write in a guest book signing Prince Robert Charles and we would follow suit with our own impromptu titles. Once we were stopped by the police and he asked us for the Drivers license and our permission permit to ride in a parade. Oops, our bad! We were caught and escorted out!! (That was NOT fun)

SOME OF IT TRUE, MY DAD WOULD DO FUNNY THINGS LIKE THAT AND ONCE WE DID END UP IN A PARADE, WAVING. BUT THERE WAS NO POLICE AND WE WERE NOT ESCORTED OUT.

3) I was once in (what was then) the beautiful country of Yugoslavia with my mom, on tour, for two weeks. Once there we heard men whisper all around me, everywhere the words “kicki ricki.”  We were convinced since we kept hearing the same thing that this was some type of creepy dark, underground drug sale. Wherever we went, in open spaces people, on street corners, people kept saying the same things over and over again in hushed tones. My mom decided she would find out what they were talking about and entered a vastly crowded type of beer hall where they all stared at us and continued to say those odd words until I was practically surrounded by the men and their weird sayings. I was scared to pieces but finally, my mom, went straight into one of those small little enclaves, walked up to one of the men and said in a loud voice “what does kicki ricki mean?”  They stared her down and as I was about to run and grab my mother they too ran away quickly. What were they selling? What on earth were they doing? It couldn’t have been good because it all felt weird, and, we felt like we were being followed. It turns out that they were not selling drugs or beer or alcohol or hashish, what they were selling were “peanuts.” Peanuts?

TRICKED YOU ALL!  100 PERCENT, COMPLETELY TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!

4) My family traveled a lot and once we went on a vacation to Portugal. Once there, in a little fishing village called Cais Cais, my older sister wanted to explore. She dragged me down the village to where local fishermen were grilling sardines and offered us some. No way did I want to eat them but my sister grabbed the sardines from the fire and starting eating them with her hands. There was a man and his friend who offered my sister to show us around a private island. We had to go in a very small fishing boat, a row boat. As soon as we stepped on this island where there were no people, no stores, no houses, no nothing, the men decided to separate my sister and myself and wouldn’t let us see each other. I was frantic, calling for my sister and not hearing a word from her, all the while having a guy following me. He almost caught up to me when I thought I would die there alone and never see my family again. Finally, a few horrific hours later I was reunited with my sister and the four of us went back to the village where the fisherman gathered all around us, someone found an old camera and they took pictures of the two of us. Months later, a local friend of ours, sent us the little paper the village had and it featured an article about the “Two American Sisters” that had joined in the local ceremonies! I was so mortified, my sister was so proud!

MOSTLY TRUE, EXCEPT THE END. I WAS SCARED TO DEATH, IT DID HAPPEN BUT WE WERE NOT FEATURED IN ANY NEWSPAPER ALTHOUGH IF WE HAD, MY SISTER WOULD HAVE BEEN SO PROUD. I WAS SCARED FOR MY LIFE AND HER LIFE TOO!

5)My mom’s best friend lived in Florida first and then San Francisco.She was married for a long time and then got divorced. Her husband’s name was George. We all loved this woman like an aunt. She was the slowest eater I had ever seen, we would be finishing up our meal and she would just be starting to pick up her fork but she was wonderful and kind and sweet. She was a lovely woman and once I spent a week with her when she was living in San Francisco. I spent a lot of time walking around San Francisco, going shopping and seeing the sights. She had to work so she couldn’t come with me but I loved exploring different places on my own. I was taking black and white photographs and spent a lot of time outdoors photographing people. When my “aunt” came home for dinner we would eat, slowly, in her house. After dinner, she had a tradition, she would make me come with her and circle the streets where a man lived that she had a crush on. My aunt was 50 years old at the time and we had to keep going around the block for at least half an hour to see if his light was on, if he was home, etc. She was also in love with the opera singer Placido Domingo and knew that when he was singing on stage, that he was singing directly to her. She was convinced that eventually he would notice her. Years later, after the slow disappointment of the first two, the other man she was in love with was a contestant on Jeapordy, she watched the show when he was on and knew that they were meant to be together. She actually wrote a letter to the network, found out his name and wrote him letters. She couldn’t believe when he answered her letters and they ended up going on a real date!!! A year later they were engaged and I was the bridesmaid at the wedding!!!

ONCE AGAIN, ALL THINGS TRUE EXCEPT THE END. POOR AUNTIE, THEY DID NOT ENGAGED OR EVEN HAVE A SECOND DATE AND I WAS NOT THE BRIDESEMAID FOR HER OR ANYONE ELSE.

Plinky: How Do You Define A Friend?

Hot Glass, Ice Cubes and Room Temp Cola causes...

Image by srboisvert via Flickr

I had a best friend for years, where trust, laughter, love and an eager dining companion perfected my single world.  Her name was Katy and we met in a small apartment building in a suburb of Boston. We were the “Mary” and “Rhoda” of the 80’s. The only thing missing from our studio apartments, one above the other, was the big first initial of our names hanging on the wall, just like Mar had. We met in the tiny laundry room one day where she gave me advice about wrinkles. When she grabbed my clothes from the washing machine, and shook them out, I felt a little uncomfortable.

We had been best friends for years and when I met the boyfriend I would eventually marry, I couldn’t wait to  introduce him to my best friend.  I admit, the first meeting was a little awkward; Katy was polite yet distant. Their was no warmth as we passed vegetable lo mein and chicken with broccoli amongst the three of us.

Later, my husband and I introduced her to the man she would marry, a friend of my husband’s. Katy and Bob were both loners and somewhat eccentric but we took enormous care in matching them up. There was no doubt in my mind that they would take to each other and they did. We danced at their wedding while my husband and I waited for the toast to us the “matchmakers.” There was none. The bride and groom sat alone, away from their family and friends, secluded from their own party. No, I was not the maid of honor.

There were normal friendly disagreements, like in any friendship, yet Katy never wanted to talk things out; she hated any type of confrontation. Looking back, our friendship was at its peak when I constantly placated her. When I became a more confident, independent person she did not like it yet she wouldn’t talk about it either. This started the chilly decline and her withdrawal. All of a sudden the warmth I had initially felt became a fake veneer, breaking glass to reveal nothing but ice.

One devastating situation that I shared with her was when my husband and I were trying to have a baby and I was depressed. She was in my car when I broke down once and sobbed. Back in the late eighties and early nineties no one talked about infertility treatments, it was a hushed topic filled with shame and heartbreak.

After two and a half years of painful infertility treatments I FINALLY got good news. I got a call from the nurse in the doctor’s office telling me I was pregnant; I softly closed the door to my office, sank on the dirty carpet, and wept. We waited through the first trimester with extreme caution telling no one except for immediate family.

I couldn’t wait to tell my best friend the news! She was so special to me I didn’t want to tell her on the phone so I invited her to dinner at her favorite restaurant.  With my voice filled with emotion, my Diet Coke shaking in my cold hands, I told her that I was pregnant and she was going to be an aunt. I waited for her response with tremendous excitement. I was expecting a shout of glee, a warm hug, excitement but there was nothing but silence. Nothing.  What I did get was a frozen expression and a few tears trickling down her face. She wouldn’t even talk; I was in utter shock, deeply disappointed and confused. When I questioned her reaction all she said was “I’m fine.”

What happened later is not my story to tell and I will not share her secrets because it’s not my place.  Her husband confided in us and told too many intimate things. I told Bob that we didn’t want to be put in the middle of their drama, that he should talk to her. He didn’t. When I tried to talk to Katy she denied everything and lied to my face. I can accept a lot in a relationship but lying is absolutely abhorrent to me. Tell me it’s none of my business but do not look me in the eye and lie.

Once pregnant, she dropped me, cold. I didn’t understand. There was nothing I could do to re-establish the bond which I thought was absolutely unbreakable. For many years I tried to reconnect but she didn’t want to have anything to do with me. She made that very clear. I can’t say I didn’t have clues, I had many: the way she treated her parents and only saw them once, maybe twice a year. They were not allowed to visit her in Boston.There were many other signs, I saw the pieces of the puzzle but never put it together until now. She was emotionally damaged and people had been telling me that for years. I just couldn’t believe them, I didn’t want to believe them. My very best friend in the world, not only broke my heart but shattered it. She ended our friendship quickly and abruptly as if she was throwing an emotional grenade in our direction, then she turned and fled. Not looking back. Ever.

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.