Carry on Tuesday

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind wit...

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue skies and the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Midway in life’s journey…

“My name is Joey, I’m thirty years old, married with a daughter named Sophia. We are a good family but sure we have more than our share of ups and downs. Who is happy all the time, right? I mean I know we aren’t. I never thought I would turn thirty, have a family and be out of a job but the economy sucks. I was laid off from my writing job at Music Magazine, a place where I have worked for over five years. Five loyal years of my life and now they lay me off. I hate my life now. My wife is a lawyer and we can pay the mortgage but that’s just not it. I put hours and hours in this damn company, screw the economy. “It’s not personal” my boss said, ”we’re laying off 20 people.” Is that supposed to make ME feel better? It doesn’t.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, my wife, Gabrielle and I have been fighting non-stop, I’m not even sure what we fight about anymore.  Gabby and I have been going at each other since we met, at least that’s how it feels to me. Sometimes, I feel furious when I even think of her and I don’t know why. Well, maybe I know. That’s when I feel my heart speed up and I scream out loud, I’ve even put a few holes through the wall but I am in no way proud of that, trust me.

Been hanging around with my friends Steve and Jack more, since I don’t have to be anywhere in the mornings. We usually go to bars or to the ballgame or just hand out at their house watching television.. It was really funny, last night we went to a gay bar. Steve and Jack are a couple and they asked me if I wanted to go. I  thought ‘why not?’ So we went in and after a while, a few guys asked me to dance. Of course, Steve and Jack were egging me on so I thought it would be fun. I danced and it was a blast. I felt free and I felt happy, happier than I have been in a long time.

I left the bar at 3 am and was not looking forward to Gabrielle’s interrogation, God, I hate that. She’s not my mother you know, I’m a grown up and can go out with my friends if I want to. Sure enough, she was sitting up in bed, her dark brown eyes looked black with fury. She starts screaming about “courtesy and marriage, and “why didn’t I call? ” Yeah, I know, I screwed up by not calling but after her screaming at me for so long, I stopped caring. Enough is enough. Everything inside me froze.

I’m midway in my life’s journey for my own truth and happiness and as I stood up from the bed something clicked in my head. That always happens when I have a very important thought or if I have reached my limit or made a very important decision. I didn’t say a word and Gabby was still screaming at me. Calmly, I went to the closet and got our old navy blue suitcase and started packing. I couldn’t speak but I cried, tears streaming down my face. Gabby didn’t even notice that I was crying which says a lot.

I started sobbing and shaking violently so I sat in my armchair, put my face in my hands and wrapped my arms around myself. I was moving side to side like a pendulum. Gabby was suddenly silent. She didn’t even ask if I was ill or was having a heart attack, she just sat there and stared. Through my cries of distress and anguish I managed to say “I’m so sorry Gabby, I’m so, so sorry” over and over again. Her face looked as if it had aged ten years. “You’ve always been suspicious and I’ve always denied it but I can’t anymore. I deserve to live a full and happy life.””Gabby” I continued, “I’m gay.”

The words lingered in the air, floating around the room like a helium balloon. Finally, I was able to let out a deep sigh, I felt so bad about hurting her but I felt amazingly light inside myself. “I will make sure to see Sophia, but don’t ask me to change who I really am.”  “I’m a gay man and I’ve lived a lie,” “but I can’t live with myself any longer playing this game. I love you and our daughter but it’s time now, truly time, for me to love myself.” With that, I lifted the suitcase, went to Sophia’s room and kissed her sleepy head and then slowly walked out and locked the door behind me.”


The Donald, Oprah And President Barack Obama

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

Image via Wikipedia

I am not the only one who feels stressed out. It seems the world is in a very stressful and sorry state. Not just in our country (The USA) either, it seems that everywhere there are horrible natural disasters, wars in different countries, debt, unemployment and no hope for the near future. Instead of asking President Obama for reassurance, which I am sure he would love to do if he could, I’m asking Oprah for her take on the situation. I trust HER.  Oprah is the only person I want to run for President because I believe in her. So, right now, in the middle of many world crises, I choose her. I pick her. I want her to tell us that things will work out and that the karma that really goes around comes around because unfortunately I’m starting to doubt that. I’m just not one hundred percent sure if that really is true anymore but if Oprah proclaimed it to be true, now, I would become a believer again.

I saw Donald Trump being interviewed by Meredith Viera today. I was absolutely speechless but The Donald certainly was not. Even the looks and grimaces on Meredith Viera’s face were newsworthy. She was practically spitting at him. The Donald was saying that he is pretty sure that “Barack Obama” is not a United States citizen. Again. WHY, Donald, why? You were so emphatic on the show today that even I, an avid Barack Obama supporter, started thinking that maybe there was something behind that. (Did I just say that?)

I’m beginning to fear for my brain. If I am actually starting to question my judgment about President Obama that is a very scary thing. So, I will not be listening to Donald Trump anymore (except on The Celebrity Apprentice) and I will continue to try to have faith in this Administration. It isn’t an easy job, and we know what shape the world was in when the President took office. But still… I need some answers, I need some faith, and I need some hope and the only one who could possibly do that now is: Oprah. Oprah Winfrey for President of the United States, 2012. I’m in.

The Beauty Of My Fibromyalgia

Red berries

Image by freefotouk via Flickr

My husband came home from town and told me that he heard an update about a mutual friend; that she was at the end of her life.  She has ALS, (formerly called Lou Gehrig’s disease) a horrible, disease that affects thousands of people every year. I felt terrible for her and her family and know how hard that disease is for everybody.  I pictured her in her wheelchair with her beautifully spun white hair coiled behind her in an old-fashioned bun, the bun that my grandmother in her nineties used to wear every day; held together with old-fashioned black bobby pins. There was one difference, the woman in this story is not in her nineties, not even close, she is 43.

I have Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and before you write me letters about how pain is all equal and that pain is pain and we have our right to our pain I will tell you this: the stripping of your body, one by one and of all your faculties, is something I would not trade for and neither would you. The last vestige of communication this woman, this YOUNG woman had been struggling was to try to write something with her twisted hand on a computer generated machine. Fibromyalgia pain IS pain. I know I have pain, I understand it and I can communicate it, I can’t solve it. When there is nothing that helps me feel better, at least I can verbalize this, at least I can try to focus on a pretty picture of strong red berries on a simple branch. When I clutch the banister to be able to go up and down stairs, I am mostly doing it myself. If I can’t and need a hand, I will ask for it and accept it and will be able to have the dignity to say “Thank You.” I can ask my daughter about her day or my husband’s first day of work or my son’s admission to colleges. I am able to do that and am thankful for it.

My husband, the most patient man on earth, gets irritated and annoyed with me when he asks me questions about the type of pain I am in. He is direct, like a prosecutor: “is it muscular?” is it in your joints?”  “does it stab, burn, tingle, come in waves?”  “is it sharp, is it dull, does the pain move around?” I’ve always been vague in my answers about how I feel physically because I am the type of person who can’t verbalize my symptoms well. Fibromyalgia is defined as having pain all over and that is what I have. Is it muscular? Yes, Is it your joints? Yes, It is all over and hard to differentiate from one Doctor’s appointment to another, Yes. We also have Fibro Fog, our endearing term for forgetfulness, makes us forget how things were yesterday compared with today.

Fibromyalgia changes every day, sometimes every hour; there were times when I was sure I had a really bad virus but my Doctor just told me they are “flare-ups.” My mother was concerned because I was sick so often, I never knew I had flare-ups, I didn’t know what flare-ups were; no-one ever told me.

I am not saying that your pain or her pain or his pain is any less uncomfortable because it is not life threatening. Listen to me: I am saying that pain is pain, and that it can be unbearable and it does affect your emotions and social skills. But, at least it does not deprive me, me personally, of the ability to still connect with my loved ones and friends and I am able to communicate.

There is no competition. Pain is pain is pain. My friend who is dying from cancer is fighting every day as she has for five years before her breast cancer metastized into brain cancer. This is not a game where whose pain, whose life is worse. This is MY opinion, own it or reject as you please. I do have enough pain to consider myself suffering. I may not have control over my pain but at least I still have control of all my faculties.

We are all at risk for everything, like everyone else in the world. There is so much sadness: health, terrorism, wars, economy,  that sometimes I need to focus on just by breathing, in and out, in and out.  Sometimes I need to slap myself out of my self-pity and give thanks for the things I can do and more importantly send blessings to those who are less fortunate than I am. Now.


My Gift Wish List

Santa Claus with a little girl

Image via Wikipedia


Dear Santa,

I’ve been asking for this special gift, this present, for over a year now. Since it’s almost Christmas (and Hanukkah) please, could you read my letter again? I was silly to think that you would grant my wish before the holidays but ’tis the season now…fa la la la la, la la la la. I am not asking for a present for just me, I am asking for one present for the whole family. I am asking for a job for my husband that pays real money. Our family would really appreciate it. Please Santa, its been a long time. I’ve been a very good girl and will, once again, leave out cookies and milk for you and carrots for Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer. Thanks a lot! Hugs and kisses and love, from ME

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9 and A Half Minutes, Episode 2 (Interviews)

Virtual Resume & Letter

Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

I apologize. I’m supposed to talk about things that annoy me but I can’t today. That’s just way too mild for a topic that’s making me feel totally infuriated and incensed. I’m steaming. Literally. I feel smoke coming out of my hair follicles and anything near me could burst into uncontrollable flames.  I want to talk about a practice that I absolutely hate with a passion. Today I am talking about the job market and I’m NOT talking about President Obama or the economy. I’m talking about people. Specific people. You should know who you are but since you are so out of touch with reality, I’ll tell you.

I want to blast the inconsiderate Human Resource people or “People Person” as some call themselves now AND Hiring Managers that don’t take the time to give a candidate an answer, a final decision. I’m not talking about someone who has just sent in their resume, I’m talking about a candidate who has been in for an interview, not to mention four separate times for interviews. I’m talking about interviews leading up to talking to the CEO of the company and then…. hears nothing. NOTHING, bupkes, zip, nada. This is not only extremely rude and hurtful. It’s inhumane.

What happened to simple common courtesy? I was a Human Resources person way back when and not only did we acknowledge every resume that came in with a letter but we called each candidate that interviewed and gave them an answer. Did we enjoy turning people down? No. Was it a hard call to make? Yes. But, at least we gave the candidate the courtesy, they so rightly deserve, of a phone call to tell them the decision. If we couldn’t reach the person, we sent a letter, an authentic letter with the company’s letterhead and our signature; because people have the right to know, one way or the other.

Today? They don’t acknowledge you or reject you, they do absolutely nothing. Do these interviewers and hiring managers think that because the economy is so bad and that they have so many applicants it makes it okay to just let things slide. It is not okay, it is never okay; it is wrong. Gee, I guess after several months and no return phone calls you assume you didn’t get the job.  Don’t they know that it’s the waiting that is torturous?  In this scenario, “silence is not golden” silence stinks, it’s a cop-out, it’s cowardly. Tell me, just try to tell me that these hiring managers or employment representatives don’t have thirty seconds to either pick up the phone (what am I thinking?) or at the very least send an e-mail. An e-mail would give the candidates closure but no, job seekers don’t even get that. Why not? To me, it’s totally unacceptable and nobody can convince me that you can’t write an e-mail that says “thanks but no thanks, we selected someone with more appropriate experience and blah blah blah”. PEOPLE NEED CLOSURE so they can dust themselves off and try again. Apparently this is too much to ask for.

In my opinion, there are no excuses, it’s just plain rude and demeaning. What kind of world are we living in now? What have we become? Don’t give me the excuse about the volume of resumes either. I worked in HR for 25 years and we had resumes coming in by the hundreds. Sure, we were busy every minute but we made the time to call and let people know the hiring manager’s decision. People are stronger than you think, they just want to know, one way or the other.  So, turn on your computer, or ask your assistant to do it for you, write a courteous note, click send and give people their dignity back.  There are no excuses. Just do it. People are going through enough of a hard time trying to find a job. You are just being rude and inconsiderate. If I could, I would start a movement against this. That’s how mad I am. Very truly yours, “Norma Rae.”


“Because I Am”

Black balloons

Image by stvno via Flickr

Tonight I am having a pity party for one; I am the guest of honor. You are welcome to join me but motivational speeches and happy clichés are not allowed. I’ve learned that the sun will probably not come out tomorrow, it will be cold, dark and windy just like the last few weeks. Some of my friends with chronic illnesses seem to be feeling the same way: Is it the weather?  Seasonal Affective Disorder? Pain and unhappiness? Other friends that don’t have chronic illnesses are also fed up and feeling down. I’m wallowing in self-pity and I am allowing myself to do so. Wallowing and venting are the main attractions in my self-imposed symposium.

1) Both my husband and I have been very discouraged because of the job market; he has been unemployed for a long time. He is always the best candidate, the one they love, the one they want. We get excited, euphoric even, and then the final news hits us like a tsunami: “We would love to have him but there is no funding approved for this job now” or “There’s a hiring freeze that just  started.” We plummet, like rapidly deflating black balloons.

2) I need to protect myself from future painful disappointments. While, in the past, I have tried to feel positive and hopeful,  I am now keeping my defenses up because it is too damn painful to feel excited and then let down over and over again.I am tired of feeling bad and blue and not having anything to look forward to. Yes, I have tried to be positive, I count my blessings and I list the things that I am grateful for: nothing works. A good friend of mine told me she was depressed last week and I asked her “why?”  “Because I am” she said. I now understand that completely.

4) Physically, I have no energy. I’ve been over-eating and sleeping way too much these past two weeks. I’m trying to sleep straight through to May but the chances of that are pretty slim. I stopped taking the autoimmune drug that was helping my energy level because it made my legs ache continuously and I wanted to rid myself of extra pain. This is what happens when I try to rid myself of drugs and toxins in my body. I end up asleep. I made the wrong decision.

5) The holiday season is not joyful for me. After my father died, the holiday spirit died with him. We go through the motions for the children. I’ve accepted this but each year after his birthday in November things start to go downhill fast, straight through to New Year’s Eve, the night he passed away. Why can’t I prepare myself? Why is it only familiar when it is happening again? Think of it as a long, a really long extended period of situational depression.

6) I’m having a default Thanksgiving in my house this year. My mom broke her wrist and I just couldn’t let her have it in her house. She is also depressed because of her broken bone and pain and having to be dependent on others, this affects me too. I feel bad for her. I can’t begin to talk about my self-involved sister, there is too much to say and at the same time, nothing to say. Thanksgiving is in one week, I have nothing prepared and I am both overwhelmed and underwhelmed.  I will rally for the holidays because I have to; it’s a necessity not a choice.

Let me tell you directly what I want:  Accept how I feel and allow me to have the emotions I do have. Don’t analyze, debate or criticize me. Try active listening. Help out during Thanksgiving and be kind to one another. I would truly be grateful if you could do just that.


The Lex (A Foodie Blog) *My 100th BLog!!!*

What better way to celebrate my 100th blog than to talk about one of my favorite topics: food. Glorious,  delicious, dance in my mouth food. I confess, I love food. Not just any food but good food, preferably in a restaurant with no dishes to wash after the meal. Due to the economy we go out rarely but this was a special day. A worthy celebration; this was Mother’s Day!  To moms everywhere,  I applaud you, we know how important we are, every day.

Just thinking back at the Mother’s Day dinner at The Lex makes me drool excessively.   We hadn’t been to this particular restaurant in years, often commenting that the food was always good but it was always the same. No specials, nothing new, ever. Much to our incredible delight (and I’m talking about my audible squeals of excitement) the menu had been expanded.  The quality of the food, was always very good. I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad meal there. Consistency is one of their virtues. Waiter/Waitress service, not so much, but we were here to linger and enjoy.

As soon as we sat down they brought us a bread basket with a sour dough/Italian type bread, bread sticks and crackers topped with poppy, and sesame seeds, and a dish of olive oil for dunking. How can you NOT be happy right away and yes, they do refill graciously  (ask my teenagers). My daughter and I shared a  delicate chopped arugula salad to start. It was simple, fresh and very light. It was served with slivered almonds, goat cheese and I want to say small pieces of hearts of palm. The crunchy and the smooth all wrapped up in one perfect bite.   They even divided the salad into two plates which is really, a very nice touch. The dressing was lovely, (olive oil? a hint of lemon perhaps?light balsamic vinegar?) I’m not sure but  a perfect partner to the salad. The salad did not drown in the salad dressing nor did we have to pick up individual leaves to see if there was dressing on it. It may seem like a small thing but perfectly dressed salads are not that easy to come by. It was a first course that seemed to cleanse my palate and make me hungrier for the main dish. Luckily, we were not in a rush.

I ordered lobster ravioli in a light cream sauce with peas and mushrooms, delicately intertwined and the combination of the flavors made me crazy happy and I swooned. My daughter, who is a vegetarian, ordered butternut squash ravioli that was served with a sweet, apple cinnamon sauce. Sound crazy? Maybe. It was out of this world. Tender, sweet, the consistency of the ravioli played so nicely with the thin apple cinnamon sauce. The staff also went out of their way to make this dish for her because it was not on the menu that night. Nice.

My husband and son shared the Thai lettuce wraps with chicken for an appetizer and the small tidbit I got was flavorful, and spicy.  My husband ordered lamb for his main dish (could have done without seeing the lamb leg) which he said was excellent but looked like something Fred Flinstone would have eaten happily.  It came with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes.  Our son ordered a nicely done steak that he devoured, it came with a baked potato and broccoli which, of course, he didn’t eat but i did. Teenagers.

For dessert,  our son had the apple-cinnamon crisp, the thick crumbly topping sweet and the texture perfect, hard but moist.  A perfect balance.  Our daughter ordered the brownie sundae which looked more like an elaborate cake than any ordinary brownie. Judging by the scrapes of her fork on her plate, she approved heartily.  She ate it so quickly there was not a piece available for me to taste.  I wouldn’t ordinarily order dessert but (ok, stop roaring with laughter now)  what could I do? It was Mother’s Day and I didn’t want to appear anti-social. I also couldn’t  resist a piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting served with vanilla ice cream. The texture and the smooth flavors melted into my mouth; the cold vanilla ice cream, the rich, moist, smoothness of the red velvet cake. I don’t really know why they call it red velvet and I don’t really care, it was exquisite; that’s all that matters.

I wish Mother’s Day  would come around more than once a year. I desperately want to go back to the Lex for dinner. Thanks to my family and The Lex for a lovely Mother’s Day. Next year, same time, same place, great love.


The Cranky Defense

It’s early Monday morning and I was woken up by the screech of the buzz saws right below our bedroom window jarring me from sleep straight into a miserable, throbbing headache.  Before I even began my day the hammers pounded in my head along with the screeching of the electric saws in high decibel, extra-loud volume, like the shrieking sounds of an inconsolable child.

I am cranky because the work being done on the house is to fix a big (sic: expensive) problem that meant digging under the house, replacing wood and floor tile. Two square feet of floor tile was replaced and now I have a dark and dismal two- toned, mismatched kitchen floor and I hate it. I think it is symbolic of all that I feel.

I am miserable because neither my husband or I have a job and that scares the hell out of me. Our two teenage children are winding down their school days and will be in summer camp for 8 weeks. I am happy for them but let’s face it being in a house with your beloved spouse, 24/7 is not good even in the best of times. I tug at the collar of my shirt, to indicate present and future hyperventilating; I know he must feel the same way.

I’m cranky about many different things: that we weren’t invited to a barbeque, that we don’t quite fit in with the “in crowd” that we are in a bad place because of the economy. Little things make a difference:  I was looking forward to watching the finale of Survivor with my husband but of course, the second I opened my computer I saw who the winner was. Really? Can they not just wait 24 hours before they plaster the spoiler all over the internet?  As an act of great love and kindness I did not tell my husband who the winner was; he deserves the pleasure of surprise.

I feel ill at ease and at night, before bedtime, I try to think of  jobs to do but that just causes me to get agitated and then I can’t fall asleep. When I finally fall asleep, I sleep restlessly and have nightmares about my mother every single night. I am always angry at her and she is mean and doesn’t seem to care.

The only positive side to my crankiness is that at least I am not eating an excessive amount of food to cheer myself up.  In the past, I would have been at Mr. Donut Man ordering raspberry jelly doughnuts. Oprah and her friends would be so proud.

My health is unchanged, I have no energy and the new drug, Cellcept, used for auto immune diseases hasn’t kicked in yet. I don’t know if it will even help. My guru Dr. keeps telling me to be patient; that’s easy for him to say. He hasn’t had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and a myriad of other illnesses continuously for the last 3 years.  I am tired of being patient. I am tired of being tired.

I went for a blood test again today  at Quest Labs that hurt as the needle wiggled and skipped to find its way to my bluish-gray vein.I made the mistake of glancing over and seeing the dark red blood filling up tube after tube.  I noticed that their linoleum in the lab was identical to the dreaded beige-brown fiasco that now lives in my kitchen.

I’m lonely. I ache for my father who passed away eight years ago and I miss him, Father’s Day is looming ahead of me like the extended weather forecast for thunderous storm clouds. It’s a lengthy invitation to depression. I think the only place I should  go to is the cemetary where my father is buried. At least there, I am allowed to cry; I am allowed to mourn, and all my pent-up emotions will explode and I will place a perfectly round, white stone on his gravesite and allow myself to grieve.