Dear Daddy,

I’ve meant to write you for a couple of days but now I NEED to write you. You were always there for me when times were tough, especially when times were tough. You were the only person who really knew me because our personalities were so similar.

I know I’m just having a very bad day and they happen from time to time but this one is unusual. I feel like I’m getting beaten up by everybody

and I don’t know why. I don’t have you here to defend me or to want to get back at the people who are making me sad. I do know that if you could, you would although I’m not so sure you would defend mom.

No matter what she did, you defended her but her tone today, I know, you would have been the one to say “take it easy” and she would have listened. Her ordering me around like she is the commander and I’m the soldier was horrible. Something is not right. Does she think that the holiday season is only hard on her?

Losing Lola and Don and Ellen were tragic losses, believe me, I know. I went to the funerals of two of them with her. Anna went to one of them so she was always supported. There’s not much else anyone can really do. Both Emma and I call her every day, she boasts about that to her friends but sometimes  it seems I can do nothing right. At least that’s how it feels to me.

I’m not in their club of two, my sister and mom, they are so similar and our club, you and me, doesn’t exist anymore, talk about grief. Yes, I know it’s a rough time of year, with you dying on New Year’s Eve

and you and mom’s anniversary on New Year’s Day! Not such good timing, Dad. I  remember our last Christmas but the grief comes back in waves of sadness and anger. You should be here, playing Santa and ringing the stupid bell you always rang. If only you could come back for just one minute to ring that bell and to give me a hug that I so desperately need from you now.

Well, the day is almost over, I’m hiding in my bedroom, yeah I know, not the right solution but that’s okay, I just need a little time to myself. Your granddaughter is out having fun and your grandson will be home tomorrow. At the moment he is the one worrying because, like me, he is so intuitive and he heard my voice on the phone. I know I worry too much, oh stop laughing, but I try not to do that. I can’t help it if I read headlines and get scared. As most parents, I worry about my children.

You know I love you, of course you do, thank you for the signs you send me (I could use one soon, please.) Do I wish you a Merry Christmas in Heaven? It’s been so many years  you would think my grief would have mellowed but today it is raw. I don’t understand that at all.

I’m going to play some music now and settle down, I know I’ll be fine in a few minutes. You know I’ll be fine, I always remember what you and Mom said: “That beneath the mushiness, deep down, I am steel” and I know that’s true. I’ve had to be many times in my life. I love and miss you so much but I am glad you are not in pain anymore, that’s for sure. Say hi to Lore for me, quite a prank she pulled on us at her funeral. It seems like Diane and I both thought we were the sole “Augusta.” Only Lore could get away with that. Please tell her I miss her too, I really do.

All my love,

Your little mouse

PS The dog just pushed the door open, jumped up on the bed and kissed my whole face which she generally doesn’t do. She knew I was sad, I feel better already.

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It’s Really Okay

Nothing could console me the other day. I was heart-broken about life in general and dear family friends whose demise was absolutely shattering. There didn’t seem to be much happiness in our lives (with the exception of our kids) and not one blessed thing could cheer me up.

I initially thought I should try to shake myself out of this mood but the world was an evil place, life was not fair. I thought things were supposed to work out in the end, I had believed that all my life, not anymore. Things don’t work out many times and even though I may root for the underdog, they don’t always win. There was is way too much random sadness, unhappiness and sickness, things, often, don’t work out.

First, I tried to justify things, to try to explain them to myself. That didn’t work, there were no answers.  There was also no need for me to try to cheer myself up. So, I stopped.

I realized it was perfectly okay not to try to make myself feel better. It is really okay to feel bad.  What’s wrong in feeling crummy once in a while? I never got dressed, I wore my long black V neck T-shirt that falls to my knees and didn’t even take a shower. I stayed in bed not that I felt particularly sick or winded, I just felt blah. No one ever said  life was perfect so I decided to have a mental health day and be alone with my crankiness and cuddle with my sweet dog, Lexi.

Lexi didn’t care if I was in bad mood, she still jumped up on the bed right next to me.  She always keeps me company. I can count on her to be there for me, that’s the wonderful thing about dogs. Unconditional love. She doesn’t have to give me pep talks or call me on the phone like a friend would have to do, she knew I needed her and she put her head on my stomach, even our breathing was in sync.

I’ve noticed lately that my friends don’t even call anymore. They text. I find this horrifying. When did my generation start doing this? I make my kids call so I can hear their voices but my friends now text? Insulting.  They can’t be bothered, either? What’s next? I’m sure I won’t like it.

It’s a very hard world out there and I used to be such an optimistic person but I’m not anymore. Life, as we know it now, has changed me. Part of me feels like bursting into tears this very second and the other part won’t let myself. I’m not sure if I could stop if I let myself cry….. I keep trying to hold it in and hope it goes away. I know that won’t last. Life is tough, really tough and the older I get, the more difficult it becomes.

I have no more expectations that things will get better. Why should they? They haven’t been good for a really long time and yet still I try to be grateful for the good things I do have.

It doesn’t change the world but I don’t want to become a bitter, cold person. I know it won’t change my circumstances or any one else’s but it keeps me focused on the good not the evil, most of the time, it’s hard work.

When I was young, my mother used to sing this song:

She never did promise me a rose garden, but I always thought there was one anyway.

Indian Dinner, My Favorite American Snacks

 

Chamuças de Goa. Chamuças (samosas) from Goa.Last night, hubby and I, after treating ourselves to see the adorable movie, Chef, went out to a lovely Indian restaurant a few towns away from where we live.  It was a treat and we ordered Samosas (I always get these mixed up with Samoas, Girl Scout Cookies that my kids love.)  We ordered the Samosas three

different ways. One was potato with peas and lentils, one was spinach and the other was filled with lamb and spices. They were delicious and filling and frankly my stomach could have stopped there but what’s the fun in that?

We then ordered Shrimp Saag, shrimp in a bed of spinach ( I thought there was a little cream in there, my husband said absolutely not) and an amazing sweet dish of chicken in a yellow cream sauce made of honey, cashews and apples. The consistency was smooth so all the ingredients except for the chicken were blended, creamy and rich. We also ordered one portion of Nan which resembles pita bread if you ironed it to barely nothing. After all, what good is all that creamy, sweet sauce without the proper bread to dunk it in?

I drank a sweet Lassi ( a yogurt drink made with ice, rosewater, sweet syrup and blended) see the easy recipe below, and my husband had some alcoholic drink with figs, rum, bourbon and too many other ingredients. I took a sip hoping I would like the taste. I made my usual disgusted face that my family is so fond of seeing, gasped and reached for my water-glass to clear my palate of that nasty alcohol taste. Next time:I’m ordering a double lassi, on the rocks.

English: Fat-free lassi from Mumbai

We ate like four-year old children, having dinner at 5 o’ clock, (okay it was really 4:50pm) but that has never bothered us before so by the time we came home it was only 6:15 a time when most families are preparing dinner. Nope, not us. When we came

 *Easy Sweet Lassi

Ingredients:Servings:2-3Units: US | Metric
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ice-cube
3 -5 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch salt
Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Read more: food.com/easy recipe

home we had dessert (I deeply regretted not ordering the yogurt balls in honey…) so I had the gigantic molasses cookie I had purchased at the small grocery story in town. It was enough for  three people but I finished it with ease. Had too much sugar and no spice ( I expected ginger) but I’m not that fussy so I ate the entire thing.

Around 9 pm my husband and I roamed around the kitchen because at that point we were ready for a snack, I just needed SOMETHING.  I headed to one of my all-time favorite snack combinations and one of my dog Lexi’s favorite snacks too. A small packet of square pretzels, two slices of Kraft Individually Wrapped American cheese and a box of chocolate Yoo-Hoo to drink.

Now that, was a perfect snack. It is always the perfect snack for me and for my dog. I only gave her one pretzel and bite of cheese but she knows the sound of the pretzel bag and comes running when she first hears the bag rustle.

Yoo-hoo Chocolate DrinkBasically, you can take me out to a fancy dinner anywhere but when I come home, I retreat to the food I really love. My snack: pretzels, Kraft American cheese slices and Yoo-Hoo, my childhood drink of choice.  I went to bed, happy.

 

Dedicated to PK Sr.

happy first birthday, lexi

nothing feels better and happier than my dog lying straight across my feet, her favorite position while i am in bed and its cold outside. i’ve been in my bright yellow with cherries pajamas for the whole day and i would be happy to be in them for another day or two if only i could.  it’s my dog, lexi’s first birthday, it’s truly a miracle how the time has gone by so quickly, ok, well it feels like it now. oh, don’t think I have forgotten the early days, no, no, no, believe me i haven’t. i remember the tearful puppy days when i cried out for help.  “she’s just a puppy”  my dear online friends would say soothingly and that was true but an active, stubborn and willful puppy with the strength of an ox. my family of friends would coo, “chew toys are good” but nothing was safe in our house from this fierce princess, our little warrior. furniture legs were eaten, chairs, tissues, my husband’s computer toys, sixty dollars, pants, shirts and sentimental items from the past. our arms and legs were riddled with red welts as lexi would grab on to our hands or legs, bite them with her sharp teeth and would not let go. there was always someone screaming from pain in our house.

Little Lexi

Little Lexi

Lexi

now, lexi, has a new habit she howls in the back. is it joy, is it for attention, does she spot an animal. we think it’s for sport. she looks like a young deer, red and long, she howls like a wolf. we just don’t know why she does this but i can practically see her grinning like a young teenager getting a real kick out of annoying her parents. i’ve seen that look before, many times.

i remember the first time i saw her it was love at first sight. she was curled up at the shelter, probably drugged, fast asleep having been shipped from north carolina or south. i thought she was mellow, she sure had me fooled. my best friend sarah drove and i had gone just to look, i had been at several shelters before but i knew i needed another dog in my life after my first dog, callie, died of pancreatic cancer. i was missing a part of myself, i think this made me a dog person officially. when i adopted lexi i told her that lexi has two mommys since sarah was there with me. i called my husband from the shelter to prepare him, he was not as enthused as me. he could easily have waited several years before we adopted another dog. i said “congratulations, it’s a girl” he answered with with a wry laugh. after 24 years of marriage he’s used to me by now.

i had a healthy, active puppy. the way a puppy should be. our last dog was very scared and timid and probably had been abused, all she wanted was to be comforted in my lap. i didn’t know what a real, healthy, energetic puppy was like. i learned quickly to substitute toys and the miracle of ice cubes but this girl was too fast for anyone. it has been quite the year with our girl. once in a while she still jumps on people with delight and we are working on that. this puppy is ridiculously strong, even second mommy and daddy agree so there have been times, like when we go to the vet, (she loves it there) she will drag me and all the people at the vet just shake their heads and laugh at me. we’re working on that too, suggestions are welcome. i believe she understands the command “come”” but it has to be followed with the word “cookie” that’s just so me. right? when there is someone outside our door lexi is our great protector, she barks and growls angrily and furiously, she becomes mean and proprietary.

at the end of the day, when the lights are off, having lexi in the house is comforting and sweet. not only did we find each other, we saved each other.

happy first birthday, lex. i love you bunches.

love, original mom

Swimming In The Swamp

English: Pink Puppy Designs, http://www.PinkPu...

English: Pink Puppy Designs, http://www.PinkPuppyDesigns.com/ Category:Dog equipment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Staying in my house, bored, is utterly detrimental to my health. I know this for sure. I need to get out, to have adventures and while I used to have more people to have adventures with, I now have adventures with myself or…..with my dog, Lexi. Maybe this is the bonding she and I need, maybe our adventures together are her way of showing affection. I really don’t know.

Today was a lovely, breezy summer day; the sun was shining, the sky a brilliant blue and clouds formed to make unusual, thick shapes. I took our 4 and a half month “mutt-a-gree” puppy (so much nicer than saying mutt, don’t you think?) and opened the back door of my car for her. “Come on, Lex, we’re going for a ride.” We ended up in a park that has trails and a walking path, a pond, a playground for children and an ice cream truck. What could be better?

We met a few other dogs, white curly-haired dogs, large, german shepherds, a couple of big dogs in various shades of gold, red, brown, beige and white. Some were big and fluffy with full coats, others were small and yappy; some were off leash, others were on. Not every dog was happy to see a puppy, an (over) enthusiastic four and a half month puppy but a few dogs put up with it. Lexi is like a politician and very much like our son when he was three years old. Our son would say “Hi” to everyone who walked by and would wave his chubby hand, if people didn’t stop to chat, admire, wave or smile, he was personally insulted and it showed on his face. Lexi is the same way, she takes all rejections personally and gets upset when a dog doesn’t want to play with her.

Determined to take her for a walk, I pulled her away from the other disinterested dogs and off we went. About five minutes into the walk we came upon the smelly, dirty, big pond (I’m being nice, it was a huge, disgusting swamp). I love water and had always hoped my first dog would love water but she was terrified of it. Lexi was not. She went to the edge and was fascinated by the muddy water. She played in the water with her paws and we both were thrilled. Yes, I was encouraging her, I admit it. She went out a little further but I still had the leash clutched in my hand. (Another mea culpa I had not brought the long leash with me since this was an impromptu adventure.)

The next part I see in slow motion. Me, wearing new white pants and a navy and white striped tee-shirt and my favorite and expensive sneakers (that are the only kind that fit my old lady messed up feet) were at one point standing at the edge grinning at MY dog, proud, cell phone in my pants pocket. Half a second later, my super-strong puppy pulled me in with such great strength that I fell into the stinky, grimy water. My first thought was “my husband will kill me if my phone is broken” my second thought “who saw me because this is so embarrassing?” and finally after the nice gentlemen in back of me asked if I was alright, I said some silly thing like “well at least she likes the water” with an embarrassed, goofy grin. The entire left side of my body was drenched in black slime, my right side apparently hadn’t made it in the water.

We stank. Both of us, like dirty, muddy, black-stained sea urchins. Lexi was wet and wild. I laughed the entire ride home calling our friend Christina to ask her to take a picture on Instagram for Facebook. If I can figure it out, I will try to repost the photo here, if not look there! it’s worth it. My son and husband’s first question was:” Why didn’t you let go of the leash?” “Because I’m a mother, that’s why!” I didn’t know if she could swim, and I didn’t trust her if she could swim not to swim to another state. It seemed instinctual to stay by her side, and so I did.

No anxiety today! I had an adventure, with my puppy who is way too strong and needs discipline. Puppy classes start Sunday and I can’t wait. Now, I need new sneakers (I’ve already tried washing the ones I had on) the cell phone is nestling in rice and the dog had so much excitement she is sleeping, down for a nap. I still smell like the swamp lady but I had fun, a lot of fun. We should do this more often, though next time I will bring a much longer leash and a few, old towels. All in all, I have to admit, I haven’t had this much fun in a long time; it was a perfect day.