The Kindness Of Little Things

We read, all the time, about the kindness of strangers, about gratitude and blessings and I am for all of them and more. I did random acts of kindness even before people knew that expression. I started when my little boy was four years old, He is now 22, and has just been accepted into medical school, he still never wants to miss anything.

 

I took my little “farmer”

 

 

who always woke up at five am to a diner where we ate blueberry pancakes and drank tinny flavored orange juice. We noticed a very cranky, “mean looking” old woman sitting at the next table. He said she looked “mean.”  I explained to him “maybe she was just having a very bad day or was unhappy.” I asked him what we thought we should do, to cheer her up? We decided to pay her check and not tell her. We gave an extra twenty-dollar bill to the waitress

 

 

 

to pay for her bill and the next customer’s.

 

No way did we start this trend but I’m sure my son and I were way ahead of the crowd. Now, I decided to take another approach to kindness and gratitude.

I am appreciating those things I have or own that I take for granted. Like my pillow, not the saggy old one that is basically flat, but the newer one that has some bounce to it like the hop of a bunny on a lazy green lawn.

 

 

More importantly, I am thankful for my white comforter because it keeps me warm at night perched on top of three, sometimes four, other blankets. I get cold easily either from Fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or a combination of maladies.

 

 

 

No, “she” is not a down-filled comforter, I tried that. I ordered a queen sized comforter from a very well-known and expensive store, put it into a duvet cover and within three days there were feathers flying everywhere both in and out of the duvet. About 2,000 flying feathers.

 

 

I started sneezing and I couldn’t stop. I have had down comforters before with no problem but THIS company/store was quite arrogant about the problem and turned me off so much I decided not to get a replacement for it. It was horrible, it looked like the down comforter had exploded. Not a good experience with THAT company! Be nicer to your clients please. I would have stayed with you if your service people had been kinder.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, it could be a piece (or two) of milk chocolate or rainbow sprinkles on vanilla ice cream, it could be a new book or a gift card to Amazon. Most of all it could be an appreciative grin or the blink of an eye or my husband’s loud laughter when he thinks something I’ve said is silly and funny.

Appreciate all the small stuff, because you know what? It’s all small stuff and in the end, if you start noticing more and more of the good stuff? It will make your day-to-day life a lot happier.

Focus on the good and not on the bad. Hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger, always say “Thank you” and “You are welcome”, if someone was kind to you, thank them.  It really IS the little things that count. Life is scary, it’s unpredictable and it is short. Families can be stressful and hard and filled with tension BUT, they are still family. Appreciate the good people in your life. Get rid of the negative people who influence you.

We ALL need reminders once in a while, that’s okay. Just come back to it.

WISHING ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

 

Advertisements

I Blew It, Easter Bunny

Cadbury eggs, a common Easter candy. One is br...

Cadbury eggs, a common Easter candy. One is broken to show the yellow-orange interior that simulates egg yolk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cadbury Mini Eggs

Cadbury Mini Eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know it’s not Easter but tell that to the supermarkets and the drugstores all around town. I can’t resist buying the chocolate when I see it. (It’s not MY fault that I like to prepare early.) The only problem is that when they are in my house, SOMEBODY eats them. Oh fine, I CONFESS, it’s me. After that I need to replenish… It’s a bit of a problem that I’ve had for the last ten years (20?) Who am I to deny anyone. especially myself, their own happiness? Those Cadbury creme filled eggs, yup, I have to say I ate those. My God, their gooey, sweet swirl, white with a candy yoke just thrills me after I bite the milk chocolate exterior. That is a chocolate dream that satisfies every sweet craving I have and I think it is comparable to anything served in a fine dining establishment. It is the quintessential dessert and it is a guaranteed delight; you know you will get a sugar high after one of these sweet, creamy babies. I’m salivating. I think I hid one more and I just have to find it. I know, I know, that this was bad but it didn’t stop there. I finished the bag of candy covered chocolate eggs while watching television,  I popped one mini egg into my mouth right after the other until the bag was (mysteriously) empty. Those sweet morsels just go down your throat with no effort at all. The problem is I didn’t feel guilty if at all. Any nano second of remorse was overshadowed by the sheer joy and milky chocolate bliss that lingered on the sides of my mouth and my tongue. (Am I the only one in the world who refuses to brush their teeth on occasions like these so the taste can linger? Please don’t tell my dentist. Cadbury, I do love you and respect you as a company (and no I am not getting paid for this), I just love what I love. Thank you for bringing us this familiar joy every single year. PS: Yellow chick Peeps, don’t be jealous, I have written about you several times before. It’s Cadbury’s turn.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Life Is To Be Lived: Mmmm For Chocolate

English: Chocolate mousse with strawberries pr...

I don’t often order chocolate desserts in restaurants. I’m more the carrot cake or vanilla/coconut cake kind of gal. Tonight, I just needed chocolate, nothing else would suffice. I ordered “Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnuts and Raspberry Coulis.” Oh my dear Lord. It was divine in every sense of the word.

It was milk chocolate mousse wrapped in dark chocolate (I know, right? The best of both worlds) with hazelnuts adorning the  little raspberry syrup spots on top of the white plate. It was not only breathtakingly good to eat, it was also pretty. Or as they say in “Hells Kitchen” the plating was magnificent.

I generally eat very little during the day, I think I had a snack pack of “Fig Newtons” for lunch and water to drink; it was so hot outside I wasn’t hungry. At home, where I proclaimed it was too hot to cook we decided to splurge and go out to eat. There’s something about not cooking that makes one ravenous in a well air-conditioned restaurant surrounded by your non-fighting family.

Tomorrow, I think I will stick to “clean” foods, fruit and vegetables and maybe chicken or a veggie burger. Tonight, however,was meant for only chocolate; rich, smooth, velvety, creamy milk chocolate and dark chocolate. It’s what the end of the week should be, a celebration for getting through it. Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

Plinky Prompt: Which Do You Prefer….White, Milk or Dark Chocolate?

  • Mmmm, Chocolate
  • My Heart Belongs To……….
    Lindt Lindor I started off loving white chocolate as a girl until it reminded me of butter and the thrill of that was gone….it isn’t EVEN chocolate kept sticking in my mind so I don’t like it anymore. Thanks for the memories, though.
    After that it was milk chocolate or NOTHING. I adore milk chocolate, I think it’s sweet and sensual and truly there is nothing better than having a Lindt milk chocolate ball melt in your mouth slowly. It’s a tiny slice of heaven each and every time (and no, I am not paid by Lindt chocolates.) However, since I have been on my healthy living diet, I have cut out a lot of sweets, most sweets actually. Now, my indulgence at night is a square or two of dark chocolate. (I know, I know!!!) I can hardly believe it myself, but it’s true. Things that I had eaten before (not to mention Twinkies and Snowballs, on occasion) I can’t even touch. Milk chocolate is even too sweet.
    So, for the moment I would have to choose dark chocolate but deep inside, I do feel like a traitor. While my body eats dark chocolate now, my heart belongs to milk chocolate, no doubt about it.

*SWEET! ( A Foodie Blog )

Nutella, mon amour!

Image by JoX1989 via Flickr

I watch shows like “Unwrapped” on the Food Network Channel and it does me no good. I get too hungry while I am watching it so I slip downstairs for a snack or I’m afraid… seven. I can’t possibly match what I am eating to what I am watching so I stick to what we have in the house; it is not a pretty picutre. Tonight, I had two mini packs of cereal with milk; first, Apple Jacks and then Fruit Loops. Two sweet snacks with healthy one percent milk but after that the problems continue….now I need salt.

I located one of my new favorite items “Snyder’s Pumpernickel Onion Pretzel Sticks. Close your eyes and munch away and you will swear that you are eating a piece or two of pumpernickel toast. I know, right? It seems too good to be true but it really does work.  Another new product I have found are the 6-pack of Raisinettes.  You know when you go to the movies and they try to sell you practically a quart size of Raisinettes for twenty dollars? (ok,so I am exaggerating a little.) You feel like a complete slob if you eat the entire package but it’s just plain wrong to think we could stop half way. Impossible. Now this 6 pack gives you a smaller size so when you eat the entire package, you really didn’t ! Best part about it? You have five packages left!

On “The Best Thing I Ever Ate- Sweet Tooth” they were featuring crepes.  Sure, I will try anything that calls itself “Pure Ecstasy” (and I mean that only in a chocolate way) but frankly since I am not a chef I would just go for the main ingredient which is Nutella. Nutella is an amazing creamy combination of chocolate and hazelnuts; it looks a little like milk chocolate pudding in a jar.  I don’t need to make a crêpe for this delicious combination, all I need is a spoon, preferably a big one. Nutella is a staple in our house sans crêpe.

The next thing I saw featured was the Sant Ambroeus’ cake, named for the Sant Ambroeus, café.  It’s actually two (chocolate) desserts, chocolate mousse AND a pocket of chocolate custard,  in chocolate.  This would pretty much ensure a bonding experience with my daughter who is a complete chocolate addict. My goal is to take her there one day.

Next stop is to Tartine in San Francisco, a double pain au chocolate which is like a croissant, shaped differently with a lot of chocolate in it. In addition the other ingredient is lots of butter. Let’s see we have bread dough, butter and an amazing amount of delicious chocolate. What’s not to like? This is just not anybody’s chocolate either, (Hershey’s chocolate is still always fine with me) it’s special and I have to admit I would love to try it.

Next up, chocolate, peanut butter popcorn. I couldn’t kid you about this if I tried and why would I make it up?  I’m really not sure I like the sound of it. Convince me. A perfect blend of salty and sweet, maybe you have something there. Wait, what? Add popcorn and peanuts, chipolte chocolate sauce? “Sweet heat?”  Served with butter popcorn ice cream over home-made Cracker Jacks?  I think I will pass but of course that is just my opinion.  Another feature was like a home-made pop tart.  Seriously? A pastry shell and an interior of fresh fruit. Sorry, but to me this looks like more of a cereal bar and too healthy too. Of course I would try it if it was in front of me but I don’t think I would seek it out. If all else fails, and there is no deluxe chocolate combination to eat I will stick quite happily to my Nutella and to my Raisinettes. Now if they only came in dark chocolate 6-packs for my sister’s birthday…..

*I am not responsible for any incorrect detail due to intensified drooling.

Thank You, Erica

Candlelit Table for One

Image by ecstaticist via FlickrI

I am not a paid restaurant reviewer so I am writing about my love of eating good food (not making it.)  I also have great admiration for those who cook incredibly well. Our friends, Mike and Erica, hosted a reunion a few weeks ago and old friends from the East Coast and the West Coast gathered together.  Erica made a divine appetizer of stuffed mushrooms based on Ina Garten’s recipe. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten and this is NOT the Food or Cooking Channel. We ate those amazing stuffed mushrooms with our eager fingers and never have I eaten such different tastes and textures in one appetizer. The sausage, olive oil, cheese, bread crumbs and mushroom appetizer combined with seeing old friends, talking, hugging and laughing, was a highlight of 2010 for me.

It felt like the kitchen scene from the movie, The Big Chill,  except no one died (although one person did leave the dinner table, head to the living room, wrapped himself up in a blanket, appropriated two pillows and apparently fell asleep on the couch for 3 hours.) I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Presently I fantasize about eating my favorite things in an expensive restaurant.  My husband and I would be seated inside a small dining room near a beautiful fireplace. A small bouquet of red and purple flowers sit prettily on the thickly starched white tablecloth where a soft candle would be burning.

To start, I would have jumbo prawns with cocktail sauce and a wedge of lemon (that had a paper coverlet on it to protect it from seeds.) In some circles the prawns would be the delicacy but in our family we have named the shrimp as the vehicle to which we get to eat the cocktail sauce. Another example of this would be that lobster is the vehicle to get to the melted butter sauce. You get the idea.

After that I would order a salad made with a lemon/olive oil, vinagrette salad dressing (the words truffle and champagne could be added although I don’t know exactly what they do.) Ripe cherry tomatoes, julienned carrots, red cabbage, and chopped parsley and chives would be on top. I love adding sweetness to things so for me, some craisins would be tossed in there as well.

The table is laden with “everything” flat crackers and warm, soft, dinner rolls with butter, room temperature (I hate hard, freezing cold butter)  shaped like sea shells. My entrée would either be the outstanding chateaubriand, like it is prepared at the  restaurant X2O or the divine filet mignon served at the Crabtree Kittle House, both amazing restaurants are located in New York. Rice pilaf or mashed potatoes would work nicely with this meal, but nothing fried and undignified as french fries and ketchup (those go with cheeseburgers only.)  Grilled brussel sprouts paired with a hint of maple syrup glaze and slivered almonds would be our vegetable.

Blood orange or lemon sorbet served in martini glass would be our palate cleanser. It would be served to help settle our wonderful meal and to leave room (not that this has ever been a problem for me) for dessert.  I am a sugar junkie and I like a variety of things so because it is my fantasy I am picking two desserts: a fresh fruit tart served in a marzipan shortbread crust with vanilla custard and a fluffy (never flourless) milk and dark chocolate mousse cake with real vanilla bean ice cream.

Thanks for joining me in my food fantasy. Here’s to 2011, with good friends and great food.  Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy and delicious New Year.

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.