Watching My Baryshnikov

It was like watching Mikhail Baryshnikov springing across the stage,so handsome, so technically perfect; exactly like that, as I

drove my old clunky gray car down the street and gasped. A beautiful, strong deer with antlers danced right in front of me, crossing the road. I slammed hard on the brakes, very hard, not to injure this beauty. I hadn’t really thought of the car or of myself. It was like a beautiful ballet dancer I had seen long ago, so gorgeous and delicate yet so strong. I waited to see, with cars honking behind me, if more of

the family was about to cross as well but no, this deer had crossed the road by himself.

The Turning Point was one of my favorite movies when I was young. The romance, the intrigue, the ballet. A girl growing up to be a woman, a mother and her best friend, secretly jealous of each other, egos fighting egos. The best friend trying to mother the other woman’s daughter. Comparing lives as if they were comparing tastes in a food competition. The daughter learning to grow up and realize the truth about love and being in love and people and their true characters.

My Baryshnikov danced across the street to an admiring audience of one.

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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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Energy

Physical and Emotional EnergyScreen Shot 2014-01-20 at 10.59.05 AM

Energy, or lack thereof, is one of the main complaints of all the varied yet connected physical illnesses I have. I honestly don’t remember what energy feels like anymore, except for the brief time when I was on Prednisone. I felt half my age and filled with methamphetamines. The world looked bright, I appreciated every second of being in that world, I felt grandiose, I was so happy to have this reprieve to what I perceived as “back to normal.”

When I had to taper down slowly I understood that this was not a drug to take for a long time. But, I distinctly remember when the drug disappeared from my body. Similar to the colorful, glorious leaves in Autumn slipping slowing to the ground until none were left… .. I looked up and saw only dry, miserable lonely branches. I remember specifically the day that the medicine left my body completely, I put my head in my arms and sobbed. There was an old movie called “Cocoon,” where elderly people were given the gift of youth for a short time, their bodies replenished, their illnesses healed, their faces back to their youthful selves. They seemed so happy until the potion wore off.

Of course the potion wore off, doesn’t it always? Aging is inevitable, loss of hearing, sight, lack of energy. I have been without that energy, that youthful quality for over seven years now but not just from aging gracefully, I could handle that. I am lying in bed with my back twisted, the heating pad behind me, feeling quite sorry for myself for actually being disappointed that I had to cancel a dentist appointment because of back pain. If that’s not pathetic, what is? It was a place to go, to get out of bed, leave the house and drive, to talk to new people, nice people, unknown people.Who understands this except other people with these disorders?

I blame my Thyroid (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) and Fibromyalgia for my lack of energy yet I blame the nasty, hateful people around me for draining me, for stripping me of happy energy for my soul. They are not to blame, however, I blame myself for allowing them to do that. I control me. This is my responsibility, not their responsibility. Let them rip each other apart if they want to, I don’t have to be involved with it anymore. That is my choice.

I will control whatever energy I have left. Physically and Spiritually.

LAF Photography

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Outing Mary Poppins (POP COP)

The Sound of Music (film)

The Sound of Music (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Ms Andrews,

I’ll be honest I can’t  forget that when I was little and bumped into you at FAO Schwartz and my father asked you for your autograph for little, shy, sweet me, you said “NO” coldly and harshly. I heard you. I remember thinking “how could she be so mean? ” Well you were, there were no other people around us but you simply and COLDLY said no, and walked away abruptly. Who would do that to a little girl? Mary Poppins would never do that. Apparently, you had no such problem. I  was devastated that you acted so coldly my dad was furious at my crestfallen face.

However, I still adored your movies: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. It is for this reason alone, my loyalty to you as a fan of your movies that I refused to watch Carrie Underwood in the live performance of “The Sound of Music” on television earlier this week.I have always been “brand loyal.” I know all about the Broadway play, my sister saw that but I was devoted to the movie version. I knew every word by heart, I sang every song proudly albeit not in tune.

I wanted to remember Julie Andrews the way she was in the movie I adored her characters and her singing voice and still watched her movies when I was feeling blue or nostalgic. I used to watch that movie many times with my dad and my mom. My mom she was from Germany and my dad from Austria.

I will stay loyal to your movies and to your songs, to the characters you played. They will live on in my mind and heart forever. Just do me a favor, think about how a cold, nasty “no” can stick in someone’s memory after so many years. Your resiliency as an actor speaks loudly of your talent but definitely not of your real character.

Napoleon Dynamite And Me

Film poster for Napoleon Dynamite - Copyright ...

Film poster for Napoleon Dynamite – Copyright 2004, Fox Searchlight Pictures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My stomach is full, round, bloated, I’m about to burst and I haven’t even eaten anything today. It’s the day BEFORE Thanksgiving and I’m getting worried about my eating capacity. I haven’t even eaten yet because I feel so full. I look five, fine, six months pregnant and statistically I can guarantee you that is just not possible. No way, no how. I’m sure being concerned about my beached whale body isn’t helping either.

I’m lying on my stomach on my bed and I feel the tension and the huge, inflated balloon, that flabby orb that once was my flat stomach three days ago. I only ate one slice of pizza for dinner last night. ( I have to admit it was really, really good.) So, I had a little extra tomato sauce, maybe a bite or two of a meatball, that should not have made me gain two pounds this morning.

The scale is my enemy and for all the naysayers who say ” don’t weigh yourself every day” sorry, no can do. Sure, I realize that there are variations but if I don’t go on the scale one day, all hell could break loose. I should know, it’s happened before more than a few times.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, my thoughts are just imagining the smells of  tomorrow. First, the turkey and stuffing in the oven. The sweet potato and apple casserole (with marshmallows) this year, the freshness and nobility of the salad to undo the damage of the mashed potatoes laden with butter, the rolls, warm, straight from the oven. My husband’s famous stuffing, the best I’ve ever had, and look forward to every single year: Hint: add sliced water chestnuts, chopped apples, raisins.One batch is soft, moist with gravy, the other is drier, great for a sandwich. Not to mention, cranberry sauce 3 ways, apple sauce, green bean vinaigrette.

I have dreamed my way to my favorite part, dessert:  chocolate on chocolate frosted cake, the strawberry-rhubarb pie, the apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream  or “à la mo-day” as we have said ever since we saw the classic cult movie “Napoleon Dynamite.” I have seen the move about ten times.

Later, leftover turkey sandwiches with mayo, yes, Hellman’s only. I’m fine about tomorrow, the problem is tonight. I’m starving, my husband is on call for the Volunteer Ambulance until seven pm, I’ve already had some fresh vegetables.  It is six pm, we are getting hungry, one more hour to go. Time passes so slowly when you want it to go quickly. I’m ordering now. We order too much.

The only thing deemed delicious by the family is take out Asian fusion food from the local store a few blocks away. Yes, I know that there’s fat and sodium and grease. But, it is the best way for us to stretch our stomach even more for tomorrow. Can’t wait.

Yellow Magic Madness # 12 The Yellow Brick Road

yellow brick road

yellow brick road (Photo credit: airdiogo)

The Yellow Brick Road's spiral origins in the ...

The Yellow Brick Road’s spiral origins in the 1939 film (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road……We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz.

*Where MY Wild Things Are

mischievious max

mischievious max (Photo credit: massdistraction)

Just call me Max, because tonight I live in my own storybook. I’m in a cranky, bad mood and while no one sent me to my room, I almost wished they had. It started off with not knowing where my husband was, he was missing. He didn’t leave a note but he could have left one word on a napkin and that would have been fine. He also left our whining dog, prowling around the house while I was trying to rest and get a little sleep because I felt extra crummy. It wasn’t fair.

It was a bad day for Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, my jaw hurt so much, I had ear pain and TMJ and a headache and no one cared. I wasn’t able to sleep because my dog was annoying me. She wouldn’t even settle down on the bed, up and down, up and down she jumped and I was too tired and achy to get out of bed to put her in the crate. Friends tell me I’m in a Fibro Flare but all I know is that I feel worse, much worse. The weather gets damp and now it’s pouring buckets like my expectations and mood, dumping down on the roof, bypassing the dirty, leaf-filled gutters and ending up in big, thick, muddy puddles. I don’t have rain boots and I can’t play anyway anymore.

I ended up eating a tuna sandwich standing up, alone, in the kitchen, with one foot crossed over the other and I ate it so fast that I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I even gave the dog, “the whining one” some of it. Just as I am shoveling down the sandwich, Mr. Last Minute Ambulance Aider comes strolling in with his fake, perky voice and I feel even angrier. I march up the stairs with the rest of my crappy dinner and the dog follows me for food, not for compassion. My only hope at feeling better is getting to eat the two last bites of the brownies that we saved and I am NOT going to share.

The last two weeks haven’t been good at all, okay, they sucked.  I had the hospital procedure and the horrific mammogram both done this week and I know it’s over but maybe not over one hundred percent because now I’m fuming inside like a chimney with an angry orange fire.  A new friend that I met over the summer,” sisters in spirit,” never sent me a birthday card when I thought for sure she would and I miss not having a dad. I believe in the good in people and then they disappoint me. At the same time a new friend thinks I should self-publish my blogs into a book with photographs. What? It came out of left field for me too. I guess we need to learn about balance sometimes.

My daughter is away at college and is sick again and I hate that. I offer to come up there or asks if she wants to come home but she says “No” and I worry, no matter how old they are and then I say out loud ” I wish you weren’t in college so far away.” I probably should have kept my mouth shut too but I couldn’t.

I am going to sneak down to the kitchen and at the end, I do announce taking the two brownie bites because after all, my husband wasn’t exactly doing a bad thing. They didn’t even taste good. I know that this stupid, horrible, unjust day will look much brighter in the morning when the sun shines, when my jaw stops hurting, after a good night’s sleep. All I’ve been doing is whining, I guess my dog and I have a lot in common.

*Based on the enchanting book:Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Now Rice Is Dangerous? (Food Cop)

Napoleon Dynamite: The Game

Napoleon Dynamite: The Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet again, another startling report of a “safe and healthy” food proclaimed: DANGEROUS.” Yes, you heard me, it’s in the news, on television, probably messing up everybody’s head that RICE is very risky for your health. Why? ARSENIC.  Arsenic? Oh yes, they say calmly, everything from baby food, to rice cakes, to white rice and more importantly, brown rice. BROWN RICE, you know, the healthy kind. Well, the kind that we USED to think was healthy. Nope, not anymore.(Probably never was either.)

What about eggs? Where do we stand on those “incredible, edible eggs” now? Because first eating eggs was just fine, then the yolks were bad for you and they told us that they should be limited and some people were all “I”ll have an egg white omelette with onions and red peppers, hold the toast and potatoes please” then after that it went back to the egg yolks were an essential part of a healthy diet and you really could eat at least 2-3 eggs a week, guilt-free and be super-healthy with antioxidants and all that. I have no idea what the most recent statement of the egg industry is, (I did look it up but it seems to be controversial and different depending on what country you live in) and I really don’t care. Now, organic food is not that much better (if at all) than regular (tell that to all the moms and dads and granola crunching people who have spent fortunes on places like Organic Only stores (you know which stores I’m talking about.)

First, people tell us to not to eat red meat (I eat it sparingly) then the say pork is the”other white meat” (who believes that?) I pretend to believe that but I really don’t, that leaves chicken and fish. If I could, I’d be happy with a small tub of egg salad (I know, I know) and some multi-grain (Oh, wait, have we gone back to Wonder Bread yet, because I’m waiting for that one) or “Potato Bread (how dissimilar is that?) and I’m perfectly happy.

I’m tired of people, agencies, telling us things AFTER THE FACT. CAN’T THEY GET THINGS RIGHT THE FIRST TIME? Apparently not. Here is my theory: eat what you want, in moderation. Have fruit, vegetables, a little meat or chicken, (take note of the rice dilemma) some really good multi-grain bread and a small dessert so you don’t binge later (guilty as charged.) Allow yourself a snack (a small cup of cereal, or fruit or both if you are hungry later in the evening). Done.

I say to hell with it all. Napoleon Dynamite had the right idea. Forget rice, replace with tater tots. Tots. I grew up on tater tots, as did my children. Try to forget about  the hysteria they spew on television and in the news. Do what feels right for your body. Me? I’m trying hard to give up diet soda because of all the nasty chemicals in it and it is not easy. I’ve tried to drink water with lemon instead but it doesn’t make me happy. Here’s a tip, don’t get freaked out immediately like “yours truly” allow yourself some slack, eat things in moderation and always, and I mean always, eat a small dessert.

I gave my diabetic mother a present the other day, sugar-free Oreos, even I could handle diabetes with that!

Blue Cotton Candy Will Not Do

Pink Cotton candy.

Image via Wikipedia

Rudy and Riley

‘MAKE YOURSELF SOME FUN’

I need more fun in my life, scratch that, I need FUN in my life and I really don’t have too much. Of course it’s unusual to live and be stuck in a hotel room with your husband, teenage daughter and shelter dog for eight weeks but that could not be helped. (Well it probably could have but that’s a whole other topic and I’m not going there.) No way, no how. Done.

So it is up to me to find some fun or make some on my own. You can’t count on others and while I feel pretty pleased with myself most of the time I am not a fun maker. I’m working on it:

Today, I finally bought some sketch paper and pens and will probably have a doodle fest. I plan to take my notebook with me (and sorry iPhone users) while I have the phone and it is amazing, I just don’t leave it on. It will be great to always have a pad of paper and an array of pens to play with.

What else?

We don’t have a bathtub where we are staying just a handicapped accessible bathroom with shower for my poor husband’s busted Achilles tendon…but as soon as we are able to move back home, I’m buying some bubbles, going to listen to some music and sing out loud, happily. Oh, to take a bath again! Fun.

I’m going to start seeing more movies on my own because movies make me very happy and I like going to a movie by myself on a Sunday afternoon when you don’t have to pay for parking.

Next week one of my best friends and I will have lunch together, we missed this week because her kids are home from college, and I can’t wait to hear her stories! We always laugh together and I treasure her friendship.

I am going to buy some pomegranate seeds tomorrow and treat myself to a frozen yogurt, unflavored, sweet and tart at the same time, like a frozen version of a delicious Indian drink, a lassi. I’m drooling with anticipation. I’m going to make a donation to the ASPCA because I haven’t been able to give money for a very long time but it bothers me and even giving a little means a lot. My animal-loving daughter and I will be donating together.

The last thing I plan to do is to find some pretty pink cotton candy and delight in its texture melting on my tongue leaving sugar sprinkles that make me giggle with happiness. I can’t wait.