“Cutthroat Kitchen” (Food Cop and TV Cop)

English: Alton Brown speaking at the Google Ca...

English: Alton Brown speaking at the Google Campus in Mountain View, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the New Year I have literally been focusing on the good in my life, trying to single out the positive and not making a big fuss of what is negative. Trying to see Life in a new light. Many of us fight with this each and every day, it is our attitude that makes us the person we are. I was doing well, checking in with myself hour to hour, truly. Bad news was coming at me but I reasoned, bad news comes to everybody, it comes, you get used to it, you adjust.

That said, I came across a cooking show that I had never seen before and started watching it with my husband for mere entertainment. What a mistake! The name of this show is “Cutthroat Kitchen” with (ugh) Alton Brown. Sorry, that’s only my opinion. This guy shows up EVERYWHERE and I have seen too much of him. He’s sarcastic and biting and I just don’t want that in my life. His “brand” visibility is “Over-branded?” I’m sure there must be some real public relations word for it( overexposed maybe?) Not sure if that is even a word, but you get my drift. When I see his face on the television set, I don’t smile and say “Oh look it’s that cute Alton Brown!” I sigh and say, “Oh God, not him again and prepare for his sarcastic remarks.” Then I change the channel.

The latest show he is involved with which now I have watched many episodes to give it MORE than a fair chance is some show named Cutthroat Kitchen. You would think that with this title I would have been forewarned that it was not for me but no, I gave it a chance. Not once, many times. I am a glutton for punishment. It’s just my opinion but I hated this show.You would have thought the word “Cutthroat” in the title might have clued me in but I didn’t want to be swayed, also I’m a complete, gullible idiot.

It’s mean-spirited, nasty, underhanded and nothing I want to see promoted on television, especially with that nasty, sarcastic Alton Brown. Isn’t there enough bad stuff in the world already? Do we have to have more? Listen, I watched, as did my husband, and of course judged it. Then, I turned it off. It particularly lost its appeal when one arrogant competitor made another arrogant competitor ( if you haven’t picked up on it, they are all arrogant, like an Alton Brown characteristic demolition derby)  duck taped a potato masher to another contestant’s arm and made them cook. Believe me, I wish I was making this up, but even I could not think that creatively or maliciously.

The objective is that each contestant is given money from Alton and they can use it to spitefully sabotage their components so that they will lose. (Nice concept, right?) The person who bought the sabotage will (YAY) most hopefully win. Ha! It doesn’t always work out that way. There are no manners in THIS game, no “sorry, man” or good luck, Bonnie” Nothing. For every aging ex-bully on the block? This show is for you, you will love it. Guaranteed.

I paid my dues, I watched this awful show. I will NOT be watching it again. Ever. Tell Alton to retire ( or just yank him off television) somewhere with a Food Magazine and tell him, nicely, to keep his mouth shut. Have him design a handy, dandy little toaster oven or better yet, a grill. Now, how hard could that be? Have him “retire” and pay him a small amount for residuals. That’s all I ask, truly.

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A Bullet Through Two Hearts

I can almost feel the bullet wound, its intense fire, its lingering pain; orange flames dancing like maniacs with a backdrop of blackness.  Like a ballet of thunder, darkness and electricity gliding on the stage with utter synchronicity, like two dogs fighting or birds flying.  Even though I wasn’t hurt physically it feels like I have been.

When someone tells you what they really, really want? Listen.

My mother encouraged me to go away with my family for the holidays. The fact that I even asked her, shocks most people. That’s what happens when one tries to be courteous and polite. She assured me, again and again that I deserved to go and be with my family after we suffered through two horrible years of sickness, marital discord and unemployment, some of which still exist.

We went away for a few days and had a great time and came back home;  she changed her mind. What?  Disagreements, misunderstandings and fights ensued.  I did not make a mistake to go away with my family; we needed this time together. I just behaved differently than I used to behave and did what I wanted to do for my family.

So, instead of forgetting the past and starting anew, albeit differently, my mother sits at home and, most probably, fumes at me and has been, hurt, sad, angry and disgusted.  We both feel the same way about each other. But, I will not let that stop my life from going on, but for pride’s sake, she is hurting herself.  I won’t forget the things she said to me, but I can forgive and move on. Life is too short to be bitter or resentful. If it’s not working this way, try another. Silence is said to be golden, but it isn’t. More likely, it eats away at you  and makes things worse.

I’ve learned the following things. Don’t say yes if you are not sure. Don’t push your family away because you want them closer. Saying mean things to hurt people on purpose is inexcusable but happens. Forgiveness and compassion are two sentiments that really count.

I continue my days which are usually fine, but at night, before I go to sleep, I feel something unsettling in my stomach, twinges that are like nagging little reminders that something is not quite right.  I know that there are two people who love each other but cannot find their way back to a common ground.

Let things go from your heart, don’t keep grudges and reiterate and retell all your feelings and mistakes. People who love each other will hurt each other sometimes. Stop thinking of all the negative things and embrace compassion and forgiveness.

It will be then and only then, that your heart will begin to heal.

Welcome HOME ??!

We’re back in NY in a blustery blizzard of snap, bite, whip of the wind, tears in our eyes after 30 seconds outside.  While I dearly miss the sun kissing my skin and the water of aqua blue, I do not miss the 3:30AM arrival of our upstairs hotel-mates every single night. We knew they came home early in the morning and then continued moving furniture, or should I say scraping furniture across the room.  After sleeping 12 hours in my own, comfy bed,  I was happy to be home.

Until…..I called my mother this morning to talk to her and I could tell from her “hello” it wasn’t going to be one of those warm and fuzzy discussions. Of course, for those of you who know my mother, I’m not entirely sure we’ve ever really had one of those before!  Last night, knowing my mother worries a lot about us traveling I asked my daughter, Jillian, to give her a quick call from the airport last night to tell her we had landed. Nice, right? Sensitive.  I think she was happy we had called.

This morning when I woke up at 12:30PM I called my mother to talk….to “shmooze.”  Surprising, even to me, I was met with 5 if not 6 references on how we were NOT home for Christmas. Again.   What? I thought that had been settled a long time ago and she was ok with it. I mentioned it to her and she said “well now I’ll tell you again…for the 7th time you weren’t here for Christmas!!”  Basically, her anger at our going, even strengthened when we returned. Mom, don’t you get it, I thought to myself…don’t you want your children to be happy, even if for ONCE, it means they go without you?  I didn’t have the nerve to say it, call me a weakling but I know trouble when I hear it in the intonation of  of her voice.  She told me how my niece and nephew were going to take her to dinner for a Christmas present and I thought that was absolutely lovely (probably engineered by my sister but who cares??!!) I was happy for my mother that her “other” grandchildren were being so loving. Good for them, good for her.

She then proceeded to tell me how she somehow got an OLD email from my husband from a year ago that resurfaced on her computer and how upset she was and how nasty he was. What?  She apparently had read this email a year ago, was mad at him, forgave him (my husband is one of the sweetest most helpful men on earth) and then reread it, and got mad all over again.We don’t even know what the email was about anymore; frankly, we don’t care.  It was over a year ago, why bring it up again?? Even my husband has finally had his fill, once I told him this. He drives there all the time to help her with her computer, he brings her food but she is losing everybody’s respect with her unwavering desire to hold grudges.  What has happened to her? Where has she gone?

My mother used to be a very likable, loving, even tempered woman. Truly she never, ever held a grudge. I remember telling my grade school friends that when my mother was wrong, she used to apologize, something unheard of in the 60’s.  I do the same thing with my children.  Although I remember her always having a fight with someone when I was little, it passed. Now,  the grudge never goes away and apparently can resurface at any time. Especially, to me and my family. Nothing is ever enough, and when we bend over backwards to please her she finds fault in something else. I give enormous credit to my sister and her family for their graciousness about our decision for once to go away over Christmas, truly. And, I thought my mother and I had worked it out before we went, actually I know we worked it out before we left. But to come home to her nastiness, again, is really  just too much.

I told my mom that there were a few disappointing aspects of our vacation and I got the impression she was thrilled. Yes, I was disappointed over a few things that happened with friends and family but that’s okay. My mother went after this like a dog with a bone. “So, she inquired,  it wasn’t perfect!!!!??”  No, it wasn’t perfect, but really, mom. What is?

She is losing us with her bitterness and her nastiness. Can’t she see that? Can’t she learn from that? My sister told me she bought my mother a work book about “How to let go of grudges” something she so desperately needs.  Will she work on it? I doubt it, because even though some people get bitter and resentful as they age,the woman I  call my mother is simply unrecognizable anymore. I’ve lost the woman I love, or to be more honest, she has lost herself.

dedicated to my sister Emma and my friend, Elise.