The Family Of Foodies

When our kids come home from college for a visit, suddenly our kitchen is bursting with the smell of my freshly baked banana bread with raisins and chocolate chips, soon afterwards dark chocolate brownies are left to cool waiting for me to slather on the thick, creamy dark chocolate frosting.

Their dad and I have both gone to the supermarket to stock up on their favorite foods, they could stay four weeks, even though they are only here for four days or is it one day? It doesn’t matter. We pack the leftovers so the kids can take them to share with their friends.

 

I stood in the freezer section getting frost bite while choosing six quarts of ice cream, all different flavors.  We have Ben and Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee Buzz, Graeter’s Black Cherry Chip,

 

Graeter's

Graeter’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Black Raspberry Chip, and Chocolate, Chocolate Chip. We also have Mango Sorbet, Blood Orange Sorbet and Haagen Daas’ Pistachio ice cream (which to me, is a great disappointment, vanilla with a couple of shelled pistachio nuts in it. I won’t buy it again.) Any suggestions of another brand of pistachio ice cream?

 

 

 

 

 

We have rainbow cookies, molasses cookies.

 

 

amaretto cookies, and of course, Double Stuffed “Oreos.”(Thank you, Nabisco)

 

We don’t live like this all the time, believe me, we only stock up when our college kids come home to visit. Our daughter’s description of the ideal break is: “watching, (streaming episodes) of her favorite television shows on her computer and eating her home-cooked favorite foods and I quote.” Isn’t that what coming home is all about?”

My husband made a delicious eggplant parmegian/ parmesan, I made guacamole, and a tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, basil salad, we had

 

English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

 

chips, pizza, huge salads, creative salads with lettuce and arugula, cranberries, goat cheese, string beans, grapes, and cucumbers (and anything else I found) with no meat (for our daughter “the vegetarian.”) Yes, she DOES get plenty of protein, she never liked meat and never ate it as a baby. I’m anticipating the questions that will follow…

BOTH of my grown-up children came home a day early as a surprise and I consider myself deeply blessed. I am truly grateful to be able to have one night together with my whole family, where we eat will be up to them, with our approval, and bound by price range and affordability.

Tonight, we will eat leftovers with no complaints and if there are complaints, that’s okay, the only other option is…no other option. I do regret how lenient we were with our children when they were small. I felt like a short order cook, a grilled cheese for one, spaghetti with meatballs for the other….the things you learn in hindsight.


We all make mistakes as parents but if that’s the worst mistake we made then I think we did pretty well. We have super nice, polite kind, kids, independent, loving, street smart and compassionate. What more could a mother and a father want? NOTHING.

Are they perfect?  No.  Are we? Heck no. Do we wish they would change certain things?  Sometimes. No, I am NOT going to argue with you about this!! (you- know -who) I know that they wish the same for us. We’re a family, we all need to work together. Every single one of us needs to learn how to compromise and accept not always being right. Accepting someone’s difference is harder than deciding to disagree. Respect another person’s position without judgment. Try.

What would you rather be, a very old friend asked me thirty years ago, right or at peace?

My answer thirty years ago was” right,” I changed my answer in the years to come. The kids will learn that, in time. Or, they won’t. That is entirely up to them. It took me a long time to see it, peace wins for me now, every single time.

We all grow-up, we make mistakes, we fall down, we get up and we fall down again. Children, like adults, learn, from their mistakes. Let them make them.

When our kids went back to school a few days ago my husband and I went right back to eating very simple meals. Scrambled eggs with cheese and toast, pasta with meat sauce, home-made pea soup, chunky with carrots, ham, spices and a salad and french bread. A roasted chicken, rice and freshly cut vegetables with a yogurt dill sauce. After dinner, we often go upstairs, lie on our bed, watch our television set with a small (ok, medium) bowl of ice cream in our hands (with rainbow-colored sprinkles for me) to watch the Jimmy Fallon show from the night before. A simpler life, quieter, we accept what we have, what we can’t change and that’s okay. Love what you have today, understand and accept that you will see your children less, yesterday is gone and we don’t know what the future will bring.

Enjoy the moment. Be Thankful. Breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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# FWF Gratitude, Kellie Elmore

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a bea...

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a beautiful 3.advent dear friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen, Love, Give Thanks

It was my birthday last month, I bought myself a small cup of creamy coffee with a crisp twenty-dollar bill and whispered to the cashier “let others use it up until it runs out” she looked at me with a blank stare. That was a birthday present to myself, the best kind. I felt happy to be able to do a small act of kindness. I walked out grinning. Giving. Joy. Love.

Today is dreary, rainy, and glum. I have turned my loud music off, there is no noise in my room except the ringing in my ears, the sound of my fingertips on the keyboard and airline jets flying overhead in the sky. I imagine they are traveling to exotic places: Bali, Greece, Japan? A couple of newlyweds are on their way to their honeymoon, holding hands and sipping champagne, kissing each others pink lips lightly. I was young once too.

The rest of the next hour is a gift. I have the luxury of peace and I relax on my bed with my sweet red dog, Lexi, wrapped around my legs. Every day has been long, arduous, bringing some medical testing, and waiting for results, a flat tire, silly and stressful things. Finally, Friday, I get results, I can give thanks that all has ended well. I send hope and light to my friend who is also facing challenges, we haven’t talked in years but now we talk daily. Support, Understanding, Old Friends.

I listen to the sound of my breathing and try to slow it down. Inhale slowly, Exhale slowly. The weather is damp and my arms ache with soreness just from raising them, my body is the barometer for all things; fellow patients with Fibromyalgia nod their heads “YES.” We understand when the weather changes before the news weather forecasters have any idea. What a waste of a job, why not just hire us at a fifth of the cost? Many pillows prop me up like a hospital patient, fully clothed, drowned in six comforters for warmth. I try to release pain and tightness from every limb, bone, muscle. I try. It doesn’t work. I’ve accepted that, there is no room in my life to fight. With age there is wisdom, I’m grateful for that.

Maybe I don’t have the highs and joy that we used to have in the past, a gratifying status of being “Mom” with sticky kisses and playing with cars or having tea parties, those days are far gone. But, I did have them once, a long time ago. It is not the good times we had in the past but also not the bad times that may await us in the future. I can’t possibly complain. Yes, my husband was laid off and I haven’t been in the best of health for the last seven years but we are dealing with the situation. A word of advice: Just count your blessings and not your sorrows. Thank G-d, Nature, or Angels, whatever you believe in, that you are alive TODAY. Enjoy today as much as you can because we cannot count on a tomorrow.

Embrace your spouse/partner or friend, child, mom, dad, grandparent and give thanks for what you do have and don’t waste a minute focusing on what you don’t have. Hug your cat or dog, Buy a present for someone you don’t like, maybe there is a reason why they are so cranky, see what happens. Everyone has a story, listen. There is always someone who has it worse than you do.We are relatively healthy, our adult children are coming home for a visit and we will have a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. We give thanks for what we have.

Shhh! Putting The Past To Bed

B.F. and Teddy

B.F. and Teddy (Photo credit: Treehugger)

I’ve had enough of my down, depressing mood, my attitude needs to be adjusted. Now. I felt lonely and sad for a few weeks and yes, I did have reasons. It started with the husband. Let me tell you, women friends, I’ve been married for almost twenty-five years it’s no walk in the park. Contrary to what my single friends think, being married is hard work, it’s not just holding hands and looking lovingly into each others eyes anymore, that was then, this is now.

We know that every marriage goes through phases, blah, blah, blah and that it is normal, it’s hard to go through one of those rough patches when your husband doesn’t “get it” and frankly you know, deep down inside, he never will. Let’s be honest, after 24 and a half years he is not going to suddenly turn into the romantic, powerful guy you picture. He just isn’t. But, he may well be your best friend and companion and if you are sad, lonely and feel betrayed by the family you were born into, he’s got your back. He and your children are your family.

He’s the father of your children (the ones that are practically grown-up now) he was the one that said comically “assume the position” when he offered to give me the infertility shots every night at the same time so I wouldn’t have to do it myself. He dried all my tears, he stood up for me when people were mean to me, and yes, he can get nasty but so can I. We’re getting older TOGETHER, at least we have each other to discuss our fears, our anxieties, we have each other to love. I need to remind myself more and more of the wonderful things I DO have, I’m lucky to have a husband like him, he really is my best friend. I am also blessed with amazing kids, both of them, each one so different, such good, smart, warm and witty young adults.  I hope that they will think I’ve been a good mother, that’s truly important to me.

I didn’t have the most nurturing mother but she still loved me and worried about me, way too much. My father was very supportive and loving but he had his bad side too, who doesn’t? My sister, well, I wouldn’t choose her to be my best friend, we have exact opposite personalities but when we do get along, it’s great and we can talk for hours. It’s nice to have someone who shares my history if not my utter love for the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off one of my all time favorite movies!!! Honestly I think it is one of the greatest movies of all times and she walked out of it. She hated one of my favorite movies. Now we do the opposite of each other, if she loves something I will stay away and vice versa.

I am leaving the past in the past. Forever. I won’t worry about the future, since I have no control over it and I will try to stay in the present, one minute at a time. Appreciate the good things in life, the small moments I can capture in the blink of an eye, a pretty bird with a beautiful song, a bright yellow flower, a cup of coffee with swirling milk. I want to start reading fun books not my depressing ones, and laugh more. Life is too short and way too unpredictable. It can change in a single breath. Please join me and try to enjoy your good times too. Seek them out, you will find them and before long, they will find you.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore, Photo Prompt

the stars around us

long ago i sat under the stars now seems like ive been sittin here under this tree for all my life. all my life cal313030and nothin’s changed.  i sit here in the morning, at night, don’t matter. someone asked me if i was happy, what the hell she mean by happy. i don’t know what happy means no more, can’t feel it, can’t remember it,cant taste  it. but not sure i remember real sad neither. i sit in my chair under my tree, yes in deed that is my tree just watching and listening to the Lord to see if the Lord wants me to come Home or not or if i should just stay on here. im not surprised by nothing, no more.

why should I be? seen too much destruction in my home, too much sadness and pain, you know nothing about me so dont judge me, little boy. what do you think you know, something better? well you dont. i had it all too once, yup, me and my friends who used to live down the street, we all had us some good jobs and on friday nights we would take us out with our gals and we would have us a fine night, eatin dinner out, dancin under the stars and smokey playing the guitar, me on the haermonica. everyone else laughing and drummin, the beer and wine flowed an we didnt care that we was drinkin from paper cups, why that was like china crystal for us, we didnt know better and we didnt care neitther. nothing was more important to us than doing an honest days work, being with family, eating all together with friends and looking at the stars around us. why that was the most beautiful picture of them all.

you dont need a lot of money for beauty, thats what i’m trying to tell u  but a little money, yeah, that does help. I got none now, none, not for lack of trying, but sooner or later you just bury those dreams and give up cuz no one care about you anymore and you feel the same way. i dont care about me no more, i eat whats other peoples leftovers are, i crawl around at night, i cant walk quick no more, but  i can get around with the cane i made myself so i get scraps here an there, i share them sometimes. i dont care about eating, no more tho i used to, have my pots and pans still, little stove. i don’t use them much.

i just sit, waiting, just in case someone visits, i even got an extra chair beside me but i know, it stays empty, and thats just alright, juz fine by me. i had that love once, i dont get   entitled to a second round mized up my life with the wrong people  and too much drinkin. so now i sit alone, i know no one is coming round to see me, i know that chair besides mine is gonna be empty till the day they carry me out from here, stone cold dead.

Carry on Tuesday: Fear not for the future, Weep not for the past

My Grandparents

My Grandparents (Photo credit: protoflux)

“John, you listen up, I’ve been trying to talk to you all morning. Now sit down next to me you old fool and stop teasing me. I’m just having one of my worrying spells. Oh, stop shaking your head back and forth, you old buzzard, you knew I had these spells back when you married me.

What’s it been now, almost 40 years we’ve been together? So long that at night, my breathing slows down to yours, even when that darn snoring of yours wakes me up, why I just push you over and fall back asleep.

We’re old badgers but we’re lucky cause we got grandchildren now.  Stevie’s third child is due in two months, imagine that. Why I still remember when our own babies were born, like it was yesterday. I don’t remember lots of things, but I remember that clear as day. We had two babies running around in those cotton messy diapers, oh my, all the washing and cleaning in the tub.

Do you remember when the kids went to college? Sure, we were proud as can be but I was sad deep down, all the time. I still had their baby photos up all around and I just had to take them down cause they hurt me to see them, all loving and sweet and innocent. I had me a stabbing pain that caught my breath and wouldn’t leave. The kids didn’t seem to need us anymore. All they wanted to do was be with their friends and drink, least that’s what it felt like to me.

We had each other though, so we could talk between us but those weren’t good years. You remember those years? Of course you don’t, you remember nothing. Don’t pinch me old man, I can still laugh at you, I’m your wife, you best remember that.

I do look forward to when the kids visit. Seeing our babies with their babies. People used to tell us how great it was to be Grandparents and they were right. Those grandchildren are pure magic, fat, cuddly babies with sticky faces but I sure hope I’m still alive to see them as teenagers. I’m laughing and shaking my head thinking bout how bad our kids were in their teens and early twenties. Why I’d enjoy our grandchildren acting up to their parents like ours did to us. Wouldn’t you?

How much time left you think we got left, Johnny? Come on what do you think? I know you can’t say for sure, not asking for sure. You KNOW I sometimes think on these things. I got to admit, I’m still a little fearful of the future though I’m not afraid to die. I know you say just don’t think about it but sometimes I  do anyways. I can’t help it. Or what if you die first? I don’t want to sleep in this bed alone and be cold and lonesome. Why, you’d miss me if I was gone too. Who would do your cooking and cleaning up and make the bed look so pretty, just the way you like? I know you wouldn’t say it but I know you’d miss me; I see that little smile there, John, don’t try to hide it.

Now, let’s take each day as it comes, we not look back and weep for it, what good is that gonna do? We had all those times and now our turn is over; it’s time to pass them on to new generations. It’s their turn, let them enjoy it. We’re just jealous is all, because we didn’t appreciate it when we had it and time speeds by us like a quick burst of chilly air.

Take my hand, husband we’re going walk over to our garden now, gonna water the tomatoes, going to pick some of the cucumbers and you can help me with the corn. We’re gonna do it together, old man, and then we’re going to eat dinner, and for dessert I made you your favorite, a blueberry crumble. Why yes I did. We’ll sit on the porch eating our supper, for as long as the good Lord above will let us. I pray that it’s gonna be a really long time.”

Haiku Heights – Conscious

07_08_07 097_moons+stars

07_08_07 097_moons+stars (Photo credit: al_green)

Buying cards, sharp pain

a gasp, I am slumped over.

I forgot he died.

*****

I dip my green eyes

lower to a slice of youth

Smile to escape here.

*****

Let me sleep, I beg

Hide me, deep in my clothing

Until it’s my Time.

*****

Am I Just Too Old?

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I miss the old days. Before computers and messages and Facebook. When people called each other on the telephone, you know the ones that hung from the wall in putrid yellow and green with curly, tangled cords. They conveyed news, good and bad. You were able to preface things with either hesitation if it was bad news or words that conveyed your discomfort. Good news was easy, people could tell by the lilt of your excited voice. It doesn’t happen that way anymore. I found out about a friend’s death on Facebook. FACEBOOK. It’s true, and it says a lot about society at least to old-fashioned me.

I’m not saying we were best friends and that we had lunch together every week but in the old days when I grew up there was a phone chain. At least you could get a phone call from someone who knew someone and there was that one moment of preparation when an unfamiliar voice would ask to speak to you somewhat hesitantly……You got the needling sensation in your stomach that something was just not right and even though you can never really be prepared, at least you had a gut feeling.

I got the message, as others did, in black and white print, in the form of a lovely, well-written memorial (Thank you, Roland in no way is this a criticism of YOU.)  Couldn’t someone have sent a mailing at least to soften the blow? I guess not, that’s not the way society works these day. I should catch up with the future, I’m just not sure if I can.

I’m still in shock. Truly, I can’t grasp that my friend is dead, maybe because I only had a hint that she was sick. I knew she was in pain once when I saw her but I didn’t know from what; everyone has a bad day now and then. Although I sensed something was wrong when she snapped at me once; that was so not like her at all.  It was pure intuition that made me feel something was  off, nothing else.

Reading her eulogy in print has not given me time to acclimate to the news. Her own Facebook page is still up, with her own heavenly smile lighting up her page.  I’m not sure how to deal with this, there is nothing I can do except get used to the idea she is gone. Having no information makes it worse.

I’ve said good-bye to Helen in my heart and I know that’s all I can do. But finding out about someone’s death on Facebook? That’s got to be a new low. At least for me.

How I Am Liking 2011 So Far…..

Happy Valentine's Day Flickrites!

Image by Sister72 via Flickr

I’m Ready For February

 

One step forward, two steps backwards and on and on we go. My husband, after 18 months finally got a job! That was the sweetest day of the new year and he starts next week. Yes, there will be changes, a new schedule, new demands and adjustments but to see the old easy, grin on his face again is worth more than ten times his salary. At the same time because I have a chronic illness (Fibromyalgia) I know I will need to do more and try to handle my pain the best way I know how. It will not be an easy adjustment for me, especially when he travels, but I will find my way. Our children are now 16 and 18 and they are at the ages where we expect them to help us if we need it. They are no longer children and while they may not offer help indiscriminately, they will never say “no.”

The weather in the year 2011 so far has been as bad as the last month in 2010, snowstorms and blizzards every other day at times. This is the winter of our collective discontent when the only thing you could do is stay indoors. Hopefully, we will get a break and Spring will come early this year. (I know, I don’t believe it either!)

Creativity is high on my list not just with writing but I am planning to make a new collage and I haven’t done one in years. The last unfinished collage was on thick black paper with small pieces of broken glass glued to it. Not hard to interpret. My new background will be pink. Friends ask me what it is going to be about or how will it look? I laugh, because I never plan what I am going to write, cut, draw or paste; it puts itself together and I am looking forward to sitting at my old blue folding table and working, surrounded by music.

I’ve learned to define and understand something very important: “Friendship” know who your true friends are and accept what they are able to give you and not expect more of them. In the same vein, I know that family members are not my friends. I’ve worried about my mom’s health, had my own health scares but all is well and I am ready for February. Bring it on! I’ve got my boots on my feet and my brown winter jacket hugging me tight. I’ve learned, little by little, how to ride the waves, whether they are frozen or not.

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The Stranger

Robber Fly sucking the life from it's latest d...

Image by MasterTaker via Flickr

My head is throbbing, my cheeks hurt from congestion, my legs feel like tree trunks. I want to get showered and dressed and hop into the car except I don’t hop anymore nor do I skip. In the best of times it’s hard to even walk, to get up from a seated position, to lower myself from standing to sitting in the car. I’ve been robbed. I have been robbed of my physical, mental and my emotional health by some unknown force like the robber fly as he takes his victim.

In addition to Fibromyalgia and an auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I now have a simple virus or mini-flu which in the best of times makes you feel poorly. But, a virus on top of my other two chronic illnesses makes you feel overwhelmed. I can usually handle the discomfort and pain but not now. Not this time. Is it a flu, a Fibromyalgia -up or a flu on a fibro flare? No one can even tell me what a flare up really feels like or what it does to my body. I don’t really need to know but it would be nice if I could once in a while differentiate my sources of pain. I can’t. I only know that I feel worse, that every step is agony and that I groan going up the steps and down, clutching the banister for support. What has happened to me and who have I become?

I don’t have the energy or the will to get showered, dressed and out the door. Everything I do seems to be an overwhelming task. I cannot remember what it felt like in the past to have such strength and motivation and joy to start a full day. If I can do one errand, get out of the house for one thing in particular, it’s a good day; I have achieved something major.

Fibromyalgia hurts my body, my mind and my feelings. Imagine having a disease that gives you extraordinary pain when half the world is smirking and rolling their eyes and the other half are nodding with tears streaming down their cheeks in empathy. The world, as always, is divided.

I both dread and look forward to my appointments with my Rheumatologist. Sometimes I feel that THIS time he will have the magic answers, most times I can comprehend that there are no miracle cures. I have this chronic illness that will not go away, ever. I am not the same person who used to walk with friends for 3 miles in 45 minutes, who was a size 8, who belonged to a gym with my friend Lisa, who was young and independent.

I was a different person years ago. I worked full-time and drove back and forth to work, made dinner, took care of my child, went to bed fairly late and woke up to the shrill noise of my alarm clock and my husband’s arm nudging me awake. Who was that girl, that young woman? Why did you have to keep her held hostage forever? Why not even a reprieve now and then?

I sit, I wait, I lie down, I avoid the ice, the freezing rain, any chances to fall and break another bone. I lie back against three lumpy pillows and think about dinner or when I will feel able to pick up my prescriptions from the drugstore. I am not who I was yet I don’t recognize myself either.

Who am I? I am lost.

Buying A Purple Shirt While Eating Jelly Beans

This is a picture i took for the Candy article.

Image via Wikipedia

This is the kind of post you want to read on a Monday afternoon when the clouds are all gray and gloomy and it is the start of a brand new week. The orange-green-red leaves on the trees are swaying and they look like they want to cry. I’m thinking about the future and living somewhere else where the sun stays out all day and you don’t have to wear a thick black jacket.  The only perk today is that our house is clean and it looks pretty. There are no cobwebs that I can see and the wood shines like a Pledge commercial. It smells lemony and the beds are made and the sheets are fresh and I am planning to take a hot bath tonight. It’s against house rules to put your dirty body into a brand new made-up bed with sheets and blankets that beckon you and smile.

It’s our friend Christina’s 16th birthday and she looked so sweet and innocent and happy like a shiny polished Macintosh apple. My son drives her to school and back every day along with his sister seated proudly in the front seat. Christina was wearing the soft beige scarf that my daughter gave her for her birthday. Her arms were packed with brownies and oatmeal cookies and chocolate cake that her school friends made for her birthday celebration. Oh to be young, filled with sweetness, innocence and incomparable joy. I see myself in young Christina, all eager and willing to please, her arms outstretched for a big, warm, hug.

I’m listening to music to quell the anxiety that has been plaguing me for the last week. It starts in the late afternoon and escalates until nighttime; my stomach clenches and my legs ache with unbearable pain. My aches and pains stem from stubborn, bossy, Fibromyalgia and sleep comes as a welcome relief.

I’ve taken down all the photographs of my children when they were very young and replaced them with an up-to-date picture of the two of them grinning, their eyes alive with mischief; my son’s arm casually draped around his sister’s shoulders. I had to beg and plead a lot for that one portrait. While I am extremely proud of my children’s independence I have had a few problems lately adjusting to it.  I can’t forget the moment last year when my son said patiently “Mom, High School is one big lie.” It is a message that has been burned into my brain and I think of it often.  I didn’t believe him then but I do now. Apparently, lies are commonplace but I need to force myself to look deeper, for honor, and not compare my past, unhappy and burdened youth to their present, over-indulged happy lives.

I am booking a massage at the local spa, a gift I received for my birthday, and I am looking forward to it. There, I will not think of the last year, tension pressed up against stress like two sweaty lovers: unemployment and illness together as one.  I will fantasize about traveling, seeing the tulips in Holland, a trip to Israel in the spring, perhaps the countryside of Spain. I will picture my loving husband’s face, his hand in mine, playing the punch buggy game in the car and competing in the “I love you more” contest. I will remember that when I asked him for a phrase, another definition for “empty nest” he threw his head back, howled loudly, with glee and in a snap of a second he shouted: “Freedom.” I love him so much in many ways but I especially love him for giving me that.

Dedicated to Danny