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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# 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)

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.