Mama Can’t Hide

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

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Stuffed Animals

Even when I need a time out from my teenagers or husband or just some alone time, I take the car keys, hop into my car and go. However, there’s no real mystery involved. Everyone in my family knows that if I need to get away, I will end up at Target. I have no true hiding place, they assume that I will be there and they are absolutely right. What is it about Target that makes me feel so good?

I can disappear in many different aisles, I can look at every toothpaste and deodorant that one can buy and there are hundreds of choices. I can look for inexpensive clothing or books, art supplies or Halloween candy. I can pretend I have a five-year old and look at stuffed animals even though I am always tempted to buy one for myself. I can buy trash magazines or just read them while I am waiting on-line. I can even have a cup of Starbucks coffee. Who could ask for more than that? In our Target store there is a Starbucks mini-store; I’m not convinced that the coffee is just as strong as the original Starbucks but it is reassuring to me that it’s there and available. At Starbucks I can also get my latest passion which is the Pumpkin Spice (skim) Latte, limited edition of course.

When I walk through the aisles I see things that I can’t imagine I have lived without before. The new Swifter combo package? A must have. Shampoo and conditioner as a value pack? We all need to wash our hair and it MUST be less costly if they are packaged together!  I buy birthday cards in advance and usually misplace them right before a birthday card is needed so I go back and buy some more.

I disappear in the arts and craft section buying pens and sketch notepads.  I love pens and flashlights and Raisinettes. There are some things you need to keep with you in case of an emergency. Rasinettes are my safety item.

While I may not be able to hide from my family, it’s still fun to be away and close enough just in case they need me.

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The Incredible Shrinking Sensa Lady

Cover to The Giving Tree, depicting the tree g...

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Every time I see the commercial for the  incredible shrinking “Sensa” lady on my computer I get agitated. I am like a 5-year-old child that wants to growl. I am Max of Where The Wild Things Are. I am a roaring lioness protecting her young. This stupid Sensa lady appears every day, first she is full-size (and there is nothing wrong with that) and then she diminishes on my computer to become a very skinny (too skinny) cartoon shadow of herself. The commercial comes on practically every time I turn on my computer and I want her to go away. Or gain weight. Or, most importantly, be happy with who she is without shrinking to a skeleton. I want to see her eating chocolate truffles, and fettuccine alfredo with garlic bread dripping with mozzarella cheese. I want to see her with a date, a lover, a friend, a husband, anyone. It’s time for “Single Shrinking Sensa Lady” to hit the road.

I googled “Sensa” and all I could find out is that it is something you sprinkle on food and, allegedly, you feel full faster, but don’t quote me. If it works for you, that’s fine. I am not judging the product because I don’t know it. (maybe I’m judging just a teeny tiny bit?) I’m sure you would get the same results without using the sprinkles and just using a smaller plate!   Brand recognition? Sensa, you win!  I recognize the product each and every time, but it doesn’t in any way make me want to buy the product, it just makes me groan out loud and roll my eyes. Wouldn’t that be negative brand recognition?

As one gets older your body changes naturally. There is not much you can do about it and really, why stress about it so  much. Try to be healthy but don’t hit yourself over the head if you have a slice of warm apple pie.  Life is short, enjoy it. As that great movie with America Ferrara says”Real Women Have Curves.” I’m happy with myself, you can be too. Feel beautiful for who you are not what you weigh. Weight gain, weight loss, isn’t it time we get over it already? Be comfortable in your own skin, be healthy, eat whatever you want in moderation and take a walk; maybe even try to walk a little more every day. Do what you can.

I am no Jillian Michaels (and  heaven forbid, I don’t want to be.) I don’t think people need abs like cement bricks nor do I think they have to be tortured if they don’t lose enough weight in a week (I know it’s a television show called The Biggest Loser, but still……)  Jillian, please stop screaming so much. People are trying as hard as they can; if I was at “The Ranch” your screaming would make me gain weight for the emotional stress you were putting me through. How about a nicer, softer Jillian..oh wait, his name is Bob. Tone it down a little, no tone it down a lot (and I don’t mean in a weight loss way).  Yell at me, bitch, just try. I am comfortable with my body and myself. I am not skinny, I’m closer to chubby, ok, full disclosure; I AM chubby and I am fine with it. Enjoy life, think things through, have dessert, have a big heart and give back to others. Read and reread The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Success is not always measured in pounds, it’s also measured in pride.

True Friendship and Chocolate Cake

Two Rainbows at Dusk in Denmark.

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I’ve gotten notes from friends far away saying “I don’t want to read  that you are in pain” when they read SOME of my blog posts. When words strike an already high-wired nerve, I have to respond. I am a woman with Fibromyalglia; Fibromyalgia does not define me. It is part of my life and it has taken a long time for me to accept it but I do. You should too. It is only a part of my life just like food and television and good friendships and my amazing family. I write about all these things.

When I am in pain, I write out my feelings which, I think, everyone in the chronic pain community understands. To the people who read my blog and don’t share a chronic illness, let me explain: when I write these things down, I am trying to heal a little piece of myself. I do not write them for sympathy or for you to feel bad. I write about all my feelings, all the different parts of my life: like having teenagers or hiding orange cupcakes in my room or my sweet, aging dog. I’m sorry if you are feeling uncomfortable about my pain and I’m sure you wish I had less of it but that is not something I can control.

When something funny happens or I fall in love with a cooking show about “Desserts” or “Chocolate” or a delicious/horrendous meal that I have had, I write about that too. A new, dear friend I met on Facebook wrote: “you sure do like to talk about food” as we discussed dinner and I made her describe the chicken and dumplings she made in great detail (hint: buy Bisquik.) I complain about the boring lentil soup I have made and she tells me which spices to add. We both have chronic, autoimmune illnesses but we don’t focus on that. Our chronic diseases are a given. Life goes on and we with it.

I see photos of her beautiful garden with red, ripe delicious tomatoes stretching towards the sun and  bright yellow ears of corn I want to bite into. I see her huge, beaming sunflowers on the side of her house and I am in awe of nature and it’s beauty and my friend’s talent. I taunt her with my (as she calls it “disgusting”) food combinations; pizza with jelly, tuna salad sandwich combined with peanut butter and jelly ( I only did that once) and all things edible. I tease her about her “texture” issues with food, anything “squishy” is unacceptable! Once in a while I will interject a questionable squishy food into a totally unrelated conversation: “raisinettes?” “shrimp?” and she understands what I mean and we laugh.

My evenings are brighter after we talk. This is a friend that has been more protective of me and more supportive than the “best friend” I had for thirty-five years. This is a friend I have made without meeting and if I never meet her, we will still be friends. It begs to ask the question: how do you define friendship? It’s given me a lot to think about. Friendships on Facebook with a common interest are special, we bond about something we have in common and in most cases (except one horrible group I was in) without judgment. Period. We don’t care about how much money people have or what religion they are or if they have a job.  Be wary of a group that say they support everybody with pain and yet they discriminate and cause extreme pain to others who might not “fit in” to their exclusive or religious group. In the other wonderful chronic pain groups, we don’t emphasize anything except friendship and empathy, nothing else matters (if you need suggestions, write me.)

See me, please, as a whole person and if you feel uncomfortable about the days I blog about pain, please don’t tell me not to write about them; you could just say you are sorry that I am in pain and that you are thinking good thoughts for me. Our illnesses are part of our lives, but most of us try not to let them define us. It’s what we have to do.

Dedicated to Katie

*SWEET! ( A Foodie Blog )

Nutella, mon amour!

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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.