Cookies? Check. Ice Cream? Check. Impulse Items? Check.

WELCOME HOME

 

I haven’t had the energy to go grocery shopping (something I hold near and dear to my heart) since early Spring. I’ve had all my illnesses flare up at the same time: Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Syncopy, Fainting and Crashing, No Energy etc. For me? A tragic loss. For the supermarket? A major deficit. I’m not joking (as most of my readers will tell you) I LOVE FOOD, good food, strange food, NEW food and products. I will always look at every item on the shelves to see if I can spot any new items. I always can and I always buy them. I have no idea what the photo below is showing but that is a product I would definitely buy and eat, wouldn’t you?

Fastelavnsboller

Fastelavnsboller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband came along for this trip just to see if I could physically make it but once we were in the store I shot out with my carriage grinning wickedly. I don’t need a list nor do I want one. This is my home. I look at every item in every aisle and I know what I need, want or have to have for that week.

I knew it was a mistake NOT to go into marketing after I graduated college. I am the one to pick out the next new product, the new sensation, the new flavor, I’m a marketer’s taste test dream. Is it too late? I am at my prime, have your people twitter my people.

My mom says I have been like this since I’ve been five years old. I haven’t outgrown it and am proud to say my children, have inherited this hobby too. Even now, in their twenties, they love to go shopping with their mom.

For a while when I was younger (no, I’m not kidding) my then boyfriend, now husband, watched a show called Supermarket Sweep. We watched the original show every single night when it first came on. We toyed with the idea of getting married in a supermarket but somehow never went through with it; I regret that.

Stew Leonard’s is a great place to shop and fun too. I bet they would help if we could talk my (un) romantic husband into the idea. Right near the mooing cow! Don’t get me too excited, please.

Stew Leonard's

Stew Leonard’s (Photo credit: JeepersMedia)

Anyway, I bought: (New Product) lemon ice cream with mashed lemon cookies inside,huge, soft oatmeal raisin cookies (new brand) some new kind of skinny-ish popcorn for when you need something slightly salty but not fatty while you are watching a movie at home.

 

Also, I am now taking a new medication for my fainting spells, the fancy name is Syncopy also: Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Narrow Angled Glaucoma, Eppiglottitis, IBS,  and others. I now have to have breakfast. I bought apple, blueberry and strawberry breakfast bars. This is the first time in all my life that I have eaten breakfast, my mom will be so pleased.

Usually, it’s just that steaming cup of coffee in my white Starbucks mug with half and half and one sweetener. I look forward to the smell and the first sip every single morning.

After that, I just go on with the boring details of my day. If I don’t feel the need to nap, I feel it is a personal triumph. Then our dinner conversation begins around 4pm. What shall we cook?  It doesn’t really matter, last night we had hot dogs, baked beans, and broccoli, the night before pizza but they are all precursors to the most important part of any meal: dessert. The lemon ice cream dessert:

Lemon

I dipped my spoon, my little spoon, into that new lemon ice cream, slowly, tasted a small bite, let it linger on my tongue and swallowed slowly, making sure I had a cookie bite with the ice cream. I was hoping for a dance sensation in my mouth or as my husband and I used to say “I hope it dances.” Did it? Oh yes. After half a cup of delicious lemon ice cream with bits of lemon cookies, I have found a new love. It’s so nice to be in love again, I feel tingly all over.

 

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F Is For Food, T Is For Tuna

When I have nothing else to do, I think about food. I always think about food. Some would say that its my downfall but others who know me well would say its my savior. I love food, all types and even though I used to be scared to try new foods I am getting so much better except for icky textural issues.

I will not eat raw oysters and slurp them down my throat. The mere thought of doing that makes me want to gag so no, I stick tight to being inflexible. I would say “Not for a million dollars” but to me, a million dollars is a lot of money so I could be bribed, potentially. Sushi, raw, same reaction, it’s the slippery texture that I can’t seem to get by though I have tasted it in tiny bits a few times. Not my style, at all. Chicken teriyaki and rice please, I am not ashamed.

raw oysters @ Sway

raw oysters @ Sway (Photo credit: dionhinchcliffe)

I am proud to say I do eat mild fish now which was a big leap of faith for me, I never ate any fish except tuna fish that came out of a can (which to me was totally unrelated to real tuna.)  Yes, I did have a real disconnect but it worked for all the years I didn’t put it together. Tuna and tuna were very different, one was for a sandwich with mayo and the other one was disgusting. I know, I know. I’m a little slow.

I know I am fussy and crazy but I have tuna-approved places like the diner in the next town where I regularly order it. It’s perfect, not too mushy, not chunky at all, the right amount of mayo. It is a tuna-approved lunch place. If it looks, smells or resembles dark cat food it is not for me. That is why I have

7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat

7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat (Photo credit: Wolfgang Lonien)

friends and family to order things first and I will taste it and decide later if it is okay to order next time. (Except for Sarah my bff who will not share her food, not even a bite but that’s okay.)

Another place in town sells “Spa Tuna” with apples and raisins and just a hint of mayo that is wonderful as well. I will not eat tuna in an unknown diner or restaurant, I stick with safe foods like scrambled eggs or a ham and cheese sandwich or soup. An adventurer I am not.

Beverages, to me, have to fit the food. For example: a tuna sandwich goes well with either a Diet Coke or Coke or hot chocolate. Period. Never would I drink orange juice or water with it, it needs the sweet balance. Likewise, I have to force myself to drink plain water to keep hydrated, so my kidneys don’t flop and fail on me instantaneously. I add lemon or lime juice to the water to pretend it isn’t water at all. Epic fail.

Growing up we never drank water. It was Hawaiian Punch or Lemonade or Grape Juice or other sweet beverages. But, water? Never. Luckily, my daughter drinks a lot of water but not my son. He also doesn’t drink enough water either but he does drink organic fruit juice which is better than nothing.

When you have no control over anything in your life you either lose control or you need to have control over something. For me, it’s food. In the beginning I wanted to lose weight and I did, I also kept it off. After that, I got into a major dessert phase where I needed a good, yummy dessert every single night.

Phish Food

Phish Food (Photo credit: Vanessa (EY))

I am trying to pull back from that now because I feel I am getting hooked ( HA HA I know I’m hooked) on sugar. So I am down-sizing my dessert (sigh) and will only have them intermittently. I will miss you jelly doughnuts, Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, and Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Cake. Not to mention you my darling Orange Hostess Cupcakes…I have a whole blog post just about you!

I’m not making promises on how much I can deny myself dessert. I will try having less. I made banana bread yesterday with raisins, funny how that does not appeal to me at all. I will try, that’s all I’m saying…

 

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A LOVE LETTER To Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Pound Cake

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterbor...

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterborough, UK. A typical sales area in a Starbucks coffeehouse. Showing the till, preparation areas and sales displays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Starbucks,

I love you. To pieces. Well, to pieces of iced lemon pound cake. On this I swear.

I read that Starbucks got rid of a few of its very popular items, but not for long; there were many customer complaints. One of the items they said good-bye to was one of my favorites, the iced lemon pound cake. Gone, Adios. Bye-bye. WHAT?

Yes, you heard me, it vanished from the clean see-through shelves of your local Starbucks’ establishment. Horrors. Excuse me?  MY FAVORITE ICED LEMON POUND CAKE FROM STARBUCKS WAS TAKEN OFF THE MARKET? DEAR GOD, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

I assumed that since my husband and I have been on a strict budget and we don’t have the money to buy anything special like Starbucks coffee everything was still the same. In the very infrequent times that I did treat myself to a latte it was probably in the afternoon when I just assumed they were out of stock of my all-time favorite, deliciously iced lemon pound cake.Yes, I am salivating.

The winter was so LONG and hard that I didn’t go out much, having Fibromyalgia it’s hard enough to get out of bed not to mention get dressed and go out, imbalanced in the snow and ice.  Sometimes “ignorance is bliss.” I didn’t miss my tangy and sweet pound cake because I didn’t know it was gone.

But, there are times when mistakes have been made and corrected without a fuss (not often, I know.) I have to give it to Starbucks, not many companies listen to their customers and right a wrong. YOU ROCK!! I am proud of your establishment and I am saving up money. I don’t know exactly when the lemon pound cake will be coming back but I will be on-line to buy it with a latte just to make me feel good and to give myself a treat. A company that actually LISTENS to their customers and wants their customers to be happy? THANK YOU.

Having not thought about the yummy sweet/tart lemon cake, you know what happens to me. I NEED It NOW. I may have to visit my local Starbucks immediately and ask when exactly it is coming back, date/time/place. I will be there, I promise. Thank you, Starbucks for everything that you do, I would work for you anytime especially if I got a discount on dessert.

My confession: I’m a slut for sour and sweet desserts. Oh fine, I’m a slut for desserts.

For those of you who bake ( and bake well) I’ve LEARNED OF a very good substitute from the delicious Ina Garten. It’s a little too advanced for me. She has a wonderful recipe for a lemon pound cake:

For those like me, who are not advanced bakers come join me. You will find me on-line at the nearest Starbucks, waiting, patiently and with LOVE.

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The Measure Of Time

English: Woman undergoing a mammogram of the r...

English: Woman undergoing a mammogram of the right breast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people measure how quickly time goes by with the start of a new year, January 1st, others by  their birthday, or the start of school. I measure how quickly the year goes by at my annual mammogram appointment, where I sit in that same musty, intolerable room, sweating with the other women, waiting for our names to be called.

I am not the measure of confidence, breezy, smiling with designer shoes and handbag when I go in but I admire the women who seem to be that way. Count me out. I go, this time with soft, well-worn gray pants, and a loose striped shirt, my hair in two short pig-tails to get it away from my face, my face showing fear and anxiety. The day before this I had a grueling day at The Balance Center so I thought, perhaps, I could catch a break today. Yeah, right.

They call my name rather quickly and for that I am grateful, I have a friendly technician who realizes I have lost weight, by the size of my breasts? Whatever. She finishes the films and I sit down and wait for my name to be called, imagining my relieved smile, walking out the door, perhaps celebrating with a pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks. No such luck.

After waiting another fifteen minutes, they call my name again and I proceed to the doctor but unfortunately that is not where they want me to go. Another technician tells me the doctor wants a repeat of some of the films, actually of my right breast and my heart plummets to my feet. I feel weak so I try to hang on to the bar on top of the machine and I try to ask  the technician questions but she gives me no answers. I am already trying to accept my fate and think of myself categorically planning the next step. Why me? Why not me? No one is exempt from this horrible disease, I don’t have any lucky charm or special karma, it’s really a number’s game, isn’t it?

The free pink pens and pink peppermints on the table don’t do much to help my nerves or anyone else’s, I don’t see many people taking the free samples. I take a pen and pop a peppermint in my mouth for the sugar. After another twenty minutes, yet again, a different technician calls my name and I steel myself for the news of the radiologist good or bad, I will be strong, I will cope, not that I have a choice.

Instead of seeing the radiologist, this technician whisks me into the ultra-sound room and focuses heavily on my right breast. I’m not an idiot, the doctor wanted extra pictures of my right breast and the technician is spending 80 percent of her time trying to get clear pictures of my right breast. I timidly ask politely from the technician if there is anything she can tell me. Cool as a cucumber, she says, somewhat haughtily, “the doctor will tell you the results” she looks like she’s 15 and I know it’s her job but again, patient sensitivity is sorely lacking.

She tells me NOT to get dressed (not a good sign, I think) and she will show this to the doctor. I get dressed anyway. After ten minutes she comes in and says she will take me to the doctor. I don’t remember walking there, I just remember being there. Inside a jovial sounding man who I can now image only as Owen Hunt from “Grey’s Anatomy” says “take a seat.” I remain standing because I cannot move. He said ‘you’re fine.” “What?” I ask? He repeats  in a casual, breezy tone, ” you’re fine.” I find my voice and say “what about all the extra pictures and the ultra sound and the emphasis on the right breast?” He leans back in his chair and laughs, “Oh, you have a lymph node there but you’ve had the same one for the last ten years, nothing to worry about. Come on now, not even a smile?” I just stare. Once again, he asks “can I just have one smile before you leave?” I turn my back, and walk quietly out the door.

I’m still in shock but I am grateful.

Fall, No, Autumn

Late summer

Late summer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Autumn just sounds so much lovelier than Fall, doesn’t it? Autumn is my first cup of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte that I treated myself to today, it’s the addition of an extra cotton sweater tied around my waist, recycling an old handbag from the closet to get rid of that “summer bag.”Autumn is the name of a friend’s beautiful daughter, with her glossy, red hair and her bright, shiny, smile that I have seen in photographs. As much as I hate winter (and I do) when I think of Autumn, I can only smile.

I’m trying to stay in the moment instead of jumping seasons like I usually do. I may like Autumn but I don’t like what follows; Winter devastates me. Physically, everything hurts more, my joints and muscles cringe as if attacked, my body always feels cold no matter how many thick layers I have on, my low energy level plummets even lower. It is an accomplishment just to get out from the warm down comforter in the morning. I am going to have to take it day by day and not anticipate a problem. Maybe we will have another mild winter…

I’m looking forward to the changing leaves, dancing in the sun like a ballet performance, skipping back and forth on the stage. Hues of orange, gold, red, yellow, earth tones that make me want to slip in to nature like a groundhog. When my children were very young, they played in the leaves and covered themselves with the dancing leaves in a huge pile, my husband and I took photographs of them one year and used one as a Holiday card. I can still remember what it looked like.

Summer is slipping away, slowly into the night. We had a few extra days of sunshine and water when we vacationed together in Narragansett, Rhode Island, a beautiful place to visit. It ended the summer with wonderful memories of fresh blueberry scones and inexpensive lobster rolls and Brickley’s ginger ice-cream eaten ever so slowly so that it would last a long time.

I dread the winter and I am trying not to, I am trying to think of things that I can look forward to this winter but none come to mind. Perhaps I will pick up reading that I have completely dropped this summer, I have many dusty books on the shelves to read. I will make my fabulous pea soup that is heavenly and I will learn a few new recipes to add to my old classics. I will learn to bake a few more things too. I will volunteer somewhere or do something for others and give back to my community in some way and instead of dreading the upcoming winter storms I will feel grateful that I am alive to be going through them.

Plinky Prompt: Do you need coffee to wake up in the morning?

  • Coffee Is My Life
    Starbucks VIA I practically need coffee, triple strength, IV’d into my blood stream each and every morning. If I don’t feel like having coffee than I am terribly sick and need to go to the doctor, seriously. The only time I don’t want coffee is when I am ill and then I will drink tea with milk and sugar. Tea with milk and sugar for me equals illness. My husband and I use triple the amount of coffee that most people use for one mug of coffee; it’s Starbucks strength, bold, not necessarily the brand (only when we can afford it/ as a special treat) but the taste. We have used Bustello, Espresso, Melita and all kinds of coffee, the stronger it is, the better. When we travel we bring Starbucks’ Via packets along (and no, I do not work for Starbucks) to strengthen any weaker (and it’s all weaker) coffee we are served. Via packets (a brilliant invention, I might add) are singular packets of Starbucks coffee to add and strengthen whatever coffee you have ordered. Let’s face it, if you travel and you don’t know where the strong coffee is, it’s always handy to travel with Via. (I think Starbucks should compensate me for that, don’t you think?)

Mama Can’t Hide

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

Image via Wikipedia

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.

My Favorite Place to Read and Write

Starbucks Mug

Image by Schtumple via Flickr

I Don’t Have To Go Far….

Sigh. My BED. Lying down on my stomach, sideways, across the bed is my favorite place to read and write. It is really an uncomfortable position for anyone who has Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain like I do but I continue to do it. It helps me think. My elbow joints are always tender and they throb in pain and I do know it’s partly my fault but it probably won’t change my guilty habit unless I am forced to medically. My other place on my bed is using a 1970’s brown cushion pillow with back support that I have had since college. It’s true, I still use it and it has those silly arms and it looks horrible, but it still feels good. We refer to it, at home, as “the brown thing.”  My husband insists it’s called a television pillow. Okay.

I have gone to the library on many occasions to write but got distracted by the silence. Since our kitchen is being demolished soon so we can renovate it,  my peaceful haven on my bed will be unthinkable for two months. I will be surrounded by dust and noise, LOUD noise, and there will be no relief at home. That is when I will head back to the library because I will be seeking the silence that troubled me before.

However, I am determined to bring my computer to Starbucks next week to see if I get inspired. It’s a good excuse to people-watch and treat myself to a nice cup of coffee in a mug instead of the take-away paper kind. I have a feeling I will be surrounded by young moms and toddlers, I was young once and did that too. It’s worth a shot. Perhaps a double.

P.S.I’m not thrilled that my favorite reading and especially writing spot is my bed but it does come in handy during those long, arduous, winter months.

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I’m Sorry, Birdies

Cardinal

Dear Birds Right Outside My Bedroom Window,

I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize for muttering bad words and complaining about your recent happy chirping while I was desperately trying to get more sleep at 5:30 AM. How dare I complain when I feed you and encourage you to visit?

I love watching all my birds but a special apology and shout out go to the “Cardinal Family” who brighten each day with their flashes of red beauty across a white sky. I feel especially guilty because you KNOW I always welcome you with great love and joy. I always smile when you come and I listen joyfully to your songs and I watch you feed each other; you are a blessing of nature. Again, I am so sorry; please forgive this one mishap. I feel bad enough, believe me. Those who really know me will tell you how sincere I am. If you would like, references are available on request.

Since this happened a few days ago I have been wracked with guilt. There was no reason for me to take my grouchiness and lack of a good night’s sleep out on you. No excuses. Your songs were beautiful, as always, and I know you were just talking to each other and singing and you have every right to do that. Even though my cranky rant was muttered into my pillow, I know you heard me. I am a disgrace to human kind.

I see the bird feeder is running a little low on your favorite black sunflower seeds. For my punishment, I will drag my lazy behind from the bed to the outdoor shed and refill it immediately. I’m sorry that you don’t like me wasting seeds by throwing them on the grass for the squirrels, but they are my friends too. We all need to share and you know they can’t reach YOUR bird feeder anymore.

Rest assured birdies (and no pun was intended) I will not complain again. Instead, I will try to enjoy the (um, early) day and I will sit down at the kitchen table with my extra-strong mug of espresso/Starbucks mix and I will raise my cup to thank you for all the good times we have shared.

Your Friend,

Hibernationnow

The Letter

Thomas the Tank Engine depicted in the TV Series

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Kate,

It’s been a long time since we last talked or wrote each other. How are you? I have a feeling I know. I can’t believe our boys are graduating from High School in four weeks.  It doesn’t matter that so many miles and so many years have passed by. We still have the memories, the boys still have a connection and so do we. As I grow older I realize that there are many types of friendships on so many levels and they are all different and good.

Right now, I am stuck in between pride and delight and loss and simple sadness.  It seems like it was yesterday that our two boys, mine with his dark brown hair and yours with his light blond hair were playing in the sandbox together and sipping apple juice from juice box containers, tilting their heads back and drinking from the tiny spout without the straw. Our whole family called it the “Nick” way for many years; it made quite an impression! I can still see us watching our children together, sitting at a picnic bench, side by side, while they dug in the heavy, beige sand. Now, our sons are graduating High School and heading soon, after the summer, to college.

Wasn’t it yesterday, Katie, that I was cradling my newborn son in my arms, his head snuggling against my shoulder, the sweet, milky, powdery smell of baby? Trying to remember the smell is virtually impossible. Even back then, when I breathed it in daily, hourly, every second of the night and day, I wanted to bottle it, especially for nostalgic times like these.

Adam is going to the prom in less than a week with his girlfriend. The word “girlfriend” does not roll off my tongue naturally yet, because the word was always forbidden in the house…that is, until a few months ago. It makes me happy to see Adam and his girlfriend together, and it makes me sad, for them, that they will be saying goodbye to each other very soon. But, that’s how life works. This is all so new to him and I can’t protect him from pain any more now than I could protect him once he was properly suited up when he played football in the early years. Our children need to work things out and learn by themselves, they will need to grow up on their own.

I am trying to prepare myself for the quiet stillness of the house without Adam here at home. Julia, my beautiful blond 16 and a half year old “baby”, has only one more year left of High-School and then she too, graduates. It’s all a bit overwhelming, it feels like the powerful ride of the dark-green ocean waves with no rest in-between. When Julia graduates from High-School and is in college I can imagine that this tiny house, our family home will seem cavernous. We cannot imagine the silence creeping into our house like moths, flapping their fragile wings without a sound.

I wonder if we will miss the kids’  booming voices, the fighting, the shrieks, and their clothes all over their floors. I am sure we will at first. I imagine this whole, new experience summed up in a word: “bitter-sweet” some happy, some sad, like the strong branches with delicate red berries growing on them.

I still carry the picture in my mind of the boys playing with smiling Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends. How we built bridges and tunnels with wooden Brio pieces time and time again. Thomas and his Friends and tracks and the Conductor are still somewhere in my mildewy basement; I could not say good-bye to them too.

Love, Jane