For Just A Night

 

Never before have I gotten so emotionally involved in the world’s problems as I have been these past few months. Sometimes, I read The New York Times, other times I watch the news on television. Now, I panic.

I used to live with my head buried in the sand, not knowing what was going on in the world and that was a delightfully safe place; an artificial place but a comfortable one. On the other hand I have worked myself into such a frenzy now that all I imagine and see are horrible images and bombs and in my mind I’m questioning “but what if….?” That is not healthy for me either.

Thank heavens for The Food Network Channel, my go to place when I need to unwind or if I have watched too much news and can’t settle down. The cheery shows on The

English: Logo for Food Network

English: Logo for Food Network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cooking channel as well bring me entertainment, not that I have learned to cook from either one of them. The only show I refuse to watch is Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown and its element of nastiness and unmasked sarcasm. (See my blog “Cutthroat Kitchen” for that review.)

Today, I am starting off with a smile. I know what is happening in the world, I know there is sadness everywhere but I am trying to focus on my tiny corner of space. My daughter is home, safe from Spain, where she had a wonderful time. My husband is as happy as he can be without being employed but he is healthy and so am I. Tonight, our son is coming home so our family will be together for a few nights.

I really can’t ask for more than that. I appreciate it and I am grateful for it. It happens less and less these days as they are both in their early twenties. It was hard to get used to but even I, mother hen, have grown accustomed to the separation, they know I cry whenever somebody leaves. I have always cried when somebody leaves me. It’s who I am.

Tonight, at dinner, I will watch my family and try to soak up every detail, every single exchange in our own tiny part of the world, for every second it lasts.

For that, I am deeply grateful. I can’t ask for more.


 

Employment Application, 2013

So freaking delicious, from my favorite restau...

So freaking delicious, from my favorite restaurant Le Madeline 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Hiring Manager:

Wanted: Full or Part-time Job involving food, writing or any combination of the two. Traveling with car service a must: ( I have NO sense of direction and that is an understatement)  It is NO joke. It is NOT covered by the ADA but  why isn’t it?  Mode of transportation:  Airlines: Private jet or first class preferable, business class necessary, economy, okay..if I must. Stand by: Been there, done that.

Interests: Food, Special Interest: Dessert, Food TV shows, Favorite all time dessert: Sacher Torte: Original or Fake, German or Austrian or American from Kew Gardens, Queens at the Homestead Gourmet with raspberry jam.I had it every year growing up for my birthday and I miss it. RIP Teddy.

Special Skills: Having traveled (for free) in my childhood I am extremely knowledgeable to rate hotels in addition to their restaurants and room service if you would like me to do that. I do not shy away from extra assignments, in fact, I just offered a very, informative link to the hotel industry. Can someone call ‘The Hilton’s’, please?

Proof of Expertise: Reading my blog, references, and restaurant owners in the area. I wrote a review of “The Flying Pig” for the local newspaper, it is not my fault they closed the restaurant, we still miss it, I assure you. Receipts upon request.

Good Points: Very amicable, charming, an excellent communicator, doesn’t like alcohol. Does not consider sorbet a dessert, perhaps as a palette cleanser and no weird flavors like octopus or lizard. Prefers cakes over pies, ice cream in addition to the cake never in lieu of the cake. Fresh fruit on request, ha ha ha ha ha. For a special occasion our family went out to a fancy restaurant and our daughter, the vegetarian, ordered blueberries and strawberries for $12 or $15 dollars and we said “no.” She was beyond furious even after I offered to make her some at home. Cookies: any time, all the time, but if you don’t want to make them, that’s fine, go to a bakery instead, Just sayin’…

Bad Points: I confess, favorite comfort food is still Kraft American cheese slices on soft bread (not Wonder bread. Anymore.) with light spreadable “butter and a chocolate related drink, this could include hot chocolate, Yoo-Hoo or chocolate egg creams. Diet Pepsi/Coke/Root Beer acceptable too. There are certain food items and beverages that go together well. Something salty would go with this dish, chips, pretzels, nothing special.

Additional Experience: Watching TV shows with my husband on our couch while eating our dessert not to be confused with Pre-D which immediately follows our meal but is a predecessor of the real “D” (which as you may have figured out is: Dessert. Ice Cream, pastry from French bakeries, even an occasional cupcake will do if we have nothing else. (Okay, maybe a Twinkie) and Baklava, yum, (another post on Baklava is also a blog post.)

Market Reach and Development: I need to be the first person or close enough to TRY NEW PRODUCTS, that is a natural field for me, I spy them on the shelves, I immediately buy them. Case in point: “*Candy Cotton Grapes.” I did not stop until I found them, it took 3 stores but I HAD TO HAVE THEM. I excel at wanting, finding and buying new products, my mother said I’ve been like that since I was 5, haven’t stopped. (see the entry “Cotton Candy Grapes” on my blog.

Cooking Skills: I make a mean chicken soup, I can roast a chicken with lemon and love, my baking skills are superb but limited to Banana Bread with the following options (plain, chocolate chip or chocolate chip and raisin) The latter being my son’s absolute favorite and the one thing he actually brags about (and hoards) from his friends.  I can also bake Pumpkin bread with or without raisins (without for my daughter who doesn’t like the texture of raisins and many other things) Oh, I knew I would forget something an award-winning Pea Soup. (Okay not a real award but it deserves one.) I learned how to make Chopped Chicken Liver when I was ten by a neighbor…

Excellent Writing Skills: To summarize the meals, service, attention to detail and I interact beautifully with all levels of  employees. Note:  I believe that you need to be kind to everyone and yes, it’s hard but at least try. Karma is karma, I’m not perfect, neither are you.

Overall summary: Delightful person with excellent communication skills and a love of food (junky or refined), enthusiastic, funny, silly, and a charming dinner companion. This applicant plays no games, she can’t wear high heels because they hurt her feet, although she would try fancier flats if necessary, she is willing to adapt. She has dancing green eyes and brown curly hair and only wears lipstick which her mother has bugged her about for the last two months. She is thinking about being dragged to one of those fancy stores like Nordstrom (which I used to call Nordstrom’s before my daughter corrected me for the 19th time ( with the ever so charming and obvious eye roll to the sky) for a make-over. Plus, I need new clothing too.

This candidate, I can assure you, will never, ever be late. She will always, unless there is a natural disaster, be early because she had/has  European parents and there WAS no other option. She is honest, she can keep secrets and is always reliable.

Take a chance. At the very least, bring her in for an interview.

Pretty please with rainbow sprinkles on top?

Yours truly,

Me.

PS: If you call my friend Maureen she will tell you that at times I do eat pizza with either grape or strawberry jam on top. I do not deny this one bit. In fact, I am proud of it.

True Friendship and Chocolate Cake

Two Rainbows at Dusk in Denmark.

Image via Wikipedia

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