Take Your Hands Off MY Cadbury Chocolate Now !

Stand back. Really. I want my Cadbury chocolate imported from England, the original kind, with milk as the first ingredient not some knock off American kind where the first ingredient listed is sugar.

Maybe it was just a dream. A nightmare that I conjured up during a sweaty night’s sleep because that would be okay, in fact, I would prefer that.  Because I thought I heard people talking about Hershey’s chocolate company,  NOT ALLOWING CADBURY chocolate, from England to cross the waters and enter the United States as it has done for many years. Tell me you are kidding me, Please.

Cadbury's Mini Eggs

Why would you do that. That’s not very good for international relations and I believe we need all the help we can get now. Please consider this because Cadbury in my family and many other families I know, reigns supreme and Easter is approaching quickly. Do you not hear the urgency in my voice when I say “Cadbury Eggs?”

Cadbury Creme Egg

Or those little bite size crunchy kernels of sugar-coated little nuggets which I buy for my children (okay and for myself) every single year?

Hey Hershey’s, what’s up? Are you trying to alienate the world? I, personally will boycott Hershey’s Chocolate if i have to give up on Cadbury chocolate which, I’m sorry, is a superior brand. Face it, it is.

Luckily, my son has friends in the right places, so he will help me collect Cadbury bars and see if we can have at least a tiny supply to ward off our anxiety and sweeten our already disappointed dispositions.

Do NOT toy with our emotional feelings about CHOCOLATE, don’t even think about it.

Let’s see, on one hand you see the colorful, lively representation of Cadbury chocolate, rich, smooth, appealing, milky sweetness. Next, compare it to the American version, whose first ingredient is sugar, not milk, wrapped in a dark, brown wrapper. You choose…
I dare say, President Obama, that during your last days as  Office of the President of the United States, please do something meaningful for our people. Do not deny them the wonderful, silky flavor of a chocolate made from a different country. We need all the help we can get. It’s called diplomacy.
“We the people…beg…to have Cadbury chocolate…without interruption… in our lives, mouths, stomachs….before this Easter. May God Bless.”
Thank you so much for listening. A letter, reassuring me, would be greatly appreciated. A few coupons would be delightful too. God Bless Our Nation, Their Nation too.

 

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12 Years Ago, Tonight

12  years ago, tonight at 10:20 pm my father passed away in a hospital in Connecticut. I was never a big fan of New Year’s Eve to begin with but since this happened, I roll into a little ball

English: Sculpture of a woman in fetal positio...

in my bed and cry on and off.

My dad used to buy me a candle every single year on my birthday, without fail, I’m sure my mom reminded him but it was a tradition. My mom, sister and I still have one or two of his well-worn, soft handkerchiefs that are like prized possessions. Our dad had a shelf where he had 13 types of small different after shave cologne which he would point out to us, often!

What’s worse, for my mom, is that January 1st is/was my parents’ wedding anniversary. We try to give each other support but in essence it’s really our own pain we need to get past. I’m the “crier” in the family or as my husband and son call me “the shrieker.” Good or bad and especially when surprised by something: a bug, a person, a loud noise, I have a natural instinct to be scared easily. My daughter is the same way. Sometimes we shriek at

the surprise of seeing each other.

She’s away on a trip and as much as I am happy she is having a fabulous time, part of me wishes she was home. But, as much as I am a mushy mess, my daughter keeps all her emotions inside, deep, down inside. My expectations of wanting her here are really quite different from what her being here would be like. She does not enjoy my massive display of emotions.

My son is definitely more like me, we understand each other. We can read each others feelings on the phone or the breath before we say “hello” on the telephone. I was like that with my dad. My sister and my mother are completely alike, full of false bravado and unaware of their feelings. Being without my dad for so many years has been a struggle.

The balance has been lost, the person who understood me most, is gone. I’m with two family members that don’t really get me at all, they just say I’m “too sensitive,” never realizing that sensitivity is a good thing and that they might be insensitive. What I’ve learned all these years is that people don’t change.

I will get through tonight, thankfully, NOT going out, eating my American cheese sandwich and drinking chocolate milk, my comfort food. Maybe I’ll have some baked Lays for the crunch factor. For dessert, I pre-ordered two of our favorite home-made jelly doughnuts

from a nearby bakery. My husband and I will toast each other with those doughnuts, in memory of my father. Growing up it was a tradition that we all had jelly doughnuts on New Year’s Eve together. I just found out my husband bought four jelly doughnuts and two black and white cookies, he’s definitely like my dad too.

As sad as I am to have lost him, I am trying (not very successfully) to focus on that deep relationship we had and how much he really did love me. I was his baby girl, he loved me plenty of that I am sure. It just doesn’t help to take away the pain. Nothing does.

 

 

*My dad took me to see Two By Two with Danny Kaye, for years after, with spoons and different glasses of water of varying heights, he would conduct and we would both clink all our glasses after the words “Two By Two.” The last time I tried to do that with him, he was very sick and didn’t want to do that. He had lost his joy and I knew that his end was near.

 

 

 

 

“The Reason”

For you, I will play “The Reason” less often but I will never stop thinking of the look in your big sad, brown eyes after the fight with your dad. You were younger than thirteen, I think. My heart breaks for you every time I hear that song, it reminds me of your hurt and deeply saddened face.

It captures a moment in time, not all moments have to be good, I know you think they should but you will learn later in life that the bad moments teach us things as well. We get past them, we appreciate when they have passed, we learn from them.

I know you don’t like confrontation, except when you delight in starting it, your dad, will run miles to escape anything even slightly confrontational. I’d rather he yelled and screamed but his family brought him up to ” sweep things under the rug.” They don’t fight, they don’t express their feelings, they hide.

I’m so glad you and your sister have parents with different styles but I’m afraid your sister is definitely like dad. She makes dad seem like a beginner; he is emotional compared to her. There are layers and layers of this beautiful young woman and even if I try to delve inside a bit, try being the operative word, she closes up like a clam shell in a matter of seconds.

You and I wear our hearts on our sleeves, but your sister hides her emotions, I think she shows you the most emotion she shows anyone and I am so glad for that. The fact that you and your younger sister are best friends is better than winning the lottery for me, I never had that relationship with my sister. I don’t know what that feels like but I’m sure it feels wonderful. You have a built-in best friend.

When I was pregnant with your sister (or brother at the time) I swore I would do anything and everything to not have the kind of drama and angst that my sister and I have. I am not going to assign specific blame here, part of it was our parents’ fault, part our own. But, in any case, it is not a healthy relationship and seeing you and your sister together makes your dad and I so happy.

Luckily, your two cousins have a close relationship too. The four cousins loving and liking each other is incredible, growing up we had nobody. I take great joy that the cousins have each other and will always have each other. I’m sure my sister feels the same way.

When the grown-ups are gone, I know you, your sister and the cousins will be close, maybe your kids will spread the icing on the cinnamon rolls at Christmas.

We indulged this morning.

We indulged this morning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Certain memories get stuck in our brains for different reasons. Why I reacted so strongly to you sitting in your room, playing that song, I’m not sure but it is one moment I will never forget and I know you know that. Luckily, it was one of the rare sad moments of your life.

I remember more, you’re smiling face, you being the prankster, tricking your gullible mom ALL the time, your enthusiasm for food and your kind and sensitive nature. We know each others’ mood over the phone, the breath before we say “hello.” I’m here for you always, I’m sure you know that but once in a while it’s nice to have a reminder, for both of us, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Magic Madness #31: Apples Dipped In Honey

Recipes Sweet New Year -- Rosh Hashanah  (5773...

For all those who celebrate, I wish you a Healthy, Happy and Sweet New Year.  (For those who don’t celebrate, I do wish you the same.)

Apples

Apples (Photo credit:

עברית: עוגת דבש

עברית: עוגת דבש (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Plinky Prompt: A Gift That Is Bittersweet And Nostalgic. What Is It?

  • An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...

    An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle holder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

    See all answers
    • A bit of nostalgia
    • A candle.

      My father, when he was alive, would buy me one red rose for my birthday every year and a candle each year for Christmas. He died eleven years ago and I still remember how special I felt with those gifts. You would think it would have gotten old but it never did. It was a tradition between a Daddy’s girl and her Dad.
      After he died, not right away, it probably took a year or two, my mom bought me the first candle. I wept out of sentiment and nostalgia. Every since then, my sister, my daughter, my son buy me candles for Mother’s Day or my birthday or for Christmas.
      Each one is bought and given with great love. They know I love candles but I think sometimes they forget why I really love them. They give them to me for the sole purpose to make me happy, I know that, but yet they forget that what made them so special was the relationship I had with my father and as much as I love each candle given to me, it does remind me of my dad who isn’t here. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. I know love never dies, I will always love him, as I know, (and I do believe in messages from beyond) he will always love me too.

    • For others who believe in messages from the beyond, you are not alone and no, you are not crazy.
    • Visit my blog at hibernationnow.wordpress.com for more posts about it. I do believe in signs and
    • have received them. You will too, keep your heart wide open and believe.
    • Tea Rose in North Garden

      Tea Rose in North Garden (Photo credit: bill barber)

Yellow Magic Madness #3 Candle

Candle-flame-and-reflection

Candle-flame-and-reflection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love candles, always did. I used to collect candles when I was young. My father, for many, many years before he died, would buy me a candle every Christmas. It was a tradition. Now, my mom, my sister, even my son have given me candles as presents. Not only do I love them, but it keeps the memory of my father alive. I think it’s sweet that my family is trying to hold on to a tradition I dearly loved.

Stuff I Collect

A selection of seashells, hand-picked from the...

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t collect things like coins or stamps or Mickey Mouse dolls, though I did have a brief flirtation with both foxes and cows and an occasional stuffed animal. Now, the only thing I collect (and I won’t say memories because that is way too sappy) are seashells. I’ve always loved seashells, the beach and the ocean since I was a child. I remember going to the beach, Jones Beach, very early on Sunday mornings, with my friend Micky (now Michal) and her father, Teddy and my parents and sister, Edna (now Emma). They would come over and bring kaiser rolls, you know the ones that have the tiny speckled blue-black seeds on top. I would look at Teddy’s cut roll which was always piled high, with at least an inch of butter on it, if not more. That image has always stuck in my mind. Also, we ate soft-boiled eggs those magical Sundays and while I was brought up, by my European parents, to slice the “head” of the egg with a knife, Teddy always tapped his egg on top with a tiny silver spoon. I remember that image and his face as if it had happened yesterday.

I’ve always loved the beach and the water and it I started way back then, when I was not more than 5 or 6 to walk on the sand and pick up shells. I still have shells from wherever I go, just a few. My most recent shells are from this past trip to Barcelona and the Coast with my husband. I will put them together in a tiny, special, delicate dish and those shells from Spain will remind me of the soothing sun, the glittering green water, my wonderful husband and our amazing vacation.

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Which Would I Give Up? Easter or Halloween Candy?

marshmallow-y rainbow-y, uh, goodness

Image by McBeth via Flickr

Be serious. There is no way I would give up either one, ever. How could one give up Halloween candy, with those miniature size chocolates that we know DON’T count for calories or carbs. They are fun-sized. The choice too, is endless: Whoppers, and 3 Musketeers and candy corn, and Hershey’s nuggets, not to mention Kit Kat bar, Almond Joy, Mounds or Twizzlers. No, these are not going anywhere. Easter candy? You don’t seem to understand that I wait for those Cadbury creme eggs all year-long. I wouldn’t be happy without those yellow peeps either. While I know now that they sell peeps all year round for every different occasion in every color…that doesn’t make me any happier. It’s the thrill of getting them once a year, the fight to find them that made them so very special. Every year, and I admit, I am 54, my mom still gives me 2 Cadbury creme eggs and a box of peeps. I buy them for my own two children. I have introduced people to peeps who (gasp) didn’t know what they were, I have written about Peeps and Cadbury creme eggs. I’m sorry, I can’t play this Plinky game, Easter and Halloween candy are here to stay. If you’re talking giving up spinach or cauliflower, that game I could play. Spinach, out.

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“The Best Thing I Ever Ate” (Food Network-Holiday Edition)

Egg Nog Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

Image by jwannie via Flickr

It’s holiday time and what would the holidays be like without “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” Holiday Edition, on the Food Network. I’ve rounded up some of the holiday favorites that were talked about on the show by various talented chefs.

For one chef, it was spaghetti with seafood and bread crumbs, (clams and mussels, squid, shrimp, sea urchin.)  Another chef”s favorite were butter tarts, starting with a mini pie crust (baked in muffin tins) butter, raisins, and  brown sugar, I think I am drooling.  For another chef it was beet and carrot latkes for Hannukah. As one of the chefs said ” Hannukah has oil,  Cristmas has butter.”  I never knew that there could be non-potato latkes but I would try them if someone made them for me; I can’t promise that my children would. A rack of pork, pork loin roast with ribs, (don’t forget to brine the pork if you know what that means) and add some herbs and honey and serve with a  compote made of apples and pears, mustard and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It looked delicious but everything looks delicious on television.

Another sworn favorite: the seafood cobb salad featured at Nordstrom’s. Yes, the department store. I’m sure its absolutely delicious but the “best thing you ever ate?”  I will have to take a trip to Nordstroms, AFTER the holidays. My opinion only but it’s a salad! Nevertheless, to each, his own. The next favorite first made me groan and then grin. It was a pannini, made in Nashville. I believe  it was called “The Elvis,” but don’t quote me on that. Bacon, peanut butter, banana, parsley and honey, served grilled on sour dough bread. At first it didn’t sound appetizing to me, but it sounds just nutty enough ( pun intended) to be amazing. Apparently the key ingredient is the parsley, who knew?

Duck ragout with home-made pasta, saffron, and a duck egg, is another chef’s favorite and one more: Indian pudding, served warm, using cornmeal instead of flour, molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg and served with vanilla ice cream. I can practically smell the molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg right here at my computer.

My favorite holiday tradition are the foods that bring back happy memories. They are not my favorite foods that I ever ate (look for that in an upcoming blog) but they are steeped in tradition. In our family, Christmas morning begins with scrambled eggs (we fight about how they are made each year, some wanting itsy-bitsy specks of eggs, constantly stirred, others ( like me) prefer the smooth, velvety mounds. Bacon, again, some like it half-cooked and others like it practically burnt. I think the annual arguing, not fighting, is part of the entertainment and a ritual in itself. After the eggs and bacon comes the highlight of every Christmas: Pillsbury’s refrigerated cinnamon rolls, with sweet sugary icing that comes attached in a little plastic cup.

Many years ago, when my sister and I were young, our parents frosted the cinnamon buns. I remember when our parents allowed us to take over. A few years ago (oh dear, it’s probably ten years by now) we passed the tradition down to our kids, “the cousins.” Whether its pork belly or barbeque, waffles or Peking duck,  food and tradition bring families together. For us, the cinnamon rolls and icing are key, not because they are our favorite food but it’s what we remember, together, with great love and fondness, as a family.

The Ugly Side of Karma

Do you know the feeling when some thought, usually a guilty and  bad one,  creeps into your mind but you’re not ready to accept it yet?  It flits in and out and by the time you are ready to accept the thought, grab it,  and call it your own, you’ve pretty much learned the lesson you needed to learn.  The lesson may be learned at that very second, but for me, it’s usually not owned until it has been written and most probably read.

Our whole Christmas vacation in Aruba was first discussed  over a year and a half ago. Times were tough, I had been very sick with numerous illnesses, one after another, for over a year and a half.  Our marriage had been in trouble the whole summer.  My husband and I were miserable both together and alone and I felt betrayed. The key factor that used to hold us together was trust, but I felt that trust was broken. Verbally. At that time,  I remember vividly asking my mother “if this all works out and we can make it through together, do you mind if the four of us go away together over Christmas break?” Knowing what we all were going through, and the fact that the children were very upset,  she reassured me that it would be fine: “You definitely deserve it! ”

That was then, a year ago. After getting through the summer and my husband and I working our problems out, again, I asked my mother if it was still ok. “Yes, she said, definitely.”  What I had forgotten to do and this was totally my mistake was share these plans with my sister which was my fault. We talked and I apologized and she was gracious.

Going to Aruba had been a yearly discussion since my seventeen year old son had been invited a multitude of times to stay with his best friend at his best friend’s grandmother’s house in Aruba. Huge house. Ok, mansion. We  had never seen it but all of my son’s other friends had been there with their families.   Tim was not able to go several times because we all had plans and, I didn’t want Tim to be away without us at Christmas.  It just never felt right.

The tradition of Christmas with a Jewish family is an unusual one. My parents raised us with no religion, other than culturally Jewish, but we celebrated Christmas.   When I was very small I remember having a Christmas tree, ornaments;  Santa Claus, reindeer, the stuff that dreams are made of.  The only real tradition in our family was that we spent it together. It wasn’t easy all the time. People would fight, or act immature, gift-giving and receiving became an angry or sullen event at times, my sister would think we gave too much or not enough but the 4  cousins were together and that, at the time, seemed enough.

It seemed to be enough until 8 years ago when  6  days after Christmas on New Year’s Eve, my dad passed away. It was also the day before my parent’s wedding anniversary on New Year’s Day.    After that, nothing was the same, ever.   Christmas for me, and probably  others was absolutely depressing and horrible.  I wanted to move Christmas to my house but apparently there was no wiggle room for any other alternative.  In my estimation that was a major mistake.

Once my sister and her children went on a cruise paid by our mother but in the end, my mother and brother in law decided not to go. My family stayed behind to be with our mom on Christmas, we didn’t want her to be alone. Surprisingly,  she was furious at our decision.  It was another one of the countless, “we want to be thoughtful and be with you actions” that always seems to blow up in my face and I become the evil one. Part of my life back then. Part of my life when I accepted it. Not anymore. It was a pattern and I tried to crush it with every bone in my body. Progress.

The Fessler, then Fessler-Bernsein, then Fessler-Friedmann  Christmas tradition in our family,  is that we have store-bought, refrigerated cinnamon rolls that come in a tube with  a container of vanilla icing; the best part.  This has been a tradition since my sister and I were children and we finally passed down the tradition of icing the cinnamon buns down to our children many years ago. We also had scrambled eggs and bacon, hard rolls that now have turned to bagels and presents; too many presents or too few, name in a hat, no way. Just for the children? My sister and I were jealous, after all, we were children too. But not having the sound of the Christmas bell ringing in the holiday by my father was key. One can’t replicate a tradition if a big part of the tradition is not alive anymore. But so it went….until this year.

This brings us to the present when we were scheduling our flights, the four of us, to go to Aruba. The grumbling started gaining momentum and soon my mother was hysterical trying to make us cancel it at the last moment and “guilting” us beyond belief. It wasn’t fair to anyone but when feelings are hurt, fairness flies quickly out the window along with the early morning singing doves?

So, we are here in Aruba, having a lovely time, entitled to have a good time after my health problems, our marital problems and now my husband’s unemployment status.  We had paid for the trips many months ago and we decided we did not want to cancel; it had already been paid for.  Our son, Tim,  is staying with his friend Aaron in his grandmother’s mansion and Jillian, Dan and I are staying at the Marriott and enjoying ourselves immensely.  The sun is hot, the breeze is beautiful and the water, my most beloved element, is light blue and sparking. Everything is great here. Except it isn’t.

I miss Tim. I actually am a little upset, sic, hurt, that Tim wants nothing to do with us.  Kind of like my mom probably feels about me? I have no idea.   These are the lessons we are  born to learn the hard way. Tim is probably doing all sorts of things I probably don’t want to know about living in the Bachelor Pad with Aaron, aka “the pool house.”   He stopped by unannounced once with his friend to say hello because his friend’s dad gave them a mini-lecture on how it would be nice to see your family on Christmas Day.

Ouch.    These are the lessons we are  born to learn the hard way.  I do mind that my son is acting invisible, a little arrogant, and very much cool and distant. The irony is not lost on me. His age, 17, is not lost on me  We gave him permission to go and to have fun, not fully thinking that he would,  to the extent of not even sending an e-mail or picking up the local phone to say hello.  It burns and it stings and I feel like a complete idiot. What did I THINK would happen? Well, actually, not this.

We try to teach our children good lessons, life lessons. What have we taught our son about this trip? Yes, we felt he was owed this vacation, yes, my mother said we should go, yes, we love it here in all it’s beauty…….but the truth of the matter is at this moment, I feel like I want to cry. I want to cry as my disappointment as a mom and begrudgingly as a daughter who now feels just the tiniest of guilt.

The Christmas tradition in our family, which is the most traditional thing we do, is that we have store-bought, refrigerated cinnamon rolls that come in a tube. This has been a tradition since my sister and I were children and we have passed down the tradition now to our children who now frost the cinanmon buns.  It really isn’t anything much, the store buns are the same every year, every year we fight about how crispy the bacon should be or how many presents we should buy. But, we’re together and while I love being on vacation, anyplace warm, watching the four cousin  battling over which cinnamon bun to ice and how much wouldn’t be so very bad. We learn from these experiences.  Whatever goes around, comes around, the very definition of karma. It bites.