Living With Sweet Denial

I refuse to believe that in the next few days snow is in the forecast. Yes, I am in the ultimate denial stage. I’ve heard from multiple sources that the temperature is going to drop quickly and that the predicted heavy rain will fall and turn into snow. Yes, SNOW.

I am not going to believe it nor will I think about it.  Instead I am going to live in my world of fantasy for a few minutes, at least, and dream or reminisce about something nice that happened in my past. Let’s see how long I last with this new coping technique…

I once went on a trip to visit my grandparents with my dad in Vienna, Austria. ( Remember we always had free airline tickets.) Do I remember the time I spent with my grandparents? Honestly, no.I remember that my Opa was grumpy but he did love me best and Oma made incredible, moist schnitzel, the best I’ve had in my entire life. Naturally, I remembered food. I also remembered the desserts that my dad and I shared. Both of us had the worst sweet addiction in the world.

I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night but I do remember desserts I have had when I was a teenager. On that trip to Vienna we had a red currant pie that when you took a bite the currants would explode in your mouth. I’ve looked, searching for something similar now for forty years. The other dessert we called “The Swan” filled with vanilla cream, a delicate white meringue, shaped into a swan, covered in aluminum to take home.

Roasted pear creme brulee tart.

Many years later we would look at each other and just say..”remember the swan?” My father is long deceased but when I think of these moments that we shared together they make me feel close to him.  I have not disappointed him in my pursuit of sweets. In fact, I have carried that trait on to my now grown-up children.

My daughter is a chocolate fan, definitely inherited from her dad’s side of the family. It’s chocolate, dark chocolate and nothing else. It could be ice cream or cake but it has to be chocolate, once in a while they will have coffee mixed in but that’s all.

Ah, but my son comes from my side of the family with the love of fruit, custard tarts, crème brûlée and all things vanilla. Sure, we won’t turn down a brownie but our main focus is definitely NOT on chocolate, just the opposite. We like pear tarts and apple crumbles, strawberry fruit tarts with vanilla custard, blueberry pies and for me, anything with coconut or lemon.

Dessert makes a sad day or a bad day happier. It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to be a large serving but in our family it does indeed have to exist. My husband and I, since the kids are in college, have a new ritual in the evening: after dinner and cleaning up, working/writing for a while around 8:30 we start to watch television on our bed. Our dog, Lexi is always at our feet. A half hour goes by and instinctively we look at each other and smile.

We know by our stomachs, not a clock, that it is time for dessert. My husband goes down to the kitchen and prepares two small bowls of ice cream, frozen yogurt or a combination, maybe a cookie with it and a few M & M’s. I think we both get the same amount of pleasure from it, I am thrilled with the anticipation and he is thrilled that he is doing something so incredibly kind and I appreciate it. (Not to mention the fact that we are about to have “D” the nickname for dessert in our house.)

We continue watching our show, we eat our desserts slowly (well, I do) and that makes the world a little brighter. Compared to some people it’s not a big deal but for us it’s not only  enough, it’s heavenly sweet.

In memory of my dad.

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In Search Of Purpose And Key Lime Pie

I’m a foodie and a true dessert lover. Last week I salivated every night while eating huge helpings of chocolate mousse cake with a hint of raspberry jam and thick fudge frosting. My new obsession is finding key lime pie. I’m dying for key lime pie. Why is it that I have not yet found a dessert I don’t adore? I’m strongly anticipating the “Sunday only” jelly doughnut, an almost weekly tradition…

I’m not a full-fledged foodie because I’m fussy about fish: I am a salmon-hater, the strong smell, the nasty taste, I wish I liked it for health reasons but I haven’t found a recipe that can disguise the flavor so I can even take a bite. I can’t get near the fish. ( I still blame Susie K. for forcing me to eat that horrid salmon mousse and telling me it was tuna.) Tonight’s dinner consists of homemade Nona’s meatballs and homemade tomato sauce. I forgot to buy the thick, crusty, multi-grain bread to rip apart and dunk in good olive oil. I’m too tired now to run out and buy it. But a salad of fresh mozzarella and tomato with olive oil and basil will have to do.

 

Key lime pie with whipped cream.

Key lime pie with whipped cream. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a child for my mom, a 57-year-old child, I could never understand that until my daughter turned twenty about a week ago. I am a wife, now going on 26 years and most of all I am a mom.

 

I’m a writer and blogger, I don’t care if blogging is the bottom of the barrel for some people. I love it and will keep doing it until I don’t love doing it anymore. Compiling them together? Maybe.

I was a traveler of many countries when I was young and traveled with my parents and sister on free tickets yet also a homebody who couldn’t wait to just get home.

I cried with happiness when I saw the lights of John F. Kennedy Airport twinkling at night when we were coming home to New York. Home is where I always wanted to be, home is still where I want to be. My older sister would also be crying but for her it was because she wanted to stay on vacation and not come home. Ever. Two sisters, as our parents used to say ” the sun and the moon.” I was lucky to travel with my husband on bonus points when we could, Amsterdam, one of our favorite cities in the world.

I’m both friendly and withdrawn, I need my alone time desperately. I don’t always get it and then I really feel stressed out. I need to walk outside more. Be in nature, appreciate things around me.

Nicolae Grigorescu - Peasant Woman Sitting in ...

I can be quick and funny edging on sarcastic but with no intention to harm or hurt. I’ve had more than one person say I should be a stand up comic. I’m not sure that I see that at all.

 

But, most of all, I am a mom of two incredible adult children, 20 and almost 22. A son, bright, warm brown eyes and ready to start his day early each morning. He never wanted to miss anything since he was two. We used to call him “The Farmer.” To this day, he is active every moment of each day, now on his quest to be accepted to medical school. His goal is to be an ER doctor, no Internist, he. He likes to keep moving. Strong, confident, first child syndrome.

My beautiful daughter, who used to be so shy, not anymore. I admire her, wish I had the same guts at her age. She will go far, she is unbelievably intelligent, intuitive,  sassy, beautiful and charming. She is also incredible courageous which I never was when I was her age. I am so glad that she is like that, I faked my own insecurities so that my children would not be like me. I did it for them. It has paid off in so many delicious ways. I can see her in a court room with her impeccable memory grilling someone on the stand with her quick mind.

I may not have completed a dissertation or an MBA, neither have I received any medals or awards. I have not yet published my first novel.  If I do nothing else in this world I feel accomplished and honored that I brought two amazing young people into this world. They are my life, what I am now and what I will leave behind in the future. My life will go on because of them. I don’t need anything more than that.  I love them more than anything in this world. When people ask me my profession, I answer “I’m a Mom” with pride. I think I always will.

Love Grows, Life Changes

Toothbrush, photo taken in Sweden

Toothbrush, photo taken in Sweden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It takes but a minute for everything in your life to change your life completely.  It hits you with a tremendous blow, shock, grief but you can get used to that since you have no choice, you are completely unaware. No choice is not a world I want to live in either.

When I travel now, I usually forget to bring my blue toothbrush and white bristles, so too, the tooth paste. I never needed it before, it was a silly tradition, I know, but one that delighted me. Knowing that I could always use your toothbrush when we were away together. That was the type of intimacy that I knew about. Silly things like that.

Now, I can’t. I understand that you didn’t want to leave me, that your heart was very sick,  clogged arteries that were too far along to be saved but I wished for it anyway. I was in the in-between place of hope and reality. “Please, please, please” I would murmur under my breath in a chant as if maybe God would tune in faster or adjust his schedule but nothing changed.

It was your time, my love, and you knew it as well as I did. Imagine, trying to cheer me up when you were about to die and leave me hanging here like a piece of dangling thread blowing softy in the sunshine, back and forth, back and forth.

We came in together, arm in arm, walking slowly through the mushy gray snow and yet when I left there was nobody beside me, nobody to take my hand, nobody to put their arms around my shoulders, to reassure me.

Our children called but they were not here, they had their own families and excuses now. I understood completely how their husbands and wives did not want them to cross to the other side of the country as well, to get soaked up in my misery and the lost of their daddy. Nobody knew that more than I.

Yet, I thought death would come, most certainly, in the middle of the night, my naïve silence and undisturbed sleep, awakened by the shrill of the old yellow phone I still used by the bedside. But now, in reality, it didn’t work that way, I was right by your side, as you took your last breath and calmly closed your eyes.

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a window. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“That’s it?” I thought to myself? Death could slip in on soft kitten feet and steal away my husband with no big fanfare at all? Steal his loveliness, the color of his lips and cheeks and joy for life in a matter of seconds, while I stood there watching, watching the blood drain from him?

I put my head on his cold chest and I cried but I knew his hands couldn’t comfort me, or hold me like they had. From now on, I was no longer part of a couple, I was alone. My name was now “Widower.” It stayed that way for a very long time until I too decided it was time enough to join your father, there was nothing useful about me without him. He was my life.

I said goodbye to all the children and grandchildren with a long good-bye and gave each special hug.

It took too many weeks to get my affairs in order but I would know when the time was right. One day they all came in for Christmas, I saw each child and grandchild. After they left, I knew it was my time to go.This has been planned before the death of my husband Harold, he would do the same if I had died first.  It wasn’t hard at all but it was something we needed to do, I was only sorry that I had postponed this day for so many long weeks. Let’s face it, I had no regrets. Ever.

I had no interest in living a life without my other half. It was like living empty, physically here yet without a soul. No, I didn’t want that at all.

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Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore: Tulips

English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holla...

English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holland Italiano: Coltivazioni di tulipani dell’Olanda Meridionale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Today you have been granted the opportunity to go anywhere, do anything, meet anyone, travel in time…whatever you wish, it is yours. Now, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) When you wake up tomorrow… you will not remember any of it.Would you still choose to take the offer? Can you drink in the moment and enjoy it knowing you will have no recollection of what happened? Think about it?  How important is a memory?”

Part 1:

I would hop on a first class plane, sipping orange juice and amaretto on my flight to Holland. I stretch my legs and marvel at how wonderfully everybody treats you when you are sitting in first class. I have a menu in my hands and I need to pick what I want to eat for dinner. I decide on the Surf and Turf for my entrée, happy not to have to pick just one item. After the flight attendants take everyone’s order they pass around trays of appetizers: mini lobster rolls, Brie or St. André cheese and crackers, pulled pork sliders and chicken salad with chutney in phyllo dough. Loving food, as I do, my tastebuds are dancing with joy loving the different sensations in my mouth.

I sleep for three hours and by that time the pilot announces our descent which brings me right into the airport/and waiting limousine to take me to the Tulip Festival, now in full bloom. I bask in the beautiful scenery, the rows of color: red, pink, rose, orange, green that stand in line like tiny soldiers. I drink up the sight and as fresh, cold bubbly spring water quenches my thirst, these rows of tulips fill another need. The primordial need to see beauty .  Rows upon rows of beautiful tulips, in every color, so vast that you think it is a prop from a movie. Yes, it is real and the gigantic proportions make me feel like an insect crawling on the freshly mowed grass. The scent of the grass tickles my nose and I laugh.

I am here, at the tulip festival, a place I have always wanted to see. I am giddy, my cheeks are pink from the excitement, like the color of one of the rows of tulips, my body trembles. I sit down on one of the many benches they provide for tourists, wooden slated benches, simple, nothing overdone, they mustn’t out-do the beauty ahead of them. Looking around me there are other people, each one, staring at the beautiful scene in front of us. There is no litter here, just rows of flowers, tilting their heads to the sun. Some tourists try to take photographs but you can’t capture an entire field in a photograph. Or the smell. The smell in the air is clean, fresh, with a hint of sweetness, freshly moved grass, and sunshine.

There is nothing else I want to do but sit back, stare and breathe, long, take long, deep breaths.  I do not want to sit on a bus like some of the other people, seeing churches  and old houses and attractions. I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I, a quiet admirer, overwhelmed by this magnificent sight. There is nothing else I want to do but stare and take in this picture of magnificence and beauty.  I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I a shy yet ardent admirer.

****

Part 2:

It’s early morning in our house. My husband, Steve, has already left to go to work by train. He has left me coffee to drink in the machine and I greedily reach for it and drink it in two or three big gulps. I go about my chores as usual. I wake up the children who need to get ready for school. Fortunately, I always make their lunches the night before so I don’t have to do it in the morning. I don’t tell the kids but I hate mornings too. I pour cereal and milk, my two kids, 8 and 11 are loud but we laugh a lot. I rush them outside to wait for the bus, get them on the bus and I wave as the bus leaves. They still wave back to me, I know it won’t last very long, they are growing up so quickly.

I go to the grocery store with my list, a long one for four people in the family. I start checking off items on the list. Milk, bread, chicken, cheese, steak on sale, and about ten other items.  After I am done I wait on a very long line, reading a trashy Hollywood magazine that I refuse to buy but actually love to read. Finally, it is about to be my turn, I start unloading my cart. I add a pack of sugarless gum because I can’t resist those items at the end  of the aisle where their placement seems to stare at you, practically begging you to buy them.  My husband calls me”The ultimate consumer ” because I love to see new products at the store.  At the very last second, I reach over the counter to stretch and grab just one more thing. It’s something I never do, but I didn’t even think about this, it was impromptu. I reached over the counter and I bought tulips.  Pink tulips.

Pink Tulip 2 of 3

Pink Tulip 2 of 3 (Photo credit: krispijn.scholte)

Plinky Prompt: Trains, Planes, Automobiles?

  • San Carlos IR wildflowers, 2010, Sunset

    San Carlos IR wildflowers, 2010, Sunset (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?) See all answers

  • Trains, planes, and automobiles
  • Train Plus Car: First a train with a sleeper compartment so I don’t get restless and cranky. Add lots of food and a dining car, seems like fun. Mix in a car somewhere along the line for freedom. Make a lot of stops wherever you feel like it, no reservations. See the beauty of nature, all across the country. Slip into cool streams naked, where the water is crystal clear, drink the water by cupping your hands together, splash the water at your dog and companion. Laugh a lot. Finally get to see a shooting star, you never see them in a city or suburb. Decide where you want to live if you ever get to retire. It’s a trip, a hope, a fantasy all in one. Fresh meadows of wildflowers, a fire at night outside, the smell of burning marshmallows, the feeling of utter peace.

Yellow Magic Madness # 19 Sun

I’ve been so fortunate to be able to spend a few days with my daughter at a pool, basking in the sun. Look how the sun reflects he ripples of the water and on this woman’s legs. You don’t actually need to see “YELLOW” for it to make you happy.

15/52 blue

15/52 blue (Photo credit: Scarleth White)

Plinky Prompt: If you could visit any city in the world, which city would you pick?

English: Venice, Italy

English: Venice, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • If you could visit any city in the world, which city would you pick and why? See all answers
    • Off To Venice, Back In 3 Weeks, Or Not….
    • Imagine gondolas, gliding through canals, my husband and I are on a much-needed vacation, there seems to be so much stress in our lives but on vacation they melt like milk chocolate in the sunshine. We are in Venice, Italy, there is nothing on our minds except pleasure: where will we eat, sleep, visit or walk.What flavor gelato shall we have today? Hazelnut? Strawberry? These are the only decisions we have to make.The strong Italian coffee is addicting, We yearn for it each morning and sometimes we have it in the afternoon as well.

      We don’t know anyone here, and that’s just lovely. There are no bills piling up, no dog barking incessantly, no dirty laundry piles waiting to be washed. There are rotten food items in our refrigerator back home and we both didn’t want to deal with it so we shut the doors firmly and left, hoping it will fix itself even though we know it will be there when we get back. (My true fantasy is to say IF we come back.)

      Our children are not children anymore, they are young adults with lives of their own. They don’t need us very much at all and for me, honestly, it’s an adjustment. I’ve never been good at saying good-bye in any shape or form.

      I would also like to rent a car (my husband will drive it) and go to the country side and pluck purple grapes with my fingers and take photographs of the rolling green hills and the animals that live there. I don’t care at all about going to Rome or shopping there, I have been to Rome before with my parents but I would go with my husband so he can see all the historic magnificence while I enjoy the present.

    • Previous Answer

Plinky Prompt, Bye, Bye, Baby, Baby Goodbye… *

Sunrise in the islands.

Sunrise in the islands. (Photo credit: BuzzFarmers)

  • You wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. Tell us about your week. See all answers
  • Seven days….
  • 1) Make a cup of strong coffee, add half and half and sweetener
    2) Call a travel agent (because really who needs to waste time on those discount websites.
    3)Book a trip to someplace beautiful and WARM, tropical and friendly.Spend five minutes fantasizing about the poolside drinks.
    4)Think about taking a family member or friend. Decide NOT.
    5)Pack, minimum-(enough money for shopping there)
    6)Arrange a limo? No, Personal Assistant arranges a limo.
    7)Leave a note to spouse saying “Went to_____love you, See you in a week!”
  • 8) Go to suite
  • 9) Lie in sun
  • 10) Head to beach
  • 11) Have a massage
  • 12) Shower
  • 13) Enjoy a fabulous dinner
  • REPEAT 6 times

*from The Beach Boys

Carry on Tuesday: Rain, rain, go away

Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds (Photo credit: freefotouk)

Scott and Sarah were days away from their honeymoon, excited to be going to Paris, France after their  sunny and warm wedding reception in Boston, MA. They couldn’t think of a more romantic place to go than Paris. To be in love and to be in Paris, enchanting and delightful, they imagined long walks, holding hands on the small, cobbled streets and kissing furtively behind hidden doorways. They couldn’t wait for the chocolate croissants, standing in the sunshine,  many cups of lush, thick coffee with cream, a different apple or pear pastry for every meal…..the intoxicating smell of freshly baked bread wafting on the side streets.

They arrived two days after their wedding reception, having spent one night in a luxurious room overlooking the Boston Harbor, a gift from their friends. They had been driven there from the reception, Sarah, still in her wedding dress and white sneakers, Scott in his immaculate dark blue suit and maroon tie. Sarah refused to change into another dress, it was her wedding after all and she delighted in seeing other people point at her and gasp: “a bride!” When little girls with pigtails looked at her in awe she smiled and waved at them. Watching a bride, when she was a girl, was always magical.

Their plane left in the evening and they flew on TWA straight to Paris. They arrived, excited, happy, in love, dreams dancing in their eyes. The weather the first day was colder than they thought it would be. Sarah, secretly thanked her mother who had insisted she bring a raincoat in her luggage.

The sky was gray and dark, winds were chilly and it rained within the hour. They made their way to their tiny hotel, dragging their suitcases through city streets until they finally reached their destination. Sarah was not happy about that, there were no rolling suitcases back then and she was tired, cranky and hungry and just wanted to close her eyes. Scott refused to take a taxi, absolutely refused, Sarah was furious and thus their honeymoon started.

Every day of their vacation in France was cold and it rained every single day. “Rain, rain, go away” Sarah sang out loud but she only got angrier when the rain did not let up. To try to get away from the weather they decided to rent a car and head South, they would salvage their honeymoon. However, wherever they went, the rain followed, the winds blew freezing air and the skies were dark gray.

Sarah was there over her birthday and they had eaten lunch in a rest stop on a toll road. They both ate chicken with rice pilaf. It tasted fine, but within an hour, Sarah was throwing up violently, over and over again. It was the worst case of food poisoning she had ever had. “Happy Birthday, ME” she muttered to herself, swishing her mouth out with Coke. They cautiously drove to a quaint, old town in the country where they stayed in a beautiful, old castle. From the outside it looked like a movie set but once inside it was eery and dark. There was no light in the hallways and in their room except for one hanging bulb, swinging from a thin rope.

They called it “the honeymoon from hell”, they couldn’t wait to get back to the US and their apartment. It was the worst vacation they had ever taken. Once home, Sarah, who had packed only one warm, black sweater as an after thought, ended up wearing it every day for two solid weeks. The first time they lit a fire in their fireplace, she tossed the black sweater in the fireplace, along with their memories and happily watched them burn up in flames.

Plinky Prompt: What Do You Need For A Successful Road Trip?

  • Road Trip Essentials
  • Be Serious, a successful road trip? With ME??!!
    Day 233: Nauseous Can the first item for a successful road trip be an airplane? Thought not. It doesn’t hurt to try. Oh dear, road trip….sends shivers up and down my spine. I HATE sitting in cars for a long time because a) I have a chronic pain issue that makes it very difficult for me to sit in one place for more than an hour or two at a time and b) I have the attention span and patience of a dying tick. I get restless and want to be there and hate sitting in a car. I become one of those annoying children that say in a whiny voice:”are we THERE yet?” Trust me, you wouldn’t WANT me on a road trip although I did quite well when we were on a long road trip in Australia. However, from NYC to Washington, DC? Not so much. It took FOREVER. I find the train much more comfortable albeit more expensive.
    I need food and lots of it, snacks, Yoo-Hoo, bottles of water, plenty of places to stop so I can pee and stretch, Twizzlers (original flavor only) maybe some music. I can’t read or write because I get nauseous. I can’t sit in the back because I throw-up. Trust me, you don’t WANT me to go on a road trip with you. Besides, isn’t “successful” and “road trip” an OXYMORON??? Think about it. p.s. My poor family would have to be looking at this type of expression the entire, repeat, the entire time we are on the road.