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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#Haiku Horizons, Sense

Sense of smell, sweetness

 

Vanilla, joy, maple, love

 

Happy memory

 

**********************************************************************

 

Senseless killing, crash

 

Driving, texting, glancing once

 

a second to die.

*********************************************************************************

Sense of direction,

Just not in me, husband scowls

Sorry, genetics.

 

 

 

Smelling Change, Part 2 (2 weeks ago)

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, ...

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A follow-up to “Smelling Change” where I was highly optimistic….

It was a long week or two that followed that one amazing day of innocence.

 

WHAT THE HELL WAS I  THINKING?

 

At least I thought things were going to change for the better.

I know, nice try. The thought of happiness and joy, like being enveloped in a soft pink cotton shawl didn’t work at all. Maybe it was a lot of bull—-. Maybe I was just in a really good, positive, affirming mood that day. I’ve tried so hard, you know I have, but I went from gratitude and perseverance to sadness, depression and disgust. Now, I’m plain fed up.

The fantasy of hope was delicious for a few days, like savoring a spoonful of a rich, vanilla bean ice cream twirling on your tongue, letting it melt and slowly swallowing. A tantalizing, sensual process. I lick my lips with the tip of my tongue.

 

Now?

I have lost all feelings. I’m in an empty, lonely place and that scares me more than any situational depression. I am a woman with great emotions, always, good or bad, high or low and now I feel like I am pressed in a corner, invisible, except for the dust bunnies that surround me. My husband will most likely vacuüm around me but not see. He prides himself on his vacuuming skills.

Worst of all, now I feel nothing. If you can feel numbness, that’s what I feel. Things haven’t been going well at all. I feel alone, not the “we’re in this together” support that usually holds us closer together. We may watch television together but he holds his cell phone in his hand playing games and not my hand.

Droid Apps Cell Phone

Droid Apps Cell Phone (Photo credit: GoodNCrazy)

This is the person who was my support system, my best friend in the world. Whoever is living in the same house now, I do not know. He’s a stranger to me. Yes, I am here, imperfect, with all my flaws and disabilities but I have raised our children and have done a great job of doing that. I need more in my life than emptiness, and sitting on my bed to eat alone. I have my dog who keeps me company, I enjoy that.

I feel sad when I write this, is that a good sign? I know all couples go through good and bad times. It’s not the very first time this has happened in 25 years but of course, it feels that way.

When my husband brought up my disability, Fibromyalgia, in a threatening/demeaning way, “when I get a job, things will be different because you are sick” what the HELL did he mean by that? AM I NOW supposed to apologize for my pain? Get down on my hands and knees, scrub the floors but not be able to get up?

That was insulting to me and to my Fibromyalgia sisters and brothers, something I will not accept.

EVER

 

underwater fibro fog (unfinished)-altered jour...

underwater fibro fogSigh,

We both need to work harder to communicate more clearly. Over and over again. Riding the waves, up and down, in and out; there are never new problems, just old problems recycled again and again.

The work is endless, the peaks and valleys are like that of an EKG. Everyone has problems, we go up, we go down like waves on the beach, we’ve been down together for a long time. Are we ever going to be able to get up? To rejoice? We, have lost all hope in the world, not in us, but in the world.

We are both under a lot of stress and have been for many months, we both realize that. But, we are on the same team and need to rally, once again to support each other. To keep each others hopes and dreams alive.

I Dream OF Cupcakes

Just the other day there was a persistent knock on our front door and a neighbor, who has cupcake1two young girls, was there holding out a plate of pink cupcakes. It was Valentine’s Day and school was  canceled because of yet another snowstorm so she was hoping to give them away to her neighbors.

My husband took two in and when I came downstairs and I saw these two mounds of sweet perfection I nearly wept. I wish I was dramatizing this but I am not. There, right in front of me were two vanilla (my absolute favorite flavor) with pink  icing and little white mounds of frosting on top  cupcakes. Shown to the right. I get happy just looking at the photo I took of the cupcake, yum.

I dreamed about them for the rest of the day, my saliva glands in overdrive, thinking about my pink cupcake, when I should have it, where I should have it but knowing for sure it would need an icy cold glass of milk to go with it. This was serious and I wasn’t going to muck it up for anything.

Sweets are very important to me and these, like angels from Heaven, gifts bestowed unto me, meant so much. There have been so many rough days behind us and I fear an equal amount of rough days ahead of us. These cupcakes were a respite from all that was bad and scary and unknown.

The randomness of a relative stranger, walking down the street in the snow to share her  cupcakes with her neighbors because she didn’t want to waste them was such a loving and kind thing.

Pink cupcakes. A random act of kindness. I will pay it forward…

Dedicated to A, J, and B

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Plinky Prompt: Favorite Smell

  • Humans have strong scent memory. What’s your favorite smell, and what does it make you think of? See all answers
  • Sniff, Sniff
  • Delicious
    vanilla-scents-perfumes-coconut-oil Pachouli Oil or Vanilla Oil.
    Makes me thing of college, being young, free, listening to music with friends, not having any responsibilities. Flirting, dancing, being a young adult, not a hippie but close enough. We would wear the oil on our wrists and feel cool. It’s so old there is no photo of it here! This was in the seventies, many years ago. But, the memory of it still makes me smile. After that, I moved on to Vanilla, which made me feel like I smelled like sugar cookies all day long and people would comment on that all the time. Once in a while I still wear a vanilla scented oil or perfume and it still makes me happy.

Cake vs. Pie

Devil's food cake with vanilla bean icecream.

Image via Wikipedia

CAKE IS THE VEHICLE FOR FROSTING

CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! ….Hmm, let me think about this challenging question. OK, obviously there is nothing to think about. Hands down, CAKE! Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, frosting on frosting. Asking which type of cake is my favorite is like asking me which of my children I prefer; you can’t answer, you love them equally..sometimes you feel like vanilla, sometimes you feel like chocolate. The possibilities are endless….Oh dear, I just realized something maybe what I love most about cake is the frosting. Let’s face it blueberry pie and frosting just does not work.

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Carrot Cake Was NOT Just An 80’s Thing, Was It?

Carrot Cake

Image by Pen Waggener via Flickr

Hubby and I went out to dinner last week and as we looked over the dessert menu (after all, isn’t that the reason I go out to dinner?) I realized that certain important items were missing from the menu. There was no carrot cake, cheesecake. vanilla cake. Or any cake except a dense, all dark-chocolate cake. No pies. Just passion fruit crème brûlée,  a brownie with vanilla ice cream, a root beer float (really? that is a beverage to me) and fresh fruit in season, (LOL) and Nutella in pastry shells. I have a big jar of Nutella at home in the closet and with a teaspoon (or 5 teaspoons) to eat right out of the jar it costs a lot less than the eight dollars THEY were charging. I had just baked brownies for my kids and husband so that was out of the question, vanilla ice cream was safely nestled in the freezer. I had been dreaming of carrot cake, cheese cake, vanilla layer cake, coconut cake but there was nothing.

Carrot cake, to me, is perfection. It is a blend of sweet, salty, crunch and creamy. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting but hey, its frosting and it is vanilla-ish so that works for me. My husband in his loud, convincing voice said: “carrot cake was just an 80’s s thing.”  Excuse me? I don’t think so but he kept telling me that we don’t see it on dessert menus very often and I just assume that we’ve been going to the wrong restaurants.

Was carrot cake a cult thing? Like a flash in the (cake) pan? Do I need to find my leg warmers and leotards and watch “Flashdance” on the, (gulp) oldies station? Look at denim, that’s been around a long time and I doubt that’s going anywhere. I don’t want to think that carrot cake is not available anymore and please don’t suggest I make it because I don’t have the patience or the talent for all the chopping, mixing and whatever 52 steps it takes to create it.  Also, it’s no use saying “don’t order dessert” because that is totally irrational.

If I can’t find it in a restaurant I really don’t want to buy a whole cake. I don’t want a whole cake of any flavor in my house, from a bakery or Costco or the frozen section of my local supermarket. If there is (non-chocolate) cake, I will eat it.   Please, don’t let me buy an entire carrot cake or cheesecake because I am the only one in the family that will eat it and I have given up on portion control or rather portion control has given up on me.  I will have to scour every bakery and grocery store to find a place that serves these delicacies by the slice. I’m just not sure if I can be trusted to only buying one.

Chocolate or Vanilla? (Be Serious!)

09 Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream

Chocolate or Vanilla? NO, chocolate AND vanilla, in different forms. I’m an all vanilla girl with cakes, cupcakes, frosting and soft-serve ice cream. IF I had to pick one I would go with vanilla. Is there anything better than a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles? No, there isn’t, it’s the best combination. Chocolate sprinkles are not even an option, ever. However, at night when the sweet tooth fairy invades my body and soul, I reach for the snack size chocolate candies that are left from Halloween: Almond Joy, 3 Musketeers, Nestle Crunch, M & M’s. I don’t expect that I will have to eliminate one from my world of eating but if I had to eliminate one I would pick chocolate. I’d be “Vanilla Girl” as I have been called in the past, but it would hurt. Deeply.

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The Chocolate Covered Cherry Diet

I’ve discovered a secret to losing weight AND having whatever sweet treat you like most. Notice I said like, not love. There’s an important distinction. For me it’s called the “Chocolate Covered Cherry” diet and I have perfected it. My husband once bought me an entire box of  chocolate covered cherries, which to me, is my kind of sweet heaven. Instead of putting them high up  in the pantry closet or having my husband hide them from me, I discovered  another option, a better option. It’s full disclosure.

I put the entire box of chocolate covered cherries (I’m drooling) in our bedroom on my dresser. Right, smack, in the middle. I opened the box and ate one and told myself I could eat one, just one, every night if I wanted to. Part of me, knowing they were so easily accessible didn’t even want to have one every night. But, when I wanted one I had permission to eat it and found, except for one time when I ate two, I did stop at one.  They are SO sweet that you don’t want to eat more than one.

There are limits to this dieting technique. You can’t do it with something known to be your weakness or downfall. For me, I could not have a dozen jelly doughnuts on my dresser because they are my ultimate weakness.  I wouldn’t stand a chance of having one bite every night or even one doughnut every night. You need to know which food will help satisfy your sweet craving and which food item will start you bingeing .

Choose wisely. Very wisely.

Try it and see how it works for you. Remember the secret is not to set yourself up to fail. DON’T buy anything you feel is absolutely irresistable to you. Purchase something that you really like and whose flavor is so sweet, so intense that having another would be really too much.  For me, the chocolate cherries work. However, don’t  substitute them for anything with marzipan, jelly or vanilla. There are just some things, I can’t resist. Unfortunately, I know that from experience.

Off I go to the drugstore now, to buy my chocolate covered cherries that I need, for my diet.

Starbucks: Tutti, Frutti, Venti, Schmenti –Repost

Starbucks Supports Linux

Image by EgoAnt via Flickr

When I want a special treat that involves energy- inspiring caffeine,  I go to Starbucks for a small, skim latte.   I go rarely but once every 4-6 months I treat myself. However, I refuse to go in there talking the Starbucks talk. I ask for a small or medium, on purpose. I get great pleasure out of it.  I don’t know if I am doing this to annoy them or If do it to make a personal statement; probably a combination.  The self-imposed lesson to communicate: “Hey, you have really good coffee, but the silly  names of the sizes? Too pretentious. So, I order a small, or a medium and nobody cares, except me, and they hand me my coffee and I am happy.

I was banning Starbucks altogether until my friend Sarah, introduced me to the skinny vanilla latte. It’s so good and the calories are (supposedly) low and that it’s a guilt-less treat.   I hate to admit it but this is the product that brought me back to Starbucks. However, when I see how much it is, I cringe and feel guilty at the waste of money; I believe it is near three and a half dollars. That’s insanity and logically I know that. Until I take that first taste of that frothy sweet piece of heaven. Now, when I go, I don’t hesitate, I know what I am ordering; I am ordering the vanilla dream, that light, skinny, sweet taste of comfort.

It’s a dilemma. I’m paying an enormous amount of money for basically three sips of a beverage. I know I am not paying for just the flavor, I am paying for the Starbucks brand and hype.  I am paying for the product recognition of that white and green cup and the cute, cardboard brown wrapper to protect my hands from getting too hot.  I am buying someone elses skill to make the coffee and clean up the coffee grounds so I can sip it and feel like a million bucks. Something about that is just not right; but it works. That is why Starbucks is so successful, they know what they are doing and people just keep on sipping, and slurping.

Putting my lips against the white plastic cup is enjoyable. My lips and tongue search and linger to find the right, exact  angle to take a sip from the alloted slot.  I take it to-go and walk outside, my taste buds lingering on every sweet sip. It’s basically coffee for sugar lovers (or sugar-free facsimile).  It’s a brand that works and even though I boycott, even though I try to save money, even though I make fun of the names of the sizes, unfortunately I am hooked. There lies the contradiction, of course it’s pretentious, and part of me likes that and part of me doesn’t. I don’t like the names but I like the cute cups and logo?

The smell of the coffee shop, the people sitting at the round wooden tables with their books or computers or friends. You feel like you are part of something when you go to Starbucks and you are. Yes, it is undeniably over-priced and pretentious, but it’s also good, strong, coffee with attitude, to go.