The Big Swallow

Dear Dr. Batman.

Every night my mouth gets dry and I try to convince myself that it is from the allergy pill I have taken. In the morning I can barely part my lips and my whole mouth feels like it is full of cotton, as if I had been at the dentist all night getting painful injections, mouth puffed up and out, red cheeks pulsating with pain.

I swallow carefully, a few times in a row, even though there is nothing to swallow. I reach for the tall glass of clear, cold water with lemon that stands next to me on the wooden bed stand and take a few tentative sips.

Yes, my mouth is dry, check. It is a bit scratchy, check. Can I call it an official sore throat? No. Is it “The Dreaded Eppiglottitis?” Thank God, no or at least not yet. I rue the day that happens to me again, for the third time (or is it the fourth?) My fellow eppiglottitis sufferers know what I mean, they know EXACTLY what I mean; it’s not a pain that you can ever forget. When we get it, we get it BAD, there is no way of getting it any other way. It doesn’t come in light, medium or strong degrees, it only comes in “devastating and horrific.” Believe me, childbirth is nothing compared to this.

Apparently, there is a vaccine that is given to children that could prevent this from ever happening to adults again but no one will give it to us grown-ups. I’ve asked “why?” a bunch of times but apparently “it’s not used for this purpose.” There are a million things used for different purposes that help other conditions not used for the original intentions but help others with different maladies. Why no one will look into this, I HAVE NO IDEA.

Acute catarrhal pharyngitis. The oropharynx is...

I was put on methotrexate, a drug for cancer, when I didn’t have cancer. I had Fibromyalgia and my hot-shot brainiac crazy as all hell Rheumatologist prescribed it to me. It made me feel great, best drug I was on. Unfortunately, it had bad side effects so I couldn’t stay on it but boy, did it help. He thought outside the box and while I couldn’t take the drug, the man was a genius. A crazy, arrogant genius but still, a genius.

Epiglottitis is a bitch, there’s no way around that. It’s a sure-fire way to get the worst possibile pain and a speedy pass to the Emergency Room if you feel your throat swelling up and you have trouble breathing. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for SOME CREATIVE doctors to at least look into the reasons why we CAN’T have the vaccine that is given regularly to babies.

People, doctors, do not want to go out of their comfort zones, even if it is to save people an enormous amount of pain. A medical friend in England asked me why the American doctors were so hesitant to do this, I had no answer. To her, there was an illness and a cure, it made sense. It makes sense to me too. What happened to “First do no harm?” I guess that is antiquated or is now synonymous with “It’s not in my job description.”

That really stinks. Help us, someone, please.

There is only one pediatrician that I remember from when my adult children were little that I can imagine going out of his way to even think about this. He recently returned from helping sick people in Africa. He’s THAT kind of nice guy. Please, Dr. Batman from MKMG?

If anyone, I know you would try or at least think about it, It would mean so much to so many people. Please, will you just read this letter? I know you will do at least that much, I wouldn’t bother to send it to anyone else.

You’ve always been kind to everyone, moms, dads and especially children. Just take a quick look.

Thanks in advance.

Eppiglottitis Mom

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Glorious Food: North (Armonk, NY)

Sunlight coming in through the window, I lie back in my warm bed and close my eyes. My WindowFeb14left hand is stroking my red dog’s fur, if she could purr she would. So would I. Half of an apple cinnamon muffin with a sugary crumb topping melted away with my strong cup of coffee. A wonderful start to the morning after an even better evening.

I do believe that my calling in life is to go out to restaurants and review them or watching television shows and rating them.  Last night we treated ourselves going out for dinner at a restaurant called North in Armonk, N.Y.

It is something we have not done in months. With no income our dinners have consisted of scrambled eggs, toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, home-made chicken soup and pizza. We never complain. Last night was an exception to perk us up.

It worked. We were delightfully grateful that every mouthful “danced on our tongues,” our greatest compliment. From appetizer(s) Flatbread “pizza” with mushrooms and cheese, and bacon, apple, fennel salad, every bite was amazing.

I do not eat fish, usually. It is rare for me to find a fish dish that is acceptable I am definitely picky. I ordered monkfish, in a lemon-butter sauce with tiny grape-size potatoes. I swooned. My husband had swordfish which was almost as good but I definitely won. Though I tasted his swordfish and I even liked it. (That’s never happened before.)

After we finished the meal I felt sad that we weren’t starting it. Sad. Our lovely friend and waitress, Maria, was there, a sweet smile on her face, animated, knowledgeable and sincere. Her helper, Rebecca, was as charming and helpful.

For those who know me I could not leave without dessert, my husband and I are genetically programmed to NEED dessert. Even though we were bursting out of our outfits we, of course, had to look at the menu and decided to share a huge chocolate chip cookie (served in a frying pan) with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Let me say this, I applaud this restaurant because when I ordered a Diet Coke (feeling a bit guilty) they told me that they do not serve anything with artificial ingredients but they asked me if I would like to try a natural soda sweetened with agave. Bravo! This speaks to me, it is the CVS (phasing out cigarettes) of restaurants.

The evening was divine, our date was heavenly and a real treat. After paying and saying goodbye we lovingly clutched the apple crumb muffins they give to each patron after we paid the bill.

If that’s not heaven, what is?

*PS For those who are unfamiliar with my blog this could be the start of another “Gazpacho Chronicles” from last summer.

Enhanced by ZemantaPhotograph by hibernationnow

The Gazpacho Chronicles

Gazpacho

Gazpacho (Photo credit: Sarmale / O.)

Summer is here and the arrival of summer for me is not the date on the calendar nor is it the
temperature outside. The arrival of true summer, to me, is when gazpacho, the chilled, delicious Spanish soup is available to buy in stores. Many people make it themselves, I am not one of them. I don’t have a food processor nor do I have the patience to chop /blend tiny bits of vegetables. In the town where I live I have started to review gazpacho from a variety of stores in and near Chappaqua, NY.

The first restaurant I went to was Local, a very sweet, small restaurant that has not been open that long but serves salads, sandwiches, soup, ice cream and everything there is simply delicious. Everything there seems natural, your sweetened iced tea made with agave syrup. Their gazpacho that I took out was very smooth with a hint of citrus, I loved it. Adam, the owner made sure to give me bread along with it and treated me to one of his infectious smiles. How did this town exist before Local? To be noted: they use paper products to go which is great for the environment but they always spill over, every single time.

The other place I tried gazpacho is from a fancy store called Susan Lawrence, it’s hard to describe but to say it is a gourmet deli is an understatement. All their things are beautiful, truly beautiful. Their cookies and cakes are stunning to look at, they have salads, entrees, cakes, soups. Their gazpacho had chunks of vegetables in it, tasted delicious, it’s just a matter of taste. I prefer smooth gazpacho, the chunks in Susan Lawrence’s were a little too big for my taste. Take out containers were sturdy plastic.

Big, did I say big? I take it back. Today I went to the new supermarket in Armonk called Deciccios (we are all deathly jealous of the store) and tried their gazpacho.  I practically needed a fork and steak knife it was SO chunky and spicy. I wasn’t a big fan at all, had a tiny bit and called it a night.Did not even finish the small amount in the bowl.  I would not go back for more although I did beg the supermarket manager to open up in OUR town. They said I was the 10th or 11th person to beg them to come.

One last stop, Joe from Le Jardin de Roi offered me a free sample of gazpacho on Facebook. Don’t worry, I’m coming…We went tonight with our son and the adorable Joe seemed kind of excited to have us try his. The gazpacho was very good (not cold enough for my liking) and had the power of spice at the end of it.If it had been a little colder it would have been a contender to tie for first place. However, I cannot leave this blog without a special mention to Le Jardin de Roi  FANTASTIC RIBS.  if you haven’t had them yet, RUN, do not walk, RUN to get them. They are the most unbelievable ribs I have ever eaten and I only eat ribs there. My husband quoted me saying “I could never be a vegetarian just because of these ribs.”  Trust me, my life is really all about food and if tell you something is fabulous it is. Check it out when you are in the neighborhood. Tell them Laurie sent you. You won’t be sorry, I promise.

Gazpacho Ratings

First Place:   Local

Second Place: Le Jardin De Roi

Third Place: Sussan Lawrence

Fourth Place: Deciccios

*RIBS: only at Le Jardin, I’m still licking my chops…so to speak.* MUST HAVE!

Plinky Prompt: When was the last time you felt truly lonely?

  • Storm Sandy
  • Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy

    Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy (Photo credit: Arlington County)

    Day 1 NaBloPoMo

    Full rain storm

    The lights went out, there was no electricity, there was only a deep chill in the air that piles of blankets couldn’t help. Storm Sandy was visiting New York and I felt lonely and confused and in shock at what was happening. How could this happen here? I felt disappointed in a way that New York could let me down like this, I felt cheated. I couldn’t call anyone or take a walk, I looked out the window clutching my flashlight and there was nothing to see. Just darkness, lonely, cold darkness everywhere I could see. I thought I heard mumbling outside but I was too frightened to venture out and I wasn’t sure if it was real or my imagination. The wind was howling and reaching for the darkened windows with passion like two young lovers.
    It was right after dinner when the lights went from on to off, no flickering as a warning, and I hate surprises of any kind. So, when I stood with two sharp knives near the dishwasher in the total darkness, I screamed as if I had been stabbed. My husband was also in the kitchen and he too, screamed, startled by the quick switch from light to dark. We were alone, together, in the sudden darkness of our neighborhood that I used to describe as “cozy.” Nothing felt cozy tonight.
    Disbelief described our feelings as well. How could this happen, here? Nothing made sense, we were trying to make sense out of something that seemed impossible until now. Everything I knew before was gone;I felt sorry for the children who, once again, could not Trick or Treat. This was the new normal and it was sad.

     

The Tree Of Life – Movie (Pop Cop)

"Tree of Life"

Image by Will-travel via Flickr

What does Jurassic Park, LSD and The Discovery Channel have in common?  They’re pretty much all in the movie called The Tree Of Life. I know, some people are oohing and ahhing over this film like it’s the second coming of The Sound of Music but frankly, it is not. It’s one weird ass long film and even though the effete intellectual snobs are calling it magnificent, I must disagree. A little. I have to say that part of it is magnificent in a visceral way.

Yes, the images and photography are fabulous but there are so many of them one after another, you get lost. And after about an hour I was looking at my watch which is NEVER a good sign. The movie opens with chanting in the background or angels singing or music you might hear in church. Don’t get me wrong, it’s melodic and beautiful and with it come quick images of molecules and lava, sperm and egg, church windows and creation of life images. They are amazing to look at and even though the movie is really long, part of me wanted to watch it in slow motion to savor each image but that would have taken the entire day and night.

Images of brothers, butterflies, baseball and bubble baths abound. The story takes place in the 1950’s in the Midwest where Brad Pitt stars as the stern, mean father. Jessica Chastain  is the nurturing mother and of all characters, I would have liked to see her character developed. I never did see Jessica Chastain before this movie but I’m impressed. Where has she been all our lives? With her beautiful red hair and her ivory skin she is amazing. I think now that this movie is out she has catapulted into stardom. One might say that there is no more character development for a mom in the 50’s but you want to know more about her other than that she is the fun parent, dancing, whirling and nurturing her children. She will go far, if she hasn’t gone far already.

Was I supposed to know that the big dinosaur beating down on the little dinosaur was supposed to portray the father beating down emotionally (physically too?) on his son(s). Was I to infer that the people on the beach (or wherever they were) in the end was meaningful and significant in a clear-cut kind of way? Heck no.Where exactly were they? The beach, heaven, Honolulu? It’s one (pretty) question mark after the other with very little dialogue and not much character development.

Yes, it’s pretty. It’s beautiful to watch ( for the most part.) Not always easy to understand. Pretty does not a magnificent film make. I’ve heard stories of people leaving the movie theaters during the movie and demanding their money back and I’ve heard of people who think this is the best movie ever made, that it was brilliant in every way. I would put it right in the middle.

In my audience, an artsy theater with plush red seats, no one said anything. When the lights were back on people looked at each other with question marks on their faces. The last person out of the theater was a middle-aged couple;  the woman turned to her husband and asked “what did you think?” He said “good!” She turned back to him, laughed, and said “You really didn’t understand a thing, did you?” He guffawed and admitted he did not; luckily she did not either.

That sums up the film in so many ways. It’s beautiful, confusing, long, magnificent, boring and asks but does not answer questions about the creation of life or death. It creates questions that are never answered. Too many things about the family are left out. A line from the movie was: “the way of nature, the way of grace, you have to choose.”If you understand that, great. If you don’t, join the club.

ICD Jewelery Store – Meant To Be

This is a true story about how things sometimes work out the way they should. Oprah used to talk about that a lot.  Synchronicity, things happening because they are “meant to be.” Yesterday, I wrote a blog called “Saying Goodbye To Oprah” today I experienced what she has always talked about.

1) I had a new Doctor’s appointment and when I asked the new Doctor if she was ever in touch with the Doctor who had retired she said “in fact, I’m seeing him tonight.”  I asked her to please tell him about an article I wrote about the loss of my dear friend “Loving Dawn” that was published in a local magazine. She said she would but as I was about to leave I remembered I had copies in my trunk that I had just picked up from the editor the day before. I ran down and got the magazine, happy to show them.  No coincidence there.

2) I stopped by the florist to order my son’s girlfriend’s corsage, continued on to the library and decided to go to a shoe store.

3) I parked my car, (having no sense of direction whatsoever) where I thought the shoe store was. I couldn’t find it. It turned out that I parked in front of a store called ICD Jewelery. When I saw the name I remembered my son saying that he bought his girlfriend’s birthday present there. The door was held open and I decided to walk in and browse. In the past I had always assumed that it was just high-end stuff but it isn’t. It’s a wonderful combination of completely affordable jewelery AND beautiful expensive, sparkling pieces.

4) I  looked around keeping my daughter’s upcoming 17th birthday in mind, I even saw the lovely bracelet my son had bought. There were beautiful pieces in EVERY price range. After chatting with a nice woman named Sarah I softly said:  ” You are doing this store a disservice, you really should advertise more.” She smiled and said “can I repeat that?” I said “I guess so.” She called the owner over, an absolutely stunning and  beautiful woman (she should be a model) named Varda Singer and asked me to repeat my comment. I did, I asked where they advertised because I had no idea that this store sold things in all price ranges. I am the type of person that should live with focus groups. I try every new product, I can predict if something will work or not, I know “star” quality before others. If I really liked this store my friends would too. If I didn’t know about this store they probably didn’t either.

5) The owner, Varda, said “she pays so much in advertising in publications it’s sometimes not worth it.”  After talking with her about the jewelery, both high-end and inexpensive, she fell silent. She looked at me, took a gorgeous pink beaded bracelet off the display, handed it to me and said, “word of mouth: this is how I like to get people to the store.” Before I knew it she took the price tag off and presented the bracelet to me as a present.”If people like it and ask where you got it, you tell them.”  No one had ever given me a present like that and I was shocked.  I said “No, no, no, no… ” but she insisted and put it on my arm.

6) All she knew was that I was a mom window shopping for her daughter. She had no idea I wrote a blog.  We laughed and talked some more and out of the blue she threw in a Hebrew word that I recognized immediately.  The word “Beshert” it’s meaning:  “meant to be” or “destiny.”

7) I told them I wanted to blog about this experience (I am not a paid employee nor am I a sponsor or a PR agent and I am not getting any kind of kickback!)  I asked Varda if we could tie this special day in with my blog. If people read this blog and wanted to go to the store, perhaps they could get a $5 dollar discount? She thought about it, shook her head and said with a smile said:”please tell people that if they just drop by the store and mention your blog, they will get a free “bracelet” too.”

I will REPEAT THAT: Mention that you read this blog and get a free bracelet. Stop by there, look around, you won’t be disappointed.  They are located in the town of Chappaqua, NY, 75 South Greeley Avenue. You can reach them at 914-238-3646 or at ICDJLTD@aol.com. or visit:  http://www.icdjewelry.com/

Thank you again, Varda, for my pink bracelet.

My free gift from ICD Jewelery in Chappaqua, NY