Archive for January, 2013

Well, this post is not at all what it was going to be today.

I set out to write a meaningful, poignant tale, light enough to laugh and bruised enough to hurt, but I got distracted by the shiny, sparkly dog running around my room, barking; “Squirrel!”

Nah, not really, but I did, with the click of a button, get whisked away to a world where there can be, at times, a little too much information. Perhaps you’ve been there…

It’s a land where lies can be truths and certainties can be deceptions, genuine can be false and fake can seem authentic. There can be endless hope and eternal damnation and all can be ceaselessly damaging.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have letters following my name or awards in my bio, I don’t have any notable education in writing and I don’t work in a profession relating to my passion and what I hope will eventually become my career.

Yes, it’s easy to fall down the hole and find darkness in place of dreams, tempting to give up and let the bad wolf blow our house down and sometimes irresistible to believe the sky is falling, but the good new is, we have a choice.

Finding the girl that fits the glass slipper or coming back from eating the poisoned apple is not easy, but no one ever said it would be.

It does help though, when we know our unfolding fairy tale is being read.

Poisoned Apple

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A kitchen chimp, I have never claimed to be.

Yesterday, my oldest son competed a set of very intense exams and I wanted to do something special for him. But what could I do? Like most kids not living in a third world country, he has most everything he could ever want.

And then it came to me…food! Ah, yes, food. He’s a guy. He’s a teen. It’s perfect! The problem is, I can’t cook. Alright, I can cook, but not like a chef, you know? I couldn’t come up with something special enough. Not something that was; I just finished a Physics, Pre-Calc, Programming and English exam, worthy.

And then I realized I didn’t have to cook, I could create instead. He loves the Rocky Road bars from Blenz. He’s slightly addicted to them but doesn’t get them nearly often enough being that his mother is a Starbucks kinda girl.

As I searched the ‘net for a recipes, (yes, I actually had to look for recipes for Rocky Road) I began to see that there are many versions of what I thought would be a simple endeavor, even for me.

My brain started ticking (it does do that sometimes) and I decided to make my own concoction. Yay me!

Those of you who don’t know me are reading on in wonderment, amazed that I have survived this long, with three kids mind you, possessing such feeble culinary abilities, and those of you that do know me, have signed off, bored with reading what is common knowledge.

I’ve only ever owned one apron. It was a long ago Christmas present from a friend who loves herself just enough to be totally awesome and is, by the way, a fantastic cook. It has a caricature type image of her on the front and says; “I mean really! What did she expect? Did she actually think the surgeon would agree to make her look just like Jennifer? Everyone knows you can’t just replicate that kind of breathless beauty!”

I swear I couldn’t make that up if I tried. I now use it for cutting my husband’s hair.

So, I donned my new, still tagged apron and melted half a kilo of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a glass mixing bowl atop a pot of bubbling water, added five scoops, okay maybe half a jar of creamy peanut butter, a few handfuls of extra smashed walnuts and many…many tiny, fluffy marshmallows.

Apron 1

The one point where I believed, not surprisingly, that I had screwed it up was when I chose to sheepishly add some condensed milk. I admit I knew it was risky, but went ahead anyway. If you don’t know already, and you probably do, that shizzle brings melted chocolate to a halt. What is that about? To fix it, and I figured this out all by my lonesome, I poured in some regular milk. It took several minutes of sweat ‘n’ stir but gradually the mixture returned to its flowy, Wonka river-like state.  Whew!

My son was thrilled and I don’t think it was just about the Rocky Road. Sometimes it’s really just the simple things.

RR Bars

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I rubbed and polished it with my cloth fresh and new, unsuspecting and ever willing, still stiff and crisp. The more I scoured, the brighter it shone.

I took it everywhere. I kept it in my pocket, under my hat or tucked into the toe of my right shoe. At night, it rested underneath my downy pillow, just below my dreaming mind. In the shower, hot soapy water spilled over it, suds trailing the day’s slough down the drain and deep into the pipes.

For a while, well, years really, I barely noticed it apart from the effort it took to make it glisten. But as time went on, my polishing cloth grew black and flecked with holes, limp and lifeless, and what was once light became cumbersome, too big to keep in my shoe or under my hat.

More years passed and despite great efforts, my ratty cloth, now a rag, didn’t bring even a hint of shine, its once brilliant gleam forever lost under many layers of shadows and clouds.

The days, months…years slipped by and it lived on, more than lived, it thrived, growing bulky, bigger, heavier and harder than ever before. Once coveted and craved, now clunky and colossal.

Towing it behind, I trudged through the murk and came to a stop. This was the place…the point where I couldn’t carry it anymore, my body refusing to take one more step.

After years, a lifetime, I, at long last, let it go. Heaved away, it spiraled outwards in a frenzy of rejection and I watched, waiting for it to descend to the dismal, dreary bottom. Drained, exhausted, it took me some time to realize that it was not sinking; it was instead me, rising to the top.

Weight Lifter

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Her thumbprints are still in the bread. I can see them, little oval dimples through the glossy plastic wrap. My hands shake as I unfold the flimsy, sticky film protecting my sandwich. The sandwich she’d made me this morning. The sandwich we’d argued over. The sandwich I am now eating at midnight.

I don’t like whole wheat bread. That’s all I’m saying.”

She’d stood at the counter, morning light from the window ghosting her custard colored hair, her hands busily dispersing the zero fat spread she’d bought to replace my mayonnaise.

“It’s selfish, Darren. Your cholesterol is high. If you want to leave me, you can just say so. Slow self-sabotage is much too drawn out.”

“Well, I’m my own self to sabotage.” I’d said. “I don’t like whole wheat bread and I don’t like fake mayo. Why bother eating?”

I’d watched, my anger mounting, her fingers sinking into the fresh brown slices as she aggressively wrapped, chucking the finished product into my bag alongside the veggies she’d spent her morning washing and cutting.

“We bother eating, so we don’t starve,” she’d gritted tightly, “and we eat healthily, so that we don’t die,” she went on, “and we don’t die, before our time if we can help it, Darren, so that we don’t desert the person who has graciously chosen to spend our whole, assumedly long lives with us, while they’re still in their early forties!” Picking the bag up, she’d forcefully pressed it into my chest as she walked out of the room.

I hadn’t gone after her. I was a little hung over from the poker game the night before and besides, I was tired of her nagging. She thought she knew everything, always right. Heaven forbid anyone had a differing opinion or an alternate take on things.

Before I’d left, I’d thrown the bag of food on the bottom step with a scribbled note;

‘Think I’ll buy lunch today. A double bacon cheeseburger sounds great right about now’.

She’d be furious. A smile had hovered at the corners of my mouth.

I’d driven in to work, still ranting, wading through all the things about her that made me insane; my water glass disappearing into the dishwasher before I was done with it, the tied baggies of garbage she’d leave hanging off various doorknobs throughout the house as she cleaned, always onto the next thing before remembering to dispose of them, making the bed the moment I was out of it, closing any window for me to hop back in and forgetting to pay the bills, distracted by the kids or the house, the gas company forever threatening disconnection.

But by the time I’d pulled into the parking lot, I had mellowed. Pondering her flaws, I’d come to realize they weren’t really flaws. They were more like quirks. Quirks were okay, weren’t they? So maybe my glass vanished all the time, but that meant it was getting tidied all the time, as were the full garbage cans and the messy bed and the bills always got paid in the end. If she was busy with the kids or the house, I should be grateful, shouldn’t I?

As the car door had swung shut, I’d decided I’d been a selfish bastard and had practically run through the parking lot, eager to get the day over with so I could get back home to her.

Now, twelve hours later, so much has changed. I sit, chewing in time with her breathing, the ventilator’s accordion flip-flopping oxygen into her lungs. She’s not taking it willingly, grappling with the insistent machine. I can almost hear her; it’s not natural…inorganic. I can do it on my own.

She’d fallen after I’d left this morning, opening her head on the corner wall facing the stairs. They’d found her face down, my blood-soaked note between her slender fingers, the strap of my bag still looped around her ankle.

“…we don’t desert the person who has graciously chosen to spend our whole, assumedly long lives with us, while they’re still in their early forties!”

“I’m eating it, honey.” I whisper into the darkness. “I’ll eat whatever you want.” The sandwich sticks in my throat as I realize what she wants is for me to fight for her.

So much has changed since this morning but so much has stayed the same.


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Man, she looks old now.” My husband commented months ago. He was nonchalant about it, mindlessly gazing at the TV, no idea of the cougar he’d just unchained.

No pun intended. Okay, I might’ve intended.

Driving the kids to school this morning, the radio gave me food for  blogging thought. This is what happens when you listen to high quality, #1 Hits/Top 40 radio. When you have teens, you don’t get to choose the station. In fact, you’re not even allowed to be in the car, except they can’t drive, so you’re bestowed a temporary pass.

The radio voices were discussing Demi Moore, their conversation triggered by the fact that she (Demi) is currently at a fitness retreat in Mexico. They were saying she looks amazing for her age but; “get real girl, it’s time to give it up. You’re old.” Is it just me, or do these two statements wipe each other out? Why shouldn’t she look amazing? And, she looks amazing, you barely off the teat whippersnapper, because she doesn’t give it up. I’m confused.

Demi Moore is 51. First of all, 51 is the new 31 (in my books) and why, for the love of God, would she need to, let alone want to stop working out, trying to look fit, healthy and youthful? I almost feel the need to do a Vlog here so you can see the look on my face and hear the incredulous tone in my voice and if you knew how much I loathe being on video, you’d know how serious I am.

So, on the one hand, we have my 44 year old husband taking down Ashley Judd for gracefully easing into her 45th year (a mere 25 in Hazy years) and on the other, we have 25 year old disc jockeys berating Demi for doing everything in her power to maintain whatever kind resemblance she can to her own self.

What is wrong with this picture?

It’s apparent Ashley and Demi both work hard at doing whatever it is that makes them feel good. I know their looks fund their livelihood and that plays a large part, (who could blame them) but it can’t be denied that it feels marvelous to be carded long past being legal, no matter who you are.

Why this gets so deep under my inevitably aging skin is unclear to me. Maybe it’s because I’m 42. Maybe it’s because I’m inevitably aging. Maybe it’s because society can’t make up their minds…work at it, stay youthful or let it go, look old.

Or maybe it’s because, when it comes to aging appearances, men just have it too easy.

Whatever your number...

Whatever your number…

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“I know, right?” She agrees, clicking her tongue.

I try, but I can’t stop staring at her mouth. Her teeth are so white now, they’re almost blue and the effect makes her lips and tongue look like cream soda drenched cotton candy.

Am I missing something? Either I’m imagining our conversation or, all of a sudden, I’m in need of hearing aids. Either way, I cannot believe she’s ordering what she’s ordering. I grit my teeth as I hear her say;
“I’ll have the tomato salad. Ah, is there sugar in the dressing?”

“Yes,” says our server.

“Dressing on the side, then please. Actually, no dressing. None at all. And, oh! No avocado. I know it’s good fat and everything,” she flutters her polished nails, “but I’m completely fat free right now.”

“Yes, M’am.” Patiently accommodating, he explains; “I just want to make sure you realize it will basically be tomatoes then, with a little bit of vinegar, salt and pepper.”

Yes, yes, fine,” Tasia agrees. “Wait, no oil, right?”

“That’s a given. M’am.” he says, head down.

I’m caught off guard. Only moments ago, we’d discussed chicks who want burgers but order leaves, ladies who ask for side dressing and use the whole portion anyway, women who only drink Skinny Girl cocktails…by the dozen.

Our waiter glances at me and I flush, instantly wanting to change my order. My medium rare New Yorker with sautéed garlic prawns now seems a tad excessive.

But, almost as instantly, I regret my brush with backpedalling.

I want the steak dammit, and the prawns. I don’t want to pay just as much for tomatoes with salt as I will for a real meal.  I do not want to be a fake bitch that drinks Skinny Girl. I mean, if I’m gonna drink Skinny Girl, I’m gonna mean it; a three cocktail cut-off, for sure.

“I’m good,” I tell him. I’ll live with whatever kind of fat I’ve ordered.”

“Yes, Miss. Excellent choice.”

“So, anyway,” Tasia starts the moment our server turns his back. “What have you been up to?” Her big, black-lined eyes tilt up and away from her Pellegrino, flickering over various parts of my being.

“Well, the shop keeps me…”

“Did you hear the waiter, by the way? I mean, he pretty much insulted me by complimenting you. Not cool.”

“I don’t think he…”

“He will not be getting a good tip from me,” she continues. “Not cool at all.”

I attempt to distract her; “You know, work, I’m consumed with trying to…”

“Oh my God. I forgot to tell you. Paul and Maxine? They split!” She almost looks happy announcing it and I feel a little sick.

“Weren’t they, I mean, married for like, ever?”

“Yeah, crazy, huh?” She manages to sip her bubbling water and maintain a smug look at the same time.

“Don’t they have kids? How many kids do they have…?”

“Two, three? I don’t know, God. I’m just trying to tell you, they’re done. He found someone else…had it going for a while, like, a couple of years while. So typical.


The corners of her super pink mouth are frothy, cream soda foaming over the side of a cup and I focus on that, not wanting to say regretful things.

“Sad.” I mumble.

Our meals come. Well, my meal and her salted tomatoes.

“Do you have bread?” She questions the waiter.

“Of course, yes,” he replies. “But I thought…”

This is simply tomatoes. I need a little more substance.” Tasia looks to me, expecting empathy, but I shift my glance to the topiary tree behind her. I decide it looks like it’s growing out of the top of her head.

“Definitely,” he replies. “I’ll bring the bread right away.”

“Whole wheat. Light margarine.”

My food looks delicious and the steam rising up, infusing my pores is mouthwatering. The garlic, the butter, the meat…all divine.

Oh my, can you smell the grease? Insane, right?

What’s insane, I think to myself, is that you’re commenting while slathering even more margarine on top of that already thick layer.

“Maxine,” I interrupt. “Is she okay? Are they, you know, going to try counseling?”

“God, no. Are you crazy? He cheated on her, Em. You don’t recover from that.”
“Well, their history, the kids…anything’s…”

“Ugh! This vinegar is so bitter. How do they get away with this?” She moves her plate to the middle of the table and takes out her phone.

I think back to high school and lunches with Tasia. We haven’t seen each other in years, but not a lot has changed.

“Save me a seat!” she’d shout down the hall the period before lunch, already knowing I would. Just like she knew I’d give her money when she forgot her wallet, like she knew I’d rush to my locker, throw in my books and fight the desire to organize them to save a few seconds, like she knew I’d hurry to the dining hall to snag two stools side by side.

Like she knew I’d wait.

I’d wait while she chatted to Mel and Sean, wait while she flirted with Mr.Polson and wait while she butted the line to get her lunch ahead of mine, fanning the tenner I’d lent her earlier in Troy Danning’s face while she fiddled and fluttered.

“Ah, you’re such a sweetie!” she’d exclaim approaching our table. “Like Sawyer; always waiting for me. You just need a tail to wag. You’re the best, Em.

And with a flip of her ponytail, my head would sink as she’d plunk down her tray, straddle the stool and delve into whatever gossip was happening around us. I was sure to throw my sweater over my own spot, knowing she wouldn’t shoo anyone away if they tried to take it while I lined for lunch.

Looking up from my plate, I see she’s still tapping at her screen. I eat my grease in silence and, I have to admit, I enjoy every bit of it, the calories, the quiet and the calm.

“I bet he wasn’t getting any.” Head still down, she continues. “You know as well as I do, she’s a total prude. Remember when …?”

Wiping my mouth with my crisp, cloth napkin, I, possibly for the first time ever; cut her off;

“I really don’t want to get into it. We don’t know the first thing about their marriage. Speculating is definitely not fair.”

“Well, all I’m saying is…”

Instead of looking surprised when I stand, she squints, her huge, round eyes melding into selfish slits.

You’ll have to pay, Tasia. I forgot my wallet.”

I swear our server gives me a nod of approval as I fling my purse over my shoulder and walk out the door, head held high.


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