Friday, April 30, 2010

April: √

This last week of April was difficult--busy and a little stressful at times. But the first week back after a vacation always is, and now it is done. More importantly, it was more good than bad in the end.

I got great news from Donna that she is responding well to chemotherapy and will continue on the clinical trial. Yay!

A medical question mark appeared over my dad but we erased it almost quickly as it appeared. And he is well. In those 24 hours of uncertainty I felt as loved and supported by friends as I ever have, and know now that I could have handled a different outcome because of them.

And today, after this first busy week back from vacation, three girls came to see me after school, separately, to visit. Not to get extra help or make up a lab. In fact, two of the girls are former students. They came in just to talk. I still had a test to write for Monday, and it was a Friday afternoon, but I wasn't put out. I appreciated that they felt like they could come in, that they wanted to come in. They were my reminder of what I do, and why I continue to do what I do despite some of what I'd prefer to do without. (Like crap that is not in short supply.)

I can make it to the end of the year, I thought. Easily.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pure Imagination

As you know, I'm a bit of a commercial freak. I cross reference the actors in them; I mute the TV if they are loud or disturbing. My two current pet peeves--one in each category--are the woman who took Activia with her daughter and chatted with Jamie Lee Curtis about it around a kitchen island and who also sells diabetes testing products, and the obnoxious That's a Low Price! ads for Staples.

But there is also a commercial that takes me back to my grandparents’ house on a Sunday night. I don’t actually know what it’s an advertisement for, because as soon as I hear Gene Wilder singing…Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…I’m a young girl again, in the living room with my sisters and cousins, while my parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles are sitting around the dining room table in the next room. We are all alive and healthy. Nothing is wrong. Of which I’m aware. I have no idea what’s to come. I’m just living in the moment, thinking of how cool it would be if there really was a Chocolate Factory.

And for the minute the commercial plays and I sing along…There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination Living there you’ll be free if you truly wish to be…we are all alive and healthy and nothing is wrong. I am free again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For Me












Time flies....

Monday, April 26, 2010

News Views

Whenever I see a news story about obesity, or adult onset diabetes or “the battle of the bulge,” I cringe at video footage—zoomed right in on someone’s belly or butt. There may be a stock photo of me somewhere for all I know, but by the grace of God I haven’t seen it. And I wish the same for those faceless people who have unwittingly become poster people for How Not to Look. Sometimes I wonder if we really need to see all the footage. Some of it is a little overkill. And some is just mean. The other day I saw some footage that was just plain gratuitous.

This time the subject matter was not weight related, but about tanning addiction. After some perfectly appropriate footage of a Connecticut beach—people on blankets, some applying lotion, but no close-ups— the camera took us to a tanning bed. And okay, even that makes sense at first glance. But then, I swear, as God is my witness, they zoomed in on the bikini-clad woman’s crotch as she got into the bed. Not the UV lamps, or a tanned shoulder even. Her crotch.

Then, because that wasn’t disgusting enough, viewers were taken on another trip to another tanning room. This time to watch a woman disrobe, zooming in—as she took her shirt off—to reveal her ample cleavage in a not-so-ample bikini top.

I wondered, am I watching the news or soft porn? Luckily, this was not a news station I normally watch, and I frankly should have known better than to watch even the local affiliate of this crap news network. But I  had to do more than just walk away and vow never to watch them again. I emailed them, too.

The footage you showed to go along with your piece about tanning addiction is tasteless and borders on pornography. Gratuitous at best. Do you really need to do close-up shots of a woman's crotch as she gets into a tanning bed, or of a women's cleavage while taking off her shirt?...

Disgusting.

[Heart] Note...to Haymarket



I still can't get over the bag of mesclun mix, as big as a standard pillow, that cost only $2.99. I couldn't stop (still can't stop) talking about it. The prices are unbeatable. But it's more than the bargains that brings me there, more than getting two bunches of asparagus for $1.50 or two bunches of broccoli for $1.00.

Maybe it's also the sheer volume of produce and the number of people jamming the small, bumpy walkways with their carts. And maybe it's partly that--while said locals fill their carts and buy their produce for the week--right around the corner visitors wander around a tourist attraction or are sitting down prepared to pay 15 dollars for a burger at the Hard Rock Cafe.

I'm not sure what it is, or what combination of things makes it so magical for me, but I do know that I [heart] Haymarket.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crocktails

I’d like to know when we got too fancy to drink White Russians and B-52s. (I [heart] White Russians.) When did we get too uppity to have ice in our glasses and little sippy stirrers from which to drink? Is a drink really better in a glass shaped like a tornado funnel cloud? That’s difficult to drink from? Without ice to keep it chilled (which makes you drink it faster so that soon enough you feel like your head is being whipped around in a funnel cloud)? I guess somewhere someone decided it’s not very sophisticated to drink out of a rocks glass or a double old-fashion. But licking colored sugar off the rim of a glass that makes your lips blue? Well, oh yeah. Stay classy, lady. (For the record, I hate the word classy, but that’s another post.)
Really.

When did we abandon mixed drinks for foofy cocktails and martinis that aren’t really martinis at all (if there’s anything in it other than gin and vermouth) and that cost twice as much? I imagine it was around the time we also got too good to let our kids work part time—in fast food restaurants never mind on farms—and when we got into debt up to our eyeballs, living beyond our means. Someone out there was clever (evil?) enough, as s/he watched McMansions being built, to prey on the bourgeois. S/he thought, Call it a martini, give it a fancy name, charge through the nose, and watch the craze. Ching ching! Maybe that person worked on commission for a liquor distributor, or was in the restaurant business and was neither earning good tips nor able to stomach pouring even one more White Zinfandel. Plus, I’m sure it’s far more entertaining to watch a drunk Stepford wife with blue lips than one who has been sipping “white zin.” (Although pouring white zinfandel must be good for a few laughs in some restaurants too. But I digress.) (Used to it yet?)

Whoever you are, wherever you are, take this:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Warm and Sunny Soup

I spent the first, chilly day of my April Vacation warming up with  my new, favorite-- chicken tortilla--soup.








Start with shredded chicken.
Ladle soup over chicken.
Garnish.
Enjoy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April Vacation

This time last year I was pre-packing for my trip to San Diego, reviewing my itinerary, wishing away Friday, that one day that stood between me and vacation. I would be happy to skip over Friday this year too, and I would LOVE to be heading to California, but there is no itinerary with my name on it this year. So sad...

Yet it's all good. I have some plans close to home and will spend time with some people important to me. I'll also spend some time alone. I'll rest and do some more spring cleaning and will spend some time writing. I'll go to the gym, I'll cook, I'll go out to eat, and I'll read. I'll probably put together my balloon check wish list, and a project list, and I may make plans for Memorial Day weekend--which will be extra long this year because of a furlough day. (Lucky me it falls on my birthday.)

I will be content to be at home rather than complain about not being away. I will remember that everything happens for a reason and I will count my blessings.

And I will not use the word staycation. Not even once.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Sundae

I’m not a big fan of mass emails, especially those that tell me to forward to 28 of my closest friends within 28 minutes of opening or else a projectile will come through the back of my skull and out my left nostril--or some other tragedy will befall me. On the other hand, doing as told will bring me riches; 28 million dollars will find their way into my bank account. Okay. Whatever. I believe in energy and intention and the power of positive thinking, but that’s a bit beyond the pale. Still, every once in a while I get one that I bother to read, and because I’ve been on email for over a decade now, some things I find myself reading for the second or third time. 

Recently I got one about Erma Bombeck’s thoughts at the end of her life, what she wished she had done more and what she wished she hadn’t worried about. I checked with Snopes (I love debunking some of what's passed around as "truth") and while she is the author of the piece, the circumstances are not those described in the email that keeps circling the globe. “If I had My Life to Live Over,” was based on a column she wrote in 1979 when she was 52, not something she wrote on her death bed at 69—which was, by the way, not at the hand of cancer.

Knowing that she wrote it in mid-life and not at death’s door may take away from the melodrama, but it makes her list no less powerful to me. In fact, I hope she made some adjustments in the last 15 years of her life and regretted less in the end. Moreover, I hope the piece she wrote continues to encourage people on email everywhere to take stock and make adjustments. Why wait until the end, when it’s too late to change?...

Why keeping eating cottage cheese, when it’s ice cream you crave?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Cleaning

August in April is over. I enjoyed it while it lasted—my pedicured toes in sandals on Easter and on a couple of days at school, hairclips, cropped pants, no jackets. And now we’re back to spring. Real spring. Trees are budding and temps will be in the 50s, not the 80s, this weekend. Still nice, yes, but not nearly as tempting to be outside today as during our aberration with summer weather, so I thought I might tackle some spring cleaning projects inside.

I was feeling overwhelmed, like I could only keep things clean and uncluttered for a few days at a time. I looked around yesterday morning and it occurred to me that I need more storage space. That is, it occurred to me that I need to make better use of my ample storage space. I need to get into my closets and get rid of stuff that I haven’t used or needed in years, to make room for recycling, say, so it doesn’t have to be in plain view before I take it outside, or for things that end up on the end of my dining room table while I decide where they should go. I want to get to the place where if someone was ever in here snooping while I was away, for whatever improbable reason, I’d be okay knowing that they took in a look in my closets. I want to be a woman who, rather than jump up and body-block a closet door when a helpful friend is trying to lend a hand (I’m actually not that bad), will sit proudly waiting for a compliment to come. “Your closet is so organized!,” someone will say. I’ll answer simply, as if it’s no big deal or effort, when clearly I have the packrat gene. “Thanks,” I will say, not mentioning that I spent an entire Saturday in the spring getting it organized.

So yesterday after school I drove to Wal-Mart and bought some easy-to-put-together storage shelving. With the small amount of energy I had left after I finally got home, I put the shelves together, emptied the majority of the contents of my closet into my front hallway, and put the shelves in the closet. I was almost as excited about the shelving as I was the floor vase arrangement of forsythia I made a couple of weeks ago. (I said almost.) At least I was happy enough to go to bed without tackling the piles that are lying on the floor waiting for me to transfer them to a Hefty bag for a trip to the dumpster.

I’m not surprised that I didn’t find any treasures—no favorite missing t-shirt, no perfectly worn in flannel pants—in that laundry basket that’s been full and tucked in the corner since I moved.  I am surprised that it took so long to deal with what amounts to a big pile of evidence that I have a hard time throwing things away.

Still.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Moment to Mourn

I was in Boston over the long weekend, and found myself at Quincy Market/ Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The weather was gorgeous, I was in a good mood, so I thought I would give in and get myself that lime green tortilla warmer at Crate and Barrel that I recently passed up. Fun, right? Something to keep me in a good mood should our luck with good weather run out. And not only is it in my color palette, but with all the Mexican food I’ve been making lately, it would come in handy, right? And really, it’s only $12.95. (Perhaps you agree with Deanna that it would be a gratuitous purchase?...)

And there I found myself staring at Kraft paper taped to the inside of the windows that used to hold wonderful and colorful displays. There I stood in front of a store that no longer was. My heart sank.

This Faneuil Hall Marketplace store was a part of my history, my life in Boston, the place I became better friends with Candyce, and where I met and became friends with Scott. It’s where my addiction to plates and bowls and vases and glasses took root and my issues with appropriate tissue wrapping were born. I remember the creaky wooden floors and the crammed storage room and the countless times I climbed up and down stairs to get something from the stock room or to bring something down to the tiny shipping counter. I really loved working there as much as I loved the merchandise. And now it is closed.

I logged on today, just to make sure it was true, in hope of maybe finding out they’re just refinishing those creaky wood floors. But that was wishful thinking. The C&B store locator listed this:

Faneuil Hall Marketplace
140 Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Boston, MA 02109

Now Closed.
We invite you to shop our larger home store at 777 Boylston Street, featuring our entire housewares and furniture collections.


Rest in peace. Thanks for the memories.
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