Welcome To Adulthood

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This has been a tough day. Every day has had its challenges since I left my husband and my family but today especially so. Today is Paul’s 18th birthday and I wasn’t there to help celebrate thanks to COVID-19 and Paul was upset. Even though he knows I could not come for the past few weeks he has still asked, “Are you coming?”

At first I wondered if it was his autism talking. Kind of like it wasn’t computing that I would not be there. But the other day I realized it was his way of coping with the fact that this would be the first time there was a major celebration or holiday since our break-up and he was struggling with the fact that our family was no longer what it had always been…a place that provided a sense of comfort and security. Now there is none of that left. Nothing intact or nothing familiar about a milestone birthday and he just wanted it back to the way it had been. Frankly, so did I.

A tradition in our family has been that the birthday boy/girl got to choose the restaurant where they wanted to celebrate their big day. Obviously, with COVID 19 this was not an option. So I thought really hard about how I could make Paul’s day very special even though I would be unable to be there with him.

Paul is a foodie. He appreciates new tastes, flavors, and atmospheres. So, I decided that since he would not be able to go out to dinner I would bring dinner into him. Because his birthday was on a Monday his dinner would have to be celebrated on Saturday since food companies do not ship on Saturdays or Sundays. First strike to this birthday dinner…it would not be able to be celebrated on the day of his birth… yet he was excited anyway. I ordered a dozen Chesapeake Bay crabs to be delivered complete with brown paper and mallets. Next a few filet mignon steaks followed by a speciality cake which Paul saved for today.

Well, the steaks never arrived but luckily I was told the crabs were superb. And today it appears that the cake was a hit for everyone but me. Instead of tears of joy for Paul today I cried tears of sorrow for me. Why? Two days of celebration and no one bothered to Face Time me so I could share in the joy of seeing Paul enjoy his gifts from me. So I could watch him enter into his adulthood. AND IT HURT. BADLY. All I know was last April when I had B leave our house I would invite him to dinner just about every night so he could be there with our family but the same sort of courtesy was not extended to me… the person who made this dinner that they all enjoyed happen.  Sadly, it never occurred to B to offer the same to me.

Sometimes I wonder how my life got to a place where I don’t even recognize it anymore. What happened to compassion and concern we once shared? I often contemplate how I could have given so much of myself to someone who had such little regard for me and continues to show nothing but distain. But what I do know is my son is entering adulthood today and so am I. His is full of life, adventure and openness whereas mine is one of loss, fear and regret. I am trying to grant compassion and not hold hate in my heart for someone who cheated on me and did me wrong but somedays make it darn near impossible. Today was one of those.

So,  to Paul,  welcome to adulthood ….  make it a good one.

And to me…welcome to real middle aged adulthood… what the fuck are you going to do with it?

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The Irony Of Being Prepared

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I confess.

I am one of THOSE people.

For years I have been overly prepared in case of a disaster.

I HAD enough freeze-dried food saved to feed my family for a year.

A water purifier that you could siphon water from the lake (had that siphon too) and have clear clean water? Yes, I HAD that.

Portable solar generator with solar panels and lights. Yep.

Stockpile of seeds. Check.

Portable greenhouse. HAD that too.

Crank radio and generator. One of my earliest purchases.

Rope, flint, fishing hooks and tackle, water proof matches, books on how to make your own soap and butcher a cow…I HAD it all.

You name it and I HAD it.

Be prepared was my motto  It is the motto that I am pretty sure that the Boy Scouts stole from me way back when.

You will note in the above writing, that the operative word is HAD. As in I HAD this or that; which I find to be the biggest irony of all in the cheater saga of the past five years. It is ironic that B has “custody” of every survival item that I ever bought in order to “save” our family sitting in OUR home in Texas while I work my ass off in CA using a breaker bar to pull out all the HUGE rocks in order to install a vegetable garden. The food, the generator, the purifier… he has everything. And while I find comfort in the fact that I know my boys will be well taken care of … it doesn’t help Gracie and I out here in CA not one little bit. Let’s only hope I never find out if he sends the food to his mistress but why wouldn’t he when he sent her $50,000 so she “wouldn’t get gray hair with worry” according to her.

The other day I texted B and asked him to send out the seeds so I could, should times get worse, ensure Gracie’s and my survival. Here is his response:IMG_4765 copy

And so I learned quite a bit from this exchange. First and foremost is that he does not give a shit about us and frankly that is the most important thing. That is what will stick in the front of my mind when we go to court. The other 10 things I learned from this text just aren’t as important as that. Just a friendly reminder to myself that it is all about him. Nothing has changed but then again usually nothing does for a selfish liar.

I hope you are all doing well during this time of social distancing. It is a good time to catch up on all those things that we have been putting off.

May your day be joyful. May you learn something.

As for me…its time to go move some boulders!!! My Fibromyalgia is still kicking my ass so prayers would be welcome that this doesn’t do me in.

 

 

 

 

Grocery Store Blues

Almost every morning I arise and recite some positive affirmations which I find brings positive thinking to the forefront and negative thinking into the further recesses of my mind. Unfortunately, I have neglected to do so for the past several days and it all caught up to me today in the grocery store.

Since I left my home and family I find that the hardest thing is for me to do is to go to the food store. Frankly, it is the loneliest place on the planet and I find this is where these life changes that I am facing knock me flat and kick the shit out of me.

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I used to like to go shopping. When you have a family as big as mine and cook just about every night; the grocery store is a place of endless ideas. It is a positive place that you can go to show your appreciation to your spouse and your love for everyone in the house by getting foods they enjoy and then cooking them and preparing them with love in your heart.

Since I have been single I have found the grocery store to be my own personal nightmare. Sure I get to pick what I ALONE WANT TO EAT but there is a true emptiness in doing so. I really have no desire to cook a fancy meal for me, myself, and I; so my shopping cart looks barren and desolate like the basket of someone getting over the flu.  Few things in it and none of them very exciting or wholesome. Lots of healthy frozen dinners, milk, yogurt, lettuce, carrots and that is about it.

Which is why I became shaken while walking the aisles today. I found that I had a very strong impulse to leave the cart sitting in the meat section and run out the doors. I have never had this happen to me before and it felt disconcerting. At took everything within me to stay and continue what I had come in for. It wasn’t a panic I was feeling. Just an all encompassing sadness. All I could think of as I cruised around was the laughter around the dinner table that I so desperately miss along with the appreciation I felt for a job well done. And all of this exists no more in this life that I am creating. It took everything I had in me not to break down in tears in aisle 13 (coffee) aisle 8 (school lunch snacks) and the produce aisle where golden apples once beckoned like the sun. My eyes were so thick with water that when I opened the freezer door I misjudged and slammed it hard into my forehead almost knocking myself out. WHAP!!!!! Just like something out of an I LOVE LUCY episode.

Some sweet teenage boy looked at me and said, “Hey, lady are you okay?”

“NO, NO IAM NOT.  I AM NOT OKAY. I AM NOT OKAY WITH HOW THIS ALL TURNED OUT. DAMN IT!!!

I am feeling:

Sad

Scared

Weary

Lonely

Vulnerable

Excited at times

And pretty much feeling worthless and unsure of myself…like walking the plank over an ocean full of thrashing sharks waiting to nibble at my bones.

I know it will get better. I know that someday I will be creating new memories of dinners with new friends and neighbors which will make perusing the aisles fun again. But for now the grocery store is the loneliest place on the planet and it is a place I just don’t want to visit anymore. It holds too many good memories and its shelves are stocked with expired items that are not mine to put into my cart. I can no longer taste the flavors of life at the dinner table anymore only the cardboard wrapping that protects what is inside.

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Beets And Betty Davis Eyes

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BEETS

Several years ago, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Scotland, I started working ernestly on our family trees and found we are related to many Kings and Queens from France, England, the Netherlands, etc. Needless to say this has provoked many interesting conversations around our house.
Andre: Beets? Beets? You know I don’t like beets.
Me: You are going to have to try them. They will taste great.
Andre: I know what happened to the kings in our family
Me: What
Andre: Their mothers fed them beets
Me: Eating beets has never killed anyone
Andre: Want to make a bet? I bet if you analyzed their stomach contents you would find beets.
Me: Why Do you think that?
Andre: Anything can be hidden in beets
(Not to be outdone) Paul: Yeah the color hides everything
Andre: I am sure they were poisoned with beets
Me: Doubtful. Who would want to poison them?
Andre: Their mothers
Me: WHATTTTTTTTT?  Mothers would not poison their children.
Andre: Oh yes they would
Me: Come on, Andre. You are letting your imagination run away with you
Why would a mother do that?
Andre: Because they want the power.
Me: What?
Andre: Women didn’t have power and they wanted it. It’s been that way through history. Mothers always want to find a way to control their children. You can’t deny it can you?! And beets were the way to power.
Me: You will still be eating your beets.
Andre: Drats. I thought this little history lesson would change my history with beets.
Me: No way, dude.

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BETTY DAVIS EYES

The things your kids share with you in the car.
Andre: I think it would be awesome to be able to read someone’s mind.
Me: Why is that
Andre: Because you could do all sorts of wonderful things for them like buy them the puppy they have always wanted.
Me: Andre, you are the one who wants a puppy
Andre: I’m just saying…you know there would be one time when it wouldn’t be so good to know what someone is thinking.
Me: When would that be?
Andre: When they are sitting on the toilet going to the bathroom. I mean the things that go through your mind when you are on the toilet…well they are just not things you want others to know
Me: Is that why you spend 30 minutes at a time in the bathroom?
Andre: Might be

 

Busan

Today we took the bullet train south. I love the train system here and wish that in the States we had a great train system like they do all over Asia.  In 2 1/2 hours we were down at the opposite end of the country and it was a great ride. Smooth, fast and comfy and in a blink of an eye we were there.

I love Busan, South Korea. It is a very special town to me because one of my children was born here. I first visited it about 15 years ago and I have to say it has changed. No longer the sleepy port city it once was, it is now a vibrant, racy place with a touch of its past tucked within its alleys.

Busan is a town that reminds me of another…San Francisco. Hilly, temperate and scenic this city is a place I could spend a lot of time at. One of my favorite things about it is the food. I love Changseondong Meokja Golmok food alley. Here you will find live eels, octopi and other sea creatures ready for the grill…or not. One of the delicacies here are live octopi swallowed whole which I am told tickles when it slides down your throat. I do not think I will be that brave but I wish I was.

But rather than tell you about Busan, here are some pictures to show you what a great food town this is. Bon Appetite!

 

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Contemplation

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This morning I went to Pilate class in hopes that someday I will be able to bend down and touch my toes with my knees straight. I tell you this with some embarrassment, my face a hazy red even as I write this confession which when spoken aloud might sound something like, “Dear Father. Forgive me for I have sinned. I am guilty of gluttony. Of sloth too. Oh, I forgot to mention acedia. Definitely acedia. Maybe, I should thrown in a little wrath at my lack of impulse control too. Help me!”

Unfortunately, these vices are just the ones that come to mind within 5.2 seconds of the thought. Yes, paying someone to exercise with me feels somewhat tawdry and on the edge of something shameful; like eating a pint of ice cream all by yourself  or having sex in a public place and getting caught with your pants down. In a world dominated by inequity it is the definition of gross irony.

In many other countries I would not have this problem of trying to stay in shape. I could easily be starving. Or walking down to the river to carry water up to my hut for cooking numerous times per day. Maybe I would be journeying five long miles each way to school so I could get an education. Or perhaps I would be picking through trash in a giant garbage heap in an effort to survive. There is no doubt I would be in shape because I would be working from sun up to sun down in ways that tax all your muscles as well as your spirit in order to get the job of survival done. Skinny in these parts of the world is more than just a desire to satisfy cultural “ideals.” Instead, it is a mandatory state that naturally occurs due to too little food and too much work. A choice concerning body image is not found anywhere in the life equation for so many women.

No, this is not the LIBERAL WHITE GUILT that so many speak of. It is witnessing firsthand the back breaking work that is required of so many of millions of people throughout the world on a daily basis. It is trying my hand washing hundred of dirty diapers used in an orphanage in Ethiopia. It is laying brick in a hamlet in Mexico.  It is trying to teach students without the necessary materials. Or laying pipe for fresh water in a remote village. These are the things that have shown me how little I know about hard work, suffering, and how much a dollar means to so many. More importantly, they remind me about the privilege of choice which I possess and I rarely think of as I go about my busy day. A choice that vast numbers of people do not have about what their day brings. Suffering instead of starvation, bombs, vicious gang rapes, and of having to beg in the street for pennies. These are the things of which I know nothing and of which too many know too much about.

So I hop into my car and drive the four miles to my pilates class contemplating the size of my butt and the state of the world, both of which are loose and somewhat saggy. And as I do, I find I have mixed feelings about this life I lead in which I have the luxury of contemplation and not the burden of shoeless feet. And I  begin to wonder about the travels of “the other/my sister/ my fellow human being” as we both make our way down these two very different roads that we both call life and what I can do to help.

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Fibromyalgia

I am a very lucky person. I have fibromyalgia but it is not as debilitating for me as it is for many. It used to be that I had tremendous pain on a fairly regular basis for days at a time but since I started following R. Paul St. Amand, M.D.’s protocols, I have found that for the most part I can live a fairly pain free life. That is why when I woke up in excruciating pain the other morning I was more than a little surprised and very disappointed.

It started with that deep ache throughout my legs as if a truck was laying across them. Moving didn’t help. Shaking my legs didn’t either. Massage didn’t work and beating on them to relieve the pain was for naught.

“Crap,” I thought with a sigh reaching for the aspirin before climbing out of bed. “I am getting old.This sucks.”

It was when I stood up that I realized what was happening. I could barely walk and when I did I looked like a 90 year old lady doing the Downtown Shuffle. I knew that the fibromyalgia had returned with a vengeance and I was pissed. Actually, I was pissed at myself because there are some things I can do to myself that trigger the pain. Yet, the day prior I  had ignored those triggers and ate myself into a sweet oblivion. Yes, sugar is one of my culprits and yet I dive into it like its a cool pool on a hot summers day.

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Usually, I don’t share the pain that I am in. Family members don’t understand why I can feel great one day and a week later be in so much pain. So I usually hide it…until I can’t. The pain makes me grumpy and I either can’t sleep or sleep to avoid the pain. I have serious brain fog (constantly) but I am thankful that with Dr. St. Amand’s help my days in pain are kept at a minimum.

I keep thinking that someday I will “get” it. That I will get tired of feeling crappy. That someday I will care enough about being pain free that I will actually “THINK” about what I am doing BEFORE I put things into my mouth that are going to hurt me later on. That I will care enough about myself to be mindful of what is going in and on my body. And it also occurs to me that perhaps this is some form of self punishment. I mean after all who would knowingly do something when they know they will severely pay for it later?

For now I will do what I can. Drink a lot of water and get out there and force myself to walk…miles. While it used to be I avoided movement when I felt this way, I have come to understand that for me, exercise, even if forced, seems to help alleviate the pain. And tomorrow I will try to stop crucifying myself once again.

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Food And Men

Finding the perfect watermelon is a little like trying to find the perfect guy. In a hoard of either, they are both extremely elusive. While they may both look beautiful on the outside they both are often lacking the sweetness that is needed to be considered “fit for a queen.” And while you may test their ripeness with a slight thump to their sides there is no guarantee that the sound you hear will be pleasant to the ear.

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A good ear of corn is another food that can be as difficult to find as a good man.  When shucking and stripping you often find that there is way more of that impossible to remove tassel hair than you imagined before the sweet treat shed its “clothes”. Often you shuck thinking the niblets will be perfect and round only to find they have shriveled or not developed at all.  And sometimes you find worms embedded deep within the cob that only a psychiatrist can safely remove.

Finding the perfect wine/man is also a challenge. A major problem with both is that one day you might have a craving for a robust red, and the next, a less dense white may fit the bill. Unfortunately, wine and men cannot not be both and plural marriage is frowned upon. But if you are extremely lucky every once in a while you will happen upon a perfectly crafted Rose’ which is a combination of the best of both. Yet, a high-quality Rose’, like a man whose traits span the red/white conundrum, is difficult to find and while a taste test gives you an inkling of what’s inside, how they will hold up over time is anyone’s guess. And of course there is always the issue of corking.

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As we all know few things can bring you as close to heaven as a chocolate bar or a good man. Yet, unsweetened cocoa is bitter and unrefined until it is processed.Same with men.And I can say with total confidence that neither man nor chocolate are good if they are bitter and until you taste the final product you never know whether you have heaven or hell on your hands.

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Finding a good man and finding the “perfect” food are difficult tasks. But if you sample enough, travel far and wide in pursuit, and strip enough of them; there is a chance you will end up with something really easy on both your eyes and your palate. Let the taste test begin!!!

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Food …The Children Should Not Suffer

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I live in one of the poorest most economically depressed counties in the entire United States. It’s a place where English is most often the “second” language and where individuals follow the fruit and vegetables, often picking in 100+ degree heat. It is a place where poverty is rampant but food in the fields is abundant, illegal drug use is prevalent and the gulf between “haves” and “have nots” is wider than the Grand Canyon. Frankly, there is no bridge big enough to traverse this giant chasm.

Make no mistake about it, I am a “have.” I have a roof over my head, money in the bank, and clothes on my back. My life is plentiful. But all around me are reminders that this just isn’t the case for so many. I do what I can…carry McDonalds cards in my car and hand them out to folks who need a meal. But that is just a miniscule drop in the bucket with what is truly needed in the area.

Today on the short drive from downtown I saw three different adults searching trash bins for bottles and cans that can be turned in for change. And while it is shameful that any human being is forced, for whatever reasons to live this way, I am not as worried (though I am concerned) about them because they are resourceful. It is the children that I worry about especially during the summer, for it is the children who suffer.

During the school year kids from low income homes have the opportunity to have free breakfast and lunch at school yet President Trumps budget calls for an elimination of this program. Continue reading

Flavors Of Our Lives

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Today, I went to this little drive through shop that makes the most incredible food bowls. I have had the pleasure of indulging in white bean chicken, acai fruit bowls and kale quinoa salads at this exciting food joint. Best thing… you never know what will be on the menu. Today’s dish was a tri-tip topping cabbage salad with jalapeno au jus over toasted baguettes. Never have I experienced such flavor combinations. And this place does it consistently. It pairs the right ingredients in order to bring out flavors that cannot be found in each ingredient alone.

As I was sitting here savoring this delight it got me to thinking. ..why is it that the flavors in our lives often lack the care and attention that are put into this salad or into our own daily meals?

One of my favorite desserts are lemon bars. I love the tart and the sweet combo. I love the bite of the zest and the comfort of the powered sugar. And as much as I go out of my way to make sure I have exactly the fresh ingredients that I need for this recipe I often wonder where is my own personal zest? What am I doing to put zest into my own life on a daily basis and if I were to what exactly would it look like? How does one consistently put great enthusiasm and energy into both food and life so it looks attractive to all who see it?

Another family favorite is a spicy beans and rice dish that I created by scratch. I pour in the proper amount of pepper, salt and chipotle spice and as I do I question why am I not pouring something spicy into the rest of my life. After all, we all need to spice things up at times! So how do I keep my life exciting and somewhat shocking with an occasional pleasurable burning feeling sliding down into my guts?

Recently I have been asking myself the question that if I were living my authentic life with the same artistry that I put into my food what ingredients would be important to impart into my recipes? How would these lush and bountiful items be presented on this gigantic plate that we called life? It certainly wouldn’t be take out with someone else preparing it and handing it to me in a brown paper bag. That much I know. But would it be….

Slow cooked to the perfect point into which I stir in the staples of live like a creamy and hearty risotto? A life in which the spoon is licked again and again to taste life a little at a time or do I just ladle it with gusto onto my plate?

Or maybe something French with it’s rich cheeses, sauces, and fresh herbs? If I was living as I would like would I be growing herbs in the backyard and pick them wet with dew; using them while fresh and at the peak of their flavor? How do I bring that sense of freshness inside my doors and into my life?

Somedays I crave both hot and cool like a good Thai Tom Ka Kai… Yummmm! The building blocks of protein, like the chicken which is found in this soup, are amino acids, which, when paired with the coolness of the  coconut makes for a flavorful dish. So what exactly are the building blocks that makes life warm, nutritious, and satisfying?

Today I have vowed to some spend time perusing my cookbooks in an attempt to create the perfect meal. I will also be looking for the ingredients in these recipes to add to my own life to reflect my own tastes and desires. This minute I have no idea what I will whip up but I have a feeling it will be something fantastic just like the life I am trying to re-make. Hmmm…something with only the freshest ingredients with a touch of spice will definitely be on the menu tonight.

 

 

 

 

*This post, as all posts put up by this blogger, are 2016 copyrighted and my not be used without express permission of the author*