Friday, 28 October 2011

Because you asked....Potato Soup

My potato soup recipe has been requested. It was cold and wet yesterday. I was achy and miserable. Nothing but soup sounded good – potato soup. *sigh*
Again, I don’t generally measure anything. I cook with handfuls, pinches, and little bits of this and that. I season, I taste, and I season again until it’s right. This is my best estimate of what I did last night.
You will need:
1 – 32 ounce carton of vegetable broth
6-8 potatoes – peeled and cubed
3 ribs of celery – roughly chopped
1 small onion – roughly chopped
4 large carrots – peeled and roughly chopped
1- 16 ounce container of sour cream or 1 block of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
Small container of half and half (I have also used heavy cream or evaporated milk)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in cold water (or you can sprinkle in some instant mashed potatoes. I’ve done both to thicken)
Crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese to top – croutons are good too!

Place vegetables in soup pot and cover with vegetable broth. Add a little water until the veggies are completely submerged by about an inch or so. Add a little salt to the water.

Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Add your stick of butter, sour cream, and a little more salt and pepper. Taste for salt content.

When the butter is melted and the sour cream is dissolved, gradually stir in your milk product (half and half, etc.). Let the soup simmer for a few minutes and if it needs to be thickened, this is where you either stir in the cornstarch mixture or the instant potatoes. If you use the potatoes to thicken, I’m thinking about ¼ cup, maybe? Either way, stir as you add or you will just end up with a clumpy mess. It’s kinda like making gravy, you know?

It’s so hard for me to do recipes. I cook by sight, by touch, by taste, and by experience. Hope this is enough for you to go on and hope you enjoy.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Fibromyalgia Wrote Me A Letter....

I didn't write this, but I could have. I have no idea who wrote it either. It was sent to me in an email by a work friend who, in spite of not having fibromyalgia, is so compassionate and understanding. She read this and immediately thought of me.

I also thought I'd share this little bit for you in case you were confused. You may have noticed on my Facebook page little things about lilacs, mulberries, amethysts, or LMA. It's a pain rating from The Chronicles of Fibromyalgia page. Lilacs are Low pain. Mulberries are Medium pain, Amethyst is Awful pain, and LMA is Leave Me Alone pain.

I promise, this is not turning into a fibromyalgia blog. There are enough of those out there. I'll try this week to work on something new to share. Some fiction maybe. In the meantime, read at your leisure.

Hi....My Name is Fibromyalgia, and I’m an Invisible Chronic Illness.

I am now velcroed to you for life. Others around you can’t see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me. I can attack you anywhere and anyhow I please. I can cause severe pain or, if I’m in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.

Remember when you and Energy ran around together and had fun? I took Energy from you, and... gave you Exhaustion. Try to have fun now! I also took Good Sleep from you and, in its place, gave you Brain Fog. I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else
feels normal. Oh, yeah, I can make you feel anxious or depressed, too. If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away, too. You didn’t ask for me. I chose you for various reasons: That virus you had that you never recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma. Well, anyway, I’m here to stay!

I hear you‘re going to see a doctor who can get rid of me. I’m rolling on the floor, laughing. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively. You will be put on pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away, told to think positively, poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken as seriously as you feel when you cry to the doctor how debilitating life is every day.

Your family, friends and coworkers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and that I’m a debilitating disease. Some of them will say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day” or “Well, remember, you can’t do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago“, not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago.

Some will just start talking behind your back, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially when you are in the middle of a conversation with a “Normal” person, and can’t remember what you were going to say next!

In closing, (I was hoping that I kept this part a secret), but I guess you already found out...the ONLY place you will get any support and understanding in dealing with me is with Other People With Fibromyalgia.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

11 things I want every doctor to know....

There are so many things patients want their doctors to know. Things we never say in the office because there’s never time to get to THOSE complaints. But, in hopes that some freak thing will happen and a doctor will read this, I’m blogging about it today.
1.       Having “MD” behind your name doesn’t make your time more valuable than mine.
A)     I will not wait longer than 30 minutes beyond my appointment time to see the doctor. This includes time in the waiting room and time sitting in the exam room waiting for you to make an appearance. I’ve got things to do too. I’ve taken off work to come see you. I’m losing money. I only make an exception to this rule if you don’t fit what I’m about to describe in “B”.
B)      When I reach the exam room, you’re not going to rush me through like I’m caught up in a cattle call. This is one I WILL call you on. I came prepared, with a list (to help save time), ready to address my issues, and I’m paying you to address those issues with me. So, sit you’re your butt down and give me what I’m paying for.
C)      The cause of “A” and “B” is that you have chosen to consistently overbook. This takes me to an old military saying, “Piss poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Plan your day better so you can give your patients the time they need and treat them like they matter. REMEMBER: You’re making a living off me!

2.       I don’t care if you don’t care about me. However, I do care if you treat me like you don’t care about me. I need your undivided attention. If you miss something while I’m telling you what’s going on with me, I could end up seriously ill or dead. I have several health issues, two of which can be life threatening if not treated properly.  So, get out of la-la land and listen up. The life you save could be mine. IT’S PROVEN: PATIENTS LISTEN TO DOCTORS WHO LISTEN TO THEM!

3.       As much as I need you to listen, I also need you to talk to me. Don’t treat me like I’m just fortunate enough to be in the room with you while you’re working. Tell me what you’re thinking and tell me what you think I should be doing. If you’re performing a test, tell me what I should be expecting. I actually had a neurologist come in the room, have me lie down on a table, and without saying a word, began  jabbing needles into my legs and zapping me with what amounted to a mini-taser. Gee, jerk-face, thanks for the warning! When he was done, he just walked out of the room. End of visit.

4.       I need you to think outside the box. Don’t keep running the same tests over and over to get the same results. Look further. What tests fit that you haven’t run? What things have you not considered? It reminds me of an analogy of a toy robot that runs into a wall, backs up, and runs into the same wall again without thinking, “Hey! If I turn around and go another direction I might reach the destination.”

5.       Don’t assume that you know better than me what is normal for my body. I’ve lived with it for 39 years. I know better than anyone what my “normal” is. I’m also smart enough to know that my normal can change. However, there are two kinds of “not normal”. One is expected with aging and one is “there’s a problem here”. I know the difference, you should too. This goes back to #3. Listen up, dude, I’m talkin’ here.

6.       Don’t make promises you might not be able to keep. Give me the statistics. If there’s a chance something won’t work, tell me what that chance is. If you’re just experimenting to see what kind of results you get, tell me that too. I’m a big girl. I can take it. I need honesty, even if it hurts.

7.       Don’t make major medication changes for me without discussing it with the prescriber. This is why we have Primary Care Physicians. It’s called “managed care”. You’ve heard of that, right? It’s where I have a primary doctor to manage my overall medical care… there’s a good reason for it. I once got tied up in this battle between one of my specialists and my primary doctor. They got in a tug of war, with me in the middle, regarding which medications I should be on to manage migraines, fibromyalgia pain, and sleep. They repeatedly changed my meds back and forth before I finally got mad and told them both, “No more changes until you talk to each other and reach an agreement about what medications will work best for me. I am not a guinea pig and I am not a weapon in your battle of wills.” Seriously, am I managing a pre-school playground here?

8.       We have a working relationship. Relationship indicates a give and take. I am not a dollar sign that equals a new pool in your back yard. I am a person who is sick and wants to feel better. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. I need you to be willing too.

9.       Expounding again on #3. If you have ideas but feel your hands are tied by my insurance company, tell me that! I might know how to help you get around it. I would definitely be willing to do the leg work and find out if anything can be done.

10.   Be compassionate. I know you spend 10-12 hours a day, plus nights, holidays and weekends on call, listening to people complain all the time. I know that sometimes it’s hard not to get wrapped up in it when you listen to negativity all day. But, I still need you.  Honestly, if you’re that jaded and disgusted with what you do for a living, maybe it’s time for a career change. You’re not helping anyone if you’re tuned out and cynical.

11.   Your learning curve didn’t end when you finished medical school. The medical field is constantly and rapidly changing. Diagnostic criteria changes, the areas where testing can reach changes, treatment regimens constantly change. I expect you to be on top of those changes. This goes back to #4. Thinking outside the box.
These all add up to some very basic things; compassion, respect, knowledge, consistency and kindness. It’s not too much to ask. I expect a doctor to have them. When he/she doesn’t, they get a letter from me before my next visit. Then, at the next visit, I ask them, “Can you work with this, or would it be better for me to find a new doctor?”  So far, I've only had one that didn’t appreciate my candor and attempt to work with me—the creepy neurologist I mentioned above.
Miss anything? Anything you think should be added to this list? Any doctors care to leave a rebuttal to any of these? Leave me a comment.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


She was beautiful.  Not just in a conventional way. It was an inner radiance, almost tangible.  She was sunshine that warmed you when she smiled. One of those rare humans who was so real that you couldn't help to look harder at yourself to see how you might look in comparison. And, if you didn't measure up, she didn't judge you, she just encouraged you to do better next time.

She was only fifteen, but she carried the wisdom of an old soul as if it were weightless. She responded to mean spirited questions as if they were the most ridiculous things she'd ever heard. It didn't matter if you thought her choices weren't cool. Because they were, without question, absolutely right.

Sometimes I still drive through that little town and find myself detouring to the back corner of that cemetery just to take a moment and let her know that I still remember.  I dust off her headstone and wish I'd remembered to bring flowers. I remember the day I saw her mother there. I tell her of all the lessons she taught me. No one knew or practiced love like she did.

Today would have been her birthday. Today I shed a few tears in remembrance.  

Today when I still want to be confused and angry that she wasn't allowed to be a blessing to more people I remember....

when I am kind she blesses others.
When I am honest she blesses others.
When I do what's right she blesses others.
When I strive to be what I knew her to be, I keep her alive.

These are the truest ways to honor her memory and it's something done by all of us fortunate enough to have called her friend.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

An apology for yesterday's rant...

So you may notice I deleted my last post. I had a moment. I don't know what else to say. I'm sorry.

Honestly, I didn't delete it for anyone else's benefit. I just had some time to think on it and I'm honest enough to say I was being immature. I don't believe any friend I was referring to read the post and I'm glad for that.

Just know this: if you have a friend who is hurting or sick,  don't stop calling just to say hi. Sick friends don't expect you to know what to say. They don't expect you to placate them. They just want to know you still care.

Sometimes, just the fact that someone took the time to acknowledge them is the best medicine. 

Friday, 7 October 2011


It's almost more trouble than it's worth to type out this little post this morning. I woke up today with pain and numbness in my hands and arms and it won't go away. With the assistance of my blogger app, I'm posting from my phone this morning- - somehow from a supine position in the confines of my bed, while my little Lola sleeps at my side.

Only another person with a pain disorder wouldn't feel shocked at the number of hours a person like myself could sleep and lie in bed. Sure, I try a little yoga when I can. I try to walk when I can. But, despite doing everything the doctor says is necessary for fibromyalgia I still get no relief and continue to get worse.

I wonder then, how "they" can insist this is fibromyalgia.  Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that if it were I would get relief by following the doctor's advice and taking meds as prescribed? 

I find myself discouraged and angry more often than not. It would be so easy to just give up and quit.

I miss my friends. I miss being able to get up and go whenever I want. I miss Friday night football.  I miss my little blog. I'm tired of being stuck at home waiting for a good day.

Friday, 9 September 2011

A Girl With Public Restroom Issues...

They did it! They finally installed those fancy toilet seat cover dispenser things at work.
Yeah, laugh if you want. You’ve obviously never seen me stress over how to get in and out of a public restroom without touching anything. It’s an absolutely ridiculous process. I know this.  Problem is, I just can’t stop myself from going through all the silly machinations I’ve created to get in and out of a public restroom without picking up any more foreign bacteria than absolutely necessary.
It would probably help if I didn’t read every single “dirtiest parts of public restrooms” article I come across. You know what I’ve learned from reading those articles in addition to all my self- acquired knowledge? Well, I’m gonna tell ya…
1.       Lady’s restrooms are much dirtier than men’s restrooms. It still baffles me that an adult female can find a way to pee on the BACK of a toilet seat and on the FLOOR! Seriously? How hard is it to aim for the center as you hover over the seat? It’s not like you’re trying to pee through a straw. It’s a big frickin’ hole!
2.       Those air dryer things are NOT more sanitary than good ole’ fashioned paper towels. The air dryer things simply re-circulate bacteria laden air, heat it, and then blow it back onto your hands and in your face.
3.       If you choose to touch the paper towel lever, the counter, the doorknob, or anything else after applying soap to your hands…you’ve completely negated the fact that you just washed your hands. Do you have any idea how many people use a public restroom and then leave without washing their hands at all? I hope you like having germs from their nether regions on your hands. Additionally, I hope you’re not a nail biter, or a thumb sucker, or….Yeah, ick…huh?
4.       For a public restroom with no trashcan by the door, and likewise a door that opens in instead of out – you can expect one of two things from me. I am either going to a) carry the paper towel out of the restroom and try to find another trash can to put it in.  Or, I will b) open the door using my paper towel and attempt to throw said paper towel into the trash can on the other side of the room. If I miss that’s too bad. This is one of my very rare “trashy” behaviors but I will not sacrifice my need for sanitation for your lack of it and it is, generally, something I only do in a restaurant. There’s something disgusting about taking a dirty paper towel back to a table where I’m eating. Agreed?
Flash forward....
I actually started this post on Friday of last week. I didn’t have time to finish it at lunch and just figured it would have to wait until I came back on Tuesday. Well, it’s Friday again and I’m just now finishing it.
Why? Well, because my very worst public restroom nightmare came true on Tuesday. I was sitting at my desk Tuesday morning and was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea. The knot in my belly, the room spinning, and the lump in my throat, all were screaming that the plumbing between my stomach and my esophagus were about to start running in reverse. I tried closing my eyes and breathing deep, all the while reciting to myself that it would go away. I simply was not going to get sick at work.
Suddenly, the amount of saliva I was producing multiplied ten-fold. The metallic taste that always forewarns the calling of Ralph reared its ugly head. I could almost hear the maniacal laughter mocking me from within my little brain.
Oh no! I simply cannot do this! I can’t even pee in a public restroom without a panic attack. How am I going to hover my face over a public toilet to vomit?
 I panicked. I nearly cried. I debated how fast I could get from the fourth floor to the first floor and into the back alley without leaving my breakfast on the floor somewhere in between. I wondered at the probability that I could puke in the trashcan at my desk, in an office cubicle environment, without anyone knowing what I was doing. Then, I ran. I nearly took out a woman coming the opposite way around the corner as I made a mad dash for the women’s restroom while muttering out loud, “Don’t touch anything, don’t touch anything, don’t touch anything.”
I barely had time to close the stall door before losing everything and, when I finally regained my composure, I had no recollection of whether or not I did, indeed, touch anything. As a precautionary measure, I made my way to the sink, took note of the lovely shade of green tint my face had taken on, and proceeded to wash both face and hands. Then, I realized I didn’t even bother to use one of the new fancy toilet seat cover thingies.
I made it home, thanks to my mother, and slept the rest of the day and on to the next morning.
Wednesday morning, I got up, forced myself into clothes, went to work and repeated the entire series of events from Tuesday morning. This time, I drove myself home and stopped once on the side of the interstate. Again, I went home and slept.
By yesterday morning, Thursday, I was so traumatized from the two preceding day’s events, that I just rolled over and went back to sleep after the alarm went off. I was NOT going to put myself through that again.
I guess the bonus is that, twice, I hovered my face over a public toilet to vomit without the benefit of fancy toilet seat cover thingies, and I’m not dead and the world hasn’t ended.
However, that may have something to do with the fact that I choose to remain in complete denial regarding those events.
Please don’t tell me any different.

Monday, 29 August 2011

A recipe for you...Popcorn 'Cake' Treat Square Candied Thingies...

I don’t know about you guys, but I generally try to keep “real” popcorn in the house. There’s something much more satisfying, and reminiscent of childhood, about fresh popped corn. Sure, microwave popcorn is convenient and smells sinfully delicious as the aroma permeates the air, but let’s face it, it just isn’t the same.

I think that popping your own corn is most likely a thing lost in the past, having given way to the laziness and synthetic butter “flavor” that is microwave popcorn. For me, I never wanted my children to miss that joy and expectation that comes from standing over the stove and waiting for the popcorn to fill the pot until the lid began to rise and the fluffy white kernels spilled over onto the stove.

So, I’m hoping with this recipe that you know how to make “real popcorn”. It just won’t come out quite the same with the microwave stuff. If you don’t know how, you will need to buy the plain microwave corn – unsalted, un-“buttered” and it will take you approximately 2-3 bags of it.

Popcorn “Cake”

1 batch of fresh popped corn (not that microwave crap…the real deal popcorn!)
1 stick butter
1 bag of marshmallows 
Various odd and end ingredients (your choice)

I use the largest pot in my cookware set, the Dutch oven, soup pot, whatever you want to call it, and make a full pot of corn. After popping the corn, remove it to a separate bowl, making sure to discard the last little bit in the bottom of the pot. This is so you don’t have too many un-popped kernels in your treats. Place the pot back on the burner and reduce the heat to med-low.

Drop in your stick of butter and after it melts halfway, add your marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have completely melted and then remove from the heat. Dump in your popped corn and mix well with a sturdy spoon.

This is where the fun part comes in. You get to add “various odd and end ingredients”. Experiment. Try any combination of M&M’s, nuts, chocolate chips, crushed pretzels, gum drops…the possibilities are endless and as unique to you as your wonderful treat will be when you’re finished.

Press the mixture firmly into a 13x9 buttered casserole, making sure to distribute evenly and fill the corners well. Let cool about 15 minutes and then cut into squares. Keep in a sealed container (if you have any left).

When I made this the other day, I added slivered almonds and candied walnuts. Then, I sprinkled chocolate chips in the bottom of my casserole before pressing in the popcorn mixture. They were gone in 24 hours…

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Sometimes...'s the littlest things that remind
me what a great guy I have...

Friday, 26 August 2011


Oh, Lord have mercy! I am happy dancin’ all over the dang place. I know ya’ll remember that Why I Don’t Sleep At Night post I did a while back.
After tomorrow, no more elbows in my back, no more husband who creates his own heat wave in his sleep heating up my space.
No more!
No more!
No more!
Now wait a minute! Don’t jump the gun.
I ain’t gettin’ a divorce. That’s what Tammy Wynette does….

What am I getting?
I’m getting a KING SIZED BED!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you to my awesomest BFF, Sheryl.
Ok. Sorry. I’m a little excited.
I’ll go take a valium and sleep it off.
Um…yeah….still too excited….valium…right.  I’m on it….

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday's Musings or Finding Myself?

Things I’m thinking today:

Women who wear 3 inch heels and can’t walk in them are really amusing. I enjoy watching their careful steps as their ankles wobble and the heels of their feet slide sideways off the backs of their shoes. For the sake of not sounding sexist, I will also say that I find men who wear 3 inch heels and can’t walk in them equally amusing.
Sometimes, something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast makes me really, really happy. Of course, I love peanut butter. I’ve been known to dip a spoonful right out of the jar and sit down and eat it in front of the TV.
I find it really frustrating when I can’t figure out the next direction to go with my book. I have a beginning and I have an end result. The middle is really stressing me though. I like instant gratification so I find it difficult to weave through all the places between point A and point B. It’s a good thing I’m not making a living off this, huh?
People who say they’re all about their kids when they really aren’t completely piss me off. If your kids were first, you wouldn’t be dumping them off for someone else to deal with while you go out and party several times a week. You also wouldn’t be exposing them to thieves, drunks, and drug addicts on a regular basis. Get a clue. If you need help finding a clue, come see me. I’ll give you one…. Or ten…
For a few weeks now, I’ve been tossing around the idea of a Facebook page for Sapphire Dragonflies; one separate from my personal Facebook. However, after almost four years, I sometimes find myself thinking I’m totally over Facebook and not sure I want to keep up with more than one page.
I am never randomly violent. However, this morning I found myself walking behind a woman who, for a reason that escapes me, I found myself wanting to punch in the back of the head. I felt like I would take great satisfaction in beating the crap out of her. Am I the only one who thinks like this at times?
Based on the first paragraph, the third paragraph, and the previous two paragraphs, in which I mentioned five times that “I found myself” doing something, one would think I spend a lot of time “finding myself”. Interesting, since I’m one of the most totally lost people I know. Some days I wonder if I might hurt myself trying to decide which end of the toothbrush to put the toothpaste on. Really...

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A New Friend, An Old Hurt

I said I would most likely never share any portion of this part of my story. However, something pulled it to mind the other day and I just started typing. Within an hour I had this little memory transformed into print.
For those of you who have experienced domestic abuse, you know it's one of those hurts that never really goes away. While what I experienced with Michael was mild on the abuse scale, it was still incredibly painful and stressful. I didn't stay in the relationship long enough for things to progress to the level they could have. It only lasted about 5 months, but it was long enough for me to be pushed, have my hair pulled, be knocked into walls, to be pinned in a car and told I couldn't leave until I agreed to his demands, to be accused of ridiculous things that never happened, and to find myself in a constant state of checking my every move to make sure I wasn't doing anything that would get his attention.
Even after moving so far away, for months I would check and recheck doors and windows when I was home alone and kept the porch lights on 24/7 so I could see outside whenever I heard a noise. The odd thing about that is, he had no idea where I lived and probably wasn't smart enough to figure it out. But, most fear, in its most overwhelming state, usually has no logic in it at all.
This piece is one of the first of many instances I remember in the early days of my friendship with Don, the man who twelve years after this would become my husband. This was one of the things that cemented our friendship and established the unwavering trust I have in him.

The shrill bell-like sound worked a path through her senses that shouted her anxiety into a tangible presence within the room. A single lamp burned in the corner over the phone, serving only to cast further illumination on the dread she felt. Eyes closed, she took a deep breath, trying to prepare herself for what she knew would come when she answered.
“Do you want me to answer it?” he asked.
She hesitated, not wanting to face the man who was calling. She’d worked so hard to remove him from her life, moving almost five hours away to return to her home state, hoping the distance would be enough to keep him away. As her thoughts wandered to what she knew awaited her on the other end of the line, she couldn’t help but find her wounded spirit leaning towards the temptation to allow her friend to rescue her from her former abuser.
“I don’t know,” she replied.
 “You could always just let it ring.”
“No,” she said, “he’ll just keep calling.” Arms folded, she trembled slightly, and felt her heart slam wildly against her ribs as if it were mocking her need for ‘fight or flight’.
“Then let me answer.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind?” she sighed.  “I don’t think I’ve had enough beer to help me do this today.”
He smiled – that smile that only he could give, the smile that had melted her broken heart just a few short weeks ago. Knowing that anything he said would be ok as long as it spared her from talking to him herself, she didn’t even bother to stay in the room and follow the conversation. She heard just enough as she made her way down the hall to her bedroom.
“Hello?...It doesn’t matter who I am….Whatever man, just leave her alone….She doesn’t want to talk to you…..Go to hell, Michael.”
She climbed into bed shivering, from anxiety more than cold, and wrapped the covers tightly around her, as if the action would somehow hide her from the waking nightmare Michael had brought upon her world. Then, thinking she would sleep alone tonight and no one would know, she let the tears come in silence.
She felt him standing in the doorway before she saw or heard him. She pulled the covers more securely over her head in a feeble attempt to hide the vulnerability of her tears, and closed her eyes more tightly as if the action would somehow will him away before she sniffed or sobbed and gave way to what she felt was weakness.
Michael had taught her that. She had never allowed him to see her cry. She had never backed down, even in her most desperate and painful moments. Weakness would only give affirmation to his need for control.
In silence, he made his way to the bed and lay behind her on top of the comforter. Without a word, her new friend placed his arm around her and pulled her close. At first she tensed, her breaths coming faster, an alert to her anxiety. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She wasn’t supposed to feel safe this close to a male peer. This should hurt. She should be scared.
Then, with solid reassurance, he gently smoothed her hair from her face in a way that willed her to relax. And, as her breathing slowed, the tears fell again.
It would be the last time, for many years to come, that there would be a need for him to hold her while she cried herself to sleep. Michael never called again and, that night, the path to healing cleared.

Monday, 15 August 2011

What a disappointment....

I was really excited about blogging my flea market finds. I got my camera, took my pictures, and headed to the laptop to upload them.

The problem?

They won't upload. I've tried everything but the laptop isn't recognizing the device.

I love all things from the 20's to the 40's. I would have an entire house designed and furnished from this time period if I could.

I wanted to show you a picture of the gorgeous antique vanity with the original matching bench. The matching bench with the beautiful fabric colored seat. The gorgeous vanity that I found for an unheard of low price and they allowed me to layaway.

I wanted to show you pictures of the fantastic little antique collectors food tins I found in perfect condition. They were only a dollar or two a piece and will look too cute on top of my upper cabinets. I found one each for Morton Salt, Nabisco Shredded Wheat, one for graham crackers, and one for brown sugar. These were finds that are usually ten dollars and up, depending on what brands they are.

I wanted to show you the five skeins of designer yarn that I got for the whopping price of TWO DOLLARS!

But my favorite find? You'll think I'm silly. It was a 1976 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that mom bought for me to tide me over until the day I inherit her 1970 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It's in perfect condition and contains many of the recipes that are in hers. I already checked. 

Insert stupid grin here --> :-D

It was that cookbook, with it's lovely red and white checked cover, that gave my mom the basic guideline for perfect spaghetti and meatballs and phenomenal lasagna. It was that cookbook that gave me the base to finally perfect a cornbread recipe. As a teenager I used that cookbook to make cookies, homemade custard and pudding, chocolate cake from scratch, all the things cookbooks don't tell you anymore now that there are mixes for everything. That cookbook was as much a part of my childhood as Golden Dream Barbie, Mrs. Beasley, and Candy Land.

I went home and spent over an hour reading over each and every page, caressing each one like a woman possessed, ready to fly into the kitchen and make something stupendous, all the while keeping my lips tightly sealed lest I drool on the pages and ruin them.

I am happy. My world is complete.

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Goat Named Lucy(fer)

As many of you know, I milk goats and feed chickens for the neighbors when they’re out of town. Usually, it goes without incident and I have the option of keeping the day’s milk and eggs for my trouble. Lately though, I’ve chosen not to keep the spoils—but that’s not really the point here.
Lucy used to be the easy one. She likes to eat. That means she doesn’t have a problem in the world with hopping up on that stanchion to be milked. Until this weekend when she was suddenly overtaken by whatever demons overtake milk goats when they don’t want to be milked.
I had tethered Carmella and she was patiently waiting for Lucy to cooperate so that she too could be milked and have an opportunity to eat. But Lucy had other plans.
It took half an hour to finally lure Lucy up onto the stanchion and she continued to be a pain in my nether regions. Three times she kicked the milk pail over and I had to start over again. Finally, I decided to tether her foot so she couldn’t kick. Her response? She managed to get her head out of the stanchion and just jumped down, kicking the milk pail into my lap on her way down.
I was so frustrated at this point that I took away her food and just put her out into the other gated area. I figured if she wanted to be that way, she just wouldn’t get grain for that morning. Don’t milk? Then you don’t get grain. She was left to graze for the day.
Carmella was my ever cooperative sweetheart, as usual. She hopped up there on her own, let me lock her in, and stayed completely still for the duration of the milking. I didn’t tether her foot because she’s so good about standing there without incident. I was almost done, with a full pail of milk, when a possessed chicken decided to jump up into Carmella’s face and scare her half to death. The result? She kicked her foot and it landed square in the milk pail. Another batch of milk that I had to pour out on the ground.
And that was just Saturday. Sunday was worse. Way worse.
This time, they were both acting weird. It took me ten minutes in awful heat and humidity to catch Carmella so that I could even attempt to worry about Lucy. (Thank goodness all the goats wear collars or I never would have caught her.)
So, there’s Carmella, tethered and patiently waiting for Lucy to cooperate (again) so that she could have her turn for milking and eating. But Lucy was seriously not going to be caught this time. After forty-five minutes of attempting to lure with food, begging, pleading, praying, crying, sighing, nearly giving up, and then crying again, we were at a stand-off. She stood there looking at me, challenging me, and laughing at me while waterfalls of sweat and tears rolled off my body.
Then, I hear the gate at the far end of the yard squeak open and turn to see my super hero husband headed down to check on me. He came in the yard to help. It took us another 20 minutes to catch the demon goat and then she still wouldn’t get on the stanchion. It finally took Don picking her up and putting her on there for me. Then he held her leg so she couldn’t kick or get down and I got a full pail of milk.
On to Carmella. The easy one. Right?
Not this day. She wasn’t getting up there either. In fact, when I led her to the stanchion, she just completely buckled her legs and tried to go to the ground. Again, Don just picked up the darn goat and put her up there so I could milk. Full pail. No problems. But, she wouldn’t eat. She just stood there completely traumatized while I handled my business…err….her business….or….Well, you know….the business at hand.
Now I hate goats. Now I’m not sure I want to be a good neighbor anymore and tend the animals while they’re out of town.
Goats are evil and I think I understand why some people eat them.
But, I'm sure I'll milk them again. Because I really don't hate them. They just hurt my feelings for a minute.

Friday, 5 August 2011

A Night On the Black River

She remembered like it was just yesterday, the cool feel of smooth stones under her bare feet, the sound of tree frogs, the dancing reflection of the stars and the sharp slash of moonlight cutting through the trees and dancing along the rippled surface of the Black River. The condensation from a can of Budweiser trickled along her wrist as she leaned against the back of her truck, looking into the abyss of eyes the color of rich dark chocolate.
It was unusual for there to be no one else there. It was a quiet comparison to typical nights on the river bank when the younger crowd would gather around a fire and have a few beers in the late night hours of summer.
He had a smile that could melt the heart and soul of any bitter old shrew if he were only to turn it on them. But, he wasn’t smiling now, and she wasn’t a bitter old shrew. Instead, he looked at her with something like regret. Probably not so much because of what he was saying, he knew he was doing the right thing, but because he knew what he was saying was hurting her.
She always knew it wouldn’t ever be anything other than what it was. But now he was saying it, and it just hurt so much. The words, with the effect of a dulled blade, scratched and tore at her fragile heart. But, she wouldn’t cry, not as much as a single tear would fall and clue him to the screams of her breaking heart.
What was it with those ridiculous words? That terrible cliché about the friendship being too important to muck it up with romantic notions rang shrilly in her head. She nodded and smiled. She said it was okay. She said she understood.
But, she knew she would go home tonight and cry herself to sleep. And, she knew that somehow, when she saw him again tomorrow, she would suck it up and pretend all was right with the world. That again, they would sit on the banks of the Black River, drinking a Budweiser and listening to the tree frogs, and he would never know how much she hurt for him.
So she lied. She soothed his ego and told him not to worry, that she was fine. She ran barefoot across the river rocks, faking laughter and beckoning him to follow her in for a late night swim. Because he was her best friend, and that friendship was just too important to muck it up with her romantic notions.

Finnish? Seriously?

I don't know what I've done. All of my tabs are in Finnish. I can't fix it. I tried. I even used blogger help. Which, by the way, I found through trial and error and lots of guessing since I can't read frickin' Finnish to know what the heck I'm clicking on.

Any genius' out there who can help me out? Because I'm so not a genius today.

Does "Julkaise Teksti" mean "Post"?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I Know Your Secret

Tick Tick Tick
I looked up, impatient at the slow progression of the hands around the clock. It was the one class where the teacher assigned seating. Mrs. Roberts with her bone straight hair and wardrobe straight out of a 1970’s resale shop.
Assigned seats didn’t gel with my desire to hide in the back of the class, away from prying eyes that might see all I had to hide. As Mrs. Roberts droned about dangling participles and sentence diagrams, I looked around the room at my peers.
Stacey Fisher with her little upturned nose. I wonder how much of that is natural slant and how much of that is just because it makes it easier for her to look down at everyone. She might pretend to be the perfect little cheerleader but I know the truth.
She thought I didn’t see her that night as she hid in the back seat of that car parked in front of Paul Wisner’s house. No one hangs out in a car in front of Paul Wisner’s house unless they’re waiting on someone to come out with a dime bag. I laughed to myself and wondered what her perfect momma and the local First Perfect Church would think of that if I chose to tell. I wonder too, if her neck ever hurts from holding her chin up like that all the time. Bitch.
And what about Jenny? I wonder what her secrets are. Her mousy brown hair, dotted with bits of white. Only once did I ever get close enough to her to realize those tiny white bits were just the split ends. She has acne, her clothes are always dirty, and she never speaks to anyone. In fact, I can’t even recall who her friends are. Every day she walks around, looking like it’s the last day of her life. Weirdo.
Bobby Mason, that greasy haired jerk who moved here in the fifth grade. He’s always so angry, pushing people out of his way, shoving kids out of their chairs. I remember my friend Derek telling me about all the bruises he always sees across Bobby’s back while changing in gym class. What are his secrets? What in the world does he have to be so pissed about all the time anyway? Loser.
Tick Tick Tick
 Jake Carlisle. How many holes does a person need in his face anyway? I heard his kid brother died in some freak gun accident and Jake was the only other person there. I bet he had something to do with it. I mean, look at him. How can you believe any different of someone who looks like that. What do you want to bet that’s his secret? Freak.
Susan Gates. There’s one for you. I don’t even know how the heck she fits in the chair. She used to have this stupid speech impediment. Some weird kind of lisp thing that made her sound like her tongue was too big for her mouth. The other kids would always make fun of her. She’d sit alone in the cafeteria unwrapping twinkies with those pudgy little sausage fingers. I thought I saw her crying afterwards once. I’m not sure. There’s no way someone like her could have any secrets. Cow.
I mean, yeah sure, I might sound a little judgmental. But hey, it’s not like I’m sharing my thoughts with the rest of the world, you know. What am I hurting if I keep my thoughts to myself?
Tick Tick Tick
At least they can’t see my secret. If I can help it they never will. It’s not like I’m going to be telling anyone, that’s for sure. I mean, if they knew, they might think I’m not so different than them or something; they might start thinking they’re as normal as I am.
Finally, the bell! Maybe I can get out of here before someone reads my mind.
As I approach my locker I see the tiny folded note taped to the front. I bet it’s from Lindsay. Maybe she wants to hang out after school. I juggle my books to free my hands and open the little square of paper. Inside I see four little words; four words that forever change the world as I know it.
I know your secret.

Remembering High School...

High school was strange for me. My recollections are surreal. Like maybe, it might be something that actually happened, but I can’t be too sure. I think of the sights, the sounds, and my distorted view of the world at the time and I wonder if MY reality was actually THE reality.
The high school I attended was smallish. My graduating class was 101 students. Most of us weren’t overly cliquish. Sure, we all had our regular group we kept company with, but, except for one or two, I don’t recall bullies or people who acted like they were too good to talk to you. For the most part, you were you and they were them, and that was okay.
We had kids whose families had money and kids whose families didn’t. We had headbangers, stoners, nerds, jocks, cheerleaders and kids who were just trying to get by. But, overall they didn’t give one another a hard time. In fact, I recall seeing more meanness in the local Baptist church than I ever saw at school, and those church kids were downright ugly and bordered on cruel. But, that’s another story entirely and this post ain’t about church.
But now, thinking on it, I remember kids who were different, kids who didn’t seem to have as much of a crowd as the rest of us, kids who seemed to keep to themselves. Maybe I don’t recall the teasing because I wasn’t a part of it. I wasn’t on the giving end and I wasn’t on the receiving end. I question my perception of the reality I chose to see at the time.
Is that just my ability to go back and look at it with adult eyes, rather than the eyes of an idealistic and naïve teenager? Because it didn’t happen to me, does that mean it didn’t happen? Are there some out there who now look back and think of hell on earth when they think of high school?
I don’t know why all this suddenly seems to matter now or why I suddenly chose to think on it. I can’t change it. I can’t fix it. Besides, I’m not even really sure what version of “it” is even real. Maybe it’s wondering what mark I left on the world back then, or if I made any mark at all.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Holy Cow!!!

Do you ever have one of those really awesome and unexpected things happen that just make you so excited you could dang near pee your pants? I had one of them this morning.
In high school I had a friend. He was my favorite person to talk to and he always made me laugh. He has the best laugh I’ve ever heard. I told him pretty much everything. He laughed with me and at me when I needed it. He told me I was acting stupid when I needed it. He commiserated with me when I needed it. He ticked my mom off when he wrote a raunchy poem in my yearbook. *snicker* (I thought it was funny) I remember she’d frown at me when he called and then I’d roll my eyes as I took the phone.
And then, this morning, I log in to my email to find a message from him! I look like the cat that ate the canary. Or maybe it’s the Cheshire cat, or some other kind of weird widely grinning feline, I don’t know. I was so excited to hear from him after all these years that I couldn’t form an intelligent response to his message. I must have sounded like one of those silly prattling teenage girls gushing all over the place. Seriously, I started the message with, “OMG! OMG! OMG!” I should have finished with, “Like totally, wow!”
You know what else? Dude has read the blog! *waves at S*
So like, I’m gonna take a deep breath here, and be all mature and stuff, you know?
I missed you! Thanks for taking the time to look me up. Thank you, Google. *smiles*
Note: Sorry HS pals. I ain't telling who he is. You know, respecting privacy and stuff.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Asperger's it is....

I'm sharing pictures today. Pictures of my baby. My baby who was diagnosed with Asperger's recently. I've blogged about this before -- here

It doesn't really mean anything to me. Not in the way you'd think it would. I'm not sad, or disappointed, or even angry. I'm relieved.

I always knew he was different. Even as a newborn he was different than any other baby I'd ever encountered. He didn't cry. Not often anyway. When he did, it was because he wanted to be left alone. I'd put him in his crib and he'd lay there for an hour or two, just cooing and gurgling at his

It doesn't mean anything because it doesn't change anything. He is who  he's always been. He just has a new label. A label, by the way, that doesn't define him.

Just like he always has, he will be sad sometimes because his peers don't understand him. They don't understand when he misses important social cues -- like facial expressions, body language, sarcasm, or teasing that's taken literally, even when it's just typical kid fun.

He will still get excited about his accomplishments. He will still laugh and play and be silly. He will still make me laugh like no one else can.

He will still get angry when people don't understand what he's trying to communicate. Because he sometimes has difficulty finding the right words and using them appropriately. Because sometimes he doesn't have words for how he's feeling.

He will still need to hide from the world when he can't process what's going on around him. When people are angry, or the environment is disorganized. Just a short break to regroup and identify his emotions. Then he'll still come back and try again.

He will still make silly faces when I want him to smile at the camera. He will still be my sunshine. He will still hug me and tell me I'm the best mom in the whole world. 

Nothing has changed. Our world is still the same as it's always been. He's my baby. And that, is all that really matters.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Writers Block

I want to blog.
Every day that goes by I want to post. But I don’t. No matter how hard I try, the words won’t come. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve composed two or three sentences, made my way to the computer, and suddenly found my mind completely blank.
It hurts. It rakes at my soul. It laughs at me.
There’s all this stuff inside my brain, stuff that’s entirely unique to me, stuff that makes me who I am, and I can’t get it out. It’s stuck. I close my eyes and see words, hear the jumbled whispers of my thoughts, and when I try to express them, like a playful puppy daring you to catch it they evade me at the last minute.
So I sit and think in my black hole of nothing-- too frustrated and tired to even attempt to find the door out and wonder what to do next. Wanting so badly to blog about all the things going on in my life. Raising kids, J being tested for Autism tomorrow, annoyances about family, how I'm coping with health issues about family, health issues about me, why I don't want to be in my house anymore, why I think I need a new job, etc.
But I'm blank. I've got nothing to give. I'm chasing words that continue to elude me.
As writers, do you ever experience this? Do you ever find your thought process so disorganized that you can’t pinpoint a cognitive thought to put on paper? What do you do when this happens?

Friday, 22 July 2011

The best cornbread I've ever had is mine...

Alright folks – you have my friend girl Maasiyat over at Inside the Bipolar Mind to thank for this one. She wrote a post called Maters, Taters, Beans and Greens and the first thing I thought of was cornbread. The second thing I thought of is that I believe my cornbread is the best I’ve ever had.
I got the original recipe from my mother’s 1970 something Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Since then I’ve managed to tweak and perfect it to my own tastes. The result is I have the lightest, fluffiest, butteriest cornbread I’ve ever had. Now, I’m gonna share it with you.
Yeah, I totally just made up the word butteriest. It’s mine too. You can’t have it.
First you’ll need to gather supplies. You will need:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup of sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup of cornmeal
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup of milk
¼ cup of BUTTER FLAVOR shortening (Needs to be at room temperature)
½ stick butter
1-10 inch cast iron skillet. No exceptions! This is the key to amazing cornbread!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Add ½ stick of butter to your cast iron skillet and place it in the oven.
Next, you sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the cornmeal and blend it well with a fork or whisk. Pour in your two lightly beaten eggs and the milk. Blend it all well with your whisk or fork and then add in the shortening. It’s best to use a whisk for this. It does a much better job of breaking up the shortening, allowing it to blend evenly throughout the mixture.

Once the butter has completely melted in the skillet, add your cornbread batter to the skillet. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. The top should be slightly cracked and it should be just beginning to pull away from the sides. If it's completely pulled from the sides, you've over cooked it.

You can either leave it in the skillet and serve after it cools a little or, you can loosen the edges with a knife and flip it out into a plate. For me, the warmer the better; especially since I typically butter the already buttery cornbread and then drizzle it with honey.

Hey! Don’t chastise me! I said it was good. I never said it was good for you!

Sometimes, when I’m feeling adventurous, I add little things to it. A can of corn and a can of diced chilies make a great Mexican cornbread. A handful or two of diced cooked shrimp, a little Cajun seasoning, and some shredded cheese makes a great Cajun cornbread and goes great with my gumbo. 

Sorry there are no pics. It is 100 degrees outside. I’m not turning on my oven for anyone. Not even you.

But, I love you. Really I do.

** NOTES:  Margarine doesn't work in place of the butter or the shortening. Margarine has water in it so what happens is you end up with a denser finished product. Cornbread should be light and fluffy and almost melt in your mouth. Trust me, I tried it with margarine and it was No Bueno! Also, don't substitute butter where I tell you to use shortening. Again, it's a texture thing. Also, if you have too much butter going on the butter will burn the outside of the cornbread before the inside is done.

If you're not sure, ask me and I'll tell you.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

It’s just bad parenting….

I try.
Really, I try.
Yet, for the life of me, I simply cannot understand what motivates some people.
They’re everywhere; children who are products of parents who are not together anymore, children who are being raised by spiteful and hate filled mothers who use every opportunity to fill their children with the same hatred they harbor towards their former partners.
Ok, so maybe I shouldn't say mothers here. But, they're the biggest offenders. In all fairness though, there are crappy dads out there who do the same thing.
Why would you tell your child anything, true or not, negative about the other parent? Do you honestly subscribe to the belief that the person you’re hurting is the former partner?
If so, you’re dumber than I thought. The only person you’re hurting is your child. Think about it. You spew your filth at your child about what a crappy father they have, you lie about it when confronted, and then you tell your child not to tell the other parent what you’ve spewed at them. You do that, and then you expect me to believe that you aren’t trying to hurt your child? If the child is the only one to know what you’ve said, who else could it have been said to hurt?
You fill your children with hate and then wonder why they’re angry.
You fill your children with hate and then wonder why they don’t respect you.
You fill your children with hate and give them to society to deal with when the monster becomes bigger than you.
You fill your children with hate and then you attach a label and medicate them unnecessarily
You do all of this and then you expect the rest of us to feel sorry for you when it blows up in your face.
And the monster grows when your verbal wall begins to crumble around you….
You spew more hate, thinking maybe you didn’t do enough damage already….
Then you scream that you’re the better parent….
Shame on you.
You don’t deserve them.
There is absolutely no good reason for one parent to bash the other in the presence of their child.
If you think I’m talking to you, then I probably am.
And, what makes me feel like I can point fingers here? Because J has one of the crappiest bio-dads on the planet. He abandoned him twice. He even terminated his rights because he didn't want to pay child support. But, never, ever, never have I intentionally bashed his sperm donor in front of him. After everything he's done, I still tell Jack that jerkface loves him but he just has some problems in his life he needs to take care of that keep him from being the kind of dad J wants him to be.
Can you imagine the consequences if I were to tell him the truth? That his biodad doesn't want to be a dad to him, but he is still a dad to his siblings? What kind of mother would I be if I hurt him like that?
Think about it moms (and dads). Who are you really trying to hurt? What damage are you really doing? Are you really prepared to deal with the fallout? Do you think it's fair that you force your children to fight your battles with your former spouse? Really?
Get real with yourselves....

Thursday, 30 June 2011


I’ve stopped writing.
I have a new camera and I’m not taking pictures.
I’m not knitting or crocheting.
I don’t leave my room when I’m at home.
I leave my home only to a) go to the doctor, b) go to the grocery store c) go to my mom’s for a bit d) go to work.
I don’t call friends and family.
Cooking has become a chore rather than something I enjoy.
I don’t remember the last time I read a book.
I did the unthinkable Tuesday and went to see a therapist.
I avoid making plans with people.
I’m sitting in bed, legs folded “criss cross applesauce”. I’m ready for sleep, wearing my standard tank top and a little pair of athletic shorts. I love those shorts. The little grey ones, super short, loose fitting and made out of the same fabric as a sweatshirt. You girls know what I’m talking about. You probably have some too, and if you do I know you love them as much as I do.
The evening is winding down, kids are going to bed, Don is in the shower and Lola is trying to nip at my toes because she wants to play.
In my hand rests a daily dose of what I call “Skittles”. Except they’re not little fruity bites of sugar, they’re my meds. Every night before I go to bed there’s a palm full of pills and an injection. Anti-inflammatories,  a little something to help me sleep, a muscle relaxer so I don’t cramp up, three for the diabetes, and a couple more for things I don’t want to talk about.
I’m sitting there looking at my Skittles and thinking about the fact that I finally decided to see a therapist the other day. Of course, she recommends an anti depressant. Suddenly the tears threatened to spill over and I was just….. well….. pissed.
Why was I so darn mad? It was because despite the fortune I spend on prescriptions every month, despite the small pharmacy I ingest every day, I was still sitting there in terrible pain and I already knew the likelihood that I would be awake repeatedly throughout the night, trying to find a position that didn’t hurt.
As I started taking the meds, I came to the one I always hate to take; the frickin’ horse pill that usually manages to stick in my throat and leave me thinking, “How’s that for ‘tasting the rainbow’? Thanks Skittles.” Then I took it and, of course, it stuck.
I gave myself my daily injection, hit a small vein and groaned because I knew that was another bruise to go with the map of little purple islands on my belly. Connect the dots anyone?
At that point I realized Don was getting out of the shower so, I cleaned up my face and adjusted my expression so he wouldn’t see that I’d had a brief breakdown and a small pity party. He has enough to worry about. He doesn’t need to know that I’m falling apart too.
It’s funny to me that he doesn’t notice but, at the same time, it doesn’t hurt my feelings that he doesn’t.  He does so much already that I’ve convinced myself that I’m somehow protecting him by not letting him help me.
He climbed into bed next to me, and in his usual fashion, very slowly attempts to cuddle, making sure he’s not hurting me.
Maybe he knows more than I give him credit for. Maybe he feels as helpless as I do to fix it.
What’s next?
I don’t know. But, it can’t be more of “this”.
For now, I’ll just commit myself to seeing the therapist weekly.
Baby steps.
That’s the best I can come up with.