Tag Archives: food

Dear Diary, Day 723

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It's a good day at the mall when you're eyes are shut.

It’s a good day at the mall when you’re eyes are shut.

I think I left off on day 5…let’s recount what has happened in the days, well-nigh, weeks since my last post….

I have no idea. Really. I have no memory of anything ever. I think it is partly hereditary, partly voluntary and a little bit of 10 years of ambien. But I will give you a general idea.

It’s winter here. It’s cold. I went back to work after vacation. I started working on choreography for the end of the year performance. I yelled at the dog alot. I got bagels at the bagel shop and green tea at Starbucks every morning. I got into fights on the internet. I worked very hard at ignoring cravings. I made a decision to eat better (just made the decision…like this: if there are 5 frogs on a log and one decides to jump off, how many frogs are left on the log? 5 because he simply made the decision….I’m a freaking frog).

The kids and I went to the movies a few times. We went to a hockey game. We threw one of my closest friends a Stay Strong dance party because she is going into surgery for breast cancer. That, despite sounding strange, was the most fun…bitter sweet fun. I could go on for days about this woman and how she has stood by me in sickness and in health. 19 years I have seen her almost daily. But I think I will keep this in my heart for now.

And that brings us to today. Today is the 22nd. It was bombastic cold out today so the schools cancelled. SNOW DAY! Minus the snow and plus -17 degree day!!! So, we slept in, woke up, took the 15 yr old to the Dr because she has a cold. She hasn’t figured out her own body stuff yet and who am I to say she doesn’t have strep throat or Ebola? I’m a dance teacher not a doctor. She does not have strep. I told ya so. Got our bagel at the bagel shop and green tea at Starbucks. Came home.

I thought about taking the kids to the mall. I took a shower and made a pot roast instead. It came out sort of blechy. But we ate it anyway. I yelled at the dog alot. I thought about why I am where I am now and I ate peanut butter and chocolate chips. I made the kids watch my favorite episode of Fact of Life (the title of the episode is The Golden Years….I laugh so hard I cry…and I quote lines…I am not ashamed).

Now I am figuring out how to not make Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate my new obsession.

I can watch the movie Bridesmaids on repeat for the rest of my life.

Eye doctors are weird people.

I have never worn these and never will. But I will always have them.

I have never worn these and never will. But I will always have them.

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Spencer The Addict

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spencer the addict

They say we are only as sick as our secrets. I don’t know if this is his secret or mine….

Spencer spent the first 8 years of his life outside. When he was in, it was mainly in the mudroom. Then, he spent a year at my mother’s house in the village, where he accidently broke her knee, but that’s a story for a different day…. And when we moved in here, Spencer and Emma came home. They became suburban dogs. They began their transformation at my mother’s house where they had to learn to walk on leash and how to steal food off the counter rather than eat fish out of the creek. They developed a whole new set of skills. Emma eventually learned that she was now a kept dog and she would be fed and walked. She just had to be patient. Emma is a good, smart dog. Spencer is a fart.

Don’t misunderstand, Spencer always had a tendency toward theft. Even when we lived in the woods and he had his fill of critters, he would take every opportunity to steal people food. He did the typical “turkey pull” where the dog pulls the cooked turkey off the counter. The difference being, he pulled it down and swallowed the 14 pound bird whole. He may be part snake as his bottom jaw unhinges and he’s a sneaky, sometimes slimy mutt. I’m not kidding, for a 120 pounds, this dog is fast!!

Spencer eats anything and everything he can. He loves garbage, dead animals are his nirvana, and…. candy. He is a chocoholic. Every year we had an easter egg hunt with about 30 kids and their families. I made a huge ham dinner and I knew better than to let the dogs in the house. I put the 20 bags of candy in the mud room not knowing that Spencer was what he was which is insane. He ate 10 bags of easter candy tinfoil and all before I caught him. Of course, the entire world told me he would die, as chocolate is deadly to dogs in large quanties. What he whole world didn’t know was he is a Coon Hound Disease survivor so I figured he’d survive this too, if only by sheer stupidity and will power. At the same time, if the chocolate had killed him then, after taking care of his paralyzed ass for months on end, I would have been severely pissed. Luckly Spencer didn’t know that chocolate was poison. The only effect the chocolate had on Spence was a sugar high, followed by a sugar low and then alot of diarrhea. He likes to go all out on the holidays. Thank you Easter Bunny. Bawk Bawk!

Obviously from that day on, I knew there was no more being careless with food. Spencer had an addiction and me, being the codependent enabler I am, stepped right up to the challenge of keeping him sober or at least keeping him from eating us out of house and home. But for that year that he and Emma lived with my mother, I became lax. We could actually sit down to dinner without one of us having to keep lookout for a sneak attack from the dog. We would actually leave bread on the counter, a bowl of candy stayed right where we put it.

And then they came home. And I do believe Spencer was bolder and less apologetic than before. He felt entitled to help himself to whatever he wanted. The kids and I began to live like we were in prison. We eat with one arm around our plates and our eyes ever shifting back and forth waiting for that hot doggy breath on our legs, signaling that he is about to take what is ours. Bringing groceries in is a 3 person job now. One to stand guard in the kitchen, one to stand guard at the car door and one to actually bring the groceries in. When heating something up, there is no way to put it down and answer the phone, or the door. If the kids aren’t there to protect the food, I can’t get the door or answer the phone. Or if I do, it is with food in my hands. Bowls filled with meatloaf, hot pans of lasagna, plates of brownies, that how I greet guests to my home, not because I am suzy homemaker, but because if I turn my head, that damn dog will have scarfed down every scrap.

I am considering doing an intervention and sending him to rehab.

Spencer The Addict

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Spencer The Addict

They say we are only as sick as our secrets. I don’t know if this is his secret or mine….

Spencer spent the first 8 years of his life outside. When he was in, it was mainly in the mudroom. Then, he spent a year at my mother’s house in the village, where he accidently broke her knee, but that’s a story for a different day…. And when we moved in here, Spencer and Emma came home. They became urban dogs. They began their transformation at my mother’s house where they had to learn to walk on leash and how to steal food off the counter rather than eat fish out of the creek. They developed a whole new set of skills. Emma eventually learned that she was now a kept dog and she would be fed and walked. She just had to be patient. Emma is a good, smart dog. Spencer is a fart.

Don’t misunderstand, Spencer always had a tendency toward theft. Even when we lived in the woods and he had his fill of critters, he would take every opportunity to steal people food. He did the typical “turkey pull” where the dog pulls the cooked turkey off the counter. The difference being, he pulled it down and swallowed the 14 pound bird whole. He may be part snake as his bottom jaw unhinges and he’s a sneaky, sometimes slimy mutt. I’m not kidding, for a 120 pounds, this dog is fast!!

Spencer eats anything and everything he can. He loves garbage, dead animals, and candy. He is a chocoholic. Every year we had an easter egg hunt with about 30 kids and their families. I made a huge ham and turkey dinner and I knew better than to let the dogs in the house. I put the 20 bags of candy in the mud room not knowing that Spencer was what he was which is insane. He ate 10 bags of easter candy, tinfoil and all. Of course the entire world told me he would die as chocolate is deadly to dogs in large quanties. What he whole world didn’t know he was a coon hound’s disease survivor so I figured he’d survive this too, if only by sheer stupidity and will power. At the same time, if the chocolate had killed him then, after taking care of his paralyzed ass, I would have been severely pissed. Lucky Spencer didn’t know that chocolate was poison. The only effect the chocolate had on Spence was a sugar high, followed by a sugar low and then at of diarrhea. He likes to go all out on the holidays. Thank you easter bunny. Bawk Bawk!

Obviously from that day on, I knew there was no more being careless with food. Spencer had an addiction and me, being the codependent enabler I am, stepped right up to the challenge of keeping him sober or at least keeping him from eating us out of house and home. But for that year that he and Emma lived with my mother, I became lax. We could actually sit down to dinner without one of us having to keep lookout for a sneak attack from the dog. We would actually leave bread on the counter, a bowl of candy stayed right where we put it.

And then they came home. And I do believe Spencer was bolder and less apologetic than before. He felt entitled to help himself to whatever he wanted. The kids and I began to live like we were in prison. We eat with one arm around our plates and our eyes ever shifting back and forth waiting for that hot doggy breath on our legs, signaling that he is about to take what is ours. Bringing groceries in is a 3 person job now. One to stand guard in the kitchen, one to stand guard at the car door and one to actually bring the groceries in. When heating something up, there is no way to put it down and answer the phone, or the door. If the kids aren’t there to protect the food, I can’t get the door or answer the phone. Or if I do, it is with food in my hands. Bowls filled with meatloaf, hot pans of lasagna, plates of brownies, that how I greet guests to my home, not because I am suzy homemaker, but because if I turn my head, that damn dog will have scarfted down every scrap.

I am considering doing an intervention and sending him to rehab.

It’s My First Thanksgiving Charlie Brown!

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Yup, that was what we had in our fridge Thanksgiving 1990

My first Thanksgiving on my own was memorable. Not for the gorgeous bird or the huge table of family and friends. But because I was 17, living with my best friend in Houston, Texas. And she was a vegetarian. But I was determined to make us a turkey. After all, we were grown ups!! Her boyfriend was coming but not until the next day with one of his pals. I just couldn’t let Thanksgiving pass without a celebration. My mother was coming also but not arriving until 2 days after the holiday.

I had no idea what I was doing. Not one clue as to how to begin. So, I called my dad. He got me started. First, buy a turkey. Ok, that was priceless info because I  thought that turkeys just showed up in the kitchen. Put the bird in a pan and turn on the oven (my dad was a gourmet cook who didn’t hold out much hope for my traditional thanksgiving being that I was 17 and didn’t realize I had to actually go and buy the turkey). Got it. Bird, pan….wait… was I supposed to take off the wrapping? Ok, hot wrapping off the bird. So far so good. I made real, undercooked, lumpy, mashed potatoes and stuffing out of a box (the best kind). My best friend made her green bean casserole and some other gross tofu/veggie dishes that I would never eat because gross.

My favorite part of the meal is the gravy. It always has been and always will be. I could drink gravy. I love gravy. Now, how do I make gravy? I had no idea. Hello Dad? Ok, I needed flour. Or cornstarch. Yeah, we were 17 years old….I didn’t even know what cornstarch was. I thought it was what you used on shirt collars. The grocery stores were closed by this time, so I went to my across the way neighbors. They were a couple who were, um, 17 years old!!! No, they didn’t have any flour or cornstarch (don’t you use that for keeping collars stiff?). I tried some of the other neighbors. Most were gone to friends or families for dinner. And the rest didn’t have flour or cornstarch. But Terry was home. He was the super special guy that lived below us and he was already half in the bag. He assured me I could make gravy with the coarsely ground cornmeal he had in the cupboard, as long as I invited him up for the festivities. Excellent!!

And off I went to make my fav part of thanksgiving, confident that coarsely ground cornmeal would do the trick! How exciting to be so grown up and independent and making our very first thanksgiving dinner!!! My best friend and I set our tiny table with what we considered our best china. She had bought some cool plates at Pier One….yep, we were all grown up!! I stirred that coarsely ground cornmeal into the gravy for about an hour trying to thicken the drippings. No luck. Come ON!!! It’s cornmeal you really can’t get more traditional than that!!

2 hours later Terry showed up ready for some yummy thanksgiving dishes. Instead, he got lumpy mashed potatoes, turkey broth with what resembled saw dust shavings in it and some tofu sweet potato disaster (it very well may have been delish but it had tofu in it so it was just simply nasty in my book). The turkey itself was not bad. Except for the bag of salmonella that no one told me to take out before I cooked it. What kind of a joke is that? A whole bag filled with the grossest parts of the bird!!! And I was supposed to TOUCH that thing???

Despite it all we had a lovely dinner, all grown up like. Since then, I have been fortunate to have some of the best thanksgiving dinners with some of the most wonderful people. But I will never forget that very first one, which despite the food fiasco, was filled with good friends. I have since grown up to make the most incredible gravy anyone has ever tasted, I know anyone who tried to down that first gravy experiment would agree!!

And so begins the tradition of M&M’s, Honey roasted peanuts and cat in a glass…

Little Miss Suzy Homemaker

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Yup, it usually ends with a visit from the fire department (picture courtsey of rhibowman.files.wordpress.com)

 I like to play Clean House. I LOVE that show (on Style network with Niecy Nash and her crew). I love to go through my kids toys and clothes and pile up all the stuff that they don’t play with or that doesn’t fit then tag it for a yard sale. I feel so accomplished when I do this. I actually pretend that Niecy is there and I am hanging on to a favorite item, like a stuffed animal or a bin full of VHS tapes of As The World Turns. I will actually cry and explain why I NEED to keep these useless items. Ofcourse, I am all alone and there is no camera crew, no Niecy to bargain with, no Matt to fix it, Trish to sell it or Mark to decorate it. I get to play all the parts. It’s fun really.

I should probably get out more, but whatever. It’s a grown up game…not like I am playing with the kid’s  barbies or something. I mean, sorting them, dressing them and then setting up the barbie house exactly like I like it is NOT really playing…it is more like organizing. But I have to be in the mood to do these chores. Yesterday was one of those days when I was in the mood. I tackled the 11 year old’s room. Good Lord, Niecey would have given it a “Mayhem and Foolishness”…I wound up with 4 full bags of garbage, 2 bags of clothes for donation and 2 bags for yard sale day. I was feeling so very free from clutter!!! I organized what she had left in her room just like Trish does, I fixed her dresser handles like Matt would and I made her bed which is my tribute to Mark.

I was feeling pretty good about my homemaking skills by that point so I decide that I will start on dinner. Spiedie chicken, salt potatoes and corn on the cob. That is what comfort food means to me. I slap some chicken in the pan with the spiedie sauce, turn the stove on high and proceed to chat with my 15 year old about her grades. I had to speak with her math teacher earlier in the day. I was giving the 15 year old a pretty good talking to, complete with “How do you expect to succeed in life” and ” You need to take this more seriously” and the history making “Shape up or it’s summer school for you!” I was purposely ignoring the food on the stove, giving the impression( I believe) that I am in total control of the situation (the situation being the 15 year old and her grades AND the food on the stove).Things started  bubbling and hissing …. on the stove…the 15 year old was just giving me The Look.

There is clouds of steam billowing and water splashing over the edges of pots and sizzling. I casually turn on the fan above the stove. I think at a level 1, and I go back to the “These grades go on your permanent record” part of my speech. All of the sudden, the fire alarm goes off. Now, to give you an idea of what happened the last time the fire alarm went off in my house please read http://ellie072.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/35/ Back already? Ok, so what do you think would be my first move when the smoke alarm goes off? Shut off the stove? No…YOU didn’t click the link!!

My first reaction is to grab the dog! I yell for the center child to run quick and get the dog out of the house!! Next, I head straight for the key pad and begin punching in every single combination of numbers that might possibly relate to me. I am yelling at the 15 year old to answer the phone. She yells back that it wasn’t ringing. I was just hoping it was ringing and that it was the securities lady who would tell me the code to shut off the damn alarm. And the littlest kid is standing there, in the middle of the kitchen with a look of pure terror. FINALLY the securities lady calls and gives me the code. She said she was going to try to cancel the fire department dispatch, but I can hear the horn, the fire department is only 2 blocks away from my house.

And have I shut off the stove yet? No. Is the chicken still burning away? Yes. Did the dog make it outside before he became literally  “sacred poopless?” why, yes, yes he did!! Score one for Suzy Homemaker!!! I finally remembered the stove, shut it off. The fireman came to the door and asked if I was trying to cook dinner again. To which I sheepishly replied “yes.”  And this, my oh so wise friends who think I am insane for always going to restaurants because it is so expensive, is why we eat out.

P.S. The dog pooped 6 times AS he was running up the block away from the house. The center child accidently slid in one pile of poop while chasing him to get him home. Luckily this did not result in a trip to the ER, only a trip to the shower. Just another day in the life of Me….