Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The luckiest monkey in the world

The Old Woman died three and a half, nearly four, years ago.  And, I've pretty much been in a really bad mood since.  Last month, The Old Man was placed in a facility, not too much unlike the lab, for old humans.  It isn't an ideal situation, but it was the best possible option. His health is such that he can't care for himself and refuses to assist family members in caring for him.

I was talking to the oldest child of the Old Folks the other night, and after our conversation I realized how lucky I am that the Old Folks found me/gave me a home.

The Oldest Child characterized the Old Man as the "most emotionally disconnected" person he'd ever met.

My perspective is wholly different.  The Old Man, without a doubt, loves me unconditionally.  He is always happy to see me, and affectionate.  (When he was a bit younger and stronger, would greet me with a hug that would lift me off my feet.)  I have always known that the Old Man was my greatest cheerleader and anything I thought I should try to do, he had complete confidence I could accomplish it.

I'm sad that the children of the Old Man experienced their relationship with him differently.  And, given his advanced age, I suspect there won't ever be a moment when they are able to experience him as I have.

Having the opportunity to realize how much I'm loved as well as reconcile any "difficult" relationships is just one more way I'm the luckiest monkey in the world.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I have been cooking for the Phenom for 100 years now.  In fact, I truly believe that the pathway to Phenom's heart really was through the stomach . . . chili and chocolate cake/choco chip cookies!

But, truth be told, Phenom started out with a limited palate.  Although Mom-Phenom made really good desserts, she wasn't really into cooking for the sake of cooking.  She worked a full time job and so she'd typically cook a big Sunday meal and the family would eat off the leftovers all week.  Friday nights, Phenom's father would cook . .. . generally something meaty. But, the Phenom family was decidedly of the ilk that food was necessary to live, but not something to get all excited over.

Over the years, I've expanded the Phenom's food range.  Partly through manipulation, partly through playing on flavors I know are acceptable.  Oh, and manipulation.  

This past week, a friend sent me a freebie of Blue Apron; a meal delivery service.  They send you hand selected items and step by step instructions to prepare a meal.  This past week, we had salmon with roasted sweet potato disks, and salad with walnuts and green apple, chicken with a garlic spinach rice and curried tomato sauce, and meatball ragout.  

Phenom liked the roasted sweet potatoes and I'll make those again.  The garlic spinach rice was just weird and way way way too much garlic.  Fennel was the predominate flavor in two of the meals.  The meatballs were good, but would have been better in a bbq sauce.  The Phenom has always insisted that salmon has a "particular" flavor and not a favorite.  But, the salmon in this was wild caught and very good.  So, now I know I can fix salmon in the future. Also, the picky about fruit Phenom picked all the green apple pieces out of the salad and liked them.  

We're not going to be doing more of these meals . . . but it was interesting and at least I've got a couple new things I can add to the list of edibles.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


This afternoon, I had the sort of date "old married" types have.  I picked up Phenom after he dropped his car off to get serviced and we went to lunch and stroll around a bit.

It is a beautiful, spring-time-in-the-south day.  I had the windows down, sunglasses on, music blaring, and all was well.  As Phenom sat in my car at the dealership, I turned to him and said "this is the sort of day where we should be allowed to smoke weed."  Good thing Phenom wasn't chewing gum because he would have swallowed it, as unexpected as my comment was.

But, it was true.  The sky was perfect, trees were blooming, it has FINALLY stopped raining.  The only thing that would have made it even better was a slight buzz.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Food Nerd

I have learned that I come by my food-nerd ways honestly.

I recently spent a week visiting the Grad Student.  Finally, we weren't in mourning for the loss of a loved one.  And, he lives in a food paradise.

His most recent obsession is roasting his own coffee.  He, as any good scientist would, keeps detailed notes and is quite methodical with his process.  Each new sort of bean he buys, he roasts to three different levels and then brews each with four different methods.  He keeps detailed notes.  Similarly, on my first morning, he brewed me four cups of coffee, each utilizing a different brewing method. He had me taste each with and without milk and report which I preferred.  That became "my coffee" for the whole visit.

I have now acquired my own "rig" for roasting coffee and this weekend will embark on a new level of food nerd.  However, I won't likely keep the detailed notes like he does.

I hope the Phenom is up for this one.  I have Mexican and Peruvian beans to start this adventure.  And, I'm pretty sure the one thing my co-workers are REALLY looking forward to is me being jacked up on coffee every morning.  Hee Hee.

Monday, March 07, 2016

I'm unfair and other people's brain farts

A) Problem Child Employee once screamed at me that I was unfair and inconsistent because I wouldn't let her take "make up" time off before she actually earned it.  It wasn't my rule, but that of the corporate overlords.  Plus, the "late" work obligation got cancelled and she would have had to taken leave time anyway.

However, this week I'm letting Newbie (haven't found a nickname for Problem Child's replacement yet) take a few hours of time off and then "earn it back" later.  I know, this proves that I'm unfair and inconsistent.  But, Newbie doesn't scream at me or throw tantrums or try to find every imaginable excuse to not do her job.  She comes early, leaves late, and doesn't give me lip.  I like her better, and she is rewarded accordingly.

B) I added another doctor to the list of those not worth my time.  The foot doctor.  I went along with the suggestion I wear athletic shoes all the time. I discovered that this is the limit of my vanity . . . ugly shoes.  Not that I was known for fashionable foot wear to begin with, but lace up shoes just offend my tender monkey sensibilities.  Today, he was mid lecture about how I should wear shoes ALL THE TIME.  I was telling him that it wasn't gonna happen.  My shoes come off as soon as I get home and he wasn't going to change that.  We'd previously discussed that my issues are arthritis related rather than injury related, and he switched mid-lecture and told me that I must wear shoes outdoors to "avoid this sort of puncture wound."

Um, what?

I told him that I wasn't here to be treated for a puncture wound and he just blinked at me.  After a couple of seconds he tried to cover with "I was just telling you should avoid them."  Right.  And, I'm done.

I think I'll go dig all my old shoes out now, too.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

In from the cold

I hope.

We have a homeless guy who I think sleeps in the dumpster behind my office.  I feel a lot of guilt because there is a person who is clever enough to figure out that the safest place for him to sleep, as a homeless person, is in a dumpster.  He generally is out by the time I roll in each morning, but once in a while I catch him.  Our office is just a block away from the town square fountain.  In warmer months, he'll get up early, splash off in the fountain, then come gather his things and leave for the day.

He also regularly digs through the dumpster for stuff he can use or sell.

Problem Child use to freak out when she saw him.  She wanted me to call the cops to have them take him off.  When I could, I'd bring him bottles of water and/or food we might have in the office.  This use to make her mad.

Today, being mardi gras, I had a king cake I'd made for the office.  About lunch time, I took some over to share with   friends in a neighboring office and noticed the homeless guy digging through the dumpster.  When I left work at the end of the day, he was still at "work."

I sat in my car and watched him for a minute.  I'd been blasted by cold air leaving the office.  I noticed he'd found a bright purple pair of sweat pants he'd put over his jeans.  He was trying on a pair of shoes he'd found in the dumpster.  I went back into the office, grabbed a bottle of water and cut a large portion of cake.  I wrapped up the cake on a plate with a napkin and fork in foil and took it out to him.

He danced as if he were on Bourbon Street.  I don't think he even heard me tell him that the homeless shelter would be open with no restrictions due to the cold.

I hope he wandered over to the shelter tonight.  I can't believe how rich I am, sometimes.  And, I can't believe that there are folks who would shrug and act as if the fact someone could freeze to death for lack of warm, safe places wasn't their problem.  Don't ever tell me you're "pro-life" if you'd throw this guy's life away to save a few pennies on your taxes.

Friday, February 05, 2016

I'm so easy

We replaced the Problem Child this week.  I'm going to call her replacement The Adult.  The Adult is closer to my age, but she also is light years away from the maturity level of Problem Child.

She has demonstrated an eagerness to learn.  She is embracing the work we do.  And, I made her cry in her first week.  Sigh.  But, to her credit, The Adult pulled herself together, helped me fix the issue, and didn't decide that she must forever be a mean and nasty little brat as a result of her error.

This far in, a whole work week, I'm going to say I am thinking pretty positive thoughts about the newbie.  I don't think she'll ever be an ESK, but there is potential for at least coming in second.

I do feel a bit bad that she is getting thrown into the fire first thing.  But, it will be sink or swim, and sometimes that's the best way to embrace a new challenge.  Then, she have a couple of months of being able to breathe.

Now, if I could only get the other worker to act human, we might actually have something.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rant, rant, rant, rant, rant . . .

My favorite line in the movie "Harvey" is something like " Mother always said there were two types of people in this world: those who are oh so kind and those who are oh so smart.  After 35 years, of being smart, I recommend pleasant."  

I'm trying, really, to be pleasant.  Although my current situation has me wanting to set the record straight with every fiber of my being.  

The other day, I was speaking to someone who has tangential power/knowledge of the work I do.  She was singing the praises of Problem Child, listing her positive attributes and I quietly said "no, she wasn't" and this person, who I've kept in the dark about the reality that was the nightmare of Problem Child, said "well, I'm sure she could say things about you."

OH DAMN I want to tell her EXACTLY why I would say that Problem child wasn't "wonderful" and "so very organized."  But, I'm also trying to tell myself to take the high ground.  That I survived the experience should be enough.  That it's petty at this point.  That I should be pleasant rather than right.

It is better to be pleasant than right?  Right? 

At least I know that the Old Woman would applaud me in my keeping quiet, thus far.  

Friday, January 08, 2016

Breathing easy

I've spent way too much time navel gazing on this one, I know, but you cannot begin to wrap your brain around what a struggle the last several months have been.  Seriously.

And, by contrast, it is flippin' amazing how much better life is now that Problem Child has moved on to inflict her very special brand of "chock-full-o-nuts" on others.  Frankly, I'm surprised I'm not greeted by chirping birds and rainbows each morning when I get to the office.

There is laughing at the office again.  There is civil conversation.  There is rationality.  RATIONAL BEHAVIOR!!! Imagine.

At the same time, now that I'm out of the looney bin, I can't help but marvel at how truly terrible it was.  The behaviors that were endured are gob-smacking.  Seriously.

I need to learn to shrug my shoulders and mutter "people be crazy" and stop trying to find rational and sane explanations for all that went on.

Example: Problem child would fill out her timesheet incorrectly and when I told her that I would not sign an incorrect tine sheet and that her time sheet had to be an accurate reflection of the hours worked . . . rather than apologize and re-do it, she's stomp and accuse me of being "very aggressive."  Stupid thing was . . . several times I was trying to get her to record EXTRA hours and save some of her vacation time.  I was working in HER FAVOR but she was more committed to making me back down on that whole "not committing fraud with the federal government" thing I have going.

Example: Problem Child was required to file regular progress reports.  She was not a strong writer and frequently made mistakes, so I required that she give me a draft before we submitted a final report.  When we'd get the template for the report, we would go through it page by page, section by section and discuss what needed to be included.  On the last report she filed, she couldn't remember what she was suppose to write (what we had discussed) and so she deleted the last page and assumed I wouldn't notice.  WTF?

People be crazy.  Big time crazy.

But, that is behind me now.  WHEW!

Monday, January 04, 2016


I've posted before that my usual New Year Resolution is to have a hot krispy kreme.

This year, I made the realization that not only did I marry the Old Woman (seriously, the Phenom is more and more like her every year) but also I'm turning into her.

The Old Woman would have fits that we had too much stuff and just start throwing things away.  You'd have to have a keen eye for anything missing and be prepared to dumpster dive to retrieve it.

This year, my resolution is to bring a bit of order to my house and at least once a month throw a way a trash bag o'crap from the house.

I filled up a trash bag o'crap in the bedroom this weekend.  I've also ordered some shelves so I can add a bit more storage to get the clutter under control.

When I start taking Phenom's plate away from him while he's mid-forkful, I'll know I really have turned into the Old Woman for good.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

1st world problem resolved

Now that the dark force that over took my work place has been vanquished, I can turn my attentions to real issues . . . what am I going to wear for fancy restaurants/bars in NOLA over Christmas?

Originally, I'd purchased a black lace skirt/sequined cashmere sweater (very much different than my usual wardrobe of frumpy and dowdy) and a purplish blue with black velvet scroll design dress for christmas wear.  Then, I started looking at the weather and it is going to be in the high 70s/low 80s next week.

I will sweat right through those outfits.

Monkey sweat is not pretty.

I found a nice button down, white shirt and bought a big, chunky necklace to wear Christmas Day and then I already have a wrap-around style shirt that can work with the lace skirt.   So, I wear the skirt to days in a row.  I'm not likely to be judged in the City that Care Forgot.

For some reason, the last few months I've been obsessed with party clothes.  This is very much unlike me.  I normally don't dress up.  I tend to have a "uniform" and just make slight variations from day to day.

Maybe, since I can't show off being a silver-back, I want sparkle and sequins instead.  Because that helps a monkey blend in, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Like a rubic's cube, only with people

I'm a problem solver.  I like to figure out what's wrong and fix it.  I like to know how things work, and how to put them back together.  The problem is, you can't do that with people.

I will never understand people.  From the humans who want to torture innocent animals to the people who I swear must stay up at night coming up with new ways to screw other humans over.

I need to learn that people cannot be figured out.  It would be nice to say "oh, this person is mean" and "that person uses drugs" or "she is grieving and deserves a bit of slack."  But the fact is, human behavior can't always fit into a box.  You'd think, with all the bat-shit crazy stuff I've seen, I would remember that. But, I don't.

Several years ago, we were guests at a dinner party.  It was lovely, everyone was having fun, dinner was delicious and the host accidentally dropped the perfect chocolate cake his wife had made.  She was calm and said we'd have ice cream and whipped up some chocolate sauce.  He later told me that he felt so terrible about dropping the cake, and she'd made it even worse by not yelling at him.

I wonder if that's what I have done wrong with Problem Child?  Rather than working past the many mistakes, I should have yelled at her?  Maybe yelling would have had an impact and she would have worked harder to not repeat the same mistakes over and over?

But, there were times I spoke to her using a harsh tone of voice . . . it didn't work because her inclination was to stomp and yell and be irrational.

I'll never quite wrap my brains around you people.  Yer all nuts.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Don't do the drama

I've been rolling my eyes since I was a young monkey.  I'm pretty sure the reason I spent half my adult life trying to talk to school kids about safe sex and good relationships was because my karmic reward for each and every time I rolled my eyes at the Old Woman was to find myself receiving the eye roll from a whole classroom of brats.

But, I never managed to do the "mean girl" thing or drama.  I'm a drama free sort of monkey.  I much prefer all the dramas that touch my life to be those of other people.  (I also cannot stand bickering. Ugh.)

Mean Girls are an interesting study of human behavior.  Their actions are wholly intentional, but they operate under the illusion of plausible deniability.  They believe they are being calculatedly vicious.  I have a friend who teachers middle grades who once told me that little boys are like gorillas . . . pounding their chests and making as much noise as possible to establish their position with their peers.  But, she said that little girls were like cats  . . . quietly grooming themselves when really they are looking to sharpen their claws across your face the minute they think they can get away with it.

So, today we're leaving work, all of us at the same time which is rare.  I'm holding the door for my co workers and say "have a good weekend."  One co worker returns the sentiment but Problem Child employee stays silent, gets to the parking lot and very pointedly looks at the other co worker and says "bye" in the most exaggeratedly sweet voice she could muster.

Really?  If you're still thinking that being a Mean Girl at 25 is the way to go through life, I hope you never have children.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

In the mood to have a cry

Thanksgiving was the Old Woman's favorite holiday.  Before they changed the date, it would sometimes fall on her birthday, which was a double bonus.  More than Christmas, not being the religious type, she wanted her family around for the feast and opportunity to spend time together.

She always made quite a feast.  I'm always amazed when I see other peoples' tables and there is MAYBE one green vegetable and 3-4 starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, rice?).  The Old Woman's table was a study in the bounty of the garden.  We often had 5-6 vegetables plus a veggie tray.

Always, on her table would be two small, very old turkey candles.  Many years before, when her #3 son was just a tiny child, they were shopping for thanksgiving foods and he picked the two little candles up and asked if they could buy them.  They cost $0.15 for the pair, but being farmers, that was too much to spend on something they couldn't eat.  She had to explain to her little boy that they couldn't afford to buy them.  He fished around in his pockets, and came up with 15 cents that he'd saved from finding pennies and other dropped coins, and said that he could buy them for her.  The sweetness of his generosity and not understanding their poverty meant that the turkeys became a cherished part of the family celebrations.

Another way she made holidays festive was her special cut glass collection of drinking glasses.  They were acquired, one at a time, with green stamps and grocery store promotions.  No two were alike and the were all vibrant colors and featured various designs.  Most of us had a favorite we would claim, holiday after holiday.  Mine was a deep purple glass, which I recently "rescued" from the Old Folks' home after the Old Man moved west.

A few years ago, the Old Woman insisted that I stop coming home for thanksgiving because she feared that I would be utterly lost once she was gone if I never had the chance to make my own traditions first.

Now, my tradition is largely to stay at home, make a non-traditional meal, and cry over losing her.  I'm pretty sure she'd disapprove.

But, to not bring you down too, here's a picture of rosemary gougeres I made to nibble on.  This year, I'm doing a beef tenderloin roast with coffee chile rub, twice baked potatoes, spinach sauteed with shallots and garlic, parker house rolls, and a pumpkin pie.

Well, that is one bit of tradition from the Old Woman; getting up early and making a pie first thing.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Just a little bit pissed off right now

Disclaimer:  I've had three boozy rootbeers tonight . . . which seems to be enhancing my reactions.  I know, drunks always say booze makes them faster, stronger, better looking, great dancers . . . but for monkeys it is actually true.

Anyway, I was watching my facebook feed fill up with stories about the attacks in Paris with heart break.  Humans have such horrible ways of throwing tantrums.  I keep thinking y'all have hit the worst you could come up with and then you top it.

But, then I saw some of the tweets "conservatives" are putting out there.  Too many folks are trying to create some link between the black college students demanding to be safe in their homes with terrorist attacks half a world away.  

Funny.  Too often when white people say "I don't feel safe" they follow it with "So, goddamnit, I should be able to carry a gun with me any where I please and say any nasty horrible thing I can think up and by god it's my right."  But should a person of color or a woman say "I don't feel safe in my home or at my school or coming and going in my community" these same gun-toters say "shut the fuck up!" 

Some times I wish I believed in hell so I could be comforted in knowing that the sick bastards who would immediately twist the pain and agony of other people into some sick agenda only they understand were hell bound and I didn't need to worry my pretty little monkey head over them.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Holiday plannin'

There is a significant birthday coming up, and although I've now given up on birthdays for myself, I will happily celebrate this one.  I offered to take the celebrant to dinner, but a request was made for home cooked steaks instead.  Also, I don't make birthday cakes for The Phenom anymore, so there will be a big batch of molasses spice cookies.  (100 years ago, I spent two days making the cover recipe from a cooking magazine only to be told "the secretary made this espresso chocolate cake and I ate three quarters of it, I can't have any more chocolate cake"  Since then, I make cookies and The Phenom gets to eat as many as they can, warm from the oven.)

Then comes thanksgiving.  The request was made for steak again . . . but to not have rapid fire repeats, I suggested I ask the butcher to prepare a trimmed 3-4 lb tenderloin roast.  I'll have to figure out what else I'm serving.  I wonder if Phenom would eat green bean casserole?  Phenom isn't much into green beans or casseroles . . . so putting the two together might be a "two negatives makes a possitive" or a look of "have you lost your mind?"  Maybe garlic sauteed spinach?  I use to make worchestershire roasted poatoes the Phenom liked . . . perhaps those?

After thanksgiving, we'll be heading north to attend a football game with friends.  One of the friends is a fantastic cook and the tailgate will be legen . . . wait for it . . . dary.  I'll ask what I can bring, but I'm already thinking the roasted pepper/whipped feta bruschetta and moonshine balls.  I made the moonshine balls last year for ESK's baby shower.  I used peppermint moonshine and then white chocolate dipped them and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy.  I wonder if I should get candy melts in the colors of the home team?  I have peppermint oil I can spike the candy dip with to be extra festive.

Moonshine balls are super simple.  I think I found this recipe in a Southern Living; it's written down on a bit of scrap paper I've guarded over several years.  You can sub out bourbon or rum to your liking.

1 box (12 oz) vanilla wafers . . . whirred up in the food processor
1/2 cup pecan pieces
2 TBLS cocoa powder
1/4 c booze
1/2 c golden raisins
6 TBLS corn syrup

Whir everything together until it becomes a paste

roll into cherry size pieces and roll in confectioner's sugar

Store in fridge for several weeks.  Although they are tasty freshly made, you do want them to "ripen" for a week or so.  I'll make the tailgate ones next weekend.

When I chocolate dipped them, I did it just before serving them (well a few hours before).  They will absorb the powdered sugar so you can roll them in a bit more sugar before you serve them to make them pretty but you don't have to.  They are better at room temp because then you can better taste the booze.

I'll make 2-3 batches between now and Christmas.

Of course, Liquor Loaf day is coming up in a few days, and this week I'll order a huge box of ingredients.

But, we'll go to NOLA for christmas so I only have to figure out where we'll be drinking for that holiday.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


My favorite 13 year old is on the cusp of becoming my favorite 14 year old.  Over the last year, it has been fun to see her start to adopt "teenagery" behaviors.  The way she flips her hair, the language, and the semi-permenant state of being non-plused.

Last night, she drew me into a conversation where clearly she wanted help, but didn't want to actually ask for it.  I always take that bait.  It turns out, she has a crush and has decided to do the "ask" for the date.  But, as with any venture of this sort, the thought that it could go very badly had caused her to hesitate.  We discussed the pros and cons.  I encouraged.  I made the rule "no naked selfies."

Tonight, she said she was going to do it.  She was going to make the ask.  Then, there was brief hesitation . . . and then plunging in.  I crossed all my monkey fingers and toes in hopes the object of the crush wouldn't crush her.  BUT! NO! SUCCESS! A DATE IS FORTHCOMING!!!

And, it was wonderful to see my favorite teenager so giddy and excited.  I felt bad that I was getting to share this with her and her parents were in another room. (We do this all online as we live several hundred miles apart.)

I asked what made this person so amazing?  Nearly 14 year old said it would take a whole paragraph to describe.  I asked for the top three.  She said "only three?"  Finally, her top three things that make her like this person are:  1) not afraid to stand up for themselves, 2) likes books and 3) believes in supernatural things.

Not bad for a first crush.  In fact, if I were to try to find someone for Nearly 14 year old to date, these might be characteristics I'd look for too.

I'm just so taken in with how very privileged I am that I got to share this moment with her.  I'm pretty sure this will be one of my all time favorite memories.  I got lucky tonight.

Friday, October 23, 2015

public notice

if you make a date to get cybe r drunk with someone and they don't show up, it's jsut geeting drunk

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It changes you

25 years ago, I made a new friend at work.  Her mother died shortly after we met.  She grieved for her mother for a very long time.  At the time her mother died, she had one young daughter and 2-3 older children (I can't remember exactly how many kids she has, as I've not met them all).  She told me, years later, that one of the reasons she "spoiled" her younger child was because she felt she'd emotionally cheated the child because of her grieving.  She said she felt like she spent about 10 years of her life being a zombie.  She was going through the motions, but was emotionally disconnected.

Not long ago, one of my co-workers experienced what could only be described as a "freak out."  During her "freak out" she said LOTS of things (rapid fire, bouncing from subject to subject, sort of random) some of which wasn't true, some was exaggeration, some total nonsense, but some probably grounded somewhere in the truth.  The theme seemed to be that I am a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad "person."

Even though I could easily dismiss all of what she spouted as the product of a perfect storm of several very bad days, a couple of major screw ups, and personal issues, one can't completely forget such an attack.

Which has me thinking . . . I've found myself without friends lately.  Not the real friends .  .  . they still seem to think I'm worth knowing . . . but the more social/superficial friends seem to have decided to spend their energies else where.  And, frankly, I've not really been in the mood to go out of my way to be extra nice to anyone.

And then I started to wonder . . . has my grieving over the last three years (and the multiple hits of emotional firebombs) turned me into something of an emotionally distant zombie?  I suspect the answer is yes.  I'm not sure I actually want to do anything about it.  Although it was nice to have a lunch crowd, it was expensive. The feeling of belonging was cozy, but obviously temporary and fleeting.

Grieving changes you. I think I'm less willing to put up with BS and I have a shorter temper.  And, I should probably not take things so personally.  But, I think I'll concentrate on being grateful for the real, deep friends I still have.  At the end of your life, they are the ones that matter any way.

Sunday, October 04, 2015


The other evening, while attempting to be social, a friend who has recently gone through a personal crisis said to me "Phenom told me to tell you when I'd need some meals .  .  . I'll need some next week."

Okay.  Phenom had not bothered to mention this offer had been made before, but it is the sort of thing I do.

Today, I made a double batch of Cinncinati style chili and roasted a chicken.  I gathered all the toppings for the Cinncinati chili (cheese, onion, oyster crackers, kidney beans).  At some point, the Phenom asked why I was making so much food, and when are we going to eat that chicken?

I told him I'd been informed that an offer of meals had been made.  Phenom says no . . . that the offer of "anything we can do to help" was made.

On one monkey shaped hand, I am a tad startled by the forwardness of the request. But, mostly I'm thinking there is a lesson in this for me.  Last year when I was so sick and in and out of the hospital, many people offered assistance to us and each and every time, we turned it down.  Most of the time, it was vague "let us know" type offers, but there were some very specific offers . . . like a friend who saw the Phenom picking up our take out dinner and offered/really wanted to pay for it.

Looking back, we turned those offers down because we were a tad embarassed.  We never quite wrapped our brains around needing help.  And, I realize now, it was a mistake.  We should let people help us  Someday, they might not offer.  We're always tremendously helpful to others, and we need to learn to allow others to return the favor.  That being said, do leave it to the afflicted to figure out what they need you to do.  Figure out something, creatively, and do it.

Like the gift certificate to a local restaurant I tucked into the door of a friend whose mother passed away this week.  My friend has spent the last week sitting at her bedside, administering hourly pain meds . . . a good, hot meal she could just pick up and even have left overs the next day, was needed.  (She lives alone, and much like us has a really annoying independent streak. )  I find that if nothing else, a pizza gift certificate can always be used.  And cookies.  Even if the afflicted doesn't eat them, the people around will.