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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Calories Galore

Thanksgiving is now one for the books, and I am glad of it. For the first time ever, we had dinner in a restaurant and, since there were little people involved, a buffet joint was wisely selected.  There was everything you could ever imagine to pile on your plate, and that's exactly what we did.  The adults in the party stuck very uncreatively to the traditional turkey and all the trimmings. The children, however, were much more adventuresome, with John selecting spaghetti, fries and pizza. Alex, the most daring of all, chowed down on gummy bears and fries, while little Chris slept peacefully in his stroller through the entire meal.

We had a great time with the added bonus of having no messy kitchen to get back in order. A trip to the park to work off some of the calories was our next stop. Great day.

Right on the heels of that feasting fun, the pugs and I took off for Dillon Beach and yet another pig-out party...this time ham, scalloped potatoes, and asparagus with hollandaise. I am now back home with snoring pugs at my feet and happy to return to normalcy.

I love holidays, but they can be exhausting. And now it's time to start thinking holly, Santa and candy canes. I'm not mentally ready. And it's coming fast. Too fast. Better watch out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I have already bemoaned the body changes that are occurring as I age. Thank you very much, Gravity. It's just a fact, the circle of life. And I accept that.  Really, I do. And this sagging experience is personal, all about me. Even though  I know it happens to us all.

 Harder to accept are the more subtle changes, personality shifts, that I am noticing in people I have known for years who are much older that I am. Specifically, I am referring to my 80 year old 2nd cousin, affectionately called 2Cuz. We have had many outings over the years, beginning when I was a scrawny 10 year old.  Mom would dress me in my finest, we're talkin' short white gloves and beribboned hat, to lunch and shop in San Francisco with 2Cuz and her mom, both also gloved and hatted. Can you imagine? We are talking eons ago! Our moms are no longer with us, but 2Cuz and I still manage to lunch and shop, thankfully not gloved and hatted in SF, though it is considerably more difficult now that she is 80 and has had a mild stroke.

 2Cuz has transformed from this smiling,vibrant 30ish cousin into an iron fisted, very rigid senior. When she makes up her mind about something, that is it. To put it mildly, she has become difficult. Consequently, I find myself wanting to see her less because our outings have become such a struggle for me and , perhaps, for her. To try to cope, I have determined that I must have a firm plan for our jaunts and not allow her to orchestrate our activities, which -trying to please and be agreeable - I used to allow, resulting in wild goose chases because she never knew exactly where we were going but  insisted that she did, did, DID. Example: a couple of months ago, hopelessly lost in Petaluma, she insisted I turn onto a one-way street, going the wrong way. What? On the same disastrous venture, her directions got us onto an entrance only freeway lane, a big mistake, with quick-moving traffic in the lanes on both sides. With massive restraint, because what I wanted to do was shout shitfuckingcrapola, I calmly burbled, "Oh no! We're stuck going onto the freeway." She replied in her I'm soooo bloody right voice, "Well, just change lanes!" She might as well have said, "Let's get killed." Thank goodness I am always the driver. I swear, this could be a screenplay for a sit-com, no laugh track needed.

Yesterday was our lastest excursion (written for my weight blog because I was rewarded with a high caloric and very delicious tempura lunch), and  there were only a few hitches... though it took all my patience to not just massively lose it and  begin to roll on the ground yelling curse words.

Bottom line: I will continue our outings, under my guidelines, in order to add some spice to her diminishing life remembering that I, too, will oneday most likely become a bossy, know-it-all, stubborn old matron hoping that some kind schmuck is willing to help me shop and take me to lunch.

 Ah, that circle of life. Kinda sucks, but I soooo take it on, not liking the alterrnative. Sis. Boom. Bah.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Hooray...I have escaped yet another cancer mini-crisis, this time thyroid.  Soooo...good effin' bye to that worry...for now.  I am currently 21 years cancer free and feeling thankful, relieved, pleased. appreciative, gratified and on and on. What a wonderful diagnosis, so apt this time of year as we approach Thanksgiving. I wish I could say that I attribute my good health to some fabulous program I am doing that ensures adios cancer, but we all know there is no such guaranteed regime. I frankly think that much of it is just plain ol' luck, and sometimes, who knows when, that just runs out. So far, Lady Luck, since the initial very ugly diagnosis, has been in my corner. I live by my motto: everything in moderation, even moderation, which  basically means enjoy your life by occasionally, but not consistently, succumbing to your desires...whether it be a juicy steak, a martini (or two), a trip to a far away shore, or just a day on the couch with a good book. One life...that's what we have. I am happy to have dodged yet anothe Big C bullet.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dream a Little Dream: Skool Daze Revisited

Since I keep having recurring dreams about school experiences, I can only conclude that my years in school - first as a student and then as a teacher - were somewhat traumatic. In the first nocturnal vision I am an overworked, harassed college student who finds myself, on graduation day, one unit shy of a degree, due to a clerical error beyond my control.  No amount of pleading and cajoling with the powers-that-be will change the dismal number situation, and I am doomed to another semester in collegiate hell.

 The second dream, which reoccurred just last night, takes place at yet another school, this time elementary, where I am a veteran teacher loving my students but totally frustrated by the growing demands thrust at me by the county, state and fed. Tired of the uncompromising bureaucracy and, frankly, exhausted by the stress of it all, I realize that early retirement is the only way to keep myself from being carried out of the classroom door on a stretcher, permanently incapacitated and never able to return. I complete the mounds of paperwork only to find that I've been denied. Denied! I will not be allowed to retire. Not now. Not ever. Once again I am stuck, this time in underfunded No Child Left Behind hell.

I always wake up with a start once I slam into that brick wall of despair, relieved to discover that I am once again in night terror mode. What does this say about my relationship with schools? In both scenarios I find myself in situations where I have completely lost control of what is happening; and, now that I think about it, that was the reality, especially in the retirement dream. Thank goodness that hopeless, trapped feeling is now behind me, except when it infrequently revisits me while I sleep. When I spring awake, I remember that I am finally free and my own boss.

Lucky me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Martha Stewart Attack

I enjoy doing the Martha Stewart entertaining act, but it is an exhausting workout.  I basically spent the whole day preparing, and that doesn't include the planning and grocery shopping, also part of the party package.


We began with cocktails and appetizers - spring rolls dipped in sweet and sour sauce, Mary's famous stuffed mushrooms, and a platter of assorted cheeses and crackers. Dinner consisted of Greek green salad with kalamata olives and lots of feta, pesto four cheese ravioli covered in sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, panko crusted chicken, garlic bread; and we topped off the meal with apple pie from Mom's, one of the best bakeries around. Quite yummy, if I do say so myself.


Then the clean-up, which took a couple of hours, commenced. It not only involved clearing the table and loading the dishwasher, but breaking apart the dinner table, returning the table leaves to the coat closet, schlepping chairs around, and generally moving pieces of furniture back to their starting positions. Lots of work. It's the day after and my back is aching. Even the pugs are pooped. So now it is time to cast Martha aside and morph back into just Janice. I'm liking it.