Loss Gloss Boss

Sigh.

So- I’m just going to put this out there to the universe that maybe if it could stop with the making-people-I-love-drop-dead shit that’d be great. What am I comfortable with putting on the page? Or can even verbalize? I guess that loss and grieving is ubiquitous and is just the payment we give for loving others? Sure. Why not.

I had a Dutch teacher (she used to bike 15 miles to class with one of her pet rats in a carrier and then teach the class in sweaty bike shorts. The rat would sit on her desk. College is weird.) who didn’t really ever feel a need to stay on the Dutch topic at hand and would often digress into Buddhist thinking/teaching she was mulling around. One Tuesday morning (Ma’am, it’s too damn early for this crap.) she was talking about how we should see the loss of a baby as equally tragic as a 90 year old who was one day away from death. That all life is weighted equally. And yeah… that’s a big nope. Nope, nope, nope, ye ol’ rat loving professor. In Dutch? Rat liefhebbende proffessor. (How did I only make a B in this class? It’s 60% English and conjugated like Yoda… sheesh)

But life potential, happiness conglomerated, and the opportunity of having experienced much outta a long lifetime- it DOES come into play. And the death too- not too painful, and not too sudden… It’s a complex formula that never quite gets us to a “good death” but it makes the loss easier if you know your grandmother lived life to the fullest. If she was 89. And had the opportunity to laugh hysterically with all the other wives of their RV traveling/gambling group at a male stripper in Vegas doing a basketball player routine that one time back in the 80s. And then tell her granddaughter about it all those years later. And many other, inappropriate and hysterical stories. No shrinking violet- life is too short to waste it being meek- I think that’s the main lesson I learned from her.

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Pfft. How great could she have been if she hadn’t taught her teenaged granddaughter to draw on a pair of eyebrows already?

She was a good one, that lady. I will miss her.

She was tiny but she was mighty.

And may my own toddler follow in her namesake’s footsteps with that same mirth flickering in her eyes all of her live long days.

Amen.

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Random Word Generator Word Associations

Well there’s a hurricane a-brewin’, so little to do but put containers under the roof leaks, snuggle up in a comforter, and do some literary Rorschach testing thanks to a Random Word generator!

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Image by Helmut Gervert

Failing: Any college class ever before 9am. Next.

Textbook: I only kept my Dutch language textbooks from college- I assume it’s like a rock picked up and kept from the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. That’s right, the language that you say “Braun, mine hound es” to say “My dog is brown” was my Kilimanjaro. Classes were not held before 9am. I got a B.

Dip: French Onion

Skill: I don’t want to brag but 90% of the time I can pick the exact number of clothes hangers needed when I’m doing laundry. With great talent comes great responsibility.

Gun: My militaristic cousin took my husband and me to the gun range for my birthday a while back. Sniper accurate might be an exaggeration, but not a gross exaggeration, you dig?  But no guns for me. I’ll stick to big dogs and the knowledge as to how to rip an ear off and shatter knees. I’m a violent pacifist, is what I’m saying.

Death: Jesus Christ Random Word Generator, don’t be a dick. Inevitable, you happy? Also, I’ve been pushed in a grave before. Thanks, weird ass childhood. Next!

Am I skipping some on the Random Word Generator? Sometimes. No one wants to hear me write about “involvement” or “minor.”( My involvement with the French Club was minor, but good enough to get me into UT. There. Shut up.)

Said: My youngest sat on the potty yesterday, looked deep into my eyes, and said “Pssssssssssssssssssssssss.” Pretending to pee.

Quantum: *Typing sounds* So turns out in physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. So- like my favorite way to exist in social settings? Why are we not using this word more?! Does that mean the James Bond movie is “The Least Amount of Solace?” Turns out maybe.

Incoming: Nothing profound, but I do love when they yell that on war movies. Probably way less fun in real life, though.

Random: Becoming self aware, are we website?

Sentient: Fuck. Let’s go ahead and close that Random Word website and never speak of that terrifying turn of events again.

 

 

 

From the Drafts folder…

So I decided to go through my Drafts folder (sure you’ve noticed but posts have been few and far between lately and I was checking how much content I had in there that might be useable) and found this… dated 4 months ago.

I plow through self doubt through sheer force of will – but it’s like running through spider webs- it won’t hold me back but it still is pretty uncomfortable and takes multiple swipes to get the vestiges off.

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Image by Zuzanna Patocka

And the thing is… it still is holding true. I’ve been a bit off my feet for a little while now (4 months, I guess), wobbling/plowing along as best I can. I thought the analogy was good and I actually have zero recollection of writing it… so that’s interesting/worrisome for my mental acuity!

So yeah. Some cobwebs lately.

What am I going to do about it? Well hell. I guess trying to write more, carb less, work out more, miss taking my vitamin D and thyroid meds less, and garden more… that should help. Because I haven’t been very proud of my response to the “reduce carbs, take care of health, lose weight” marching orders I got. And I  have GOT to see my grandmother too… she’s been ill and it’s now being almost pathological the extent I’ve been avoiding seeing her. (Awful? No need to fucking tell ME.) Magical thinking where if I don’t see her sick she’ll live forever! I mean jesus christ. I’m 38 now, not goddamn 6.

But see, these moments… these moments where the self recriminations for stuff like that are so much louder than the rest is no bueno. My own head is not always the most gentle place for me to be. But then, it never has been- I’m just often better at dealing with it.

But ever onwards, through the fog and cobwebs… until the practice of moving forward has me steady on my feet once again. Because if there is ANYTHING my past has taught me… it’s that the cobwebs? Well they never swipe themselves off, do they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation

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Did you know beer and chips are carb free in Mexico! It was awesome!

So… I realize most bloggers give a heads up BEFORE they go on vacation instead of after… and yeah, looking back that would have been ideal. But just know I’m now BACK from vacation. Was good!

Parenting Lesson #3,452

If you let your toddler play with an old (clean. unused. I’m no monster) dog dish outside she will forever after be picking the one up inside and pouring it out on the floor.

Toddlers loving pouring stuff on the floor.

I regret my decision.

The Occasional Random Word Post: Shape

That seems unfair, Random Word Generator. Like. On the nose unfair. Random Word= SHAPE. Insert round is a shape joke here.

Truth is, I’m not round is a shape. 149lbs for 5’7 is still 9 pounds within the ideal range of 121 to 158lbs. Squeaking by, but good enough for a Liberal Arts diploma, you dig? (I would know, wouldn’t I?) Nope. Tell it to my Ukrainian Endocronologist. Who also is a metabolism and diabetes specialist. Here I went in to get my thyroid medication level checked and slightly adjusted and an hour later I’m mid lecture about how I’m becoming insulin resistant and phrases such as “as we get older” and “no more flour tortillas” and “all the lettuce you could want” are getting bandied about WAYYYY to liberally for my taste. (My taste runs towards flour tortillas.) And I have to lose 10 pounds. Which I wanted to do, aesthetically, but to have to do it for medical reasons feels much different. Shittier different.

So here I am. While the shape was never really the issue, per se, it was, I believe, a firmness issue. See… I’ve become SUPER sedentary. I used to be a bit of a hardbody in my youth, what with full contact karate  twice a week and distance biking 3 times a week… and even when I went to college I was able to maintain hard abs and thigh muscles of a size that made fitting pants tricky through no effort. But that muscle tone? So long gone, and I for one blame the children. I think that lack of muscle and the level-of-movement-of-a-knick-knack lifestyle is the issue really. So while it’s 10 lbs to lose it’s really a muscle to gain thing I think. Plus actually losing 10 lbs.

Plus the thing about no more bananas. Or sugar. Or watermelon. Or yogurt. Or beer. Or bread. Or mangos (which have an undertone of garbage- so no issue there).

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Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.    (Image by Pat Herman)

Supposedly no flour tortillas or potatoes. Does my doctor know she’s talking to a Viva La Raza Irish chick? I’m a rule follower in general, but cutting down on those is going to have to be good enough. She’s Ukrainian. She’ll understand my Orange Revolution on those two. Hmmm… how many carbs in oranges? *typing sounds* And no more god damn oranges either unless I add THOSE to the dietary Orange Revolution… and frankly I think that’s almost required, really. So minimal flour tortillas, potatoes, and oranges- this I pledge.

Turns out my diet was about 86% carbs, so cutting them out actually gave me the “low carb flu” that felt, I assume, what withdrawal from heroin feels like. I’ve added some carbs back- but it’s a slippery slope of “I’ll just have one” or “I’ve been so good I deserve a reward” turning into full on former eating habits… sigh. I’ve lost, bouncing around, about 5 pounds so far. I worked out for the first time in hmmm- checks watch to see what decade it is– a long time. And I’m trying. Work to go. But there is all this life to be around for. And that’s the issue.

It rocked my world more than tweaking a fairly healthy existence should. Because it meant more than my shape. It meant health stuff. And me no like the health-stuff concerns. Having recently gone through a health-stuff loss and having family going through serious health-stuff currently it’s all just a little to close. But just because I have a toddler in diapers doesn’t mean I’m not getting older. How often have I said or thought “I’m too old for this shit?” ala  Roger Murtaugh. Well turns out that’s literally becoming true. Tell me what you joke about, and I’ll tell you what you are.

Anyway. Also found out I have the genetic markers for heart issues making me 5+ times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke and excessive inflammation and other scary things. But jesus, we all die of something- is it weird that scares me way less than the insulin resistance thing? As long as my heart doesn’t go before the catastrophic porch swing accident at 93 while holding my 98 year old’s husband’s hand … well then I should be fine. 37 years down. 56 to go.

Wish me luck.

 

 Other odd details not directly pertaining to the narrative here:

I measured at 5’5″ the first time I was at the endocrinologist. Was like WHAT THE FUCK I”M 5’7″ AND ITS INTEGRAL TO MY IDENTITY. Had myself measured at the chiropractor… 5’7 and 1/4″. Measured the next time at the endocronologist: 5′ 6″. NONE OF THESE SCALES ARE DIGITAL WHAT IS GOING ON?! I’m god damn 5’7″ and that’s final. I’ll be making them take my height again on Wednesday when I go back.

My doctor told me my thyroid medication levels were too high due to my height and weight, but my height is measuring wrong at your twilight zone of an office so what do we do now?

My blood work results were NINE pages long and went into genetic stuff and vitamin deficiencies. I now take COQ10 (whateverthefuckthatis), Fish oil supplements, Vitamin D, Vitamin A (whateverthefuckthatis), Sour Cherry Extract (whateverthefuckthatis) and I SWORE I’d be a “I get my vitamins from leafy greens” type of person and not a “I take handfuls of vitamins” type of person like somebody’s mother, but look at me now.

And my regular hypothyroidism has morphed into Hashimodo’s type hypothyroidism and I for one and glad someone with a cool name discovered that one. *Casts pitying glance at the folks with Asbergers*

 

Linking up with Fake Fabulous HERE

 

Stupid Complex but Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

So much, amiright? Yes this has 2 sauces involved, I know, I KNOW- but it’s so good! And let’s face it, bbq chicken sandwiches can be a bit one note- the garlicky white sauce adds such a step up here- and that sauce is so easy and awesome on other things… most notably fries dipped right into it. And no, I am not one of those European weirdos who eats fries with mayo. (World War Ewwww raging with that one.)

And look- this should really be your very simple pantry staple meal. You’re not even cooking a chicken! It’s rotisserie! And while I know that’s a lot of different ingredients I’d really recommend having mustard, bbq sauce, rice wine vinegar (the very best vinegar, really. Screw that dye heavy, overpower-everything balsamic) soy sauce, garlic… you get where I’m going here right? Have staples and you’ll be cooking. I can’t. I can’t let such a bad and unimaginative pun stand. Now I can’t think of anything else. Oh well. You quality staples buy. Good food makey makey.

As for the coleslaw… I buy prepackaged. I usually add rice wine vinegar (I SWEAR the rice wine vinegar cartel hasn’t threatened my family over here) since I find the packaged sauce too sweet usually. Serve it as a side and add some to the sandwiches. Is good.

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One Vinegar to rule them all, one Vinegar to find them, One Vinegar to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. 

Shredded BBQ Chicken
½ rotisserie chicken meat- shredded or cut into small pieces. Good way to maximize all of the … carcass is the only word here, but wasn’t one I necessarily wanted to use…
Sweet BBQ sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Yellow mustard
Water
Pepper

Combine in saucepan and heat through

White sauce
1/3 to 1/2 Mayo
Pinch sugar
Lots of black pepper
Splash rice wine vinegar
Splash soy sauce
Small handful chopped parsley
1 clove garlic through garlic press
(combine and refrigerate for 1-2 hours)

Serve with

Sliced pickles
Small dinner or Hawaiian rolls, cut in half and toasted
Coleslaw

Toast rolls at 350 degrees in the oven for a few minutes. Slather one side of toasted rolls in white sauce, pile on bbq chicken, add sliced pickles and/or coleslaw and enjoy!

(Kids like it too. Don’t let them see you put the white sauce on, but don’t omit it- you’re developing their palates whether they know/like it or not)

Emerald

I am a rock with a garden in my heart.

Break from the heat, oil for a stone…

I am a rock with a garden in my heart.

 

I am a rock with a flaw or a crack.  Or.

I am a rock with a garden in my heart.

Some flowers do grow from stone.

Loss

It doesn’t feel like real loss. Not yet.

Please know, I’d have shed the tears (borrowed from that future when it finally hits home) at your funeral, if I could have.
Would that have honored more than their lack?
I meant no disrespect.

But even facing you then the loss didn’t hit home. 
What did CS Lewis say? “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.” And the loss is not a loss, because the body was just a body, I guess.

Perhaps when my mind is not set on being strong for my children, as my husband and I hold them tight and lead them through their grief, the loss will finally feel like loss, fully.

And yet… I move underwater the first time I am back in a grocery store.
I wish for Victorian mourning clothes.
So cashiers can stop asking me how my weekend was or if I’m having a nice day.
So that the black full skirt and pleated bodice and high neck would tell them all they need to know.
So instead of the chitchat they could grab my forearm briefly and squeeze it. And say nothing.

The world is fast and bustling and makes me want to go back and not honk at all the people who were too slow to accelerate when the light turns green.
I bet they were grieving.
I bet.

My loss is not a loss.
Not yet.
My loss is an idea, hurtling towards my reality.

 

 

 

The world lost a good man recently and his loss is all our loss.

Roast Chicken

 

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So Pretty!

Something about the words “roast chicken” bring to mind table fare of a bygone age. Mother in pearls. Kids playing stickball. Fedoras and credenzas and communist fear along with rampant sexism and racism… you know. The past! (What- you expected rose colors glasses out of an anthropologist with a minor in history? Pashaw.)

This is a delicious and succulent chicken that takes less effort than any chicken breast dish I make and costs half as much… and tastes twice as good! Why aren’t we making this, as a people, weekly!? I’ll tell you why. Bones. I used to be like that too: squeamish of skin and bones and animal-ish stuff.  But it’s time we got over our squeamishness and grabbed life by the pope’s nose!*

And there are an absolute multitude of roast chicken recipes out there; with herbs and spices and lemons wedged into the cavity… and that sure does sound like me, right? But nope. Not this time. A roasted chicken doesn’t need any of it. While chicken breast can be bland with just some salt and pepper, a roasted chicken is brought to perfection with just those two seasoning. It’s so damn easy too. Get it set up in the pan and then don’t touch it again. It’s a great I’ll-be-quasi-napping-on-the-couch-while-actively-cooking-dinner dinner.

2-3 lb whole chicken, thawed
Coarse sea salt
Ground pepper

Rinse of your chicken, inside and out. If this is your first time doing this be forewarned that the neck and gizzards are in the cavity. You don’t want to drop the neck down the garbage disposal and then have to fish it out with your hands like I always seem to find myself doing. I generally discard the neck and gizzards. I know some people make gravy by boiling all of those, but a far superior gravy can be made from pan drippings, so don’t bother. Once your chicken is rinsed, make sure it is very dry, inside and out, by drying with paper towels. The less liquid, the less steam, the crispier your skin will be. The chicken’s skin. You know what I mean.

Once the chicken is dry, place breast side up in the center of a metal baking dish with sides. Sprinkle the entire bird with the salt and pepper, inside and out and be generous. Bake at 475 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on size of your chicken or until temperature reached 165 degrees.(I never measure this myself. I just tilt the chicken and check for clear fluids to run out.)

Why such a high heat? You’re looking for a dry cooking method here- no steaming, so it’s high heat and no basting or opening the oven a bunch of times!
Let rest for 15 minutes and enjoy!

*part of the chicken. By the butt.

(I have more to talk about. A riot of words and feelings and loss… but the day for that is not this day.)