Memories of The Guggenheim

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When I visited the Guggenheim a few years ago, we were told not to photograph the glass ceiling. They said we could buy a postcard in the gift shop. Me being the rebel I am, took the shot anyway. There was some satisfaction in pulling it off without anyone knowing what I was up to. My Adam Boy knew. He was mortified, and  sure I was going to jail. I assured him I wasn’t going to jail if I was caught. I was creating a memory. Of the glass ceiling, rebellion and my son.

After I took the photograph, I ran up the ramps of the museum. I was morbidly obese at the time, so running wasn’t that easy. I kept up though. I commented on sculptures that looked like copper vaginas and how we could’ve skateboarded down the ramps as we perused the ‘art’.

We tried to lunch there, but it was all gourmet. Our kids wanted McD’s. Hell, Kathy and I did. Yummy french fries with lots of salt. We walked blocks for them. Passed homeless people and gobs of construction.

We arrived at the Golden Arches and I swear, I heard the singing of angels as we opened the doors and walked inside. I was covered in the sweet smell of grease from hot fryers. I took in the scent of burgers and I knew I was home. It was like sex. That smell.

The kids and us chaperones ordered our food on the main level and then wandered up the two flights of stairs to nosh. Oh what sweet heaven those salty fries were. The decadent flavor of that 1.00 burger. Mmmmmmm.

Wandering back to the Guggenheim, I wondered, could I ever fit in here? In the city that never sleeps? No. My home is in a small state shaped like a mitten. No matter how much I dream, my heart belongs here. As does my family, friends, and life. I can’t imagine a better state to be from. I just can’t.

Fancy a Brew?

Thank you my dear friend The Reclining Gentleman for the tag. I love coffee. It is a necessary evil in my life. It works to keep me focused because of ADHD. If I didn’t drink it, I’d be even more crazy than I already am. 🙂

1) How many cups of coffee per day? At least three cups. Starbucks dark roast preferably.

2) What is your favourite caffeine delivery system? Coffee of course. I’ll drink Coke Zero though. Yum!

3) What was your best cup of coffee? My favorite coffee is Komodo Dragon dark roast from Starbucks. It is bitter and earthy. Add a little ground cinnamon and I’m in Heaven.

4) What was your worst cup of coffee? Oh hell, I don’t know. Probably the gas station we stopped at a few years ago when we were driving to Florida to go to Disney World. It looked like old bathwater and tasted like burnt bacon. Sure, I’d love to drink the bathwater of Ryan Gosling or Johnny Depp, but not in my coffee. GROSS!!!

5) What does your favourite mug say? LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE. What else would you expect from a fiery wench such as moi?

Live Laugh Love

At work, I use a mug that’s covered in flowers, because I’m such a dainty maiden. I need one that’s animal print though. I’m sure  it would go better with my goofy personality. Or maybe I can find one that has the F word repeated all over it. Roger Darling would love that I’m sure.

6) How do you take your coffee? Caramel syrup, real cream, and two Sweet and Low. My dear husband tells me I’m high maintenance. Even with my coffee. I do believe he is right.

7) When was your first cup? I was a latchkey kid, so probably when I was 8 or 9. I was always sneaky and doing things I shouldn’t. Hell, I started smoking when I was 13.

8) Have you ever gone on a coffee tea date? Yes, with Roger Darling of course. And a few of my girlfriends. Starbucks is a favorite place to hang out. It’s nice to sit and chat with a dark roast, Venti.

Now who will I bring into the clatch, hmmmmm? Carolyn, Sheri, Benjamin, CharlieZero1, Ajay and Seyi. Happy Monday to all of you. Now go out there and enjoy a cup. Then write, write, write!!!!!

The Juice of a Ripe Peach and Sunrise

It’s funny how even the simple act of eating a juicy peach makes her think of him. Each time she bites into the flesh, the juices release, travel from her fingers and down her arm.  She licks the sweet nectar. Thinks of his  kisses, and his tongue playing lovingly in her mouth.

It brings back the memory of  the treat of a sweet peach and coffee while watching the misty sunrise from their fire escape. He was wrapped in a top sheet and she, their blanket. The air was crisp and cool.  She sat next to him, her cup of coffee in one hand, and the peach in the other. As she bit into it, the juices ran down the palm of  her hand. She tried to lick them up, but wasn’t fast enough in her efforts. It even ran down her arm. He chuckled at her, and set his coffee down on the metal grate of the fire escape. He grabbed her hand, and  took a bite of the peach at the same time as she did. He leaned over, and licked the juices from her lips.

There they were, holding the same peach, the nectar co-mingling on their chins, hands and arms. She kissed his fingers and licked them. He did the same to her. She giggled as she sat back and watch the devilish grin light up his entire face. They ate the rest of the peach, then threw the pit off the fire escape. She giggled again, and hoped it didn’t hit an innocent bystander on its way to the ground. He held her hand up to his mouth and sucked each finger with love and care. She sighed and he chuckled again.

She finally spoke and said, “Wait! I have to set my coffee cup down, or I’m going to spill it on the comforter.”

Her hands still sticky from peach juice, she held them under his chin and drew him in close for a deep kiss. He pulled the blanket down to her waist, wrapped his sheet around her, then held her close. He felt her warm breasts against his chest. She didn’t mind that his hands and arms were all sticky.  What’s better than a warm embrace and sweet, sticky kisses on a fire escape, at sunrise with the love of your life? Not one thing.

What Price, Freedom?

We are so used to numbing ourselves with food. However, we are no longer numb.

We are alive.

We want to experience everything.

We have the rest of our lives to do just that.

We are so afraid though. We’ve never felt so free. Freedom scares us.

(Yeah I said this. I know it’s scary that I can say something so profound, but dammit I swear I did!)

I was talking to a dear friend today who is struggling to find herself. She and I numbed ourselves with food for so long it’s hard for us to feel without hurting. It’s like that of an autistic person who’s senses are in hyper drive. It’s the same for us that have broken out of the addiction of food. Our bodies are finally free but so are our minds.  Let me tell you our minds can think and do some crazy shit.

What she and I feel is static electricity running through our bodies. It’s a restlessness I can’t even explain. It’s the feeling that we need to go out and experience everything we couldn’t when our bodies were morbidly obese. The euphoria is amazing, but it’s also exhausting. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I felt this good when I was in my teens. I know I didn’t. I can tell you why. Because now, I’m thinking like a teenager and like a woman confident in her body. Confidence is sexy, but sometimes I’m a little too damn confident!

B. finally got herself out of a marriage that was no longer working.  After losing weight the light bulb went off. She realized that what she was doing was merely existing.  And she got tired of raising a husband like a child. She decided the best option for herself and the children was to move on. I have supported and loved her through it all. My heart breaks and cheers for as she struggles to find happiness. B. has no idea how incredibly strong she is. I am so proud of her. Yes, I’m envious in some respects. Not so much in others. Her life has been tumultuous. I hope that my words and actions have eased some of  her pain.

We’ve both lost 150 lbs, each. Yes, an entire person. That person dragged us down, made us tired, and unhappy. We are finding though that we are still weighed down. With doubt, uncertainty and sadness. We are still searching for balance. For bliss. We may never find it, but we will go through hell looking for it. And I know she and I will always be at each other’s side. We’ll hold hands and love each other through it all. She has been my constant for 30 years.

I can’t say that I haven’t had my issues while going through such a profound transformation.  I have thought about running away from my life and starting over. There are so many questions unanswered, and so many what ifs going through my mind. I struggle to find peace within myself everyday. I fight battles with a mirror, and my psyche. Fuck I’m a mess, but my sparkly heart is good. I seek new people and new connections every day. I look for new ways to thrive. I can’t sit still for long. If I’m stagnant, then I die. And baby I’m not dying for a long time.

I remind B. that her heart is good, but she must be guarded with it. Do not give it to the first person you meet. Do not tell them deep, dark secrets. Keep those inside and share them with the right one.  I know she will find someone that is good for her, but she has got to find peace within herself first. Be happy in being alone or with her kids. Know that what she is doing is right. All I want for her is peace of mind and happiness. I want it for both us.

It Was Merely a Dining Room Table

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”–Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)

But it was so much more than that.

I remember the day we sold it at a garage sale. I don’t recall the price we asked for it. It doesn’t really matter what the amount was. To me it was priceless. I sat and watched as the new owners took away and I hoped they’d make as many happy memories at it, as we did. I sat there and cried. My family looked at me like I was kook. I simply said, it was like a part of our family was being taken away.

I thought of Grandma Georgia and Grandpa Hap. They were the original Edith and Archie Bunker. Grandma had a heart of gold. She lived to nurture us. Feed us. Love us. She did all of those things at that table. Grandpa was kind of a bigot, but he meant well. He had a wicked sense of humor. And they both had the best laughs. Grandpa had the gift of gab, was a gossip and chased fire trucks.  He always gave me the young celery hearts with the leaves intact, because he knew they were my favorite. I would eat them, leaves and all. Of course they had to be dipped in Grandma’s famous veggie dip. Yes it was homemade, and no she wouldn’t tell you the recipe.

Grandma’s homemade noodles were to die for. And her rolled roast beef was always succulent. My Dad always ruined it by drowning it in ketchup. She loved her only son though, so she always indulged him. Especially when it came to her homemade cheesecake. Dad would cut and serve all the pieces, saving the one with all the maraschino cherries for himself. We always harassed him about it. He didn’t care though. He got the piece he wanted.

Grandma’s mashed potatoes. Oh my God they were a bit of Heaven. She whipped them in an original Kitchenaide Mixer. With salt, whole milk and real butter. Sis and I would take black olives and stuff them on our fingers. We then shoved them in the mashed potatoes that were drowned in homemade beef gravy. Don’t ask me why we did it, we just did.

As Grandma Georgia got older, we would supplement the meal to help her out. I did my very best to relish those last few meals that she cooked on her own. At least I tried to. You never know how much you miss something till it’s gone. Just like that old table. I have the memories of Grandma and Grandpa, wonderful meals, laughter, stories and the closeness of family. I hope the family that has the table now thinks about the history of it, every once in awhile.

Weekends in Up North, Michigan

California is beautiful to look at, but you can’t be a part of it like you can in Michigan.-Jennifer Granholm

Weekends Up North on the Ausable River.

Fresh bread browning in the toaster.

Maxwell House Coffee brewing in the old percolator.

Bacon sizzles in an old cast iron skillet, seasoned for years.

Eggs are fried in bacon grease.

The smell of breakfast permeates the air both inside and outside of the cabin.

We stand outside, coffee in hand and gaze out at the mighty river flowing by.

The sun reflecting on it reminds me a bit of what Heaven will look like. If I make it there.

We sit on the porch swing. Talk about the day. Laze around in the heat with bugs buzzing around our heads.

Mom plants flowers. Weeds gardens. Waters everything with a pump we have to prime with river water.

We painted the exterior of the cabin in no time.

Partied in the pole barn. Drank beer from the kegorator.

Thunderstorms would come. The kids would “Dirt Dog” in the puddles, as the water would flow through the lawns. Into the mighty Ausable.

Meggie took her first swim in that river. Her first summer on this Earth. Her relationship, her need for water came from that river.

As they got older, she and Adam Boy would dig for cray fish on the river bank. We’d watch the dogs eat them whole. Right out of the bucket.

I’d make dinner with Mom. She taught me SO much! How to be a mom, wife, cook, Wonder Woman. Miss her every day.

Canoe trips with the kids. Canoe trips with friends and family. Tie them together. I never put an oar in the water. I drank and smoked. Looked pretty, sunned myself. Roger Darling did the work.

I love those times we shared in Mio. We don’t get there much now that we have our place in the Pines. We are going to visit in August though. The whole family. Food, beer, shots, conversation and raucous laughter. In the pole barn, the river, the canoe, the porch swing, the kitchen. Family and the Ausable River. Now there is “nothing” in this world better than that.

Does the Family that Cooks Together Stay Together? Why, Yes I Think So

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
Laurie Colwin

The first meal I ever cooked for Roger Darling was hamburgers. I had never really cooked before and was afraid to disappoint him with my lack of culinary skills. I stood in the kitchen and cried. He walked in, saw me and started chuckling. He then wrapped his arms around me and said, “Honey it’s okay to not be perfect. It is only hamburgers for God sake.” That comment just made me cry harder. I was young and had no idea how this whole making a man happy by way of his stomach thing worked.

Flash forward a few years, with kids running around, a full time job for both of us, and all kinds of other things going on. I was getting the hang to this cooking thing and actually found that I loved to bake. When the kids were little, I would bake because we really didn’t get out too much. Roger worked midnights and had to sleep during the day so the kids and I kept busy, cleaning and baking. And playing and yelling. When Roger got up we would cook together. It was kinda nice being with him in the kitchen, getting him a cup of coffee, checking on how he slept with two kids goofing off and a wife yelling at them to shut up, because Daddy was asleep.

I remember one time being so proud of this wonderful rice dish that I made all on my own. I loaded up Roger’s plate first, he tried it and said he liked it. I fixed my plate, took a bite and immediately grimaced. It was HORRIBLE! I grabbed his plate and mine, threw the food out and said let’s go out to dinner.

It really is quite a bonding experience for us. There’s nothing like making a meal together. Darling husband is such a wonderful cook. He has taught me so much. I can make a pot roast and root vegetables that are to die for, a potato salad that will make your head spin, and don’t even get me going on my Hawaiian Wedding Cake…. Even with this healthy lifestyle we lead now, you can still find us in the kitchen, drinking coffee, talking about our day. And roasting vegetables, making a kick ass chicken breast that is moist and tender or ground turkey meat loaf that melts in your mouth.

I like the cooking process, and the thought that what I’m making is giving nourishment to my family and friends. I like the fact that it is something my dear husband has taught me. I always ask him the question, what would I do without you? And he will always say probably die… He’s kinda right, part of me would. But I sure would have wonderful memories of the times we’ve had and the meals we’ve made in our kitchen……