Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WORRIED, STRESS TEST

My husband is stressed out, BIG TIME. He’s scheduled to have a chemical Stress Test this week. Because of his back and leg problems he can’t do the one on the treadmill. For months he’s been pacing the floor with worry over it. He’s mad at the doctor for insisting he have this procedure. He’s convinced he’s going to have a heart attack during it... and end up being admitted to the hospital. Or worse yet, he’s afraid he’ll die right there on the table. Part of it, is due to the fact, he’s heard stories about other men, who have had complications, during or following a Stress Test. He’s positive he’s going to join their ranks. Couple this with the fact… he just had a really scary, unpleasant experience, less than a month ago. Remember, his veins infiltrated and he was in excruciating pain for another test, this doctor had requested. Plus, on top of this, he has COPD, which comes with it‘s own set of problems. He just feels the odds are stacked against him. I’m trying to be upbeat and positive, citing the fact it’s a routine procedure and he‘ll be surrounded by doctors and technicians who know their stuff. He reminds me about the mess they made at the last test. So... I keep telling him, that this gut feeling he has... is nothing more than irrational fears. But between you and I… there’s also a little voice inside me, telling me not to take his dire predictions for granted. In this great big game of life, nothing is certain. You just never know. So I’m saying my prayers and hoping for the best.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

HAPPY EASTER! HAPPY SPRING!

Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. My winter coat has been relegated to the closet. The electric blanket is turned to OFF. Though, I must admit the temps are only in the fifties. The lawnmower needs to be filled with gas and oil, so it’s ready to roll. The neighbors have already beaten us to the punch by cutting their grass. I think spring has finally sprung. Suddenly I’m craving PEEPS, gourmet jellybeans, white chocolate bunnies and hard boiled eggs. It must be Easter too. A time to REJOICE, and a time for RENEWAL. And a time to INDULGE in just a little bit of candy. Of course I can’t forget to decorate the eggs. My hubby and I always look forward to adorning the eggs with a splash of color and simple designs. We’re kids at heart. Makes eating them much more fun, later in the week. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to decide what’s on the menu for Sunday dinner. I grew up having ham and yams on the holiday. And followed that tradition for many moons. But in recent years, I’ve changed it up a bit. We’ve had lamb instead. I love it… but my husband, isn’t as crazy about it, as I would like. So… I’m in a real quandary about whether or not to fix it. My daughter wants turkey. I keep telling her it’s the wrong holiday for that. LOL Maybe we’ll be wild and crazy and have lobster, instead. I’ll figure it out. Seems the Easter Bunny has tons of work to do, to get ready for the big day. Baskets, loaded with goodies, still need to be distributed to the grandchildren, among a long list of other things. HAPPY EASTER to you and yours.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

TWO CENTS WORTH OF WHITE DIAMONDS

Let me stick my two cents worth in here. It’s not every day you find a bargain, even if you go searching for one. So imagine my complete and utter surprise… when a salesclerk rang up a recent purchase I was making... and the cash register said it was only two cents. You heard me. The beautifully packaged, one fluid ounce, perfume I was buying... cost TWO CENTS. I just about died. There must be some mistake. You can’t buy much of anything for a dollar, these days, much less two cents. The price of the perfume was clearly marked on the outside of the package. It said $19. It was a fancy bottle of Elizabeth Taylor’s WHITE DIAMONDS. I regularly use ANGEL perfume, so I had never tried this type before. And with Taylor's recent death… thought getting it would be a way I could pay homage to the star. You see… she and my father shared a birthday. So... I grew up hearing all about her. Little did I know then, that one day, her highly marketed fragrance would be such a STEAL. According to the clerk, the perfume was a Christmas clearance item that miraculously hadn’t sold until I came along in April. Therefore, it had been marked down and discounted over and over again, as Wal-Mart waited for it to sell. Was I lucky or what? I don’t know what it smells like, though.  I may or may not find the scent appealing or even tolerable. Admittedly, at full price it was a bit of a risk to take. But for a measly TWO CENTS… it was worth the experimentation on my part and the bragging rights. This had to be the Sale of the Century. Can you believe it? TWO CENTS.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

TRAINS & ME

Dreaming of riding the rails, I laid awake all night long listening to the train whistles blow, until the wee hours of the morning. We’re less than a mile from a crossing. There is something mesmerizing about a train as it glides past you. The power and speed are invigorating. Trains provide a chance to connect with the past when this form of transportation dominated. When we lived in Chicago, I had a lot of spare time on my hands and quickly established a daily routine. I would leave the motel and go downtown to the local bookstore to spend the day. Gathering my selection of magazines and books, I would head to their large picture window overlooking the train station. I logged hours just sitting in an overstuffed chair by that window, watching all the trains pull into and out of the station. Seeing people clamor on or off the platform, heading for work or home was intriguing. I became so fascinated by this train activity, that it became a hobby. Since the job in Chicago, designing components for trains, wasn’t permanent for my husband, we headed further east... five years later, to the next job. In this location we still see plenty of trains, but they’re not the same as the ones in the big city. The trains here are built for hauling freight, not people. They're not as interesting. They seem to be lumbering down the tracks at a snails pace, instead of lightening fast. They are old, loaded with graffiti, rust and suffice to say, they’re not much to look at. Nowadays, I get pretty aggravated if traffic is blocked and I have to stop for one… especially if it‘s more than a 10 or 15 minute wait… which in our town is a very frequent occurrence. But why get so upset? History is passing me by. I should stop and pay attention to the stories, these giants of transportation, could tell. While their whistles wailed last night... something inside me, stirred. Maybe my love affair with trains isn’t really over, after all. I'm restless for a ride, to a place I've never been.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

THE CHEF AND THE PLUMBER

My husband happily relinquished his cooking duties, a year or two after we got together. Until that time, he did all the meal preparation… breakfast, lunch and dinner. It wasn’t that I couldn’t cook, he just thought his culinary skills were superior to mine. But more importantly, when he was in the kitchen, he controlled WHAT we ate. And that meant all his favorites and none of mine. When I was finally handed the reins… I knew what he liked and what he didn’t. And slowly I incorporated my own menu items, so we both were happy. However, in all the time I’ve ruled the roost, I have never made his mother’s beef brisket. Mainly because I don’t have her recipe for it. And if I was going to make it, it had to be JUST like hers. PERFECT! I couldn’t live up to the hype. But my husband has never complained about it because I always substituted it with my pot roast, instead. So when I was in the supermarket, thinking pot roast, I happened to see a lone beef brisket, sitting there. I called my husband and told him we were going to try something different. I’m going to buy this cut of meat. Could he remember anything about his mother’s beef brisket? He racked his brain, then said he was going online to search for a recipe. A little later, he called me back and said he was confident he had found one that was authentic Irene. My job was to gather and assemble the ingredients. Once they were accumulated, I was being replaced in the kitchen. His role was to prepare the dish. I was shocked. This was a momentous occasion, marking the first time in thirty years, he would cook a meal, except chili. I was so READY for this. He was noticeably nervous, barking out platitudes when I got home. He started by chopping up 3 lbs of onions, discarding the skins in the garbage disposer as he continued on. Carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic, bay leaves, bouillon and a litany of other TOP SECRET ingredients were added to the mix, along with lots and lots of love, and of course, the beef brisket itself. Soon it was put in the oven at 325 for three and a half hours. My husband was in charge, blissfully happy with his accomplishment, thus far. I was impressed. He had even begun to clean up. That’s when trouble reared it’s ugly head. The kitchen sink was suddenly clogged up. He tried this and that to remedy the situation, but to no avail. Water continued to back up. He couldn’t understand it. A plumber finally had to be called. It was early Saturday afternoon. Dollar signs just got added to the cost of the beef brisket. Remember the onion skins? PRICELESS. Well, actually $200 worth, if you do the plumber's math. You don’t put ‘em down a garbage disposer, ever. But the smell of the brisket wafted up our nostrils. We forgot about the hit to our checkbook. The only consolation was how delicious that brisket tasted, when we took our first bite. It melted in our mouths. My husband proclaimed, “Just like mom made.” He had accomplished the impossible. Amazing.