Archive for July, 2011

Jul 24 Sunday

Where I am…

There are five stages of grief.

To spare you the fancy terminology set forth by the explanation of the Kübler-Ross model, basically these stages of grief come in any order and can last a short time or a long time, and return at any given moment. They are like herpes, friends for life.

They read like Snow White’s dwarfy little friends on crack:

Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

Since losing my Dad so suddenly, just over 7 months ago, I have experienced anger, depression and denial. And countless other stages that should be on the ballot next time the Stages of Grief are up for election.

Truth be told, the grief still hurts. Physically, mentally, emotionally. There isn’t an hour, of any day, that goes by that I am not somehow reminded of my Dad. He weighs heavy on my mind in every single thing I do. Sometimes it’s comforting, sometimes it sends me into an anxious tail spin of emotion that takes days to climb back out of.

I spend a lot of time, a lot, at his grave site. I have full conversations with him in my head. I hear his voice. I swear I see him driving red SUV’s at the same intersection early in the morning.

Full Disclosure: I’ve mentioned a time or two on here before that I seek professional counseling. In my very humble opinion, it’s imperative. I see a counselor and a psychiatrist. Yes, two. I’s is CRAZY. One gives me constant nuggets of wisdom that assist me in processing the foreign feelings ravaging my everyday existence. One gives me drugs and good conversation. It’s that simple.

Lexapro, or some other anti-anxiety/depression medication, should be added to our water supply. The world would be a better place.

No shit.

There is no shame in saying “I can’t do this alone.” Absolutely none. I have uttered those words more times than I can count. Each time, they have empowered me to accept help. That alone is what saved me. I was losing myself.

I knew I needed to be medicated when…

– I was screaming like a lunatic, while honking and waving my fist at a guy who opened up his driver’s side window and dropped a fast food bag, AND CUP, in the middle of a parking lot. Yes, my kids were in the car. Not my finest parenting moment, although my kids are the farthest things from Litter Bugs. Silver lining people!

– I sobbed through my entire shopping trip at the grocery store where I had coffee with my dad, every weekday morning, at 6 am. I hid in the frozen food aisle to gain my composure. That was a high point, let me tell you.

– I was (again) screaming like a lunatic at the car in front of me who CLEARLY thought that the STOP sign read “Sit for 2 minutes”. Didn’t he know that Dairy Queen closed in 4 minutes and mama needed a chocolate shake? DIDN’T HE?

– I was no longer sleeping. Or writing. Or eating. It’s been awkward for friends and acquaintances the past 7 months. “You look like you’ve lost weight, what are you doing?” And I honestly respond. “Depression looks good on me.” True story. And again, awkward. Especially when it’s in the grocery store and they then glance at my cart to see 4 bottles of coffee creamer, OJ, frozen waffles and string cheese. Staples when you’re depressed. Or in med school.

This post isn’t intended to be a pity party. I want nothing more than to be honest to my readers. Although it might seem the contrary,  I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I might linger in between the sheets for longer than usual, or go off the map for a day, or ten, or submerge myself in some random task like de-wallpapering a bathroom.

But it’s how I am surviving. My family is my safe zone and they get me through. My close circle of friends keep me on my feet. The rest, if I am up for it that day, is icing on the cake.

Grief is part of the human experience. It shapes us, whether we like it or not, into the people we need to be. I choose to take it for what it is, a beautiful reminder of life’s small pleasures.

And every morning I read the plaque hanging in my kitchen that reads:

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

It’s so ridiculously true.

 

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Jul 14 Thursday

Spandex, Wax and Ham Sandwiches

I am not a fan of swimsuits. Yes, they are necessary. I mean, have you ever tried to swim in a t-shirt?

What women go through to wear bathing suits, with an eensy weensy bit of self confidence, is appalling. First of all, you have hair removal.

Shaving is fan-freaking-tastic. Until you get goosebumps immediately after stepping out of the shower or go near your bikini line. (Hello itchy red bumps.)

The alternative, waxing is completely archaic. Of course, it’s also the best option.

At the start of the summer, I put on my brave face, and my best tiny under britches, and headed to a local salon to try to get a control on “areas neglected” as we sped full force into lycra/spandex season.

The esthetician was super sweet and instantly put me at ease. Which was difficult considering she had me in positions my husband hasn’t seen me in for years.

Then she got to work. Hot wax, attaches to tiny hairs, in incredibly sensitive areas, then is further pressed on by cloth strips and RIPPED off.

RIPPED.

Holy Mary Mother of Pain.

There were not “Just two pulls!” There were more like sixteen. I am fairly certain I passed out on the 4th pull after sitting up and screaming a profanity.

The irony was, my legs were still hairy. You’re welcome for that nice visual.

No joke, I think they charged me double. For obvious reasons. I am a busy mom of three who has body parts that haven’t seen the light of day since last summer. Or ever.

I will tell you that with less to worry about in that arena, I enjoyed the first few weeks of summer poolside. My kiddos love the water and I came to the conclusion that sunning like a lizard, while keeping constant vigilance over the pool, is FAR better than folding laundry, cleaning the house or scrubbing toilets.

Plus, I had no bikini spiders to worry about.

Within a few weeks, I had the semblance of a tan. For some people, being a non-pasty white shade is normal in the summer. Not for me.

So, up goes my confidence in a swim suit. A smidgen. Because we ALL know that when you’re tan(ish) your cellulite is reabsorbed into your body and completely disappears until fall.

Fast forward to date night. I made SuperHub shop at stores I never get to enjoy with kids in tow. He was miserable as I decided to take a gander at the latest styles in ladies swimwear at TJMaxx. Thinking I would maybe jazz things up a bit from my normal black sheeth. I picked up a kicky red suit, with ruching in the mid drift.

Note to You (You being men): Ruching is a gathering of fabric that gives an illusion of thinner mid section, while comfortably allow a post baby tummy to be free.

SuperHub, who simply pulls on a pair of swimtrunks and jumps in a pool, doesn’t understand the complexity of a proper fitting swimsuit. Especially a bright red, one piece. He thinks I look pretty in a pillowcase. He doesn’t understand why women worry like we do.

SuperHub: “Red is nice. What’s the fabric in the middle?”

Me: “It’s called ruching. It’s essential for hiding things.”

SuperHub: “Hiding things? Like a ham sandwitch?”

He is a funny one.

So. I didn’t get the swim suit. Although the idea of having a space to store extra ham sandwiches was tempting, I decided that additional landscaping might be required to wear it with confidence for the remainder of the season.

And another wax isn’t happening.

Until next spring.

In the meantime, I think I will go make myself a ham sandwich.

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Jul 05 Tuesday

Shrimp + Watermelon Salad

There are few things I love more than a cool, crispy, flavor-filled summer salad. Consumed in the warm sunshine, along side the aroma of sunscreen, freshly mowed lawns and served with an icy cold (adults only) beverage, summer salads are like eating happiness, one bite at a time.

Thankfully, one reader of mine thinks the same way. Kirsten is the mother of three (adorable) boys and knows how to mix up a mean bowl of summer love. I am forever grateful that she thought to pass this recipe along and look forward to rewarding her with a batch of cookies.

Or a margarita.

Or both.

Before you read the recipe ingredients, open your mind. OPEN YO’ MIND!

Like anything worth celebrating, it’s the finished product that is important, the way everything comes together in the end. Separately, each ingredient is good. Mixed together, just so, the ingredients become one giant party. In a bowl.

And who doesn’t love a good party? (In your mouth. HEY OH.)

Shrimp & Watermelon Salad

1 lb. Shrimp (Peeled, de-veined, cooked and cooled. I bought a bag of frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted and snipped off the tails)
4 Cups watermelon
1 Medium red onion
1/2 Cup Fresh cilantro
2 Jalapenos
2 Avocados
Juice of 2 limes
1 Tablespoon Honey
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Chop and de-seed the jalapenos. Add to a large bowl. Do not touch your eyeball. Even after you’ve washed your hands. OUCH. Now, cut up the watermelon, onion, cilantro, and avocados and add to the bowl, stirring well to mix.  I used a melon baller and made my melon into little balls. It was fun and pretty, but chopping it, any style, would be great.

In separate bowl, whisk honey, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing mixture over the chopped mixtures and toss gently.  Set aside for 10 minutes for flavors to meld.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Note to You: I added the juice of an additional lime to keep the avocados green longer. If you only have one lime, that would do just fine. Also, I served it with sliced homemade bread. Instead of licking the empty bowl, I sopped up all the juices. Purrrr.

And the Survey says…

The kids wouldn’t touch it, but I was happy. MORE FOR ME.

SuperHub: “Oh wow! It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I don’t like meat and fruit mixed. It’s got a good flavor though.”

Me: Noshing noises, followed by a giddy, delighted moan as I head back for more. And then back for more.

My mom: “Very, very, very good.”

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