The Widening of the Hips and Other Ailments

I am an administrative assistant by trade. My “trade” was referred to as a secretary once upon a time. That is no longer acceptable. I don’t know if it’s politically incorrect or demeaning, or what. But don’t call an administrative assistant a “secretary.” Or you might get punched in the eyebrow.

I have a secretarial “degree” (aka “certificate”). I went to a secretarial school. Now they are as extinct as the pterodactyl. It seems these days you need a degree to be a secretary.

Ahem…an administrative assistant.

Some companies will only hire you if you have a two- or four-year degree. While others will hire you based on experience. You know, as long as you started working around the time Eisenhower was in office.

But then you’re too old.

Vicious circle.

I got lucky. I found a wonderful company to work for. I have no four- or two-year degree. And I’m kinda old. Ok, so maybe not dinosaur old, but I’m no spring chicken either. My twenty plus year secretarial/admin experience is acceptable.

Anyway, my profession has its perils, believe it or not. And I’m finding out quickly what those perils are.

Back in the day, people would complain and warn me about the dreaded “Secretarial Spread.” It sounds obscene (don’t google it, because what popped up would have made even Hugh Hefner blush). But it’s not what you might think.

The official definition according to Urban Dictionary:

“Secretarial spread means sitting down for a long period of time while the hind-end spreads outward in order to accommodate the chair. “

Sounds awful, right?

Well, it is.

Back in the day, I didn’t worry about it too much. I was young, I exercised and moved a lot. I wore high heels and ran in them.

No, seriously. I did.

Now if I so much as put on a pair of heels that measure higher than half an inch, I run the risk of being hospitalized.

Fast forward 30+ years and there are all kinds of reports and studies on what can happen if you sit all day. In a nutshell, it reduces your lifespan. The instructor at the gym referred to sitting as “the new smoking.”

The only time I touched a cigarette was back in 1982. And I didn’t even inhale.

I swear. 

No, I wasn’t hanging out with Clinton.

Since working back in the profession for which I was trained after a very long respite, I’m comprehending what they meant by the “Secretarial Spread.”

I’m comprehending big (no pun intended).

When I wrote the first draft of this post months ago, I was sedentary.

“Sedentary.” A word I never thought in a million years I would use to describe myself.

But yet, that’s what I was.

I got up to go to the bathroom or the water cooler during the day.  When I got home, I took off the bra, put on my “non-yoga” yoga pants, and moved my ass to the couch.

That was it.

Ok, so I still get home, take off the bra, and move my ass to the couch. Because I’m tired. I’m just TIRED.

But during the day, I’ve been exercising. I go to the gym at work, I do stretching exercises, planks, push-ups, what have you, in the morning before I leave for work.

And it feels great.

But the sitting has caused me to develop hip flexor problems. Oh.my.god. Does that hurt! Had I not been “sedentary” for so long, I don’t think that would have happened.

This hip flexor situation has since given me lower back pain. You know, because my back is compensating for the job my hip flexors aren’t doing.

I think. I mean, I’m no doctor, but this makes sense. Right?

My abdominal wall is also weak. Which is not helping my cause. But I’m working on that.

I’m working on getting myself to a good place health-wise. It’s time. I decided a wheel chair, or even a cane, would not be a good accessory for me.

I mean, I don’t really accessorize anyway, so why start now?

One more thing…

The second part of that definition, according to Urban Dictionary:

“It can be changed with exercise, and activity away from sitting down on one’s spread for too many hours a day.”

I had this thing called a “Veridesk” installed on my desktop at work. It has levers and allows you to lift the thing up so you can stand while you work. It’s a pain in the ass to pull up, but the way I see it, I’m also getting some upper body strength training in.

Getting into shape at work. That brings the expression “multi-tasking” to a whole new level.

If I save one person from the dreaded “Secretarial Spread” then I have done my job.

You’re welcome.

Resolutions Schmesolutions

As I sit here on this second to last day of 2018, I reflect on all the year has brought. I will not hash it out, because that’s what my Christmas letter is for (if you missed it, it’s not too late to catch up by clicking here).

I will say 2018 was pretty uneventful, which is good. But bad in the way that I did nothing to better myself in any way. It was another lazy year that I wish to not talk about.

But as I sit here reflecting, I also think about 2019, and the endless possibilities the coming year may bring.

Speaking of 2019, I saw something, a meme or whatever they are called, that reminded me that 2019 will be the last “teen” years for most of us. That totally freaked me out. I don’t know why. I wasn’t a large fan of my own teens, so I’m not sure why I care so much.

Anyway, a few couple of years ago, I realized New Year’s Resolutions are a complete waste of time. Statistically speaking, 80% of all resolutions fail by February. Thanks again, Google.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I got through high school without Google. It sure is much better than those grocery store Funk & Wagnall Encyclopedias our moms would get when they purchased enough olive loaf, Twinkies, and cherry Kool-Aid to earn a single volume. It took a year to get the entire series, and by then they would be outdated.

ANYWAY, I’m not making resolutions this year. What I AM going to do is make better decisions and conscious efforts to be a better person. To live the life I should be living, that I want to live. And because I am a cliche…be authentic.

These may sound like resolutions, and look suspiciously like resolutions, but they are what I would like to refer to as “Getting My Shit Together and Stop Being a Sloth Once and For All.” Or simply “Life Adjustments.”

All of this has been a long time coming, and honestly, would be happening if it was January 1st or May 19th. It’s time and the new year really has nothing to do with it. I joined an online fitness course a couple of months ago and it really has opened my eyes to what I wasn’t doing. Sometimes, we need a little push and a serious punch in the face.

I am fifty-one years old. I will be fifty-two in less than four months.

FIFTY-TWO.

I realize that fifty is the new thirty.

Or is it forty?

My point is people are living longer and living better, more productive lives. Lives that are filled with quality.

Quality. My life needs to be “quality.” I’m not saying I don’t have a good quality of life. Because I do. I am married to a wonderful man, was blessed with the best daughter anyone could possibly ask for, and pretty much want for nothing. And my health, although I could feel and look better, is pretty good for the most part.

But in this case, when I talk about “quality” I don’t mean what you think. My life has become chaotic. If that’s possible. I never know where anything is. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m disorganized, disheveled, and not always doing what I truly want to do.

I feel like crap because I eat crap. And I look like crap because of the crap I eat. I’m not writing as often as I like, I’m not reading as much as I should, and I’m not exercising like a person who wants to live a better, longer life.

I bought a planner for the first time in my life, and some stickers, and a nice set of pens. For the first time in my life I intend to plan out what I want and need to do. I will plan out my meals, my exercise, my writing sessions, and anything else deemed worthy to be added. Which in my case, is pretty much everything.

I need to start making myself accountable for myself. I need to stop being lazy. Laziness just fosters more laziness. It’s a spiral that I don’t want to be on. And besides, it’s making me dizzy.

Weight For It – A Random Tale of the Girl With More Than One Chin

Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere
Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere (Dobardor.com to be exact)

I am at an all time high in the weight department.

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Me in Florida a few weeks ago. I’m wearing a fat suit on my face. I’m sure of it.

See? I told you.
See? I told you.

Ok, so I was about 24 here. Why can't I look like this again? WHY????
Ok, so I was about twenty-four years old here. But why can’t I look like this again? WHY???? God, if you let me look like this again, I’ll…oh, never mind.

I had never really had a problem with weight. When I was in high school, I could eat my lunch, all my friends’ leftovers, go home and eat Steak-umm sandwiches and Twinkies washed down with cherry Kool-Aid and still only weigh ninety-eight pounds soaking wet.

Well, it seems those days are gone.

I can no longer eat Twinkies — it turns out there isn’t a food group for chemicals anyway.

Why can’t I eat them? You know, aside from the fact that they are made of ingredients that are virtually unpronounceable, and umm, soap?

Because now they just take a detour to sit on my stomach, upper arms, and anywhere else they are not welcome.

Practically everyone I know is on Weight Watchers. I have always avoided the big WW or any other kind of weight loss program. I’ve always been in the camp of “just eat right and exercise” and you will be able to lose weight.

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Smack in the middle of my running days

Just over four years ago I did just that. I lost thirty pounds. I took up running and I journaled every single morsel of anything I put in my mouth.

A chocolate kiss? Twenty-two calories. A single potato chip? Fourteen.

I ran. The one thing I declared that I would never, ever do. Yet, I fell for it. Hard. I loved it. But it didn’t love me back. After a short few months into my new hobby, my meniscus tore in two places.

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Look ma, no Spanx!

After my surgery, I would cry tears of frustration whenever I would pass a runner. Aside from step class in the late eighties, running is the only exercise I actually enjoyed.

Anyway, I was in the best shape of my life. It took me a year to take off the weight, and a mere months to put it all back on, plus an extra five pounds for good measure.

Do you know how hard it is to lose weight once you hit fifty? Also, something happens to your middle. It grows and well, sags. It gets in the way of doing simple daily tasks. You all know what I’m talking about.

I don't know what this is, but be assured I ate it.
I don’t know what this is, but rest assured I ate it.

So, I kind of joined Weight Watchers. No, I do not go to meetings. Meetings have never been my thing. I have the app on my iPhone and I have been following it for almost a month now. They actually have pretty good recipes. DH is also on Weight Watchers, he just doesn’t know it.

And I’m down four pounds.

If I'm at a restaurant and I don't finish it, I always have to take it home. "One doggy bag to go." Except it wasn't for my dog.
Waste not, want not. And I wanted it.

The point of my blog post here is to say that I ate. I ate a lot. I always ate way more than DH does. The way I piled food on my plate, you’d think it was my last meal. Or that food was going to go out of fashion. Or a shortage was coming. Or an apocalyptic event.

I love bread
My love affair with bread.

I’m not talking vegetables and boiled chicken either. If I had a hankering for a plate of nachos, I would make some. I would stop into a McDonald’s on a whim. Not smart for someone who has struggled with genetically high cholesterol since 1986. Don’t lecture me. I know. My doctor is none too thrilled either.

When I started WW four weeks ago, I would bet I cut down my intake of

This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips.
This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips. .

food by a pound or two a day. Seriously. If I had a scale and actually weighed what I ate, I would be able to prove it to you.

For now, you’ll have to settle with eye-witnesses who can corroborate my story. And there are a lot of them so take your pick.

Again, my point is this…if I went from eating like a sumo wrestler to eating like a rabbit, why is it I only lost four pounds?

Oh, and I also cut back on my wine intake. Like, A LOT. You’d think I would have lost a ton of weight in the first week just based on the sheer volume of wine I no longer throw back.

I eat so many vegetables now, my nose is starting to twitch. And I haven’t even had so much as

All kinds of fish -- even shellfish -- are zero points. That's right, ZERO!
All kinds of fish — even shellfish — are zero points. That’s right, ZERO!

one ounce of red meat in thirty days.

I’m not saying losing a pound a week is bad. It’s a good and healthy way of losing weight. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I’m just saying, well, you know, I’m just surprised given what I’ve stopped ingesting.

Since I can’t run, I am having a difficult time getting back into the swing of exercising. Because, let’s be honest here. Exercising kind of sucks. I can always find other things that I’d rather be doing with my time.

You know, like swim with piranhas. And I can’t even swim.

The excuses I have for not going to the gym (which is FREE and three floors down from my desk at WORK), would impress even the Generation Z set.

So, I’m going to start up at the gym again. Also, I downloaded an app where they guarantee you will lose weight if you do what they tell you to do for seven minutes a day. So far, I haven’t opened it. Part of me is afraid of what will be required of me. You know, like moving. If apps could collect dust, I fear it most likely would start to resemble the elliptical in the spare room in no time.

So here I am, about day thirty. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully, you won’t find me binge eating at the local McDonald’s. If you do, look the other way.

 

Endocolonoscopy Part II

You all know I had a colonoscopy a couple weeks ago. If you didn’t know, read this.

Everyone from the Pope to the girl at work said the worst part was the prep.

Don’t believe everything you hear. That advice right there is something we were given at a very young age, yet I went against it.

There are maybe two benefits to a colonoscopy:

1) Rapid weight loss within a 24 hour period. I don’t recommend it though because having your insides empty into a toilet bowl at the velocity of a 747 doing a nose dive is probably not so good for you; and 2) A colonoscopy can save your life.

There is something very awkward about meeting the man who will be shoving a 6′ hose where the sun really does not ever shine,\

for the first time on the actual day of said shoving.

Besides the fact that he said he had a hangover, I think it went well. He was joking by the way.

I think.

Not only will he be doing an unmentionable to you, he will be giving you a mind blowing and vomit inducing drug.

I’m pretty sure if this were a blind date, there would not be a second. This guy is everything your mother warned you about. Plus some.

The Pope and the girl at work were right about how you feel like you took a thirty second nap because before I knew it I was lying on a gurney in the recovery room with about a dozen other victims. I mean, people. Also recovering from whatever their procedure of the day was.

They sat me almost immediately in a chair, of which I did not feel ready for. Because I didn’t feel well. I didn’t feel well at all. The room was spinning and before I knew it I was yelling, “I’M GONNA THROW UP!!!”

It sure is amazing how quickly the nursing staff moves when they hear that because within 1.2 seconds I had one of those kidney shaped plastic bowl things shoved under my chin. With a nurse on one side of me and my husband on the other, I vomited who knows what exactly because there literally was nothing in my stomach.

But before that moment I have to tell you, I had a rather large bit of flatulence escape from my underside.

Did I saw large? Yes I did, and I meant it. I looked at DH in surprise and disgust. “Did that just come out of ME??? Please tell me it was the guy next door.”

So, not only did I pass gas in front of a dozen strangers but I vomited as well.

This day is not going as planned. All I had to do was burp and I would have covered all of the unpleasant bodily functions in record  time. In front of strangers. Just so you know, this was NOT on my bucket list.

So, with my head spinning and my breath smelling of vomit, my doctor came in to tell me what he claims he already told me which is weird because I don’t remember at all.

Here’s a question for you — why, if you know there is a pretty high chance that your patient is going to be, well, high, would you try to talk to them so soon?

Anyway, I had a little inflammation in my esophagus, as well as the removal of a Z-Formation. I don’t really know what that is, but he didn’t seem concerned.

During my colonoscopy, he found three polyps. They were benign but polyps can turn into cancer if left to their own devices.

Would I do it again? Of course I would. And I will. In three years. Because they found those polyps, and I not only care about my colon health, but my life.

So, the moral of the story? Go get a colonoscopy. It’s really important, and at the end of the day it wasn’t so bad. Just pretend you didn’t hear that part about the vomit.

 

Can You Say “Endocolonoscopy?”

I’m having an endoscopy and colonoscopy together at the same time tomorrow and I’m a little nervous.

The colonoscopy is for that screening they say you should have when you turn fifty. Because why else would someone go and voluntarily have a hose shoved up the darkest nether regions of your person where no one in their right mind should be?

(Unless there is a real legitimate reason like you have a family history of colon cancer or concerning symptoms, then please go and have that hose shoved up there.)

Can I say I can’t believe I’m “you need to have a colonoscopy for screening purposes” years old?

Moving along.

The endoscopy is because I suffer from really bad, major ugly, reflux. Literally, if I eat pretty much anything that is edible, I end up with my esophagus feeling like it is in a fire.

So basically, in the words of The Bloggess (she’s this super weird and a little nutty but entertaining blogger), I am going to be a “human shish kabob.”

I really wish I had thought of that expression because it’s genius and that is basically what it’s going to feel like.

A stick coming out of both ends.

Just don’t put me on a spit because although my insides are on fire most of the time, fire scares me. I believe I would enjoy that about as much as having a hose shoved into both ends.

So I’m having this procedure and I wasn’t worried at all but suddenly I am.

Because I can tend to be a tad of a hypochondriac, all kinds of scenarios are running around in my head.

Esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, parasites, some weird disease that they will have to name “Mo’s Syndrome” because I will be the first ever person to have it and there will be textbooks written about me.

Maybe they’ll make a movie too. If so, I want Jennifer Aniston to play me because we are look-alikes. It’s true. See?

Told you so
Told you so

I also keep thinking about what happened to Joan Rivers. Yes, I realize she was old and maybe not in as good of health as people thought and her doctors were idiots and totally careless. But it freaks me out nonetheless.

Anyway, I started the prep almost three hours ago and it’s taking that long to get this far in my blog post here because I’m in the damn bathroom every three minutes. No lie.

I need to tell you that I just got back from vacation and was pretty sure I contracted Dengue Fever or e-coli poisoning, or a parasite invasion (blog post in progress because my favorite thing to do is talk about my bodily functions).

In other words, I already emptied an entire third world country from my bottom half. So, to go for a second round so soon is really not very much fun at all.

Here I am. In the middle of my bowel prep. Worried I would be starving to death because my last meal was at noon. But after slamming back 16-ounces of this liquid that tastes like twenty year old 7-Up but not real 7-Up, I’m everything BUT hungry.

I guess there’s one thing I don’t need to worry about now. I should feel grateful, but strangely enough, I do not.

So, wish me luck. I will be sure to post how it went because I know you need to know. Also, take care of yourself and get a hose shoved up your nether area. You may save your life.

A Pointless Post About Dust

unknown-1“Where does dust come from?” This is a question that was rhetorically asked in a writing course I recently participated in. And because I am who I am, I remembered that I have always wondered that same thing myself.

I have a fairly large, dark wood coffee table in my living room. I love this table. Of course. I would not have chosen it to grace my living room and look at it every day if I didn’t. It has a big shiny surface. Which happens to be its only flaw.

Why is it a flaw? Because I can spend 5 minutes dusting the balls out of that thing and a mere few hours later? Dust. All over it.

And when the sun is coming through the windows just so (I love the sun coming through my windows, but only when no one is here, including myself), you can see it float down and land right on the surface of that newly dusted table and every single, ever-loving item in my house.

So, where does dust come from exactly? I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up. For all those who are like me and wander into strange places while thinking, or if you missed that day in fifth grade science class, here is where dust comes from. You’re welcome.

As taken from wiseGEEK (www.wisegeek.org):

“…it is largely made up of dead skin cells, fibers from clothing and other materials, pollen and dander, and tiny particles of dirt. Dust comes from objects in the environment, and from the people and animals that live in it.”

Upon further research, I found out that the average person loses about 40 dead skin cells every second. Most of that thin layer of white stuff you see building up on your furniture? It’s dead skin of you and whoever else lives in or visits your home.

So, basically you have little pieces of pretty much everyone you know in the air that you are breathing. Through your nostrils and into your lungs. That thought makes me want to go out and purchase one of those Walter White type masks. No offense.

maskwhite

I guess no one has has actually died from breathing in other people’s dead skin cells, so I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up (pardon the pun). I mean, I’ve survived the first forty-nine years of my life living this way. I think I can survive the next uh…forty-nine (it’s possible).

In the meantime, I believe I’ll be investing in some more Pledge. Oh, and can you do me a favor before coming over next time? Slather up with some body lotion, would you? Like, maybe bathe in it? I just really hate dusting.

Mamie’s Restaurant – Roxbury, CT

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Foodgasm Factor 7 :: Broke Factor 5 :: Repeat Factor 8

Breakfast or lunch? Breakfast or lunch? That’s a tough decision when you visit Mamie’s in Roxbury. Especially when you haven’t eaten yet at all and it’s just before noon. The options on the menu are amazing. Here was the reason for my debacle:

Eggs Benedict, Roasted Summer Vegetable Hash or buttermilk pancakes; Blue cheese burger, BLT with fried green tomatoes or the smoked ham and brie sandwich. Just to name a few.

After much consideration (I’m not kidding — the server asked me three times if I was ready), I chose the three-egg omelet with cheddar cheese and tomatoes as well as a serving of blueberry pancakes. The omelet came with 2 slices of whole grain toast and sausage. It was a lot of food and I ate every last bit (minus the three bites of pancake I shared with DH).

Speaking of servers, there aren’t many. I saw two girls working the tables, and two people in the kitchen area. We had to wait a bit longer than usual for our meal but it was worth the wait. And like I’ve said before, I don’t mind waiting for my food as long as it comes the same day. And the staff is pleasant about it. Which they were. Adorable even.

I messed up the presentation before I thought to take a pic. Sorry if it doesn't look appetizing but trust me it is VERY appetizing.
I messed up the presentation before I thought to take a pic. Sorry if it doesn’t look appetizing but trust me it is VERY appetizing. And yes, I like ketchup with my eggs.

The eggs were perfectly fluffy and made in a square shape which was totally fun for me because I’m ten in a forty-eight year old body. The bread was cut into thick slices and as fresh as if it just came out of the oven. The pancakes were divine and were filled with oodles of blueberries that burst in a blueberry explosion on your tongue. The pancake itself was cooked so thin it was like a crepe.

DH had the chicken salad sandwich. It came with a side of french fries. He really enjoyed it. I took a bite and it was delicious. Not over the top in flavor, but subtle in a good way. The bread was this brioche type of bun and bounced back when you touched it.

Our bill came to $30. Before tip. But if I wasn’t a pig and didn’t order two breakfasts, it would have been $24. I don’t think that’s too bad for breakfast/lunch, do you? I mean, damn. McDonalds can be that much.

They don’t serve mimosa’s or any kind of alcohol for that matter, so don’t expect it. They serve dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, but you can bring your own bottle of wine or whatever you wish. The menu seems to change often because of their use of fresh and local produce, so you won’t get the same thing twice too often.

Don’t check their website for an updated menu because it won’t be there. In fact, the site doesn’t seem to be updated often and there isn’t a ton of information. Their website says they do brunch on the weekends and when I called, the girl who answered said, “oh, we haven’t updated the website in a long time…” So, there you go.

Roosters at Mamie'sThe decor is maybe a mid-century country french provincial (is that even a thing?) but I’m not really sure. There are some antiques in the small dining room (very small…I’m talking maybe five or six tables). There are rusted out metal roosters perched along the lawn. Very quaint, very welcoming.

The restaurant sits along Baker Road (AKA Rte. 63) in country-esque Roxbury. Umbrella’d picnic tables sit on the grass for larger parties. There is a covered porch with  four or five tables for smaller parties. It seems like a great place to sit if it’s a nice summer evening for dinner.

Unfortunately, we had to sit inside although it was a beautiful day. The wait for an outside table was way too long and I was way too starved. I don’t think they take reservations unless you have a party of five or more.

Be prepared to wait regardless if you go during a peak time. I feel like this is a place the locals favor and really only know about but it’s definitely like that private beach on that island you went to last summer. Once word really gets out, it will be impossible to secure some real estate. (Note: we knew about this place from friends of ours)

Overall, it was a great dining experience and look forward to going back!

The White Horse Country Pub – Marbledale, Connecticut

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The White Horse Pub. They gave me more bread, I just ate it all.

Foodgasm Factor 4 :: Broke Factor 4 :: Repeat Factor 6

This wasn’t our first time here. Apparently it was our fourth, although I only remember three. It came highly recommended by a dear friend some time ago.

On this day, we stopped by on our way to a vineyard in Litchfield (Sunset Meadow — I highly recommend it). It was our last full day before The Kid came home from her mission trip so we wanted to get in another date.

The White Horse Country Pub is good. It’s a decent place that seems to be reliable. It sits along this body of water they call a river but looks more like a creek on steroids.

There are two outside patios, one off the restaurant area and one off the bar. The patios sit looking out over the river and is beautiful. The setting is tranquil.

There is a tall wooden wall that separates the diners from the parking lot and busy Rte 202. There are a few of those hot lamp things that keep you warm on cool days/evenings and a string of large bulbs hang from above. It looks like a great place to eat at night.

Inside, the restaurant and pub is rustic. It’s a very quaint and fun atmosphere. The bar in the tavern is large and a big fireplace sits opposite it.

Any time I have gone by this place, the parking lot is full. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is. Good sign, right? Perhaps.

IMG_5132Everything seems to have their logo/name branded/stamped/etched into the sides. Wine glasses, beer mugs, pottery that holds bread. It’s very charming.  Just so you know, they give a generous pour of wine. Almost to the rim.

We were seated outside on the patio off the restaurant next to an older couple. They both had huge buckets of seafood in front of them. I looked and looked on the menu but couldn’t find it. When our server came over (great service, by the way), I pointed to the couple and asked what that was.

The river is behind DH. he suggested I get up and change seats for this photo op but I was too lazy to move.  After all, I had to save my energy for this meal.
The river is behind DH. He suggested I get up and change seats for this photo op but I was too lazy to move. After all, I had to save my energy for this meal.

“Oh, they must be regulars. That meal is only served at dinner, but I’m sure the chef will make it for you.”

It is called the WHITE HORSE SEAFOOD BAKE and it consists of shrimp, clams, mussels, calimari, salmon, corn, onion, potatoes in a white wine sauce. I thought he said something about some kind of licorice liqueur but I didn’t taste it.

It is served in a huge iron pot and a piece of branded pottery containing garlic bread accompanies it. He warned me that it was a lot of food for one person but I figured if two people who are at least 20 years older than I am can do it, so can I.

Ahhh. The excitement mounts.

DH ordered the BLT. A sandwich made of apple smoked bacon, fried tomato, greens and chipotle mayo on a baguette. This is served with a side of french fries.

It took a long time for our order to come. Probably because of my meal, I’m sure. I really don’t mind waiting for a meal as long as the company is good and I have a full glass of wine, to which I had both.

When my food was finally placed in front of me, I thought “this is no problem, there isn’t much food here.” I quickly learned I was mistaken.

It was a damn bottomless pit. It was steaming hot, the heat being held in from the iron pot. I am not a fan of extremely hot food. I had to take a sip of water after each bite. I did burn my tongue. Several times. It was difficult to eat because although they do give you a galvanized steel bucket to put all your shells into, I really could have used a plate to dissect everything.

Everytime I dropped a piece of the seafood into the pot, the liquid would splash up and burn my neck or stain my clothes (even though it was a white wine sauce, there were tomatoes in there). I would highly recommend asking for a bib.

The mussels and clams were steamed almost perfectly. The salmon was thoroughly cooked, which is good for this situation. They could have been a little more generous with the potatoes, but they were so hot anyway, I had a hard time eating them.

After a very long time, so long that DH ordered a cocktail after he was finished with his meal (he thought his sandwich was okay…but remember, Mr. Picky), I was done. I’ll have to remember to take a bite out of everything he orders, so I can pass on my findings. Be patient with me, I’m learning.

I finished the entire pot. And the broth was still steaming. I was full but was I satisfied? Eh. It was okay. I won’t order it again. I had to really work at my meal. I don’t really like to work that hard for a meal, unless it’s lobster. And I wasn’t impressed with the broth it sat in. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t to die for. I did not have a foodgasm.

The wine was average and DH’s cosmo wasn’t that great. It’s a pub though. I’m sure they have a great beer list, but I’m not a beer drinker and DH really doesn’t love beer either so there you have it.

If you go to their site, you will see all of the awards they have won. Lots and lots of awards. An entire page dedicated to their awards. So, you probably really can’t go wrong.

I would go back again because of the atmosphere. The other items on the menu seem like they would be reliable and something you can count on being at least good.

I really want to go back for a burger. Their menu is quite extensive and there is something for everyone. Including the picky eaters in your family.

Also, it’s really quite affordable. I didn’t ask for the price of the seafood bake beforehand, but DH made a comment about how this lunch would probably be more expensive than the last lunch we had ($150? I didn’t agree). We placed bets. I said my meal alone was $25. He thought it would be more than $50. We had three drinks (2 wines, 1 cocktail), no dessert and no appetizer.

The meal was about $56, with tip $67. My crockpot was only $21 (I won). It was a really great value for what I got. Overall, it was pricey for lunch, but that’s not a fair statement because if I ordered the burger, it would have been much more reasonable. Also, it’s probably not necessary to have two glasses of wine at lunch. But we’re talking about me here.

The meal was decent, I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t order it again, it was a lot of work. But, you may feel differently so don’t not get it on my account. That will totally make me feel bad.

Oh and by the way, when new people sat down at the table next to us, they wanted what I was having. Except the server said they can’t make any more and that it’s really for dinner. So, if you want that, go at dinnertime. I got lucky, I guess. Or not. I probably would have been happier with a cheeseburger.

It’s All About the Boob and Being a Boob – Part II

Yesterday I told you about my new friend, Wendy and her cancer diagnosis. Today, I am going to talk about how we react to bad news.

While at work last week, I received a Facebook private message from Wendy. “Bad news…I have breast cancer…”

After I let the message sit there for a couple of minutes, gathering my wits about me, I replied with this: “I’m so sorry” and “you will be okay” and “let me know if there is anything I can do.” Not very original and kinda stupid. Probably not the best words to say to someone who is suffering a traumatic event. And that was AFTER I gathered my wits.

Then a couple of days later she PM’ed me with this, among other things, “…take samples from my lymph nodes to make sure it has not spread…”

“I’ll keep you in my prayers, hoping it didn’t spread,” was my response. Really? How stupid. Keeping someone in their prayers is totally acceptable and comforting. But hoping it didn’t spread? That goes without saying. It just wasn’t necessary.

Whatever. I’m awkward in these kinds of situations. Some people have the gift. I do not. When God was handing out Common Sense, I thought he said “Be All Dense,” and I didn’t get in line.

But, I have to ask. Is there really a “right” thing to say? I think we are so concerned about what to say, how to react, that we wind up saying the wrong thing anyway. Basically, you can’t win.

A long time ago, a friend of a family member had a miscarriage. She was very far along in her pregnancy. When I heard the news, my heart broke for her. I was already a mother at the time and I couldn’t even begin to fathom it. But I knew when I saw her, I would be awkward. And I was.

“Oooh yeah, umm, sorry about the baby.” Followed by a literal cringe on my face. A cringe, as if I was trying to hold in a fart. I walked away feeling like the biggest asshole. I froze. I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t want to NOT acknowledge it. I was afraid she would think I was cold.

Instead, I made myself look more like an ice princess, like I didn’t care, when in actuality I did. Very much so. Although it has been many years, I feel like every time I see this woman, that is what she remembers.

And when I go to a wake? Fuhgettaboutit. I’m a bumbling idiot. I’ve decided to just say the generic speech that goes like this, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Done. Over. No room for error. Then go sit in a chair at the back of the room and be there. Because that’s really all anyone ever wants. For you to just be there.

When The Kid was hit by a car, there were many people who expressed their concern. They were all wonderful, with a little awkwardness thrown in here and there, but I knew they meant well.

One woman actually said something like this, “geez, that would have been awful if she died because you don’t have any other children.” This is not verbatim, but close.

That one made me laugh out loud in disbelief. Then I remembered that people are just weird and awkward in these situations. I can’t even blame her. I’m sure, like the fart-face I made at the lady who lost her baby, she didn’t mean for it to sound so callous. I’m sure she was coming from a good place. Besides, if I really judged her, it would be like me living in a glass house and throwing stones. Or being a pot and calling a kettle black. Get it? I don’t have the right.

So, what have I decided to do in these situations? Pray to the good Lord above that I don’t throw up crap. That’s all I can do. And if I do sound like a bumbling asshole? I apology in advance for what my mouth does. I swear I have no control. My heart and tongue just aren’t always on the same page.

In the meantime, my friend Wendy is going to get this big, ugly mo-fo of a “C” word out of her and she’s going to fight it. How do I know? Because although I’ve not known her for a long time, I get that she is tough as nails. She can hold her own. If I was walking in a dark alley with her and we were mugged, I get the feeling she’d kick some serious ass and save the day while I lay in a puddle, shriveling up and pooping myself. Yeah. I would definitely poop myself.

So, to continue the theme from yesterday…here is my #MyLeftBoob pic for @WendiPopRock. Let’s get it trending for her y’all.

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And next time you say something stupid when someone gives you bad news, brush it off and go buy a card. Because card companies actually PAY people to be appropriate and smart. Then go sit by your friend’s side. She will appreciate it.

 

It’s All About the Boob and Being a Boob – Part I

I met Wendy @WendiPopRock a few months ago who interviewed me for a local on-line newspaper. Actually, I hadn’t met her in person. We “talked” over Facebook and private messaged each other a million times and we became friends. Friendship courtesy of the Interwebs. Not really an uncommon occurrence these days.

It turns out we have a few things in common: we are both irish, our daughters happen to dance for the same Irish dance school, we love to write and we love wine. I have since met her for real. Once.  But that doesn’t matter because I feel like I’ve known her for forever.

Wendy hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks. She talked about how she just wasn’t herself. She even cancelled out on a wine get together I had. I knew she must not have been feeling well if she cancelled out. You just don’t cancel a date with wine if you don’t have to. Well, I don’t. And even though Wendy is a new friend, I get the feeling she doesn’t either.

She mentioned that she was going to go get some testing done. My wine get together was on a Friday night. On Monday she went on her appointment. Wednesday morning I received a Facebook private message from her. “Bad news…I have breast cancer…”

My heart sank. I gasped. My boss-friend asked me what was wrong. “My friend Wendy has breast cancer,” I heard myself say. Good Lord.

Guess how she found out? She was dying her hair and dropped a blob of dye on her left boob. When she was wiping it up, there it was. The lump.

20 years ago, someone I worked with had a boyfriend who had accidentally elbowed her in the breast. It hurt and when she rubbed the area, there was a lump.

Another friend of mine was having a routine mammogram a few years ago. The test results showed she had breast cancer. She was lucky. They caught it in the very early stages. Her lumps were too small to even detect with just an exam.

See where am I going with this? These three ladies were lucky. Either something happened to make them see a doctor or they had their routine mammogram.

They talk about early detection by giving yourself a self-examination. It doesn’t take long. Do it in the shower, in bed, while making dinner. I don’t like doing it. I have extremely cystic breasts and the feel of all that lumpy tissue under my fingers really gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Last year as I was lying in bed, I happened to feel my boob. I felt a fairly large lump. I kept saying to myself, “oh, it’s probably nothing. I’m PMS’ing so my ducts are swollen. It’ll go away.” After a month, it didn’t go away. So, I made an appointment with my gyno.

He did an exam and agreed that I had a lump. He said it was probably just a cyst, so he attempted to aspirate it. But he couldn’t get any fluid. After some nervous waiting, a mammo and an ultrasound, I was cleared. Luckily. But waiting a month isn’t smart. I should have gone immediately. Even though this story had a happy ending, the next time may not be so happy.

I’m still not good with the self-exams, but I will do them on occasion, which I am fully aware is not enough. I have my annual mammogram and because of my cystic condition, it is always followed up with a thorough ultrasound.

But if Wendy had waited for her annual mammogram, it may have been too late. If she didn’t drop that God sent glob of hair dye on that exact spot, who knows.

If my friend Pat’s boyfriend from 20 years earlier didn’t elbow her, the outcome may have been completely different.

If my other friend Tee didn’t go for her annual mammo, I shudder to think of the outcome.

I know I’m either too late or too early, depending on how you look at it, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I’m here to say, feel yourself up, ladies. Just do it. It’s important. It will save your life.

There is another way we can bring awareness to breast cancer. Go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or all three and post a pic of you and your left breast (fully clothed please) and let’s see if we can get it trending.

Type in #MyLeftBoob. I’m doing it. Won’t you? For my friend Wendy. And all the other breast cancer victims, past and present.

Now reacting to the news of Wendy’s cancer? You’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Yes, it includes Jack and Ass.

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It’s there, my left boob. Just hanging out under my PJs. #MyLeftBoob