Monday, December 31, 2012

Free Writing - Highlights of a Bad Year

During even the roughest of years, there is somethings that shine. Grandma's 99th birthday!  Almost a year later and she's hanging on for the big one. Can't wait. Laughing with her and my father.  Old stories, I've heard 100 times and they never get old.  A text Christmas morning. One text, that is all I received, I sent probably 50.  Only two people sent to me first all day. Maybe it's me.  Good friends, lost loves. My fault as always.  Hospital bed, feeling sick, but a week away from the world was invigorating.  Unexpected people stepping up and expected people stepping down.  Seeing my kids the afternoon after a tragedy.  Tears held back, but needed to see them laughing and playing to heal.  Dancing til all hours with complete strangers. Laughing at the silliness of others taking their flirtations so seriously. Life is so simple when you don't try so hard to be someone you're not or someone you think the other person wants you to be.  Connecting with an old friend on a new, higher level.  More than a smile or a nod, but a hello or a joke.  Old friends who are always there, who know me, they are so few and so rare.  Their health scares worried me more than my own.  Trying to learn from my mistakes and I think I'm finally getting the gist of it.  A day of family, fun, food.  A fire roaring, then faintly crackling as the flames dwindled. I lay, alone, the quiet house creaking as I lay in bed.  A couch in the middle of the living room, lit by the almost auburn tinge of the snowy sky.  I glance over the sheets to catch the last ember's glow slowly fade, putting an end to the evening, the holidays and in many ways this year.  I sleep. Ah, sleep.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions - Yeah Right

Each year, we all make a list. It's a dumb list of things we need to give up or have to try.  In writing the list, we make the efforts ahead of us much bigger than they have to be.  We make the simplest things seem insurmountable, because we tie them in with major changes or accomplishments.  I have spent most of 2000-2012 doing for others. Don't misinterpret this as me complaining about not having time or chances to do things for me.  That is not what I'm saying.  What I am saying is that, while it may appear I'm carefree and do what I want, the reality is, I find myself always being the one asked for a hand to help, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.  When the roles are reversed, most times the needy are no longer there, because they have what they need and are too busy.

In 2013, I'm going to say no a lot more. I'm going to pick and choose those I am there for, with the understanding that caring is a two way street.  In the past twenty years, I have helped people move about 40 times (this just roughly off the top of my head), but when I moved, one tiny UHaul truck, I had asked a few for help.  Nobody showed. When my mother was sick and passed away, the number of people who reached out was few, but those people stepped up ten times more than I expected.  When I was going through certain things over the past two years, the people who reached out we a combination of old reliables and surprising face.  Those are the people I want to surround myself with.

So this isn't a threat or meant to demean anyone, but if you find yourself reaching out and there is no reception, please don't be offended.  Look into that proverbial mirror and ask yourself why the person who is always there, isn't.  It doesn't mean I don't like you, it just means our relationship has become so one-sided  I feel a need to balance it out.  I learned something from my parents a long time ago and that was to always give what you can and never expect anything in return. It's taken me 42 years to realize they were beautiful and wise people.  It's also taken me this long to realize, their teaching were the exact opposite from what everyone elses parents were teaching their kids.  Be the best, to the winner goes the spoils and other sickening cliches are the norm.  I'm still going to be a giving person in 2013, but to those that deserve it and need it, not to those that ask for it, never intending to be there when I need them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goodbye 2012 - A Look Back

2012 was in no uncertain terms, one of the worst for me personally.  Obviously, losing my mother, grandparents and a sister (sort of) was more difficult, but for me, just me, this was the worst year of my life.  I had to depend on others, I was in the hospital and way too many people I cared about died or had loved ones die. This year proved to me that getting older sucks.  I'm not going to dwell on that though. I'm going to look back on the good parts.

The best part of this year has been the time I've spent with family. I don't think I've ever been closer to my father, my brother or my grandmother.  I'm more distant with cousins and such than ever, but the core of who I am and why I'm the way I am is here, aside from my mother.  My mother would have been 70 this year and I cried a lot over her.  That being said, I laughed a lot more with family than I ever could have imagined.  I value them more than ever and they were there for me in so many ways when I needed it.

While some may see this as a negative, I also realized that we're alone in this world for the most part.  I needed to realize that.  Everyone is so concerned with themselves, but hide it behind this veneer of compassion.  I've come to realize that more people care about others to make themselves feel better than the person in need.  I won't go into specifics, because outing certain friends isn't my point, but when you need a pat on the back for showing compassion and call others out for not doing as you do, you don't get it.  Random acts of kindness aren't random if you need to be rewarded and praised for them.

Certain people, some very unexpected were truly there for me.  I hope I can return the favor should they need a lift in life. People who I thought would be there were at times, but it's a few who really showed me their true, beautiful colors that made the difference.  Should I ever need them, I'd almost feel guilty to ask, but hope they never hesitate.

My love life was put on hold in 2012 and while it hurts not to have someone to share with, it made me more aware of the other loves in life.  The platonic relationships that mean the world. I have a handful of beautiful women in my life, who I see as sisters. Women I can speak to when I need to, be there when they need and can just be near to make me feel better about my life.  Their value was strong, but stronger than ever.  I truly love them.

I'm thankful for my time.  I've learned more stuff this year through research and reading than in all my years of school. I know more about politics, religion, mental health, and various topics that most people would call a waste.  I know some have called me the King of Random Information, but when you start to know enough things about enough random information, eventually someone might just acknowledge it as not just being random.

I wont look back at 2012 with a smile, because it was a difficult year.  I will look at it as wobbly stepping stone. One that hopefully will make me see a sturdier and more enjoyable 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thank Goodness That Is Over

December 26th.  For many of us, it's a day of relief.  Even returning to work in past years has felt OK.  I actually laid off the history lessons on Jesus and Santa this time around. I kept my disdain for this time of year to myself for the most part.  Of course I threw in the occasional barb, but I respected the day for the most part and left my random thoughts inside my brain and off this blog and my social media sites.

This year I'm up in Ithaca, like last, but so different from two years ago, when I stayed home and did my own thing.  I don't like this time of year and not for the completely misconstrued religious connotations the holidays takes on, but because of the forced love and appreciation.  As I looked at so many pictures on Facebook and Twitter it made me wonder how it happens. We live in a society where we must share our family time with the world? To brag and boast about the amount  of money we spent or the amount of food leftover, which most likely will end up in the trash.  There are wondrous things we create and horrible things and this past few weeks I've seen the best and worst of people.

I've seen people devastated by a hurricane, literally bailed out by other's generosity. Facebook and social media helped in this cause, by making it real with tales and pictures littering the Internet.  Then came the tragedies, which got more media attention.  Guns, an issue and a delicate one.  Little children and firefighters losing their lives and now the media circus splashes their names and faces.  I find it ironic that the heroic, young teacher has become the face of this tragedy.  A beautiful young girl, who should be honored and remembered has trumped even the children's deaths, but I wonder the reason.  Could it be we need a pretty face to mourn fully?  The awful tragedy, where two firefighters were killed in an ambush.  My heart goes out to them, but let's not forget how many other's died at the hands of firearms or who died fighting for our country or defending it here.

This time of year is when everyone's religiousness comes out and in the meantime the Vatican is condemning gays for ruining humanity not one day before their loving lord's birthday.  An article I saw on twitter spoke of the Pope's demanding less violence, but the article goes on to say that the Vatican is the greatest shareholder of a little company called Baretta.  One of the most successful and popular guns in the world.  The irony and hypocrisy is troubling.   A time of year when we remember all those who passed, but we seem to spend so much time on celebrities.  Myself included. Of course, those of us who grew up with certain characters, feel a need to mourn, even for a second, because we feel connected with them.

During this year, I lost two very young friends.  Not great friends, but friends nonetheless. My ex girlfriend lost her mother earlier this year after a long bout with emphysema. Two good friends lost their mother just this past week.  Countless other's lost people I'm sure, but there were no news flashes or weeks of internet postings.  They were normal people.  Good people. They were all different. A beautiful and successful young woman who succumbed to some inner demons.  A young man, who I knew almost half his life, who brought so much joy to others.  Three loving mother's who loved their children more than anything.  Then there are the others, who we are reminded of from past years. Their absence takes away from the joys of this time.  The festive nature seems but a memory at times.

The past two days, I've sat and relaxed.  I've watched as my young brother, his wife and my father cooked up a storm.  I offered a hand here and there and did my duty by grabbing the never ending Christmas dishes. I laughed and told stories. I listened to others.  I shed a tear for my mother once or twice.  My father's cat, who absolutely adored me, is no longer with us.  I thought about the absurdity of this holiday.  The way it's become so much about us and not about others.  I received one gift this year. A grandmother who refused to agree to the "rules" demanded it.  I gave a few, but gave more to people that I will never know than in any year past.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  Why fake a feeling for yourself, when you can bring that sincere feeling to others. I'm not bashing the spirit of the holiday, but it's completely lost it's allure for me.  The best moment of this holiday for me was split between two moments.  One was when a friend, who has no reason to give me a gift, gave me one for my father, who he has met once and my grandmother who he will never meet.  The second was making lunch for my grandmother on Christmas day.  Just the two of us and for those brief few minutes while we talked alone, knowing this might be her last.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Free Writing - Take 15 (Christmas Edition)

December 25.  A white sheet blankets the street.  A perfect scene on the outside. Much different on the inside. A blah 24th, with a stomach ache and fatigue. Happy smiles upon arrival. A casual but festive dinner. Grandma showing her age. I worry.  She's only started looking her age in the past year.  What does 99 look like anyway.  Tree is lit with ornaments from a much happier past. The years go by and the family dwindles.  No replacements, no scampering about by children.  An average age in the mid-50's.  It all feels so weird.  A handful of present, I'm hoping of which none are mine.  A gift on order to, still hasn't been shipped.  It's been years since I've wanted anything for Christmas.  Years.  I need nothing more than to be surrounded by those who I care about and who return those feelings without question.  It's so different that last year and the year before.  Midnight texts to this one or that. Reaching out with words so kind, even if masked by something else.  Today the phone sits with a game or two played. That is all.  Life has changed for me so much.  There isn't that usual special someone.  It truly is an odd time, but maybe I should look at the bright side. It was a year ago today I had a little piece of my heart broken.  It's mended fairly well, but still hard to forget.  It amazes me it was a year.  It's over and I've moved on, but days, a vision, a smell refresh the good and bad thoughts that pop in and out of this over thinking head.  I'm thinking of a select few.  A wave goodbye and a tight hug for recipients I wish I could have switched.  I hop I told all those who I really care about deeply how much they mean.  It's 5am and they will arise in three hours at the very latest.  Oh to lay in bed until noon, with nothing more to look forward to than a hot cup of coffee and some eggs.  In my mind it's a special day.  In reality it's Tuesday without my kids.  More than ever, I am hoping their days are spent happy, smiling and full of life.  A white blanket covers the streets and I lay under one of my own.  Waiting, wanting sleep, but thoughts, those darn thoughts, just floating in my head.  Wishing I could see my mother this morning.  Nine Christmases since and it's never been the same.  Back to hopefully grab another two hours of sleep. Hoping it's enough time to for her to come visit my dreams.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How Can Anyone Have Any Holiday Spirit This Year?

First night in nearly three weeks I've relaxed and watched a movie.  A shooting took place in the movie and it was a comedy.  A comedy about a true story.  It kind of made me sad, that despite it being very good, I was so numb to the one violent scene.  This week has made me numb to almost everything.  Tuesday night, I passed on a Christmas party.  I told myself it was for many reasons, but I think deep down, I don't want to celebrate this year.  Christmas isn't supposed to be about Jesus', but in reality it is about making kids happy.  Hard to feel festive this year.  Hard for many reasons.  Newtown, Connecticut is just one.  Hard to feel festive when I'm witnessing so much hatred in the world and not even the vast world I don't know, but the world I live in.  I've been called more names in the last few months than ever before in my life. Ironically, nowadays those who are touting their belief in the second amendment, don't believe in my first amendment rights, because I'm not in agreement with them.  These same people who are right to lifers are also right to death fans.  They put up silly posts about how when they miss a train and get stuck in the rain, it was really Jesus saving them from some horrible thing that they never knew about.  Well where was Jesus last Friday?  Was he looking down and saying we need this?  You can't have things both ways people. You can't have your god be a benevolent god when things are good and then say it's man's will when things are bad.  It doesn't work that way.  He's omnipotent.  If you don't know what that means, you need to figure it out and then question everything you believe in.  I'm sorry.  I am all for someone wishing people well in time of need, but let's face facts.  We're an evil people in general.  We kill and we maim and we call people names and then we says "God Bless" when someone sneezes or gets sick.  We're a whacked out culture of hypocrites.  I can't wrap my head around this tragedy, but I do know one thing and that is, it won't be the last.  We don't learn from our mistakes.  We accept these tragedies as if the word itself is a fabrication of reality. I didn't know any of these kids personally, but the hurt I have is overwhelming.  I fear for their families, that one of them might snap.  Or that a sibling or friend might grow up with such fear, they will feel the need to protect themselves or to hurt someone back to take away their pain.. Tomorrow is my last day of the year at the school.  I have four kids. Two kindergarten boys and two 2nd grade girls. For over a decade I've walked in and out and nobody paid me any mind and now the looks from everywhere are felt.  The kids are so innocent and many do not really know what has happened.  I hope they never know.  I'll leave tomorrow and wish them a happy holidays and tell them I'll see them the next class.  I have told every kids I've ever had I'll see them tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.  We all do.  We all assume, they're are young, they aren't going anywhere.  I wish I could feel the confidence this will always be.  A little part of that was lost this past week.  It won't change how I treat them or how I teach, but it will affect how I view our futures.  Net week at this time, I hope to be recovering from eating too much, surrounded by family and happy. I know at some point of every day, I'll stop and think about those who don't have that and I'll feel guilt and pain.  Life will go on for me and for most of us.  Thankfully these types of things don't happen to most of us, but they shouldn't happen to any of us.  I wish I had some blind faith to bless those families with some kind words or scripture, but the reality is, the evil that resides in our lives is stronger at times and this time, it has truly won.  That is the part I can't accept.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why I Will Never Own A Gun

I could probably list two hundred reasons.  I could start with the fact that I am confident in my own abilities to defend myself and my property that I don't need one.  I could also state that I don't own anything that is valuable enough to shoot someone over.  I could state that while I am a cynic and a realist, I do not feel my life will be at risk any time soon.  I could tell of how my mother would write on my birthday party invitations "No toy guns, please."  I could tell of my cousin killing himself.  I could tell you about being jumped by some kids with a gun, only to luckily find out I knew them and it was a case of mistaken identity. I could tell of my friend getting his eye shot out by a ricocheting bullet while sitting in the middle of a lake fishing.  I could tell of my friend getting shot in the head (and thankfully living) by drug dealers.  Or I could simply tell you that I've been crying for five days because some kids and teachers I never knew were killed because of a man with a gun.  No, I'm going to tell you why and it's personal.  It oddly enough is a story that contains no violence and there were no guns involved.  

It was over 20 years ago.  It was a Saturday afternoon and I was lounging around watching some TV or playing video games.  My brother was about ten and was down in the park playing with his friends. I hear the door open and he comes into my bedroom.  His friend is standing behind him and he looked concerned.  My brother walks over and says "Jona, there is a strange guy in the park asking some of the kids if they want to be in a movie or have their picture taken." I jumped up, grabbed a baseball bat and flew down the seven flights of stairs and out the door.  My brother and his friend were behind me and I yelled to them to tell some of the other parents in the park.  As I entered the park the guy saw me and took off.  I chased him for nearly a mile and a half, but he had too much of a head start for me to catch him. I was incensed.  I don't know what I would have done had I caught him, but I know it would have been bad.  My anger was incredible and   the rage I felt was uncontrollable.  The man had messed not only with my brother and his friends, but with the  sanctity of our little community.  I walked jogged back home and some parents had come down and were asking me what happened and what he looked like. I never saw his face, so I couldn't tell and in my rage, I honestly couldn't recall what he was wearing. I told the kids if they ever saw him again to get an adult immediately.  I don't know if anyone had called the police, but I knew I didn't want to explain why I did what I did.

So what does this have to do with guns?  During the course of my chase, my anger grew.  Thoughts of this sick bastard doing whatever he wanted to do or had done before got to me.  In the time I was chasing him I never got closer than 150-200 feet from him. I do know this.  At that very moment, I wanted to kill him.  Had I had a gun I would have shot him.  Had he had a gun, he most likely would have shot me.  Either way, someone would have died or been very badly hurt and the other would have claimed self defense.  As the years have gone by and I think about that day, I'm glad I didn't catch him.  I know that my actions, no matter how I view them as noble or protective would have resulted in a bad ending for me.  Would hurting this human being have made me feel better?  Of course, for the moment it would, but would killing him would have changed two families lives forever.  I can only hope that his fear might have changed his choices in life.  I will never know.  What I do know is that for everyone who says "guns don't kill people, people kill people," not having a gun probably saved that man's life and in many ways saved mine.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Different Kind Of Day

Today I went to my job as I do almost every other school day.  I run an after school sports program and have been at the same school long enough to see kindergartners graduate high school.  In our society there are strict laws about what behaviors are acceptable.  I am very careful not to do anything that would ever be deemed inappropriate.  I limit all contact with the kids to high fives unless there is an injury.  Today, all that went out the window.  With the events that took place in Newtown, Connecticut still unfolding I felt myself tearing up as I walked through the front doors to the school. As my kids came in I found myself overwhelmed and holding it together took everything I had.  Obviously, none of the kids knew of the tragedy and their innocence was what got me.  That innocence which was ripped from so many earlier today.  As the class went on, I found myself making my way around the room and at some point and touching every one of them.  A handshake, a high five or a pat on the back. One kid leaned against me and I put my arm around him.  He is now eight and I've known him since he was a baby.  The rules didn't apply today.  Today I saw more kids get picked up by both their parents than ever before.  I saw more fathers at the school than I have seen in over a decade.  The kids ran to their parents, unaware and hugged them.  I saw the parents faces and the embraces they didn't want to give up.  We looked at each other and there were no words, because there are none.  There isn't a saying or a phrase, nor a famous quote.  Nobody has ever said anything so profound as to ease the pain over the death of a child.

Tomorrow I'll think about those kids and think of mine.  I'll feel blessed this didn't happen to them.  I'll feel sorrow for those who are now gone and for those who have to live with this memory.  I can't know the hurt, but I know mine.  We all lost a little part of ourselves today.  A little more of the innocence and in a way, a little bit of hope.  I know my friends will hug their kids a little tighter tonight.  I know that I'll be thinking about them too.  There are no words that convey what I'm feeling right now that come close to my sorrow for these strangers. I can't see a lesson or a gift that will come from this.  I can't see a silver lining or a reason that will justify this. I am trying so hard not to trivialize this and I refuse to make this blog into a stance.  I just wish there was a way we could prevent this from ever happening again.  So no parent will ever have to deal with this kind of tragedy again and no child has to lose their best friends, before they learn how to spell best friends.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Serious Reflection: A Strange Few Days.

Funny how the people most concerned with their shoes, aren't willing to walk in other's.
Doing laundry is something I feel the need to complain about, but I actually find it quite relaxing.
I had the least amount of fun one night out that I have had in a long time.  Made me really question things.
I had the most amount of fun I've had in one night, two nights later.  Made me question things even more.
Funny who you miss, when you always see them, then you don't for a bit.
Funnier, is who you don't, under the same circumstances.
I've noticed that the more open I am about my feelings, the more people criticize me for them.
I think that most people believe those we know are generally intelligent, but it's a huge misconception.
I wrote a Facebook status about ignorance being bliss and truthfully, nobody who commented, got it.
Physical pain, regardless of location, makes day to day tasks almost impossible.
Shame manifests shame and truly makes me understand how it can lead to depression.
Making a kid laugh after he hurts or embarrasses himself is the most simple pleasure I experience weekly.
People call me judgmental because I judge their opinions and respond by judging a life they don't know.
Young children think so much more clearly than adults and don't have to hide behind social pleasantries.
It's funny how those few of us who are always there for others are chastised when we can't be.
Procrastination is always deemed a negative, but those who do without thinking, rarely produce much.
Everyone these days is so concerned with bettering their appearance, but so few work on their minds.
I have friends who have done wondrous things for others recently and I'm proud we're friends.
Funny how those who have skated by with the help of others are always looking for a pat on the back.
Is it a reflection on me or society that my most trusted friends seem to change yearly?
One thing about being open in all facets of life, is knowledge of what people really think of you.
Prejudice is so widely accepted in our society, that those who are seem unaware at their own.
If I was younger or older, I know who I'd want to be with.  Where I am now, I am clueless.
For the first time in a long time, I can't wait for Christmas day. Family means more than ever to me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Free Writing - Take 14

I had a plan.  A good nights sleep.  It was so very much needed.  Alas I was able to get an hour, maybe two.  I'm tired now at 4am, thanks to a second serving of melatonin.  My body is breaking down from this lack of rest.  Bad knees that have hampered me for 15 years are getting worse.  A hip problem and a lower leg problem have worsened.  My back hurts at times and my torn rotator cuff has started to ache.  People don't know the pain I'm in on a daily basis, because I don't talk about it often.  I walk like a zombie to the bathroom.  My knees don't bend at times.  The pain is excruciating.  So is life I guess.  I had a good class today.  Kids going crazy, but at times hilarious.  I wanted nothing of today, but to lay in bed. A rough couple of days.  Party like a rock star?  Well a rock star who is just a friend to just about everyone these days.  I wonder when I'll meet someone or connect with someone in a way that is more than the normal, high-bye, you're the best, but whatever.  I'm not that person.  The one who is willing to jeopardize a friendship or ruin another man's relationship.  It's just not my style and believe me, as much as one wouldn't expect it, the opportunities have been there.  I've really taken inventory of my friends lately.  Those who are there and those who aren't.  Those who have the time and those who make excuses.  I'm not complaining, but realize I might not be there for you one day.  I have also been thinking about the future.  Have to really get things in order for 2013.  Can't afford to have another year like 2012.  It was ugly on all levels.  It amazes me to think of the turbulence of the last two years.  The kids have kept me sane and the love of my father, brother and a few friends who have really stepped up have made things bearable.  A good laugh from someone I don't even really know made my quiet night alone truly brighter.  I need more things like that daily and someone to share them with.  Off to try and slumber, if just for another hour or two.  That was the plan from the beginning anyway.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dreams of Absurdity

Flying fish everywhere.  Not the kind that leave the water gracefully, landing back in their habitat with grace. Not the Alaskan salmon jumping upstream, dodging the eager claws of a Grizzly.  No these fish fly, with wings feverishly flapping like the hummingbird.  They pass me by as I trek down a snowy hill.  Footprints left in the soft snow.  I slip and fall. I end up in a chair, an editor for World Ttraveler invited me in.  Is this even a real magazine?  I'm escorted into a room, where a woman sits.  She looks like Alanis Morissette with hair cascading down her shoulders. She moves much faster than a normal woman, much like someone in a constant state of fast forwards.  The room is bright and she asks me how I enjoyed Rome?  The Coliseum is present in a photo framed above her.  I tell her tales of gladiator fights and nighttime excursions to Venice.  The fish reappear, but she is oblivious. The fish are there to enhance my story.  I tell of Venice and the sharks that live under the city, she smiles, admitting she's seen them many times.  "Cage diving is big in Venice," she exclaims.  I look at her desk. A baseball is signed in a case.  I can't make out the names scribbled on it, but they soon turn into bugs.  Odd bugs, with crazy shapes and sizes running around the ball like those guys on motorcycles in the steal ball you see at the circus.  I feel like I'm in some sort of wacky drug-induced weekend in Vegas with Hunter S. Thompson.  The fish are frightened by the bugs and flee.  The woman disappears and I'm left alone and the bugs start to multiply.  I start to feel uncomfortable. I shake off the melatonin induced trance I'm in and sit up.  It is dark, all but for the green glow, flashing  at my side. I reach for my phone. 3:36am

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Free Writing - Take 13

Thoughts racing as I lay in bed.  We take for granted we'll always see that person again. We take our friends, family, and every day wonders for granted but worry about such silliness as how others wish us a happy holidays. Today someone wished me a Merry Christmas and I thanked them and returned the well wishes.  I then pointed out to them that I see them about two times a week and it's three weeks away.  They nodded and said "you never know."  You don't.  I smiled at someone today.  She smiled back.  I didn't want to be rude to the person I was with, so I didn't proceed with anything else.  She smiled again. Ran her fingers through her hair.  My friend left and she ignored me.  I find this behavior strange.  I'm not good at The Game.  I don't like playing games when it comes to emotions.  I walked home, looking around.  Quiet Tuesday night. I felt fatigued.  A possible cold coming on or my body run down from a serious party weekend?  Sniffles.  I haven't had the sniffles since last February.  Honestly, have felt great for the most part since I left the hospital back in May.  Tomorrow I think I'm going to go buy some socks....or scented foot powder.  This is my one decision.  An early holiday present to myself....sorry, Christmas or is it Hannukah?  Who cares?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Weird Food Stuff

I need something to clear my head right now.  This is the best thing I could come up with.  Just some food related things that I've noticed about myself recently. I consider myself a bit of a foodie.  I grew up in a house where restaurant level meals we're a norm.  To be honest, to say you could eat as well at a restaurant is actually an insult to my mother (and father), being that I've never had anything in a restaurant that my mother couldn't make better, with maybe one exception; the porterhouse steak at Peter Luger's.  Some call it being a foodie, others call it food snobbery.  As many know, I'm critical on most subjects, but food is probably the one thing I have the most issues with.  That being said here are some weird things I've noticed recently.

I absolutely hate pot roast.  Cooking a shitty, tough piece of meat for nine hours, doesn't make it good, it only makes it a shitty, tender piece of meat.  I'm pretty much opposed to all stews, with the exception of a true boeuf bourguignon.  Anything that calls for a bottle of wine, lardons and those little pearl onions has to be good.

Last night I had a drink called a cereal bowl.  It was Baileys and Three Olives Fruit Loop flavored vodka.  The idea is that it tastes like the bottom of the cereal bowl at the end of the meal.  It dawned on me as I sipped it, that it was the first time in my life I was tasting Fruit Loops.  It was borderline disgusting.  I tasted Captain Crunch for the first time in my life last summer.  I realize I haven't been missing much.

People think that because of my size I eat poorly, but for the most part, my problem isn't nutritional value, but portion size.  In any given week, I probably eat more vegetables than nearly anyone you know who isn't a vegan.  On average I eat vegetables with about 90% of my meals.  The only time I don't is when I'm out of them or I want something simple, like an English muffin with cream cheese. I don't eat as much fruit as I should, but I prefer fruit for dessert than sweets when available.  I can't remember a day in recent memory, where I didn't have a tomato during at least meal per day.

I don't like pizzeria pizza anymore.  It's not the same as when I was a kid.  The thin crust and the mush they call cheese is terrible, not to mention I hate marinara sauce.  To me, the perfect slice is thick enough that the end droops from the weight.  The sauce should be applied sparingly and needs to be seasoned with lots of Italian seasoning, especially oregano.  Then the cheese needs to be sparingly applied, as to give a layer, but not to the point it is sliding off.  The better the mozzarella, the better the pie, so it should also be whole milk buffalo mozzarella in my opinion.  While toppings are good, a perfect slice doesn't need oily pepperoni or thawed out sausage.  Those ingredients need to be fresh too, if added.  There was a day when one slice and a salad was a meal for $2.50.  Nowadays, a slice costs you $3-5.

I had never had macaroni and cheese from a box until I was nearly 40.  I haven't had it since.
I haven't chewed gum in almost 20 years, unless it came from the center of a Blow Pop.
I have never once in my life made scrambled eggs.
I have never bought a container of ice cream to bring to my house.
In the last two years, I have had McDonald's twice, Five Guys twice, Burger King once and Taco Bell once.  Other than Subway, I have not had any other fast food in that period.
I can't remember the last time I went to NYC and didn't get a knish or a hot dog with onions.
My favorite food is lamb, which I eat about three times a year.
My second favorite food is escargot, which I eat maybe once a year.
I eat dessert less than once a month on average.  My favorite is pecan pie.
I had never had uni until last year.  It is now one of my favorite foods.
I have ordered Italian food in a restaurant once in the last three years.  I haven't enjoyed an Italian meal in a restaurant in almost eight with the exception of the one time over a year ago.  It was arguably the best meal I've had in a restaurant in almost five years.

People know me as someone who loves to go out and have a few beers or cocktails and probably think I drink all the time.  The reality is, I only drink when I'm out or at someone's house.  In the eight years I have lived in my apartment, I have drank one beer, one bottle of wine (which I bought for cooking), 2/3 of a bottle of limoncello which was given to me as a gift and an airplane bottle of vodka I bought for a bloody Mary.

I have not had moussaka, saurbraten, brisket or a decent homemade cheesecake since my mother passed away.  No offense to anyone who has made cheesecake I've tasted, but my mother's was infamous and nobody has ever come close to matching it.

One of my biggest regrets in life was not cooking more when I was younger, so that I could have made a great meal for my mother and father.