Do You Suffer from Too Much Stim?

4837735360_644ed14665_ohref=””>Abode of Chaos</a> via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a>h

Are You Unnerved by Too Much Stim?  Take This Test to Find Out.

  1. Your dear friends invite you and another couple to a small dinner party.

a. You can’t wait because you love being with good friends, and you enjoy eating great food.

b. You look for an excuse not to go.

c. You never received the invitation because you and your crowd are all forty-ish, and you don’t do dinner parties at home. When you entertain at home, you offer drinks, snacks, more drinks, more snacks, and dessert.

2. When you arrive at your friends’ home you hear the strains of music coming from their stereo or hi fi or whatever the heck we used to call that thing that plays (ahem) records. The music you hear is jazz. It is very loud jazz.

a. You start snapping your fingers and saying things like “Groovy, man, groovy!”

b. Your upper lip starts going numb, which your doctor assured you is a sign of stress.

c. You say, “Thanks, I’ll have a white wine,” while you’re still wearing your coat.

3.The drinks are poured; the hors d’oeuvres are luscious and:

a. The conversation flows; everyone (including you) is bright and witty.

b. The conversation flows; everyone (but you) appears to be bright and witty.

c. You smile, nod appreciatively, and when someone asks you, “What do you think?” you answer, “Yes, I have a new shrink.”

People who can’t do “Too Much Stim” have given the following answers:
Question One: a\
Question Two: b and/or c
Question Three b and/or c.

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Glad Tidings



This blog post is for my friend, Katie, who asked me to write about glad….not sad, bad, or mad.

We’ll start with just a speck of “sad.

Last week the deck outside my kitchen was a sad place. There were no birds and no pesky squirrels. That’s because I stopped putting out water in my bird baths. I didn’t have any bird food out either. I stopped putting it out three years ago when there was a bear on our block. I stopped the bird food at that time because I was afraid of bears coming for it, breaking into my kitchen,  fighting me for my tuna fish sandwich, and finding the chocolate chip cookies I had hidden in the back of the pantry for my late night visitor, the elves.

At that time I discovered that I could bring birds to my deck with just water in two plant saucers and I didn’t need to put out bird food.  Throughout the summer and most of the fall I was really good about cleaning and refreshing the water in my saucers, but when the cold weather came, I stopped.

I got lazy. My leg hurt. I went to doctors, took tests, and got a tentative diagnosis of a muscle strain(? ),tear(?), and of course, the usual arthritis. During this time, I kvetched and canceled my annual Thanksgiving gathering. I was busy worrying about myself. Trust me. I was not worrying about birds or those pesky squirrels.

But, do not despair. Here comes the “glad” part of this tale.

Gladness starts with my family. My daughter came and after we joked about it possibly being my “last Thanksgiving,” under my tutelage, she cooked our traditional hot clam dip, carrot pudding, cracker stuffing, and cranberry relish. She left some for me, and took the rest to her beloved in-laws in Connecticut with my blessing. This was one year I did not want her to split the day by driving two hours each way to sit at two Thanksgiving tables. I knew she would feel as much at home at her husband’s childhood home as she did at our house…probably more so because her mother-in-law is probably much nicer and doesn’t pry, like I do. As usual, the fathers on both sides are perfect and can do nothing wrong. Moving along…

All my traditional guests (family and friends) found places to go and all invited Jerome and me. Gail sent over some turkey, her famous corn pudding, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Everyone wanted us or wanted to cook for us.  I chose to stay home because if I had gone to one person’s house I would have been in trouble with the others.

People, even those who did not traditionally come to me for Thanksgiving, called and asked how I was doing.

Now, about the birds. Guess who came to their rescue? You got it. Jerome, the Great and Good! Off he went to the garage, and he found an old bird feeder and some bird food that we had stored in one of those metal holiday cans.  He put the food in the feeder and hung it from the tree. He cleaned and refreshed my dry birdy water parks with clear warm water. He poured a different kind of bird seed (thistle) on an old cookie tray and anchored the tray on a small table with a rock.

Looking out at my deck this morning, I saw the essence of glad. I saw my birds in total ecstasy. Tufted titmice, chickadees, white throated sparrows, juncos, cardinals, bluejays, Carolina wrens, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, and a mockingbird were fluttering around my deck, eating, drinking, swimming, chirping, and singing. It was like they had licked postage stamps of LSD! And those darn squirrels? Ah yes! They were right back to their insane scampering, jumping, and humping each other.

Joy was restored. Life is good. I’m glad to be alive. I’m glad I have my family, my friends, my leg pains, my birds, and even those damn squirrels. I’ll take Glad anytime, and I’ll cherish it!






Organization is the Key to a Smooth Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit: Chetham's Library via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Chetham’s Library via Compfight cc

Let’s just say you are like me, and you are “doing” Thanksgiving. Now, if you are like me and you are “doing” Thanksgiving, you may share some of the following concerns.

First of all, if you are married to a man like my husband, Jerome the Great and Good, he is probably a man who likes to be organized, not like you. He says things like, “I want to get all of the Thanksgiving shopping done by June 15th because I don’t like to “be in the stores” at holiday time. This man, has been haranguing me for weeks about how I always wait for the last minute.

If you are blessed with a “helper” like Jerome, I’m sure you are also blessed with friends and family like I have. Let’s just say my beloved family and friends can be a trifle indecisive. If you are like me, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, you are still not sure if you are having 12 guests or 2212 guests because no one gives you a definitive answer.

Jerome, the Great and Good, doesn’t get this. “We can buy the paper goods; they’re on sale now,” he says sometime in July.

You say, “Sorry, exploding firecrackers are American, but not really autumnal.”

If you are like me, in the days prior to Thanksgiving, some of your potential guests are in conflict…with assorted in-laws. Should they split their time, bodies, and casseroles between two “venues?” Should the wife go to her mother’s house and the husband go to his mother’s house? Couples, especially new ones like my daughter and son-in-law huddle and whisper, “Should we stay at your mother’s house for antipasto and clam dip and then go to my mother’s house for turkey and stuffing?” Unsaid, but implied is, “Because my mother’s stuffing is better than your mother’s stuffing.”

In August, as he thinks about Thanksgiving, Jerome says, “Well, at least we can open the dining room table and add the extra leaves. Are we doing buffet or sit down?”

If you are married to a person like my Jerome, you just roll your eyes.

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Jerome wants to get all of the food shopping done.  To make him happy, you go to the supermarket with your shopping list, buy a bunch of stuff, but of course not the last minutes which are the core of your shopping: the fresh turkey, the string beans, Brussel sprouts, fresh cranberries, fruit. Besides you don’t know whether you are buying a 25 pound bird or a 12 pound bird.

It is the week before Thanksgiving and some of your guests haven’t decided to be with their own strays or whether to bring “their” stray people to your house, where you have assured them that all strays are welcome. Usually this group of “strays” can add up to 11-213 people.

A few of your guests are having unexpected medical procedures (possibly childbirth, knee surgery,etc.) the day before Thanksgiving, and they don’t know whether they will be well enough to come with their children, significant others, and most importantly the casseroles, roasts and desserts that they bring every year. Note: these casseroles (corn/sweet potato); roasts: (spiral ham); pies: apple, pumpkin, cherry) are the fundamental core of the Thanksgiving meal.

True, other stalwarts step up and offer to get the ham, the pies, and the casseroles. But, this can be tricky, if the original providers of those “brings” show up with the very same dishes.

Jerome says “Last year we had too many desserts. It was a pity.”

If you’re like me you say, “Well that’s because nobody tells me what they are bringing, and last year I ran out the day before Thanksgiving and bought a bunch of pies and a Grandma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Then, everyone, brought pies, and I ended up freezing the Grandma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

I didn’t mention that Grandma’s Coffee Cake disappeared from the freezer from those damn elves that sneak in there and eat frozen cakes. But that’s a story for another day.

As I write this now, Jerome is in our basement, looking over our leftover paper plates.  One pack of 8 cocktail napkins, festooned with turkeys is definitely from last year’s Thanksgiving. Jerome just loves that decorating suggestion about mixing and matching dinnerware, and I know it won’t take long before he finds the leftover paper goods from other holidays.  I can see my Thanksgiving table now, a true study of Americana …American Flags, Yankee Baseballs and Valentines.

On those mix and match plates, my guests are helping themselves to a bountiful assortment of harvest foods. And the turkey? Well, Jerome forgot to nag me about it, and I can’t be expected to remember everything. I’ll run down to the store and order one for next year.




Mindful Eating With Good Friends


Six close friends, we were together for a night of dinner out and then coffee back at Gail’s house. We discussed: restaurants, ISIS, Obama, Joan Rivers, Republicans, Democrats, The Middle East, Ukraine, some  theater and some TV.

We also discussed chicken sex.

I introduced the topic as I told them about the mindful eating seminar I had attended online and the articles I had read about mindful eating on the Internet. Scientists have provided some interesting data that eating mindfully can be a help to emotional eaters who want to lose weight.

It was clear from the weird looks on my friends’ faces that they had no idea what mindful eating was.

“The theory is if you eat mindfully and are aware of everything you put in your mouth, you will eat only when truly hungry,” I explained and shared what I recalled from an article about people who went to a monastery to learn mindful eating from the monks.

“At the monastery, the participants sit at a large table in silence,” I explained. “Slowly and deliberately, the monks teach them to touch their raisin, lift it, smell it, think about the grape it used to be, put it in their mouths, roll it around without biting it, bite it, chew it, and eventually swallow it.”

I told my friends that I was OK mindfully eating a raisin, but when it came to mindfully eating other food, I had a problem.

I always ended up thinking about sex.

For example when I was trying to eat some egg salad mindfully, my mind moved from eggs to chickens. Then I started wondering if chickens have sex?

Thus, to my table of friends, I posed the question, “Do you think chickens have sex?”

“Well, that’s why you have roosters,” said one.

“Chickens lay eggs,” said another. “Frogs lay eggs and they don’t have sex.”

I contributed, “In frogs, doesn’t the female lay eggs and then the male passes over them and fertilizes them? “

“Chickens are birds,” someone said. “Birds have sex.”

We never resolved the issue of chickens going “all the way” because Gail served her coffee cake and Jane’s banana cake. The six of us chowed down, and our conversation moved to liberals, conservatives, boots on the ground, and winters in Florida.

Tomorrow is another day to try mindful eating.