Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Endless Winter

I have returned to 24/7 service at my parent's as of last Friday and am limited to internet access once again. Frankly, had I been blogging daily since then, the content would have been primarily a stream-of-consciousness rant about the ever-growing despair of eldercare and the frustrations of dealing with cold bureacracy. The continuing gray of this endless winter has been a perfect backdrop to the whole sordid situation.

There have been some minor victories....we have some home healthcare in play and while it has been mostly railed against by my mother they have created some inroads. However, everything continues to be a daily, draining battle.

My own blog is exhausting to read even for me as I have less and less humor and food moments to write about. I look forward to returning to the blog with relish when I again have something to look forward to.

Until then, stay tuned...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clicking My Heels

Yeah, I've been trying to click my heels a la Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz to get me back to Kansas(City),but it clearly ain't happenin'. I miss Keith and my home....but duty calls.

I'm concerned that my desperation to return to KC can be perceived as a dis to my hometown. That couldn't be further from the truth. I'm ever proud to be from St. Marys, WV. My friends here are amazingly supportive. The area stores such as Phillips Pharmacy and Galaxy Food Mart have always looked out for my parents and continue to inquire about their welfare. You can't buy that kind of customer service, attention and general compassion outside of a small town. My connection to Kak and the Greenhouse Gang is worth it's weight in gold. In fact, I was blessed enough to take a day off from parental care and spend it at Kak's while they were toiling away. I went down to the shop for some terrific pork sandwiches. However..I miss my home in KC...and I want to go home. Then there's Valentine's Day...

Keith sent me care packages including a plethora of chocolates, among them a wonderful caramel assortment and some Ghirardelli classics for V-Day. They were pick-me-ups, for sure. I have been in the business of Valentine's Day for many years...working with the Elms hotel and their huge V-Day weekends, as a server in various restaurants and of course, with my history with the Greenhouse which has always been a florist. As a matter of fact, the GH was as busy as ever with floral orders today.

I admit it, though.... I'm not a V-Day fan despite the fact I've had a "valentine" for the last ten years. I've spent more than enough years alone to know the profound loneliness this "holiday" can create. So, I continue to treat Valentine's Day as a corporate scheme. How interesting in the light of that fact, that I would be living in KC, the headquarters of Hallmark and Russell Stover candies. The fact is, I love my partner more every day and February 14th isn't going to affect that in any way...but V-Day most assuredly affected me when I was by myself.

So here's a valentine to ALL of my friends and loved ones, single or otherwise...spread the love to everyone...including yourself.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Young Love, Old Souls

Kak and JB hosted a special dinner for a perfectly lovely young couple at their home tonight. Gregory Arnott is one of Kak's "shop kids", and his girl Michelle surprised him with a candlelit evening here at Abicht's Landing.

One of my jobs involves dealing with young folks and admittedly, I find myself duly unimpressed by many of them. Granted, that could be simply a result of my growing older and achieving unprecedented new levels of bitterness and cynicism....but I digress.

It's always a somewhat unexpected joy to discover a truly delightful young person...Erica Reckard is a perfect example. Tonight, we had the pleasure of experiencing two of them.

Gregory and Michelle may be young, but their intelligence and sophistication belie their years. They are wonderful conversationalists and completely at ease with each other. They, along with our beloved Erica, give me great hope for the future.

Kak and JB, as usual, outdid themselves. They led with shrimp cocktail and salads filled with capers and dressed with Stonewall Kitchen Greek Dressing. Filets topped with Savannah marinated mushroom caps accompanied by twice-baked potatoes and scorched green beans were the highlight.

How fitting that Gregory's a bit of a film buff as well. Watching them together made me think of those vintage, classy movie characters like Nick and Nora Charles.
How often does a couple barely out of high school bring to mind old-school cinematic class?

This was a Valentine's celebration that renewed my faith in young love.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mathews, You Magnificent Bastard

After a long, involved day of lawyers and strategizing healthcare, what an unexpected joy it was to return to Kak's and be joined by Kak, Kristy and my old friend Jeff Mathews and his girl T.A. Jeff has always been one of the funniest people I've ever met. He's also a fellow foodie as well as humorous tonic for what ails ya.

Jeff is also the as yet undiscovered half-brother of Ross The Intern of the E! Network. Jeff entertained us with tales of fake eyebrows, Tim Northrup, the necessary password and his Sad Elephant. He generously provided us with an impromptu best-of performance of Ethel Merman covering many top hits. This soon-to-be-classic is Jeff as Ethel covering Old Man by Neil Young. The video is sideways and choppy which is somehow fitting but, by God, it's preserved for eternity.

Damn, I've missed ya, Jeffy.

Snowmageddon Blues

My sister Shirley arrived from Jacksonville yesterday afternoon. I'd been eagerly awaiting her arrival as it was going to be the first true opportunity to get a bit of a breather. I would be staying with Kak and JB while Shirley would be in the house with the folks. After a month plus of the madness and sadness of eldercare, I was ready to at least get a bit of sleep and a change of environment if nothing else. Mother Nature just had to have her say, though.

We were hit with several inches of snow last Friday along with frigid temps and ice. The wintry pics are of my parent's home and the hills in the park behind the Community Center where we used to go sledding. I have been essentially snowbound with the folks since. Toss some acute cabin fever in with the already worsening mental illnesses and the atmosphere was frequently unbearable. I found myself looking for any project for escape from cleaning out the refrigerator to trying different photography experiments around the house. An example of that is the closeup look at a blue piece from the old marble factory. Yeah, I was getting desperate.

The second snowstorm arrived just in time to get my sister's flight canceled and rescheduled the next day. She finally made it to Columbus yesterday and had to drive through the remainder of the storm to get home. She was exhausted on arrival and I was a nervous wreck by that time as well. Our family is an absolute mess.

My father is getting worse every day. Yesterday, he spoke to me ABOUT me as if I had suddenly became Mom. As I was leaving, reassuring them I would return the next day, my Mom cried and fretted that she couldn't talk to anyone else due to her Alzheimer's. So the guilt clung to me right out the door. The home healthcare outlook is bleak and I don't think we'll get a miracle performed in seven days.

I continue to embrace those brief moments of happiness and they tend to involve food. Dave Hoyt's wife brought a nice casserole of chicken and zucchini and that was a warm gesture to my parents as well as a taste of the old church suppers. Carolyn Flanagan dropped off some potatoes. Kak and the Greenhouse Gang sent up some tulips and a nice foodie care package with pretzels, chips and salsa and that amazing horseradish sauce. Kristy and I chowed on some Conn's(made locally)potato chips while watching some Food Network.

There was precious little humor to be found in the past week with my parents but I have to say Dad did have a doozy the other day...

He and I were watching the Today Show and Barry Manilow was performing. After watching the entire performance, Dad said:

"I don't know who that woman is, but she can't sing worth a lick."


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trollbead Mania

Made a brief getaway to visit the Greenhouse as they were about to host their latest Trollbead Trunk Show this past weekend. The show, like everything else, took a bit of a hit from the beginning of the first wave of snowstorms but was still a successful weekend. Trollbeads are a phenomenon that incur an extremely faithful following. The Greenhouse has already built an enormous fanbase for these beads and
I am continuously blown away by the passionate pursuit that follows these items. The bead pictured is the Black Armadillo bead. The store featured many food samplings to accompany the trunk show: Dr. Pete's Praline Mustard Glaze with cream cheese and Country Living Key Lime Pie in a Jar served in pastry

Trollbead Mania is afoot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Blue-Eyed Wonder

In the midst of the mire of the parental care situation, I continue to have salvation in the form of good food and supportive friends both here in my hometown and in KC. My absolute rock, though, is my partner Keith.

Keith has been there through every sad and terrible moment. He's a thousand miles away but holds me together through phone calls and texts. He inspires me to regroup and to find solutions. He sends care packages and thoughtful cards. I'd be lost without him.

God bless that blue-eyed wonder.


It's been almost two weeks since my last post as I've found myself unable to leave my parents side for very long. The situation has worsened considerably since then. My mother's welfare has also come into greater concern as her stress levels get dangerously high worrying about Dad. Their care alone takes all of my time and it's difficult to search for solutions simultaneously.

I bide my time with books which have become an integral part of my own sanity maintenance. I can't focus on them for long but if even one passage or a few pages can help me step out of my own head for a bit, it's worth it. I've read several food writings. I've now read all of Ruth Reichl's books. She most recently was the editor of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine and was a New York Times food critic. She has chronicled her life so far in three tomes: Tender at the Bone, Comfort me with Apples and Garlic and Sapphires. I'd recommend them all. They are as savory as the food she writes so lovingly about. I also read The United States of Arugula by David Kamp, which is a dishy and informative read on the backstory of the Food Revolution from Julia Child to the Food Network. I loved this one. I burned through it in no time. Finally, I read the most recent collection of American Food Writings edited by Molly O'Neill. From Thomas Jefferson's ice cream recipe to passages from Moby Dick and Thoreau's Walden to comedic contributions from Nora Ephron and David Sedaris. It's a terrific read. I look forward to starting Alice Water's biography that my friend Linda lent me.

I'll be staying with Kak once my sister arrives on the 9th and will be able to post more. I'll be treading water until then.