Spud Heaven

Photo by Rebeca G. Sendroiu on Unsplash

…and no, I do not refer to a narrow spade for cutting the roots of plants and weeds.

Rather, it’s the lovely potato that I refer to. The deliciously starchy root vegetable that I once proclaimed–as any silly five year-old might–I would marry because I loved it so much.

So…six days ago I had to have a tooth extracted (a molar…number 31, to be precise). No…not the best thing to have to do in any circumstance, for sure, but even less so during a pandemic. I have to say the oral surgeon’s office was excruciatingly thorough in following Coronavirus safety protocols. I couldn’t get into the building without answering basic questions on my health and travel status (travel? Are you kidding me?) and my temperature was taken with a nifty digital thermometer that simply hovered over my forehead. Every office staff member was masked and someone was wiping down every counter, pen, chair and magazine stand literally every ten minutes. It was so exhaustive that I was surprised that the staff weren’t attired in hazmat suits.

Two hours later, the extraction complete–which included a bone graft (a synthetic material packed into the extraction site) as the first step in preparation for a dental implant–I was on my way home. I exited the building, out into the bright sunshine and crisp-cool breeze, with the right side of my mouth packed in gauze. My cheek was already beginning to swell significantly, and my head was pounding but I was so thankful to have that “little” ordeal over with. After a stop at the pharmacy for pain medication (which seemed to take forever) we were homeward bound. Once there, I plopped myself into my favorite chair and welcomed The Poodle who remained in my lap for hours until throbbing pain forced me to get up and take a pain pill. Still, I was happy to read, finishing Lisa Wingate’s emotional story based on true events Before We Were Yours and then starting former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s book: With All Due Respect…and even happier dozing with the warmth of my poodle-love curled in my lap.

It would be close to eight o’clock in the evening before I felt the first pangs of hunger. I hadn’t eaten anything in twenty-four hours.

“Do you want chocolate ice-cream or mashed potatoes?” asked my husband.

I’ll try the potatoes was my reply.

Not even ten minutes later I was presented with a small bowl of Bob Evans garlic mashed potatoes. I ate those first small spoonfuls in a painfully slow and hesitant manner as the swelling (despite icing the area) was still significant. But, Oh My God dear reader, let me just say….

…those spoonfuls sent me straight to heaven.

“God these potatoes are amazing” I said groaning with pleasure. I could eat this for the rest of my life and be happy.

And indeed, for four days straight, following the soft food regimen necessary after oral surgery, I ate heaping bowlfuls of Bob Evans mashed potatoes. Loaded, garlic mashed….sour cream and chives mashed….or just plain mashed….

I was…and still am…in spud heaven.

If you’re looking for something new to soothe your soul during this pandemic, I highly recommend going face down in mashed potatoes.

Bliss out my friends ❤️

Miss Cookie Does it Again….

Buddha: Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Buddha exhibit

I was setting out on an afternoon walk with The Poodle when the phone rang.  I look at the caller ID and see that it’s Miss Cookie.

I’d been thinking about her for a couple of days and poof….she calls.  It often happens that way.  How lovely is that, don’t you think!

“….Just calling to check up on you,” she says without preamble.

“I’m okay….well…mostly,” I said.

….as good as one can be with issues swirling around like a pile of dry autumn leaves on a windswept day.

“I know…I know.  I know why you’re worried,” I replied…..”I haven’t posted in my blog for a spell.”

I assured my friend of forty-some years that I’m still among the living…and yes….even though spring seems to be dragging her feet in our neck of the woods.  Her call and an afternoon sun struggling to peek through the gray lifts my spirits as my poodle love and I walked through the woods in our neighborhood, stopping more frequently than usual so that The Poodle could enjoy the potpourri of smells that jazz him so.

I am still on the phone with Miss Cookie a mile and a half later when I get back to the house.  Once inside, I continue walking, pacing the kitchen floor as we talk.  I used to log lots of steps in my sizeable middle-earth house when I was on the phone with a friend or family member.  I’d pace in large circles or figure eights through the family room, kitchen and formal living room.  I logged three miles once on the phone with my friend Miss Sue as we caught up with many moons worth of life’s issues.  Our current home is smaller so it is not quite as easy to get a good clip going.  In fact, if not careful, one could easily become dizzy!

Still, as I paced the floor I listened intently to my friend talk about her latest hobby; making pottery.  She had me in stitches at one point when she described her artistic attempts versus those of her potter-mates.

I tell her I’m quite in awe of her new hobby.

“I don’t seem to have an artistic bone in my body,” I said. “In fact, the only thing I’ve created were two kids…and well, one of them, has failed to launch,” I lamented.

“How IS that going?” she queried.

“He is still in the basement but we are giving him another deadline to move out.  I believe he thinks we are bluffing. I’m baffled beyond belief that my thirty-five year old son believes I should still take care of him.”

Miss Cookie continued lending her shoulder while I poured out a month’s worth of aggravation and lament over my son’s state of affairs as well as my sadness over my mother-in-law’s declining health. “We will be moving her to an assisted living facility in the next couple of weeks and, as often seems the case with life, it’s not without a bit of family drama to make things ever so swimmingly…um… fun.”

“You do have your plate full,” agreed Miss Cookie.  She wanted to know how she could help which made my heart melt with gratitude.

“Don’t worry,” I said.  “I’m getting through this chapter with plenty of good wine, long walks with The Poodle and meditation too.  And you just made me practically bust a gut over images of throwing clay!

Laughter is the best medicine!

Without a doubt, I have not evolved to a sublime state of enlightenment and daresay, that will not happen in this lifetime…nor the one after that!   There are still angst-filled days, sleepless nights, and too many moments of feeling like a failure, throwing up my hands in utter hopelessness or excessively letting expletives fly.  But seriously, I am making progress!  I am much better at letting things go. In fact, in a better-than-baby-steps manner. There simply is no other alternative to getting through this period with grace, not to mention, sanity intact.

We finished up our conversation and said our goodbyes promising to talk again in a week or so.  I exhaled a long a sigh of contentment. Though there are problems big and small in my little speck-of-sand world, I think of a quote by The Buddha (at least I think it is attributed to him): Nothing is permanent.  He also said: There is no path to happiness.  Happiness IS the path. 

And seemingly on cue, the universe responded!  The sound of my nephew knocking on the front door jarred me out of my thoughts.  He’s peering through my front door window, smiling from ear to ear as he sees me approach the door.

Pure happiness is the color of that moment!

Without a doubt, with Miss Cookie calls and a host of other blessings in my day, I can absolutely sail through stormy seas.

There is bliss in that.

Happiness is Poodle Love

So lucky that he CHOSE me!


Today my four-legged-ball-of-love turns nine.

I still cannot believe he chose me!

Imagine lots of little poodle pups running around and, as if in S-L-O-W motion, this little runt of the litter comes barreling out of the crowd, up onto the wood deck to sit himself down literally on top of my feet!  I kid not.

Yes…He chose me.

And since that day…on Academy Award weekend, February 2009, he’s been my constant shadow.  He has brought much happiness to our home.  Not only did my poodle love open Rocket-man’s heart, he stole mine.    I’m one thoroughly lucky woman!

He’s a gem of a pooch, except when he barks like a maniac and jumps up on folks.  Then he’s annoying.  Yet, he is so close to perfect that I often pinch myself, even now.  I still smile from ear-to-ear when I think of the day we brought him home to his Southern California digs.

It’s chilly and raining today so no long walks or opportunities to chase squirrels and such (alas, we do not have a fenced-in yard….yet).  So I’ll pamper him with a special meal and extra bits of his favorite I’ll-do-ANYTHING-you-ask treat (that would be mozzarella cheese).

Happy Birthday my sweet poodle love.  I know that the rainbow bridge isn’t that far off so know that I cherish every single moment with you, including your moments of maniacal barks and overly enthusiastic jumping.

Cheers to another year of my poodle love hogging the bed.  ❤

That’s my bliss on this otherwise dreary November day.

Yep…That’s Me: A Halloween Late Bloomer!

This morning began later than usual, by at least an hour.  So in fact, those proverbial chickens were already up and well-past crowing to a new day.  As I put feet to the floor I was already aware that something wasn’t quite right. Every bone in my body ached and my head was pounding.  I made my way to the bathroom and stood before the mirror. Oh my.  What a fright, to be sure. My hair, crazy wild, looked like I had stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Then, on closer inspection, I note a bruise on the corner of my mouth.

Hmm? That’s strange. How on earth….?

Ah, yes!  The light bulb in my head is instantly on as I recall the events of last night.

AHEM….now folks, this is a G-rated site….just saying.

I’m talking about trick-o-treating with my nephew here.

My body is responding to a night in a neighborhood that really knows how to do Halloween.  Who knew that I had to make it to sixty before experiencing real Halloween fun?  Better late than never, eh?

So there I was meeting up with my sis and family well before the fun was set to begin.  Sis was busy putting the final touches on her nine-year-old’s costume.  This year he chose to be a mummy.  Sis had wrapped him from top to bottom in white gauze.  Ever the artist, she had also made up his face and spray-colored his hair jet black.  He looked fabulous.

“Where did you get all that gauze?” I asked pointing to a large bag with a few more rolls of gauze left in it.

“On Amazon,” she replied.  “In fact, this whole get-up cost me less than $15.”

Just about that time my nephew’s friend arrives with his mom in tow.  Patrick is dressed as the Halloween Scream character, complete with a mask that fills with an impressive amount of fake blood with the squeeze of a trigger.  We all exchange gushes over costumes and us moms catch up for a few minutes.

Halloween Scream

We are just about ready to step out with the boys for their trick-o-treating fun when my brother-in-law stops us.

“Wait.  You lovely ladies need a refill before heading out,” he says with a big smile.  We had been enjoying a glass of red wine with chips and salsa while the boys had hot-dogs (after all, trick-o-treating requires sustenance.)    It only takes him a moment to hand us each a paper cup filled with a generous pour of red wine.  “You are the greatest bro-in-law!” I all but sing.

The cold night air took us all by surprise.  Just an hour before I had been raking leaves in short sleeves!

We crisscrossed our way up and down neighborhood streets, scurrying to keep up with an excited mummy and his Scream sidekick as best we could without spilling our wine.  The normally quiet streets were alive and bustling with throngs of costumed kids and parents everywhere.  I was surprised that so many parents dressed up.  I was equally impressed by the spooky Halloween decorations; so many houses were seriously decorated to the hilt with ghostly eerie music to add to the theme of the night.

Incredulous, I wasBoy have I been under a rock for too long or what.  I hadn’t seen this much enthusiasm about Halloween in many years.

Following the boys, we made our way up the sidewalk of one particularly interesting house.  Among other spooky things planted in the yard, there was a gigantic inflatable character, Jack, from The Nightmare Before Christmas swaying to and fro on the second floor balcony just above the front door.

Nightmare “Jack”

Naturally we were mightily impressed.  The presumed owner of the house was dressed entirely in black sporting a well-made up, thoroughly frightening face. I’ll forever think of him as Mr. Scary-face.  He beckoned the trick-or-treaters (including us moms) to step forward closer to the door.  Literally six seconds later Jack swooped down from the balcony above us–coming up from behind–to give us all a fright, laugh.  Mr. Scary-face however had a partner-in-crime.  A positively ghoulish character jumped up from behind me, startling me so that I my left hand flew up–that would be the one carrying my cup of wine. In fact, the edge of the cup hit the side of my mouth just as I was attempting to take a sip.  In a flash I was covered in wine.

Side Note:  So, THAT folks is how I got this bruised lip!

“Hey, that was a good cup of wine that I just lost,” I cried.  Really, I was laughing hysterically, as was my sis.  I was drenched. But worse, my cup was um….empty!

Mr. Scary-face was genuinely concerned.  “Well, just wait a minute.  I have a good Malbec for a refill.”

“No, no.  I’m good,” I replied still laughing.  “Really. No worries.”

Mr. Scary-face insisted.

Before I knew it, my cup was full again.  What a terrific neighbor, don’t you think?!

As we made our way to the next destination–The Haunted trail–another neighbor commented on our cups in hand.

“Good for you gals. That’s the way to do this thing…trick-or-drink!” she said.

“I’m just learning about this at sixty,” came my bubbly reply. I raised my cup in a toasting gesture. “What can I say…I’m a late bloomer!”

A few hours later I made my way home.  Rocket-man had been holding down the fort.  He sees that I’m shivering from head to toe from running around the neighborhood in thin tights and a wine-stained top.

With a raised eye-brow and a twinkle in his eye, he asked: “Well. Well. Well did we have fun?”

“Oh, I had a blast,” I gushed and giggled as I recounted the night.  “The Haunted Trail was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!  I’ve never had this kind of Halloween fun, even when I had young kids.”  I couldn’t stop laughing as we went through the neighborhood haunted trail.  I got my feet seriously stomped on, I lost my wine….twice… I’m dog-tired, wet, and chilled to the bone…but OH what fun!”

Rocket-man is happy to see my school-girl happiness.  It’s a much-needed respite in a sea of otherwise.

So…It’s not surprising that I’ve got bruises from top to bottom today.  Ridiculously, I’m thinking about next Halloween.  Sis is concocting plans for our own Haunted Trail.

BLISS, at least a hundred-fold.

Plus…there is a ton of candy left.  Life is good.