Month: September 2012

It Gets Better…..But….

Logging into my email the other day, among the Linked-In Board notifications and job search related emails was a request from a member of my graduating class who wanted me to follow her on Schoolfeed.

This surprised me.  We were not friends.  We were not even friendly.

In fact she had made 7th grade a living hell for me. She was a Queen Bee, and I sadly was not even a Wannabe.  Slightly chubby, with my bad haircut, thick glasses and complete lack of knowledge for trendy fashions for 12-year-old girls, I might as well have had a bullseye on my back.  However, it was usually a kick me sign.

I was a friendly girl, and really naive and this was used against me.  I had my home ec projects mocked, and was pushed off the stool in art class.  I was shoved into lockers, tripped, pushed,  and my backpack was tossed into dumpsters.

Now she never laid a french manicured finger on me.  She did not have to.  She had her friends and the people who wanted to either curry favor or more likely, avoid being her next target do her dirty work for her.

Sometimes I was lucky and she and her friends would ignore me.  And more often I was not.  This girl would explain to me in detail how I was a loser, I was ugly, my friends were losers and that my social standing was so off the chart, that I wasn’t even on the chart.

The worst was when the time they pretended to be nice to me, and grateful for the friendship and the break in the teasing, I returned the friendship, only to have the things I told them used against me.

And this went on for a whole year.  I thought I would get a reprieve, after one of my friends told her mother how I was invited to a slumber party for a friend of mine and how my friend blindfolded me and the girl and her friends fed me dog food.  And then the following Monday in English class, she had written about it in her journal and read it aloud to the class.

My mom tried to help.  My parents offered to take me out and buy me the right clothes and get me the right haircut, but I knew that a pair of Guess Jeans from Lonny’s and a Bennetton rugby were not going to save me, (and I couldn’t imagine spending so much money on a pair of jeans) so I bought a Sweet Valley High Book and desperately imagined myself as a Wakefield Twin, even though I knew that I was really Enid Rollins, just without the substance abuse issue.

I don’t blame my teachers for not stopping things,  since the kids were good at hiding their tracks, and  there was not the hypersensitivity about bullying that there is now.

I just told my parents I was fine, and went about my business and never, ever complained. I knew that however bad they treated me, it would be worse if I said another word.  I immersed myself in drama club and stayed in my room, listened to records and read.

And now I am mostly grateful that the internet and Social Media did not exist back then.  I hate to think what cruelty and technology would have produced.

However 7th grade ended, and I was never in a class with that girl again.  Once I got to 8th grade, tormenting me seemed to have lost its fun, and I was left alone to hanging out with my friends at Hot Skates and listening to Madonna and Duran Duran.

I went through High School, and though I was never elected Class President or Homecoming Queen, I had a great time in the drama club, plenty of good friends to hang out with at lunch and on the weekends and usually had a boyfriend.  I went to college, met a wonderful man who after 20 years, two kids and more than one failed attempt at Weight Watchers, still grabs my ass every time it goes past him,  got a master’s degree and even achieved a decent level of success in my field.

I have friends and family who love me, and by any objective standard, I have a pretty good life.

It did get better and it does get better, but does it ever get better enough that you really, truly forget?

Yet when I see that name, I am transported back to the sad 12-year-old who couldn’t understand why people were so mean to her, when she never did anything mean to anyone else.

Her follow request sits unanswered in my mailbox, and while we had been friends on Facebook, I unfriended her, since I did not want to see her name on my wall. This might have been partially due to the fact that she did not end up as a lonely, bitter person with a miserable life, as I had been told by several well-meaning adults.

I debated writing this, because really what could come of it.  If I told her how mean she was to me, what was she going to do?  Apologize for something that happened nearly 30 years ago that she probably has no memory of?  Possibly tell me the compelling reasons she had for her cruelty?

Which also leads me to wonder, did she know what she was doing was wrong?  Did her parents know what kind of things she did?  Did they care?  So many questions, I do and don’t want the answers to.

To be honest, I’m still actually  kind of embarrassed that she still has any kind of power or influence over me.

I can her saying, “Poor widdle Maryrose, with her hurt feelings from things that happened back when Madonna was still relevant.”

After all, what happens in our middle school years is something we are supposed to get over.   I mean, we were kids and being cruel was just something we outgrew like neon socks and spiral perms.

I should just tell myself what I tell my son, when he complains about teasing, which is; “Sometimes people are just assholes and there is nothing you can do about it.  Just ignore them as best you can, and eventually they will move on.”

And that is what I should do.  I should just delete the request.  Or I could block her, but I feel that I have given her enough attention already.

Although I know she has children in or close to middle school, and I can’t help but wonder if the little bees did not fly far from the hive, and I should tell her how her actions affected me, so if her children are treating others the way she treated me, she might understand better what they are doing.

Or perhaps, she wouldn’t care.

Either way I have probably given the matter way more thought than it deserved, until I saw a post from a middle school friend of mine on Facebook complaining how people who made her life miserable are trying to friend her, and she wants nothing to do with them, and I remember that I was not alone then and I am not alone now.

So, to my fellow dorkarinas who spend their Friday nights in Middle School devouring Anne of Green Gables, what do you do now when a former tormenter tries to friend you.  Do you:

A. Friend them back, but feel kind of bad about doing it?

B. Ignore them

C. Block them

D. Block them, but tell them why 1st

E. Friend them, but only if they have miserable lives

Cooking Without Drama-Perfect Crockpot Shredded Pork

One of Dave’s favorite dishes is pulled pork.  When we go out to eat, he usually orders a pulled pork sandwich and when I bring in BBQ, he is always happy to get a container of it.

I have tried making it at home before, but without much success.  The pork would be tough or the sauce would taste burnt.  However, after doing some research on the internet, I found the way to make perfectly shredded pork.  Once you start with this pork, you have many options.  You can eat it plain, or shred it and simmer it with the sauce of your choice and have BBQ pork, Mexican Pork, Italian pork-its really your choice.

Ingredients:

Pork Roast (I used a 2lb piece)
3/4 Cup Baby Carrots
Onion Sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Onion Soup Mix
12 Oz Beer
Chicken Broth
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

I used my 4 oz crock pot

(Note: use 12oz beer for every 2 pounds)

Steps:

1. Salt and Pepper the Pork generously.
2. Heat Olive Oil in pan and brown pork on all sides (2-3 minutes per side)
3. While pork is cooking, place carrots in crock pot
4. Remove pork from pan, put in crock pot
5. Add a little more oil, put onions in pan and carmelize
6. About 1 minute before the onions are ready to come out, add the garlic
7. Pour onions and garlic over the pork
8. Put onion soup mix in pan and stir for one minute, add 1 bottle of beer
9. Bring beer to a boil and pour over pork.
10. Add chicken broth or beer until pork is 1/2 covered in liquid
11. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

With this you can be done. Pull out the pork, shred or slice and serve the pork and carrots with a salad and maybe some noodles.

Or you could then shred the pork with two forks and put the desired amount in a pan with the sauce of your choice (bbq, mole, tomato, picante) and warm through and then serve with rolls, tortillas, on pasta, wherever your imagination takes you.

We did BBQ Sauce and they were awesome. Also, the leftover later that week were even better than the original meal.

Paleo Without Pity-Detox Tea

In additon to breakfast, another issue I have always had with Paleo (or any diet) is the copious amounts of water you are supposed to drink.  I will be really good about the 64oz of water for a few days, but then I fall back into old habits, because I get sick of drinking water.

And when I write that I feel like the whiniest bitch on the planet, since so much of the world can only dream of having an unlimited supply of clean, cool water.  (Note to self-next week gratitude journal).

So I still need to get the water in because it keeps me hydrated, flushes the system, aids weight loss and the other 8 billion reasons a person needs water.  So instead of water, I make myself detox tea.

I have a Mrs. Tea that I use, and for the amount of iced tea that I drink, it was really worth the $15 investment.  However, if you do not have an iced tea maker, just buy tea and follow the directions on the box.

This tea is so simple, its barely a recipe, more like instructions:

1. Prepare decaf green tea according to manufacture’s direction.  (I have used other types of tea- but green tea has some special weight loss property I hear about)

2. When preparing the pitcher of ice, add,
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1 lemon sliced
1 citrus fruit of your choice, sliced. (If using a grapefruit, use 1/2)

And thats it. Its quick and really delicious. I make a 3 qt pitcher and often finish it in a day.  And if you want to skip the detox affect and add some Absolut Limon or Citron, I’m not going to tell on you.

A Real Christian

In addition to yesterday being the anniversary of 9/11, it was also the one year anniversary of the death of my Stepfather-in-Law, Walter C. Righter.   Maybe I’m a big geek, but I think it’s cool to have a relative who has a Wikipedia page.

Walter was an Episcopal bishop and when my Mother-in-Law 1st told us that she was in love with a retired Bishop that was more than 20 years her senior, Dave and I were a little nervous at 1st, thinking he would be a stuffy, stodgy, boring old man, who would be horrified by his non-churchgoing step children who occasionally dropped the F-Bomb.

He wasn’t.  He was witty (although he told the worst puns), and loved a good joke.  My grandmother also loved him, and he was very good about her feeling up his muscles and hitting on  him.  (If you had ever met my grandma, you would understand)

He was a gentleman, with old-fashioned manners, that I wish were not old-fashioned.  He was generous and truly kind and patient.

(Yeah he could be stubborn some times, and he moved verrrrrry slowly in the morning, but it was just part of Walter)

One thing I loved about Walter, that while he was a religious man, he never preached to us, or pushed us to be more church going or lectured.   I did learn a lot about religion from Walter.  When Nancy and Walter were 1st married they built a home in New Hampshire that needed some work.  Dave would happily do the work and it was my job to keep Walter from helping with the work. This was accomplished by me asking Walter a detailed question to distract him from Dave’s efforts.

The weekend Dave built the deck and porch I started with the innocent question about why the Episcopal Church did not have 1st Holy Communion like Catholics do, and finished with asking to explain the difference between being Catholic and Episcopal.  Let’s just say that Dave got the deck and porch built with no “assistance” from Walter.

He believed that Jesus loved us all, and lived by that example.  He never had a fish tattoo or wore a t-shirt with biblical quotes on it.  He just lived his life in the service of God.

He believed in equality for everyone.  He believed that your gender or color or who you loved did not exclude you from God’s love or serving as a member of the clergy. Even when he was tried for heresy by his church, he did not stop loving his church or stop believing in equality.

Walter believed in long stories, bad puns and opportunities for everyone.  He believed that bacon was a sign that God loved us, and that broccoli was the work of Satan.

This came out after his passing, but I know he would have loved this:

He said the homily at our wedding and baptized both of our children, even if he pouted about not being allowed to wear Mickey Mouse ears with his Vestments.

And as he neared the end of his life, I know he was appalled at this bastardization of the religion and lord he spent his life serving.

Using God to exclude people and commit violence against them and deny them their rights was not what his Christianity was about.   Christianity was not a weapon to him, it was a tool to show that with the love of God, all things were possible.   He hated seeing how the Bible was twisted to justify hate and injustice.

It is him and his version of Christianity and the spirituality of some of my clergy friends on Facebook that keeps me from abandoning organized religion altogether.   When I think of Walter, I am reminded that the hateful things I see and hear in God’s name is not what God is really about.

I had shared this quote with him before he passed.  I know it gave him a chuckle

 

 

 

9/11/12

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11, otherwise known as the day I avoid the television, because I am still working on my lifetime goal of never again seeing the footage of the planes hitting the towers, the planes crashing in NY and PA again and the resulting destruction

However, its a pointless endeavor because around this time of year I can see the footage every time I close my eyes.

I was lucky.  One of my classmates died, who was a firefighter, but I have  friends who lost siblings, spouses and other loved ones.

I remember being in the waiting area of an emergency room when the planes hit, because I had taken an employee who had been in a car accident on the way to work to the ER, and trying to explain to a group of non New Yorkers just how big the towers are (were).

I remember getting sent home from work early and doing a massive food shop, because some how, surrounding myself with boxes of Kraft Mac N Cheese was going to make this better.

I remember the frantic phone calls, trying to track down my brother and friends who worked in the city.

I remember holding my son, who was a little over a year and wondering what kind of crazy world he was going to be a part of.

But being a bright side person, I try to think of 9/11 as a day when ordinary people did extraordinary things.  People often wonder if the circumstance arose if they would do the right thing.  The people who died that day were able to answer that question in the best way possible.

I also try to remember September 12th.  It was a day when everyone was a little kinder and a little less rushed.  It was a day when the whole world was a New Yorker.  Everyone hugged their loved ones closer and seemed a little more patient.

It was a time when the Yankees went to Fenway for a game and no one yelled “Yankees Suck”

However, it seemed that we lost those feelings such a short time after 9/11 as the even became politicized

Even now, we all try to grab that 9/12 spirit as the anniversary approaches, but the spirit tends to pass with the day, as people use the day for political gain.

My goal for the 11th anniversary of 9/11- Try to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice by keeping the 9/12 spirit alive.

Paleo Without Pity-Breakfast Salad for One

When I started the Paleo diet my biggest challenge was breakfast.  My usual breakfast was usually pancakes, waffles, french toast or oatmeal with fruit.  I would also like regular toast.  These are all not allowed on Paleo, and I tired the subsitiutes and found them seriously lacking.

This means that  I usually alternate between scrambled eggs with veggies or plain greek yogurt with fruit. (I am on the side of Paleo that thinks a little dairy is ok.  With the exception of the plain greek yogurt, I mostly use cheese or butter as a condiment).

That being said, this can get a little old.  So I came up with a yummy breakfast salad.  As made this is quick, easy and vegan.  Also since the hubby and kids don’t enjoy greens, I make this salad for 1.

Breakfast Salad

Ingredients
Kale (I usually fill the bowl I am going to eat out of with kale until its overflowing)
Tablespoon of coconut or olive oil
100 Calorie pack of nuts (I’m using the almond walnut combo)
Small Apple
Tablespoon of dried cranberries (I use the fruit juice ones)

Instructions
1. Heat oil in pan, add Kale, cook until Kale is wilted (3-5 Min)
2. On last minute of cooking-add nuts.
3. Chop Apple
4. Add Kale and nuts to bowl, top with chopped apple sprinke with dried cranberries

If you wanted to add more protein, you could cook some bacon and saute the kale in the bacon, or after you put the kale in the dish, use the pan to scramble an egg.  Also, this is good with some chopped chicken or sauteed shrimp.