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Gratitude

I am fine and everyone I know is fine after the tragedy on Metro yesterday.  Thanks for your concerns and thoughts.  Yesterday was a jarring reminder that life is short and random, but it is good to remember we are loved and who we love in return.

I hope to return here full time in about a week.  See you soon, refreshed and with some fresh, wacky tales.

Lex

Is…

I found out this weekend that my biological father, C, is dying. He was never a healthy man. He smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, and is consistently inconsistent about taking the meds that control his MS. He is a workaholic, barely sleeps, and eats food that is only suitable for a trash compactor. He is 51 and has had more health maladies than an 80 year old man. He is not long for this world.

I found out this weekend he is dying, that he is on a heart transplant list and if he doesn’t shape up the next, soon approaching heart attack will most assuredly be his last.

I found out he was dying from my brother. We–a father and a daughter–haven’t talked in eleven years. He missed college, milestones, my first love. He walked away, called me a fucking cunt, cut me out of photos. He pushed me out of the family, told everyone I was to be avoided. I was a child, a strong willed, independent child, who was brave enough to stand up to a man who mentally and emotionally abused us for years. This was my punishment.

My father is dying and what I struggle with the most is how little I care. I have mourned him. I have grieved what could not be, confronted the demons that haunted me for years. To be sure my fractured relationship with him has shaped me. I am sure that without him weight would not have been such a battle, a period of promiscuity could have been avoided, and my penchant for unavailable men nipped in the bud…but it is done. No one forced my hand in to the cookie jar or down the pants of undeserving men. Years of therapy, maturity, and a wonderful, caring stepfather (who I consider to be the only real father I have ever known) have made it easier to understand him, me, and my reaction to this relationship…or lack there of.

My father is dying and I am relieved, I am ready. My head hurts but not my heart. I worry about logistics, about whether to attend the funeral of a man who never deserved the family he created. I worry about my brother. I run through scenarios in my head, how I can tactfully say “No, really, it is ok” when condolences are inevitably expressed. I wonder if, ten years from now, I will regret not speaking to him before his death. A good friend said to me yesterday “you cannot expect ill health to transform assholes”. And, my friends, my father is a lost soul. This is a man on his death bed and I have not heard a word from him. I don’t blame myself anymore; you can’t chose your parents and parental love is not one of life’s guarantees.

My father is dying and I sit here and call him an asshole…not out of anger or revenge, merely as a statement of fact. The facts, though? Sometimes they aren’t pretty.

My father is dying and he reminds me who I am…that I am strong, that I am resilient, that I have come so far. I didn’t think this would push me out of hiding. In fact, the warm cozy hole I have been hiding in beckons for me, but writing this feels right. Writing this reminds me I cannot be silenced by him, even in his life’s twilight.

My father is dying and I thank him for making me me. Despite everything, the tears, the pain, the struggles, thank you Dad. Without you there is no me.

Lights Dimmed

I’ve always tried to be as honest as I can be about myself. I’m loud, I am brash, and I am constantly over scheduled. I stretch myself too thin. I do my best to be a good friend and I know I fail at that sometimes. I have torn through some men in my 28 years: some were sport, some were time killers, some were bad news, while some special ones were amazing, smart, and loved. I can be shockingly self absorbed and at times egotistical, but I don’t think that is necessarily bad. Oh, and dramatic…that too.

I act tough and I can have downright unrealistic expectations of people at times. I love hard, play hard and laugh hard. I drink too much and I often eat too much. I struggle every day with a very tenuous truce with my body image and self perception. I am almost continually dissatisfied with the status quo. I am defensive, guarded and can be an unrepentant hardass. I love my close friends lightbulb1ferociously and feel so lucky to be surrounded by people I truly respect and admire. I really am a little white trash in my heart–I am not kidding about my love of leopard print, big hair, loads of eyeliner, and showing off my cleavage. I am ok with that; I will never go to church, wear khaki, or drive a mini-van. Inside of me lives a softie who just wants some pretty simple things in this lifetime; love, happiness, and some pretty stellar carrot cake.

I am tired, y’all.

I am literally tired. Sleep is hard to come by and cups of coffee fill my days.

I am tired of an unending job search that has left me frustrated and so, so, SO close so many times but has just come up short.

I am tired of this medicine that has left me with an off kilter appetite and all kinds of screwed up.

I am tired of all the emails and comments I receive about my diet, my body (past and present), my weight, and my appearance.

I need a break.

I am not quitting, but I am reevaluating. I may stop blogging about food. I may entirely reformat. I don’t know. I promise to come back, probably within a month.  I will still continue to read all the blogs I love and hopefully I will discover some new ones to inspire me.

I love this blog. I love my life and my friends. I am continually amazed by all the awesome people I have met as a result of this little corner of the world. I just don’t want this space to be something that stresses me out, and lately it has been.

Being so honest, doing my best to accurately represent myself, no doubt has it rewards. I have connected with people in amazing ways and found some kindred spirits out on this big world wide web. I think all this introspection and self indulgence has made me a better person in a lot of ways; I am painfully flawed, but in a lot of ways I am really proud of myself and who I am.

Lately I haven’t been as proud of my writing or as happy with my recipes. The sometimes nasty comments and emails have been bothering me more. Sure, some are completely ridiculous, but god damn if some don’t hurt me. My body doesn’t belong to anyone but me and I will never get why anyone feels otherwise.  I am not letting myself be silenced by a select group of assholes, but I don’t quite feel like dealing with it right now.

So, yes, a break. I will keep on being me, all of me. Soon, I will be back to share it all. I am tired and I think I deserve some rest. I hope you will be here when I come back.

Postscript: I really am ok.  I didn’t mean this to seem “cry for helpy”.  I am actually pretty fucking awesome, I just need a break and was trying to explain where my heads at…thanks for all your concerns though.

Saving Yourself

When my friend B picked up the phone yesterday, I was my usual charming self and greeted him with , “I was about to totally lose my shit if you didn’t pick up the god damn phone.” Clearly, I hate hyperbole.

I’d been trying to reach him for days and though we had texted and the such in the interim, I had some very important things I needed to discuss with him. He is one of those annoying people who hates VM so I have promised to only leave him a message if I really, truly need him. (Conversely, I hate it when people don’t leave VMs so he has agreed to humor me and always leave one. See how well our friendship works?) Something along the lines of I have fallen in a well or I am thinking about cutting my hair again are acceptable reasons to send a mayday VM. My most recent spiral was not VM worthy…even I knew this.  Yet, I was still anxious to hear the voice of reason; a special reasoning that can only come from someone you have known for almost 20 years.  The boy has me down.

You see, I am worried about my sex drive.  Thank Christ it is still there, but my appetite has been completely screwy and I have my concerns.  See, the two constant things in my whole life have been food and sex…and an equal fervor for both.  Now that my desire for food has been waning, I fear my libido may be next…and then the world will stop spinning on it’s axis.  I started lamenting as such when I finally got B on the phone.

“I don’t really know what I want food wise and I am scared sex is next.  What the hell will I do?”

“Lex…I don’t think this is really a concern with you.”

“Um, has food ever been a concern before?”

“Hm, well.  Seriously though, I think you are ok.”

“Well, today I thought of the only thing I really had any desire to eat and I made it.  I don’t care if it is awful for me…something must be done to save myself.”

“Ok, what?”

“Um, crepes like my Memere used to make…and I stuffed them with brown sugar and drowned them in syrup just like her.  It is what I wanted.  I need to save myself.”

“So healthy kid food, huh?  Jesus, Lex….you’re insane.”

I love you too, B…

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Crepes

Adapted slightly from Simple Comfort Food

2 large eggs

1/3 cup of water

1 cup of milk

1 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted for coating the crepe pan
In a blender, mix all ingredients. The mix will be very smooth and super thin. Preheat crepe pan (or fry pan) over meium heat and add butter to pan. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes and flip.

This weekend I grabbed dinner with a friend at Zaytinya.  Zaytinya is one of my go to restaurants; the food is always reliably good and it is chic without being stuffy.  The special list never disappoints and this weekend was no exception.  On the special list that night was a delightful dish of shredded lamb in phyllo dough served with a feta yogurt sauce–it was really remarkable.

But this is not about the food or the atmosphere or even the specials.  Once again, I feel the need to discuss my favorite topic–service.

My kind of waitress

My kind of waitress

Let me state upfront I am very “New England” in some ways.  I am not a chit chatter or a small talker with strangers.  I always acknowledge people and say my pleases and thank yous, but I am not one to idly banter about the weather or what not.  It simply is not the way of my people or how I do.  Also, my father has been in food service his whole life–as a bartender and a server and now as a store manager at Starbucks–so I really “get” food service.  I am not a snob, nor do I think folks in food service are below me…they are me.

Our waitress was capable and our food arrived promptly.  Our drinks never waited too long for a refill, though she could have been a  bit swifter. The thing that bothered me? Her extreme eagerness.

I know, I know.  I am a  huge bitch, but really? Do I need an in depth recitation of 6 dishes on the menu she likes? Do I need to laugh about how our names are similar?  Not really.  It didn’t bother me that much and it certainly did not ruin an awesome meal, but I found it mildly intrusive.  My friend pointed out that servers need to hustle and make an impression since they are working for tips.  It is a very valid point, but if you are competent, friendly, and attentive, you are a good server.  I am not looking for a new friend.

This seems to happen a lot, the overly familiar server.  I have been called “hun”; the only place I find this acceptable is at a dinner and someone named Flo is slinging my coffee.  The greeting “hey guys” also kind of irks me in a nicer restaurant.  But most annoying?  Those servers who sit down and talk to you.  It has happened more than once and frankly, I damn near want to push them off the chair every time it happens.

So what say you? Am I off base? A huge bitch? On to something?  I want to hear your thoughts on service and what is the appropriate level of interaction.

My friend Bitchy called me the other day all worked in a lather.  Long story short, he had found out that a few of his friends had partaken in some somewhat questionable behavior and he was getting pretty screwed.

“Lexa”, he said, “you and I have done some seriously messed up shit, but this takes the cake”.

“Well, I like to think we hurt ourselves, not others.  This is…beyond”.

“I know! We have manners in our path of destruction!”

No indivduals are hurt in the wake of our emotional carnage.

I got to tell you, I blazed a bit of a path of destruction yesterday.  After on and off napping, hulu watching and internet browsing, I finally dragged myself out of bed at 2 pm.  For someone who rarely rests and can never sleep in, this was glorious…but also felt completely wrong.  I was also ravenous but nothing seemed appealing.  I tore apart the apartment, nibbling, but never settling on anything.  Seriously, my appetite is ten times of messed up lately.  It as if I barely know myself.  If I stop showing off my cleavage in the near future, someone please intervene; I have clearly lost my mind.

I poked around all afternoon, barely eating.  The rain had me convinced it was one of the last times this year I could justify cranking the oven and making some comfort food.  When my roommate emerged from her room coughing and stuffed up, I finally landed on making some baked ziti for us; the ultimate in comfort foods.

Now, this is nothing special.  It, perhaps, might even fall in to the category of one of the more messed up things to come out of my kitchen, but hey, it isn’t hurting anyone. The sauce is from a jar (gasp!) and I actually cheated and used fusilli, not ziti (double gasp!).  Now while I would never serve this at a dinner party, it did the trick.  The roomie loved it, I actually ate some dinner and it made the apartment smell awesome.  It is pasta smothered in 4 kinds of cheese; this ain’t rocket science kids, but it works.  It makes a ton of food, and in my opinion, the leftovers are even better than the first day.

I went to bed stuffed, finally eating my first real meal of the day.  It may have hurt me, but I promise, you don’t have to do the same.

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Baked Ziti

1 TBSP olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Italian sausages (I used turkey sausage), out of their casing

1 pound lean beef

2 tsp Italian seasoning (or a mix of oregano and basil)

Salt and pepper

Box of pasta (I used mini fusilli)

1 jar pasta sauce (I like Classico)

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

Pam/nonstick cooking spray

8 slices provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Start boiling large pot of salted water for pasta. Add pasta when water is ready. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add meat, salt, pepper and seasoning and cook until browned. Skim off fat and add pasta and sauce. Add in parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Spray a large pan with cooking speay and pour in pasta mixture. Cook for 20 minutes, open oven and top pasta with provolone cheese. Bake for additional 5 minutes and let sit for about 5 minutes before eating.

Some Questions

I am taking a glorious 4 day weekend and it cannot come a moment too soon.  Annie Birdie is getting hitched and I have several friends in town.  I have barely drank in over a week so some serious drunkening is also on the horizon.  That is the way Jesus wants it.

But first, a few questions to lead us in to the weekend:

  • What is the deal with women and food in TV and movies?  Has anyone ever noticed how much some of these women eat yet they are impossibly thin? I am thinking Lorelai and Rory Gilmore scarfing burgers all the time or the zillions of romantic heroines who eat ice cream every day and don’t seem to gain an ounce.  There just seems to eb such a maddening disconnect.  We never see these women on a  treadmill or eating a chicken breast for dinner.  Occasionally, there is a yoga class thrown in there, but it serves more as a location than a workout.  Discuss.
  • Could I actually have a tape worm?  I have lost 8 lbs in the past two weeks.  EIGHT POUNDS.  Now, granted I had no appetite for about 5 days which is a first for me.  I can always, always eat.  My appetite is pretty much back, though.  In fact, it is back to the extent where I have had two of those huge ass apple fritters from the locl coffee shop this week.  You know the ones I am talking about–all covered in sugar and as big as your head and they are so dense they hit your desk with an audible “thunk” when you put them down.  Truly, this is shameful and wholly unhealthy but it is all I want and I am still losing weight.  What the hell is going on?
  • Finally, and most importantly, what are you doing this weekend?  Need recipe suggestions for a cookout?  A restaurant recommendation?  Ask below and I shall help.
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