The House of Hades-Day 14

Today’s Writing 101 assignment is as follows:

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there. 

I look around where I’m sitting and the nearest book is the Wegmans Menu magazine.  I flip it to page 29 and it’s a recipe for Low Country Shrimp Boil. The first word that pops out is andouille.  It’s a good word, and I have no idea what it means. As suggested, I Google it, and apparently it’s a pork sausage originating from France.  The calorie count per serving of this recipe is 650.  And so I’m thinking to myself, this recipe is not quick, it is not low cal, but it does have lots of vegetables.  I’m not sure I would make this recipe. Do I do a post based on the word andouille? Wait!!  I don’t even speak French! Next!

The next book I find is Bobby’s library book The House of Hades.  What the hell is going to be on page 29 of this book? Get it? Hades…what the hell??  Nevermind.. back to the story. First of all, anyone 16 and younger reading this, the library is a building with lots of books.  And by books I mean a “written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers.” Occasionally, I force those living with me to actually walk through the doors of such a building. They are amazed to know that books did not originate on a screen.

To page 29 I go.  The first word to jump out at me is polecat. Again, not a clue, so I Google it.


Cute right? What the hell am I going to do with this? I can’t make a post out of this cute little weasel like creature.  I’m sure he smells. Anyway, I read down a little further on the Google page.  Urban dictionary? OH YES!!  Polecat has an urban dictionary meaning, as follows: A man who finds fat women more attractive than thin women.  What the friggin what?  I. Can’t. Touch. That.

Here’s the recipe from Wegmans.

Low Country Shrimp Boil

  • 4              Stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 C          Chopped Onions
  • 6              Cloves peeled garlic
  • 7 Tbsp   Old Bay Seasoning
  • 5 Tbsp   Salt
  • 10-12     Sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bags (1.5lbs each) Baby Red potatoes, unpeeled
  • 12 ears   Corn, shucked and cut in half
  • 4lbs         Easy-peel shrimp, uncooked and thawed
  • 2 pkgs (12 oz each) fully cooked andouille pork sausage cut in 2-inch lengths
  • Melted butter
  1.  Remove steamer insert from 16-qt stockpot. Set aside.  Combine celery, onion, and garlic in cooker, fill with 14 quarts of water.  Add Old Bay seasoning and 5 Tbsps salt.
  2. Heat to boiling on med-high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 30-40 minutes. Add parsley; simmer 5 min.
  3. Place potatoes in steamer insert; lower carefully into hot broth.  Cook 15 minutes, until almost tender.  Add corn; cook 5 minutes.  Add shrimp and andouille; cook 3-4 min until shrimp are pink.  Remove from heat.
  4. Carefully lift steamer insert from cooker; spoon vegetables, shrimp, and andouille into large deep tray or bowl.  Sprinkle lightly with Old Bay.  Strain broth; serve broth and butter as accompaniments to shrimp boil.


Home Sweet Home-Day #11

I’m a little behind, and a little out of order. We are going with it, baby..just going with it! Today’s assignment? Write about the home you lived in when you were twelve.


My home when I was twelve was the same one that I lived in when I was 7, and when I was 18.  Clearly, we didn’t move around much. We lived in that 4 bedroom townhouse for what seemed like forever.  I distinctly remember when we moved in, placing my pink sneakers in one of the bedroom closets. I was only 5.

By the time I was 12, my oldest sister had already moved out, and my grandpa moved in.  My mom put him in the spare room. Which was nice, but didn’t last long.  Poor guy pissed my mom off one too many times. I think that room ended up with guinea pigs? Model train set?  Both of those things were in my home at some point. WAIT!!  I think my mom ended up in that room. I think she pissed my dad off one too many times!  Seriously, that room ended up hers!

The townhouses I believe were blue and tan. Like all of the apartments on one street were blue and all of them on the other street were tan. Ridiculous!   They had numerous face lifts over the years. They started off this horrible dark brown. In the end, and until this day they are all tan. The inside was nice; wall to wall carpet, 1.5 baths, spare room on the bottom floor. We just got cable. Simmer down Generation Z!!  It was only 1985. Not a whole lot of people had cable at that time. And GASP!  It only had like 45 channels!

My best friend at the time slept over almost every weekend.  I made sure my tiny room had room for her!  All we talked about was Duran Duran.  I loved loved loved John Taylor and she loved loved loved Nick Rhodes.  My bedroom walls were covered with posters from Tiger Beat or Bop.  I would have kicked my ass if I were my mom.  But she was a much cooler mom than me.

The complex itself had 4 playgrounds, but no pool.  I would complain to my mom about that. Every. Single. Summer. And certainly, by the time I was 12, what the hell would I do with the playgrounds?  OH YEAH..all the kids I babysat liked those playgrounds.

So there you have it.  My home when I was 12.  Tan, 4 bedrooms, cable and one bedroom covered in Duran Duran.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

Day 7- I have nothing.

Today’s writing assignment was: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

For some reason, everyone is flying through the assignment.  I’ve been sitting here 20 minutes trying to decipher the difference between conflict and contrast.  I guess the assignment isn’t as black and white as it should be.  Get it: and white..nevermind…I have nothing!!

So today I present to you the best that I have:  Chocolate Chip Cookies vs. Brownies.

Chocolate chip cookies. My absolute favorite food ever. It doesn’t matter where I am in my calorie count, I will stop to eat one, or seven. So far, the best chocolate chip cookie ever is the Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookie from Wegmans.  They are simply succulent.  The amount of butter to brown sugar must be 3:1.  They literally melt in your mouth, there is little chewing involved.

Brownies. My absolute favorite drown your sorrows. The best brownies ever: Dark Chocolate Brownies from Ree Drummond. These brownies are rich and thick.  The  chocolate in these brownies is so intense.  You MUST have a glass of milk next to the plate in order to eat these. Otherwise, your mouth sticks and you smack your lips trying to pry your jaw open. My favorite texture for brownies is a little crunchy on the outside and chewy and gooey on the inside.

The chocolate chip cookies I could pop in my mouth one after the other. There is zero discretion. The brownies on the other hand, aren’t eaten with ease. I mean they are soft, but they are so rich that you have to take your time. They both are a cure for PMS. They both have too many calories to count. Seriously, I don’t think either one will register on MyFitnessPal. That’s how bad they are for you. And that’s how you know they are naughty good.

Day 5-Brief writing. Not about underwear.

As I hike up the hill, I look off to the right and an envelope catches my eye.  I think “Ha! Someone lost their electric bill!”  I’m curious.  I walk over and pick it up. Definitely not an electric bill. It’s a plain envelope, not sealed, and plainly labeled “Cody”.  There’s no one around for miles.  I open the envelope. It’s a letter and a picture.


I know we both made choices that weren’t great.  But it’s ok. I will always have a little piece of us. My decision to keep her was my choice, and your choice to move on was yours. I’m sorry you never got to know her.  Every time I look in her eyes, it’s like looking into yours. Her name is Elizabeth and she is amazing.




I fold it up, tuck the picture and letter back in the envelope. I wonder which one dropped it?


Lost and hopefully never found! Day#4

Yesterday, I lost the delete and back space button. Today, I’m so glad to have them back!  The assignment for day #4 is to write about something you lost. At first, I almost said see Day#2 assignment and called it a night. Then I thought maybe I will write about the time I lost my virginity.  Don’t judge me Blogging University students! You thought about it too for a brief second. As did I.  See? Like I said it was brief. Which is too bad, because it could have been a fantastical story.  All fiction, but fantastical.

This is what I decided on: Losing some of my stomach, intestine and gallbladder.  For as long as I can remember, I was heavy. Even as a child. I clearly remember being at a brand new school in the fourth grade, and one of the girls called me “fat mama shorts”.  I never wore shorts again.  I exercised. I tried diet after diet, after diet. Phen fen?  Anyone remember Phen fen?  At one point in time, circa 2006, I was at my highest weight, over 300 lbs.  My marriage was falling apart. I had a brand new baby. My dad had recently died of essentially complications from Diabetes. I needed to be in control of SOMETHING. I wanted to see my baby grow up. I wanted to be healthy, and teach her healthy habits. To not have her go through the “fat mama shorts” stage. A decision had been made.  By me, and only me to have gastric bypass surgery. I went through the nutrition counseling, and the psych evaluation, and started exercising consistently. I set a date. January 29, 2007.  In my brain it was monumental.  It was a constant tug of war between being healthy and my love of bad food.  And to this day. I. LOVE. FOOD.  I could never be smart about it.  Until January 30, 2007 when there wasn’t a choice.

The surgery, a Roux en Y gastric bypass, I lost a bit of my stomach, part of my intestine, and I lost a gallbladder (incidental loss). In the end, I also lost 150 lbs. (I have regained a little).  Everyone thinks gastric bypass is the easy way out.  It really isn’t.  There is as much work now as before just to maintain the ideal weight. I’ve had to retrain how I eat (yes, how), what I eat, how much I eat. Don’t even get me started on drinking.  Trust me, I’ve tried drinking like I still weigh 300 lbs! body violently rejects the idea. Luckily, I can still have a drink or two. Let me rephrase.  The kids are lucky I can still have a drink or two.

Ok…so I’m bitter about somethings.  As previously stated in other posts, I have a sweet tooth. And I think we’ve established, not just one. So that really sucks. Chocolate chip cookies are on the table though!  I had to do it. I’m not a saint, I just wanted to be healthy. My daughter chooses healthy options on her own, so at least I’m educating her. She doesn’t remember what I looked like pre-organ hacking.  I have pictures.  She can look at those.

Proudly, I’ve still lost over 100 lbs, I’ve completed 2 Half marathons, and I’m about to start training for my 3rd.  Eight years ago, if you would have told me I would be marathon training, I would have told you, you are effing crazy.

Sometimes, there’s a lot to gain by losing.

But the delete button is my friend!-Day #3

Anyone else a Type A?  I plan, I think, and I’m extremely fond of the backspace button!  So this assignment is going to be harder than it looks. I will not delete, but if I don’t backspace, none of you will understand anything I’m saying. Today’s Writing 101 assignment is to write about 3 of my favorite songs and what they mean to me, all without editing. Which, if I were editing, that sentence would have been my starting one.

I’ve already stopped twice to reread what I’ve written.  Must focus!

My most favorite song ever  is Ordinary World by Duran Duran.  I just love it. It came out in 93, and I was in a transition year in college.  I was 20 and nothing was making sense. The words “trying to make my way through an ordinary world” really hit home and for some reason just gave me a sense that everything was going to be ok. Duran Duran is my all time favorite!

Song number two has to be Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney & Wings. I could listen to that song a billion times, and perhaps I have already, and never get sick of it. When it’s on, I just jam to it. Every. Single. Time. Even though I was only 3 when it came out, it really has a timeless message. Let’s face it, I’ve had to learn the hard way that love doesn’t come in a minute.

Lastly, it has to be Maroon 5’s Won’t Go Home Without You.  I was status post divorce, and even if it’s a shitty marriage, divorce is divorce. You are alone.  Dating after divorce is hard enough, throw in late 30’s, and top it off with single mom status, and it’s a friggin’ disaster. Won’t Go Home Without You is a “good cry” sort of song.  I’m pretty sure I did, numerous times actually. The most important part of this song?  I sound really good singing it in the car!

So there you have it!  My top 3 songs that have meaning to me.  I could list a few more, but I don’t think you really want the details of why I like Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty”.

A room with a view-Day 2 assignment

It’s a room I’ve been in dozens of times, just never quite like this.  As I looked around, I see they’ve tried to make it “homey”.  The colors are browns, tans, and blues.  All warm, calming colors.  With all of the equipment, and beeping and people bustling about, it’s definitely not home. I’m not sure if those colors are to calm the families or the patients. In her case, she would never wake up to see them anyway.  The view outside of the window is hardly a view at all, as it just peeped into the windows of the hospital rooms over the walkway.

I looked at her often, silently, and sometimes not-so-silently,  cursing her for not trying the chemotherapy at least once.  But now it’s too late. The tumor obstructed her bowel. It was unresectable and she refused chemotherapy. She gave up. I would never see her old, she would never see Autumn grow up.   I would spend 2 days in this room. I spent them angry.  Angry at her.  Angry at me for acting like selfish child for choosing to leave me.  How could she not know how much I needed her?

I met dozens of people in those 2 days. Nurses, doctors, techs. Each of them looking sadly at me because they knew our encounters would be brief.  I left her side only once.  I needed to get Autumn needed to say goodbye.  After that, I sat in this room. Holding her hand. Waiting.  I replayed every event in my life I could remember.  Nearly all of them included her.  Sometimes I treated her like shit (not my fault, I was a hormonal teen), but I sat there profusely apologizing anyway. I tried thanking her for everything, praying to God that she heard me.  I sat there. Just waiting. I held her hand. I watched her take her last breath.  And I couldn’t wait to get out of that room.

Now, I would go back to that room that was brown, tan and blue with no view a million times over, just to tell her one more time that I loved her.