I did not go gently into that good night.
I lingered on the precipice,
holding tight to the memories of the warmth of my days.
My life played like a movie before my eyes,
and it was beautiful.
I couldn’t bear to leave you.
I raged against that white light and held fast to you.
I walk in your footsteps and hear all the words I should have been able to listen to,
words that should have fallen on my ears while you were in my arms.
I float on the words you speak to me, words you are unsure I hear.
I am still with you.
I am the air that dries your tears.
I am the breeze that tickles the wind chimes you love so much.
The sound of your laughter makes me feel alive again.
I did not go gently into that good night.
I chose to stay with you.
(photo credit: brucemctague.com)
I love pizza. Once upon a time, pizza used to love me as well. But as the decades have marched on, my relationship with pizza has become a mere shadow of its former self. There is a feeling more akin to a contractual obligation than the heartfelt love we once used to share. And as much as I continue to love pizza, its feelings for me still leave my heart (and my abdomen) feeling enlarged, but in a bad way.
In my quest to become healthy, I have been scouring the internet for recipes that omit the culprits responsible for wreaking havoc in my over-forty year old body. Contrary to my belief twenty years ago, bread is not my friend. That knowledge, combined with my love for pizza, nearly brought me to my knees.
And then I heard something in the distance. I put my hand to my ear. It was quiet at first, almost non-existent, but then it became louder and more distinct. It was the angels singing….and they were holding pizza! It was like coming home…only to no home I had ever known. I was just taking a slice out of my oven and I knew. I was like….magic. Okay, so the last couple of lines slightly resemble dialogue from Sleepless in Seattle, but you get the idea…..
This “pizza” recipe is brilliant. It has no yeast, no flour and no way of making someone avoiding bread be anything less than ecstatic. And the taste was delicious. For those who have not experimented with cauliflower in any way, now is your chance. Had I not made this pizza myself, I would never have guessed it was made with cauliflower. Here is a photo of the result and below is the recipe I found on Pinterest, with a few modifications.
1 cup riced cauliflower, 3 cups mozzarella, divided, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, 1 egg, olive oil, mushrooms, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes.
Pulse one head of chopped cauliflower into chunks in a food processor until it looks like grain. Microwave the cauliflower for 8 minutes. (I don’t own a microwave so I heated some olive oil in a pan, heated the cauliflower to medium heat, covered the pan and reduced the heat until cooked.)
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup riced cauliflower, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, oregano, garlic salt, garlic, and egg. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Pat mixture out into a 9-inch circle. Brush with olive oil. Bake the crust at 450° for 15 minutes.
Top the pizza with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. (I also added parmesan cheese) Broil 3-4 minutes or until cheese melts. I’m sure there are a multitude of toppings….including bacon….that you can add to this pizza and be completely happy with the result.
Pizza and I have rekindled our romance, on my terms, and love each other once again. Mangia…. and enjoy.
After many months of prolonging the inevitable torture, I am finally ready to admit it is time to be serious and get myself into summer-shape. And by summer-shape, I don’t mean round.
It’s time to hold myself accountable for those invisible pounds that crept into my room at night and methodically attached themselves to parts of my body whilst I slumbered. My wardrobe has begun to mock me while threatening to abandon ship. It’s time to get a buddy and make the goal a reality. It’s time to put the spring back in my step instead of breaking the diving board. It’s time to get back what I’ve lost. No, wait. It’s time to lose….what I….got back. Now I’m confused.
A few years ago, I went on a very noble quest to get healthy. And that I did. I diligently tracked my food choices and the only processed food I ate was food I had processed myself. There was no bread involved, nothing packaged and nothing I couldn’t pronounce. I simply ate whole, natural food and at the end of my journey I had lost fifty pounds and felt amazing.
As reality is wont to do, it came stomping in and replaced my determination with dejection. It exchanged my willpower with weakness and it magically turned me into a shape-shifter. I went from healthy and happy to fleshy and faking it without even putting up a fight.
Well, the gloves are back on. I remember what it felt like to be so proud of my accomplishment. I recall how wonderful I felt being so healthy and I wish that for myself again. Since I began my first journey on May 1st, I shall do the same again this year. The lemons will be stocked, the spices abundant and the determination back and in high gear.
Cooking has always been a passion so now I shall choose a much more intelligent selection of ingredients before I lift the “mystery box” and delve into the long-lost world of cooking with the right food. I may not win a million dollars at the end of my arduous journey but I will be The Biggest Loser….or the smallest loser…..why is this so confusing??
I may not follow the letter of the law when it comes to my health. I’ve been guilty of eating things that are more processed than my hair after it has been freshly dyed. I have been known to imbibe in some alcoholic beverages, which are frowned on depending on which new study you read. And I have been culpable of using over-the-counter nasal sprays that wreak havoc on my blood pressure.
Thankfully I am not a hypochondriac and I only take up space in my doctor’s office when I truly have a medical issue or need a prescription refilled. The moments are few and far between that I will put myself through the painstaking process of arriving early at the office, getting in late for my scheduled appointment and then feeling like I am taking up too much of my physician’s time.
It took me a while to warm up to my doctor’s “table-side” manner but I truly appreciate the fact that she does not sugar-coat her curative banter. I have had my share of real health issues that warranted a trip to the hallowed dominion of her office and came out wondering if there was a secondary medical journal that med students were privy to but patients were not.
I had a severe case of Pneumonia a year and a half ago. I had been so sick that I subjected myself to a walk-in clinic…..in the middle of the afternoon…..on a Saturday. After being prescribed a drug that made me feel like I had been chronically licking a tire-iron for a week, I made an appointment to follow-up with my doctor.
I was given the good news that the intensely strong medication had its desired effect and my lungs sounded relatively normal. During the course of my regaling her with my intermittent trips to the office while sick with Pneumonia she laid down a few newly appointed medical terms. The first freshly coined phrase from the invisible Hippocratic Oath handbook was hurled at me and I was called an “idiot”. This is a much shorter version of the 19th Century diagnosis that was identified as a “profound intellectual disability”.
Approaching with caution, I summoned up the courage to mention the truthful number of times I had been to the office and out in public during my illness and I was then diagnosed as “stupid”. I have since examined a medical journal a little more closely and found this analysis of my symptoms to be defined as Fecal Encephalopathy which, roughly translated, means “shit for brains”.
I am hoping I don’t have to visit the office again before I can get my hands on the modern version of this medical journal she seems to swear by!
It is a very rare occurrence when my emotions take me by surprise. I am usually fairly in tune with them and I can feel them bubbling gently below the surface. But last night on my way home from work while driving past my mother’s old house, the same house I drive by every day on my way to work and again on my way home, the emotion stored within those walls hit me like a ton of bricks. Last night I glanced at the house, as I do every time I follow that familiar road, and I burst into tears.
I don’t know where the tidal pool of emotion came from but suddenly I was flooded with images of moments that had become important memories in my life. Christmases, birthdays, family gatherings and quiet nights spent as a family were at the forefront of my brain. Lingering snapshots of magical kisses witnessed by only the walls upstairs slowly transformed themselves into moving pictures to replay those scenes. That house, the building others would only see as walls and a roof, was my home. It was the vessel that helped create and store some of the most precious moments of my life.
Although there were many happy times, there were also moments of great sorrow. Those walls echoed as I told my parents, hysterically through sobs, that my best friend had passed away in 2003. That roof sheltered both my parents as they battled their illness and those walls protected them for as long as they could. That structure that is a seemingly unnoticeable building to passers-by will forever have a large part of my history carved into its frame.
That architecture will always be a part of me. Each time I drive by and take the time to trace the outlines of those walls there will always be an affinity to its design and purpose. It is said that we need to let things go to be happier but I feel the need to embrace those things to stay connected.
Although Mother Nature has been confused of late and has been unsure what type of weather she should be serving at her luncheons, I am glad I was invited to the feast yesterday!
Mid to late April is a questionable time, at best, in terms of the weather buffet. We have been served snow storms, ice storms, damaging winds, hail, rain and a myriad of other weather systems but yesterday was a perfect spring day. Although the predicted temperature was only 7 degrees, the penetrating warmth of the sun was absolutely remarkable. I have more of a tan now than I likely will in July or August.
The mood of human beings is noticeably elevated on days like yesterday, and hopefully again today, especially at this time of year. Lawns to the south of us are raked (mine still has several lingering mounds of snow), patio furniture is assembled and set out and although we know there is a chance of another random snow fall….we don’t seem to care.
I feel energized in a way I have not felt since the warmth of the sun left us last fall. There is a vast difference between seeing the sun in winter and feeling its warm kiss on your cheek after the spring solstice has arrived. The last two days have been radiant and my mood could be described the same way. The sun leaned in for our first kiss of this year and I have color in my cheeks, a tan line on my shoulders and an energized consciousness that I have not felt in months.
Thank you, Mother Nature, for seeing fit to make us feel invigorated and helping us welcome a new week on such a high note. Hopefully you will remember how blessed we all felt this weekend and alter any thoughts you may be entertaining of sending snow and below zero temperatures our way. I prefer this happy mood to rocking back and forth in the fetal position!