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Wednesday
Nov212012

Blocked

I seem to have lost my voice. I don't mean I have Laryngitis it's my writing voice I've lost. I have NOTHING to say. My last blog was posted on October 14th  and since then I haven't been inspired to write a SINGLE word.

I was expecting to have a ton of material but NADA, ZILCH, NIENTE.

I guess this is what is commonly referred to as writers block and apparently the only cure for the condition is to write. So here I am writing (even though I don't have anything to write about) in the DESPERATE hope that as I continue some miracle will occur and this collection of words will suddenly become a creative, humorous piece of literary genius to be savored by all who stumble upon it. When I say ALL I am referring to the few family members and friends who claim to regularly read and enjoy my blog. I'm afraid this is just NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

I thought I would be rich and famous by now and if all my apathetic readers had simply passed this page on to even a handful of their friends then Dish It Up would have EXPLODED by now and I would be sitting on a beach drinking margaritas while the sales of my books, oven gloves, aprons etc sky rocketed. Instead of which I am still working my fingers to the bone in a real job and trying to satisfy the few paltry requests to be a little more prolific. Come on people I need REWARDS, you are going to have to try a little harder. Is it really that much trouble to press the like button every time you read one of my posts? After all you spend half your lives on Facebook commenting on the biggest load of insignificant CRAP, but I can count on four fingers the number of comments I've had in the two plus years I've been doing this. Now that the election is over and you have nothing much to rant about can't you divert your energy into promoting my page?

It's hardly surprising that I'm so demotivated. Aside from my family, my co-workers and the ever loyal David I barely get a scrap of attention. I need FANS. Real, adoring, stalking type fans. Strangely when I look at my stats and the map which shows location of my readership it reveals that this blog is being read in about thirty different countries - INCREDIBLE! I'm completely mystified as to why someone in Kazakhstan would be remotely interested in the minutiae of MY life.

We were in New York last week with the boys and were taken out for a fantastic dinner (by the Ever Loyal David) and I had been fretting a little about the occasion as Rockstar and Genius are not known for their propensity to try new foods. I had checked out the menu in advance and ascertained that the experience was likely to be a culinary adventure. Imagine my shock when they both devoured every pulse, bean and legume that was placed in front of them. At one point I turned to Genius in total awe and declared "I cannot believe that you now eat spinach and Mushrooms!" He looked at me strangely and replied " Well all YOU ever make are carrots and peas." I was literally SPEECHLESS; Can he really be that deluded? Good grief doesn't he realize that carrots and peas are the only vegetables I ever served THEM because they point blank refused to eat any other vegetables? Just the mention of a brussels sprout or zucchini would be enough to induce severe gagging and the standard excuse "I'm not hungry." THIS is what happens when your kids leave home......they discover all sorts of new things and then re-write history with you starring as the unsophisticated bumpkin that held them back all their lives. Small wonder that I wasn't in too much of a hurry to blog about THAT.

Even Mufasa is not co-operating these days. I'm beginning to think he's having an affair as he is being far too nice and not doing anything to aggravate me, ergo no husband bashing material to wax lyrical about. Oh well..... tomorrow is Thanksgiving and everyone will be home. It will be a full-on lunch for sixteen with Dishy's FINEST creations so hopefully Rockstar and Genius will be reminded of what an incredibly good cook their mother is and perhaps there will be just enough craziness to inspire an amusing blog about our family's eccentricities. And just MAYBE someone in Tasmania or Outer Mongolia will be driven (or bored enough) to leave me a comment.


Sunday
Oct142012

Floodgate

When is the Mama not the Mama? NEVER that's when - NEVER. Rockstar left home a year ago and we have entered a new phase of our lives where (technically) because he is no longer under my roof I don't need to worry about him (in theory.)

However last night he came home. He came home because Florida Power and Light seem to think they are perfectly justified in cutting off his electric supply with NO WARNING WHATSOEVER even though his account is NOT in arrears. 
When Rockstar set up his new FPL account two weeks ago, he foolishly thought he was all set. This may have been because after he set up the account on line and paid the ENORMOUS deposit (which they will hold for TWO years) a message popped up on his screen which said YOU'RE ALL SET. Unfortunately he didn't notice the small print stating that he needed to fax a second form of ID within ten days. 

The ten days were up four days ago (on a Tuesday) but instead of doing the humane thing and informing him that he had forty- eight hours to rectify the situation they decided to turn off his power. Obviously they did not turn it off that day because it was TUESDAY and on a Tuesday you can get your power turned back on. NO they waited until 6 pm on SATURDAY because on Saturday evening they only have disconnection teams working but no re-connection teams until MONDAY. 

As Rockstar had no power and a fridge full of defrosting food he did what any smart young man would do - grabbed the perishables and came home to Mama. After several calls to FPL where I was literally SCREAMING at the Power Outage Rep. that no decent company in the civilized world would act in this way I was informed "we are very sorry that you are upset Madam but there is nothing we can do." What he actually meant was "We don't actually give a crap how you feel as we have TOTAL monopoly on power supply in this state and can do whatever we want." 
Rockstar realized that I was probably not in the frame of mind to whip up one of my delicious home cooked meals so he popped out to get a bite to eat with a friend. That was FIVE hours ago and when I woke up at 1am realizing that he had not returned I was catapulted back into neurotic Jewish Mother Mode. Of course when he is sleeping at his own house I have no idea what he is doing or when he gets home and I don't lose a wink of sleep over it. But put him back under the family roof for ten minutes and I'm instantly imagining an horrific crime scene instead of assuming he fell asleep on his buddy's sofa.

Forgive me if I sound like a mad woman ranting but I am in fact a woman only recently back from the EDGE OF INSANITY. This is because a recent flood in our house resulted in an emergency flight home from Hong Kong followed by a week of my living with twenty industrial fans and de-humidifiers that would make the noise level on the average runway sound like a lullaby. 

Humans do not have a high tolerance for noise, it is a very effective form of torture commonly used against prisoners of war. Here's an interesting experiment, put a peri-menopausal woman with SEVERE jet lag into a confined space with an unhealthy level of decibels and the result is not pretty. Add to the torment by telling her every single day that the noisy equipment will be removed the following day and then turn up the following day with the bad news that she must endure a further 24 hours of the torture. Do this for six days straight and then see how well she reacts to the slightest provocation. 

Fortunately for Mufasa he is still in Hong Kong or I may have found the need to make him pay for my misery. As it is he gets the opportunity to play the loving, supportive husband from the very safe distance of nine thousand miles. By the time he gets home he will have missed the disruption that Floodgate has wreaked on our home and our lives. The demolition phase will be complete and the house will be in order and freshly painted. In fact everything will be in even better order than it was when he left as I have been occupying the hours between 1am and 4am (when I can't sleep) completely reorganizing our kitchen cupboards and throwing away ten years worth of accumulated rubbish. I could write an ENTIRE blog about the contents of the drawer next to the fridge but post-cleansing that drawer is a thing of beauty that I open several times a day (with a mad gleam in my eye) just to check that it is still perfectly in order and not overflowing with dead batteries, coins from fifteen countries you've never even heard of, dried up tubes of super-glue, take out menus from places we would never dream of eating at, expired coupons, screws, nuts, bolts , old cough candies etc. etc. etc.

It will be interesting to see if Mufasa is as excited about the new streamlined kitchen arrangement as I am or if he will be psychologically disturbed by the relocation of his favorite cereal bowls. Hopefully he will have the sense to know that it would be extremely unwise to say anything even SLIGHTLY negative to the woman who has recently navigated through Floodgate.

 

 

Friday
Sep142012

Never Say Never

You would think that at my advanced age I would have learned that it's better not to tempt fate by VEHEMENTLY making declarations of intention when I clearly have no control over whatever the universe decides is my path. 

Apparently not.

The most extreme case of my having to eat my words happened eleven years ago when we had our first ever holiday in America. As we drove down the turnpike from Orlando to The Keys, Mufasa mused aloud that he liked The USA and wouldn't mind relocating. I turned to him and in my most evil scary voice said  "OVER MY DEAD BODY WILL WE EVER LIVE HERE." 

Four months later we emigrated to our new home - in Florida.

I have lost count of the times that I have stated my wholehearted opposition to a course of action only to find that in a very short space of time I am happily doing whatever it was that I was so against. It's as if by uttering these ridiculous statements I am throwing down the gauntlet to a Higher Power. Obviously these situations can't all be co-incidences. No, it's irrefutable proof that there is a God and he is determined to prove to me that I am not calling the shots.

It's a shame I'm such a slow learner. Sometime last year I stupidly wrote a blog declaring that I would NEVER own a Kindle or even lower myself to reading a book electronically. I was puffed up with my self-righteous dedication to words in real print on paper and everything that tangible hard copies of books stand for. Obviously it's now extremely humiliating to admit that I currently have a huge library of books on my iPad and love all the added features I get when reading this way.

I'm constantly stating that I will NEVER again get into a car with my husband and of course each time I say it a situation immediately arises where I have to do just that. Yesterday for instance we had to go to a meeting together and it was too far away to justify taking two cars. What is INCREDIBLE is that we actually managed to get there and back without getting lost or fighting. It's probably because we are uber-bonded right now due to the fact that we are being dispatched to The War Zone (aka VLD Asia) to help put together a presentation in four weeks that should take eight.

Obviously it's entirely my fault that we were summoned because only a week ago I stated most forcefully that I would rather drip white hot mercury into my eyeballs than fly to Hong Kong and be put into such a stressful situation and I would NEVER agree to do it at such short notice.

We arrived today.

Normally Mufasa (being older and wiser) does not make these emotive, challenging statements he is my alter ego;  a cool, laid back go-with-the flow enlightened soul. However twenty minutes after landing he threw a tantrum when I suggested we change some US dollars at the airport Travelex, saying "Everyone knows you NEVER change money at the airport the exchange rate is terrible." We had a huge, embarrassing public argument (which fortunately no-one could understand as they were all Chinese) and then (totally un-bonded) we marched off to meet the driver who was picking us up. At this point I was so furious I had decided I wouldn't speak to my husband for a MONTH, or for at least as long as it took him to realize how inconvenient it was going to be to have absolutely NO local currency ON A FRIDAY at 8pm. Much to my great satisfaction this only turned out to be about six minutes when he realized that we had no money to tip the driver! At that point he was so contrite and apologetic that I was more than happy to forgive him. Hopefully he has learned the golden rule....... NEVER say never.


 

Saturday
Aug112012

Menopausal Madness

WHAT ON EARTH possessed me to mention to my husband recently that I thought I might have started the menopause? Sometimes I amaze myself with my own stupidity.

After all, every woman knows that men just LOVE to blame the SLIGHTEST mood swing of their partner on That Time Of The Month. The fact that you may be just a little crabby because they forgot your birthday, didn't take out the trash, left the toilet seat up AGAIN or completely ignored you all weekend because they were so busy watching SPORTS doesn't register with the male species AT ALL.  Oh no, if you are not your usual perfectly cheerful, sunny, sweet self there can only be ONE explanation - it's TTOTM. 

This is INCREDIBLY convenient because whatever response you have to misdemeanors committed by your Husbands/Boyfriends can also be labelled as an OVER-REACTION because let's face it at any given moment women are either pre-menstrual, menstrual or post-menstral and therefore unstable, irrational and TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to understand and deal with.

If you are smart you will have figured out fairly quickly that it's best to hide ALL evidence of  TTOTM and to blame any symptoms you are having on other causes: Pounding Headache = terrible hangover, Excruciating stomach cramps = food poisoning, Eating three pounds of chocolate = tired and overworked. That way you may get a scrap of sympathy and some TLC instead of that sideways glance that reveals that your Loved One is going to lay VERY low until you emerge from the deep black hole of madness that engulfs you at TTOTM.

I actually have no idea if I'm starting the big M or not but I did wonder out loud if this might be the case, because I have started waking up at 2.30 am (for no explainable reason) and according to some of my friends this is a symptom. Not long after I uttered those fateful words I knew it was a HUGE mistake because Mufasa and I had just been snapping at each other over his COMPLETELY unhelpful advice that I should change my sleep pattern (like I have any control over it whatsoever.) And this from a man who falls asleep on the sofa EVERY night and constantly complains of being exhausted. Of course my irritation at his unhelpful advice was a TOTAL over-reaction so when I made my Menopause comment he jumped all over it with an "AH HA! So that's why you're in such a bad mood - well this is going to be a FUN FIVE YEARS."

And that's when I realized the scale of my error. What a DISASTER, now all I have to look forward to for the next decade is every single low point in my life being written off as Menopausal Madness. 

Now in preparation for what he is anticipating to be an EXTREMELY difficult patch for us both, my Husband is gearing up to spend a LOT more time away from the marital home. In addition to his weekly golf session he has added a twice-weekly soccer game to his fitness program which immediately resulted in an injured hamstring. Undeterred he rushed out to buy himself a pair of compression shorts and has arranged some massage sessions with Faybian (more time out of the house) although I'm not sure if he realizes yet that Faybian is in fact a man. Well hopefully he will ultimately see that as a huge plus since at least his Masseur will NEVER be Pre-menstrual or Menopausal.


Friday
Aug032012

Optical Illusions

There is a VERY good reason not to divorce your long-suffering spouse of twenty-five plus years and replace him/her with what (initially) may appear to be a more copacetic version of a long term partner.

The reason is this - Older People are a little weird and eccentric and it's a LOT easier to tolerate strange behavior from the person that you have known and loved for a CONSIDERABLE period of time, than it is to be dealing with it when demonstrated by a relative stranger. Don't kid yourself that you personally are not exhibiting any traits of this weird and eccentric behavior because I can ASSURE you that if you are close to fifty (or older) you absolutely ARE doing some CRAAAZY stuff and if your True Love has not pointed it out it is only because they are well aware that their own behavior is also a little 'off-color' at times.

Last night Mufasa decided to watch the Olympics and as it was quite late (9.25) and I was going to sleep he needed to use the headphones. Unfortunately the day before I had unplugged them (because their location on the credenza bugs me - Dishy/Crazy # 1) and somehow the wire had disappeared. In an effort to retrieve it Mufasa pulled out the credenza and looked behind the TV and that's when everything disintegrated.

Mufasa "What are all these wires doing here?"

Dishy " What do you mean?"

Mufasa "ALL THESE WIRES? THEY WEREN'T HERE BEFORE?'

Dishy (walks over to take a look) " What do you mean they weren't there before - those are all the TV/DVD/Speaker wires of COURSE they have always been there"

Mufasa "No you are WRONG there were NEVER this many - I know what's going on here, this is Rockstar isn't it? He's been here and changed everything around it just drives me MAD when he does this."

Dishy (thinking that Mufasa actually is QUITE mad but trying hard to remain calm) SERIOUSLY? YOU ARE SAYING THAT ROCKSTAR CAME TO THE HOUSE TODAY AND JUST ADDED A WHOLE BUNCH OF EXTRA WIRES TO OUR TV SET UP? YOU ARE INSANE YOU HAVE TOTALLY LOST THE PLOT - YOU ARE HALLUCINATING (Calm didn't last that long - Dishy/Crazy # 2)

Mufasa "Just find me the headphone wire."

Dishy (reaching behind cabinet locates it in two seconds flat) "Here it is"

Total silence ensues - order is restored. Mufasa is happy and watching the olympics like the above never took place.

Of course I'm not going to let THAT slide (Dishy/Crazy # 3)

Dishy (plucking headphones off Mufasa) "Are you happy now?"

Mufasa (big grin) "Yes very"

Dishy "So the little meltdown is over? Not dreaming up any more scenarios about your son entering the premises with the sole intent of screwing up our AV system?"

Mufasa (big sheepish grin) "No"

Now consider this : After a lifetime of shared memories, raising kids, family vacations, romantic dinners, the rough the smooth, the good the bad and the ugly these amusing little incidents are just another thread in the rich tapestry of your life together, but if someone you had just started dating was having these sorts of Optical Illusions I am willing to bet you would be pretty terrified and inclined to run RATHER fast in the opposite direction or at the very least back to your Match.com profile to add the following disclaimer:

'Seeking distinguished Gentleman age 50-60, solvent with good sense of humor - no crazy behavior tolerated'

Good luck with that.


Thursday
Aug022012

An Open Letter to Genius on His 21st Birthday

Being the younger brother of Rockstar was always going to be a hard act to follow. But then again following was never really your thing. 

You were born in the middle of a desert in the Middle-Eastern country we had just moved to and as if to prove a point you decided to emerge FOUR weeks early when your father was on an airplane and I really was COMPLETELY alone. I guess I should have known right then that nothing I did would influence your behavior. You were NOT an easy baby, I recall you cried, squawked, moaned and complained through the first eighteen months of your life, which of course I believed at the time was somehow MY fault, not realizing that in fact the only thing wrong with you was that you were BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND. As soon as you were able to express yourself and create your own entertainment everything changed. No silly blue rattles or crib toys for you - your first word was "BATTRY" and you slept peacefully through the night clutching a couple of double A's in each hand. From there it was only a short hop to academic excellence.

What I most admire about you (and the way that you conduct your life) is your confidence and belief in yourself and your abilities. You have always been incredibly self-motivated and focused on your goals and have not really needed much guidance. More importantly you have never been one to run with the pack, choosing if necessary to have NO friends rather than the WRONG friends and consequently you are liked and admired by many. Your calm demeanor cloaks a compassionate, empathetic heart; I know with ABSOLUTE certainty that you would never judge another human being based on color, creed, economic status or sexual orientation and would speak out against others that do so. 

You do not suffer fools gladly, so I am flattered that aside from being your mother I am still someone that you happily spend time talking to and proud that I can (sporadically) beat you at Scrabble and Canasta. 

You do not wear your heart on your sleeve and sometimes you seem a little mysterious, but without fail you carry yourself with great dignity and integrity earning my utmost respect. You are fiercely independent which for me is both hard to accept and incredibly liberating at the same time, but I hope you know that I'm here for you in ANY moment of need should the occasion ever arise.

It gives me great joy that your brother is your very best friend. I'm glad that instead of choosing to compete for my attention you have bonded together and are able to laugh at my MANY eccentricities (which is something that one can only share with a sibling.) 

It was always very easy to raise you - I feel almost embarrassed that I got off so lightly and never had to suffer through the angst of tormented teenage years, agonizing over where you were and what you were doing, although being a Good Jewish Mother I was QUITE able to find lots to worry about without ANY basis in reality. Over the years you have gradually and gently re-trained me (using the techniques from your psychology classes) into a more stable and less neurotic version of myself and the whole family has reaped the benefits. 

There is no doubt in my mind that you will be successful in whatever career you choose to pursue and it is gratifying to know that you will achieve this not through any need or desire to earn our approval but entirely for your own satisfaction. There are few people in this life that can operate within socially acceptable guidelines and yet still be true to themselves and their beliefs. I take no credit for your development or your characteristics but could not be more proud that you are my son.

Happy 21st Birthday to my TRUE Genius with all my love, 

Mama.


Sunday
Jul082012

Positive Thinking

Jewish Mothers worry. It's both a genetic and learned behavior but it's something we must fight against for our own well-being and for the well-being of those poor unfortunate souls who happen to be related to us. A negative state of mind will attract negative energy so it's imperative that we train ourselves to focus on the positive. When you open the mail to discover a check for $100 that you did not expect to receive your first thought should NOT be 'Oh great, I wonder what horrible unexpected bill is in the next envelope' but rather 'YIPPEE how lucky I am, and I TOTALLY deserve this!' When your Son announces that he just got offered a fantastic well paid job before even graduating college don't think 'Oh great he's moving to LA and will probably be murdered' but rather 'YIPPEE he'll be able to pay all his college loans and we can have lots of nice holidays in California!' 

When your husband goes to buy you a bottle of water during the movie and isn't back after twenty minutes, don't assume 'Oh great he's probably had a heart attack and I'm going to be LONELY and DESTITUTE' but rather 'No doubt the lines are hideous due to the shortage of staff and how sweet of him to persevere even though he'll miss the opening scenes.'

Even though we all know that worrying about stuff that will probably never happen is RIDICULOUS it's extremely difficult to stop doing it. 

This Worrywart Syndrome is not exclusive to Jewish Mothers (although they do have it down to a fine art) generally I find that most people live their lives in anticipation of how great things would be if only......................... fill in the blank with whatever you are currently wishing for. When the longed for event or change in circumstances finally manifests, instead of feeling unadulterated joy, a sense of doom and feelings of guilt prevail because on some level one does not feel worthy of good fortune. 

Actually this may only be true if you are over the age of twenty five because I have noticed that the majority of young people today seem to TRULY believe that they are totally deserving of EXTREME good fortune regardless of whether they have done anything at ALL to create it. There is a sense of arrogant entitlement that is most unpleasant and a propensity to believe that NOTHING but the best should be bestowed upon them coupled with TOTAL shock and disbelief that they may have to struggle EVER. If you are currently under twenty five and open your mail tomorrow to discover a check for $100 that you were not expecting your first thought should NOT be 'How annoying why wasn't it $1000.00?' but rather 'YIPPEE how lucky I am, I really don't deserve this, I think I'll buy Mom some flowers.' If you get offered a fantastic well paid job before even graduating college don't think 'How annoying I wanted to bum round Europe for a year and then live at home for another five sponging off Mom and Dad' but rather ' YIPPEE I'll be self sufficient at last and able to cover all my college loan debts.' 

The cure for both (young and old) is simple gratitude. When we focus on being TRULY GRATEFUL for what we have in any given moment we feel positive and uplifted - worrisome thoughts are banished as is the inclination to believe that we would be COMPLETELY happy if ONLY.......................fill in the blank with whatever you are currently wishing for.


Saturday
Jun232012

Business as Usual

Dear Everyone,

Next week I will be on vacation visiting my brother in Seattle so I will NOT be responding to ANY e-mails or answering my phone. I plan to have a TOTAL break so please don't be offended if I do not respond to your constant stream of mediocre jokes or your numerous requests for my undivided attention. Please don't be upset if I seem to have abandoned our word games I will be back VERY soon. My laptop is staying at home and and I plan to give the family my UNDIVIDED attention. 

My iPad will however, be coming with me (as it would have to be surgically removed for me to leave it behind) but I will ONLY be using it to read the novels I've selected for the trip. 

OK, I admit I will probably take a peek at my e-mails, just in case there is anything REALLY super, super urgent but that will only be ONCE a day (or maybe once in the morning and once at night.) After all one can't just run away from all responsibility but obviously my response time may not be what you have become accustomed to so please understand if I do not answer your e-mails three minutes after you wrote them. 

I will ABSOLUTELY NOT be logging into Facebook; if one can't go on holiday for a week without posting every single photo and activity there is a serious problem. No, I will wait till I return to share every minute detail of foods consumed and places visited. Come to think of it though I might just play a few turns on the word games - perhaps while everyone else is watching a movie I don't want to see or having some political discussion I cannot contribute to - no sense in being bored. But I'm only going to deal with work EMERGENCIES, not your run of the mill day to day problems just crisis management. That should cut down my hours on line by at least ten percent while still maintaining the illusion that I am a VERY senior person without whom the company would collapse within twenty-four hours.

Personal stuff is another matter - I have MORE than enough discipline to stay off the internet for extended periods of time - I PITY people who clearly have internet addictions (that they refuse to acknowledge) and start hyperventilating if their iPhones or Blackberries are misplaced for a mere second. Although it does occur to me that a whole week of Facebook without my witty contributions might be quite distressing to all my FB friends. In fact my abstinence is  starting to seem like an EXTREMELY selfish act so I may have to reconsider my stance. Perhaps I will allow myself one post a day. That should keep everyone happy and since I'm often awake at 3 am my family won't even notice I'm doing it. While I'm lying there (sleepless in Seattle) I may as well finish answering all the work e-mails, that way when I get back it won't take me four days just to catch up. I mean it really makes sense. It's not that I can't let go, honestly, I just like to have all my ducks in a row.

So basically it's business as usual.