My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - Hattie B's Hot Chicken

Hey, y'all! I'm back again this week for what is unintentionally becoming a weekly blog. I have been really sick. Just too sick to think about words and complete sentences and articulate thought... but I'm hopefully getting better. I came down with a cold about two weeks ago and by Monday, it had developed into pneumonia. I knew at this time last week that I was feeling far sicker than a cold should make me feel. Marvin did such a great job taking care of me last week when our weekly date was pretty much just me sleeping while he brought me stuff to make me feel better. All I have wanted to do for the past two weeks was sleep, honestly. I would wake up enough to talk to him on the phone a couple of times a day but mostly I was just going from sleep to sleep. I had a doctor's appointment already scheduled for this past Monday and  my dr knew right away... pneumonia. So... I'm on an antibiotic (a whole new world of unpleasantness) and am scheduled for a follow up in two weeks to make sure it has all cleared out because ... with me, it rarely does with just one course of antibiotics.

That's part one. Cold - turned to pneumonia - hopefully getting cleared up with antibiotics. Part two is my blood pressure. Tuesday my blood pressure was 153/120 AFTER starting a new (fifth) medication to try to bring it down. I have been dealing with high blood pressure since I was 35 and for the most part, medication and behavior modification have controlled it. Lately, nothing works. One possible reason is sleep apnea. I was diagnosed with this back in 2011 but there was so much going on with my health then that I just couldn't afford the time off work, cost involved, etc to get that issue sorted and honest to dog... I just don't want to deal with the c-pap machine and all of that nonsense. However, uncontrolled sleep apnea creates so much stress on your blood vessels because of the interruption in breathing... your body goes into fight or flight and your heart pumps harder and harder to keep you alive. Doing that every single night will ruin the elasticity of your blood vessels and cause a lot of other issues... so, as much as I hate the process of controlling sleep apnea, it's a part of the puzzle in getting my bp under control. The other step is seeing a cardiologist because... once your blood pressure is as high as mine has been for as long as it has been without finding a solution with medication... you have to start looking at the mechanics.

The past seven years have caused me to develop a love/hate relationship with the medical profession. I hate that I need them. I hate the cost. I hate the inconvenience of going to appointments, especially when I'm seeing new specialists and I have to start at square one with them. My medical history is crazy. When I start listing diagnosis' I sound like an absolute hypochondriac. OH how much do I wish I was just a hypochondriac. I would love to never have to deal with prescriptions and doctors and copays and ... all the things. There have been times that I have just abandoned the process because I hate dealing with it all... just as with the rheumatologist. I was supposed to follow up in February 2017 in the ongoing quest to isolate the specific auto-immune disorder going on in my body. The bottom line for me is that nothing they suspected was anything they could treat with one magic pill. It's still a symptom by symptom resolution which is what we're already doing... so... anyways... not happy to see a cardiologist. Grateful to have the health insurance to be able to do so. Hopeful that he will have a solution for this blood pressure issue. It just becomes very scary when you know you're taking all the meds and trying to eat healthy and still, not able to lower it.

SOOOO... today's blog is about our trip to Hattie B's Hot Chicken for lunch today. I know it seems completely contradictory to what I've talked about so far but ... I try to take a 80/20 approach to healthy eating. I do the best I can within my resources (as far as feeling too poorly to cook for the past two weeks, not feeling like shopping for myself, etc) and then on date night (and day and night and day) I loosen the boundaries a bit. Honestly, I had one piece of fried chicken, some potato salad, black eyed pea salad and lemonade. It wasn't horrible. What was horrible is that I completely forgot to take pictures. Cody met us for lunch as he was working right down the street and his birthday is the 30th... not sure when we might be able to celebrate so we did today. I've snagged some photos from the web and you should also check out Hattie B's website.

We had passed by Hattie B's a few weeks back when we went to The Vortex for lunch. Hattie's had a line going down the street so we thought... hmmm... we should go there... and we also though, hmmm... we should get there early. Win on both counts today - we got there about 11:15 and had zero wait time. You order at the counter and they give you a number and bring your food to your table. The menu is pretty straightforward and simple so ordering was easy... the table service is attentive and helpful. We were able to order dessert without getting back in the (then very long) line. The food is fresh and hot (except my potato salad and black eyed pea salad which are meant to be cold). I got the very bland - no spice - chicken because I'm a wimp and because my belly is kind of unwell from the antibiotics. Marvin and Cody both got medium spice and agree that it was about as spicy as they would want to go. I got light meat because that's my preference and it was not the least bit dry. Marvin and Cody got dark meat because they worried that the white meat would be dry. It wasn't. There is limited parking, Cody had to pay to park so... that's a drawback but it's in the city so, it's just part of the process. We snagged what Cosy refers to as "Nana parking" because I have the handicapped tag. Definitely though, if you're in Atlanta / Five Points area, I would recommend Hattie B's. There are also locations in Nashville and Birmingham.

What else can I tell you about the past week? We had lunch with Cosy last Thursday and then had a good time playing with her afterwards. I didn't see her over the weekend because I was feeling so rough and then finally got her again yesterday (Tuesday) and had THE BEST TIME despite my blood pressure being high. Austin was around and did most of the actual caring for Cosy, I just got to enjoy her. She dried my hair for me and helped me put on makeup... she's just the best medicine!

Tomorrow Austin and Cosy are coming to pick me up from Marvin's. I don't have to drive, which helps when I'm not feeling myself. Until then, I'm just tucked in, enjoying being spoiled a little and appreciating the peace and quiet. I'm basically just trying to feel better. I think the blog creativity will improve as I start to feel better... in the meantime, I'll try to keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by! Love and hugs, y'all!


 


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - In Bed

Ok, so it's been a week since I last blogged. It's been a rough week. Marvin and I both got sick with this cold/flu misery that sidelined him not one bit but has had me barely able to sit up. Then, in the midst of my misery I had Cosy over (because I missed her sweet face) and wrenched my back while playing on the floor with her and could not unbend. I was hunched over for a few days. But mainly, the biggest issue is the cold. Honestly, it's the sickest I've been in forever. I'm a human snot factory. It's coming out my nose, I'm coughing it up. I'm dosing with various cold meds every four hours just trying to survive. It's sucking the life out of me.

So... when we last left this story... Marvin and I had a lovely visit to Oakland Cemetery that I still need to tell you about but... not today. The next day, Thursday, we had a Cosy day -- where Marvin and I take Cosy on our lunch date with us because she absolutely loves Marvin and he is particularly fond of her as well. We got to her house about midday on Thursday right after two of Tasha's dogs had attacked another one of their dogs so it was one thousand degrees of chaos. I left the car door open (as I do) and one of the bloody dogs jumped into the car and made a mess. We ended up going to Austin's work for lunch, the Old Sautee Market. They have a little bucket of soap suds and big bubble wands set up and I knew that would be a good diversion for Cosy. It was. I have tons of precious pictures but honestly, I just don't feel well enough to go through the process of posting today. They have been on my facebook but I try to share here as well for you non-Facebook folks and I just can't.

Also, there are some freaking adorable pictures from later that day when she got a package in the mail from Austin's dad and stepmom - I am posting one photo of that although I took dozens because she was so proud of her little outfit they sent her. She's a mini-Minnie. You will notice beads all over the floor. Beads are a controlled substance in our house but she found a vase that my mom had filled with beads and then put fake flowers in... she said, "oh... treasures!" I spent that afternoon teaching her how to thread beads on a string to make a necklace. It was awful sweet. The beads got everywhere, though and that's how I ended up throwing my back out... trying to pick up beads. Once I threw my back out, I couldn't bend to pick up any more beads and they are all over my floor now. It makes me really twitchy. I'm not a neat freak but... help me Jesus... what a mess.

Anyways... so, as I was saying, I've been sick. Austin has been bringing me food. Pop took pity on me and brought me up some cough medicine. I missed date night Tuesday night (we're back to Tuesday nights... long story) because I honestly just didn't think I could stay awake long enough to go out for dinner. Sleep has been my refuge. But I came down to Marvin's this morning so we could have a little time together. It's THAT WEEK for us... the one year anniversary of when he lost his son and I lost my mom. I was prepared for lots of emotion this week but I wasn't prepared to be sick. Instead of having a lunch date somewhere fabulous, he picked up take out Chinese while I slept and brought it to me. He also brought me more cough medicine and cough drops. Honestly, he's just so good at taking care of me. I ate a little but just have zero appetite and then I slept some more and we watched a movie and he went to work and that's everything you missed.

Ha. I'm kidding. Obviously, more happened. Austin and I had a nasty fight, as we tend to do every now and then. I talked to Ryan. I talked to Cody. I facetimed with Oliver. I got messages from you guys asking if I was ok. I talked to Marvin on the phone but not as much as usual because I just haven't been able to stand talking. Have I mentioned that I have been sick? I've watched a gazillion episodes of Bones. I've played a ridiculous amount of freecell on my phone. But I stayed in bed 99% of the time. I only left the house once, on Monday, to pick Cosy up. She had a little bit of an attitude at first but I've programmed her a channel on Spotify that I play through the bluetooth in the car and that cheered her grumpy little butt right up. It's all the kid songs like Mary Had A Little Lamb and Old McDonald, and so forth. Then we went and picked up her favorite - pink donut with sprinkles - and had a really nice day together.

Monday morning Cosy was quietly playing on my floor in my bedroom and completely out of nowhere said, "I miss Marvin" in the saddest little voice you could imagine. Of course, I told Marvin and so he's heading back up my way tomorrow so we can take her out for lunch with us again. Feeling a little emotional here but... it bears sharing... if you want to know the true heart of a man, see who he is to the tiniest of humans. Kids have a highly acute bullsh*t meter. They know if you're good people or not. Oliver loves everybody so he doesn't count for this equation... but Cosy, she's a hard nut to crack. She's particularly introverted and very shy. Her Uncle Cody sees her at least once a month and she will barely make eye contact with him but she loves Marvin. She would barely talk to my dad until Mawmaw passed away and there was something... something that made her want to love on Pop. Maybe there's that little bit she sees in Marvin too but the girl really loves him and I love that she loves him and I never for a minute take for granted that he's willing to give up his day off to drive all the way up to my place to see a little three year old girl. I could tell you lots of stuff about what he has meant to me in the past year - the laughs and tears and unmentionable moments that we've shared and thousands and thousands of phone calls. But the fact that Cosy loves him, should tell you everything you need to know.

And now I'm going to put my laptop away, hopefully not for another whole week but... if it is, just wait for me, I'll be back. I have a doctor's appointment on Monday to evaluate the whole blood pressure situation (it's been mostly ok lately but I had a high reading the other day) and if I'm still snotty, I'm sure he'll give me antibiotics. My lungs aren't healthy so stuff really digs in and takes hold of me which I'm sure, is part of the reason a simple cold leaves me flattened. I'll let you know what's up. In the meantime, I'm just gonna appreciate the folks in my 3-D world and do my best to get well. Love and hugs!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - Six Feet Under

Today's blog is part one of a two part special (it's honestly not THAT special) on mine and Marvin's big adventure today. Part one is a restaurant review of a place called Six Feet Under that - no lie - is right beside one of Atlanta's biggest and most historical cemeteries, Oakland Cemetery. Part two will be more about Oakland. I want to do it in two parts because 1. I am sleepy/not feeling great and I know if I try to blog too much right now it will be lousy content and 2. I want to give you a little extra background on Oakland Cemetery and I don't have time/energy/brain space for it tonight.

Sidebar - I don't discuss this part of my multiple diagnosis' much but one illness I deal with is fibromyalgia which gives you horrible brain fog at times. I also have an unspecified autoimmune disorder that does a number on me when I'm out in the heat and will make me feel run down / really tired at times. I'm also still struggling to adjust to the new muscle relaxer which makes a huge difference for me pain wise but makes me terribly loopy when it peaks in my system. I'm feeling all three hitting me at the moment and it's draining me to where I'm worried today's blog will be more of a blahg. That's just sort of where I am today... very happy/peaceful/content but in such a fog of exhaustion that it's hard to function.

BUT LUNCH... was AMAZING! We went to a place in Atlanta called, Six Feet Under (check the link if you'd like to see their entire menu, etc) which is - like I said previously - RIGHT beside the most historic cemetery in Atlanta. I am Old Atlanta. By that I mean... my family has been here - in Atlanta and surrounding areas - for several generations. Our roots are deep in this city.  I have such an immense love for the history of this city, even the ugly bits, because it gives us our character. Atlanta is a city that does a horrible job of preserving it's landmarks. So many of our cities treasures have been bulldozed in the name of progress but Oakland Cemetery stands proud, dotted with the names of city founders and famous folks. So eating lunch right across from this iconic part of Old Atlanta was truly, an amazing surprise for me.

Six Feet Under is sort of a fish/pub type place. They had a pretty extensive menu that was sort of a Southern food / fish / pub fusion with the undertones of the graveyard theme but not so much that it was Halloweenish. Marvin had a taco combo platter that came with a  their catfish taco, fried calamari taco and blackened shrimp taco with hush puppies as his side. I tasted his blackened shrimp taco and it was good but... the blackening spices were a little spicy for me. I had a fish and chips basket that came with the US version of chips... you know, round thin slices of fried potatoes... and mine also came with hush puppies. My chips were... crispy and fried exactly as I would have liked but the oil seemed a bit old. It was a little off. The fish, however, was perfect, browned and crispy and not the least bit greasy (which can be hard to do with fish, I think). I loved the hushpuppies but they did have bits of jalapeno and my tongue is still sore from that encounter. We drank iced tea with our meal... we're fancy that way... and we skipped dessert because we were both stuffed.

Service wise - it was fast, attentive enough and we avoided the usual jinx of if I'm blogging about it, our glasses never get refilled. We got refills. Everyone was friendly without hovering. My big beef with this place is that they've gone straw free which makes me 1. Roll my eyes really hard and 2. Want to buy myself metal straws to tote around. I'm not anti-environment at all but I read some stat that said our straw usage makes up like such a ridiculously small percentage of the entire trash in the world - something really small and seemingly inconsequential - that we're wasting more resources by the effort to be straw free than using straws would make. Marvin says I wouldn't care if I wasn't such a big straw user - and he's true. I prefer to drink through a straw, even at home. It didn't make a huge difference to me, honestly, but it was the first time I had encountered this so... buying metal straws now.

Price wise - it was Marvin's turn to pay so I didn't actually see the bill but I think it's reasonable for lunch, especially inside the Perimeter (inside I-285 - the highway that circles Atlanta). My fish basket was around $14. It was two large pieces of fish, a lot of chips and two hushpuppies.

Free parking is available with a short walk. We walked around the cemetery for just a tiny bit after lunch which made the walk back to the car seem really, really long.

I would ... maybe take little kids here. We were there for a weekday lunch so we mostly saw blue collar type workers... a lot of Atlanta Police officers (including one who accidentally whacked Marvin on the head- it was a lady - she got very embarrassed but I told her I do that to him all the time... which he was claiming as police brutality... tee hee).

In other news... I won on HQ - the trivia game that Marvin and I play on our phones. It was my third win and this time I earned $6.05! I would NEVER have won if Marvin hadn't been playing with me because there were 4, maybe 5 answers out of the 12 questions that he had to answer for me. He got out earlier in the game on a question about the Real Housewives franchise. I didn't know the answer but I guessed correctly. And I just lucked out and knew the ones he didn't know!

Cosy's mama posted some really cute pictures of our sweet girl out at Dairy Queen today. I love that she will let her mama put her hair in "dog ears" because she sure as heck won't let me do it!

And... that's about it for today. I'm going to have a bit of dinner then soak in the tub before Marvin gets home from work. I'll do the blog post about Oakland Cemetery some time in the next few days. Tomorrow we're having a Cosy day!

 


Monday, August 6, 2018

Things I Did Today

Because making lists makes sense to me right now. These are in no particular or chronological order. My brain no longer works that way.

1. Wore an orange maxi skirt with a purple t-shirt that says, "my greatest blessings call me Nana"
2. Convinced my 3 year old granddaughter that my bun (in my hair) wasn't so ugly that it must be immediately taken down. She also likes to take out braids or anything I do to my hair that involves elastic bands. She has issues.
3. Allowed my 3 year old granddaughter to clean my dentures AND put my dentures in my mouth for me. We live large here, people.
4. Sat on the floor and played with playdoh.
5. Washed a load of laundry.
6. Took all the clean laundry out of the porta-crib in the guest room (currently my nest) where it has accumulated and folded it and put it in dresser drawers. Except for hanging things which I then draped back over the side of the porta-crib.
7. Listened to several podcasts. Listening to podcasts makes me feel trendy.
8. Picked my granddaughter up from her mom's house at 8am. I will now begin referring to my granddaughter by her name because describing her as my granddaughter has become tedious to type and I imagine it has become tedious to read.
9. Watched half a season of Bones. It's very good. Don't give me spoilers as I'm only on season 5.
10. Video chatted with my boyfriend who agreed with Cosy's decision to take down the horrific bun. For the record, I did not take it out.
11. Dried and folded another load of clothes except for the one pair or panties that somehow managed to stay wadded up and wet in the load of clothes in the dryer. It is now hanging on my closet door.
12. Ate salted caramel flavored yogurt for breakfast.
13. Drank a medium iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
14. Drank about half of a powerade. I'm still working on it.
15. Ate popcorn for lunch.
16. Realized that I need to scrounge up something relatively healthy for dinner.
17. Took my a$$-kicking muscle relaxers and managed to not fall asleep.
18. This happened yesterday but I consider it relevant - talked to my boyfriend 13 times on the phone. This is not an exaggeration. I do, sometimes, tend to "round up" numbers for dramatic effect but this is a literal count of the times we talked on the phone yesterday. This was a total of 129 minutes.
19. Back to today. I picked up all the change off of my floor and determined it to be enough for a pack of cigarettes, even though I don't smoke.
20. Sent my son to Walmart to buy playdoh. Playdoh is essential.
21. Gathered up four little grocery sack sized bags of trash and consolidated them into one large trash bag.
22. Carried down the dishes that have been sitting beside my bathroom sink for at least two weeks.
23. Taught Cosy how to load the dishwasher. Lord, please let her stay at the age where she loves to wash dishes FOREVER!
24. Argued with Cosy that it really is ok for her to wear a shirt that says, "My daddy is my super hero". She thinks it's for her dad to wear. It is a size 3T and lavender.
25. Settled on another tshirt for her to wear. Meh. Obviously today we weren't making our mark on fashion in our town.
26. Did not leave the house except to pick up Cosy.
27. Played about fifty-eleven rounds of free cell on my phone.
28. Watched a ridiculous number of Insta-stories.
29. Debated whether or not my day was interesting enough to warrant a blog. The jury is still out.
30. Forgot to wear deodorant.
31. Helped Cosy work on her new bullet journal. She learned that if you use waaaaay too much chalk marker and close pages together, the ink will transfer to the other page. We did this a lot.
32. Cleaned up playdoh
33. Found a place to store my winter scarf that has been traveling from one piece of furniture to another in this room since February.
34. Decided that it is ok to store my chunky sweatshirts in the unused bathroom cabinets. I mean... why not?
35. Cleaned up Cosy's beads. Cleaned them up again after she and her dad had a bead fight. I know you're going to say that I should have made them clean them up but honestly, I decided I would rather pick them up myself quickly than go through the effort of getting them to do it.
36. Realized why my back always hurts.
37. Programmed a "Cosy Channel" on my Spotify on my phone and played it through the bluetooth in my car. I felt like a real technological genius for doing this and she was so happy to have her own music that it was totally worth the effort. I even made sure to listen to commercials this morning before I picked her up to try to keep her from having to listen to commercial interruptions. Her music is currently things like "the itsy bitsy spider" and "Mary Has A Little Lamb". She loves these songs and I get tired of singing them in the car without accompaniment.
38. Also yesterday but I FaceTimed Oliver while he skateboarded with his dad.
39. Showed Cosy how to FaceTime her dad. She loves video chat... which is why Marvin videochatted with me this morning, so Cosy could see him but... she was at Dunkin Donuts with her dad buying her favorite - pink donut with sprinkles. And Nana's coffee.

AND... this concludes today's list of things I've done. Not because I haven't done anything else but because that's all I can remember. Hope your Monday has been memorable! Love and hugs!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Waffle House and Other Things

I'm so drained, y'all. I don't even know where to start. I thought that my big emotional mom moment for the week would be something dramatic happening when Austin went to the Warped Tour music festival on Tuesday. I just knew something awful was going to happen on his first drive on the interstate and first journey that far on his own. Truthfully, the worst damage was to my bank balance, since he ended up going without enough money and I had to transfer some money into his bank account to get him through the day. Times like that I want to just let consequences happen as they will so that he will learn and becomes a self-sufficient adult but there is just too much of my mama in my for that. Mawmaw would have sent him money.

But he had a great time and I know what awesome memories those kind of events make for us in our lives. I missed out on a lot by marrying and having kids young and then by being a single mom working all the time and by not having two nickels to rub together half the time. By the time I had the resources (time, money, freedom) to do things, my back was too messed up for me to do things. That's what makes my adventures with Marvin so precious to me... he makes it happen, gets me down front at concerts and drives me to New Orleans and... orders the good stuff off the menu at awesome restaurants. I want everyone I love to have those kind of special times. Cody is with Marquee today seeing some guys from YouTube that she enjoys. It's good stuff and we all deserve to make those kind of memories (just sometimes we need to budget more carefully for them, that's all I'm saying.)

Our Thursday culinary adventure was rolling out of bed at noon and going to Waffle House with no makeup, looking like a hot mess in the pouring rain and it was PERFECT! The meal, I mean, and the experience. Not how I looked. It was exactly what I wanted at the moment and just as special of a memory for me as anything else we do. He put some of our favorite songs on the juke box and kissed me on the lips right there in the middle of Waffle House. Then he played "Mandy" by Barry Manilow five times in a row... for the listening pleasure of those who came after us. Tee hee.

You know, it's been a year for us. It's been a year since Marvin sent me the text to let me know that his son had died the day before... and I told him that my mom was not expected to live but a few more hours. She died the next day. We kept texting and texting and talking and seeing each other and then Tuesday became date night and... well, I think I've shared the story already, for the most part and I've been oversharing it here on the blog since May. His sweet boy passed on the 16th of August and my precious mama passed on the 18th and it's been nearly a year. Sometimes I still don't know how we made it. It seems like the worst possible time to start a new relationship but honestly, it was just two very sad people talking to each other and laughing together and a lot of times crying together and just doing things that helped us keep living.

There's been a lot of anger between Austin and Tasha this week. Those two... I just don't know. It breaks my heart for Cosy because now she is beginning to understand that mama and daddy are angry at each other. They bickered back and forth all day on Thursday and I just couldn't wait until Friday morning to pick up my sweet girl and spend a few hours with her, giving her my undivided love and attention and making sure she knew how precious she is to me. I could explain the problem but the he said / she said, he did/ she did would make your head spin. Ultimately it's just another verse of the same song we've been singing for the past two years. They both need to treat each other with more kindness and respect and I'm not saying anything here that I haven't said to them both a thousand times already. We're so foolish when we think that if we can't get along well enough to stay in a relationship with someone that will we somehow magically get along well enough to co-parent after the relationship ends. It takes a lot of work. But that's what has to happen. Cosy didn't pick them as parents. She didn't ask to be born into a volatile relationship. She deserves mom and dad living together and loving each other and the white picket fence and all the happiness and peace of a perfect childhood but she will never have that. So instead we just have to all do our best to communicate kindly and appropriately with each other, to respect each other, to let her know that we're all a team, even if we're in different households. We need to make sure that we don't let our feelings for each other interfere with the time we spend with Cosy. We need to let the people who love her be a part of her life in whatever way is healthy for her. We need to support each other as role models and caregivers in her life and only say positive and appropriate things about each other in front of her. It's so confusing for her when she hears ugly things about the other parent or other caregivers. I try to make a point of listing for her all the people who love her and celebrate each and every person in her little village. She really is worth whatever pride and hurt feelings we have to put aside to give her an opportunity at a happy, healthy childhood.

Having a moment in Walmart
Ok, end of sermon.

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday where I really needed a creative outlet... so I tried to restart my bullet journal and I couldn't find any of the things I bought to use with it. I have so many markers and stencils and rolls of washi tape to fancy it up and ... most of them were gone. It's all part and parcel of the fact that I'm living in the guest room and not in the basement because of the water damage. Things are all turned upside down down there and when I went searching on my own I got really upset and discouraged. But more than that... it's just another reminder that my mom isn't here any more. She'd have never let things be like they are. So many of the pens and markers I used were hers and I can't find a lot of them and it just makes me miss her even more. And of course, because I am my mother's daughter, I tried to tidy things up downstairs and hurt my back even more... it's just so frustrating to not be able to do what needs to be done. I physically can't do it myself and I never seem to find the right words to motivate others to do what needs doing without having a total emotional breakdown. So I screamed and hollered like a lunatic and then came back up here to the guest room and sobbed and boohoo'ed on the phone with Marvin for hours.

Anyways... I'm feeling like having a nap so I'll wrap this is. Hope your weekend is going well and I will blog again... soon. Maybe not tomorrow but soon. My blood pressure was perfectly normal today but I forgot to take a picture.... and there are spiders on the front porch. And now you know everything. Love and hugs!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday - Rico's World Kitchen

A little bit of housekeeping before I tell you about the amazing lunch we had today...

1. Austin survived Warped Tour '18. He made it there and back alive. I did have to wire him money for parking. So... there's that... but he didn't wreck or get lost or get run over on the interstate so... I'm relieved that is over.
2. My doctor's office got the stronger muscle relaxers approved by my insurance (Medicare, in case you're wondering). They are 2mg stronger per pill but SO MUCH STRONGER. I'm really having an adjustment period with this medicine. It does what I need it to do, it's longer lasting because it's a capsule instead of a tablet but it packs a punch. My head is spinning and I took it... four hours ago...
3. Marvin's blood pressure is great! If they could just get mine sorted out...

chicharrones - you must try them!
Now on to what I ate today! As I've previously mentioned, Marvin has taken a Tuesday night trivia show (Mellow Mushroom in Sandy Springs, go see him! He's so much fun!) which means we've changed "date night" (which truly consists of about a 48 hour time period) from Tuesday night to Wednesday lunch. In making that change we decided we wanted to have some culinary adventures in this thriving metropolis that he calls home (I'm too far North to truly be considered an Atlantan myself). Last week we went to The Vortex in the quirky Little Five Points neighborhood in Atlanta and I had a plain burger. I'm fun like that. This week he tasked me with planning our adventure and we went to... a place we go to a lot, Rico's World Kitchen

Here's the process.  Bear with me.

  • I wanted to do something REALLY different, like a cuisine I've never had before like... Korean or.. Bangladeshi. (for real, there's a Bangladeshi restaurant not too far). I've done a ridiculous amount of research on restaurants in reasonable driving distance with a reasonably priced menu where we could experiment a bit. 
  • New adventures are fun and exciting and good blog fodder but the bottom line is that we're just two fat kids who like to eat. 
  • We really, REALLY love Rico's World Kitchen in Buford, Georgia. It is always, consistently, no matter what we order, a great meal. 
  • Rico's offers some very creative lunch specials which you can find on their Facebook page every day. 
  • It's standard practice for us to check Rico's specials before committing to any other restaurant. They're our first choice, every time. 
  • Today Rico's had a Surf and Turf Benedict with English Muffins topped with Caper Horseradish Mayo, Sliced Beef Tenderloin, Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce for $12 on their lunch specials. We had to try it. 
  • Because Rico's other two specials today were... ok, decent, better than what you'd probably get anywhere else for the price but not something we HAD to have - we decided to split the special and add three appetizers. We're crazy like that. Correction - Marvin's crazy like that. Heather would have ordered the burger, which was one of the specials today. In my defense, though, it was their house ground brisket, chuck and pork belly burger - not just a burger- but we had burgers last week. 


Surf and Turf Benedict
And ultimately, today's lunch would rate among the best we've had together. Here's why (another list)

  • Claire, the waitress has a cute butt. Just kidding. I mean, she does have a cute butt but the main thing is that she's one that remembers your drink orders and keeps your glass refilled and waves at you when you walk in. It's the attitude and friendliness of the place. We didn't get Claire today and, true to form, whenever I'm reviewing a place for my blog, the drink refills are slower than we'd like. It's the blog curse. However, by and large, the staff is friendly and attentive and welcoming. We've never had to wait long to be seated but that is probably more about our sense of timing. It's not a huge place but the food comes quickly when you order. You can linger (as we sometimes do) or get in and out quickly, if you need to.
  • It was pouring rain but I have a handicapped tag and that was the ONLY parking place left open on the lot. There is nearby (free) parking a short walk away - the same block, essentially - but it was raining so getting the parking spot was a good omen. 
  • I've been meaning to try their chicharrones (pork rinds) for awhile and today I finally did. I'm obsessed. We got a generous cone of them for $4.50. They were served with a clear dipping sauce that looked like water but guess what? It was vinegar and it was amazing. I will never eat pork rinds without vinegar again. It made them crackle and crunch like pop rocks or rice crispies! They're seasoned with the blackening seasoning which was not too spicy for me and I'm a wimp so, you can handle it, I'm sure.
  • The chicharrones were so good that, as I previously mentioned, Marvin suggested a three appetizer + one entree meal and it was perfect for us! Our other two apps were fried green tomatoes - among the best I've had anywhere and I'm sort of an expert on these things - and lumpia - Filipino egg rolls. I don't remember the price of the lumpia but I know the fried green tomatoes are $4.50. You can't even get them that cheap at Captain D's. 
  • The food is always consistently amazing at Rico's but one of Marvin's favorite things about them is that they carry Cheerwine. It's a North Carolina thing. It's a soda that tastes like somewhere between cherry coke and dr. pepper. I like Cheerwine just fine but carbonation gives me gas so I usually stick with my sweet tea - and their's is solid. 
  • Rico's can be pricey for dinner but their lunch specials, especially when shared, are reasonable. I think our total bill today, even with the three appetizers and two drinks was around $30 (it wasn't my turn to pay so I'm not certain). It's a really good, filling meal with quality ingredients that feels like a real treat for a decent price. 
  • We ate until we were both full and then rolled out of there fat and happy. 


lumpia
fried green tomatoes
The only thing I could say negative about Rico's is that the noise level is higher than I like. It's an open space, a converted service station and there isn't much to muffle the sound - no carpeting, booths, etc. Today we were seated in sort of a middle table and it was louder than I like but... still a great choice for lunch!

I made the link really big earlier in this post so you can see it and click it and see what I'm talking about. Rico's is definitely worth the drive if you're in the Atlanta area and if you can get away during lunch, it's a great, affordable, culinary adventure!

We eat out at least once, usually twice a week so we are still planning to try Korean soon. Any suggestions on what to order that is good but not too spicy? Any restaurant recommendations - either actual restaurant or just cuisine in general? Let me know and I'll blog about it when we go!

It's storming badly so I need to get disconnected from this electrical device in my lap. Thanks for stopping by! Love and hugs, y'all!


Monday, July 30, 2018

Two Bad Things, One Great Thing

Happy Monday, Friends! I know you all look forward to an exciting list of Reasons To Love Monday from me every week but this week I'm just not feeling it. That doesn't mean there won't be exciting things happening this week... no, not at all. It just means there's more floating around in my head than a simple list of pleasures for the week.

First... and I know you're sick to death of hearing it... but I'm just in too much freaking pain to focus on frivolity. It stinks. It's not getting better. Changing my muscle relaxer prescription amped up my pain number (although I consider the whole concept of assigning a random numerical value to pain absolutely ridiculous... how bad does it hurt? Bad enough that I want to rip down your stupid little chart with faces varying from smiling to crying and throw it in the trash... Bad enough that I want to break into a pharmacy and steal every single pain medication they have... you want a number? The number is 2 million, seven hundred and eighty three thousand, nine hundred and seventeen. It's bullsh*t. That's my pain number.) ... and then you add that to the blood pressure that seems to defy gravity and anything else meant to bring it down... and I just don't feel like looking on the bright side at the moment. That doesn't mean that I'm suicidal... or homicidal... or truly considering armed robbery. I'm just saying that it's impossible for me to articulate how frustrating it is to go through a few consecutive weeks of unrelenting pain and feeling yucky. Usually it eases up from time to time. Lately, it's not easing up. I'm tired of hearing myself say that I'm tired. I know that everyone who comes in contact with me knows I'm in pain. I'm becoming redundant. I'm tired of hurting, I'm tired of being hot, I'm tired of a blood pressure that will not go down even when I make a concerted effort to eat responsibly and rest. Right now, it sucks to be in this body. And as much as I'm looking forward to my spa night this week... and whatever culinary adventure Marvin and I have coming up this week... it doesn't make feeling this crappy feel any less crappy. In fact, I feel horrible for not being able to be more excited about the things coming up this week because I do have a lot of good in my life.

Next... and I realize that I'm unintentionally making a list... Austin is sowing some wild oats this week and heading into civilization for a music thing... concert/festival of some sort and I'm not happy with it. I know that he's 24 and an adult and responsible for himself but he's biting off more than he can chew in driving places he's never been and I've worried myself so sick about all the things that can possibly go wrong. He won't listen to me. He thinks I'm underestimating his driving abilities but truly, I'm just far more aware of the hazards of driving in Atlanta than he is. Honestly, I want him to be independent. I'm tired of raising him. I'm happy that he's happy and in a solid, mature, loving relationship. I don't begrudge him going off to enjoy the music that he enjoys. I just know what he doesn't know and as far as I'm concerned, him driving down to the Lakewood Ampitheater tomorrow equals me not ever seeing him again. I'm that concerned about it. The thing is... my friend Susie failed her drivers license exam on her sixteenth birthday and the very next day when she retook it and passed, we all piled into her car and drove around I-285 to Six Flags and if my parents were concerned about our safety, I certainly don't remember it being an issue. I KNOW we DID IT and survived. Austin is a country kid and has learned to drive on two lane country roads. Things like merging and bumper to bumper traffic and being passed by a tractor trailer doing 80 miles an hour two inches away from you are absolutely foreign to him. He says he's going back roads. I picture him running out of gas or getting lost. I picture him doing something stupid and mouthing off to the wrong person and winding up on the news. I imagine him as a statistic. I imagine Cosy without a dad. I imagine me driving all over Atlanta trying to find him when we lose contact with him because his phone goes dead and he forgets his charger and gets lost and can't use his GPS and... see where I'm going with this? Maybe I'm overreacting, maybe I need to do a better job of letting go. Ryan was driving a truck pulling a trailer in rush hour traffic in Dallas when he was 17 and it didn't phase me. Austin just doesn't have the same skill set. And the more I try to talk him out of it, the more determined he is to go. Not helping the blood pressure.

Other than those two items... I'm excited about the week ahead. Last week my time with Marvin was cut short and I'm bound and determined to be his Siamese twin this week. (I can picture his face as he reads this... cringing at the thought of me being all up in his business! He's all for quality time together but also, a fan of person space.) He just put in for vacation time for next year for Mardi Gras and I'm so freaking exciting that I could dance a jig... if I could dance a jig. We've been dreaming about Mardi Gras since the day we left New Orleans in January and for him to have actually taken those days off makes it REAL! We're planning ahead, picking out which parades we want to attend, doing our research... saving money (or trying to). We had about two and a half months worth of planning that went into our last trip to New Orleans but this gives us about seven months to really sort out all the details. I'm ... insert all the words that mean excited ... to plan our costumes, places we want to eat, things we want to do, parades to attend... gotta make sure our room at Purple Michael's is reserved... Laissez le bon temps rouler! I knew nothing about New Orleans before the first trip but now... I'm obsessed with the culture and the food and the history and all that is involved in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Purple Michael being there is just the baby in the king cake, so to speak... you know, like the cherry on the sundae? I'm just delighted to have this to look forward to. I feel like planning for our first trip to New Orleans really got Marvin and I through the worst of our grief over losing my mom and his son. We're approaching the one year anniversary of those events and I am happy to have this distraction... but even more... just happy that he and I have this bond together, that we have a joint love for this city. It's just good stuff.

I'm hoping to have some time with my favorite little girl tomorrow. I'm not going to push myself. If the bp is high, I'm just going to rest. I've been resting all day today. I don't go to Marvin's until Wednesday morning so tomorrow could be another solid day of chill for me. It really depends on how I feel tomorrow, how well I sleep tonight, etc. She really brings me so much joy but... she's three. It's a toss up on whether I'm going to get a sweet, cuddly, adorable little princess or Emo Cosy who cries over whether or not I made her chocolate milk in the right cup and stirred it with the right spoon and carried it properly and ... you know, three.

And I guess that tells you how my Monday is going. Two frustrating things, one really good thing. Lots of reasons to keep moving forward, even when it hurts. I hope your week is off to a great start and I hope your good news outweighs your bad and that there are lots of wonderful things to help you face whatever is getting you down today. Love and hugs, y'all!