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Crofton, MD, 21114

A long-running personal blog shared by two authors with completely different approaches to life. And a lot of large, beautiful photographs of dogs and nature and places we've traveled to. Rich in commentary and irreverant in style. 

Blog

We started blogging a long time ago. Our work hours never aligned with recommended psychotherapists and we needed to get our thoughts out. We are great friends, total opposites and long-time housemates. This was a way to communicate. With each other. With strangers. With consumer marketers. With sub-par meteorologists. With distant friends who wanted to see pictures of stuff we were up to.

This is the place. Our bucket of thoughts to share. You are welcome. 
(We realize that most of you are here for the dog pictures.)

Sick Guilt

Healey

This is a term that exists. Well it exists in my world.

Historically when I feel really sick I get this overwhelming need to be productive. As if I have to earn the privilege to lay down. Yes, it is warped. There are so many times when I want to divorce myself. But to think about it another way – when else would I have found the motivation to make all the furniture that is now in the living room (pneumonia)?  When would I have been so inspired to pattern and sew all new curtains in my old house (spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak)? And when would I have been up to the challenge to single handedly wipe out the overpopulation of bananas (thanks again Costco) and make 5 loaves and 24 muffins of banana bread? (Illness currently unnamed) Well that would have been last night.

First off I blame Bryant for this illness. Blame. Blame. Blame.  People who are sick and still knowingly kiss loved ones on the lips – well they are just evil and hateful. 

So I started to feel bad. My temperature went from arctic to tropical to arctic. The sweat on my face was in jeopardy of freezing. I turned an unhealthy shade of green and pointed my child at the television for parenting needs. I went into the kitchen to take all the drugs I own hoping that one of them would mercifully knock me out. I took Nyquil, nasal decongestant, allergy meds, vitamin D, B and C, a multivitamin and a children’s chewable vitamin. And a fiber one, what the hell, right? I want to be fixed and literally have it all behind me.

But then the Sick Guilt kicked in. I’d say that was about 5 minutes too late.

While I was in the kitchen I noticed – again – the village-feeding-quantity of bananas on the counter. HE had bought them a week and a half ago at what I will now refer to as the Men’s Warehouse. There they had sat on the counter, rock hard for over a week appearing to be made of wood stained grass green. And then the moment I gave up on them as a food I went out and bought some normal bunch-sized bananas from a normal grocery store. Envy turned them to a late ripe. I think it took seven minutes. Amazing. Costco produce is so emotional.

So sick guilt decided I should make banana bread. My grandmother used to do stuff like that. My mother still knew all the sayings “Oh you have ripe bananas. You should make banana bread.” Do not confuse that she ‘says that’ with the consequence that she would ever ‘DO THAT’ personally. That gene skipped a generation. Actually quality cooking died with my grandmother. But I have the ability to make food that LOOKS edible.

So I decided to “make banana bread." (pinch your thumb and middle fingers together, raise them to eye level and say that with a musical tone, as if we were Italian Irish Americans.) (We're not.)

Well it started well enough. I peeled al the bananas and mashed them with one of the many pompous brand named kitchen tools I have. I had 6 cups of mashed bananas. The recipe for two loaves called for 2 cups. Simple. I’d triple the recipe.

Did I mention that I suck at math?  I suck at math.

This immediately became an issue when I noticed that I didn’t have a lot of similarly sized bowls. And the dry mixture at this point could fill a spaghetti pot.

I decided to ignore this.

My kitchen aid mixer looked as if it was a staging prop I had borrowed it from the set of Twilight. Flour permeated the air (possibly from being added too quickly in the wrong amount). The room took on the aesthetic feeling of a euro trash disco.

I decided to ignore that.

9 teaspoons of vanilla seemed like too much. But that was what it called for (x3). Whatever. Who doesn’t like vanilla? Commie bastards. That’s who! I needed more bowls. And counter space.

Screw that. I just need to get through this.

Seamus asked if he had to go to bed soon. Standing on the outside of the kitchen, hugging a ball nervously. “What are you making?” “Banana bread.””oh.”

I heard him slowly suck in the response “I don’t like banana bread.” I tilted my head as if I was a predatory animal and said. “You. Go. Watch cartoons. I will come get you when it is time.” He slowly backed into the living room.

I stopped caring. I referenced the cookbook and found out that the loaves had to bake for “60 to 65 minutes”. I laughed out loud and finally poured myself a glass of wine. If ever there was a time… this was the time to start drinking. The kitchen was in chaos. It would take me 60 to 65 minutes to throw all this shit out and pretend this never happened.

I pushed through. At this point the Asian knew I was in over my head via an IM picture taken of the kitchen at a low point and I had to produce something. Anything remotely edible. I wanted to go to bed. I could feel the parts of my body where the allergy medicine was making sweet pudding with the Nyquil.

The recipe called for coconut. I am deathly allergic to coconut. Think “puke for distance” allergic. I decided – giggling – to substitute shredded carrots for coconut.

I mixed without a care for the pyrotechnics that resulted. I pulled out pans I didn’t know I had. Filled them to overflowing and shoved layers of them into the preheated oven. I do not care. I will spend the rest of my life watching that oven so I will surely catch anything that dares over-bake. I started laughing again. Seamus glanced at me nervously from the couch. 

“Mom?”
“Never jump infront of a speeding train sweetie. Stay where you are. “

Eventually it ended. Once everything was in a pan I started cleaning like the guilty party cleaning up a crime scene. I was the baking equivalent of Casey Anthony. I was done with this.

But not so similar to Casey Anthony – the next day – people didn’t think I was guilty of being anything other than a wonderfully generous, kindly baker cum co-worker. The bread turned out. No one was more shocked than I was. Or am. Because even though I have given away over two dozen muffins and a loaf – I still need to spin 4 loaves. I want nothing to do with it anymore.

I neglected to tell my new work mates – who are wonderful and lovely people – that I only really bake when I am really sick. I just dressed up the basket of muffins and left a note saying “Banana bread muffins. No nuts. Enjoy!”