Monthly Archives: October 2011

I’ll be the one in the cocktail dress having a panic attack.

Imagine this with less smoke, more feathers. And me - freaking out in the corner

Every year we throw a party.  A formal party.  Cocktail attire.  Wine.  Canapes.  Witty guests. Charming hosts. The husband wears a tux.  I’ve got a cocktail hat.  With feathers.  And a dress with sequins.

This is the twenty second year.

This is the first year I won’t be walking.  Which also means I won’t be cooking.  Or cleaning. Or moving furniture.  Or lighting candles.  Or, well, anything helpful.

And?  This isn’t a nice little party for an intimate group of our closest friends.  Currently we have 53 people attending.  And sixty people who haven’t rsvp’ed yet.  I’m now thrilled when someone sends their regrets.

Also?  We don’t have a large house.  Three bedrooms, one bathroom.  Small backyard.

So moving around on the wheelchair?  I’m not sure how that is going to work.

My brain hurts.

Though I do have a lovely dress.

Blouson Dress with Sequin Skirt

Um, I swear it looks longer on me. Maybe because I'm shorter than the model? Also, I won't be wearing super high heals. And it looks different when sitting in a wheelchair. Oh, wait, you have no idea what I look like. So ignore what I just said. I look *exactly* like this photo...


Just like at my book group, this post doesn’t discuss the book.

The official spice of East Of Eden.

Last night was the official cayenne themed book group. Okay, it wasn’t officially a cayenned themed book group.  Officially we were meeting to discuss Steinbeck’s East Of Eden.

But the secret to a successful book group is snacks.  I was once in a book group with a bunch of guys, and at the first meeting I asked the guy hosting if he wanted help putting out snacks and drinks, and he was all “Why would I put out food?  We’re here to talk about the book.”   That group died a sift death.

My book group has excellent snackage, and we’ve been together for over fifteen years.  You do the math.

So last night when the husband came home we had a mad burst Food and Wine magazine inspired activity in the kitchen to makes snackage for the evening. It wasn’t until there were on the table that I realized the constant for all the recipes we made was cayenne.

First up was Sesame-Chile Kettle Corn. Which, in my defense, wasn’t supposed to have cayenne pepper in it… but I couldn’t find dried chiles de arbol at the store.  And the handy dandy Internet suggested cayenne pepper as a substitution.

Next was the first of a series of savory cocktail cookies I want to try, Chocolate-Cayenne Cocktail Cookies.  Yes, cayenne was in the name, but I had been vacillating between these or three other cookies – none of which had cayenne pepper in them.  They also didn’t contain chocolate, so clearly they were inferior, and remained hypothetical cookies.

Last was the Maple Pecans. I didn’t notice until I started mixing them up that they also contained cayenne.

(Oh, look!  This is turning into a cooking blog.  Oh, wait, it isn’t…)

Anyway… Cayenne, while making an appearance, did not overwhelm the food, or the group.  We had what is likely the longest session of actually talking about the book in the history of our group.  Often we spend ten minutes on the book, and the next hour and a half talking about everything but.  This is probably why East of Eden is considered a classic.

But enough about Steinbeck (and, yes, I realize that was pretty much nothing about Steinbeck)… let’s have more cayenne.

Because turns out, not just a spice, but a weapon, and a medicine.  That’s pretty cool.  As a medicine, well, blah blah blah, super herb, cures everything.  Just ask the ten thousand herbal sites on the web, would they lie to you?

But more interesting, and more verifiable, is the weaponry. South American warriors would burn peppers to use the smoke against the invading Spanish. And during the Vietnam war, Buddhist monks armed themselves with spray guns filled with a mixture of lemon juice, curry powder, and Cayenne.  DIY mace?

Hmm, reading this, I realize maybe its only interesting to me, because I’m feeling all stabby today over the ongoing wheelchair depression.

Probably for the best that I used a large session of my cayenne stash on cooking last night…

I’d throw a pity party, but I don’t have a thing to wear

To me this a cheery picture, because the wheelchair is empty...

I’ve managed to fall down the rabbit hole of depression the last few days.  But I must be crawling out of it, because I’m now wondering how the rabbit hole became defined as a place you fall down, because really, those must be some large rabbits.  Yes, yes, Alice in Wonderland, followed by song writers adding a lyrical backdrop to tripping and drugging and drinking.  And yes, that did sound much more intelligent in my head.

What if Lewis Carol has used a gopher? Would we all be falling down metaphorical gopher holes? Or would that just be silly?

But anyway, people often say to me “I’d go crazy if I was in a wheelchair for so long” like I have some amazing special talent to not go over the edge with two broken feet and months of sitting on my ass.  Because that would be something for the resume – able to deal with mind numbing boredom and feelings of claustrophobia with grace and humor.  And excellent addition to your staff.

What I do have in a huge collection of gossip about strangers, which I can spin into entertaining stories that leave people thinking, Wow, that Wooden Monkey sure is funny.  Tricking them into not noticing that I’m biter and stabby and bored out of my mind.

Unfortunately that ability to look like I’m doing okay hasn’t managed to trick me into believing it.  And in fact this weekend I lost all belief, even in the whole “Bones heal.  I’ll be able to walk again.”  And when people asked me when I was getting out of the chair, I replied “Never.”

And was told that I wasn’t going to heal with that attitude.  Because as we all know, bones are healed with sunshine and happy thoughts.  Oh, wait, they aren’t.  Because if they were I’d have been walking months ago.

My friend Liz and I had an online discussion about how depressing and irritating the world has seemed, and she  described herself as melancholy…like a walking Edward Gorey book.

And then I got all excited, imagining both of us wandering around in  black and white, wearing cool Victorian clothing while wandering the moor. Or a graveyard. And, maybe a little stabby action going on. But not stabbing each other, because then who would we have to admire how fashionable we were in our melancholy.  Because these things are important.

So now i have to post pone my permanent descent down the rabbit hole of despair until I can find the proper wardrobe.  Which might be a bit tricky, as in addition to my lack of mobility, the California weather isn’t cooperating with my need for black tights and flowing capes, and is withholding windy dreary weather and instead providing a sunny warm day with birds singing and flowers blooming and quite frankly it is really messing with the ambiance of my pity party.

I’m So Giddy With Happiness I Feel Drunk

If you aren’t a fan of the show Good Eats… well, I have nothing to say to you other than REALLY?  Do you not have access to cable television?  Oh, you don’t.  Um, okay.  But for the rest of you, you are missing out on the best mix of humor and food and science and whimsy EVER.

For those of you who know who I’m talking about… I just met him.  Not like at the grocery store (how cool would that be?) or a party (oh, that would be even cooler!), but at a bookstore, where the husband and I paid $40 a piece, each got a copy of his newest book, and got to listen to him talk for an hour, and then got our books signed.

And I got to sit in the front row.  And for one glorious hour, I did not hate the wheelchair. Because the only tickets we could get were for standing room only.  But the staff cleared a path so I could be in the front row, and even found a seat for the husband two rows back.  I was in the freaking front row for freaking Alton Brown.

I had high expectations for the evening.  And he surpassed them.

I am too giddy do any descriptive justice to seeing Alton, so I’ll just say this: Best Date Ever!

I’ve Had More Romantic Outings.


The husband and I got our flu shots together. Worst date ever*

Got my flu shot today.  Which is always super fun, what with the needle phobia.  After the injection I felt a little light-headed, and the nurse was super concerned, and wanted me to put my head between my knees, or put my head on the table, and just wouldn’t believe me when I said I’d be okay.

Because it’s not like I’m going to stand up and pass out…

Also, I’m officially in the wheelchair for another three weeks.  At least.

And how was your day?


*Total lie. Not the worst date ever, not even close. Just the worst date with the husband. (Did you get that the drawing is of dates? Or is it only funny if you don't have to explain the joke?)