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How many times have I told you to cook with love? Really, how often do I mention within these posts the importance of sprinkling your food with fairy dust and passion crystals? There exists a direct correlation between your success in the kitchen and the amount of love spells dissolved in that pot on your stove. I stressed it enough over the months for you to think I would know better than to step into my cooking chambers all bitter, and with electric current of fury streaming through my spine.

Why, you wonder?

If you miss your best friend’s birthday extravaganza because your mate’s left part of the brain has grown twice in size over the course of one week due to work overload, and on top of that he’s drying out of hunger and thus turning into a pile of dust on a desk in his office as we speak, and you must forgo obeying the law while flying through all red lights of the streets of City of Angels rushing to him with a meal that will save his life, and you call your friend from the car with no headset (oops, another violation!) to let her know of the extraordinary circumstances causing your absence at the party, promising to make it up to her in the next few days, she should understand, right?

She didn’t. She was all “I get that Jason was stuck at work, but you could have shown your face at least”. Oh, Mother, when I heard that, a yellow puff of anger mixed with hurt snuck out of my wide open mouth. Really? I was so pissed that she didn’t give me the credit of the doubt, knowing how fiercely loyal I am, and understand that I must have had a damn good excuse to miss her Celebration Of Aging. And frankly, I don’t need to wait for her birthday to raise a toast for the three new wrinkles she’s developed, and the gray hair she’s grown …on her leg, way up there. And she also should know that the minute her boobs get soggy and her butt widens out of her mind so that she has to buy TWO airplane tickets to fly anywhere, and she gets stretch marks after her first childbirth that will resemble the fjords of Norway, I’ll be the first one to make her a FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH FRESH RASPBERRY SAUCE, and stick candles in it no matter the date. Because that’s the kind of friend I am.

In such a frame of mind, I crossed the threshold of our kitchen to make dinner – a pot of hearty soup, one of my favorites, the soup that Jason’s parents loved so much they took the recipe down and entered a soup contest with it in TEXAS. In all modesty, I must say that if there is anything I know about cooking, soup is IT. That’s my forte.

I started peeling my carrots and parsnips all the while thinking of my dear friend, that itzy-bitzy little thing with a big mouth, enormous heart, and a really dirty mind. I crisped some pancetta and sautéed chopped leeks with an onion in a big pot. I tossed all the veggies in along with a few lightning bolts of anger and a dash of salt and pepper. I added two legs of chicken, a handful of spices, and completely engaged in the dialog in my head. From that point on, I have no recollection of the events that took place in my kitchen. I was so busy picturing myself as an old(er) woman with a handful of grandkids parked on the floor around my rocking chair, while telling them the story of a beautiful friendship wasted over …nothing.

The soup was done, and ready to serve. I took a spoonful to taste, and almost spat it back into the pot. It was absolutely disgusting. It was the most repelling thing I ever made. My poor soup, it took it all in – all the bitterness that I got out of my system, and dumped into the pot along with the veggies et al. There was no way to fix it. All I could do was to flush that sour and bitter mixture down the toilet, and drive to see my girlfriend to hug the hell out of her, and give her the birthday gift we both worked on with Jason, and tell her how much I wished I had been there to help her blow the candles, dozens and dozens of them. So many in fact, that the fire marshals arrived, the real ones this time, and not the touring Chippendales in disguise.

When we hugged it all out, I gasped “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. Are you still upset?” She quickly cut me off “Don’t even sweat it. I was PMS-ing”.

I know PMS. You don’t mess with a woman who is PMSing, period. (No pun intended.) And you definitely don’t want to mess with a woman that is PMSing ON HER BIRTHDAY.

Long story short, I have no recipe to share with you today, as I used it all up during my ANGER MANAGEMENT session with self.

Cooking is therapeutic, have I not told you?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VERONICA!

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mas•och•ism – n. 1 form of perversion involving one’s own pain or humiliation. 2 colloq. Enjoyment of what appears to be painful or tiresome.


Next time you’re at the gym, do me a favor, glance around and watch people’s faces while they’re in the midst of their “sets”. Show me one person that seems to be enjoying themselves.

Wait, I take it back, some people actually may be having fun… Most women at the gym look like they are on a field trip, come to think of it, catching butterflies in their nets while whistling “la-lee-lee-lee-la” and hopping across a flower-bedded meadow. Life is light, joyful, oh so easy, and the sun always shines.

The men, however, are in hell. Painted all over their faces are expressions of pain, disbelief, repugnance, and most commonly – ANGER. Yes, anger. As they pull, lift and push, each man’s composure slowly dissolves under a thin layer of glistening sweat. With every jerk of his body the mouth wiggles uncertain, the tongue shyly takes a peek outside only to get instantly ambushed and captured by a pair of meaty lips, the rosy cheeks take an elevator all the way up under the squinting eyes, and the forehead collapses like an accordion. And it’s not silent body language, oh, no! There’s the sighing and the growling, the teeth grinding and spontaneous whistling. Then comes that ONE DEEP BREATH, and with it the arms – bearing a 250 lb load – catapult into the thin air. Inevitably, a deep dark and devastating roar abruptly tears the silence of the heavily air-conditioned fitness temple. That’s ANGER!!!

I can relate.

Three weeks into my new routine of exercising my “six-pack” under Jason’s supervision and at his command, I find myself lying on a mat in between his spread legs, holding onto his ankles, staring at his crotch, and facing a series of excruciating crunches and kicks into the air, followed by holding my legs against the laws of gravity and folding my chest into a saucer. I panic.

Many a time has a thought crossed my mind to run away, to simply leave the gym without a word and camp by our car in the steaming-hot underground parking garage, awaiting Jason’s arrival, who would eventually figure out I’m no where to be found and descend to get his automobile. Usually it hits me right before heading to the mats to see my honey-poo–slash-personal trainer. But the second the thought finishes its run across my head I am so embarrassed that I turn around obediently and scuff my sneakers working my way to the dreaded AB LABORATORY.

–       Are we done yet? – I moan a question half way through the first set. And one set, mind you, consists of 4 different tummy exercises, and each exercise, mind you, consists of 15 to 30 repetitions. You do the math.

–       With the first set… soon. – Jason replies stoically.

–       I have the best view in the world! – I shout in a whispery manner and flirtatiously wave my eyebrows while looking straight at his crotch, trying out a new diversion technique.

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–       Great. Give me another 15 of those – Jason is unmoved by the compliment and urges me to keep throwing my legs up, so he can push them back down while I, with my whole abdominal might, keep them from reaching the floor.

–       It’s been three weeks! When will the pain stop?? – I hear myself crying out loud, and hope for some compassion if not from Jason, then from my fellow masochists on the mats.

–       Never – Did I just hear him say “NEVER”??!! – Once you get stronger we’ll switch to a more challenging exercise routine.

I realize I’m starting to boil up in fury. I can’t believe I ever asked him for this little “favor” to help me get back in shape! I want to be done with this stupid work out!

Jason manages to keep his face straight, and steps on my feet while I power-push through another set of crunches. I swear, all I feel is PAIN ripping my insights apart.  Anger becomes the ONLY driving force.  The sad howl of a deadly hurt, savage animal resonates in my head. Jason squeezes two more full sets out of my wrenched and abused body. When we’re finally finished, he smiles warmly at my sour face:

–       The good part is that it only hurts while you’re doing it. The minute you’re done, it’s all gone. Why are you still pouting? There’s no more pain.

–       The memory of it still hurts though, boo-hoo – says me.

An elevator ride and two sets of escalators later I recover my reason and other senses enough to mumble “thank you” and blow Jason a kiss just as we reach our car.

–       I am very proud of you – He acknowledges. – You did it!

Yes! I fooking did it… for the fifth time this week! That is worthy a reward, I decide, and treat myself to a rich and oozing with chocolate brownie. Uhm… Life is good again.

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