Wait, Didn’t We Just Put Away Our Halloween Costumes?

Well, ok, Thanksgiving is right on time this year.  We don’t have to deal with Thanksgivakah, and I can fully finish my pumpkin pie before considering Latkes.

Although Chanukah is  late this year, early, or right on time, depending on how you look at it, I did hear my very first Christmas song on the radio just yesterday.

Therefore, I feel I totally have the right to de-stress any pre-stress of the holidays, by fully offering free advertising to all friends and family who need this gift either for themselves or their dear ones.

Enjoy, and may your high last for a full eight nights (that or an $18 donation to the dog charity of your choice).



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What Are They Doing To My Food?

Posted this week on Boomercafe.


I heard a commercial this morning advertising “live caught salmon.” Really? Is there a dead caught salmon? Would it be safe to eat it if the fish was already dead when caught? I’ve become a bit perplexed nowadays over the terms used to describe my food.

Wild salmon

Wild salmon as opposed to farm raised salmon.

Besides live caught salmon, I also can buy “fresh frozen” vegetables. So, are they fresh or are they frozen? Maybe they’re alive like the salmon, but they couldn’t decide.

Then, these days, they’ve been marking everything else “gluten free” — even things that would never have gluten in them anyway. It’s not like “gluten free” is a healthy alternative. It really matters mainly to people who have Celiac disease and can’t digest gluten. These food companies are trying to make me believe that I’m better off if I buy something gluten free.

Food that contains gluten.

Seems like much of the popular food contains gluten.

For years of course they’ve offered “new and improved.” Does that mean the old one was bad?

Then they try to use fancy words to describe my food. Words like “infused” and “encrusted.” I think they can charge more if they use these words as opposed to old-fashioned phrases like “added flavorings” and “breaded.”

New England lobster roll with homemade potato chips cooked in fine oils.

New England lobster roll with homemade potato chips cooked in fine oils.

If I want a sandwich, they no longer tell me that it comes with fries. Now they tell me that I get a sandwich “nestled” with potatoes removed from a bath of fine oils. I can also order the sandwich “accompanied” by potato chips. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to eat my potato chips unescorted. Of course they no longer ask if I want white, wheat, or rye. Now they want to know which type of “artisan” bread I want. After chef school, do the new chefs have internships with various artists? Do they sign and number the bread? Should I eat it or hang it on my wall?

Writer Leslie Handler.

Writer Leslie Handler.

I always thought that a “medley” was a musical composition, but apparently that’s a very old-fashioned way to think about a medley. Today, the word is more commonly used to mean a mixture of items, such as “a medley of vegetables.”

Good news though, dessert no longer has calories because they no longer serve it. Now, you “finish” with a flourless cake. And now I’m “finished” complaining about why I can’t order a fresh fish sandwich on wheat with chips and fruit for dessert. If that’s what I want, I need to know enough to order fresh frozen live caught salmon nestled on artisan bread accompanied by chips and finished with a medley of berries.

So let me say to you in the best old-fashioned English I know: Bon Appetit!

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Chasing Crap

I broke my record while chasing the crap out of my life.

About a year and a half ago, I started running. I did this for a two reasons: to help me keep off the 85 pounds I lost, and to run out every bit of bad energy in my life.

I started out slowly. I would run for one minute and then walk for 29. Then I’d run for two minutes and walk for 28. After a few months of training, I could actually run 5K.

For the first time in my life, I ran the 5K in a race with my daughter. We ran the Rocky Balboa race in Philadelphia in November of 2014. It was a freezing cold day. I hate the cold. But I must admit that the race was absolutely exhilarating.  It gave me not only a real feeling of accomplishment, but I found out what a runner’s high really is.

For those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing it, a runner’s high is the emotion of overwhelming happiness and fulfillment you get when heart pumping exercise causes the endorphins to light up in your body like a firecracker.

I truly believe that everyone needs a little runner’s high in their lives on a regular basis. We all have crap in our lives. Mine comes in the form of living with cancer for 20 years.  When I run, it numbs the pain and makes the poop in my life go away, even if just for a little while.

I decided to challenge myself and train to run a 10K. I signed up to run the women’s 10K in Central Park in June.

My oncologist recently gave me the awesome news that he wants me back in the operating room. Now, I have more crap to deal with. I told the doc that the surgery would just have to be delayed. I’m running this 10K. As far as I’m concerned, it will chase away all the bad vibes cancer brings. No, I’m not burying my head in the sand. I know I need to have yet another surgery. I’m just asking for a little reprieve. I want to be ready for another surgery.  I want to be the happiest, healthiest sick person I know.

So I started to train for the 10K. The other day, I broke my record. While training, I actually ran the whole 10K. I was laughing hysterically when I got home. I was laughing because I hit my goal of running 10K one month before the June race.  I was laughing because I got an awesome runner’s high from it, I was laughing because my follow‑up check‑up showed the cancer had actually improved and I could wait until August, and I was laughing for a totally embarrassing, totally ridiculous reason.

Here’s the whole embarrassing tale: I knew I was going to attempt the 10K. I slathered on plenty of sunscreen. I put Chapstick all over my lips. I put some good tunes on my iPhone, and I folded up a little paper towel and tucked it underneath the back hooks of my sports bra so they wouldn’t rub and chafe my back while running. Off I went.

About a mile into my run, it hit me. It hits me frequently, but usually it hits me towards the end of a run and I have time. But no, this time, it hit only a mile or so into my planned 10K run. What is it you ask?

It’s poop. Yep, I had to poop. I was too far into the run to go back home so I just continued on my way hoping my body would ease the urge away and let me be. I had no such luck.  When my phone announced to me that I was half way through the run, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I run on a canal surrounded by woods. There wasn’t a port‑a‑potty to be found. I doubled over I had to go so badly.  I searched ahead of me no one coming. I looked behind me no one coming. I paused my phone app, eased my way into the woods, and yes, I admit it, I pooped right there, bare bear-butt in the woods.

Relief came at once, but not a green leaf to be found. I was once a Girl Scout. I was prepared. I slipped the paper towel out from under the back of my bra and used it as a handy wipe. Even more embarrassingly, I littered. Sorry folks, I just wasn’t carrying a poopy paper towel for five more kilometers. I happily ran the remaining 5K to complete my very first 10K.

It just goes to show ya that running really does get all your crap out. I’m officially number one in the business of getting out, number two.

This essay was recently published at Go60.

Let’s chat.  What do you do to feel rejuvenated?  Have you ever had an embarrassing moment?  Please share with us in the comments.  I promise, this is a no judgement zone!

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