Monday, December 22, 2008

Thanks and No Thanks

While I have been in my funk and not keeping up my blog, I have actually been blessed with many things. Primarily, the blessings have taken the guise of people, so many people, who have expressed love and encouragement to me.

There have also been things that have been kind of crappy.

So I have made lists of each.

Thankful for:

My friend Christine. She has done things like bring me books when I was in the hospital and even my kids didn’t come visit me. She makes me laugh. She tells me I am wonderful. She introduced me to chocolate peanut butter pie. Oh wait, I am mad about that last one. But I still am grateful for Christine.

My sister, who I might go for weeks without seeing or speaking to, but we will start in mid-sentence where our last conversation ended. She knows. She gets it. I am glad she is my sister.

For Jane. Jane is a brilliant and hilarious writer from England. She writes a shriekingly funny blog, which I love, and she writes for the BBC, which makes me dead jealous. Jane threatened me with [her] nudity if I didn’t start writing again. However, Jane dear, you forget about the picture of you standing behind the Prehistoric Woman picture board. I am so stupid, I didn’t realize it was a picture board and thought it was actually you, topless and dressed in furry rags. Right. In public, standing next to your husband and two of your children. Never mind how scary it is that I didn’t give it a second thought and considered you more brave than weird. My point is I already thought I had seen you naked. So that’s not much a threat now, is it Jane? You will have to come up with something better than that.

For chocolate peanut butter pie. Oh wait, I am mad about that one.

For my blog readers, who never give up on me and leave wonderful, warm, encouraging comments.

For my MS board friends, who never give up on me and say rude things that make me laugh my ass off.

For Cathy, who never gives up on me. Period.

For Trinity and my friends there, especially Michael, Bill and Dell, who never give up on me.

Dr. Wonderful, for not giving up on me, for actually sending a hand written note when I missed a follow-up appointment for my shoulder.

Dr. H, for not giving up on me even though I question everything.

Dr. B. for always letting me talk and acting like he is completely sympathetic even though he probably thinks I am a total Fruit Loop. For not giving up on me after all these years.

Hmmmm, I am sensing a pattern here.

Have I mentioned chocolate peanut butter pie?

So where was I…oh, right, the shitty stuff. It seems churlish to list bad things, but I will anyway, because that is just the kind of ingrate I am. lol (Oh, another thankful for: Barb, because she loves it when I say ‘churlish’.)

Not thankful for:

For a person dying last month from an infection related to the medicine I take to treat MS.

You know what? That’s enough not to be thankful for.

I’ll bet they weren’t too thrilled about it themselves.


Many, many truly humble thanks to those of you who have kept coming back even when I didn’t.

Monday, December 15, 2008

If All of Us Got Together…

Every morning I shuffle out of my bedroom, into the kitchen and I feed my little dog and two cats. It is a ritual, sometimes comical, sometimes wearing. The cats cry and wind around my legs as though they haven’t eaten in decades. The dog shadows my every step, from the bedroom, to the kitchen, to the sink to fill the kettle, to the stove, to the cupboard, to the pet dishes, to contented munching. Then I have my tea and my breakfast.

Despite the ups and downs, well, actually, downs and downs, of my recent life, none of us, not me, not my children, not my animals, have ever been hungry.

But for people in close proximity to my home, perhaps even right next door, hunger is a very real fact of everyday life.

My church, Trinity Church in Asbury Park, has had a food pantry for more than thirteen years. It started when Asbury was a wasteland and the neighborhood surrounding the church was desperate and marginalized. The pantry continues to operate three days a week and has always prided itself on having no means testing or other such restrictions. There has never been a ‘deserving poor’ versus ‘undeserving poor’. Hungry was hungry.

The food that stocks our Pantry comes from several sources, from parish donations, from cash donations, but most importantly, from the Monmouth and Ocean Counties Foodbank. This post is a plea to help save that organization and, consequently, to feed our quietly suffering neighbors. I and over 100 other New Jersey bloggers are dedicating today to the “We Can’t Let This Bank Fail” campaign.

Our economy is facing the worst crisis since the Great Depression. More families everyday are finding one or both parents out of work. People are without jobs, and food, who never, ever imagined they could face such a predicament. Yet just when the need for food at the Foodbank is the greatest, the resources are at their lowest.

Kathleen DiChiara states it simply, but her one comment says it all: if all of us get together, we can keep the Foodbank supplies at needed levels.

There are so many ways to make a difference, some of them as effortless as tearing off one of those Check Out Hunger coupons at the supermarket.

The website for the Community Foodbank of New Jersey has an incredible amount of information about this silent crisis. Here are some ideas that you can act on:

• Start a food drive at your workplace, church or school.
• Engage your children, have them help you pick out and deliver non-perishables. You are raising responsible human beings and helping your neighbors at the same time.
• Donate money directly to the Foodbank. Even a little bit helps.
• Volunteer to help out at the Foodbank if your resources don’t stretch to donations. Again, it is a great way to help your children understand the value of giving back to our community.

If you can’t donate and you are unable to volunteer, pray for everyone involved: for our new administration, that they will guide us out of this crisis; for those who are struggling, that they will stay strong and not despair; for those who are serving, that they will find peace and gratification in helping their fellow New Jerseyans.

Here are some website resources, for you to help or seek help:

The Community Foodbank of New Jersey:

Trinity Church, Asbury Park:

New Jersey Hunger Prevention Advisory Board:

NJ Helps (free and private):

And here is the roster of incredibly generous and talented bloggers taking part today to raise awareness (brava to Debbie Smith of for pulling this together!!):

3) Jersey Girl Cooks
4) Simply Sable
5) John and Lisa are eating in South Jersey
6) Padma's Kitchen
7) Chefdruck
8) Life Lightly Salted
9) My Italian Grandmother
10) Cook Appeal
11) Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars
12) Mommy Vents
13) This Full House
14) Paper Bridges
15) Motherhood Avenue
16) The Kamienski Chronicles
17) Down the Shore with Jen
18) Fits and Giggles
19) House Hubbies Home Cooking
20) Nourish Ourselves
23) Off the broiler
24) Mrs. Mo’s New Jersey Baby
28) Savy Source Newark
29) Momlogic New Jersey
33) Best of Roxy
34) Citizen
36) Jersey Beat
37) Pop Vulture Phil
41) Mike Halfacres Blog
42) Somerset08873
43) Family, Friends and Food
47) New Jersey Real Estate Report
49) More Monmouth Musings
50) Man of Infirmity
51) Another Delco Guy in South Jersey
53) Average Noone
54) Cleary’s Notebook
55) Welcome to my Planet
56) The Center of New Jersey Life
57) Sharon’s Food Blog
58) Morristown, Chatham, Summit, and Madison NJ Real Estate
59) Midtown Direct Real Estate News
60) New Jersey Real Estate
63) The Ridgewood Blog
64) Book a Week with Jen
65) Banannie
67) Matawan Advocate
68) Take Back the Kitchen
69) The Joy of Toast
70) Route 55
71) Montclair
72) SaveJersey
73) Stompbox
74) Joe the Blogger
75) Environmental Republican
76) Stacey Snacks
77) Subversive Garden
78) New Jersey Pathfinder
79) Cooking With Friends Blog
80) Triple Venti
81) Read All About It
82) Rich Lee on Media
83) Likelihood of Success
84) Cape Cuisine
85) The Business At Hand
86) NewJerseyTaxRevolution
87) Figmentations
88) MiddletownMike
89) Caviar and Codfish
90) A Day in the Life
91) Mack’s Journey Through Life
92) Alice’s Restaurant
93) Tiger Hawk
94)Politics Patrol, The Bob Ingle Blog
95) The Food Chain
96) Henson’s Hell
97) Cranbury Conservative
98) Baristanet
99) New Jersey: Politics Unusual
100) Jersey Shore Blog
101) Plainfield Today
102) Beacon Bulletin
103) Journal Square Jersey City 07306