Fake Spring

Nothing gets a Midwesterner going faster than the first hint of Spring.. In Illinois, we have experienced it for two weekends in a row. I for one will take it!

For those of you who don’t understand fake spring, let me take you along a walk that we shall call the “yahoo it’s Spring” You are watching the weather early one morning, and the meteorologist says “unseasonably warm” your ears perk up.. and you are now laser focused.. Hold the phone.. did he say 60 degrees? In the words of my 13 year old granddaughter, that’s lit.

And so it begins the ritual of pre or fake spring… In my house, the first part of the ritual, is OPEN THE WINDOWS… because we all  know that simply opening the windows banishing all germs from your home. next.. shuck your coat.. come one it’s 60! nearly shorts and flip flops.. oh wait, I do live near a University and yes there are shorts ( but they are issued them aren’t they?) I am sorry I digress.

Step outside and begin your ritual, the neighbors emerge from their homes, smiling ( the sun does that) and the transformation begins.  And it’s a wonderful thing to see.

This long weekend ( Thank you President’s Day) I have been deep in the throes of house renovations, and even that has been enjoyable. We put up insulation, broke out walls and prepared to drywall. Yes, I took time off work to work.. but that’s another blog.

Sure we jump the gun sometimes.. It’s not exactly planting weather, but you could clean up the leaves you didn’t get last fall. You hear the familiar command for winter weary parents “get outside ” It’s not an option more like a command, for the safety of your future life and my sanity you must go outdoors.. No negotiations.

And so the doors open and small humans pour into the streets, parents pack them up and off to the park they go, even if the parks aren’t quite prepared. Swings are still in storage, bathrooms, may or may not be unlocked and the pool definitely isn’t open. But we Midwesterners we make due, we climb the monkey bars, we slide, and we stroll through the park, without our coats, basking in the glorious fake spring.

Each day we are blessed with fabulous weather, we are more grateful than the day before, because we are reasonable and we know this can’t last. We hope inside it will and finally that groundhog will be wrong, maybe he is only right because there is a date for the end of winter and it’s March 20, 2017. But the mystery of his wise predictions, encourage us to hope for early spring just to one up a groundhog. Nothing as sweet as proving him fallible.

So unzip that coat, sit on your porch, and watch your tree bloom, they already have buds. Spring is peeking around the corner, teasing, promising all at once. Tonight, we are having a thunderstorm, I am getting out my galoshes.

Until next time,




Migraine and Art


As I wrote in a previous column, I am a migraine sufferer. I have been since age 24.. I attribute to  having a spinal when my first daughter was born ( Yes I am a doctor or I play one on the internet).

So recently I joined a FB group called “My Migraine Support Group” we are 2.2K strong and this group of men and women help me every day. Within this group I have learned that I am not alone, and my battle is not as bad as others. It has made me more tolerant, more compassionate and more understanding.

Years ago, as I was struggling to find some understanding of this condition and of course a solution that allowed me to conquer it, living with it was never an option, I just needed it to eradicate it. I was searching for knowledge and I found Oliver Sacks, or should I say he found me. While trolling through the thrift store one day, I came upon a book simply entitled “Migraine”, it opened my eyes and changed my world.

I was relieved to know that while my symptoms were frightening they weren’t a death sentence. The times I thought I was having stroke and lay in my bed resigning myself to death only to awake the next morning, this was normal. Feeling the tingling down my arms wasn’t odd but normal was oddly comforting. The icepick headaches, normal. Wanting to drill a hole through my head, normal and an actual procedure at some treatment centers. Extreme but real.

As I worked my way through the book, I was most intrigued by the section of the book that showcased the artwork created by patients under duress of a migraine. Some the work showcased in the book was scary, some was comforting.

Since joining the migraine group, several of the members have shared their own migraine art, I have included with permission, some of their work. As I look at the art, I wonder if it is a fractured mind at the moment of deepest pain that allows them to create such free flowing work. Or maybe it ‘s because many migraine suffers experience auras or visual disturbances before it hits, and the art captures those moments in art.

Every migraine is different and every piece of art captures those variances and yes even the beauty. It is my personal opinion that migraines definitely stink, but to think that the power of the pain can create magnificent artwork is worth embracing and celebrating.

So this column celebrates that art and the artists who share it with us. it may even be a way to release the toxic pain. Transferring it from your head and body to a canvas.

For those of you who want to experience the beautiful artwork further, please check out the links below. This is an original from one my group members. It is amazing to me, the colors pale and washed out, like I feel after a migraine, the concentrated lines broken, how my vision feels  prior to  an episode. She has captured it perfectly for me.. I hope you see the same.


This is a link to the Migraine art gallery in the UK, over 500 pieces. Check it out!


Until next time,








Leftovers and Hot Dish

I grew up eating leftovers, I never knew there was a choice. My mom brought home “leftovers” from Frank’s and I ate leftover sausage and mushroom pizza for breakfast, technically leftovers. We fought over leftovers. You looked in the fridge and saw that brown paper bag, small grease stain and you silently mouthed “yes” with a mild fist pump. Even unwrapping it was a joy. Carefully wrapped in wax paper, like a present on Christmas morning.

But when I had children of my own leftovers took on a different connotation..it was a demon, lurking in the fridge. It strikes fear into my children and now grandchildren.

What’s for dinner? Leftovers. I watch the color drain from their young faces and wait for the calculated response… oh.  Such power to be the dinner provider and hold the sword of sustenance above their heads proclaiming “leftovers” like William Wallace says “Freeeeedom” in Braveheart.

My children grew up hating leftovers (I only discovered this recently) I spent most of my life thinking I could revive anything and recreate it  once if not twice, reveling in my creativity in the face of minimal dinner offerings. Apparently my children did not share my optimism and joy of leftover dinner.

While I still eat leftovers and enjoy them, I had forgotten the  torture it was for my children, the forlorn faces, eyes darkened by dismay of eating leftovers…Surely we can have a fresh meal everyday they seem to plead.

Two months ago the leftover Demoness rose from her crypt and leftovers was in full swing. It started with Christmas and the leftover ham/turkey. It became sandwiches, Turkey soup (which was very good), even Turkey Ala King…until one pleading day my 6 year old grandson patiently queried “Are we done eating Christmas food now?” To which his sister echoed “that is the last of the ham isn’t it?” My evil response? Omelets tomorrow. :)😉

A collective groan was released, they looked as if they had been forced to eat a bowl of lukewarm porridge. I laughed uncontrollably at their plight.

We have discussed my love of leftovers and their dislike as we are now adults. My life long theory has always been”when you buy the food, you will understand” my theory was wrong.Both married, one will eat them begrudgingly and the other forces them into her husbands lunch like unwanted toys begging to be loved.

Oh we can all laugh about it now, baked spaghetti,  hot turkey sandwiches and all of the culinary delights I whip up from leftovers. I equate my love of leftovers to this scene from the 1996 movie “Big Bully”

What is this?

Hot Dish

What’s hot dish?

Well, last week we had lasagna, then it became spaghetti and when it’s finally unrecognizable, they call it Hot Dish.

Welcome to Gma’s house.

Until next time, what’s for dinner?



Coffee and retirement

There is nothing quite as fulfilling as a good cup of coffee, unless it is coffee being served to me by someone who knows how I like my coffee.to invest the time in me to understand my coffee preferences is love.

It speaks volumes to me. It says I care about you and your happiness is important to me. To wake up to hot coffee drifting through the house is Rockwellian. I didn’t always love coffee, until I was introduced to good coffee..

Before good coffee, I thought coffee was something that should taste like dessert. Mask the coffee taste in sugar and flavors until it is unrecognizable. That was coffee to me. But then I progressed..sort of. I began to drink coffee with just cream and sugar… a lot of sugar…I know baby steps.. but I did.. and I really thought I was progressive. Not quite a coffee Expert but definitely out of the novice arena.

Enter Mr. coffee.. he scoffed at my version of coffee, and gradually he converted me.. first he replaced my tiny 4 cup machine with a 12 cup. Then he added a grinder, a what? Yes, a grinder and something called “whole Bean”.. and finally enter dark roast..

So my love affair with coffee began, I cannot start a day without it, nor do I want to . Nothing is quite as satisfying as a hot cup of coffee, steaming with Italian cream. It is a sensual experience. I inhale the aroma, I take the first sip. Delightful. The perfect warmth.

It whispers lazy mornings, lounging around in pajama pants and a favorite movie on the tv. During good weather, I will sit on my porch in my pajamas and sip my brew while writing or reading. It’s a good day if it starts with coffee..

And you thought it was just Coffee..

Brew and sip.. next let’s talk tea.