Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I'm not giving away Snickers for Halloween

Mmmmm ... cookies. Made with peanut butter cups.
A few weeks ago, my husband had his big "turnaround" moment in the hospital. After weeks of little or no improvement, and a sudden decline, he suddenly started getting better.

It took me a while longer to accomplish my own turnaround. But it happened.

My turnaround wasn't a health issue, but one of attitude. It took me quite a while to realize that the guy who drove himself to the doctor wasn't going to get well as fast as he got sick.

You see, all those weeks on the ventilator and under sedation meant that he wasn't moving. When you don't move, your muscles get weak. And it takes them longer to come back than it takes to lose them.

I saw how far my husband had to go to recover, and I saw how slowly he was recovering, but it took me a while to accept that it would be many months before he came home.

I mean, I even told people it would be months - but I didn't hear it that way. In my mind, it felt like he was going to walk through the door any minute.

Who's this? You'll see ,,,
The breakthrough came when I realized I was planning things with parenthesis. Every thought had (When Bob comes home) attached to it. And then one day I realized that I couldn't put everything off until he came home.

It didn't make sense to wait until he could discuss things with me, either, because his priority is to get better, not to worry about whether I find a cheaper car insurance company or whether I should eat all the cheese before he has a chance to sample it.

And frankly, some days he's just confused. It happens to people who stay in the ICU for a long time. He's in no position to be making decisions. I knew I had to adjust; it just took me some time to be comfortable with this "new normal."

This is Dax.
I mean, I got through the hardest decision so far - to put down our aged and ailing dog, Dax - without talking to him first. Bob still doesn't know about Dax because I don't want to tell him any bad news until he's healthy enough to deal with it. And that might be a while.

The next thing I decided wasn't a big deal. Or maybe it was. I guess it depends on how you look at it. This is the sort of thing where, if Bob was here with me, he would say, "if that's what you want to do, then do it."

But it still felt strange to move ahead without talking to him about it.

You see, after I put Dax down, I thought it might be okay to live dogless. But that didn't last long. The house grew to mammoth size, echo-y and empty. Every little noise made me jumpy. I was achingly lonely, particularly at night. I slept worse than ever. I hated getting up and I hated coming home and I hated going to bed.

Meet Snickers.
So, I went to the Humane Society to test my emotional readiness to bring a dog back into my life. And then I brought home The Dog Formerly Known as Madison.

She is four years old, housebroken, polite, and crate trained. She knows "sit," and a few other useful commands, and is past the destructive chewy stage of her life and she is far from the elderly sickly stage.

Wanna play?
Since she was from the shelter, she was very inexpensive, and considering the food that the shelter gave me and the food left over from the previous dog, she's going to cost nothing to feed for quite some time.

I also have dog treats, toys, pillows, bowls, dog beds, leashes, and all the paraphernalia necessary to care for her for a long time.

Since my previous dogs were large and Snickers is small (20 pounds) most of that paraphernalia is a bit over-sized, but she doesn't seem to mind that her bed is roomy and her pillow is ginormous.

She listens when I talk. And this is important, because I talk a lot when I'm home alone. Now, I'm talking to the dog, and that's normal. Before, I was talking to myself, and that's mental.

She is quiet. Unlike a lot of small dogs, she doesn't bark much, and she's not hyperactive. She fits perfectly on my lap, and I can pick her up and carry her if need be.

Dog yoga. How can this be comfortable?
Since I brought her home, my productivity has actually increased as my mood has improved. I don't dread getting up in the morning to start the day, I'm not creeped out when I come home, and I sleep better at night.

But what to name her? Madison didn't seem to fit. That was the name given to her at the shelter, but since she was a stray, it wasn't a name she recognized. It didn't matter if I re-named her.

I toyed with all sorts of names, like Gadget (because I like gadgets) or Grace or Karma because it fits this time of my life.

But somehow those names didn't seem fair - they were about me, not about her. Snickers (the candy) is one of my "comfort" foods, and Snickers (the dog) is sweet and nutty and comforting and energizing, just like a bite-size Snickers bar. And her colors remind me of the candy. And you can't help but smile when you say "Snickers."

I think the name fits her. And I KNOW she fits my life perfectly right now.

Bob doesn't know about Snickers yet, but that's because I haven't told him about Dax. When that time comes and I tell him about Dax, I'm sure he'll be more than happy that I brought Snickers into our home to keep me company.

I mean really, it's so much better than bringing home a boyfriend, right?

Just a few maintenance items ...

Watching TV. So intent.
The one major thing I decided (for me, anyway) is that I need to stop being so ... stressed ... about having a fresh post every single day. It's not good for me, and it's not good for the blog.

When I'm back to my usual writing, there will be weekly posts about bread, gadgets, and Whole Foods recipes, because I write those for other sites. There will be articles republished from my newspaper column and Fooducopia, as well, if I'm running at full speed. That's about four days a week of fresh content. Some weeks, that might be all I post, and other weeks there could be more. I'd like to try for five each week ... but we'll see.

There also might be more sponsored posts and paid videos and product reviews and sidebar ads, because if I can make a few extra dollars from this blog, I'm going to do that. I won't hawk products I dislike, and I'll always have a lot more un-sponsored than sponsored.

And even the sponsored posts will be honestly "me" and not a bunch of PR stuff. So don't worry about this blog becoming a billboard for anyone who pays. I'll still be selective, and I'll still be honest with you about everything I write. And I'll tell you when something is sponsored. No secrets, I promise.

And while I will continue to update you on my husband's condition and my life events, I'm going to try to keep these to a minimum. After all, this is a food blog.

And now for the FOOD

Wanna know what to do with your left over Halloween candy? Like I said at the top of the post, I won't be giving away Snickers. But I probably will buy Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And with the leftovers, I might make two-ingredient cookies.

I was skeptical the first time I made them, but it really worked. That's the photo you see up at the top of this post.

Check out THIS POST for the recipe.