Wednesday, October 13

Silver Lining

About a year ago I bought a big jar of multi vitamins.  I was excited to start taking care of myself.  I was going to take one every day just like the directions told me to. 

This lasted about a week before I bought something else (maybe bugles?) and just started eating them every day instead.

The multi vitamins were pushed farther and farther back in my cabinet until this morning when a bunch of stuff fell out of my cabinet  until this morning when I was cleaning my cabinet and I found the almost completely full jar.  I decided the only way I would take them everyday is if I take them into work and have one with my breakfast. 

So, about 10 minutes ago, I popped a pill.  Then I thought- Oh, I should check the expiration date. 

Don't worry- we're good until Jan 2011!

Then I thought, I'm going to check out some product reviews online.  I looked down to make sure I had the exact title and began to type:

"C E N T R U M    S I L V E R....

for Adults ... 50+ "


And to make things worse, I have that gross pill taste in my mouth.  You know the one; the one that tastes like 'old.' 

And by old- I'm talking 80+ so calm down.  :)

I guess the 'Silver Lining' is extra fiber!

XO-Sensitive Centrum Silver Sally

Tuesday, September 14

Bonjour! Parlez-vous... Poutine? Où a les toilettes?

The number 5 represents many things from my recent trip to Quebec;

The STARS I would give my trip!  (On a scale of 1-4)
The 5 phrases I learned in French while Hernando drove us north,
The 5 Canadian towns we chose to sleep in,
and The 5 pounds I gained in each of those 5 towns, totaling 25 fondue toting LBs I got to bring home as a souvenir. (PLUS SIDE: I did not have to claim them at Customs!)

Don't worry though, math is different in Canada so it was really only a few pounds I packed on.

Speaking of numbers, 100 Kilometers per hour is not as fast as it sounds...

Speaking of tickets*, we bought a couple of them and went to a fantastic wine tasting festival in the Eastern Townships.  There were ice wines, cider wines, pear wines, pear cider ice wines, whale wines**, etc.  You get the idea!

Speaking of whales, we saw a bunch!  There were belugas and another whale I can't name, though I know it had a fin and I did see a large black shape spurt water out of its blow hole.  We also saw dolphins and Hernando saw a walrus!

Speaking of walruses in water, it rained for 60% of the trip!  :(  But we made the most of it by seeing a TON of art and making use out of the poncho I bought in New Orleans.  Yes, it read, "New Orleans" in large letters all over which coincidentally translates in French as, "I am an American Tourist".  At least I stayed dry. 

Speaking of staying dry, I definitely did not!  And this marks my 5th time writing "Speaking of" just to stay with the theme of 5.

Our trip was wonderful and anyone looking for tips on Quebec travel, please reach out (to Hernando)!

The map below is my attempt at showing you our route.. :)  The second part continues the St. Lawrence River where my arrows leave off.  We went up the river, crossed over in a ferry (which you will see clearly marked on the map) and then back down the river.

Cities we stayed in (Not including several day stops in other places):
1. Montreal
2. Quebec City
3. Baie Saint Paul
4. Les Escoumins
5. Magog

A few places we visited:
1. Notre-Dame Basilica
2. Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
3. Montmorency Falls
4. Poutine.****

*There were no speeding tickets!
**And no whale wine!
***This is not really a whale we saw.  It is Hernando in his beluga costume.  He takes it everywhere!
****Correction: Poutine visited us!

Monday, August 23

Tempest Temptress (Revision of an Old Story)

"Why did you take me here?" We were sitting on a park bench over a cobblestone walkway.  His arm rested on the bench behind me as we looked out at the ending stages of an autumn sunset. I rolled a loose stone under the sole of my boot. In front of us was a life-size bronze statue of a boy holding the world at his fingertips. The globe was so delicately attached I worried that a strong wind would cause it to break off and shatter. Through the reservoir, light from a park lamp was reflecting onto the boy’s face. I searched his eyes to see if he was also concerned for the world, but I did not find any answers there.

The day had been dark. Leaves that seemed so brightly colored yesterday were covered in dirt and breaking at their seams with every footstep. With winter’s impending fate, I was trying to hold onto longer days and painless weather. I shifted closer to him, trying to ward off the cold, to hinder what was coming, unavoidably.

"I come here alone a lot. I just wanted to share it with you."

I reached for his hand draped on the back of the bench and closed my eyes as I drank in the moment. I wanted to share everything with him. "Look over there," he pointed to an assembly of dark clouds in the distance. “You can see the rain out there.” I could not see the rain; I still nodded. "There’s a storm coming. Let’s wait for it." His hand was warm and his voice was as calm as the reservoir before us. So we stayed.

There was a couple on another bench, a man and a woman near the end of their lives. I imagined it was not their first time waiting for a storm together. They sat side by side, looking straight ahead. His pinky intertwined with hers. They were surrounded by serenity and their silence screamed of loyalty, of love that could only come after a lifetime of watching storms roll in and out together. The old man turned to look at us and caught my eye. Would we be like them? Did we remind him of their youth together? We smiled at each other.

"You've made this old man's day," he laughed. Maybe, I thought, but this woman has made his life. So we sat, and we waited.

We laughed when we felt the first drops. It had taken awhile and we were excited it was starting. For a few moments we sat there with our palms up gathering the drops, watching others race out of the park. He even let me wipe a rain drop off his eyelashes before he leapt off the bench. “Come on, let’s go.” He started running backwards, motioning me to follow. I did. We had four long blocks before the shelter of his cheap apartment. As we ran, I turned and looked back at the couple on the bench. The woman had not moved at all, but the man had taken off his jacket to cover her. Through blurred vision, I saw him lean close to kiss her on the cheek.

He ran ahead of me, laughing between the raindrops, as they poured harder and harder with each block. The water soaked through our clothes, matted our hair to our faces. “Wait for me,” Black makeup was running down my cheeks and stinging my eyes. “Wait.” Thunder howled, demanding our attention; he did not hear me.

He stretched his arms out to the sky, fingers wide open; he ran.

He did not have a care in world; he ran.

He did not cover me with his jacket; he ran.

He just kept running.

It is winter now, years from that day in the rain. I find myself back in the park again. The bronze boy is frigid and ready to trade the world for a pair of mittens and a hot cup of soup. With no warm hand to hold, the bench is freezing. I stretch out both my arms and drape them across the bench’s back, embracing the winter. I let my breath out slowly, deliberately, watching as it drifts towards the world at my fingertips. I let the sole of my boot roll over a loose stone.

I have seen a lot of storms since him.

I have seen him in a lot of storms since then.

Monday, August 16

Disney Family Vacation (Minus the Kids!)

If I could use one word to describe my family's recent vacation to Disney World, it would have to be more of a picture than an actual word and it's the kind of picture that you have to ask permission to use, if you know what I mean, and I am almost sure that you don't know what I mean, because quite frankly, this picture is so amazing, it really can't be talked about and really should be shown only to an audience who can truly appreciate it.  So if you think you can appreciate it, please, please check out what my Dad did to my brother-in-law.

Highlights of the trip include, but are certainly not limited to:

*Pirate Night at the local restaurant.  'Free eye patches with your meal!'
*Bar hopping through Germany, Japan and England.
*Waking up before the sun to get to the parks and push small children out of our way when trying to be first in line for roller coasters. 
*Getting out of the ocean before the nippy, invisible creatures got us too badly.
*People watching at the Cracker Barrel- Lovely Folks.
*Dole Whip!  (A pineapple ice-cream delight that is served only in Hawaii and the Magic Kingdom)
*Quality Time with my Favorite people in the world!

My family certainly knows how to 'Do Disney'!  The fact that our youngest is 26 years old causes us no shame in going back year after year.  Each year is a new memory, and we'll capture that memory by getting a picture with Mickey every single trip- even if it means interrupting a kid's birthday party. 

He'll understand when he's older.  

People ask me all the time how I can stand going to the parks so much.  'The crowds, the lines, the heat, the children!' They exclaim.  These people have obviously never done Disney with my crew, or they would certainly change their tune.  (Perhaps to 'It's a Small World After All' since it might be in their heads.)

When asked what he thought of the Disney World parks after his recent trip with my family, Hernando* replied, much to my delight, "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be." 

Tune = Changed.

And really, what more can you ask for? 

Well, I guess you could ask for this.

Until next year, Disney!  :)

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent

Don't forget to continue checking out my NEW DISCOVERIES!

Tuesday, July 27


I have never noticed much. The phrase, "Nothin’ gets by me" is simply something I have never articulated (I think). The fact is: a lot gets by me. Whether it is the color of my condo I have been living in for 9 months, the name of that guy I should definitely remember or palpable and otherwise completely obvious details to everyone except for Old Sal. I credit my artistic tendencies for this fact. I am a writer, a painter (1 course in college) and let’s face it, a left-handed weirdo.

Lefty, South Paw, Freak; Call it what you will, but I tend to favor my left hand. This means I am right-brained, which equals more creativity, bigger-picture thinking and more struggle in general.

For years I have encountered baseball gloves fit for right-handed kids, righty-scissors and the strategically placed ring on your local carnival’s carousal that causes clumsy left-handed children to fall off when they reach for it. Now, I know that reaching for carousal rings is something that has not happened since the 1930s, but I once read about in a book entitled, Left Hander Living in a Right Hand World, or something along those lines. And it was horrifying.

The notebooks with spiral rings on the left forced me to smudge all my work with my awkward, sweaty left palm trailing behind my (talented) writing. Eventually the ink would land on my left cheek, forever branding me “LEFTY” (at least for the day). I will never forget the big production of bringing in a left-handed desk for the ‘different’ kid. And because I was left-handed it was hard for me to learn anything that the teacher taught from the right side of the classroom, which explains my bad grades growing up. Half my bed went unmade each morning do my inept right-sided abilities. I was inclined to do bad things in general, as we all know the devil sits on the left shoulder. Life was hard growing up on the rough streets of my white, righty, middle-to-upper-class suburban neighborhood being a left-handed freak. Life was hard.

The point of my rambling (which has come mostly out of the left side of my mouth) is to tell you I am a creative, big picture, all-details-left-behind kind of person and that is why, my friends and loyal readers, I have failed to notice that Adventures with a Sensitive Sally, when abbreviated, makes me a total A.S.S.

To read about more of my recent discoveries check out the new section of my blog, NEW DISCOVERIES !

You can get to this, all my archived postings and fun page links at any time, by putting my HOME PAGE under your favorites.
ASS out!

P.S.  To find out if you're left handed, draw a circle.  Did you draw it clockwise?

Yeah, I bet you did, righty.

If you drew the circle counter-clockwise, you are a lefty and should be quite proud!  Click here to find your support group waiting for you!

Thursday, July 1

Cone Shaped Guilt; A short story

There was a part of me that didn’t want to buy the chocolate and peanut butter bugles.

It was the same part of me that looked with disgust at the woman down the aisle in Target who was almost finished with a party sized bag of lay’s potato chips that we’ll never know whether she ended up purchasing.

I would NEVER eat chips in a store before buying them.

No. I waited until the car to open the bugles that I just admitted to you I did purchase.

I remember being a kid and eating bugles.

The kids around me would put one cone shaped bugle on each of their tiny fingers.

The bugles never fit on my fingers.

I see why now.

My fingers weren’t fat; the openings of the cones are just tiny!

Apparently all those kids had mutant, infinitesimal fingers.

Freaks, I thought as I stuffed more bugles in my mouth.

I cannot believe they combined bugles with chocolate and peanut butter. Tiny fingered geniuses.

In the end, which came quickly, I realized I can never buy these bugles again.

Speaking of tiny and fingers...

Thursday, June 24

The Story of George and his Dirty, Dirty Paperwork

I am not going to sugar coat this for anyone.

You know it.  I know it.   And the guy you caught doing it- He knows it, too. 

It's weird to read in the bathroom at work.

Yesterday, as I walked out of the lady's room, a certain someone else was walking out of the men's room at that very moment.

"Oh hey, Georg- uh" Look down, smile, blush, walking faster. Did my jaw really just drop?  I hope he didn't notice, but come on- that's GROSS!

Why was Geroge holding paper work and a pen as he came out of the bathroom?  Not only does this force me to wonder why, but also to wonder what he did with it, and ultimately to get a mental picture of the whole horrible ordeal!

Maybe he just put it on the counter as he stopped to use the facilities on the way to a meeting.  Worse- maybe he put it on the floor next to his feet. (I wonder which way they were pointing- ohhh grosssss)  Even worse- and most likely the sick truth- He read the report I had just given him and marked it up with a poop pen!  My god, a Poop Pen!

At this point I am devastated.  Not only have I unmasked this sickening truth about George, but it could have been my report that he put on the floor when he needed free hands. 

I cannot get it out of my head.

I am sure I'll get over it eventually, especially with the beauty of email eliminating the chance of me ever coming into contact with that particular report.

ButT, I'll always have that mental picture-

George, the paperwork- the bathroom door swinging back and forth, back and forth in slow motion, my jaw dropping, eyes popping and that tiny, barely there, look of total shame in George's eyes as he looked from me to the paperwork to the small brass sign reading "MEN", when we both knew the real writing on the wall said, "I know what you did...sicko"

Painful silence ensued on the walk back to the office area.   There was just nothing left to say...

Some Other Work Bathroom No-Nos
*Talking on your phone while inside a stall- Weird.  Awkward for the rest of us and please understand we  are going to laugh about you later.

*Yoga- Deep breathing- enough said.

*Chatter involving anything more than 'hello, how are you?'- Don't expect an answer.  We're here for one thing and one thing only, and it's not to hear about the quilt you knitted for your cat.

*Not washing your hands- If you're guilty, know this- There is fecal matter ALL OVER the door, the stall, the everything- start washing!!!

Do you have a work bathroom story to share?  Leave a comment! ;) 

(Unless you're George- I know enough.)

Monday, June 21

The Importance of a Half

What would the super bowl be without a half-time show?  If there were no half gallons of milk, it would surely go bad.  I'd be willing to bet half my bologna sandwich that half of you out there have a 'better half'.

Chances are you forgot.  Forgot to get me the front part of a card, half a gift or a half eaten cake... 

It's okay though.  I've come to the realization after years and years of missed half birthdays, that no one is ever going to remember. Or care.

That's right people, today I am 2* and a half!  Not only does this mark the first day of summer and the summer solstice, but also another half year of my existence- which I think we're all pretty excited about?!

I probably sound pretty bratty at this point, asking everyone to celebrate a day that no one else really celebrates for themselves, but just wait- I have really great reasons behind my decision to continue to ask you to celebrate- year after year.

Reason #1. My actual Birthday is December 21st.  My entire life I have been called a "Christmas Baby".  Which is weird because I'm Jewish.  What's even more weird is that people use this fact to give me a single gift for both Chanukkah and my birthday.  NOT COOL!  Everyone else gets two, and so should I.  Do I sound like a brat yet?  Wait for reason #2.

Reason #2. My sister's half birthday lands on my cousin's actual birthday.  Coincidentally, this seems to happen every year...  Because of this fact, each year growing up, my parents would remember her half birthday and give her a card!  EVERY YEAR!  Do you know what they gave me on my half birthday? 

You guessed it- Nothing.

So this year, as I contemplated what I should do to celebrate my half birthday, I realized it was going to land the day after Father's day and the day before my other sister's Wedding anniversary.  Ug, I thought, another 1/2 birthday ruined.

But somewhere, during this past half year, I must have learned something about being less selfish and more selfless because all day long during father's day I did not mention anything about my upcoming, HUGE day.  Not more than once, anyway.  And by mentioning my sister's anniversary right here on this blog that everyone** reads, I am really giving her a huge shout out- Way to go, Jen and Robert, on two years of marriage!!! 

See?  I've grown up a lot- haven't I?  It's certainly a good day to reflect on that- seeing that it is my half birthday today...not sure if you had heard....

As you sit at your computer and do the math for 6 months after your birthday, I'll leave you with this Wikipedia definition.


A half-birthday is a day six months before or after the real anniversary of a person's birth.
Most half-birthdays go unremarked, but they may still be celebrated as a special day. Perhaps the most common use is by people whose birthday falls near holidays that are so widely celebrated they can overwhelm private anniversaries. People attending school sometimes celebrate half-birthdays if their real birthdays do not occur during the school year, so they can celebrate with friends and teachers at school.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD, and to all the dads reading this!!!!!
Happy Anniversary, Jen and Robert!!!!!

Thursday, June 17

Springtime Spaghetti Served with a Side of Hell

My cousin has a cooking blog that she started when she lost her job months before I did.  Yes, I stole the idea.  She used to write in it at least once a week; delicious recipes, blender tips, sharing cookbooks, etc., but she hasn't posted a blog since April 26th. 

Do you know why I know this?  It's because I check it every day.  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Sometimes twice.

She shows up on my gmail friend list and I see her blog link teasing me every morning- 'click me, click me, maybe I have something new for you today'- so I inevitably do, because there's a point in the day for all of us when we're so bored we'll click anything.  And what pops up again and again but that Spring Time Spaghetti dish from April 26th.  In 6 days it won't even be spring anymore!  What about summer squash, cousin!?!  Why are you torturing me??  Oh the disappointment, the anger, the FRUSTRATION. 

And then the realization. 

My loyal readers are probably going through the same thing!  Since I take indiscriminate breaks; here, there, whenever and however long I please, while you wait patiently at your desk, click, click, clicking away to my same, terrible 'soc-hurt' title each day.  So I apologize to you, loyal readers, for the periods between my words of wisdom, the agonizing waiting, that I am all too familiar with thanks to that damn spring spaghetti.

Of course, I'm kidding.  I realize Becky is the only one reading this.  Love you, sis! ;)

Meanwhile, let's go cousin, give us a brand new recipe!!!

And here's what happens when animals get frustrated:

Friday, May 14

Soccer? More like Soc-hurt.

Despite my terrible title, I hope you keep reading!

This blog posting is dedicated to my wonderful friend, Molly, who played on the 'A' team and taunted me well into our college years about being on the 'B' team in junior high.

I joined a soccer league this Spring.  I used to love playing soccer, despite the fact I never made the 'A' team, I played with a great group of girls on the slightly less athletic, but realllly sweet and spirited 'B' team.  Were we more interested in painting our faces and wearing blue and gold ribbons in the pigtail braids we did for each than actually learning the footwork?  Maybe, but we sure knew how to cheer for each other, and we were great losers- unlike the 'A' team.  I remember the day we scrimmaged them.  We anxiously anticipated the game for weeks before, feeling nervous, kind of knowing we would never win, but hoping we could blow them away. 

The way they walked out on the field that day, laughing, shirts untucked with casual saunters, we knew they hadn't felt the same anxiety.  They obviously thought they had it in the bag, and if anything, were worried about keeping their goals to a minimum as to not embarrass us too much.  So, when we stole the ball in the first ten minutes and scored on them, adrenalin pumping, game faces on, determination in the air; they were shocked.  As expected.  I would love to tell you we went on to win that day, 1- nothing, but I guess they decided it was time to put their game faces on, and then basically pummeled us.   No big deal.  We were supposed to lose.  So, we went on being the 'B' team, giggling, pantsing each other and eating huge team pancake breakfasts before tournaments because it seemed like a fun idea...I don't think any of us went on to play in high school and certainly not college.  But, we had a BLAST!

Now, years later, I thought it was time to get back into the game!  When I signed up and got my team assignment for the adult women's league in my town, it showed the entire league with each person's information.  I found that I was the youngest person on my team and the 2nd youngest in the entire league.  The ages mostly ranged from 35 to 50.  This would be a breeze, I thought.  Well, in the first game I did trump the fatter 50 year olds with my youth and speed...but, then the game kept going on.  The whistle was not blowing.  The ball kept coming, and I had to keep running.  I mean I knew I was sort of out of shape.. but when I was already sore, like hard to move sore, after the FIRST HALF with another 40 minutes to run around, I knew this wasn't the cakewalk I imagined.  At the end of the game, I limped off the field and said goodbye to my new teammates with a big smile.  When I got in the car, I let out sounds that you only let out in the comfort of a confined space, alone. 

On Sunday- I found it hard to get out of bed.  I had never, and I mean never, felt so sore in my life.  The following week, I found stairs difficult and getting up after sitting for too long almost impossible.  While sitting in traffic to and from work, I literally had to pick up my right thigh with my two hands and move it from the gas to the break and back again to avoid spasming in my quads.  And so, I did not exercise for the week, which proved unhelpful in game two. 

The next Saturday I was excited to play again- This time won't be as bad, right? WRONG.  I pulled my quad muscle in the first half and had to sit out the rest of the game.  To comfort me, one of my teammates said something like, "Yep, that's what happened to Tina- she's out for the season.  But, I mean... she's 54, sooo.." Oh man.  If this is happening to me in my 20's, I can only imagine what's to come.   (Note:  The ladies are my team aren't as sensitive as Sal, a bit tougher than your average Joe-Ann if you know what I'm sayin')

The following week, after determining I did not pull my muscle but instead just over did it, I decided to fix this.  I spoke with a trainer at my gym who told me, if you only play once a week, you will keep shocking your muscles.  I promptly bought a soccer ball and convinced Hernando* to kick it around with me after work one day.  Within 15 minutes he had kicked it pretty far into the poison ivy/thorn bush forest in my neighborhood.  He went in after it, even though I tried to stop him!!  (I'm kidding, I definitely encouraged it.)  I heard a lot of rustling and about 12 minutes later he emerged with bloody knuckles and EMPTY hands!!  Don't worry, he bought me a new ball. 

Anyway, tomorrow is my next, and third game and I am nervous and excited!  What if I go out there and pull something again?  The worst part of it is getting all amped up for the game, mentally, emotionally (not physically!) preparing for the game and then you hurt yourself and you have nowhere to put that energy!  Oh man, I hope the work I did on my leg this week helped because I can't wait to get out there and -ouch!  I think just broke my pointer finger on the keyboard. 

I think the lesson here is- Get excited, but get ready, stretch and don't juggle a soccer ball with Hernando* near the poison thorn bushes.  Anyway- I will let you know how my game goes.

Wish me luck!!
SS the SS

(sensitive sal the soccer star)

*Name has been changed to protect the boyfriend

Friday, April 30


Jazzfest in New Orleans was a different kind of festival than I had been to in the past. I barely saw anyone on hallucinogenics and no one was holding up mushrooms as they walked by you. It was organized with different music tents labeled gospel, jazz, blues and several others and we even used a schedule to decide which shows to hear. I barely saw any dreadlocks and no patchwork pants. There weren't any hippies selling grilled cheese for a dollar, but instead tons and tons of food stands selling everything wonderfully fattening in the world! It was also different because I remember all of it..

Don't get me wrong- I enjoyed the hurricanes and all day partying- but I truly have a new respect for anyone who can drink for a day and then continue through the wee hours in morning. When I say respect -take it lightly.

Respect aside, I am glad I didn't stay up to hang out on Bourbon Street. I had heard stories and I knew it was a crazy place, but I was not prepared for what I saw when I stepped foot on the infamous street. Did I step right on it? No. There was a layer of vomit and liquid covering the floor. Did I see my sister get 'hit' with beads being flung at her? Yes. Did we turn off to take the path more traveled (by normal people) immediately? Yes, but not before creating a mental image album that won't leave me for awhile.

The festival itself was AMAZING! I had such a fantastic time hopping around from tent to tent filled with incredible talent. There were big names like Simon and Garfunkel, Allman Brothers and My Morning Jacket, but every single act, big or small, was better than the next. The food- fried shrimp po boys, delicious donut beignets, jambalaya, etoufee- was incredible! Nothing could get me down, not even the green line staining my forehead for 24 hours from the cheap green flowered lei my sister gave me! Because at a festival, you're never the weirdest person there!!

Beyond the festival, there were music acts at all hours in all the bars and on all the street corners of the French quarter. One of my favorite moments of the whole trip was the last night on the way to dinner. The four of us were starving and exhausted when we came across a smalltime band of misfits playing some great dancing music on the sidewalk. We joined the neighborhood drunks and danced, danced, danced- avoiding touching them as best we could. It was wonderful! (Even when that homeless woman hit me)

It's been a week since I left New Orleans, and I am finally starting to feel awake again and the heart burn is settling down. Thank goodness I have a whole year to recover because I'll definitely be back!

Who's coming with me?!?!

Friday, April 2

I'm Back (And on 'Roids!)

Have you ever gone to an island and burnt yourself to a crisp on the first day so badly that you literally cannot face the sun the rest of your vacation resulting in the purchase of an expensive and otherwise useless straw hat sold by a man who guarantees you a two year warranty (a year for each tooth, I'm assuming), and then you found pieces of straw intermittently strewn through your suitcase upon arrival home?
"Excuse me sir, I believe there was a two year warranty on this...."
"No habla ingles, ma'am"

Me too.

And thus began my journey to the DR.

The Doctor, you wonder?

Nope, that comes later in the story. I am talking about the Dominican Republic.

Sunny, beautiful Dominican Republic. It really was. We had a great time. Despite being so toasted that we moaned putting on sunscreen, we were still able to lay on the beach. The huge umbrella that we paid for under the table allowed us to be outside enjoying the beach, and avoiding the death rays. And, when we wanted to go in the water, and would be exposed to the rays, we wore shirts and hats in. What? You would have, too.

Nights on the island were fun, too. We were sleeping above a nightclub that pumped a special Domincan beat- in the word's of the great Lional Richie, "All Night Long".  Luckily, we were so tired from the sun, it barely woke us up. Niether did the earthquake that occured. (It was my first!) Another great thing about the night was that there were barely any bugs on the island! This was especially exciting to me as one of my least favorite parts of summer is the unbearable amount of misquito bites I get after the sun goes down. They love me so much that people use me as bug repellant. 

'Do you need bug spray?'

'Oh, no, I'm fine, I'm sitting next to Sally.'

True story.

So, in the D.R. I wore flowery smelling lotions and perfumes without a worry that any bug would find me. When we stepped out for dinner, I did not have to cover my legs and arms and it was fantastic!  It wasn't until I got on the plane home and the pressure from the cabin somehow found some bugbites (1-see foot note) and swelled them up to the width of a tennis ball on two parts of my forearm, that I realized everything was not fine.

Being the disciplined person I am, I resisted scratching the bumps.

I'm kidding. Of course I scratched them! I ended up with huge, swollen, red, horrible bumps all over my arms and as if things couldn't get worse, one popped up right between my eyes. RIGHT BETWEEN MY EYES!

It was around the time a bump formed BETWEEN MY EYES that I went to the doctor, who perscribed me steroids. Great, I thought, anything to get rid of these bumps. Steriods seem like a really neat idea.... (this is what I like to call foreshadowing).

Now, I am a generally happy person, so when the 'roids took me to the happy place, the giggly, on top of the world elation that comes only from drugs, I won't lie, I kind of liked it. It seemed fine, no big deal. However, when it took me down to the burst out crying at dinner, barely controlable rage from reading an email place, I knew something was wrong.

Then I made the mistake of reading about it on the internet.

Suddenly, I was sure I had every symptom possible affiliated with steroid use; neseau, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, euphoria, false feelings of being mistreated, weakness in muscles, extreme fatigue, etc., etc., etc.. And I won't even get into the withdrawal symtoms once you come off it.. I was reading stories about long-time and life-long users and comparing my measly few days with their troubles. The people closest to me got the worst of it as I tried to remain as quiet and alone as possible in public. Steroids affect everyone differently, but personally I have found that they are not my friend!!

As of yesterday I am off the 'roids and starting to feel better.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure if anyone caught yesterday's edition of MuscleMadnessMagazine...

"Sensitive Sal has canceled her plans to compete in the upcoming MuscleMa'am competition in Daytona Beach, FL this June. She had just signed up this week. When asked for a comment, Sal's manager said she would be dedicating her extra time to Adventures with a Sensitive Sally."

Live from CT, it's Sensitive Sal!!  I'm back, baby!

1 They were not bug bites, but some kind of freak allergic reaction to the sun (2-see other footnote)

2 Either the sun or some bug bite...

Monday, January 4

White Mourning

On a nice day it is easy to get lost in the Sharon, Massachusetts’s Memorial Graveyard. This past Thursday it was snowing. The ground was covered in white, each snow flake different, like I imagined each life had been. Looking out in front of me was the same view as looking behind and down and up, all equally white. There was something beautiful about new, fresh powder dancing around old souls.

We followed a caravan of cars to the hole that had been dug for my Grandma. My family arrived to watch them lower her grave into the ground. Right in front of our eyes, the plain wood box containing years of our memories went into the earth. Someone commented how glad they were that they did not just drop it down. I wished we had arrived a few minutes later. The men doing the work could not have been much older than 20. They wore blue uniforms and work boots covered in dirt and snow. Their hands were protected by work gloves and they talked as they worked, smiling, not disrespectfully, every once in awhile. We stayed in the car for as long as possible before the ceremony since it was scheduled to be outside in the cold.

They set up a tent for us with chairs for the family and the rabbi that knew my Grandma led the service. It was short, due to the cold, and maybe due to this long awaited moment, a death that not only saddened, but relieved, to be out of pain, to stop worrying and guilt, to finally imagine her smiling with Grandpa. The rabbi said wonderful things about her and I heard muffled sobs in each direction.

In Jewish tradition, we all buried her. The first person picked up the metal shovel and used the back end to throw dirt into the earth. We use the back because this should not be easy, the Rabbi told us. And, it was not. He stood the shovel up in the pile of dirt next to the grave and walked away. If he had handed it to the next person, it would have meant asking them to help. The person should only do this on their own free will. The second person pulled the shovel from the pile and again used the back end to help cover my Grandma. Then they turned the shovel over and used the regular side a few more times. At this point I could not feel my toes from the frost and found it hard to feel my heart. Eventually I heard the shovel slammed into the dirt and it was meant for me. I pulled it out and used the back end. As the dirt fell, so did stones and broken twigs. They made clanking noises against the wood. The rabbi had told us not to be offended by this. Just as we cannot take all the bad people out of the world, we cannot pick all the stones out of the earth. It is natural, just like death. It felt wrong to slam the shovel in the pile when I finished. I did not like the aggression I used, but knew I had to since the cold made the dirt stiff and broken. I walked away and got back into my father’s car where I turned on the heat and warmed my toes.

From the car, it felt like I was watching a movie. The people, all dressed in black, with hats and gloves and winter jackets to their ankles were contrasted by the soft white snowflakes that landed everywhere, on noses and cheeks, on winter hats and boot toes, on the grass and the dirt and in the hole in the earth that held my grandma’s body. They disappeared when they landed, dissolved into fabric, or joined the other flakes that created the white blanket on the ground. And then it was over. After so much heartache, it was over.

As everyone began walking back to their cars, I started to feel my toes again.