Strawberry Shortcake

I make it all the time. I use Mark Bittman’s shortcake recipe, because I like to put plain yogurt in everything. I wanted to do the icebox cake, but canned real sweetened whipped cream is nothing I will turn my nose up at, and it goes liberally all over the top of this.

I like the combination of real fruit, whole wheat, and cream. Perfect for growing children who possess tummies that prefer real food and who need massive doses of vitamin C on a regular basis. 

I made them a strawberry Jello cake a few weeks ago. I had a box of cake mix, a rarity in my cupboard, and thought they should experience the summer classic, but one only bit the top off of it, and the other pushed his plate away and pronounced it ¨too sweet.¨ The third ate most of his with little ill effect, and he is the oldest. Maybe it is a cake for older children.

Ah, the first is risen from nap. It won’t be long, now. Soon it will be gone.



Icebox Cake

I only want to make two icebox cakes. One for my friend, who I have to return a baking dish to, and one for the children. 

I only really need two ingredients. Wafer cookies (not wafers), and heavy whipping cream.

I found the heavy whipping cream, readily. The cookies, not at Walmart. Not in the ethnic aisle. Not in the cookie aisle. 

I am going to go to the other grocery store, next, even if the bill kills me. This is the last straw.

Rhubarb Season

There are two seasons to my baking: Rhubarb, and Cranberry. My cranberries are absent from the freezer, so it must be rhubarb season. I did see a bundle at a grocery store in a small town, for seven dollars. Seven dollars! I passed it up. There are other sources, I reasoned. More affordable sources.

I have been wandering into Walmart every day this week, in their produce section, searching for rhubarb. In vain.

Every bad thing ever said about that store is believable to me, now. Not even for seven dollars, do they have any rhubarb. Not even frozen. 

My Body Is Evidence


For a criminal case, my body became evidence.  Photos of it were entered into files in the District Attorney’s office. 

This has countless meanings for me, about the dehumanization that brought me to such a point, of being bodily evidence. 

I have to reach a space where I forgive myself for allowing such things to happen to me, forgive myself for my gullibility and my misplaced trust. 


Happy Mother’s Day

Two years ago today I had the worst beating of my life. It actually was not that bad, comparatively. I was sore for a week, the bruises were fading within another week, I am sure. I am lucky that the worst beating I ever got did not entail the fractured skull, the dislocated spine, the crumbling cheekbone, or the marks of whipping that the other women in the shelter had. There is no trace left on me, unless you count a dread of most holidays and a hiccuping mind.  

My sin was to receive an advertisement on my cell phone, in the form of a text. During a tired evening, when a loved one suffered an emergency, I hit the call button a few times in my frustration and that number, the number selling an iPad, was called for a few seconds.

A week or so later, when he was checking my phone obsessively, he came across it.

He was grilling me about it, and I was busy, as usual, trying to keep the house cleaned up after the children. I was putting the sheets on the bed, distractedly telling him I had done nothing wrong, I am not buying an iPad, I don’t know what he is talking about, etc.  I was not paying close enough attention, I was tired, it was fully dark out, and therefore late. He had taken my car months before and I had to walk up and down the largest paved hill in the known universe to get to the store and back with three tired children under five and a double stroller full of groceries in desert heat. I knew it was all baseless. I never did anything wrong, my life was an open book. I avoided men like the plague. If I had been paying attention, if I had been riveted on his face, and if he could have seen mine, I might have avoided it. 

But such was not the case. When he pounced on me, I was not expecting it. Usually you can tense up, get ready for an attack, when you know it is coming. It makes it hurt less, and you can curl up a bit and try to present less vulnerable parts of yourself. I was stretched out, putting the corners on the bed, never an easy task with my premature osteoarthritis. Gripping sheets is painful for me, I hate it. There was nothing fancy, just a pounding on my spine, right where it curves. I was hoping the kidneys would be missed. Most embarrassing was the screaming. I did not mean to scream, I was surprised, I had no time to prepare, and screams just poured out hysterically. I was making the bed, and then I was being beaten. I did not know why, so I was frightened.

You never know if that will be the last time. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers like me. Holidays provide more incidents of domestic violence than non-holidays. I love you, all of you. 

Can I Come Up With A Decent Post Title After A Doctor´s Appointment?


But I can tell you that I have a lot of triggers. Contrary to my previous belief about flashbacks and triggers, you can discern a trigger and the subsequent flashback by how inappropriate your thought or reaction is to that thing.

So when I am in the grocery store and I see dads shopping with their children, and I look around to try to spot the mother, you know, to make sure there is a responsible adult with those children, then that is not an appropriate reaction. Every man in the store accompanied by children sans adult woman is a trigger for me.  I am concerned every time I see this, and it is common in this area, this culture.

I thought triggers were things that make you freak out and vomit. I thought, since I keep my cool, I haven´t got more than the obvious triggers of violent movie scenes, where I feel upset, or sometimes lightheaded. I was wrong. I do this sort of thing in my head every few minutes. 

I have honor burnt into me. It makes being out of the house a trigger. Driving. Looking up. Everything. Everything. I have no chaperone, no permission. I want to fix this. I want to be American, and free. My past and my mind cages me.

This doctor is the best I have ever had. He gives real solutions. I have homework.

My PTSD Doctor

I saw the doctor again yesterday. I have two more sessions. I am making slow going through the book he recommended.
He taught me a breathing technique.
Take a sniff.
Hold it.
Hold empty.

It dropped my heartrate by twelve in less than a minute.

I am still reacting to things as I did in my old abusive environment. My ex would hit the children and myself or scream at me if they were laughing too loud, or wrestling, or goofing off. It’s an awful thing, to realize you are discouraging your children from laughing hysterically or playing happily, because of conditioning by an abuser. One that you have left, years ago. I am supposed to catch myself quieting the children down, and then talk myself out of it. Nothing will happen to us, nothing of much consequence, if we make happy noise in our apartment.
You can take yourself out of the abusive environment, remove the abuser from your life, and still find him there in your head. So very disturbing to discover. I got a haircut today, walking out of the salon, I put my hand up to feel the shortness in the back, and was reassured that it is again too short to pick me up by, much less throw me with. I don’t want to strategize for that, anymore.

The doctor was reassuring. He said he has patients still reacting to things that happened to them fifty years ago…

I am working on it.