Desperate Dealings

My big adventure for the day? A walk to the grocery store!


The walk back wasn’t so joyful. The items I bought turned out to be much heavier than I’d expected, mostly because I’d used a cart. Normally, I juggle everything I pick out, which guarantees I won’t be getting more than I can carry, but since I had my trekking poles with me, it seemed easer to use a cart. I didn’t get that much — just things like beans for chili, vegetables and a can of garbanzos for a salad, and fruit for snacks — but it loaded up my pack.

I would say it was too much to carry, but since I am back here, writing this blog, it obviously wasn’t too heavy.

One thing I bought that I had never before in my entire life purchased was a can of Beanee Weenees. Apparently, my desperation for something different to eat made me resort to such an ignominious act. Whether I eat the stuff or not is a different story, but it is there is my cupboard in case I have to deal with an even greater desperation for variety.

That wasn’t my first slip into abnormality, either. I don’t keep desserts on hand because I don’t need the temptation, but the other night I was so desirous of something sweet, I heated leftover rice and added chocolate chips and walnuts. The gooey mess was actually pretty tasty and I could almost talk myself into believing it was healthy.

Today, though, except for that one Beanee Weenee slip, I’m back to normal, with chili cooking and chicken baking and salad making.

The few people I have talked recently to have mentioned foods they have eaten or craved because they, too are desperate for something different. So many people used to eat out a couple of times a week, and now, unless they want to make the effort to get food to go, they are stuck eating their own cooking, and they are getting tired of it.

What about you? How do you deal when you get tired of your usual fare and desperately need something else to eat?


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Plagued by Restlessness

I find myself restless more often than not lately, and the return of dark and dreary days — cold, dark and dreary days — isn’t helping.

It’s time for me to drive again, and I considered doing so, except when I stepped outside, the cold drove me back inside. One of these days, I might have a garage, in which case driving will be a matter of pushing a button or two to get into the car, but for now, the vehicle is still out in the open and blanketed with a car cover. It’s been almost five years since the car was restored, so perhaps it doesn’t need to be babied as much. Or maybe it needs to be babied more. But whichever, it’s still more trouble than it’s worth to unpack the car and drive somewhere.

There’s no place to go, anyway, except to the grocery store, and if I went there, I’d want something more than healthy food. It seems as if this time is one that calls for treats to offset all the restrictions. Although I would really like to have had something to make me and the day feel less dreary, I opted for health.

I made salads for the next few days.

I also made a stir fry and cut up vegetables for dipping. It didn’t help with the restlessness, of course, but I could feel good about what I was eating. Besides, I no longer know what a treat would be. I could get flour and sugar to make cookies or something like that, but then, with being isolated by myself, there would only be me to eat them.

Still, the stir fry was good, and there’s enough left for another meal tomorrow, though tomorrow, who knows — I might give in and go for something a lot less healthy.

Unless, of course, the sun is shining — then I might try to do something out in the yard. That’s different, since it’s not something I can do in the winter. But then, I’d be frustrated at all the building supplies taking up space in my yard instead of being put to use.

Eek. What a life!

Actually, despite everything, I still have it good and count myself lucky that restlessness is the worst of my problems. I wouldn’t even mind being so restless since it’s something that I’m used to, but this restlessness seems to be fueled by the dread of what is going to happen because of these draconian measures and how this whole plague-ridden mess is going to be used against us in the future.

But that’s the future. Today, I’m okay. Today, I’m lucky. Today, I’m grateful.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Salad Days

One staple of meals with my life mate/soul mate were salads. During our decades together, we always tried to eat plenty of raw vegetables, so our salads weren’t puny affairs with a few bits of vegetables and lots of iceberg lettuce. We used as many colors as we could — red tomatoes, purple cabbage, yellow squash, orange carrots, white cauliflower, green leaf lettuce. Since the salads were a time-consuming affair, we usually worked together, he washing the vegetables, me cutting them up.

I don’t remember much of the last year of his life (except for the last six weeks — those I remember). After he died I was in too much pain to recall that year, and now it’s too far in the past to recover the details.

But I do remember a time when I came in late from my walk, and he’d already fixed a salad for us. This was shortly before he got too sick to do anything but try to stay ahead of the pain. I don’t understand where he got the energy to fix the salad — his poor body was so ridden with metastases, it must have taken everything he had to do the simplest task, and yet, the salad was waiting for me when I got in.

Yesterday I mentioned how I carelessly let that last year slip by, how I didn’t hang on to his every word, but I was careful that day and took a photo of the salad, perhaps the last one he ever made for me. I wanted the picture because the plate was beautiful, not as a memory of him, but still, it showed I was paying attention to the good things in our shared life.

It seems impossible that he’s been gone for almost three and a half years. Seems impossible that our salad days are over and all that remains is this simple photo.


(Incidentally, “salad days” comes from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. At the end of Act I, Cleopatra says, “My salad days, / When I was green in judgment.”)


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.