May 7th, 8th 2003 & 2016

Stroke Awareness Month Tawpic for the Day:  Image-_1-for-5_8

It’s another way of saying, living life on life’s terms.  It’s another way of putting the Serenity Prayer.  I need to hear this message 100 times a day, every day.  I KNOW that my default setting is isolation.  But  today I also KNOW that my human happiness comes from being  with my peeps, always (2 legged, 4 legged or no legged nature.)  So I must “retrain my brain” for life on life’s terms. 

This stroke survivor has to practice good things, every day  to really know stuff.  “Retrain the brain,” is the phrase my Crochet Guru taught me.  I saw her making beautiful blankets that grew and grew.  And she told jokes that made me laugh and laugh, when I didn’t know I could.  When she heard that I was a stroke survivor, she told me that I should learn to crochet and make Granny Square afghans.  She told me that she had read research that said that this particular stitch, when you crochet it, actually reconnects synapses in the brain. The repetition of the action, from hands to brain, actually makes the brain healthier.  I believed her and did as I was told.  I believed that I could be teachable.  And I had faith in my Crochet Guru to teach me.  I think it works, for me.  And even if it doesn’t, I got an endless supply of blankets that people seem to be loving getting as gifts and I love making.  So healthier brain or not, I am happier and that’s good enough for me.

       May 7th 2003

       15 mg. of Coumadin is the dose for today.  That is up 2 and a half mgs.  So today I will take 3, orange 5-mg, tabs crushed in the PEG tube. I guess they think that the blood should run a bit faster. I guess they think the blood is too thick and running slow.  I guess that means it might get stuck going through the artery.  I guess the artery might not be healing right.  I think the next stroke could be today. 

       I have Carole at 10am down at my hospital.  I need to pick up more of my pills at the pharmacy. The post office is next door, so I will mail the mother’s day card to my mom then.  I have to put the car insurance bill in the mail too.  VNA might come today or tomorrow.  And my Godmother, dear friend and coworker, will visit today after school.  Busy day.  And I get to drive myself today.  The route of errands is mine to make.  V. Cool.  I bring the suction machine packed in its bag.  I made sure to charge the battery last night.  I am all set on formula for now.  I will bolus a can when I get home from the errands.  That will be lunch. Right?

Driving is good, but weird.  It comes back easily and I feel strong driving.  They told me I was safe to drive and I believe them.  Sometimes when I am stopped at lights, I reach over and grab my suction tube.  My mouth is full of “secretions.”  I turn the suction on and very quickly put the tube to my mouth.  I get the “stuff out” and drop the tube back to the passenger seat.  I hope I did it fast enough. I hope no one saw the tube and me using it.  They will think I shouldn’t be driving because I use the tube.  I am not well enough to drive and they will call the cops.  What if a cop sees me use the tube?  I make sure there is no cop around when I grab the tube.  Should I pull over and park when I use the tube?  Is this legal?  They said I could drive, but do they realize that I have to use the tube?  My mouth is clear now.  I don’t think anyone was watching me.  The light turns green and I am on my way.

At my hospital, Carole goes through the swabs at great speed.  I have to use the suction a lot today, but I keep up with her and she never has to wait long.  Usually, I grab the suction when Carole turns to her chart to make notes on where she used the swabs and if there was a reaction.  She has made a couple of notes today that there were a few reactions.  They are happening like fireflies in summer, not predictable or sequenced, but definitely visible.  Definitely real. We need to work on the sequence of reactions.  A lot goes into a swallow.  I never knew.  But now, as Carole tries each area in order, I visualize a blinking firefly on the hot summer night.  I visualize watching the firefly on a very specific flight pattern. 

After the session is over, I notice all the folks working on their PT and OT in the big room outside Carole’s little room.  I think I want to work on the flexibility and strength now that I am driving.  But they have said that right now, all I get is the Speech.  But I watch them for a minute before I check out and visualize my muscles getting stronger too.  I hit the pharmacy and the post office on my way home and accomplish both goals.  I do bring my suction into both stops in case the lines are long at the counters.  I have to use my suction at the Post office but I escape the pharmacy without needing to use it.  I cannot look at the lady behind me in line when I use my suction at the P.O.  I cannot bear the pity look. 

At home, I am grateful to visit with my Godmother, dear friend and coworker.  She is exhausted after school, but still has a smile and stories for me.  And she says that everything is set for me to visit school tomorrow.  I don’t want to go.  And that is the understatement of the year.  I really don’t want to go there.  But she says that I am expected.  She says that she will be there.  And if I go tomorrow, I don’t have to do it again. With that thought in my mind, I know that the Coumadin will do its job today and I will not have the next stroke today.  I have to get to school tomorrow.  And then we will see. 

May 8th, 2003 

       Today is my Dad’s Birthday.  This year it falls on a Thursday.  Some years, his birthday is on Mother’s Day, but not this year.   I will call him later.  Or maybe I should call him now.  He is on the boat with my step mom. Do they have passengers?  Or?  I have no news, but I should call.  He might be in a place on the canals where there is no signal.  So I should try now.  But I have to get ready to go to school.  I try now.  I do not reach him.  But his voice is on the message and I say Happy Birthday.  I wonder where they are and what deliciousness they will eat for his birthday.  Are they moored up in the countryside and going to grill lamb chops maybe?  Or are they in a town where they are right next to a good pub or a fish n’ chip shop for a meal out?  Will Dorothy make trifle or Chocy Cake or what?  I hang up and get dressed. 

I gotta be extra careful taping up my PEG tube.  Last week, I came out of speech and got into Mom’s car at my hospital to head home.  As I sat into the passenger seat, I didn’t notice that my tube was not taped up across my belly.  It was loose.  I didn’t notice.  I just sat into the car, careful to roll my head forward.  (I NEVER tip my head back at all.  That will sever the artery.  I know it.)  So I sit in the car and HOLY HOLY HOLY PAIN.  I have never felt anything like it.  I moan for a second and quickly check myself so as not to alarm my mom.  When my breath comes back, after a couple minutes, I tell her what happened.  My PEG tube was loose and I sat on it.  It was pulled, yanked from me and stuck under me.  The pain, shock, tugging, yanking, gut grabbing sensation was unlike anything this girl ever knew.  In that instance I got a glimpse at how boys feel when they land on their “crown jewels.”  I told my mom that and we both giggled.  I know the sensation I felt is not exactly as a man feels when he hurts his “privates,”  but I truly think that I got as close as a girl can get to knowing that pain.  It does take your breath away, for sure.  But after a few minutes, I moved on. 

       So the tube is safely taped across my belly and I have clothes on.  They are still home clothes, not school clothes.   But the top is a sweater that I haven’t worn since I got home.  I brush my hair.  I spray perfume and put a little powder on my death pale face.  That is as good as it gets.  I head to school.  I use the suction at each of the two lights on my 5 minute drive.  I sit in the car for 5 minutes and use the suction.  There is nothing in my mouth, but I sit.  The car is turned off and it is getting hot inside the car on this sunny day.  But I don’t get out yet.  Finally driven out of the car by lack of oxygen, I walk as tall as I can,  towards the loading dock door, which I pray is open for trash to be taken out.  It is.  I head through the empty cafeteria and try to avoid the lunch ladies.  They spy me and wave and say how good it is to see me.  But I can’t stop and chat.  If I stop, I won’t make it. 

I head into the office and wave again and try to smile back at the people staring at me.  I know they care about me, but there is pity in their eyes.  I can’t stop and sit and chat with anyone.  I have to make it upstairs.  I walk up the ramp, winding around to the third floor.  In one corner of the ramp, if there are no kids, there is a sort of blind spot where I can suction before I hit the classroom.  I take a second and suction.  At the top of the ramp I could go right in the side door of the room that was mine.  But I don’t.  The side door to the second grade class across the hall is open, but I rush past that too.  I hear kids and see my fellow teacher.  But I rush on.  I head down the corridor and go through the double doors into the pod that has the three first grades, two second grades and two third grade rooms opening off it.  I go through and rush into the teacher’s bathroom. I suction is safety, even though I know I blew past kids and teachers recognizing me, their shock and talk,  I need 10 more seconds before I can face. 

  1. I have to go in.  There is someone by my side.  I can see through the glass pane in the door to a mass of kids, their hanging papers, the bright red, yellow and blue cubbies, the flag near the board, the alphabet above it and a lady teaching above the heads of smiling kids. She is taller than I am and skinnier than I was when it was my room.  She has curlyish hair in a bob, I think.  I can hear the laughter of the kids, the sound of a pencil sharpener whirring, a chair scraping the floor and the teacher  giving a direction, “OK. 1, 2,3, eyes and ears on me.” I don’t open the door.  I don’t know who does.  I don’t step into the room, only into the door way.  And so I am in the colors and sounds of the room.  I see warm smiles,  busy blinking eyes  and hands covered in marker and paint pointing at papers they have done that I must see.  I hear a hundred voices at once.  I smell pencils and snack.  I can feel the heat of all their bodies and motion.  But I don’t go a step further into the room.  I watch and see. I see the teacher lady moving around asking kids to show me a few things.  I watch and listen.  I don’t know how long I stood there.  My mouth is full.  I say goodbye.  I think I drooled a bit.  Crap. I have to go. 

I turn and now I am out the door, around the corner, through the double doors and behind them in the corridor, I suction.  I breathe.  I can’t remember getting to the car.  I don’t remember the drive home.  I can see and feel and smell all that was in that classroom still.  But it is not mine.  I am home now.  I am cold.  I can’t speak to Lola or Ciro or Zoe.  I feel like I could cry, but there is nothing inside me to let out.  I am so cold.  I strip off the sweater and cover the tube with plastic wrap.  I head for a hot shower.  Lola sits on the mat outside the tub.  Ciro is on the sink.  Zoe plays with the tissues in the trash can next to the sink.  She finds a q-tip and bats it around the bathroom.  I stand under the stream of hot water.  I stand for a long time.  I did it.  I went there.  And now I am back.  Slowly and mercifully, that which I saw at school, all that I smelled, and everything I heard fades a bit from my eyes.  I focus on breathing and standing tall.  I focus on washing my hair and rinsing it well.  And eventually, I turn off the water.  I open the curtain and there are my 3 angels.  It is time to feed them.  I have to take Lola outside.  My hair will air dry. I am due for a can of formula and there is a Poker Tournament coming on soon.  




May 7th and 8th 2016

Some days are tougher than others.  Friday was a tough one at school.  I am overly sensitive right now.  And I hate being emotional and touchy feely.  I think that doing all this writing about the early days after my stroke is a really good thing, but I am sure it is bringing up a lot of emotions.  My Reiki-Master- Buddha Nancy taught me that “if I really touch the pain, it will lose all power and disappear.”  I know it is true.  And I know it is time.  But it is hard and I am raw.

 My students are going through their own things.  I would not, for $1,000,000 go back to their age. The brain is on fire with growth, but so are the hormones. They are on the razor edge of child and adult, and it almost always draws blood.  My students are no different than I was.  And yet, I kept every crazy thought and pain and feeling inside me when I was their age.  I was silent in my agony.  My students are more vocal.  They share their angst, loudly, angrily, with me.

And I am not wearing my usual super hero shield which deflects all this energy back into the universe and absorbs none of it.  For it is NOT about me.  My friend/angel Jennifer told me over and over, “You are just not that important Rachel.  It is not all about you.”  This may sound harsh to some.  But to me it was/is the greatest comfort, relief and gift. I would worry about whether or not so and so was talking about me.  Or I would worry about whether I did the right thing.  Or I would whine about how this one and that one seemed upset by the color socks I had chosen that day and should I go home and change them. And my friend/angel Jennifer would tell me, “you are not that important, Rachel.  It is not all about you.”  And I could breath. I could get right sized and move forward.

In this case, on Friday at school, I know that my kids are not angry with me.  (Although the words they yelled at me could be interpreted by a thin skinned person to be that.) They are not in strife or turmoil over what I do, have done or will do. (Although some behaviors could be interpreted by less strong veteran to be insulting or rude.)  I have reviewed my actions and words, and they were all good. No,the pain and outbursts of the few students (not the majority) are NOT about me.  I am not that important. Usually I know that in the moment and can let it go.  Today, not so much.  I left work feeling pretty poopy, to be honest.  But I did the next right thing and picked up Jason at school and headed to his friend/my friend’s house for a play date.  We moms of our sons have become friends.  And she is a gem.  We chatted.  I listened to her and saw some of her great work of the day. She listened to me about my day.  And as I shared the happenings with her, the pain and poopy feelings lifted.  I got right sized.  Her nodding head, encouraging words and smile, healed me.  I was utterly exhausted when we left, but infinitely better at heart. 

At home, we had a quick nosh of cheese, crackers, salami, and 2 cupcakes that Tim had brought from the Queen’s Cups.  I had wanted sugar at school.  I had needed sugar at school.  Tim brought me sugar (the cupcakes) at school, but I wisely chose not to spoil either the cupcake or my tummy by eating them when I was so emotional.  I gave 2 cupcakes to the two students who joined my Heart Walk team and were going to come to the walk the following day.  The other two cupcakes came home with me.  I love it.  Tim and Jason and I made meat and cheese sandwiches and had at the cupcakes with forks.  The crumbs were cleaned with finger tips and I felt better.  We dashed to bring Jason to Tae Kwon Do class.  I did the food shopping.  After we unloaded the groceries, we jetted back to the studio for the Board Breaking Evening.  Jason, and about 60 other kids, broke boards in 3 rings of the studio.  No child broke all their boards in the same way.  Some boards took many tries to break.  But teachers encouraged and all families cheered and clapped for every single student.  The smile on everyone’s faces with the accomplishment of a split board was huge.  The room was alive from the energy of the audience and participants.  What a rush!  And I was only watching…

Back at home, in the dark, I baked the rest of the cookie dough into Blue(ish, not green) cookies for Stroke Awareness Month. I have given up on a name for them, we just eat them.  That’s the best.  Then Tim and Jason and I headed to bed.

Saturday MAY 7th was the Central MA Heart and Stroke Walk. I defrosted some chicken bone broth that was accumulating in the freezer and threw it, chicken and veg into the crock pot.  Tonight, after the day, there would be hot, homemade chicken soup for supper. Today is also Kentucky Derby day.  I found a recipe for a Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole and would make that this afternoon to go with the soup and the race.

So the walk was really here. After all the preparation and planning, it was here.  And in keeping with May of 2016, it was raw and cold and damp outside. There have been years at the walk when people walked fewer laps because it was so hot.  Or maybe I just walked less those years and used the heat as my excuse.  This year folks walked more, I think to keep warm.  Other years, after walking Tim and Jason and kids have played ball on the field kicking up lots of dust into the dry sunny sky.  Not this year.  The field was wet.  There weren’t many kids and the air was a bit too cold for good football. I got my white survivor cap at the survivor’s table again this year. But this year, another woman got a white cap when I got mine.  We smiled and patted each other, one stroke survivor to another.  That was the only other white cap I saw that day.  But that is still a 100% improvement over last year.

Tim had managed to turn the FAST bumper stick I designed and the title he had given the blog, into T-Shirts.  And they were done yesterday.  He made it happen, with the help of a great recommendation of Guertin’s from the great friend who runs the shop where Jason gets his baseball cleats.  Tim had gone down to Guertin’s shop and organized the design format and picked a color and paid and they had made them and now here they were.


Everything about the shirt and how Tim did them, amazes me.  They’re perfect. 

And Tim wore one to the Board Breaking Event last night.  And right away, a woman we never met, commented that FAST was about Stroke Signs.  And she proudly rattled off Face, Arm, Speech and Time to call 911.  It was amazing and exactly what we thought could happen, spreading the message of FAST somehow and helping prevent the 80% of strokes that can be prevented.  I knew it was that simple and the first 5 minutes debuting the shirt, proved it to me and Tim.  Yes, we did a fist pump right there, right then. 

So I had to wear my shirt for the Heart Walk even though it was 40 degrees out. I went up in the attic and found the bag of thermals that Barbara had given me before she moved south upon retirement to a warm land where thermals don’t exist.  I found the bag and quickly put on a nice warm thermal shirt and all day thought of my friend hugging me from far away.  It did warm my heart, but the thermal shirt with T-shirt over it didn’t quite warm the rest of me.  It was like Halloween when I was a kid. If I had a costume that I wanted to wear, there was no way that I was covering it up with a coat while trick or treating, just to avoid pneumonia.  Nope, not me.  Too vain.  The shirt looked great for the heart walk.  But the cold in my bones today is brutal.  Oh well.  I could have done what my supah smaht student who came to the walk with his mom did.  He slipped the T-shirt OVER his winter coat.  He was warm and sharing the message.  Oh, the genius of youth.  Not my youth though, he wore the t-shirt and covered it with a flimsy sweatshirt.  He was happy and unzipped to reveal the shirt for pictures which made me happy.  Tim was probably freezing cold too, but he wouldn’t tell me and “dampen my spirit.”  HA HA on the weather related funnah. 

At the walk, I saw my AHA guru and he absolutely gorgeous 5 month old son.  I had reached out to the AHA over the internet years ago and become connected with her.  Year after year she has given me opportunities to be involved and to help. She has watched Jason grow and change.  And now her son is here.  I had seen pictures, but this was real and so much better. Her hugs to me and Jason and Tim are the best.  She admired the shirts and asked if she could buy one.  “Of course not,” Tim and I said as we gave her one from our bag.  And she put it right on, right then, over her AHA work jacket.  That was great.  I couldn’t stop purring inside at my pride over my family and the joy of seeing her growing family.  It was a great moment.  In retrospect, I might not have been purring, I might have had the onset of chattering cold bones.  Hmmmm.

Many members of my team were smart.  They submitted their donations online and stayed warm and cozy that morning.  So our team looked to be just us 3 Henrys.  And then I saw my supah smaht student and his mom.  There they were, ready to go.  And so we were 5 with the power of many.

 The demo team from Hanmi Tae Kwon Do came.    In white uniforms on a grey day, they stood in formation on the green field.  The rain spit and then the music came on.  For 3 minutes, their moves made the crowd hot as if it were midsummer. They were on fire.  As soon as they were done I said, “I have cookies.”  I didn’t think.  I just spoke.  Who says things like that?  I do, I guess.  And I did have cookies.  And they did devour them.  Their yum yums and smiles warmed me a little bit more. With all that warmth and spirit fueling us, we did our walk. 

As we rounded the far end of the park, I saw a minivan pull in the gates. A few more steps and I heard a voice say they were looking for “Mrs. Henry and the Heart Walk.”  I stopped and there was one of my students with her collection envelope in hand.  She wanted to get her donations to me.  She had said in class that she would try to come.  And here, at an obscure gate of the park on the opposite side of the city from school was my student.  And at just the moment when she asked, there we were on the exact part of the route where she was.  There are no coincidences.  I squeezed her in a big, huge hug.  She found us. What a great surprise gift.  Thank you God.

We only did one lap.  Jason only played a couple minutes on the field.  The icecream truck that was parked next to our car, turned on his lights. So of course, in the almost ice, gentle falling rain, Jason and the supah smaht student got icy cones to cap off the event. The heated seats in the car felt so good on our ride out of the park.  Usually we cap off the healthy walk with a big Italian deli sandwich and icecream.  We earned it. Right?  But this year, a cold meal did not appeal. My face/jaw was literally frozen pretty well shut from the cold morning.  So, unlike my usual selfish nature and driven too it out of necessity I asked Jason and Tim what they wanted for lunch that day.  Jason was too busy with his icy cone to answer just yet.  But Tim had a quick answer.  “What about Coney Island Hot Dogs?”  And that was it.  We had to go.  Ever since I have known Tim he has told me good stories of Coney Island Hot Dogs where he had gone as a child with his dad or when he was at the Boy’s Club.  It was such a good memory for him.  And with 36 years in Worcester, I had never evah been to this Worcester institution.  And so with Tim’s suggestion, the choice was made.  It was just after 11am and I wasn’t sure they’d be open.  But they were. Tim said that you go in the door and go left to the counter and order.  I agreed that I wanted the works on mine and a hot drink and then headed off to the ladies room.  I had not been able to face the cold outdoor port a potties at the walk and so was now quite focused on my mission at the back of the restaurant.  (And for any and all who are interested in such things, it was the cleanest nicest one person bathroom.)  Tim ordered and when I came out, the “mens” were heading for a booth up front in the window that Jason had picked.  We had our pick of the booths then as there were only a handful of customers.  But by the time we left, the line was 20 deep down the counter and booths were filling up.  And the wait then would have been worth it. So yum.  And Tim said we had to add our initials to the walls.  So we did.  Image-_3-for-5_8

And we devoured our dogs.  I was grateful for the hot tea Tim got for me.  As I wiped my mouth with my napkin and patted my full belly, I saw that they make homemade macaroni and cheese.  We have to come back soon for that, definitely.

We headed through the cold rain and got into our house where the chicken soup was smelling like the cure to all that ails me.  I added two layers of fleece over my clothes and put together the Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole I found the recipe tootling around Pinterest last week.

 We headed off to see our friends and I enjoyed a bit of crochet time on my latest blanket.  The colors are inspired by Easter and a basket and flowers.  But the pace of the afghan says it will be ready in late summer, not for spring.  My yarn ran out before I completed the row. That particular yarn is necessary to the blanket but just not long enough.  It is a discontinued yarn so only one thing to do, pull out a few rows and use the yarn on a smaller part.  So I happily pulled out the old work, wrapped up the yarn into a ball and began to redo the desired yarn, and sipped countless cups of hot tea:  A pleasant afternoon and home to the food and the race.


After supper, Tim and Jason assemble the mother’s day gift that I picked out for my mother for tomorrow.  Jason really does a great job putting it together.  I think it is a great gift.  It is practical but still v. cool.  And Jason can help her with it.  Fingers crossed.  With that done, we settled to bed early and slept a bit later than usual.

May 8th 2016

Today is Sunday and it is both Mother’s Day and my Dad’s 80th birthday.  Jason greets me as my eye cracks open with a wonderful card and story that he made at school.  He can be so sweet, sometimes. I will enjoy this moment. Jason and Tim give me a frame that says MOM with a picture of Jason a few years ago wearing His Red Hat and Cape from the Heart Walk.  Jason was born with chylothorax which makes him a heart disease survivor hero, like his Mom.  One year he got the hat and cape at the walk.  He still pulls out the outfit at times.  And I love the picture.  He and Tim are certainly my heroes!  Tim also gives me a hilarious, and seriously good cookbook.  You see, every week as I make the food shopping list and plan the future meals, I ask him what he would like to eat. Tim’s canned answer has become, “chicken, pork or steak.”  And I answer, “great idea, we’ll have eggplant.”  I never know what the f@#* to cook and he doesn’t dream of food the way I do.  (except when the suggestion for Coney Island Hot Dogs came out of his mouth yesterday.  That as inspired.)  So Tim got me a cookbook, WHAT THE F@#K SHOULD I MAKE FOR DINNER? The Answers to Life’s Everyday Question (in 50 F*@#ing Recipes)  by Zach Golden.  The middle two letters of the first expletive look like a fork and knife crossed.  For real?  Yes, this is the perfect gift for Tim’s wife and Jason’s mother: a woman who dreams of food but stumbles with turning that into the edible meals required by her “mens” three times a day.  The actual recipes are make me laugh and drool, but in a good way.

What a way to start this day, laughing with family, over food.  The day continued with the blissful pampering of the “mens” doing all the laundry.  Well in reality, Tim did the laundry and Jason thought about helping.  They played a game of chess on my dad’s chess board.  Image-_-5-for-5_8

It was a very quick game and not ending to Jason’s advantage, but both loser and winner shook hands firmly. And no one cried. All the Sunday odd jobs that I do for the week, Tim did for me.  He always wants to help, but I get going, not talking, just moving, through the list in a tornadic fashion and then they are done and there was no chance for assistance.  Today I was banished to write, in the study with cups of tea and coffee and Ciro curled up behind me.  I left the kingdom to the king and now I must say thank you. I went out to Trader Joe’s late today and alone.  I called my Cuzzin on the way to and my dear friend and mentor on the way home.  The weather in Tennessee and Florida is very different than in Massachusetts today.  But talking to them during my ride, brought the sun out for me for a time.  Good stuff.  Speaking of good stuff, I loaded up at Trader Joe’s with more yummies than we can reasonably consume.  I talked my way through the store to all the folks that are there every week.  They are the best people and have known Jason since he was an infant.  Even without him with me today, they still smiled and we chatted. Jason stayed home and tried to lure Tim into playing 10 games rather than doing  10 chores. 

After lunch, I settled back in to the study with Ciro to write some more.  I bounced up to get moving a bit and make a cup of tea after an hour. My Dad called as I was making the tea.  We had a great chat about his birthday celebration earlier in the week with my aunt who is working in England just now. What a gift to imagine brother and sister together with old friends in a special place. It sounds like they had quite the celebration.  My dad was getting ready for bed after a day as lock keeper duty. 

So when we hung up and I set the kettle to boil for a second cup of tea, I remembered that tomorrow at school, we are testing again.  This time is will be math.  And I have to make “Crack.” White Chocolate Cracker Candy is the more innocuous name for it.  My Crochet Guru introduced this delicacy to me as an alternative to the Caramel Matzoh Crunch that I make for Hanukah.  It is a close cousin to the crunch, but instead of matzoh this uses saltines, and instead of brown sugar you use white sugar and instead of semi-sweet chocolate you use white chocolate.  The name is certainly cause for alarmed excitement. The product guarantees similar results as the Monkey Balls from the previous round of testing.  This treat will surely have them laugh out loud and release pretest jitters or console posttest blues.  

I told the kids that I would make them “Crack” for Monday and I must be true to my word.  Yes, this treat is sinful to make and consume.  And yes, it is questionable to give it to young brains trying to excel on a test. But I will let you judge.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Cover the paper with two sleeves of Saltine style crackers.

In a heavy sauce pan, melt one cup of unsalted butter with 1 ½ cups white sugar.

 Boil for 3 minutes while stirring constantly.

 Pour this hot goop over the crackers as evenly as you can. Bake for 12 minutes. 

While this bakes, please scrub your sauce pan in hot soapy water. 

Seriously, if you don’t do this NOW, the sugar will become a permanent part of your pan.

Your choice.

When the timer dings, take out the sheet and spread a full bag of white chocolate chips on top.

Put the sheet back in the oven, with it turned off, for about 4 minutes.

Spread the chocolate, which is now melted, as evenly as you can over the top. 

Put the tray somewhere to cool. (I used the front porch on this cold damp day in May.) When it is cool, crack it into good sized pieces of “CRACK.” 

Here is the end result.  Can something that looks this good, ever be wrong? 



While you contemplate this deeply essential ethical dilemma, I head off to bed to snuggle with Gus and rest the cold bones a bit before the new week.








4 thoughts on “May 7th, 8th 2003 & 2016”

  1. Here is a name for your cookies: MEENA -MORA. The first one is Indian for blue gem stone and second is Spanish for little blueberry.

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