Why Caramel Pecan Perfection Isn’t

I’m having one of those nights. You know the ones where you’re irrationally angry and you want to drive six hundred miles and beat somebody senseless with a shovel? One of those nights. It can’t be PMS, I just survived menopause. And it’s not my life because I’ve gotten a lot of good news this week. Like the letter from my mortgage company saying they were raising my monthly payment by $400, except it turned out to be a mistake. That was good. And I got my first piece of prison fan mail, the last romance writer in my crowd to get some, but he sounds very nice except for the religious fervor, and he’d like to know more about my cats, which let’s face it, beats a lot of other stuff he could have wanted to know about me.

Overall, I’m up for the week.

Then there was the incurable disease I was diagnosed with last week. Sounds like a houseplant: ‘And over in the corner we have a lovely variegated polycythemia vera. Grows to a height of six inches, flowers in the spring.” But that was good news, too. It’s incurable but probably won’t kill me and the treatment is a snap. Actually, it’s an ancient snap: bleeding. My bone marrow’s making too many red blood cells, so to thin the herd, whenever the count goes too high, they take a pint. That’s it, that’s the whole treatment. My doc said I could learn to do it at home, and I’m visualizing myself leaning over the garbage disposal with a paring knife trying to figure out when I’m down a quart. Risk factors are strokes and heart attacks, but I’m 55 and overweight, so I was already in line for those anyway. As a friend of mine said, if I had to get an incurable disease, this is the one to get.

More than that, it’s an orphan disease, so I am very, very special. Depending on which website you frequent, it hits either one in one hundred thousand people or one in a million. Which means no telethon. Of course, that was in the cards when it turned out not to be fatal, although everybody who said that is going to look pretty dumb if I stroke out tomorrow. Which is a possibility because I just ate a pint of Caramel Pecan Perfection Ice Cream made by those pimps at Dove.

Here’s the thing about Dove ice cream: They cover it with ganache. The ice cream is great, but the ganache is truly sublime. The crack cocaine of frozen dairy. Twelve hundred calories per pint, six hundred and eighty of which are fat calories. This is not a dessert for a woman who has polycythemia vera. Now I not only have blood that’s too thick, my arteries just got narrower because they’re lined with ganache. And you know, it didn’t really help. Well, there was the sugar rush while I was standing at the sink shoving it in my face, but then it was over and I felt . . . used. Like a cheap pick-up the Dove people seduced and abandoned in the kitchen, leaving me with sticky hands and an empty cup, still wanting to drive six hundred miles and beat somebody senseless with a shovel.

Which brings me to my final question: Why in God’s name do we turn to sugar and fat when what we really want to do is unleash rage and mayhem? What primal instinct buried deep in our DNA says, “Don’t express your anger, eat something that will kill you”? I know carbs are supposed to sedate you—and if that’s true, why didn’t the crime rate soar during that Atkins fad?—but I’m full of fat calories and I’m still searching through my garden tools.

So I have decided, in the clear light of hindsight, not to do that any more. I will not dull my anger with criminal food.

I will find my car keys, drive the six hundred miles, and solve the problem the old fashioned way: With my bare and sticky hands.

23 thoughts on “Why Caramel Pecan Perfection Isn’t

  1. Here’s to Death by Chocolate. Or Ganache. Whatever. Not quite the same ring to it. We need to take you to play paintball. The Grand Poobah demands it, he does. He claims it’s not quite as satisfying as putting a pickaxe into somebody’s skull, but at least it’s legal.

  2. There are guys in prison who read romantic fiction?

    Huh. I haven’t known one male on “the outside” who’d so much as pick one up.

    And now I’ve got this sweet picture of a non-violent offender curled up on his bunk with “Faking It,” rooting for Davy Dempsey to get the girl and go straight.

    Is it terribly pathetic that I kind of like this imaginary inmate? Lots, probably. Though, maybe not. I mean, you said he sounded kinda nice…


  3. My first psychologist job was in a priseon fro under 21 felons. I had a client who read Anne Tyler..his mother had an antique store (creatively atocked, but still)……..I loved him. He was in for forging and uttering (its 2 crimes in NC to write a bad check and pass it) which looked oh so much better than what his peers were in for, trust me.
    At least until that counterfitting debacle at the prison print shop job I reccomended him for.

  4. One of the common symptoms of polycythemia vera seems to be itchiness in the shower, which I always thought was one of the more interesting symptoms to have.

  5. Jenny, love your new website and THANKS for blogging. I’m LMAO as usual whenever I read you.

    Congrats on the Rita! Well deserved.

    But I really came here to find out if there’s anything going on (romantically, of course) between you and Bob. Saw you both speak at the PRO dinner in Reno and you were hilarious! My girlfriends and I have taken bets…3 yes, 2 no. Too bad you’re not responding to our comments. I’d love to collect from them.

    Don’t ever stop writing. Us peri- and menopausal women need to laugh, too.

  6. Lessee, now, would 600 miles take you into a wilder territory? Why not send the killer stuff down there?

    Sounds like you could be your blood bank’s favorite person, assuming it’s genetic and not contagious.

    As usual, you never cease to entertain.

  7. This is my attempt to get you to blog daily (or at least a few times a week) so I won’t have to wait until FRIGGIN’ SPRING OF NEXT YEAR to read something new by you.

    So… ahem.

    *swinging watch chain*

    You are feeling sleepy. Very, very sleepy. Sleeeeeepy.

    When I count to three, you will be overcome with the urge to update this blog at least three times a week.

    At least three times a week.

    *spirally eyes*

    *swinging watch chain*

    Threeeeeee times a weeeeek…..


  8. (((HUGS))) on your diagnosis, and you are right-on about snarfing down those comfort foods when we would rather express anger. After learning I had breast cancer this summer (very small, very early, very favorable, blah, blah) I have enjoyed ice cream and lots of other carbs I would normally skip.

    Okay, fall is coming, back to the Atkins drawing board!

  9. Too bad you can’t beat the polycythemia with a shovel. Then use the shovel as part of a midnight commando raid on the Dove factory. Shovel = spoon of great efficiency.

    Hang in there, and stay out of the garden shed! Go kayaking with Bob, and if you feel homicidal, you can use the bare and sticky hands on him. Considering his background, I am sure he will consider parrying a homicidal attack all in good fun.

  10. Well, I was able to ignore my friends pimping the new Dove ice cream, but now you, a writer whose books I dig, are pimping it too, and I cannot resist someone famous pimping something to me.

    Dagnabbit, I give in. I’m off to the store to buy some Dove ice cream.

  11. Thinking this would be a cranky Monday morning, I got online (slowly and with great effort due to my inferior dial-up connection) only to find out the glorious had happened! My friend sent me a link to your blog, and life is suddenly round again. Your books are some of the few I can read over and over again and still find something new to laugh at. Your blog is manna from heaven for me. Something to save me from my deadline hell, and from the brain fry that comes along with having two small children under the age of three. Thank you for making me laugh.

  12. Hmmmm. 600 miles. Shovel.

    Bob wanting more info dumps?

    LOL, love this blog!


  13. Hey, my mom has polycythemia! I’ve never known anyone else who has it. She’s had for about 15-ish years. Sometimes it can be a bother (her skin gets pretty itchy and she gets tired right around the time she needs to get her blood drained) but she handles it like a champ! It’s no fun though and I’m sorry to hear you have it.

  14. (((((((Jenny)))))) on the diagnosis, but most of all on the menopause. Isn’t it the pits? I’m 51, menopausal, and I just quit smoking. Again. But this time for good. If you decide you want to wield that shovel, I have a soon to be ex son-in-law and a soon to be ex daughter-in-law you can take a swing at. If I don’t beat you to them. 🙂

  15. For goodness sake, what did Bob do? I’m assuming that’s the 600 mile reference, of course.

    Is the polycy… something inherited? I’ve got one of those orphan, inherited thingees, too, also blood related. Here in California, they have a special fund to pay medical expenses for people with those. Of course, I don’t suppose getting tapped occasionally is something that’s going to bankrupt you.

    Can you donate at the blood bank instead of just having it dumped? Oh, nevermind, since you’re not answering. I’ll take my questions elsewhere. ;+)

  16. The irrational anger thing usually bites me in the mornings. I’ll have been on a slow boil all morning and not realize it until I’m in the car. All it takes is one a$$hole to piss me off–like only going 65 in the fast lane when the speed limit is 60 and everyone knows you can go at least 75–and I’m suddenly boiling over. At that point I pretty much become a danger to myself and others. I become More Aggressive Than Usual Driver. And I must admit, I’m a little ashamed of myself when I calm down, but it sure feels good while it’s happening. And if I had bucket of Blue Bell Tin Roof sitting on lap and a spoonful in my mouth at the same time it would be oh so much more satisfying.

  17. Why is it that WOMEN turn to comfort foods? You never hear of a guy going and scarfing down a carton of ice cream, so why do we? It’s hardly fair. I mean, we’re already made to have wider hips and retain fat and all that other crap, so I think it’s a bit unfair that women tend to suck down carbs and guys don’t. Yeah, life’s not fair, but damn. I think we’re due a break. The men have it to easy, I think. What do WE get?!

    Oh right. Multiple orgasm.

    That works.

  18. Regarding your polycythemia: don’t let any of Christine Feehan’s Carpathians in the house.

  19. I love the comments as much as the Blog itself! I was reading them at work, while on my break, and laughed so hard, I broke the keyboard tray at my desk!

    Punching bag? Heck I throw dishes! hehe! Especially the ones I got from my ex in-laws as a wedding present! Hahahahaha! They said they wanted me to give ’em back! yea right. Here’s the box, and crazy glue! Have fun!

  20. Hi there, I punched in Polycythemia Vera into the “search all blogs” part and your post came up. I have PV, I’ve had it for the past 6 years. I am a 32 yr. old Canadian gal. I am on Hydrea, for it, since phlebotomies don’t do much for me. I just wanted to encourage you, and let you know there are others out there in blog world who have PV as well 🙂

  21. hope this works, no replys are showing, but I can’t believe no one would have posted to this. Also there is the time lag, I only just became a cherry about a month ago, but I’m doing my research, hence, this reading.

    First,i was sorry to read you have a health concern to deal with. Concern makes it sound like it’s worried it will rain at lunch. Health issues are awful, and can set your life on edge until you read, research, learn all you can, then want to scream because the is not adequate information or research done on your thing.

    I know how you feel. No, not just something to say, I truly know how you fee. Mine is a cancer that is so rare one in a million will get it and 3% get it in the lung. i am so damn special. only one drug company make the medication, the only chemo that works. The price, a mere $7800.00 it is paid in full by HMO. I told them give me the cash I would most likely buy meds with it, maybe a better deal. They said no. I can’t imagine why.

    I am so impressed with you I can’t even tell you. Your books read like my life, Jon, dh of 30 yrs asked if you were hiding in a back room after i was spastic reading a passage about dogs in Getting rid of. It’s our life…and in the other books. No wonder I feel so at home in your books, i’m in there!

    you are brave, you are amazing, you have intelligence i would kill for, well, maim for, ok, yell loud at. Telling my daughter who is going to be 28, that I would rip off her arm and beat her with it wasn’t the best method of threat management.

    i was going to say I want to be you when I grow up, but we are the same age, so that won’t work either.

    Never doubt what you can do. You have such a future you have no idea. I’m so glad that my twit sister gave me Fast Women! and I’m so ready to read more. my second Getting rid of and Bet me are looking thread bare.
    hang in there
    sparkle cherry slut

  22. forgot the sugar part, get some Saunders Hot Fudge Sauce, and large spoon for dipping. insert spoon, let most drain, tip up spoon, with swirl to catch thin streem of hot fudge sauce, the be content to have a spoonfull of sugar…on both sides. repete as needed.

    how does a California girl like me know from Saunders? Michigan Birth baby, Born in Michigan. And I have a a huge can safely under said bed, waiting. and a spoon.

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