It’s like the sign says, Bub.

Life’s too damn short.

I appreciate the privacy granted to me earlier today, and I’m ready to straighten my shirt and get back into routine.

When I woke up this morning, I found an ominous email about the state of the health of my father.  I love my father dearly; I’m totally a daddy’s girl, through and through.

After calling everyone up trying to figure out what exactly was wrong and getting sent to voice mail or busy signals, I finally was able to get through with my dad.  He’s having surgery early next week to get a defibrillator.

He sounds cheerful and optimistic, and he’s in the hands of some very good and competent doctors at his VA.

However, until I was able to hear his voice, and based on the state of the e-mail I received this morning, I was in a complete panic.

I’m scared.  If you can spare some prayers and thoughts for me and my family right now, I’d be very appreciative.  Thank you.

Anyway, I learned something today that has nothing to do with my family.

Though I did learn something about my family, too.  I love them, and when there’s a crisis, we all pull together and are the most loving, wonderful family ever.  Even my mum, who has been divorced from my dad for a decade or so now, had kind and good things to say about him and listened to me sob uncontrollably on the phone.

My family is full of just plain good people, and I love them with all my heart.  My sister was wonderful, too, and spent a half hour comforting and reassuring me.  My older brother has a warm and kind heart, and my little brother is an angel.  My dad has a sharp wit and a wicked sense of humor, which I know I inherited.  I love them.

Anyway, what I learned about my emotional eating.

I’ll admit it.  I binged.  I binged hard.

You want to know why I binged?  Because worrying about my weight gives me something else to focus on.

When I’m kicking myself and berating myself for being an out of control slob, I don’t have to think about my fear.

When I’m shoveling cookies down my throat, I can hate myself for my lack of self-control and not have to worry about how my father is doing.

I can’t remember the last time I binged.  It’s been a long while.  But it’s a distraction, a diversion from what’s bothering me.

When I started to load the dishwasher, and my hands were busy and my mind was free to think my thinks, I started sobbing.  That’s when the tears began, and that’s when the binging stopped and the healing started.

Today’s eats.

After talking to my family, I started to calm down, and that’s when my friend Em text messaged me.  I messaged her yesterday and we’re going to hash out a plan tomorrow to start training for a 5K.  Neither of us are runners, and we’re excited.

I’ll talk about that tomorrow, though.  I’m pretty psyched.

After a couple messages back and forth, I told her what an awful day I had, and within minutes she was at my door, rescuing me from my anxiety.

She took me to the grocery store, where we found these bad boys for 77 cents each:

Can you believe I found these for 77 cents at Winco?

You bet I stocked up.

In the car, Em got the brilliant idea to smash a Cashew Cookie Larabar up against the Cherry Pie ones.  Oh…em…gee.

I also picked up a ton of fun things that I normally deny myself, just because it’s frivolous or expensive.

Life is too short for anything but real maple syrup.

This was really good!

Our next stop was the Natural Food Store, where I picked up a bottle of cherry mead and some tummy-friendly rice cheese.

This kind had no soy or dairy in it whatsover, and it actually tasted really quite delicious.

Ever since seeing melted cheese on Jenn’s blog, I’ve had a craving for cheesy noodles that would not shut up until I honored it.

Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free Pepperjack Mac n' Cheeze.

Yep, life is too short to live without mac n’ cheeze.

I literally cannot remember the last time I had it.  Years.  It has been truly years since I’ve had it.

I mixed a half-dozen slices of vegan pepperjack into some brown rice elbows, creaming it with some almond milk.  When it was finished, I dumped a boat-load of peas into it.

This is the MOST amazing salad I ever tasted.

While I whipped up the cheezy mac, Em got to work on the world’s most awesome Southwestern salad.

Into a mixing bowl (each!) she piled up crisp romaine, fresh, juicy tomatoes, mushrooms, red bell peppers, hominy corn, cilantro, black beans, a half an avocado each…oh dear.

We squeezed lime juice over it, as well.

Culinary genius, that girl.

We weren't messing around. This is serious eats.

You guessed it: life is too short for wimpy salads.

I already said I had binged earlier, but this was not a binge.

This was enjoying good comfort food with a friend who cares about me and rushes over right away when I tell her I’m feeling down.

We noshed our salads, while sipping our wine, for over an hour.  We talked and laughed and shared the entire time.  Conversations like ours need large salads to talk through.  A small salad would not have cut it.

We already know I'm a lightweight. I had a six ounce pour of this? Oh dear.

As we talked, I slowly began to relax.  The sugar and wine went straight to my brain.  I got loopy.  We giggled, a lot.

Healing with food is good.  Healing with food is strong and powerful.  Healing with food is not binging, because when you’re enjoying a good meal with somebody you care about, you’re not hating yourself.  You’re not kicking yourself for enjoying a variety of textures and tastes.

You’re just in the moment, enjoying life and being alive and being surrounded by friends and loved ones.

And yes, we ate every last bite.

After dinner, it was time for cake.

I tend to hold off on buying cake mixes, since I keep telling myself I’ll master a gluten-free cake just fine on my own.

I still haven’t, and you know what?

Life is too damn short to not eat cake.

Not the best cake ever, but it did the job.

My friend baked this cake for me, and it was very good.

Not delish, not mind-blowingly awesome or life-changing, but I wanted cake and I’m not going to tell myself no.

Life is too short.  I need to treat myself sometimes, too.

Cool whip filled the belly-button of the cake, and I smothered it in white frosting.

I tend to avoid frosting from the can and Cool Whip, since they’re fake food.

Michael Pollan would laugh at me.  Or grimace.  Or wince.

But you know what?  I love Cool Whip, always have.  I hate HFCS, but every once in a while isn’t going to kill me.  Neither is the occasional frosting from a can.

I partook, and it was great.

And yes, I was bouncing off the walls and channeling my inner Richie Tozier on my friend with my silly voices.  One minute I was a boisterous Scot, the next a crazy Marine Drill Sargent.

I don’t do voices.  But hey, ya know what?  Life is too short not to cut loose and act goofy every once in a while.

I woke up this morning in a storm cloud, and that was before I checked my e-mail.  I’m going to bed with a full tummy and a light heart, and I’m going to keep calm and think positive thoughts.

Thanks for bearing with me here; I’ll stop by and comment on all your blogs in the morning.  (Scout’s honor!)  My friend is stopping by for some of my pancakes with real maple syrup, then to plan our 5K training program.  Then we’re headed out to my favorite Mexican joint for lunch.

Should be good.  I’m all kinds of excited and looking forward to it!

We miss out on so much of the good stuff because we worry too much about the frivolous.  What’s something fun and awesome you’re doing for yourself soon, just to celebrate living?

❤ Kaz

(By the way: Em took all these pictures tonight.  I was too addle-pated to focus on really anything, so I’m grateful she took the initiative to take these lovely shots for the blog.  Thanks again, Em! <3)