Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 35 (Volume 35) by Susan Gillard

Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 35 (Volume 35) by Susan Gillard

There’s a mutiny going on in Key West, Florida. Well, okay, maybe not quite a mutiny but the shop owners on the street where Heather Shepherd owns her donut bakery, Donut Delights, are certainly up at arms. A new store is about to open and it’s a bait shop. All the shop owners, especially Mr. Rankle who who’s the proprietor of Sun and Fun Novelties, are really on the warpath. Him and most of the other store owners are afraid that with the new bait store opening the rest of the street might start of smell of fish. They’re also afraid that some of the creepy crawlers will escape and wander around frightening all their customers away. The bait shop isn’t even close to the shore so whoever buys the bait will walk around and into the other stores on the street. No one wants their book store or bakery smelling like bait.

It seems like none of the store owners, even friendly bookshop owner, Bernadette, doesn’t want this new place to open. But Heather and best friend Amy Givens, although not really too thrilled with a bait shop so close, plan to visit the new place and give the owner a box of Heather’s newest donut creation, mint chocolate crunch donuts.

They arrive at the not yet opened store and find the door ajar. The two go in and get a strange feeling. Uh, oh. Heather calls out to inform the new owner that they want to say hello and share some donuts. No answer. The two women go to the back of the store and find a man lying dead  on the floor covered with a huge piece of wood where a giant fish had been mounted. The wall trophy crushed the man! Was this yet another murder in Key West?

Heather contacts her husband, Detective Ryan Shepherd to start investigating.

What’s really freaking out Heather Amy is that the store where the bait shop will open is the site of a former seafood restaurant. There was a murder at this restaurant when Heather and her friends first moved to Key West. It was the site of Heather and Amy’s first murder investigation where Heather was a suspect. Amy is sure that the site is cursed!

As the investigation proceeds everyone learns that the murdered man is indeed bait shop owner, Barry Banes. He just moved to Florida from Oregon and doesn’t have any family in the area.

Even though the city approved the bait shop his store neighbors filed numerous complaints about him and the shop, and now he’s dead.

At first Ryan, Heather, and Amy thought that the huge fish trophy might have accidentally fallen on him but upon further investigation they noticed that the rope holding the trophy was not ripped or torn but it looked like it was cut. Furthermore, there were blood stains a distance away from where the body was found which leads everyone to believe that the man was killed in one spot and then dragged under the trophy, the trophy rope was then cut making it look like the huge fish killed Barry accidentally. Oh, someone really planned this murder, but who, and why?

Could one of Heather’s neighbor’s been so upset with the bait shop opening to actually kill? Could it have been their good friend, bookstore owner, Bernadette? Barry Banes was not a very nice man. He came to Bernadette’s store, asking her out, and then said some very rune thing to her, like what his plans for her were. Bernadette was disgusted and told him to leave. Then he sent her some equally rude  messages. He also sent her a note asking if she was ready for their second date!

Bernadette didn’t tell the police about this because she was ashamed and thought she had done something wrong. Of course she did not lead the man on but she was embarrassed just the same.

Someone murdered the awful bait shop owner and Heather and her friends will get to the bottom of it.

“Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder” is the 35th novel in Author Susan Gillard’s  Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. I particularly liked this one quite a bit because Ms. Gillard gently brought up the recent real world issue of the #MeToo movement. Without preaching, the author let her fans know that her fictional characters face the same problems that real people do. After reading many of Susan Gillard’s cozy series this is the first time that she introduced such a sensitive issue. Not that murder isn’t sensitive but adding yet another issue to her book was fairly brave of her. All of Ms. Gillard’s cozies are acceptable reading for all ages, even this one.

“Mint Chocolate Crunch & Murder” is still a terrific cozy with just a tad of edginess. I hope the author continues to add more real life issues in her books. She does it tastefully and the subject matter does not get in the way of a fun cozy mystery.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Maple Frosted Murder- A Donut Hole Cozy Mystery (Second Edition) by Susan Gillard

Maple Frosted Murder- A Donut Hole Cozy Mystery (Second Edition) by Susan Gillard

When your donut shop is losing customers and is empty all the time and no one is buying your yummy treats someone has to be blamed. According to Stan Dombrowski the reason why his donut shop is going into the gutter is not his fault but the fault of Heather Janke the owner of the new donut shop, Donut Delights. Oh, that Heather Janke, stealing his customers! Stan did his best to put Heather out of business by putting out false reports about her shop but the popularity of Donut Delights never waivered. Okay, so what if maybe Stan’s donuts weren’t great? So what if he was a little stingy with his ingredients? That didn’t mean a thing. Stan was making donuts in Hillside, Texas long before Heather Janke came and he’ll be darned if she will take over. He’ll show her and go over and tell her exactly what he thinks.

Stan does that and has a huge screaming fit with Heather at her shop with lots of customers listening. He claims that Heather is purposely trying to put him out of business. The nerve of her.

But the next day Stan is found dead in his donut shop, his body found in the freezer. And who’s the prime murder suspect? Heather of course. There were so many witness to their argument that everyone naturally assumes that Heather murdered her donut-making rival. What’s a girl to do? Well, she does what she does best and starts investigating Stan’s death with her best pal, Amy Givens.

There are lots of suspects since Heather was not the only person he disliked or disliked him. His employee, Ben, had problems with Stan, Stan’s wife wasn’t thrilled with him, he lost his seat on the town’s board, and the teenage clerk in the grocery store didn’t like Stan since the day Stan accused the teen of cheating him.

There were lots of people who had something against Stan and any one of them could have done him in. Heather knows it’s up to her to find the real culprit before she’s put behind bars.

“Maple Frosted Murder” is the second edition or author Susan Gillard’s popular cozy donut hole mystery series. It was fun to reread the book and be reminded how Heather’s history in the town of Hillside, Texas began and especially how she formed all the wonderful relationships and friends she found there, not to mention her future husband.

The novel was as entertaining the second time around as much as it was during the first reading. It’s always nice to go back and take a look at the start of a great series.

“Maple Frosted Murder” is a great book for all cozy-lovers.

“I received an ARC of this book and voluntarily reviewed it.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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Powdered Grape & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 29 by Susan Gillard

Powdered Grape & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 29 by Susan Gillard

College student, Teresa Ray, went to Key West, Florida for some Spring Break fun with her friends Marigold Mayer and Jess McKish. They checked into adjoining rooms at the Seaview Hotel anticipating having a great time.

After a night of drinking a little too much and making enough noise that a person in another room complained about them, the girls eventually fell asleep.

The next morning Jess was pretty drunk and awoke with a hangover and remained in bed. Marigold felt fine and went out and Teresa decided to get out of bed and sit on the fifth floor balcony and relax. Except something happened. Teresa fell from the balcony and was killed.

At first Police Detective, Ryan Shepherd, and the rest of the police thought that the death was accidental but he soon changed his mind and began to think Teresa was murdered. His change of opinion came with some help of his donut baker/P.I. wife, Heather Shepherd. Heather and her best friend, fellow P.I., and baking assistant, Amy Givens, always helped the police solve any murders in the area and the two women were fundamental in helping out once again.

A shiny coin was found on the balcony where Teresa was pushed and in her hand the police found a piece of black cloth. Could Teresa have grabbed hold of a shirt or a dress or a jacket of the person who pushed her and was this evidence?

There were no signs of struggle on the balcony and Teresa didn’t have any injuries to her body that showed that she was shoved. This is not going to be an easy case to Heather and Amy to solve. Any one of the people staying in the busy Key West hotel during Spring Break could be the killer. Maybe even one of Teresa’s friends could have murdered her for some reason but why? Well, Heather and Amy, with the help of Heather’s newest donut creation, will find the answers to everything.

Meanwhile, something strange is going on with Amy’s longtime boyfriend, Jamie. He’s acting strange and Amy swears that she saw his best friend, Josh, in town but Jamie isn’t telling her anything. Could he be planning a surprise proposal?

Powdered Grape & Murder” is the 29th installment of author Susan Gillard’s Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. All the characters from the rest of the series are here baking donuts and solving murders. The only problem is that the editing could be a little better and a few of the mistakes can force you to stop reading for a second to try to figure out what the sentence means. But other than that this is another good story in an excellent, fun-filled, family-friendly series. You can read the novels in any order since they’re basically stand-alones. Just sit down, read, and enjoy yourself.

“I received an ARC of this book and voluntarily reviewed it.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

powdered grape

I Will Smack The Next Person Who Asks Me About My Thanksgiving

I Will Smack The Next Person Who Asks Me About My Thanksgiving

WARNING: Read at your own risk. Not a warm, fuzzy post.

 

Thanksgiving Day November 23, 2017 5:37 PM

For all of you who will ask me what I did for Thanksgiving – not that you really care. It’s just a way for you to tell me about your day. Let’s see, what did I do today?  Okay, here goes.

I went to bed at 2:00 am. I stay up as long as possible so the night won’t be too long. If I go to bed at two in the morning there’s only five hours or so until daylight. Laid down in my bed in the dark room, pulled out my Kindle and played a little Burger Shop 2. Then I pulled up my newest dystopian novel I’m reading, “The End of the World Running Club” by Adrian J. Walker.

Ha, Adrian J. Walker. The author’s name got me thinking. My sister’s name was Adrienne. This must be a sign or something. I thought about it for a while. My sister died eight years ago, my father died 33 years ago, and my mother died 31 years ago, thus leaving me totally alone. They were all very sick. I was with all of them as they were dying. I took them all to doctors, hospitals, ambulances, emergency rooms, worried about them, cried for them, and they all left me. There I was at 2:45 this morning crying because of the anger I felt. “You all left me. You left me alone. I never left any of you alone. I was there all the time and this is how I’m paid back? You all left me and that’s not very nice!” I was crying for 15 minutes with nothing but the light from my Kindle keeping me company.

I’m going to die alone in this apartment, the apartment I’ve been living in for 65 years, never left, always here to do what I could because I was needed. Could I have left 30 or 40 years ago? Sure, but my parents were both ill and I was not going to abandon them. When my sister got sick I sure as hell was not going to leave her. It was my choice, my option, my decision. I have no regrets. I don’t know what my life would have been like if I did leave but it was a choice I made willingly but now there’s no one left except for me and my Kindles, and an apartment filled with junk.

When I get sick I’m sick alone in this apartment. When I ended up in the hospital two years ago I took myself there and was there for five days by myself, no visitors. A few phone calls but basically alone. Even the doctors and nurses were worried about that. “Next of kin?” they asked. “No one I answered.” “Well, there has got to be someone” they insisted. Children, husband, siblings? “No one” I said. Is that really so strange? I guess so.

When I got home I couldn’t move for almost two weeks. I crawled into the kitchen to fill a jar with water so I’d have something to drink during the day and then I crawled back into the bedroom. If I had a bowl of oatmeal per day I was lucky. Alone, a few phone calls from a friend or two, my uncle, but that was about it.

Here’s the really strange thing – I didn’t want to see anyone. To this day I don’t want anyone to come over. In a way, I’m kind of okay with my loneliness. People annoy the crap out of me most times. That’s what happens when you’re use to your own company.

My upstairs neighbors, all six tenants in my line of my apartment building, bother me. The idiot upstairs smokes all day and then runs the toilet for four hours straight. How do they do that? Tie the flushing thing down so it keeps running? The jerk above them turns their faucets on and off constantly. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Nine in the morning, three in the afternoon, four in the morning, squeak, squeak, squeak. The people next door to me have a kid that runs up and down the apartment banging off the wall that separates their apartment from mine. I swore the kid weighed at least 200 pounds until I saw he was little, maybe 45-50 pounds. His running steps are those of a grown man.

I rail out at these maniacs. I scream at the smoke, at the noise, at the constant running toilet, the squeaking of the faucets. “Am I the only sane person in this building?” I scream out loud. And then I laugh because I am far from sane. Well, that’s pretty obvious. The building is filled with lunatics, especially me.

Back to Thanksgiving. I am not the only person who is alone during this “festive” time of year but it’s hard finding others like me when all I see are Facebook posts about eating turkey with friends and family. Posts with pictures of happy smiling faces although I suspect that some of these smiling faces are just masks for what’s really going on in their lives.

I didn’t have turkey today. I don’t eat meat. My cousin Marty came by last night and brought me a ton of fish. I made a package of tilapia. I read that tilapia isn’t really good for you. I don’t care. I ate half of it this afternoon and will eat the rest tonight with some calorie-free mayonnaise. 

When I was growing up I could almost hear my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother saying that I wouldn’t amount t anything. That I would be a “spinster” and live my life with a bunch of cats. Ha, I fooled you all. I have no cats except for my last name. But the rest is essentially true. I’m nothing. When I do die no one will know except for my landlord who will have to figure out what to do with the accumulated crap I have. I’d like to see her try to figure that one out.

I still have cousins around from both my mother and father’s side of the family. Most I’ve lost touch with. Marty, my cousin on my father’s side, calls a few times a week and stops by every so often. To be fair he does ask me to go out with him and his girlfriend. He offers to hire a car because I have trouble walking but like I said before, I kind of prefer to be alone at this point. I’ve been by myself too long to really accept anyone else in my life. But Marty is a good guy.

I wasn’t invited to Thanksgiving at any of my cousins homes, not that I would have gone. That would mean someone would have to drive me there and drive me back and believe me none of my cousins would want to do that. But that’s fine with me. I don’t expect anything from anyone. And I really would not have gone to anyone’s home for Thanksgiving or anything else for that matter. But, you know, thanks for asking just the same. Oh, so no one gets insulted, I have cousins, in New York, New Jersey, Long Island, Texas, Georgia, California, all over the place so I am not talking about any specific cousin. 

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Heck yeah! But I’m allowed to indulge myself. I see too many posts from people bragging about their kids, their homes, their lives, their everything. That makes them happy. I can post about feeling sorry for myself. After all, I don’t have 4,087 pictures of my kids to show off on Facebook. Actually, I think that people who post so much about their perfect families are trying to prove to themselves, more than to me, that their lives are perfect.

Holidays make me evil. Holidays depress me. Holidays make me want to stay off social networks. Holidays make me want to slap a certain friend of mine who always asks, “What did you do for ______? (Fill in the blank: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years Eve, July 4th…) Well, I did what I do every single day of my life – I sit and read, maybe turn on the television and do my best to quickly change channels if I see a football or a picture of our idiot president ready to give his next stupid opinion. I do the same thing everyday of my life. Why ask me about what I did on a holiday when you know damn well that I did absolutely nothing. Whatever I did on August 27 I do on December 25. I will not ask you about your holiday just because you segued into it. Just tell me without asking the stupid first question. I don’t mind hearing about what others did during their holiday, just don’t ask me what I did because I DID NOTHING!

See, holidays, do make me evil, I just proved it with this monologue. Maybe I should start a Facebook page for all of us “Lonely Outcasts” who celebrate holidays in front of the television or with a book eating a piece of fish with no-calorie mayonnaise.

The Thrill of the Haunt by E. J. Copperman

The Thrill of the Haunt by E. J. Copperman

I’m a reader. I’d read all day long if everyday things like shopping, doing laundry, and cleaning the apartment didn’t get in the way, not that I clean my apartment all that often. My home is filled with books, thousands of them. I also have a regular Kindle and two Kindle Fires filled with books, thousands of them. So why do I end up trolling my library for something new to read when I have have so much reading material at my fingertips? I troll the library to find that one in a million author who I’ve never read before and who will remind me of why I love the written word so much. This is how I discovered author E. J. Copperman.

The first book I read by this author was “Spouse on Haunted Hill.” The book cover said it was a part of the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series. I like ghosts, it kind of sounded like a cozy, kind of, so I figured I’d borrow it and give this author a try. The book wasn’t the first in the series but I’m rather smart so I was sure I could figure out what happened in the earlier novels.

I read the book and found myself obsessed with the series and the characters. Just this morning I finished reading “The Thrill of the Haunt.” This is the fifth book in the series and I’ve yet to read the first. No big deal, I’ll get to it.

Let me tell you a little something about the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series. It follows Alison Kerby who owns a guesthouse in New Jersey, right by the shore. It’s not a bed a breakfast because Alison doesn’t cook but she can steer you to a great nearby Jersey diner if you feel the need to eat.

Alison was married to “The Swine” until he took off to California with his young tootsie leaving Alison to care for their daughter, Melissa. Alison’s mom, Loretta, lives nearby and comes to the guesthouse to show Melissa how to cook since Alison can barely boil water, although opening a carton of Edy’s ice cream is a breeze for her. A gal after my own heart.

Paul and Maxi live in the guesthouse with Alison and Melissa. Paul was a private investigator hired to protect Maxi but Paul was new to the game and failed miserably when both he and Maxi were killed in the house. Alison then bought it and Paul and Maxi came along with the mortgage. They are live-in ghosts.

Not everyone can see and hear ghosts. Can you? Alison can, and Melissa can, and Loretta can but not too many others. It’s all in the genes. Alison is known as “the ghost lady” in town since she advertises her guest house as being haunted but no one really believes that. Paul also persuaded Alison to get her P.I. license so he can, in a roundabout way, still be a private investigator.

Alison’s father, who died, also visits the guesthouse to make sure Alison, Melissa, and the house itself are in fine working order. Every so often there are other non living visitors. Paul summons the spirits when Alison needs some ghostly advice. Alison calls it using the “ghosternet.”

That’s the background in a nutshell. In “The Thrill of the Haunt” Alison has two cases. In the first case a wife hires her to follow her husband to see if he’s cheating. The wife doesn’t want a divorce just some leverage to hold over his head but she needs proof.

In the second case Alison has to figure out who killed, Everett, the town’s homeless man. Everett’s body was found in a locked gas station bathroom. Word on the street has it that a ghost killed Everett so who better to find the murdering spook than “the ghost lady?”

This is a wild and wonderfully funny book. Author E. J. Copperman knows exactly how to write as a person living in New Jersey. New Jerseyans can be very sarcastic. I know since I have a good friend living there and, being a Brooklynite, I know quite a bit about the art of sarcasm myself.

When I started the series I was floored at how good the author was able to weave in a great murder/mystery with lots of humor. The writing had such a nice female touch that I thought the author was a woman. Silly me. E. J. Copperman is a man. Definitely fooled me there.

The murder mystery story is top notch. I didn’t figure out the ending to either case until the last 25 pages when the author basically spelled it out. I love when I can’t figure out who done it within the first 50 pages and if I’m still wondering close to 300 pages in I’m in heaven.

The author weaves a terrific mystery with a good deal of humor and sarcasm and best of all each book in the series is a stand-alone. Start with any novel in the series and you won’t be missing out on a thing. Okay, maybe in one book you meet a ghostly character and then in the next one you read, an earlier book, the character is alive and kicking but that’s no biggie. The author does a good job in filling you in.

E.J. Copperman has quite a few series out there and I’ve started reading a book in one of his others and I have a hold at the library for two books from yet a third series. Thankfully  a new installment in the Haunted Guesthouse series will be out in January of 2018. When can I preorder it?

Like every book in the Haunted Guesthouse series “The Thrill of the Haunt” will leave you trying to solve a terrific murder/mystery, laughing at Alison’s narrative, and kind of wishing you had your own live in ghostly friends. If you like cozies this series fits the bill too although its story line is more complicated than your average cozy and there are no recipes included.

E. J. Copperman’s books will grab you from the first page.

thrill of haunt

 

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #3) by Susan Bernhardt

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #3) by Susan Bernhardt

It’s summertime in Sudbury Falls but the living is far from easy for Kay Driscoll. Her son, Andy, is getting married in under a week and the reception is being held at Kay’s home. Her husband, Phil, isn’t doing all that much to help with all the chores that need to be done. If anything, he’s adding on to Kay’s work load.

Phil’s cousin, Loren, is in the hospital and someone has to take care of his 12 year-old daughter, Janey, until Janey’s mother arrives in town to pick her up. Of course Phil agrees to take the girl into their home but Kay knows she will be the one watching her for the time she’ll be with them.

Janey is not the easiest of kids to like but then again most 12 year-old children are hard to deal with. But Kay is expecting two hundred people for the wedding reception and has to make sure the house is in good order, decorations are in place, and the catering will be perfection. All Phil has to deal with is rehearsals for his band because they will be entertaining.

A few days after the wedding Kay, Phil, Janey, and her friends are at the July 4th fireworks display when they they think they hear gunshots. A book club member, James, is found dead in the sand. The police think he killed himself but Kay believes otherwise.

No one loved James as much as James loved himself. He was having affairs with numerous women who adored him and he also just started a new job that he loved. Life seemed to be going his way. Kay felt that James had absolutely no reason to commit suicide no matter what the police thought.

But James was not well liked. He was rude to people, made crude comments, basically stole his new job from another man, and many of his love interests were married women and their husbands probably didn’t appreciate James showing that kind of attention to their wives. In other words, there’s a huge list of people who would love to see James dead.

Kay didn’t like James either but she did want justice to be served so she started investigating his death along with her friends Deidre and Elizabeth. Investigating came easy to Kay and she helped solve other murders in her town but asking questions made her a target to the murderer and put her life in danger.  

Between weddings, taking care of 12 year-old Janey, being a loving wife and mother, and watching out for her life Kay has her hands full this summer. It was summertime but the living was far from easy.

“Murder by Fireworks” is the third Kay Driscoll novel is this excellent series by Susan Bernhardt. I’ve read them all and each book is better than the previous one. This is my favorite of the three.

Ms. Bernhardt is becoming a wonderful mystery writer. Through reading all her books, not only the Kay Driscoll series, I’ve seen how the author honed in on her craft. It’s obvious that she takes her time thinking about story lines and how the plot leads to the bad guy. The stories are well-thought out and complicated. The murderer is not someone you would suspect by page 50 and her explanations for why the murder was done forms a near perfect murder/mystery.

Do not expect a simple cozy while reading this. “Murder by Fireworks” is up there with most any other good mystery novel. The book isn’t just for women and I’m sure it would appeal to any mystery lover.

The characters are wonderful and that includes the character of the Town of Sudbury Falls. It makes city dwellers, like myself, wish they lived in a small town where everyone knows your name, people you can share the joy of holidays with and are willing to help out with a crises at a moment’s notice.

While Reading any of Susan Bernhardt’s books you’ll find yourself engrossed in a good mystery and you won’t want to stop it reading until the mystery solved.

Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of any book in the Kay Driscoll Series and discover what a good writer this author is.

For more about Susan Bernhardt’s books please see Susan’s section on my blog.

murder fireworks

Weight Rant

Weight Rant

I will mark this day in my calendar. May 12, 2017 – I am no longer “Morbidly Obese;” I am no longer “Obese;” I am no longer “Overweight.” For the first time in my life I am now considered “Normal Weight.” How long will this last? I have no idea. Maybe just for the next hour, maybe for a day or so, maybe a month, or maybe I’ll become “Underweight” some day, although this is highly unlikely. But the point is that I am now considered normal. Because, you see, if you’re even the slightest bit bigger than what society says you should be then you are far from normal.

For the past 64 years, 10 months, and two days I’ve been told that I wasn’t normal by the actions and remarks of family, friends, and total strangers. “Sharon, you have such a pretty face, you should lose weight and show it.” “Sharon, you should lose weight because your uncle doesn’t like fat people.” “Hey you fatso, eat a salad and lose weight you lazy bitch.” Those words and much worse were said to me throughout my life. My aunt said that thing to me about my uncle when I was 12 years old.

A cousin lectured me about my weight when we were both in our twenties. She said that losing weight was easy. Yeah, it’s easy when someone who weighs 100 pounds soaking wet is saying it’s easy. When she turned 45 or 50 she started putting on weight and became “obese” and then called me to tell me how hard it was to lose weight and no one understood what she was going through and all everyone did was lecture her. Really? I thought losing weight was easy.

I was working at a company that put out the Yellow and White Pages back in the 70’s. One day I had the nerve to put a hard candy into my mouth. A co worker, Maria, said, “I thought you were on a diet.” Why did she think I was on a diet? Because I told her? No. Because she was part of the diet police? Or maybe it was because I was fat and not allowed to have a piece of hard candy.
In the 80’s I was an editor at a big financial institution and was eating lunch at my desk and one of the secretarial supervisors looked at what I was eating and told me that I should think about eating better. I had the nerve to be eating some tuna fish. Guess tuna fish isn’t allowed to be eaten either when you’re fat. Let’s start making a list: no hard candies or tuna fish allowed. Another 100 pound when soaking wet person who ended up obese when she got older heard from.

Now I have to talk about my grandmother. My cousins are not going to like this because they never saw the grandmother that I will describe. She hated me and my sister and I suspect my mother too because we were all obese. She might have included my father on her hate list just because he married my mother. He wasn’t obese.

My grandmother would constantly make comments to my sister and myself about our weight and not the nice comments but evil ones. The kind of comments that made you want to stay away from her forever, which my sister ended up doing. When grandma tells you how ugly you are and how you don’t chalk up to the rest of her grandchildren because of your weight then you don’t want anything to do with grandma.

How about strangers? People who you never saw in your life feel they have the right, more like “morally obligated,” to lecture and call you names because you’re fat. They’d tell me how unhealthy I was because of my weight. Duh, yeah, I know, fat equals dumb and I would never know that being fat was unhealthy. Thank God some stranger felt they had the right to tell me this otherwise I would never have known.

My sister died from colon cancer. The last three months of her life all she could eat, when she could eat, was yogurt and ice cream. We were alone, our parents were dead, of the few family members who knew of her dying no one called or helped out at all except for one or two. I was a mess trying to figure out how I was going to survive after watching my sister die this horrible death.

One July day my sister asked me to buy her some ice cream, the kind that had chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. I was happy to do it and a little relieved that she was hungry for anything. I went to the corner grocery where the owners and people who worked there knew about my sister dying. The owner always gave me yogurt for her without charging me.

But this one July day I was online to pay for the ice cream when an older man looked and me, looked and the ice cream and started yelling at me. “You’re too fat to eat that. It should be illegal to allow people of your size to buy and eat ice cream. Put that back and do something about your weight.” I stared and this man and wondered if I could get away with hitting him. I wondered if I even cared if about the consequences of such a violent reaction, when the clerk who was ringing up the ice cream called over the owner and said something to him in Russian. The owner took the man aside and started yelling at him in Russian and kicked him out the store. Then the owner came to me, apologized profusely, gave me the ice cream for free, and handed me a ton of yogurt for my sister.

When I got home my sister saw how upset I was and asked what was wrong. I said everything was fine and that it was just hot out. I gave her some ice cream and she wanted me to eat some with her so I put some in a plate and sat on her bed with her and we talked. Yes, I ate the ice cream but I never told my sister about what happened in the store. She died three months later.

So I want to say to all you “caring people” who feel obligated to make remarks to fat people for “their own good” to mind your own business!

Back to this morning when I weighed myself and saw that after one year, nine months, and 12 days of struggling I’m finally considered normal weight and with the right BMI. I then slipped into my pants which is sized at an 8/10. I lost 176 on my own. No surgery. No real help except from my cardiologist who was my main cheerleader as the pounds came off. He’s prouder of me than I am of myself.

This isn’t my first time around the block with losing 100 pounds or more. It’s my third or fourth time around. For those of you who don’t know, which is most of you, losing weight can be easy, keeping it off is the hard part. That’s yo-yo dieting. You do well losing weight and suddenly you stop losing weight. The body is fighting the weight loss and the hard part is to keep going and not give in to the anger and hunger you feel as you still exercise, stay within your calorie limit, and still see no progress and sometimes even some weight gain. Yep, I have gained weight at times while maintaining an 800 calories eating plan.

You might say, “But Sharon, isn’t the struggle worth it? You must look great.” I don’t look good. I look like a walking clothespin. My face looks drawn, my skin is sagging, my shape is gone. No more curves at my hips or at my bust. My breasts hang on me like two flat pancakes. I looked better when I weight 30 pounds more than I do now. But I want my doctor to see me at this weight and let him decide.

Am I happy being a “normal” weight? Yes and no. Yes because I blend into society better now. No one feels the urge to stop me in the street and abuse me because of my weight. No one knows I’m there.

I’m not happy about this new “normal” weight because people who’ve lived in this neighborhood with me for years are now friendlier to me. “Hi, how are you?” they ask. Why didn’t they acknowledge me like that three years ago, or five years ago, or 10 years ago? I was friendlier then. Now I’m mean and my face shows it. I don’t talk to them, or anyone really because I’m in a perpetual state of anger, or is it hunger? I don’t know. But I do know that if and when, I gain the weight back they won’t give a damn about how I am and will go back to making nasty remarks.

Nope, losing weight has done nothing much for me except to allow me to become invisible in a world where invisibility might be best.

Signed – Hungry old lady

me dd