Can someone pass the bruschetta?

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Felipe Neves

Last night, as I carried out the preparations that would ensure an eve of much deserved rest and relaxation, I heard the worst sound a woman hell-bent on unplugging can possibly hear–the phone ringing.

Carefully placing my wine glass on the table, I hurried to pick up, all the while praying it was a telemarketer asking if I wanted to buy a time share in the Cayman Islands.

But alas, such was not my luck.

I had barely said hello when I heard my sister screech, “Do you know that So and So just got back from skiing in Austria? Skiing! In Austria! And the bitch came back with a tan! I tell you Bella, life is passing us by, sister. Passing us by!”

I braced myself and made a grab for the wine glass, certain it was going to be one of those conversations.

Taking a sip of my wine and a bite of my bruschetta, I settled comfortably on the couch.

“We’re in our forties! In our forties, I tell you! And what have we done with our lives besides ruining our shapes and acquiring stretch marks from giving birth? Nada, I tell you! Nada!”

For some reason, she was repeating the last phrase and/or word of everything she said.

I poked a breadstick into the humus and tried to chew quietly.

“And these kids! If we could at least say, my son the doctor or my daughter the rocket scientist, but hell no! We’re lucky we can say, my son the student! Really, how long is it going to take them to get their Bachelor’s degree? I’m already fifty thousand dollars in the hole! But even so, I’ll consider myself lucky if my firstborn gets a job as a manager at Best Buy.”

I inhaled the heavenly scent of olive oil as I dipped a piece of crusty bread in it.

“And you! All that slumming you do, dressing like a homeless person, and for what? Yes, Bella, mark my words. The angel of death will soon greet us and all of this sacrifice will be for nothing!”

I grabbed the tiny spreading knife and spread brie on a cracker.

“I had dreams, you know. You had dreams! You were going to win a Pulitzer! And me? I was going to discover the cure for Alzheimer’s. But the way this is going, we’ll be lucky if we get Alzheimer’s so we can forget how we pissed our lives away. Pissed our lives away!”

I slowly inched for the wine bottle and poured myself a second glass.

“I was going to live in a fancy house, drive a fancy car, dress in fancy clothes, and walk a fancy dog. Instead, I’m stuck in this money pit with a leaky roof, drive a second-hand passenger van, wear whatever’s on clearance at Target, and my idea of walking the dog is putting him out on the doorstep and telling him to pee and scratch the door when he’s done.”

I bit into another bruschetta and repositioned the cushion behind my lower back.

“And you! Your idea of action is walking Roxy in the forest wearing those hideous sweatpants and that old polar fleece jacket that’s full of dog hair! I cannot believe you’re not upset by all that is happening to us. Or I should say, NOT happening to us. We should be on the arm of men like Gerard Butler or Jim Caviezel, dining and wining on the Amalfi Coast. Instead, we’re lucky if Laurel and Hardy take us to the drive-thru at Mickey D’s!”

I slowly unfolded my cloth napkin and delicately wiped the corners of my mouth.

“Where did we go wrong, Bella? Where? We’re educated women. We speak three languages. We graduated Magna Cum Laude, for the love of God! We dated good looking men. We were good to mom, dad, and nana. Why does the Universe hate us? Why aren’t we the ones returning with our dentist husband from a skiing holiday, sporting a freakin’ tan? Why, Bella, why?”

I reached for the wine bottle and poured myself a third glass.

“Bella? Are you listening to me? Have you heard a word I’ve said?”

“Woman, I have heard every word you’ve said. Are you done?”

“Yes, yes I am.”

“Are you feeling better?”

“Much better.”


“Next week, same time?”

“You betcha.”

Does venting help you feel better?

95 thoughts on “Can someone pass the bruschetta?

    1. Jodi, I’ll be honest and tell you I have done artsy fartsy (back in college) and I’m still in love with the bohemian look. When I got married I did the “classy” look and that just bored the pants off me. I mean, I like a few classic pieces, but not head to toe. Now I do what I call the “eclectic” look–a bit of this and a bit of that (code for:whatever I find in the closet). hee hee! When I’m in the house, I live in pajama pants and I’m also known for going out in them. For shame, I know! That’s what happens when you place comfort over style. :)

  1. Can someone pass the bruschetta?
    Another classic from Bella! What more could you ask for than a good wine and a bite of bruschetta between gripes?
    Ah, venting…
    You do better than I. When a friend of mine calls to vent, I place the receiver down quietly and go into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of Merlot. This friend once commented on what a good listener I am. She told someone, “Deb is such a good listener that sometimes I don’t even know if she’s there.” lol!

    1. bwhahaha! Debra, you’re terrible! (In a good way!) hee hee! I haven’t tried your strategy. Perhaps I’ll give it a go next Saturday. But then what I write about if not for all these venting sessions with my family? :) I’m loving that you liked the post, friend! :)

    1. Kim, and if you’re smiling, I’m smiling, friend. Thank you for your sweet words. They make me light and bouncy of step–like Tigger! hee hee! Kisses for you from Roxy and me! :)

  2. I guess we all need to vent sometimes and it’s only fair that we listen, too. But I have to admit that when I indulge in a rant, I often feel worse, not better. Maybe it’s better to count our blessings instead.

    1. Shary, I’m split with you on this one. Most of the time, I feel better when I focus on the positive and what I have, instead of what I don’t have. Other times, a good rant allows me to let off steam, refocus, laugh, and commiserate with whoever’s listening. My sister? She’ll always go the venting route! :)

  3. That was the best thing to read on a Monday Morning after an EXTREMELY hard week end!!!!!. I loved it!!! I was laughing since the beginning, and i had so many comments to make coming to my mind that i was in a hurry to finish the text and start writing!!! What a surprise i had at the end!!! Because my vision of life is different, and it seems yours is different too. I would never ever compare my life to other’s, and a famous husband, or nice holidays or this or that would never define my happiness and success!!!
    That is really a fantastic post!!!! Thank you Bella <3
    And, by the way, just to answer your question, venting does help, but only if you do to someone who knows how to listen :)

    1. Nikki, excellent addition to this post! Indeed, venting only helps if the other person is truly listening to what we’re saying. My phone conversations with my sister are utterly predictable. Sometimes, she’ll be on the receiving end as I recount my “miserable state of affairs,” and other times, I’m the one who listens and listens. Notice how I didn’t say a word until the end and that’s because we’ve determined it’s the best outcome during this type of situation. No fix it solutions, no agreeing, no disagreeing, just someone to use as a sound board as we get whatever we have on our chest off. And it works most of the time! I’m so happy you liked the post and that it made you laugh! :)

    2. I wish i could say the same about my phone conversations with my sister :) I treat others like i want to be treated, and i like to talk to people who listen without feeling the need to fix things for me, so when i do that with my sister, it upsets her and asks me to say something, react, tell her what to do, but that is wrong. The maximum i would say is how I would react if i was in her shoes.

    3. Nikky, sadly not everyone can empathize. I find it’s best to have these conversations with someone who is happy to listen to you as you vent away uninterrupted. If there’s advice giving, fix it solutions, and criticism, it defeats the purpose of the venting session. Or at least, that’s how I see it. :)

    4. You are absolutely right Bella. I met a friend online just few months ago. It took her quite some time till I felt comfortable enough to share, but once I did, it made a huge difference, since She truly listens.

  4. Yes, venting is good for the soul and all that ails you. I don’t vent all the time, or everyday, but when I do, as you may know, it’s a doozy. Venting beats simmering and self imploding any day! I love it–and I also love bruchetta!

    1. Monica, isn’t bruschetta the best? I always say, if you have to sit through a venting session, you’d better have some bruschetta and wine! hee hee! I also find a good vent is good for the soul, not always, mind you, but every now and then! :)

  5. So VERY true. I think venting helps you take all the anxiety out of your system, and makes you feel so much better! I’m sure your sister feels lucky to have someone to vent to :D

    1. Sanchari, my sister and I are two peas in a pod. I’m glad she’s on the receiving end when I’m having a melt down. She’s a non-practicing psychologist and always knows what to say–or in some cases, what not to say! :)

    2. Sanchari, I don’t know where I would be without my sister. She’s been there through the good, the bad, and the in between. Everyone should be so lucky! :)

  6. I loved this! Venting makes us all feel better sometimes, in fact if we don’t vent I don’t think it’s very good for us. I loved the way you are so secure in your relationship with your sister you didn’t even miss a cracker crumb! All she needed was your ear…

    1. Elizabeth, you’re so insightful! We’ve done these venting sessions enough times to know when to speak and when to hold our tongues. I’d say, it comes automatically! And you’re so right–if we keep stuff inside, it just festers. I believe it’s good to have a good venting session with someone you trust and know won’t judge you when it’s over. :)

    1. Ellen, thank you! I’m so glad you liked it! And “having your cake and eating it too,” is a perfect way to describe this exchange! :)

  7. Bella, first of all, your meal and wine sounds wonderful! You also sound like a great sister. I can totally see my sister listening patiently and quietly on the other end of the phone while I go off about something or the other (it’s rarely the other way around), as I know she has done many, many times. Venting definitely helps me. I’m lucky to have not just a supportive sister, but friends, a boss, and of course JB, who have learned this about me and just listen and let it pass. JB has finally learned he doesn’t have to fix it!

    1. Caryn, good job on getting JB to understand that while it’s a “man’s way” to want to fix things, it’s not essential nor required! Kudos to you, friend! And you are quite lucky to have such a net of support. My sister is a good listener and when solicited, she gives great advice. You know, I prepared my little hors d’oeuvres, thinking I would be able to sit down, watch a program, and vegetate. Sadly, things don’t always work out the way we plan! :)

    1. Mamawolfe, amen! I don’t currently have a lot of girlfriends, but my sister has always been my best friend. That said, in the past, my friends have helped me get through the maddening, frustrating, and confusing facets of life! :)

  8. Sounds like you were having a bit of the good life while on the phone! Bruchetta, wine, hummus, brie… You can take your exotic vacations right there while on the phone. Man… loved the rant, BTW. Life is NOT fair. Great read!

    1. Michael Ann, you’re so right, sister–life isn’t fair. That’s why we have to eat a little bruschetta and drink a little wine whenever we can! hee hee! My sister’s rant had me on the verge of cracking up more than once. The only thing that kept me from laughing was the fact that she was seriously angry. Yep, I think that’s the best word to describe her at that precise moment. Thank goodness everything passes, right? :)

    1. Hello Melissa! I’m so happy you like the post! You’re right, lady–it’s the little things like bruschetta that make life sweeter, or more tolerable! hee hee! :)

  9. Love you, Bella! You draw such a detailed picture with your words. I can just see you sitting there drinking your wine and listening, nodding your head, smiling, and an occasional “uh huh”. It’s best to vent to someone you love and that loves you back. You don’t always need a reply or an answer or a solution. You just need a loved one to listen. Such a good sister you are and I bet that woman skiing in Austria is jealous of you and your sister’s life and love for each other!

    1. Nina, you know how to make a woman feel good, that you do! Thank you! I’m so happy you were able to see the visuals of what I was describing–I was totally aiming for that, you know! And the way you interpreted it, is exactly how it happened! In times of frustration like these, all you need is someone who will indeed listening–replies are not necessary. Just an ear! Much love to you, friend! :)

  10. I think I’ve had that conversation. You are very funny BUT your descriptions of your food had me drooling! Perhaps you should also start a food blog! I know I’d drool on, I mean, read it!

    1. Nora, thank you! Coming from a funny women like yourself, I’m honored! I wish I could cook, cause then a food blog would be perfect! Sadly, all I can do is feast on the good packaged stuff! hee hee! :)

  11. What a good sis you are, Bella! If I’m going to vent, I want to do it to someone who won’t try to “fix” things but will listen quietly — like you did. You’re blessed to have such a close sisterly relationship; sometimes mine works out, but other times, not so much. It is what it is. And hey, you’re never too old to do some of the things your sis vented about (except the skiing, maybe, ha!)

    1. Debbie, thank you for your sweet words! You know, I always tell my sister that we have time; that it’s not too late. Sadly, she’s not convinced. Many a time she has confessed that she feels like life has passed her by; that she was destined for bigger things but somehow these didn’t materialize. I’m different. Yes, there are days when I look around and think, is this as good as it gets? But at the end of the day, I look at Roxy, prop my feet on a chair, inhale my coffee’s aroma, and think, life is good. Other days, I’m the one that’s screaming, where did we go wrong?? hee hee! :)

  12. I can feel your sister on that. What DID happen or didn’t?

    Your sister sounds so animated. In your relationship, she’s the fire and you’re the water. A very necessary balance.

    1. Totsy, my sister and I are totally compatible. She’s the best sister any woman could hope to have. Seriously. She listens to my woes and complaints, I listen to her, and the vicious cycle continues. hee hee! Most of the time, she wishes her life had taken other turns and sometimes, I do as well. Other times, we’re both happy as clams and you don’t hear a gripe from either of us! :)

  13. Bella, you’ve got me grinning from ear to ear!!! :) It sounds like both you and your sis got the funny gene! And the bruschetta and brie and wine as a backdrop are just perfect!!!!

    1. Jann, I am mighty pleased you found this post funny! And I know you would approve of the bruschetta, brie and wine! hee hee! :)

  14. I am not much of a verbal venter. I am Latin and will explode like a volcano but as fast as the mood comes on me it’s gone. I will however wallow in my mind for hours even days about something. I am so lost in my mind trying to figure things out I wonder how I get through the days, but I do. I’ll write it out (clearly). I think it’s probably more effective to let it all out (as your sister did) because it’s over and done with in the span of a call, but I never could. I am an amazing exploder.. poof! :-)

    1. Brenda, my sister feels the same way. She says that once she lets it all out, she instantly feels better. For me, this works sometimes, but not so much others. Other times I’m left doing what you do–ruminating and giving myself the biggest headache possible. When that happens, I take to the forest with Roxy. Fresh air always restores my spirit. :)

  15. That was quite a rant! It must be nice to have a sister that you can hash things out with. If I didn’t know better I would think that you’d brought the bottle over and a nice plate of bruschetta in anticipation of her call. Fun post.

    1. Annie, would you believe I had every intention of sitting down to watch a program, relaxing in my pink fuzzy bathrobe the Significant Other bought me for Valentine’s and not doing much thinking at all? Nevertheless, things don’t always work out the way we plan! I’m glad I had my goodies ready when the phone rang, though. They helped pass the time. hee hee! :)

  16. Aww lawd! That was just too funny. I like the idea of hanging on the arm men like Gerard Butler or Jim Caviezel, dining and wining on the Amalfi Coast. :-D What the third language you speak — English, Spanish and…?

    1. Paz, I think of Jim Caviezel and I swoon! Swoon! I kid you not. I’m delighted you thought this post was funny. Thank you, lady! My sister and I can muddle our way through French. In college, I majored in foreign languages and French was one of them! :)

  17. Isn’t it the most wonderful thing in the world to have someone you can vent to (or is it ‘with’)? I’m afraid Jose is the target of my venting and he takes it all….However, there are times when I feel he should stick to the bruschetta and wine while I’m venting and not try to give me logical reasons or solutions. I think you should open a helpline, Bella – Bella’s Bruschetta and Wine Vent All You Want! ;)

    1. Corinne! I love, love the idea of Bella’s Bruschetta and Wine Vent All You Want! Any takers? hee hee! I say, I’ll listen to you vent if you bring the wine! hee hee! Jose’s one of the few good men left. They don’t make ’em like that no more, friend. The Significant Other feels a venting session coming on and says he has something “urgent” to do. Thank God for sisters! :)

    2. Oh Corinne, I love that you have such faith in me! Thank you! It means a lot to me, lady. I wonder how many readers “Tell Bella” would have? :)

    1. Ariana, I’ll pass the wine and bruschetta if you join the helpline! bwhahaha! And for the record, that’s something I pray for as well! :)

    1. Sulekha, I like how you establish how a caring listener can help one reach healing through the process of venting. Too right, my friend. I love that you loved the post! Thank you for tweeting it, too! You rock, lady! :)

  18. You have made a momentous discovery here, my friend! Wine, bruschetta, brie and crackers can ‘make the medicine go down’. I just don’t think it will be featured in a song by Julie Andrews any time soon! Thank you for this wonderful post. And for being such a fine sister!!! :)

    1. Diane, I am utterly pleased that you approve of my discovery! hee hee! You ain’t kidding–the wine was pivotal in helping me get through the venting process! I wonder how many glasses my sister drinks when I’m the one delivering the rant! You’re more than welcome. I’m grateful, always, that you drop by and comment! :)

    1. Shelley, I like that formula: “Drink up+ Listen up= Unwind!” hee hee! I’m glad you have a best friend you can vent with. :)

  19. I find wine makes anything bearable… well apart from being forced to watch golf of course because nothing, I repeat nothing, will ever make that okay. I digress.

    1. Innocent, and I would agree! Golf? What’s that about other than men walking around in ugly pants and shoes? Notice how I say men since I find women’s golf clothing a bit more tolerable. hee hee! :)

  20. Hhhhahhhaaaaa!! I don’t know which part was funnier, but I laughed loud enough to wake my dozing kitties. If I was there listening in, I’d have passed you a refreshed glass and nodded at every phrase. Classic!

    1. Lori, I wish you had been here! I would have put my sister on speaker phone and we both could have gorged and listened! hee hee! :)

    1. And ain’t that the truth! That’s why you have to hang tight when you find someone who pulls up a chair, grabs a glass of wine, munches on bruschetta and prepares to listen! hee hee! :)

  21. I really, really want some bruschetta now. I’m not a ventor much. I try to listen patiently while others do but my mind is a million miles away. Maybe some brie would help me appear more interested.

  22. I LOVE this line:

    ‘But the way this is going, we’ll be lucky if we get Alzheimer’s so we can forget how we pissed our lives away. Pissed our lives away!”’

    I sometimes feel like this! LOL Just never heard it put quite this way before. Hmm…maybe I don’t have to worry about Alzheimer’s after all….

    1. Blue, my sister is quite the comedienne. She’s funniest when she’s angry and venting. I have such a hard time not laughing at the things she says when she’s upset! I’m delighted you like the post! :)

    2. Blue, thank you! I’m so delighted you liked the post! I most definitely think you would like my sister. Not only is she a hoot, she’s also a good listener when it’s her turn to listen! hee hee! :)

    3. Love the post, love every post of yours I have ever read. You have great with and intelligence! It is very evident in your posts. :) You have a great sis too! :) I am glad she is also a good listener when you need someone to listen. Makes things worthwhile. :)

    4. Blue, thank you for your kind words. I’m tickled pink you like the blog and my writing. Would you believe I write how I speak? I’m hoping I’m just as witty in person! ha! My sister rocks. She’s the best sister anyone could have. Here’s where cloning comes in handy. hee hee! :)

  23. Bella, I had to read some blogs for one of my college classes and while looking for something interesting, I stumbled across yours. I’m so glad I did! It made me laugh incredibly hard. My roommate thought I was a little bit crazy. :) This post made me want to call up my sister and have a good sister rant complete with bruschetta. Thanks for the smiles!

    1. Anna, hello and welcome! I am delighted that you enjoyed the post! I’m glad this post compelled you to call your sister to rant. A rant always does a person good, especially when it’s accompanied by bruschetta! Thanks for dropping by! :)

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