March 25, 2009

Late Night Ramblings

I really don’t have anything much to post to my blog this week. It really is a lot of pressure to come up with something each week. Well, not a lot of pressure, I mean, it’s not like I will get fired if I don’t post. But, some people who read the blog on a regular basis, ok, well, my sister Emily says she wants regular updated posts, so she is my readership and I aim to please.

 

I’ve considered using my blog to self-publish my novel…a chapter a week or something like that. Of course, that means I would actually have to finish it,

 

I have a lot of things I’ve started with the intention of putting them on the blog, but they seem a little too revealing. One in particular is about my mental collapse at age 22. Sure, looking back on that time is amusing, but some people just don’t have a sense of humor about alcohol induced psychotic breaks.

 

The well this week is dry. I have some ideas mulling around, but it’s just a couple of empty cans rolling around in the back seat. Nothing is well-formed or thought out. But, the week is young and I still have time. Maybe I’ll get it together enough to tell the story of when I moved to NYC with a guy I met in a bar. That’s always a good one.

 

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It is the day after I wrote the above and I still got nothing. So, this week is an easy week and I will get back on track soon.

 

All is good and well…I am working a lot at that pesky real job and my beautiful 3 year old son is just so much fun to be around right now that I would choose playing in the backyard with him over just about everything else in life. His view of the world is fantastic. The other day, we were looking at a picture of a giraffe and he told me the giraffe looked like pizza. By golly, it does. The spots are the pepperonis and the yellow fur is the cheese.

 

I am on the road right now and we just video called each other. He said he wanted to get me from the airport right now and it is hard to explain to a toddler that you are 600 miles away and can’t come home until tomorrow night. He kissed the camera and told me he loved me and all was instantly right with the world.

 

It makes me wonder, did my mother love me this much? I have been thinking about her a lot because the three year anniversary of her death was March 20th. I live a few blocks from the cemetery where she is buried. I popped in to say hello and clean up the flowers. I miss her like I would miss my left arm – I always know she is gone, I just somehow have adapted to her not being there.  It gets easier, but it will never be the same.

 

She would have loved Max. She would have loved that he talks to the characters on TV…even when the TV is off, and that he can count to 10 in Spanish, and that he hides in the same spot every single time we play hide and go seek. And because of that, I think it makes me love him even more. As if that was possible.

 

 

March 17, 2009

My Wacky Eating Disorder

I wrote this a few years ago when I was living in Houston. I just found it while cleaning off my old shared drive at work. Sadly, but not surprisingly, I have not changed much. Still, it is much easier to laugh at myself these days. One of the perks of getting older I guess!

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My wacky eating disorder is in full swing right now. Last night, on the way home from work, I stopped at Walgreen’s for deodorant. I had only noticed that morning I was out, which made for a smelly, moist day. The whole time I was navigating the back streets of Houston in search of the crimson "W" I knew I was not only stopping for a bottle of Secret Platinum Protection. I knew deep in my heart that Walgreen’s is the Mecca of junk food and that, for a mere few dollars, I could drown my existence in Ruffles potato chips and ranch dip.

 

I stood in front of the snack rack for what felt like hours laboring over the decision. Do I compromise and get baked BBQ lays? Should I go all out and get Fritos, practically the most fattening snack on earth? Should I get dip to go with all these chips? Will I be able to contain myself and eat only a "serving" of the chips and dip? How do they expect someone to eat only 1 ounce of chips and 2 tablespoons of dip? Isn't that like telling someone they can do only one shot of tequila or that they can have only one tire on their car? It's insanity? Is Kate Moss the official creator of the snack serving size?

 

Finally, after much internal deliberation and calculation of calories and fat grams, I settled on the Ruffles Natural potato chips at 7 grams of fat per serving and the Ruffles ranch dip at 5 grams of fat per serving. 12 grams of fat per serving. That doesn't seem so bad, right? Right.

 

When I got home, I let the dogs out and listened to the messages and all that stuff you are supposed to do when you get home. I put the dip in the fridge (even though it seems to be made of some creamy white substance that does not need to be refrigerated) and the chips on the counter and all the various sundries away, but the chips and dip never left my radar. I am a trained hunter and I knew where they were at all times. Even as I walked from room to room, I knew they were there and that they were beckoning me. I gathered my strength and told myself, "Before you can eat, you have to do Yoga."

 

Yoga and running. These are the two forms of exercise I have chosen. After years of torture trying to do aerobics, lift weights, swim, bike, hike, skate, hula-hoop, you name it, I have always come back to Yoga and running. I've always managed to do one of these forms of exercise fairly regularly up until I broke my foot in January. That kept my butt planted on the couch for 3 months and when I finally could stand up again, it looked like part of the couch stayed attached to my rear. I am way too young for my butt to be gently resting on the top of my thighs, so it's back to running and Yoga, both of which are decidedly more difficult when lugging around 10 more pounds of derriere. The "Downward Dog" looks more like "Cottage Cheese Ass in Air."

 

I put down my giant beach towel on the rug (it’s much easier to just cover the dog hair then it is to vacuum it) and settled in for an hour of breathing, stretching and panting with Tracey Rich and Ganga White. With each breath in I thought of the salty chips waiting for me in the kitchen. Every time I bent at the waist and saw the jiggle of my inner thighs, I was reminded of the gelatinous consistency of the non-refrigerated style ranch dip that awaited me as a reward for my efforts.

 

I did almost the whole videotape, but decided to skip the plow shoulder stance, as I feared suffocation from my own bosom and stomach. In this pose, you lie on the ground and then raise your legs up over and behind your head so that, ideally, the bottoms of your feet lie flat on the floor behind your head. After hanging out there for a while, the goal is to, while supporting your back with your hands, elbows firmly planted in the ground, raise your legs up to the ceiling. The end result is looking like you had your hands on your hips while standing on your tip toes and then, in some strange lunar pull, the world was turned upside down and you were tossed on to your head while your legs remained perfectly straight. This is difficult even when I am not lugging around 10-15 extra pounds, so you can imagine my reluctance to rest the bulk of my being on windpipe and esophagus.

 

The end of the tape has about 10 minutes of relaxation, which I also skipped, even though Ganga White tells you in the beginning of the video expressly not to skip it. I was feeling all crazy and the din of the Ruffles was deafening by this point.

 

Still, I refrained from hitting the chips just yet. First, I ate my salad. If I took away nothing from my few weeks at Jenny Craig, it was that I could eat as much salad as I want all the time. I have no doubt in my mind the salad they had in mind was not the salad I had last night, but it was mostly composed of leafy greens, so it was a salad – with crumbled bleu cheese and Paul Newman’s Caesar dressing. It was still a salad.

 

Finally, the time had come.  I was to be rewarded for going to work and staying all day, for doing almost an hour of yoga, for eating a salad for dinner – I was going to eat the chips and dip. The chips had been screaming to get out of the bag for hours. I opened the seal and smelled the salty “poof” of the broken seal. The dip proved more difficult and I was forced to wedge a butter knife under the lid to release the hermetic seal (apparently this is why it does not need to be refrigerated – it is sealed in the same way nuclear waste is.)

 

I fixed a big glass of water (because everyone knows you should drink 8 glasses of water a day) and headed to the couch, drooling dogs in tow. I have no idea what I watched on T.V. I ate my first “serving” and considered stopping right there. That would be the right thing to do. I would feel so good about myself. But, I keep telling myself things like, “Just one more” or “This is the last 2 and then I’m done.” I even start calculating how many calories and fat grams it would be if I ate all of it or half of it. “If I ate all the chips at 7 grams a serving and there are 9 servings, that would be 63 grams of fat. There’s more fat than that in a Big Mac and people eat those all the time. The dip is even fewer grams of fat at 5 grams per serving with 9 servings, for a mere 45 grams of fat. It’s barely a meal, right?”

 

At that point, I knew I was out of control. The dogs were starting to whine and whimper because they had seen this before and knew that I possess both the chips plus the ability to go and get more chips. They were torn between leaping up and grabbing the chips so they would get some and just playing it cool so as to ensure there will be more chips on future nights. It’s a delicate line they walk. They want chips, but they don’t want to piss me off and risk not ever getting chips ever again. They were confused and I was wildly shoving chips and dip into my mouth.

 

Then, in an attempt to save myself, I put the lid back on the dip and as quickly as the feeding frenzy had begun, it was over. I shoved the dip to the back of the fridge and rolled the chips up tight. I figured I did about 40 grams worth of damage and, as if rehearsed, the inevitable occurred and I was consumed with remorse. “Oh, the humanity! Why, why do I do this to myself? Why must I be a slave to Frito Lay?”

 

“I am a cow and I hate myself,” I shouted to the frightened canines at my feet.

 

The phone rang, startling all three of us, and though I was deep in a quagmire of guilt, I feigned professionalism, “Hello.”

 

“Hey, Babe,” shouted my loving, but slightly deaf husband.

 

“I am a cow and I hate myself. I am fat and disgusting. I want to die. I just ate half a bag of chips and half a canister of dip. I wish I was bulimic so I could purge myself.”

 

We have been together for a while, so without skipping a beat he responded, “You’re not fat. You’re beautiful.” And then, he did what he always does with every conversation, he focused it back onto himself, “We’ll get better at eating. It’s baby steps. Tonight, I went to Bud’s Brolier and even though I wanted a number 6 AND a number 4, I only got a number 6. And then, after dinner, I walked to the store to get a piece of chocolate cake instead of driving.”

 

I couldn’t argue with any of this. I was seeking solace from a man who rationalized eating one greasy hamburger instead of 2, who justified chocolate cake every night because he walked the 3 blocks to get it instead of driving. And it was solace I got.

 

March 10, 2009

The Economy - Some Lessons Learned

Be forewarned, I am bitter in this post. But, mostly, it sounds more bitter than I really am. In reality, I care much less about any of this than it seems. In truth, I would much rather watch reruns of Law and Order than the news. I just needed a weekly post and this appeared on the paper.

Cheers!
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Every time I turn on the news, I hear another horrifying tidbit about our country’s economy and, well, what I really feel like saying is, “Well there rest of the nation, how the fuck does it feel?”

 

I know, not a popular attitude, but, frankly, the country could take some advice from New Orleans on how to act and what to do when your entire infrastructure collapses and you find yourself without a tax base.

 

For example, you may find that your home, which you had methodically and rationally(?) invested the bulk of your money in, is now worth mere pennies on the dollar. Yes, we  New Orleanians know how that feels. My house didn’t flood and we rejoiced in that tidbit of information for all of 30 seconds before we realized that we were now saddled with an unflooded yet unsellable house in a burned out, bottomed out, flooded city. Gee Maw, aren’t we lucky?

 

Additionally, you may find that although you have not lost your house or your job, that perhaps every other household on your block is facing foreclosure and maybe even there are some abandoned houses on your block. I know how you feel. The house across the street from me has been empty and abandoned since the hurricane. Yes, directly across the street from me is a blighted property and it has been there since 2005. Cats use the house as a giant den of iniquity and as a humongous liter box. The owner, who has relocated to Dallas, comes in occasionally to sit on the front porch and talk about how one day he will come back. But, he had no insurance and I doubt he will ever come back. Besides, he is awestruck by the level of competency he sees in TX government. Really, can you blame him? He lived here his whole life destitute and futureless. Now, after 3 years in Texas, he is practically J.R. Ewing.

 

You may also find that with foreclosures on the rise, there will be no property tax base to fund your public school system. Well, who better that New Orleans to tell you how to get by with a sub-par education system? Simply invest those dollars in cleaning the French Quarter and then pretend like the murder rate skyrocketing is just something completely and totally unrelated and unimportant. It seems to be working fine here in New Orleans and you could practically eat off of Bourbon Street. Perhaps, and this is just a modest proposal, we should just eat the poorly educated youth? Just a thought.

 

Finally, as the times get rougher, you may find yourself drowning in fear, anxiety and depression. As your friends and loved ones come unhinged around you and, despite the pain, life continues to go on and people die and children are born, you will, without a doubt, begin to turn on your spouse. He or she will be the closest person to you and therefore the one to take the brunt of your fear and anger. The mounting pressure of unpaid bills, uncertain futures, and sheer terror at the prospect of how you will go on will add fuel to the fire.

 

This is when you and your spouse need to find a common enemy. This is very important so don’t rush this step. Make sure you choose someone you both despise (for example,  the neighbor across the street who won’t come back and deal with his blighted property) and then spend countless hours detailing how you would exact revenge if you weren’t so completely drained and void of all energy and emotion. For instance, you might fantasize that you would throw a Molotov cocktail through the window of the place or maybe plant drugs in the house and call the DEA? Or, maybe you would just shake your fist and snarl at the man every time he comes in to visit his own personal addition to the decline of a major and celebrated historical city?

 

If all else fails and you still find yourself struggling to wrap your tired brain around all of this seemingly nonsensical economical blah, then that is when you take your cue from New Orleans – have your governor turn down federal dollars on principle. What better way to say “fuck you” to the remaining battered citizens of New Orleans?

 

 


March 3, 2009

I'm not a doctor, I just play one on the internet

I’m doing that thing again where I feel kind of fat and maybe a little achy so I start Googling symptoms like fatigue, weight gain and moodiness and start reading up on all my possible illnesses. There are a lot of things that pop up when you Google those symptoms. The top 10 are:

Abdominal Obesity Metabolic Syndrome.
Ok, I feel kind of fat and that may be because I just at 2 mini burgers and fries from Ruby Tuesday’s, but I still shop at normal mainstream clothing stores so I think I am alright with this one.
Achard-Thiers Syndrome.
This occurs only in diabetic post-menopausal women. I am indeed a woman, but thankfully the other 2 do not apply…at least not today with this bout of hypochondria.
Bipolar Disorder.
Really? Can bipolar disorder really make you gain weight? I think this really only applies to the moodiness part, don’t you? Besides, I would love to be that manic, but I think I am too lazy to actually have both sides of the bipolar coin.
Cushing’s’ Syndrome
OK, now we’re talking. This is something I can sink my teeth into. When I click on the link, it tells me there are 81 more possible symptoms for this disease! Oh my, this is a veritable feast for hypochondriac like me! But, when I read the symptoms it’s like someone threw darts at a wall of symptoms – weight gain or weight loss, hair loss or hirsutism, thin arms, fat neck, blah, blah, blah. This is too all over the board and would require an actual trip to an actual doctor to diagnose, so I am skipping Cushing’s, although, I do think my dog may have it.
Depression
Whatever.
Depressive Disorders 
Cop out! How is this different from depression? Screw you. Been there, done that, give me something that is actually going to get me some sympathy and a magic cure that will zap my girth!
Postpartum Depression.
Now, this is serious. I actually had this after giving birth to Max and is indeed no laughing matter, however, I was thin and trim while suffering from this condition and I had nice big breastfeeding boobs to boot.
Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome.
Hmm, I like the sound of this. It sounds like something that would be a diagnosis on House or my favorite, Mystery Diagnosis. However, I did some digging and really, with my very limited knowledge of anatomy and biology, it was all gobledy gook. I should have paid more attention in my Biology for Liberal Arts majors’ class in college, but, I did not.
Addison’s disease.
This one really does haunt me. It always pops up when I do my symptom searches AND it was the most recent illness on Mystery Diagnosis. Some of the additional symptoms are spot on – craving salty foods, irritability, moodiness, sleepiness, emotional distress, but as I continue to pick my symptoms, I can’t ignore that some are just wishful thinking. For example, who wouldn’t love to have “Underarm hair loss?” Or, my other 2 favorites, anorexia and collapse. Still, I do like pickles, so I will keep Addison’s on the short list.
Crohn’s Disease
This entry took me on a 15 minute journey into a tangled and frigtening web of symptoms, diagnoses, and heart-stopping fear. In fact, I got so freaked out, I decided to just shut down Google and accept that I am a little plump, tired because I am a mother and I work full time, and, frankly, just a little mean.

From the time I was little, I have just known there is some rationale explanation for all of my sneaky and elusive symptoms. One day, the web will lead me to the correct diagnosis. It will have to be the web, because the doctors I have seen over the years, the ones with their fancy blood tests and barium enemas, they just aren’t finding it. Slackers.