Thursday, January 28, 2010

GI Tract Day 1

Fell off the wagon around 8 p.m. Felt like crap.

I think I am getting a cold and this is no time to worry about a flat belly. I need fluids, and fruits and orange juice and hot chocolate.

Sorry GI Tract. You may have to wait until spring or summer to try to be happy. I am not convinced that ginger root/cucumber/lemon/mint water and starving are the way to a happier GI TRACT.

But I will try to punish you less with caffeine and diet coke. I promise.

I went the whole day only drinking one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Whatever floats your bloat

Charmed is my favorite TV show; perhaps favorite TV show of all time. The series ended in 2006 after an 8-year run. Its about three modern witches - beautiful intelligent empowered females who (rarely to never cook and) save the world from demons, warlocks, and other evil on an almost daily basis.

Needless to say, (besides the never cooking thing) the lovely ladies of Charmed and I don't have a lot in common - or at least we didn't - until yesterday.

I am in the process of trying to learn and understand cooking and healthy eating. The first step in my process is learning about my GI Tract and doing a four day anti-bloat diet. Since I (imagine or )perceive myself to feel constantly bloated, I thought this would be a nice way to start.

The four day anti-bloat diet is not something one would try to sustain for long periods for several reasons 1) it's extremely boring; 2) it is somewhat calorically deficient.

Anyway, the menu items for the four-days were not items I had on hand. Things like ginger root, hard-pressed cold flaxseed oil, cheese... you get the picture. I felt like I was collecting ingredients for a potion like my Charmed friends.

I went to Pick 'n Save after work (10 p.m. - ish) with my four day grocery list (provided by my book). The items were listed by categories ("Produce," "Herbs and Spices," etc.) for my shopping ease.

But for someone who is familiar with only a few aisles of the enormous new Pick 'n Save (candy, soda and cereal) the task was daunting; it took about an hour.

Because the night staff is not all that knowledgeable beyond how to run their registers, my trip turned out to be an extremely dull scavenger hunt. The raisins were particularly evasive as were the "dried plums" which I later figured out were actually PRUNES.

I still have a few items left to collect, but I should be in business for Day 1 of a healthier GI Tract tomorrow. Wish me luck in my quest to vanquish bloat!

Get a Grip

People like to laugh at me because I don't know how to cook.

I don't care.

Not usually. And not a lot if I do.

And why should I? I am a single woman and the world is rife with businesses waiting to take my money and give me food in a quick and convenient way. I never set out to be Martha Stewart and all evidence suggests I've been successful in achieving the opposite.

I don't know where to hang things in my house, or what combinations of fabrics and colors and candles and shelving are appropriate in a given space. I don't know tricks to get stains out of clothes, or clever things to do with towels. I don't know the names of the pots/pans and other "cooking" receptacles in my house, what quantity of anything they hold, how to use them, if they have teflon or why that matters.

This is my life and for better or worse I just don't give a damn about these things, but at the same time... I crave them.

I love when my mom sews for me and hems my pants; I admire her home - the way it's painted and decorated by her own hand; I always look forward to a dinner invitation, or Christmas or holidays. When I am at her house, (provided no one is mad at anyone else) I am comfortable. I am happy. I am secure.

My Mom (and Dad - yes he lives there too and helps out with stuff) has made a real home.

I, on the other hand, have made - at best - a VERY nice, and quite expansive storage space and - at worst - a domed and carpeted dumping ground. Even my dog can't tell the difference between taking a shit outside or in the house. Sometimes I feel like it doesn't make a difference.

I have excuses for the reasons why I do what I do, and some of them actually make sense otherwise I couldn't pull off such an existence for so long. "I won't be living here that long;" "I need the money for other things," "I am only one person, spending a lot of time cooking and a lot of money on food is a waste." "Nothing I own 'goes' together."

But in the last three months I have begun to see that I cannot sustain the weird, disjointed existence that has been the new norm. I also see that it would be beneficial for me to take some steps toward personal responsibility. You are happy to roll in the mud, if you are a pig. But if one day you are rolling around in the mud and you realize you aren't actually a pig - you probably want to get out of the mud.

And that is where I am at.

Except my mud is kind of like quick-sand.

The good news is, I think I've FINALLY grasped a rope and may be able to pull myself out before I turn 29.

Sure the rope might slip out of my hands a few times before I finally get my feet on solid ground, but at least I got a hand on it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

health 'issues'

A medical organization in town has organized a women's health "issues" clinic to take place over a four week period during the doldrums of winter. The topics of the different "clinics" (which will occur in hour-long sessions) were selected by a PR team, lead by a director with questionable motives.

The "issues" that will be discussed over the four week period include urinary incontinence, heart disease, obesity, and ... cosmetic surgery? Yes. cosmetic surgery.

I understand how "body dismorphic disorder" could be a health issue - a mental health issue, or breast cancer - a legitimate health concern, but cosmetic surgery?

"Is it time for a fresh look?" the flyer asks. "This lecture offers a brief look at the history of facial rejuvenation and the evolution of state-of-the-art treatments, both surgical and non-surgical."


I don't doubt that it is not fun - and not just in the ways it changes your appearance. I've seen its affects on those I love and soon enough I will feel it myself. However, let's not pretend that it is a 'disease' to be included in a clinic addressing real health issues. Cosmetic surgery is just that - cosmetic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Love This "Word"

Augean stable

Monday, January 18, 2010

Better than resolutions

Things I'd like to happen in my life this year but probably won't...

10. Dramatically reduce my consumption of diet Pepsi/Diet Coke products.

9. Do so much Yoga that I decide NEXT year I should teach a class.

8. Receive an encore for my debut performance in a karaoke bar.

7. Get engaged and start planning my wedding.

6. Make a new friend.

5. Make a difference in my community.

4. Find a satisfying AND high paying job.

3. Learn to play the guitar.

2. Wear skirts more often.

1. Visit Paris.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Know what your Pick'n

A shiny new Pick 'n Save has opened in WB. It is wonderful. I have heard rumors about Pick 'n Saves that have bountiful salad, fruit and soup bars and now there is one less than five minutes away from work. Sorry Subway. I HEART the new Pick 'n Save and it's fabulous amenities. What is really nice about this salad and fruit bar is that located near the stainless steel buffet style counters is a comprehensive list of the available items and their origins. I know what state (or foreign country) that the food comes from. I'm fed and informed. Excellent. Five stars to the new PNS!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Note to world

Dear Western World,

We have needed your help for a long time now.

We've long been an impoverished country, one of the world's poorest and least developed.

Thanks for finally noticing us.

Too bad it took an earthquake to get your attention.



P.S. Good luck with that whole Iraq/Afghanistan thing.

Sensitivity is overrated

Someone recently told me that I am "very" sensitive. I am not disputing the observation. In fact, I am writing about it, which can only mean one thing: it's true.

But just to be sure I got a second opinion from an old friend.

Me: Am I too sensitive?

OF: Well, let me put it this way: on a scale of 0 to 10, 5 being normal, you are a 7.

Me: A seven? That doesn't sound so bad.

OF: It's not if it's a scale of awesomeness that goes up to 7.

Unfortunately, he wasn't talking about a scale of awesomeness and a 7 was no good: it was two points higher than would would be considered "normal." And in psychological matters you REALLY want to strive for "normal" otherwise you get put on medication (oh, har har, I already am!) or institutionalized.

But, thanks to the tireless efforts of the worlds psychologists I have learned that I am "normal." I just have a "highly sensitive personality," which requires a little more maintenance to keep from going crazy.

I have a love/hate relationship with psychologists (and all others with a psych- attached to their professions) because 1) They have an answer for everything and 2) THEY HAVE AN ANSWER FOR EVERYTHING.

I really like answers, and being "diagnosed" as manic, anxious, depressed, or whatever, helps a person get an answer so they can accept the situation, adapt accordingly, and move on to (hopefully) have a full-ish life.

But with all of these "answers," people seem more like designer coffees than human beings. Some are black and some (like me) have one cup of cream and two shots of espresso.

I'd rather think life is simple. You order your coffee, you sit down, you drink it.

But in this life you sit down with the black coffee you THINK you ordered and find out there is all this other stuff in it. The "psych" people let you know what is actually IN your coffee and tell you not to be alarmed - it's OK, you just might need a Lactaid to drink it.

I guess I do feel better knowing some aspect of the medical community believes I don't need to be institutionalized - that being highly sensitive is an acceptable state of being that just needs to be managed.

That's the best you can hope for when you can't return the coffee.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good Bye to Good Reads

Growing up, I loved reading books - especially fiction. I could get swept away in a book and the hours would disappear. After high school, and (coincidentally?) around the time I started to take an interest in news writing, my interest in reading fiction (and writing it for catharsis) slowly diminished.

Writing with a purpose (news/non-fiction) to inform, seemed infinitely more important and more noble a cause than writing fiction. In turn, reading non-fiction or news publications, seemed a far more worthy investment of time.

I miss the days when I could pick up any old book, read it, and derive some enjoyment. I would get books from garage sales by no-name authors and hide away in my room and disappear into the pages.

Even though I still don't care for fiction books, I still enjoy going to book stores. Yesterday I stopped at Barnes and Noble. I wandered into the Fiction & Literature section, where if nothing else I knew I would find the old classic works for fiction, whose presence brings me comfort.

I picked up a few random books and read several back covers before realizing I had been audibly scoffing.

We are living in an age when anyone can do anything; "expertise" isn't determined by education, or skill, but merely the availability of the necessary equipment. Digital cameras have made more stay-at-home moms than I can count into amateur photographers charging people for their services; blogs have made people with opinions into "authoritative" sources of news.

While the book industry is harder to penetrate - even the determined novice can self-publish with a little bit of cash, and end up in a well-respected bookstore with a few friends behind the counter.

The reality is, we are living in a fast-food world. And while I am a fast food fan, I am not fond of a society that functions that way. Everything is prepared quickly, then consumed and trashed just as fast. Quality is an endangered species.

The day is gone when a book will stand on it's merits alone; it has to have commercial and retail value - what will reach the most people and make the most money in related merchandise? Here is your book deal.

The resulting tragedy is a ridiculous amount of similarly shaded stories with slight variations in titles.

Flipping through the books on the shelves is disappointingly similar to channel surfing, except more time is invested before you realize what you've chosen is tripe. The only bonus is the absence of commercials breaks.

I know I need to read, however. If I don't read, my mind will languish and my writing skills will stagnate. But if books are food for the brain, Barnes & Noble is a huge vending machine stocked with candies and chips.

2010 Resolutions

K) Read William Faulkner.

R) Write about anything of my choosing for 10 minutes every day.

I) Exercise often and enjoy it.

S) Eat more vegetables.

T) Spend less money.

E) Learn about nutrition.

N) Conquer fear of kitchen.

J) Use time wisely.

A) Be a better dog owner.

N2) Volunteer.

E2) Stress less.

*I have denoted resolutions with letters for tracking purposes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Just in case you were wondering...

The absence of prescription drug coverage at my new job (for the time being) made me think it might be a good idea to try to wean myself off the anti-depressant without medical supervision. It was a bad idea. I got some headache sometimes, but mostly my hormones were all out of whack - it was like never-ending PMS - everything made me cry. My grandma told me she had a similar experience when once TAKING anti-depressants - so it clearly varies from person to person.

I don't want to be dependent on drugs forever if I don't need to be, and I am hopeful that (after my nice health insurance benefits kick in) I will be able to try again - but in a more responsible way.

Consider that a resolution!

2009 Resolutions

I've often - in my 28 years - engaged in the ritual of writing New Year's resolutions. Blogs make it possible to not only write the resolutions, but to track your progress (or lack thereof).

Last year I was easy on myself, resolving nothing specific and leaving no yard stick by which to measure my success.

Goals are important, but so is follow-through.

Some people micromanage their goals - in fact, self help gurus will recommend the practice (in no-uncertain terms). Lists, journals, diaries, logs, all different words for the documentation that will keep you on track.

I've done this. I will likely do it again. But this year, I did nothing.

So how do I conduct my yearly audit? Perhaps in lessons learned and clever quotations..

"Money isn't everything" - "Mother"
I took a job this year that pays significantly less than the job I held previously. I had several reason for taking this job - money wasn't one of them. The promise of professional growth and potential career advancement lured me away from a bad situation. Like a mirage in the desert, upon first sight these promises seemed very real - then eventually faded away. But I don't regret my decision. Lesson learned: Money isn't everything - but it is something.

"Of all the 36 alternatives, running is always best." - Chinese Proverb
I ran my first 5K this year. For most of my life I characterized myself as the anti-runner. Sweating, heavy breathing, head bobbing around like a bobble-head doll - these are things I detest. But every once in a while, something tells me to do something I've never done before for the express purpose of doing it. It usually happens when I've been riding the defeatist wave for too long and serves as a reminder that I am capable of many things - including the unexpected and even those I deem myself incapable of. Lesson learned: I may not be able to do everything, but I can do many things.

"I eat like a vulture. Unfortunately the resemblance doesn't end there." - Groucho Marx
I managed to keep off the weight I lost last year. It's fluctuated a little bit, but I am still around 150-153 on most days. I am not allowed to weigh myself again until the end of January though. Damn Christmas cookies. Lesson learned: Self-disciplin won't kill you - but Christmas comes only once each year.

"The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction." - Allen Ginsberg
My little sister married her Mexican soul-mate. That was her milestone for the year really, but I became a sister-in-law and confirmed my psychic ability. (I knew she would end up with her husband). Lesson learned: Love knows no borders. (And I am comfortable giving a toast when most of my audience doesn't understand English.)

"Moo." - Cow
I am pretty sure I am lactose intolerant. An unfortunate state of affairs I assure you, as I love cheese. Lesson learned: Soy milk, skim milk, 2 percent, fat free, it all tastes the same when you pour it on cereal so go with what doesn't result in stomach discomfort. But if you are dipping oreo cookies or eating a slice of chocolate cake, only cow milk will do!