Friday, October 17, 2014

Just put it all in one place where I can see every single one of everything

I have to thank you all so much for generously sharing recipes and thoughts with me.

One of my friends said I clearly struck a chord, and this seems to be true. I got a tremendous inpouring (spell check is telling me this isn't a word, but I still like it) of comments here and on FB, and emails with recipes and laments!

Here is what I've learned: many of us are in the same boat. Some of you have been feeling the same shame. I love not feeling alone, and so do you.

Also, you have terrific and concrete ideas! I now have so many recipes and suggestions for books, approaches, and classes. I need to weed through them all. I didn't expect this wealth.

We are going to improve our dinner situation. I will let you know how this goes. I'm going to have to figure out how to organize them first.

And on this note...

Recently Nick hooked up a hard drive containing the contents of my long-dead laptop and loaded them on my so-not-new laptop. I kept meaning to but one thing and another got in the way. And then at some point I really wanted those old pictures and music and such. So he pulled it out and transferred files.

I looked for some things that I knew I had before but cannot find now and asked if he got it all. He said,"I'm not sure. Your filing system was...unclear."

"Oh. That might be because I don't file anything."

"I didn't want to suggest that and get you all defensive."

I'm a terrible filer. With physical files, it's more that it's just tedious. I do it, but only when I have to. But that's a matter of cramming a bunch of papers that go together in the same folder.

On the computer, it draws on some kind of skill that is not my strength. I think it's sort of like when I took probability and statistics and letters stood for whole calculations and I could never figure out the likelihood of pulling a green marble out of a deck of cards perched on a coin flip. Plus I couldn't bear never understanding what was going on and I was too depressed to drop the class so instead I just stopped going and spent my time eating chocolate peanuts.

It was a grand success, in case you're wondering.

It also harkens back to when I sucked at making outlines, because I couldn't decide if my A, B, and C topics were parallel, or if one should go under the other, and then making things parallel under them was just ugh. Now I make outlines with dots and lines and the parallelity doesn't matter.

Me, I could happily have everything spread out on my desktop. Except, you know, that you can't.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Animals of the Fear List

So you know I have this fear list.

In case you yourself have one but haven't thought about the animals that maybe should be on it, I have some suggestions.

They are listed alphabetically rather than in order of danger.

Cows. I got stabbed in the leg by a cow while walking down the street minding my own business. Seriously. This cow veered across the street just to try and gore me. I still have a huge lump on my thigh. I am still afraid of cows.

This was, incidentally, shortly before I saw a bull giving himself a blow job. Which has nothing to do with meanness but is still one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen. Who knew?

Deer. This is really about Lyme disease. Because Nick says they don't bite.

Geese. When we lived in Bangladesh my friend Robbie had geese in his yard. They used to chase us for no reason whatsoever. There is a reason some companies have guard gees. Those little fuckers bite.

Hippos. But you already know these are top of my list. They are so mean and fast and they can turn on a dime.

Monkeys. They look all cute and we all know Curious George but if for example you are a little kid with long blonde hair and a monkey gets hold of it through the bars of its cage it will pull as hard as possible, which is very hard because even if your parents are holding onto your legs trying to make sure the monkey doesn't pull you close enough to bite you, which it is trying very hard to do, they still have to struggle.

The free ones who hang out in front of your friends' houses are also mean, so it has nothing to do with cages. So, monkeys. Bitey bitey monkeys. This is more of an India problem than a DC problem.

Swans. I've talked about them before and given examples of their evil nature. They'll go out of their way to knock you out of your kayak and drown you dead. Big fear.

Sharks. Duh.

But did you know there's a kind of shark that can go between sea water and fresh water and thus can swim into the Potomac and bite you? Honest to God. Bull sharks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


So I have told you about shaming our family at Friendly's, and I have told you about terrible, terrible behavior on dates. And I've even told you my worst fart story ever.

Still, with all this, I'm so ashamed to tell you about dinner in our house. Here is the mega-shame part: We eat terribly and I don't know how to make real dinner.

And here is where I'm going to ask for your help.

So dinner in our house is mainly kid dinner, because it happens around 6:00-6:30, hours before Nick is home. Here is our main course repertoire, in no particular order: Fish sticks; chicken patties; spaghetti and meatballs (no sauce! the horror!); mac & cheese; grilled cheese; pizza; eggs - scrambled, fried, in a sandwich, with sausage, in a box with a fox.

India will eat vegetables and beans as well. She also likes tomatoes and mozzarella. Jordan will eat broccoli, but that's it. But still, it's something. We have a lot of steamed broccoli.

Betty and I eat dinner with the kids. We typically have what they're having, at least in part. I quite like fish sticks, actually. I love eggs. But otherwise, I only eat the vegetable portion. Maybe Betty heats some tomato soup or maybe I make myself a smoothie later.

And then Nick comes home around 8:30 or so and fixes himself a sandwich.

We have been doing this for a long, long time. It works, but it doesn't, in that it's not healthy. It's not how I grew up, with mandatory family dinner at 7:00 pm, and with a meat and a veg and a starch.

I hated those dinners. They were often tense and when I was in high school and trying to avoid food and my dad was sliding into crazy, they were particularly terrible.

And I've never liked to cook. So I've hated dinnertime for a long, long time. And now that you add the stress of trying to get kids to sit on their bottoms and not put their fists into their water cups and please don't poke your sister and India! Biting is not what we do to people! It is all the less appealing.

But dinner is important. It's unavoidable. And I need to get better at it.

Even on weekends, we rarely have a cohesive dinner. Nick and I will sit with the kids, and then we'll figure out later what we're having. But historically we haven't liked the same things, so we don't really have an actual together meal. Or we'll go out or get takeout.

I feel a strong need to change this. Nick has lost 15 pounds since August, and he is energized to lose quite a bit more. He's in a place where he is open, for the first ime, to changing how he eats. I want to foster this.

So what I need to have to MUST do is start cooking. We have to start eating real food, and it has to be me.

Betty is an excellent cook, but she's not remotely interested. It's all on me.

And so I'm asking you.

I am looking for easy, nutritious, tasty recipes. Could be anything - chicken, lentils, soup, stew, you name it. I do not know how to cook meat, so it needs to be super easy, like meat for dummies. And just about the only thing I know how to do with vegetables is steam them. Beans? I know how to open a can and put the pot on low. I do know how to roast Brussels sprouts. Mmmm.

Jordan won't like any of these things, because he is five and hates everything. I'm not worried about him.

But the rest of us need to start eating real food.

This is my shame. Can you help me?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day done: And just like that...

Smoothie: Kale, spinach, apple (for Nick), blueberry, flax seed, protein powder

Tea: Black, with milk and sugar, but not so much of either

Taste: Delightful

Guilt points: 42

Happiness points: 700

Nick came home last night and was all, "I read your post, and I think you should just stop the cleanse. After tonight, you've done it a whole week. You feel terrible, you're crabby, and I think you've gotten what you need to get out of it."

I wavered. It's only three more days. I know I can stick it out. But I've also done it a whole week, and the author says to evaluate where you are at big points like five and seven days. Sooo, just like that, I could stop feeling so listless and angry.

His position was as follows: I've cleansed. What am I trying to prove? We both already know I'm as stubborn as a mule. (We do.) And I've probably gotten rid of all my SFM. (Lord, it does seem like it.)

Also, I hadn't worn my regular jeans in a week, and they are totally loose.
See? I mean, they're not like twice my size. But they used to fit snugly to my waist, hips, and thighs, and they are baggy in all those places. It is much more dramatic from above, looking down, because the gap is huge and you can see down my legs. So I took a picture that way. 

But then I realized that really, the picture was all, "Hey! Look in my pants!" Which is just weird and pervy and not at all what I'm trying to demonstrate.

What I guess I'm saying is, I've gotten plenty out of it and yes, I feel guilty for stopping, but it is far outweighed by how nice it feels to head towards energy and away from snapping at everyone. Also. My haircut makes me feel like Brienne of Tarth and so it is, as much as possible without making me look like a headless torso, not in the picture.

You know what I didn't miss, which was totally unexpected? The alcohol. I turn to it so many nights to get through dinner-bath-bed time. I am wondering if that's part of a sugar-fix cycle. No sugar, no cravings for easy sugar.

So I made a smaller, breakfast-sized version of the smoothie I made for Nick, but with a different protein powder, and I had tea, and all of this made me happier. I'm going to keep it all light and vegetarian for the next several days. A salad-y meal with beans for lunch and then green smoothie for dinner.

Last night I slept eight solid hours. Let me repeat this, because it is so huge in my life. Eight. Solid. Hours.

No waking, no interruption. I haven't done this in years. I cannot remember the last time I did this prior to this past week. In general, except for some sleep-killing India antics, I've slept so well  through this cleanse.

This says to me that something I eat regularly is fucking with my sleep. I don't actually ingest a lot of caffeine, and it's almost always tea. I don't have coffee more than a couple times a week, and if so, usually not even a cup.

Are caffeine effects cumulative? I do hope not. I love real tea. I do not love decaf tea. It always tastes a little like floor dust to me. 

So it can't be that...can it? Say no! Say no!
I'm adding back dairy for a few days and seeing how I feel. Could it be dairy? I'm afraid it's dairy. That will bum me out.

So there you have it. I'm a quitter. A relieved quitter who no longer feels like stabbing anyone/everyone. I'll let you know how it winds up for Nick, though, in case you're interested.

I mean how the cleanse winds up for him. Not the not being stabbed.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 7: And on the seventh day

Smoothie: Mixed greens, spinach, mixed berries, banana, mango, flax seed, protein powder. There was supposed to be pineapple but we didn't have any so I substituted mixed berries.

Taste: Good

Mood: Tired and crabby

Smug points: None. I'm too tired for smug.

Divorce points (metric credit: Cynthia): Also none, surprisingly enough

When I tell you Nick is thriving on this I mean he is practically dancing around beaming. He's in a good mood. He admits to being hungry, but he feels good.

I'm so proud of him. I've said multiple times that I was shocked when he proposed this, and even more so that he's been so positive about it.

He's lost weight. His pants have gotten looser. His body has shifted positively. He's got plenty of energy.

Me, I'm cold and limp and I have no energy. I'm now like those little grey stricken merpeople stuck in Ursula the Sea Witch's cave. Yes, I do realize that harkening back to the other day this means I'm the stagnant fecal matter (SFM). This isn't far from how I feel.

Also, you know what I've realized? Ariel wanted to be human before she met the prince. It's not that she fell in love and gave it all up for him. And yes, we may have been watching a lot of Little Mermaid lately. Why?

Oh, speaking of the SFM; Nick is also highly satisfied in this department. Onward and upward! Or rather onward and downward, more accurately speaking.

Anyway, today is my last day of strictly following the cleanse, I've decided. I know we have only three more days. I know I could stick it out. But I'm going to start adding legumes tomorrow. It's not a tremendous modification, but I think it will make a difference in my energy level.

In my workout groups I am always telling people to listen to their bodies.

Maybe a day on your calendar is scheduled as a tough workout day but your body is saying it needs a rest. In this case believe you should rest. I mean, sometimes you're just not into it, and you need someone to tell you to get up and work out, and then you do and you feel so much better. But there are times when you know to just take it easy.

Sometimes you may also feel the need for a threesome with Ben and Jerry. Occasionally is fine.

Now, I know a big goal of this cleanse is shifting food from being something emotional to being fuel for your body. For me food is mainly that already.

But there are comfort foods we all have. Foods our mothers fed us. Foods that make us feel warm and nurtured. I believe in eating well, but I don't believe your emotional connect to all foods goes away. I don't even think we should try to stamp them out. We just can't indulge all the time, or even all that regularly.

So I've decided to listen to my body.

If I weren't living with Nick and following the same regimen, I might just feel wimpy. But I see how he's doing and I see how I'm doing, and he's all practically doing naked backflips.

I, on the other hand, feel shaky and tired. I've lost weight, but that's Nick's goal for himself, not mine for me. I've been walking a bit, but I miss hard workouts. I need them for my mental health.

He's been working out. He feels good. He's dropped some weight and he feels motivated to change the way he eats for good. He said he's realized he needs to start focusing on foods that are good for him, rather than feeling like each meal should be something he enjoyed - meaning must contain meat and cheese and starch. Vegetables and fruits were never, ever something one would choose to eat.

On a normal day he'd be eating red meat for at least two of his meals, more likely three. He's never gone without meat and cheese ever - honest to God ever - in his life. I mean, this is the "Honk if you love cheese sauce!" man we're talking about.

I told him the other night as I collapsed into bed that I think this cleanse really resonates with him. He agreed, and said it didn't seem to be as great for me. I said that he's strong like bull. Also, he has way more reserves.

He said he knows an underhanded compliment when he hears one.