Saturday, August 25, 2012

don't go

Lola is concerned about me going to the Burning Man festival.  Last night she pleaded, "Don't go!  Muzzy is going to be set on fire!"

"I'm not going to be set on fire."

"You'll never come back!"

When I told her I was going to miss her, she whispered clandestinely, "You can just stay home."  I couldn't argue with that logic.

can it be?

Today Iris über Alles turned thirteen.  She's seemed like a teenager for a long time, years actually, so it seems odd that it took this long for her to reach the teens officially.

She's more than independent enough.  Right now she's researching far away boarding schools.  "Won't you miss me?" I say, pathetically enough, and she says, with great kindness, "Of course I will, but my education is important!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

fiber art

Today I speed-read "Mrs Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf, neglecting my Burning Man preparations, in order to get to my new book club.  On my way there I realized I would be confronting this group of lovely, educated, articulate, well-read and refined women with a head full of crazy yarn.  Indeed, when I rang the doorbell, the reaction was, well, one of quiet shock.

One book lover rallied gamely.  "I've seen a lot of fiber art lately."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ask the Lola

Not long ago I solicited questions for Iris and Lola, and Lola is ready to answer her questions! Without further ado, I hereby present "Ask The Lola."

 Longterm reader Silliyak asked, "Should there be a 'Burning Woman' event? Where? What would it be like?"

Lola opines, "Yes, there should be one. I have no idea where it would be. Yeah. There would be no men, I guess, since it's 'Burning Woman.'"

 An anonymous reader asked, "Lola, is it fun to be the Fun Police?" Lola said, "Yes. Yes, it is!"

"Is there anything else you want to say about that, Lola?"

 "No. The Fun Police work alone."

 Another anonymous reader asked, "Lola, what is your favorite word?"


A third anonymous person asked, "What is the best advice your sister has ever given you? What is the worst advice your sister has ever given you?"

"I don't know."

"Lola, you gotta say something."

"Seriously, I have no idea."

"Has Iris ever given you any advice?"

"Not that I can remember."

 Carroll asked, "What advice would you give to a nine-year-old girl who is starting 3rd grade at a new school where she doesn't already have any friends?"

"Make friends or be alone forever!"

"How would she make friends, Lola?"

"That's the hard part."

"Do you have any advice for her to succeed?"

"Stay in school. Don't tattle on people, or they'll be like [aarrrgh noises]. Yeah."

More questions from Carroll:  "Please describe some of your mother's cooking projects for us. Successes? Failures? Your personal Favorites? Do either of you like to cook too? Do you get to use the Aga?"

"Sometime I get to use the Aga. My favorite is da da da da, drum roll, umm, I think mashed potatoes. Definitely mashed potatoes. I don't like any kind of salad, not just that [Muzzy] makes but in general. I don't like salad. I don't really like to cook, but I like stomping mashed potatoes. Muzzy has made broccoli pasta, she has made ... why can't I remember anything you've made? You've made lots of food."

Jane asked, "Lola, I'm buying a new couch this week. What color should I get?"

"Oooh ooh ooh, couches. Orange! If not orange, then black."

Anything else you want to tell the readers, Lolz?

 "Pet the cats! Be happy! And that's a wrap."

the friendliest place in Bakersfield

My friend M. and I road-tripped down to far away San Juan Capistrano over the weekend, to hear the legendary Dick Dale on his alleged retirement tour (Dick D. seemed in top form, so enjoying performing and so very good that I suspect true retirement is not going to happen).  We decided ahead of time to break up our stay on the way back, rather than do the practically-the-full-length-of-California drive twice in one massive effort.  M. found us a charming hotel in Bakersfield, about halfway between S.J.C. and old S.F., ahead of time.

Once we found our lovely hotel in Bakersfield, we had a bit of trouble as our reservation had been mistakenly put into the system for the night before, and we'd been already charged as no-shows.  According to the very sweet desk clerk, this happens all the time with online reservation websites, and because those websites don't pass on to the hotel the customer's phone number, the hotel can't call to see if you are truly a no-show.  We were tired from our drive and from the heat (we Bay Area girls find the SoCal heat delightful yet draining), and we were pleasant despite this expensive screw-up.  The desk clerk wanted to be kind to us, and after M. said, "I just want to check in so we can have a drink" sadly, she asked "How many drinks do you ladies want?"  "Maybe four," said M. judiciously, and the clerk surprised us with four buy-one-drink-get-one-free certificates for the hotel bar.

Readers may not be surprised to learn that this gift was welcomed.  I'd planned this night to be my night off on my diet competition, and we intended to relax with some alcohol before soaking in the hot tub.  After we found our room, we headed to the bar.  "Do you have the certificates?" I hissed.

"Yes," M. hissed back.  "I haven't let go of them.  They haven't left my hand!"

Down at the bar, we found the jukebox painfully loud.  The side of the bar away from the jukebox was packed solid, so we were forced to sit on the louder side.   The young, female bartender took her time coming over to take our order, and gave us the impression that making drinks for us was the last thing she wanted to do.  M.'s inquiry about a margarita was greeted with the gleeful news that no blender drinks were available (you'd have thought she'd asked for a kidney).  Stalwart as ever, M. insisted we would accept our margaritas on the rocks and that they be made with Patron.  "We might as get expensive ones if we're getting free ones," she whispered.

Eventually the drinks turned up, and the bartender took great bureaucratic pleasure in explaining to us that we couldn't use our wealth of free drinks.  "Only one a visit," she said gleefully.

"Okay then," said M.  "We're going to have a drink, go to the pool, and then come back.  We'll make several visits."

"Only one per visit to the hotel," said the bartender, with even more joy at denying us.

After she bustled off to ruin someone else's fun, we conferred. "Obviously the desk clerk meant for us to drink all these tonight!  How can she do that?"  I figured out that surely we must each be able to use one of the cards.  We were two people, after all.  How could the bartender even know we were in the same room?  We could be in separate rooms.

That argument seemed to make the bartender even happier, giving her another chance to deny us.  I offered one of the cards to a very wrinkled old man sitting near us, but he said he'd used one already and would, like us, be denied.  Happily this man, who turned out to be named Don, joined us in excoriating the poor customer service of the bartender. "It's not like anyone would know that she'd taken more than one from you" he said.  "And you'd tell everyone to come here.  It would be better for the place."  He went on at length, and we nodded.  The bartender avoided our corner.

We did eventually get more drinks, and although it was not easy, we managed to order some crappy bar food.  Getting a glass of water from the bartender was particularly hard, and M. was a bit bitter that only one glass of water came (I offered to split it with her).  We confirmed that we intended to leave an uncharacteristically crappy tip.

The one joy of our evening was that M. put a lot of money into the jukebox.  "I played every rock song they had," she said happily.  "We're gonna hear a lot of Led Zeppelin."

The four deeply sunburnt young men playing pool were not pleased when M.'s jukebox selections started playing.  "What the fuck is this shit?"   They convened by the jukebox, staring at it.

Our margaritas had taken some effect, and we found this funny.  We whispered to each other.  "What is song?  What play this?  Where come from?"  Our joy was over, though, when the pool players moved the jukebox out of the wall laboriously and unplugged it, so all the Led Zeppelin M. had paid for was not heard.  Instead terrible, crappy country music rang out again, and the four very sunburnt scruffy men congratulated each other loudly.

A sign on the wall stated, in large letters, that this bar was "the friendliest place in Bakersfield."

"If this is friendly, I don't wanna see antagonism," I bitched.  We agreed that only Don, also passing through was friendly.  A woman passing through the door slammed it in my face as I headed out of the bar.

Once we left the immediate environs of the Friendliest Place In Bakersfield, things picked up.  Some men relaxing near the hot tub were eager to show us how to turn the jets on.  The weather was beautiful.  We remembered the kindness of the desk clerk and resolved to report to her that it was no good giving out those free drink cards.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

a long drive

The legendary surf music king, Dick Dale, is doing a farewell tour, and my friend Michele and I roadtripped down to see him perform.   We bought the tickets when we were both under the misimpression that San Juan Capistrano is near San Luis Obispo, on California's Central Coast.  We discovered later, to our dismay, that it was south of Los Angeles.

Oh, how the children laughed merrily at the stupidity of their dear mother.  "You have so far to drive!" jeered one, pointing at me and laughing deep, big belly laughs.  "How long?  Seven hours?

 Most of the drive was actually quite pleasant.  My friend and I chatted.  She read out loud outrageous quotations from Karl Lagerfeld.  We were fascinated by his breakfast routine:
The first thing I do when I get up, I have breakfast. I have two protein shakes made for me by my doctor--they have a chocolate taste and no sugar, of course—and steamed apples. That's all. I don't like anything else in the morning. I never drink anything hot; I don't like hot drinks, very strange. I drink Diet Coke from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed. I can even drink it in the middle of the night, and I can sleep. I don't drink coffee, I don't drink tea, I drink nothing else.
We debated the steamed apples.  I felt that the best part of an apple is the crisp, satisfying crunch, and steaming the apple seemed insane.  Michele felt, on the other hand, that she enjoys baked apples and that a steamed apple could be good.  We agreed that we now feel compelled to steam some apples.  It must be done.

Around Los Angeles we, of course, hit traffic, and the last seventy five miles or so of our trip were a taste of stop and go freeway hell.  One of my contacts was irritating my eye, and I'd finished my giant bottle of water.  I kept reminding myself, "Just a few more miles."  But those miles took so long.  Finally we arrived at our hotel, where the sound of the freeway is always heard.  The weather is spectacular, the surf music was magnificent, Dick Dale is a wonder of the ages (but his son is not so great a drummer, clearly parental affection has clouded the eyes of the surf master).  Despite the jeers of the children, this is proving to be a delightful outing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

an elegant salad and descriptive faux pases

I usually prefer to buy salads in restaurants or at the one grocery store in town with a really great salad bar (the Molly Stone's in Pacific Heights), because it feels to me that homemade salads are usually not so good.  It's too expensive and too much trouble to buy and prepare so many fresh vegetables at home, whereas a restaurant enjoys the economy of scale.  Simpler salads usually are unsatisfying to me.  I want my salad to be complex.

There have been a few exceptions to this, interesting simple salads that I've made and enjoyed, but nothing that really made me think, "Here it is!  This is the salad of my heart, that I can make here at home."  But!  Then this week I finally made the salad that made me stop and say, "Oh my God, I have to say this myself, this is really fucking good... and it's so simple.  It's as good as something from a restaurant."

"It's better than something from a restaurant", said the Sober Husband, who sometimes rises to the occasion verbally.  He did not stay at that level of conversational grace, however, when it was time to clear the table.  In the kitchen, when he was putting away the food, he said loudly, "Hey!  There's more of this green glop left!"  I winced.  The "green glop" was pistou for the entree, soupe au pistou, made lovingly by me from organic fresh basil and really expensive Sicilian olive oil, and it tasted to me like one of the best things I'd ever made (I am completely over pesto; I'm all about its French version, pistou, which seems infinitely better to me).  

Iris paid the salad the compliment of having many servings, and it was basically demolished.  Lola, however, eyed it with distrust and was not interested in it.

Just two days later we had friends over for a small dinner party, and I made the salad again, but changing it up a bit, featuring asparagus instead of zucchini.  Once again it was loved and devoured, but before then, having a bit of trouble with the crowded table, the Sober Husband asked, "Can everyone just pass that stuff around", indicating the beautiful salad in a lovely, large, hand-made bowl.  I balked.  

"Please don't describe something I made as 'stuff'," I said.  "Can you call it a salad?"  I brought up the "green glop" remark which still stung.  "I work hard to make good food, and please don't call it 'glop' or 'stuff.'  If you can't think of the category word, like 'salad' or 'sauce', just call it 'food.'  'Food' works.  Say, 'Pass that food around.'"

The guests were bemused at this little contretemps and set forth on a discussion of whether "stuff" is dismissive or not.  But soon they began to eat, and instead the conversation moved to how good the food is and then to the fascinating topic of what does Mitt Romney really believe in his heart, and the dinner was on.

Hours later, as our guests were leaving, our friend said loudly, for the Sober Husband's benefit, "And thanks for that GREEN STUFF, it was really great!"

The Green Stuff Salad

large amount of fresh baby spinach, arugula, or other very pleasing fresh green
a vegetable to contrast (zucchini and asparagus are the two I have used)
1/2 cup or more fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
olive oil  (must be very good, flavorful olive oil -- pick the murkiest cold pressed, extra virgin one on the shelf at the store)
a few lemons
a little sea salt (optional)
good Parmesan cheese

Steam the vegetable until it is soft but not mushy.  Set aside to cool.  (If you use a zucchini, slice it in half lengthwise to steam, steam about 5 minutes, and after it has cooled, cut it in as paper-thin slices as you can.  For asparagus, snap the hard end of the stem off by hand, steam the remaining stalks 5-8 minutes but do not overcook, then slice in short, diagonal pieces).

Toast the pine nuts in a little pan over a burner, frequently stirring.

Squeeze the lemons and measure the juice.  You want a ratio of 1:2 lemon juice to olive oil.  If you are making a small salad, whisk 1 T lemon juice with 2 T olive oil.  I made a big salad last night, with  1/4 C olive oil and 1/8 C lemon juice.  Pour any leftover lemon juice into a glass of water and drink it.

Toss the greens and basil leaves with the dressing.  Spread the steamed vegetable on top.  Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top, if you like.  Take the good Parmesan and, with a vegetable peeler, peel off some nice curls of Parmesan.  Decorate the top of the salad with those.  Bon appetit! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

enjoy this blog while it lasts

"Is my last name on that blog?  Will you delete it when I run for president?" asked an ambitious child.   "I don't want it used against me."

"No, and I'll be dead by then."

"I'll delete it for you then."

Monday, August 13, 2012

in my neon armor

The Sober Husband and I collaborated on a project this year, if by "collaborate" you mean one person has an idea and the other one does 100% of the work.  My idea was a corset lit up with little programmable lights; I got the idea from an eighth grader at Iris's school, who made a jacket with wearable lights integrated into it.  "Thank you, I am so doing this for Burning Man!" I said to her sincerely, and she gave me a look which I took to mean that she was having a hard time knowing whether I was joking or not.

Over many trials throughout the past few months, the Sober Husband persevered in building a prototype.  The first version was on a corset, but projected out too far from my body, making me despair.  "I look so huge in this," I mourned.  "I'm sure it will look cool, but my vanity..."  Also, as several people noted, it looked like a dalek.

The S.H. was undaunted. "It's like on 'Project Runway', it's always the tailoring that is the problem."  We abandoned the idea of a corset.  For the next version, he took casts of my body and built a sort of plastic armor for the lights.  Eventually we arrived at the second version, after an interim attempt which sliced open my finger so theatrically while I was trying it on that I actually opened up an artery, dramatically spraying blood across the room.  Its running time is about ten hours, and its charging time is currently 24 hours (but the never-fazed Sober Husband thinks he can get that charging time down to 12 hours).

After the hardware was built, it was time for the software.  Everyone had ideas.  "I want it to say 'Iris!'" demanded a certain child.  I thought perhaps a Union Jack pattern would be good or a sort of rainstorm interrupted by lightning.  The Sober Husband liked a pattern like the matrix, of downward drifting strings of green lights.  Some combinations were too seizure-riffic.

Fully expecting some errors in the field out at Burning Man, the Husband fretted that it would not be robust enough to survive without him.  No one entertained the idea that I be expected to repair it.  I asked my camp's mailing list who could solder, and it turned out that several campmates intended to bring soldering irons to Burning Man.  A helpful campmate came over to our house and was trained by the Sober Husband on how to maintain the mechanism.

Tonight I'm giving it a test run in the home.  "Do normal things," the Sober Husband instructed me.  So as I write this, I am strapped into a neon cuirass.  The main things I am noticing are that it digs into the insides of my upper arms and that the lighting from below my chin is a bit reminiscent of Halloween.  I started making ghoulish faces, and little Lola was bemused, but quickly coopted.  It has not failed yet, nor caused anyone to have a seizure, but it's early days yet.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I won't ask for that again

Today I had an all day workshop, but over coffee before I left, I skimmed through the paper.  A recipe in the food section caught my eye,  a French soup featuring cranberry beans and other summer vegetables, drizzled with pistou.  I tore it out and handed it to the Sober Husband.  "If you can to to the grocery store while I'm at my class, I'll make this for you."

He took a look.  "This looks great!"

"Go to Calmart," I instructed him.  "I know they have cranberry beans there; I saw them.  Also, then you can go to the bookstore there and buy the book for Lola's bookclub."

He began to look harried.

When I came home around 5:30, a bit tired and low energy as I hadn't eaten since 9 AM and had walked halfway across San Francisco (during the lunch break I stood patiently in a sluggish line, at the only place near my class which sells food, behind a large clot of puzzled French tourists trying to figure out what a churro is, only to discover that this lunch spot was out of all the vegetarian food.  And why couldn't they have written that on the menu board and saved us all precious time, which we'll never have again??), I noticed that there were three bags of fresh cranberries on the counter, along with some other vegetables.

"Um, what did you get these for?" I asked.  It didn't seem incomprehensible to me that there were cranberries, as the children love cranberry pie and cranberry juice.

"For the soup!  And it was really hard to find them!" said the Sober Husband proudly.

"Sugarplum, you were supposed to get cranberry beans, not cranberries!" I said.

"I asked the children, and none of us knew what cranberry beans were," he said, crestfallen.

"Why didn't you ask someone in the produce section?  I know they have them; they were hard to miss!" I kvetched.

We put the cranberries in the freezer.  A bit later the Sober Husband asked me tentatively, "If I went and got the cranberry beans, do you still have enough energy to cook?"

I assured him, and he set off again.  This time he returned proudly with two bags of dried cranberry beans.

"Sweetheart, it was supposed to be FRESH cranberry beans.  I can't use those."

He looked at them.  The instructions on the bags clearly stated that the beans needed to be soaked overnight.  "Can you soak them and use them tomorrow?"

"No, this soup is just for FRESH vegetables."  By then an hour and a half had elapsed since I came home from my class.  I stomped into the kitchen and heated myself up some leftovers.  "Are you doing this so I'll never ask you to go to the store again?" I asked suspiciously.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

the 2 pack

As a result of a year of keeping to a rigid, strenuous exercise regimen, there have been a lot of changes to my body.  The one zone of my body which sums everything up nicely is my abdomen.

Up at the top of my abdomen, I have developed some very noticeable muscular definition.  I have the outline of the top of a lovely six pack.  But down a bit lower the entire situation dissolves into chaos, a flabby, stretchmarked mess with baggy skin, attesting to my having carried two massive, nine pound babies (one three weeks overdue, so a very long pregnancy with a very large baby, indeed).  Some damage was also done by my having carried around my "third baby" for so long (a massive benign tumor which, by the time I had it removed, was giving me many of the physical symptoms of being in the third trimester).  And of course it would be only honest to admit that I put on a lot of weight, first after I had Lola, when I was depressed and went on medication with the side effect of "unexplained weight gain" which was explained to me only after I'd put on twenty-five pounds, later when I was in chronic pain from my tumor and also from an ankle injury.  Losing most of that weight has been good for me and my body overall, but the lower abdomen is where the story of my excesses and sufferings has been written.

If you poke the top of my abdomen, around the two pack, it's like poking something inanimate.  The muscles are so strong and hard.  I welcome that sort of prodding; sometimes I bully the poor Sober Husband into admiring that little zone.  Just don't go prying around below it, where you'd expect to find the rest of a six-pack.  You're just going to depress us all.

Friday, August 10, 2012

special troubles

Lately the most noticeable thing going on in my life is that I'm playing the the Game On Diet competition.  I've been having a rough time this week, and it makes me feel guilty.

Meanwhile my teammates have been excelling, and I'm pulling them down.  It's like my team is Michael Phelps, and I'm a little rock tied to his ankle.  He's still winning, but he must look down at that rock and think, "*#@&#, I gotta get rid of this!"  My teammates insist they are not feeling that way, but I think they must be.

First I was sick.  I ran a fever for three days, and on one of those days, I did not exercise at all.  The second day I exercised lightly (which is allowed in this game if one is ill); the third day I made myself exercise vigorously.  Yesterday I went back to the gym for one of my normal hellish workouts, but still, that is one day with no exercise and one with baaaarely any exercising (running errands on foot).

Next, I went off to have my hair braided.  This screwed up my diet day largely because I couldn't meet my water drinking goal for the day (one of the most important rules is to drink three liters of water each day) because I spent six hours without drinking, while my head was being wrenched to and fro and things fastened to it.

Stupidly enough I only realized as I left the salon that I had just added several pounds of weight... which meant I couldn't make my weigh-in goal.  I felt like an idiot.  I weighed myself at the gym, and I had gone up over three pounds, three pounds of yarn, some little metal clips, and hair extensions.

That evening I petitioned everyone in the game.  "I have a Burner problem," I said.  "I got my hair braided for the playa, and it weighs over three #(@& pounds!"  I attached a photo.  Everyone in this game has been to Burning Man, and they all empathized.  Even the people on the other teams agreed that I should be able to adjust my weight by several pounds to compensate for the huge weight on my head, although the word "freak" was used.

Struggling on, I persist as well as I can.  I must not be a rock, or if I am a rock, I must be a pebble.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

my head is ready

Today I spent six hours having my hair microbraided, extensions put in, and several skeins of exotic yarn woven into the braids.  My head is Burning Man ready, but the rest of me isn't.

It's early to get this done; I have another two weeks before it's time to go.  But it's practically impossible to get an appointment for braiding the week before Burning Man, and also it's very difficult to sleep on the pained, abused head for several nights after the braiding is done.  I may as well go through the uncomfortable nights here at home, so I can get whatever sleep is possible at the event.

When I drove home, I ran across Iris and Lola trudging up the hill with our friend who was babysitting them.  I honked and called to them.  They were considerably reluctant to cross the street and get into the car, frozen in spot staring at the masses on my head.

At home, our new kitten gave me a wide berth. "Look, Zorro is afraid of me!" I said.  

"I can't stop staring at it," said Lola.

"Can I pet it?" asked Iris.

The negative note came from the poor, patient Sober Husband.  Taking a deep breath, he said slowly to himself, "It's only temporary."

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

ask the supporting characters, er, stars

"Do you remember when you did 'Ask The Lola' on your blog?" said little Lola wistfully the other day.

"Of course!" I said.

"Can you do that..." Lola began to ask, but she was interrupted by her big sister.

"Ask Iris!  Do 'Ask Iris' again!  That was better!"

So submit your questions, to either Iris, Lola, or both, and we'll get back with answers!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

soundbites from around the home

- I talked to the Sober Husband about how this health competition I am in, with friends, has upset my cooking mojo.  Previously I'd been cooking a lot, and the Sober Husband would arrive home to find me slaving over my beloved Aga, but now I'm eating things like low fat cottage cheese with fresh scallions or goatsmilk yogurt for dinner.

The Sober Husband burst out passionately with "I'd rather have a fat wife that cooks than a thin wife!"  I hugged him consolingly.

- One of the offspring was holding forth about how wrong it is that parents can name children before their personalities were evident.  "I should have been named Evil Villain of Awesomeness!"

- Sweet Lola is worried about her mother's sojourn to Burning Man.  "You need to bring lots of sunscreen, water, and A FIRE EXTINGUISHER!" Lolz said repeatedly.

"I'm not planning to start any fires, Lolz," I said, but Lola was adamant and Iris scoffed. "Its Burning Man; there's going to be stuff on fire everywhere!"

"Yes, but I'm not setting it on fire."

Iris rolled her eyes sarcastically.  "BURNING... MAN.  It says 'burning.'  There's stuff on fire everywhere."

Saturday, August 04, 2012

the game continues

It's getting towards the end of the first week in the four week-long diet game I'm engaged in, and I'm having mixed results.

The rules allow for one meal off and a whole day off, and these are the only allowable drinking occasions each week.  On our semi-weekly date night, the Sober Husband and I went to Bar Agricole, and I explained my plan to him ahead of time.  "I'm going to try to have only one cocktail and call this my meal off.  If it's so good I have to have another one, it's my day off.  But don't let me go wild."

At Bar Agricole, the drinks were delightfully tempting.  "We make our own bitters," said our waiter proudly.  "It makes no sense to take so much care with a cocktail and then just pour some nasty old bitters in."  He made a disgusted face.  I've never myself been disappointed with store-bought bitters, but I was happy to sample the precious, carefully crafted drinks with the house-made bitters, and after the first I said to the Sober Husband, "We're calling it my day off."

I felt later proud, as I only consumed a bowl of white corn and padrones soup (the single best soup I have ever had at any restaurant), two cocktails, and a glass of Moscato while splitting a cheese plate with the Sober Husband.  "That's pretty good for a day off from my diet," I bragged.  But at the gym the next day, the scales told another story.  Far from losing any weight, I'd gone up six pounds.

How can that be?  Was it hormonal?  Was it the effects of the fattening alcohol upon my alcohol-starved body, just coming off a long month of no drinking?  Whatever it was, it was depressing.  My diet teammates rallied behind me, encouraging me to hang in there.

I tried to remember how far I've come already.  I've been cleaning out my closet of clothes I can no longer wear, as they hang upon me too loosely.  I got the most treasured compliment I've had yet lately, from a friend who mourned, "The sad part about you losing weight is your ass.  You had the greatest ass... so large, but so great."  I don't know why I like that compliment so much, but I do.

Whether I lose any more weight or not on this diet, the game is definitely influencing me.  Tonight we came home late after taking Iris to see "Beasts of the Southern Wilds" (which achieved the previously-unthought of accolade of three thumbs up, approved by the Sober Husband, Iris über Alles, and me in a rare moment of cinematic accord).  While the Sober Husband climbed into bed, I changed clothes and climbed on my rowing machine.  "My opponents are losing weight," I hissed.  "I have to exercise!"

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

healthy living will kill me

Today I woke up with a pounding headache.  Normally when this happens (and it happens far more than I'd like), my "supportive" spouse points to something I did, usually involving alcohol, which made the headache my fault.  But yesterday I exercised vigorously, ate healthily, and consumed absolutely no alcohol, so how can I be blamed?  "Could you be allergic to something?" mused my husband (no doubt in order to get the blame right back on me, for having eaten something I should have known not to eat).

Healthy living is not helping my insomnia, also.  Last night I was wide-frigging-awake in the middle of the night, bored, and restless.  Usually after I determine that I have no chance of falling asleep again for the foreseeable future, I pull out my laptop (conveniently placed under the bed) and amuse myself online.  But!  As part of my healthy living competition, I am required to get seven hours of sleep a night.  Playing online would mean losing points not just for myself, but for my team.  The rules of the game take insomnia into account, and an insomniac may count her time spent lying awake fretting as sleep, so long as she stays prone, in the dark, with her eyes shut.  Taking one for the team, I laid there in the dark, with my eyes shut, for a very long time.  Eventually some sleep came, but not long after that, the Sober Husband arrived, eager to wake me up (strange as it may seem to some of you, he has a thirst for my company and has taken to waking me up in the mornings in the hopes I will get up and talk to him before he goes to work).

After I dragged my poor, aching, sleepy head downstairs to swallow ibuprofen and drink coffee, as well as to have a healthy breakfast of goatmilk yogurt with some nuts and dried cranberries,  I emailed my team members about my insomnia (the rules of the game require me to communicate daily with team members and our adversaries).  "I laid there and laid there, thinking of the points," I whined.  Thanks poured in by email from team members, who took a brief break from sharing tips on how to largely survive on Greek yogurt to congratulate me on my competitive spirit.

Now my top goal for the day is to vanquish this headache so I can work out (daily exercise is a key component of this health competition).  Honestly I think what my body is crying out for is a bottle of  blanc de noirs and some fried food.  It certainly doesn't seem to thrive upon clean, vigorous, honest living.