A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Friday, December 30, 2011

Love You

I’m guilty.  VERY guilty of being incredibly cruel to somebody – namely me.  You would not believe the awful, hateful things I’ve said to and about myself and my body over the years.

Although I would never do this, in moments of insanity I have been guilty of thinking, ‘you know… I could just slice the fat off of me with a knife.  No really, it would TOTALLY work.’

I’ve sustained injuries, insults and humiliations and responded with a shrug and a response of, ‘well I deserved that, I’m fat.’

I’ve over-reacted horribly to bad social situations, jobs for which I’ve been turned down and other assorted normal life rejections with, ‘well of course they didn’t want me, I’m fat.’

I’ve refused shopping trips, cute outfits, excursions and roller coaster rides all with the same lame excuse, ‘I couldn’t possibly wear / do / go to that.  I’m fat.’

And it is an excuse.

That’s not my point though…

This stupid, stupid crap doesn’t just hurt you when you do it to yourself.  It hurts the people around you.  It hurts the friend who thinks you’re amazing, it hurts the child to whom you are the center of the universe, and it hurts the lover for whom you are an absolute goddess.  It invalidates and dismisses all that they see in you as meaningless.  Worthless.

It also hurts the person listening to you who may be heavier than you who is struggling to love and accept themselves the way they are.  And when you tear into yourself with such vitriol, makes them wonder, ‘oh my gosh – if they hate themselves so deeply, and I’m so much bigger… what horrible thing must they think of me?’

So before you rip yourself to absolute shreds, stop – take a breath, and look around.

Look down.  Do your legs work?  Do they take you where you want to go?  Then those are good legs.  Do your arms lift what you want them to and hands create beauty?  Then those are good arms.  Does your body bring wonder and pleasure to someone?  Then that is a good, good body.

Stop.  Breathe.  Let it go.  Look around you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

British Adventure Food, Part 1. The Savory

I'm spending the Christmas holiday season with my fiance and his family in England. Since she's curious, Carolyn asked that I write a post about our Christmas dinner. Surprise! It was practically the same as a Christmas dinner in the States: turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, carrots, brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes. The only interesting difference was the dessert and frankly, I don't think a whole post about Christmas pudding would be very interesting to anyone but me

Here's a picture I took of Christmas dinner. As you can see it's all very familiar.

Instead, I'm going to talk about all the other Adventure Food I've been sampling.

I started using the term Adventure Food with my friend Andrea. She and and I had taken a few fun road trips the summer before last, and also a long cross-country road trip in the spring. We had a lot of Adventure Food. They're the foods that are experiments, a bit of local cuisine you want to taste, something you only have on special occasions, or are just plain fun. For example, funnel cake is an Adventure Food, I only I have it at fairs and festivals. Coconut coated candy apples for breakfast at Coney Island are another example.

My previous posts here have been about vegetarian cooking. That's because when I'm at home, I eat primarily a vegetarian diet. It's entirely for environmental reasons that I won't go on about now. The point is, I still eat meats now and again. So, upon arriving in England for my first visit back in October, I decided to happily sample British cuisine both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Since then I've had several fun and interesting foods. There are enough that it will be best to organize them into two posts, the savory and the sweet.

A full English breakfast was at the top of my 'must try' list. Breakfast is my favorite meal and I knew it would introduce me to black pudding. The core of the meal is familiar with eggs, toast and bacon. But add in some friend tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans, sausage, black pudding and a bit of HP Sauce and it's a gigantic new thing. Black pudding is a sausage made from cooked down blood with a filler of some sort (the ones I had were barley). Because of the gruesome ingredient I was a little skittish about trying it. The texture was softer than I generally like for sausage, but the flavor was fine. Actually, it reminded me a bit of scrapple. HP Sauce is a particular brand of brown sauce that's served with just about everything but seems to be a requirement with a full English breakfast. It's tangy and awesome. I may have to find it at home.

Graham insists sausages are different in the UK. While it's true that there is amazing sausage here, I think the US sausage situation has improved in the past 10 years. Richer and more exotically flavored sausages are now in nearly every grocery store. I guess it's been that way here for much longer. Game sausages seem to be more common in the UK. We bought some very nice wild boar sausages at a butcher. They were amazing at breakfast served on toast with some HP Sauce. Actually, that's an interesting thing. I've seen more butchers here than at home.

Pates and terrines are very common. I think I've seen one or the other on every menu I've encountered. Chicken pate seems to be the most common, but there have been some that are more interesting. One of the best was a venison terrine at The Angel Restaurant in Guildford. Graham's father received two types of pate as Christmas gifts, hare and wild boar. Hopefully I'll be able to sample them in a few days.

Pasties (pastry with a variety of fillings) are everywhere, there are even chains that specialize in them. This makes me very happy. Like Scotch eggs, pasties are something I equate with renaissance fairs. Here, I can pick up fresh ones at a various shops in town or at a kiosk at the train station. For Christmas, a pasty chain The West Cornwall Pasty Company, had a holiday themed one with turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. It was very tasty.

Speaking of Scotch eggs (which are hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded and fried or baked), unsurprisingly, they're everywhere. I tried to not squeal with happiness when I saw them for sale in packs of two at a mini-mart. I may need to start a letter writing campaign to Wawa.

On Boxing Day I went to a football (soccer) match with Graham and his brother. On the trip to the stadium I mentioned this British foods blog post, and upon arrival I was coaxed into having a cup of Bovril. "It's a beef drink" they said. I was nervous and instantly had images of African blood and milk mixtures that I had seen as a kid reading National Geographic magazines. I was handed a drink and right there on the foam cup it said "beefy drink." I took a sip and was relieved to learn it was beef broth. And you know what? On a cold day in a football stadium, a hot cup of broth was really, very nice. I've since learned Bovril is a beef extract and can be used in various ways, the hot drink being a common one. I've seen jars of it on shelves at the supermarket.

Another popular extract is Marmite, which is made from yeast. I've snacked on Marmite on toast a couple of times. It's extremely salty and savory - a strong and odd flavor that's growing on me. I'm curious to see how it is in hot water as a drink like Bovril.

I've been told fish and chips are best on the coast where the fish is fresher, but we did get some at a local chip shop. (The shop also had Chinese food, which is great.) Yeah, the hole in the wall fish and chips were as good as the fish and chips I'd get at a British style pub in the States. I'd love to take a trip to find a really great chip shop for comparison.

The Indian food here is fantastic! The large Indian population probably has to do with that. Restaurants have far more eclectic menus with more choices and regional curry styles. It's been heavenly.

There was a little bit of language confusion when it came to talking about vegetables. From a couple of recipes, I was already familiar with aubergine, which we call eggplant. But swedes and courgettes were new vegetables to me, that is until I had some. Swede is rutabaga and courgette is zucchini.

I think that covers my experiences with savory foods in England. If in the next couple weeks I try some more things (such as bubble and squeak), I'll post an update.

Look for a post about sweets, Adventure Food, Part 2, in a day or so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I sometimes have people say things to me like, “I am in tune with my body,” or, “I know how to listen to my body.”

I don’t think my body and I are actually on speaking terms.

It’s not that my hunger impulses don’t work, I’m just guilty of ignoring them a lot.  It’s breakfast/lunch/dinner time, so I should eat.  Or, hey these fries are good – I’m going to eat all of them.  Meanwhile my stomach is waving the white flag and yelling, “STOP EATING THAT, STUPID!”

My cravings are also kind of whack.  I’ll hear normal people say, “I’m craving something crunchy!” and then go eat a celery stick.  Whereas I don’t seem to crave anything that doesn’t involve salt, sugar, fat or grease.  Let’s be honest, I didn’t get to be the size I am from craving fruit all the time.

Now that the holiday season is passing, I feel about a hundred pounds heavier.  Oh my clothes all still fit, so I couldn’t have realistically gained very much, but when I look in the mirror instead of going, “okay – it’s a nice face,” all I’m thinking is, “you have two chins.”  I feel blocked up and weighted down.  I haven’t given myself a chance to feel properly, stomach grumblingly hungry in way too long.

So today I began what I call a listening detox.

I got into work and prepared myself a cup of hot, vanilla earl grey tea (my favorite).  No sugar, no cream, no chemicals.  Then I hydrated.  Then – I just focused on trying to listen.

No food allowed until my stomach actually, literally growled to indicate an empty tank, then some fruit.  I brought four delicious little Clementine’s and I had one each time I growled.  Then, a plentiful supply of fresh, raw vegetables in finger food size (no dip).  All of these are foods which, to put it delicately, have cleansing properties.

For lunch I had a sandwich made with more vegetables and a little cheese.

Dinner was a bowl of the post-Christmas split pea and ham soup I made this evening.  As always, my danger time for food is when I arrive in from work, and I scarfed down a handful of pita chips with artichoke dip while I was cooking.  As usual, this means at the end of the day I wind up taking a mental inventory and wishing I could delete a couple of items from my menu.  At least I’m studiously ignoring the siren song of eggnog  and cookies that is coming from my refrigerator.

It’s not easy.  In addition to all the bio hazards at home, the moment I walked into the office today I was confronted with three big trays of Christmas cookies and my refined sugar craving impulses immediately perked up.  Still, I know that if I start eating them I’ll just continue to feel awful; over-sugared, weighted down, and running inefficiently on lousy fuel sources.

I wish that what my body needs and what it seems to want could match up a bit better.  I wish I did suffer from celery cravings.  In the meantime, all I can do is focus hard on the need rather than the want, and try my best to listen.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


There I am this morning in my enormous, shapeless, cozy sweater and sleep pants - washing Christmas breakfast dishes over a sinkful of suds with no makeup in sight and sleep hair.  And from one side, I can sense Ted standing there silently staring at me.

So I said, "I can feel you staring at me."

To which he replied, "when you go into a museum, do you stare at the artwork?  God gave us beautiful things so that we could look at them."

Then he mooned me.

Ted preparing to read us the story of Christmas from the bible.

A trio of Basiurae before the tree.

Feline photo-bomb!

Yup, it's a zombie plush.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Wish

Like most yuppies, my husband and I have a busy holiday season.

There are parties to attend and to host, gifts to purchase and wrap, food to make and chocolate confection to create.  Some things, well intentioned, always seem to fall by the wayside – like sending out Christmas cards.  Every year I intend to do it, and every year it somehow falls behind.  I open all the beautiful ones I receive with a mixed emotion of guilt and happiness to be remembered by so many.

It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking: “Ugh, I’m so busy.  I’m so stressed.  I wish I could just sit and relax and have nothing to do!”

My husband says this to me almost every weekend as we run through our weekly regimen of home maintenance, family errands and social activities.

Me, I always think about the people who genuinely have nothing to do.  Not on the weekends, and not at Christmastime either.  Think about the reality of waking and having this day, and every day stretch before you without a job expecting you, or friends asking for your time, or family inviting you to dinner.

I’ve made choices and I do not regret them but I’m realistic about where they will lead.  I’m married to a man who is fifteen years older than me, I am blessed with one child through my marriage but opted not to give birth to any.  I’ve always said that however many years of spectacular I have with Ted is worth more than a longer span with any other man closer to my age.  He is my soul mate, and I’m filled with gratitude for every moment we have together on this world.

However, I know how likely it is that if I live as long as my grandmothers did, the end of my life is probably going to be lonely.

When that time comes I will have treasured up years upon years filled to the brim with friends and family and a holiday schedule so busy that I barely had time to sleep.  I run around during the holidays and know that this year there are people for whom Christmas Eve is any other Eve, and Christmas Day any other Day – because what makes a holiday but the people with whom we share it?

I’m so grateful for my stressful, busy holiday and however many of them stretch ahead of me as the years of our life together fly by.  I am warm in the knowledge that right now is the time of my life that I will look back on one day with such joy.  I won’t remember being tired on my feet while standing over a pot of melted chocolate – I’ll remember how happy someone made me when they tasted the results and dubbed it: “magnificent”.

My wish for you this season is for your life to be busy and full, abundant with the people who will make it special for you, and for whom you made it so special.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Totally Office Party

Every place of employment has its good and bad qualities.  One of the good ones about mine is a thorough enjoyment of the holiday season.  We had two office parties this year; the first was catered for us by the wife of the owner who is a very, VERY good cook.  The second was today, a pot luck affair, and my fellow employees are no slouch in the culinary department either.

I made hot baked artichoke dip.  Very easy, very good, very bad for you.

Hot ‘Choke Dip

Drain and dice two cans of artichoke hearts
Add 1 & ¼ cups of mayonnaise
Add 5 oz. of small crumbled parmesan cheese

Mix, spread in the bottom of a baking dish, and bake at 375 for about twenty minutes or until it bubbles and makes your house smell amazing.  Eat with crackers.  Try to share, it’s a bit like crack – once you get a bite you kind of keep thinking about it.

In addition to all the office partying they also exchange gifts.  I’m not all that into gifts so the first time people started giving them to me I was a little mortified.  Over the years, I’ve adapted so that now I just make home made chocolates for everyone.  People are impressed by them and they always get eaten so it seems to work out well.

The whole season is, of course, a complete cataclysm for anybody who is trying to loose (or just not gain) weight.  In addition to the parties we’ve got customers and distributors constantly dropping off pretzels, cookies, chocolates (I’m guilty of course of contributing to that one), etc.  There’s one company that sends us fresh Florida oranges too, those are really popular.

We’ve got a number of folks who are attempting or have successfully managed to sacrifice their fat on the altar of Weight Watchers, so there’s always a fair amount of food related anxiety to go along with our merriment.

People speak in ‘point value’ for pretty much everything edible, if you didn’t know what was going on you’d think we were all playing some kind of food related RPG in the office.

I don’t mind Weight Watchers – as they go I think it’s a decent enough program since they encourage people to eat real food in the real world rather than salt pickled substances from boxes and cans.  I think I can say with definition though that their program does not, in fact, work for me personally.  I’ve been on and off WW at least ten times since the age of fourteen.  Each time I fail, the rebound weight gain has probably been worth another ten extra pounds so.  Ten WW fails in a lifetime, ten pounds each, well… you do the math.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tips From Ted

I've had very little to say of late on weight loss that doesn't involve irritated profanity.  So, for the sake of decorum, today I bring you a tip from Ted.

When faced with a spouse bearing a painful ankle injury such as a grade 3 ankle sprain suffered the week before Thanksgiving, ice becomes an important part of one's life.  Driving through rush hour traffic at the end of the day for example can result in an ankle roughly two to three sizes larger than normal.

To deal with this situation, Ted came up with the following ankle injury icing tip that works quite efficiently.  You will need:

One damaged foot...

Complete with protective sock
Two bags of ice...

In small cube form
One bucket, thoroughly washed...

Stolen from faithful house cat (he was done with it)
Insert foot of spouse into bucket, pack ice all around injury.  It works really well because the ice is kept forced into close contact with the entire circumference of the injury (which does expand all the way around the ankle, I was thorough when I fell down).

After two twenty minute sessions with an hour long warming break in between, my ankle goes back to the size which can currently be considered 'normal' for it, although I'm beginning to suspect that it and my left ankle will never really match again.  It hurts less afterward too.

Probably a better idea though, if you can manage it, is to just not fall down like a big dumb klutz in the first place.

This tip has been brought to you by the letter "T" and the number "52"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Healthy Holidays!

The holdays are coming, and with them the cataclysm that we like to call holiday eating, or way over eating in my case.

This picture was posted on facebook by my sweet friend Amanda, and it's a wonderful reminder that you don't need to pack in calories (and pounds) or forget about nutrition to have a festive season.

So has everybody started shopping yet?  I actually have, which is odd for me - I'm usually one of those last minute, OHNOIT'SDECEMBER! types...

(Reposted from "Skinny Crockpot" and "Putting on a Party" via Facebook)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Don’t Touch It, Its Evil!

Offices really are a veritable cornucopia of blog fodder.  It’s like a little microcosm civilization for me to analyze and research on a daily basis.

This week generated further adventures involving my small talk disability:

“You’re eating pizza.”
And also…
“You’re in here by yourself.”

Both of these examples happened while I was, in fact, alone in the lunchroom eating a slice of homemade pizza and reading a book.  Both times my instinct dictated that I respond to these comments with, “I know.”  I consider the fact that I stifled this response and merely smiled in both cases to be progress.

Today when I entered the lunchroom it was stuffed full of treats from Dunkin Donuts.  I don’t personally find their donuts to be very tasty (they’re a bit dry) so I didn’t have much trouble ignoring them.

However, as I sat there eating my corn masa enchilada with salsa verde and Spanish whole grain rice, no less than three people came in, gasped in horror over the donuts and cursed whoever had brought them in for us.  All the while they were either being examined or in some cases eaten they were proclaimed to be: “bad”, “evil”, etc.

It occurred to me that food is not good or bad really, it’s all just fuel.  Some fuel is more efficient than others and what foods are the most efficient for the particular biomechanical device that is your body will vary slightly from person to person.  My husband, for example, can run very efficiently on cheese steak with no apparent ill effects while I cannot.

I imagine it’s a bit like being different types of cars that run better on varying octane gasoline.

My point is the whole time you’re making a HUGE deal over a treat you want and calling it bad bad bad, you’re simply reinforcing the idea that you shouldn’t and couldn’t have it while thinking about it constantly.

You’re creating an obsession.

You’re setting yourself up to eventually gorge on the aforementioned treat when you can no longer stand the torture of denying yourself the thing you’ve decided you want so badly but can’t have because it’s eeeevvillle…

Stop it.

When you consider a food that you know is inefficient fuel, think about it briefly and whether or not you really want it or if the sight is just causing a momentary sugar / fat / salt craving.  Ask yourself if you’re even really hungry right now, chances are you’re not and the moment the fuel is out of sight you’ll stop thinking about it anyway.

And if you decide that you really do want a donut?  Eat it.  Move on.  Life’s too short.

I really want a donut plushie.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Well Now

The company where I work gives us a break on our health insurance costs if we sign up for their health assistance program which is run by a company called Well Now.  Being of the frugal sort, I signed up.

They came to the office, drew blood, measured blood pressure, height, weight and then gave us a school type grade on our fitness level.  Despite all my scores coming back within their proper range for a female of my age and height – I scored a “C” based solely on my weight, it was enough to drag me down that far.

Both I and my personal physician thought this was a little unfair, but that’s beside the point.

One of the benefits of the program we receive is a by-monthly meeting with our own personal healthcare consultant.

The first one they assigned to me quit.  I swear I wasn’t trying to scare her away, but about five minutes into our conversation both she and I realized she knew about a tenth as much about nutrition as I did.  The next month a new lady called and said the first one had quit the company.

And yes, I feel a little guilty for it.

At any rate the second lady is a very nice woman named Deborah who is both more knowledgeable and has some health street cred since she has lost and kept off a little over 80 pounds herself.

A few things about our conversation today were interesting…

One thing she praised me for was the fact that I have quit following any of the prefabricated American “diets” any longer.  She and I were both in agreement that over my lifetime of restrictions and rules, I’ve probably caused most of my weight gain in trying and failing at them repeatedly.  This is not a new belief to me, but I was pleased that she shared my idea that a “diet” should simply refer to what you eat, not what you’re paying someone to tell you not to eat.

She also acknowledges that my understanding of nutrition is way above and beyond that of the average bear – and in her opinion I have everything going for me to be able to achieve my goals.  She also said it’s all right if my goal is just to like the way I look more, but for long term health purposes less weight on the skeleton would also be beneficial.

So what did she want me to do?

She advocates little changes.

A good example would be giving up sugared soda.  That’s not a valid one for me because I’ve never drank sugared soda to begin with, but you get the idea.  She asked me to come up with some of these little changes I could put into practice right now, and see what happens between now and the next time I talk to her.

I admit, my motivation has been at an all time low recently.  Two years into health blogging and I have zero weight loss to show for it.  My skin is pretty and my cholesterol is good – but looking into a mirror and seeing pictures of myself is still just as painful as ever.

Another thing Deborah strongly suggested is loving my body right now.  Ted is going to love this one too because he’s long insisted that the obstacle between me and my goals is the fact that I kind of hate myself a bit.  My response to this is that it’s kind of like telling a single person: “oh just stop looking for a partner, and then you’ll find one!”  How the crap am I supposed to stop wanting it?

At any rate, I promised her I’d come up with a few things, some regarding mental health and some physical.  Here they are:

1)      No snack meals.  Sometimes when I get home from work and I’m eating alone because nobody else is around, I’ll just eat snacks until I’m full rather than prepare a proper meal for myself.  They’re never healthy, contain too many calories and almost always make me feel like crap.  I’m cutting this grazing behavior out.
2)      No abusing of me.  At least, not out loud (I can’t help what goes through my head sometimes).  Remember to thank God daily for a body that can do whatever I want it to because it’s not paralyzed, sick, weak or missing anything.  I should be very, very grateful for that.  Every day.
3)      No liquid calories.  I already don’t drink soda but I do put sugar in my coffee and tea and sometimes I have milk.  All of those need to go.  And before anybody jumps down my throat about the milk may I remind you that it’s baby food – I’m an adult animal, I do NOT need it.
4)      Write every day.  I’ve been slacking off on this and it really does effect my mental health and productivity profoundly.  Doesn’t have to be a blog post but I’ve got to get SOMETHING out of my head and into print daily so my skills don’t atrophy.  I’ve found myself staring at fiction pieces lately with a low, dull tone droning through my head instead of flowing words – and that’s not good.

That’s it for now.  Somewhere I’ve gotta find my lost motivation and I’m hoping this helps.

Monday, November 7, 2011


It didn’t really hit me when Michael Jackson died.  It washed over me, registering with a vague sense of sadness and no shock whatsoever.  It even took me a long time to figure out why.

I finally realized it’s because I’d already finished mourning for him over a decade before he died.

He was one of my first crushes ever.  In recent years people would look at me like I was crazy when I said I used to be obsessed with him, but that’s because they’re forgetting the boy I fell in love with when I was twelve.  This boy:

The boy with the ready smile and bright eyes.  The playful clown, the dreamer, the dancer, the absolutely incomparably brilliant artist.

The man who would earn, loose and give away a fortune to others over the course of his lifetime, desperately trying to heal the world when he couldn’t heal himself.

And no, I don’t believe that he ever hurt anyone.  I don’t think he could.  I do think he never grew up, was never able to, and never became able to cope with the world.  He never had normal.  How exactly can someone be expected to relate the same way everyone else does when they never for one second got to live like anybody else?

Over time he turned into something that was painful for me to look at.  I don’t know if it was a physical or mental malady that caused it – I don’t really care, I just couldn’t bear to see him anymore and I missed the boy I loved as a child.  I never, ever stopped listening to him though.  I never will.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Sometimes I think that I write because without it, I would never sleep at all.

Perfectly good nights of sleep tend to get interrupted by thoughts that only leave me alone once I’ve exorcized them into printed word.  This morning at 4:30AM it was a sudden epiphany on why I don’t like to talk on the telephone.

After graduating from college I got a relatively straightforward office job answering other people’s phone calls.  It was a decent job for a fresh college grad: full time, the pay was competitive and I had benefits.  The only problem was that I had to answer other people’s phone calls.

It sounds like a simple prospect and yet it wasn’t.  The people whose calls I was answering by and large did not want to take those calls, which left increasingly disgruntled callers with only me to blame as the stubborn barrier between them and the person they really wanted to speak to.  For the most part I only dealt with mild frustration and over time getting bitched at served to thicken my skin some.

One incident though stands out strongly in my memory as an important life lesson on what behavior not to tolerate.  Ever.  Particularly at work.

It was a large building and many of its inhabitants were only accessible to me via a several minute walk through a packed warehouse and up a set of stairs.  As such I had no way of knowing when people were unwilling to take a phone call unless they had placed their phone into ‘do not disturb’ mode, spoken to me about it or I had attempted to ring through.  I knew one girl who would frequently say to me in the morning, “I can’t take any calls today at all.  No exceptions.”  Seeing as she received about twenty of them per day that was twenty people getting increasingly unhappy and frantic with me each time they unsuccessfully tried to make contact, but I digress.

One afternoon I attempted to ring a call through to a forty-something man in one of the back offices with whom I’d always had what I would quantify as a friendly work relationship.  He was a little odd, and years later I found out that not only was he prone to drinking heavily at work but was also carrying on an extra-marital affair with his office as playground, but at the time he’d always been friendly and funny enough toward me.  That day, there was the mandatory, brief, two ring attention noise before my phone in the front connected to the speaker on the one on his desk, at which point I heard him scream at me like a deranged animal:

“I’M ON THE !@#$-ING PHONE!!!”

Startled and shaken, I obviously hung up.  It was a bit like getting a bucket of ice water thrown on me out of nowhere.  Composing myself, I advised his caller that the gentleman was unavailable and would he like to leave a message.  Then I pondered the situation.

Since I was able to ring through he obviously had not, in fact, been on the phone as he so eloquently informed me – otherwise I would have heard a busy tone.  I realized he must have been on an important cell phone call and I had interrupted.

So I composed him an email telling him that since I can’t visually see his office from our opposing points in the building, if he is taking an important cell call, to please put his office phone into ‘do-not-disturb’ mode rather than bellowing obscenities at me into the intercom by way of telling me that he was busy.

Shortly thereafter I had this red-faced, demented alcoholic standing over my desk screaming more epithets into my face for having the audacity, as but a humble receptionist, to tell him what to do.

He stormed off and once again I sat stunned, tears pricking my eyes.  The people who sat around me were staring at me with the air of witnesses to an abrupt car crash.  They had that: “what in heck just happened here?” expression.

Embarrassed but determined not to take it lying down, I rather stupidly got up from my desk and followed him out into the warehouse to which he had fled after cursing me out so thoroughly.

Catching up to him where he’d paused to bitch about my ineptitude to two male colleagues, I asked him in an admittedly childlike fashion why he was treating me this way – I had thought we were friends.

Thus opening myself up to a third round of red faced bellowing as I finally broke down in tears.

Sadly, neither of the two other so-called males now witnessing this were capable of reaching down and retrieving whatever passed for their cojones to tell the out of control 40-something male to lay off the crying 22 year old kid in front of him, they merely stared.  One of them did approach me later to inform me that I shouldn’t let him treat me that way.

Gee, thanks.

There were other phone-related incidents but that one is decidedly the most colorful.  I was also surprised to find last night as I lay there running my mental finger over the memory that it still bears a faint scar of hurt and humiliation.  I know now that what happened to me then was literally illegal, and I had every right to react as such – but I was young, and ignorant, and I took it.

One of the benefits of age is knowing exactly what you will not ever take again.

Maybe the alcoholic was having a bad day, maybe somebody stole all his beer, maybe he just found out his dog died.  Honestly I don’t care.  There wasn’t and never will be any excuse for that kind of behavior in the workplace and regardless of my own personal circumstances I also learned that I will never treat someone like that.   I have more self control.  Despite women having the reputation as the more emotional gender, the overwhelming majority of people in my life I’ve personally witnessed utterly losing it in public have been men.  Testosterone really can be poison sometimes.

My point is that I think the experience of being a receptionist has managed to sour me for life toward the telephone.  If faced with unemployment and no other options, I would take such a job again, but only as an absolute last resort against destitution.

Also, I always am and always will be as kind and helpful as possible toward receptionists, who have in my option the most difficult and underrated job in any office environment.

For craps sake, calm down, it’s only work after all.   And don’t forget to tip your waiter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Soup, anyone?

Instant Ramen - it's cheap, fast and easy!  Seriously, I love Japan.

And I love Teddi for finding this.
Although as a nutritionally oriented blogger I can't officially sanction eating ramen noodles.  Unless you're in college.  Or desperate.  Oh to heck with it - here's a recipe...

Savory Cabbage Saute with Ramen:

1 package of ramen instant noodle soup
Cabbage of choice (I like curly, green and red)
Sweet Onion
Olive Oil

Mash your fist into the package of ramen until it's broken up very small (good tension releaser). Lightly coat a pan with olive oil (just rub a little on a paper towel over the surface) and saute the broken ramen pieces until they achieve a nutty smell and turn slightly brown, set aside.
Chop the cabbage and onion into bite sized bits and mince the garlic.
Saute the cabbage, onions and garlic in olive oil until they've all achieved a nice sweat, then salt and pepper to taste and toss the ramen bits over top for some nice crunch.

What shocks me most about this dish is how great it smells!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I'm kind of impulsive about my hair.  It grows back and grows out after all, so why fuss?

I walked into a random hair place today and when the girl asked me what I wanted I shrugged and said, "eh, cut it all off."

So she did.

I like it.  It's kinda Roaring 20's-ish.  Now I just need to redo my color.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Green Tomato Harvest

My tomato season this year sucked.

It did so for the same reason our local apple, squash, corn, and everything else-growers had a bad season: too much water.  I planted six big boy red tomato plants in the spring and got precisely eight edible, ripe red tomatoes this summer.  Eight.

I also planted dill and cilantro which both died a watery death.

I admit I’m a bit of a craptastic gardener but that’s lame even for me.

On the upside my basil plant absolutely thrived.  Apparently those buggers are aquatic.  So soon, I will be doing a final harvest and making lots and lots of fresh pesto sauce.  Yummers.

The only thing that made my growing season worthwhile was today, when I harvested about four or five pounds worth of hard little green tomatoes before ripping the sad, waterlogged plants out and giving them the toss.

I made green tomato gazpacho (recipe courtesy of my guest-blogger, Jo) and Turkish green tomato soup.

The first year I did a green tomato harvest I went the traditional cinematic route and fried up a big plateful of fried green tomatoes.  Boy howdy, those things are nasty.  I’ve been making tasty soup ever since.

So – here we go…

Turkish Green Tomato Soup

3 lbs. of green tomatoes, cut into chunks.
Box of chicken broth.
8 oz. container of plain Greek yogurt.
Generous palm full of fresh dill.
Crumbled feta cheese.
Salt to taste.

Cover the green tomatoes in chicken broth and simmer until thoroughly soft, about twenty minutes.  Add yogurt, salt and dill and blenderize the crap out of things with an immersion blender.  Garnish with feta.

This soup can be served hot or cold and is tasty either way.  It doesn’t look that fantastic, like a big container of foamy green stuff – but here’s a picture.

 Next up…

Avocado and Green Tomato Gazpacho

3 medium-sized (3-inch diameter) green tomatoes, cored and diced
1 small (or half a medium) orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and minced
1 medium-sized (7-inch) cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
A handful of flat-leaf parsley
A handful of cilantro
1 medium-sized ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 medium clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar or light-colored honey
1 cup cold water
Black pepper and cayenne to taste
Up to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (to taste)

Combine everything in a blender and hit “chop”.  Easy easy easy is part of what I really like about this recipe.  That and the fantastic taste.

It’s also really pretty… a bright green chunky soup with flecks of herbs floating around.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fast Food Fail

I don’t regularly eat fast food, I haven’t for a very long time now.  Perhaps two or three times a year I can be coaxed into Chik-Fil-A because I really love their waffle fries and if I’m going to indulge that craving I’m danged well going to the place I like the most to do it, but that’s about it.  No Wendy’s, no McDonalds, no Burger King – period. McNoThankYou.  Although I am still not thin, I believe this fact is a big contributing factor to my overall state of good health.

Everybody knows that fast food is bad for you, and when I mention my aversion I’m often told: “just have a salad.”

I have two responses to this:

One – If I walk into McDonald’s and smell the fries and Big Macs and then order a salad, I will sit there miserably picking at greens while inside I’m dying for a bite of grease.  Why would I torment myself like that?  I’m setting myself up to binge later on because I feel I’ve been horribly deprived.

Two – Fast food salads are still not good for you!  Sometimes, often, they are loaded with cheese, fried croutons, fried chicken and dressing that is PURE FAT and manage to load more calories onto your day than the sandwich you’re trying to avoid!  Example: Wendy’s Chicken BLT salad with dressing is 790 calories.  I get around 1,500 calories total per day – you do the math.  Would it really be worth it? 

Yes, it’s true, if you go into Wendys and order a plain baked potato and small chili, dump the chili on top and eat it, it’s not a complete calorie disaster.  But is that really what you want while you’re smelling greasy hamburgers and fries the whole time?  Besides which you will have consumed nothing but nearly nutrion-less white carbs and meat fat to boot.  Go home, and make yourself something nice.  Bake yourself a sweet potato instead.  Cooking is fun.

I know some people are saints and experience zero desire for greasy fast food EVER but I am not one of those saints nor will I ever be.  So walking into those restaurants at all is about as smart as strapping raw meat all over myself and leaping into shark infested waters.

I refer to that as McStupid.

Realism in advertising - you've gotta love it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I’ve made this analogy before but for those of you who haven’t heard it: being a food addict is exactly like being an alcoholic who MUST swallow half a shot of vodka per day in order to survive, but in order to maintain sobriety – may have no more than that.

So, every day, for survival, you must indulge in your addiction just a little bit and then walk away.  Sometimes at every meal.  Sometimes every minute.

You’ll do great for a month, or a week, or a day, then something like being denied a nights sleep on account of your bedmate’s loud snoring might cause you to eat an entire sleeve of club crackers and a big glass of milk.  Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…

That may not sound so bad to a normal person so let me enlighten: I have just consumed 1,100 calories with almost no nutritional value (milk has a LITTLE calcium, but it’s actually far from the best source for it).  I get 1,451 allotted calories per day.  That means that it’s now almost 7AM and I have 351 calories remaining for the entire day if I don’t want to go over.  Which basically means I’m going over today, probably by a lot.

A binge feels great while you’re doing it, after it you feel sick – emotionally and physically.  Right now it’s like having a doughy rock in my stomach that’s so nauseating it’s making my throat ache, go figure the physics behind that one.  Worse than that I know that I’m a failure yet again.

As I’ve mentioned before I have a normal stomach and normal hunger impulses, so when I overeat it hurts just like it would for a thin person, and that’s combined with the emotional guilt of knowing that all the hard work I did that day, week, month is now gone.

I would NEVER do this, but I understand why people become bulimic.  It does cross my mind that one quick trip to the bathroom and a minute of unpleasantness would undo what I’ve just done to myself.

Right now it feels like getting through every hour without a binge is a victory, some days it’s every minute.  Right now my resistance was lowered by exhaustion.  One of the “keep you alive” systems that our bodies possess is to hunt for energy whenever possible.  When denied sleep, the hunger impulse will ramp up to try to compensate for the lost energy you should have gotten from resting.  Tonight, that’s what felled me.  Or I guess its morning now.

Later I’m probably going to regret blogging when I’m this strung out and exhausted.  Right now?  Meh.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Glee: Good and Bad

I freely admit that I’m a Gleek, a big fan of the TV show Glee which has been on for two seasons now since 2009.  I’m a big enough addict that I just re-watched the last season finale to get a bit of a happy song and dance fix.  I also confess that I download the music and sing it in my car.

The writers of Glee have a lot of good things going for them, they present a persistent message of hope, courage, friendship and understanding between different people.

They have the balls to include in their permanent cast not one, but two overweight characters who not only get air time – they both have love interests.  They touch on the fact that these characters are overweight, but it’s not the ONLY facet of who they are.  They’re also talented, confident, and dimensional.  They’re fully realized people.

Glee has a gay character whose father is a love letter to what caring and understanding parents should and could be.

They have a character who has Downs Syndrome, played by a young actress who really does have Downs Syndrome.  She’s on the Cheerleading squad.  She is never the butt of jokes.

The writers of Glee love everybody.

Well, almost everybody.

The writers of Glee do not love me.

It’s very difficult to be so inspired, get so much joy, shed happy tears and jam so much over something that’s written by people who despise me.

There is only one time you see cruel, misunderstanding parents and mean spirited, nasty caricatures of people rather than developed characters.  There’s only one group who receives blatant, cruel ridicule on the show – that would be characters who the writers define as “Christians”.

Need examples?  Quinn’s parents, who throw her their daughter out of their home for being pregnant and turn their back on her.  You might be tempted to say hey, there are plenty of parents who do behave that badly.  That’s true.  There are also plenty of parents who, upon learning their child is gay, treat them like absolute crap – but as I mentioned above that particular character’s dad is written like the poster child for good parents everywhere.  Of course he’s a good guy, he’s not religious.

A judge at one of the singing competitions is a Catholic nun.  She’s a nun not because she’s actually, you know, religious or anything – but because she used to be a stripper and she needed somewhere to go.  This is supposed to be hilarious.

Then there’s the “Christian” school choir who competes against our heroes by singing a poorly written song called, “Jesus is my friend” like a bunch of psychotic, frozen-smiled escapees from the Barney Dinosaur show.  If they wanted to put a Christian school choir in there, there are probably a hundred thousand well written, rocking contemporary Christian songs they could have used for them instead of making up something so stiff, frozen and outright bad.  But since the whole purpose was to depict Christian school kids as insane little robots that wouldn’t have been as “funny”.

I’m not even going to get into the Sarah Palin knockoff character, it was nauseating enough that I couldn’t watch that scene all the way through.  Lets face it, I can’t really get through anything all the way through that features Kathy Griffin.

I love Glee, but the people who write Glee make it abundantly clear that they hate me in return.

It makes me a little angry, far more than that – it hurts.