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Don't Eat The Spinach


Ok, so fresh raw spinach is off the menu for a while. This will naturally lead to a craving for a spinach salad. Go figure.


Sunday afternoon, my throat started getting a little sore and scratchy. I was not pleased. I can put up with a lot of physical discomfort, but when it comes to a sore throat, I'm a big baby. Yesterday was t-o-r-t-u-r-e. I woke up about an hour ago, and it's definitely on the way out, so that's good. Also good -- I'm not developing any other symptoms (nasal congestion, coughing), so it would appear that this is going to be a couple days of sore throat and done.


Physical discomfort/illness tends to lower my already fairly low tolerance level for other people's BS. That always makes reading the boards here an interesting exercise. I figure it teaches me how to follow that golden rule. You know, the one that goes, "If you can't say anything nice....."


I suppose at some point in the near future, I should go back to bed and at least try to get a few more hours of sleep before work. Otherwise, it's going to be a very, very loooooooong day.

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Random Thoughts On A Non-Payday Friday


Only because I'm too lazy to scrawl in the ink & paper journal.


Other People's Lives

How do they do it? I see and hear about these situations...relationships, living arrangements, jobs, health issues...that are so convoluted. They complain about 'em, but yet do nothing to simplify them. Meanwhile, things in my world are pretty simple and straightforward...and the few times they haven't been, I have been relentless about getting them back to "simple and straightforward."



I read an article in Yahoo news yesterday that reported on a study that showed we have passed critical mass in the US. There are now, on average, more television sets in US households than people living there. The average person, the study says, watches a squeak over 4 hours of TV a day.




We have one TV in a household of 2 people and 2 cats. It is the absolute cheapest 27" color TV we could find at Best Buy. We bought it (and paid with cash) about 4 years ago. It suits our needs just fine. 4 hours of TV a day? How? Where do people find the time? If I watch both episodes of "30 Minute Meals" from 6p-7p on a weeknight, that's a lot of TV for me. I watch "Survivor," "Desperate Housewives," and "CSI" (just the original one that takes place in Vegas...don't care about the other flavors) on a regular basis and that's it. If the TV is just on, I usually have it on Food Network and am pretty content watching whatever they have on. Well, except Emeril. And Iron Chef America. And anything with Bobby Flay. Not a fan of those shows.


One of the things I liked about my husband when we first started dating was that he fully agreed with me about NOT having a TV in the bedroom. Everybody's got their little odd quirks. That "No TV in the bedroom" thing is one of mine. It is so important to me that, when I was single and dating, it was a question I would ask in the course of conversation..."What do you think about having a TV in the bedroom?" And, to me, there is a definite right answer and a definite wrong answer to that question. Someone who thought it was a good idea was not someone I was likely to be compatible with.


Some people might think that's an awfully small, nitpicky reason to eliminate someone from your dating pool. Yes, as a matter of fact, it is. However, it's a small, nitpicky thing that I KNOW from first-hand experience will make me crazy if I have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. So, why bother going there at all if I can avoid it? Kinda like dating guys who weren't into horses or actively disliked them. Why bother keeping around someone who was going to either outright ask you or subtlely discourage you from doing something you really, really love?


At some point in my mid-30's, I realized I knew myself well enough to understand there were just some things I was absolutely not willing to be flexible on. When you're in your 20's, you're still "unformed" to some extent...still finding out who you are, what your needs/wants/must haves in relationships are...along with what your don't needs/don't wants/and mustn't haves are. But in my mid-30's, those things were very clear to me. They still are. And they aren't changing. As I told the old man on more than one occaision..."I'm 35 (or 36 or 37). I'm past the age where I'm "moldable." If you want 'moldable' you shoulda stuck to dating 20-somethings."


Where do we ever get the idea that we can somehow change other people to our liking? I was just as guilty of this as anyone else when I was younger. At some point, though, it dawned on me...I didn't like being made to tow the line to someone else's standards in the context of a relationship...other people probably didn't like it either. Duh. Wake the hell up. Of course they don't.


And so began the "Can You Accept Them As They Are/Where They Are Right Now" standard. If I could, then ok...let's move forward. If I couldn't...let's agree to disagree and not waste each other's time, have a nice life and thanks for playing.


Still, I had a potential date or two who thought my attitude was whacked. I soooo love when someone tries to tell me that I don't know what I want. Maybe in my 20's. Perhaps even into my early 30's.


But not anymore.

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The Joy of Being Able To Say, "I Told You So!"


Hah! I'm just fine, no thanks to that Primary Care Doc I went to last year.


Today, I had my annual check up at the gynecologist. It was the first time I was seen by a doctor since that disastrous visit last year.


Trying to get established with a Primary Care Doc has been very difficult since we moved here 2 years ago. The first one I tried to see had an unreasonably long wait for scheduling an appointment & being seen once you got an appointment, the office staff was no help at all, and I just didn't like the doc when I finally did see her. The second one was actually the trigger for me starting the weird food behaviors again. The nurse there took my blood pressure, then the doctor took my blood pressure when she saw me, then I got lectured about my blood pressure (140-something over 84...way too high...blah, blah, blah), then I got given a 1400-calorie-a-day diet on a piece of paper and told to come back in 4 weeks for a weigh-in.


I left the appointment stunned, and thinking I was going to keel over dead from a heart attack at any time. Then the weird eating behaviors started cropping up. I cancelled the appointment for the weigh-in. I started bingeing. I started compulsively exercising. I started eating food I don't like (like fish) because it was "good for me." I started watching Food Network obsessively. I started feeling a little crazy.


On a whim, I checked a book out of the library on Compulsive Eating last January. In it, the authors quoted a dietician who happens to practice in the city where I live. I went to her website. It took me nearly 2 months to e-mail her just to ask how much she charged for appointments. I started seeing her in March.


Primary Care Doc #2 (who gave me the lecture on my high blood pressure) suggested I get my blood pressure checked on a regular basis using the machines they have at the drug store/pharmacy. Reading the instructions on the machine, I learned that it was designed for folks with an upper arm circumference of 9"-13". When I'd take my blood pressure on the pharmacy machines, it always came up in the 140-something over 80-something range. I'd look at the little chart that indicated that reading was Stage I hypertension. And I'd keep thinking I was going to keel over with a heart attack and die any minute.


One day, I measured around my upper arm. It was 17". I started looking up information about blood pressure and blood pressure cuffs online. I learned that the average "Adult Medium" sized cuff used in most doc's offices is designed for arms measuring about 9-14" around. I learned that using the wrong size cuff can give inaccurate readings. If the cuff is too small, it will give false high readings.


Huh. I discussed this with the dietician (who also happens to be an RN), and she said all that was true.


So, today, I had my annual with the gynecologist. I like the gyno. Anyway, before they took my blood pressure, I asked what size cuff she was using. She looked at me and then looked at the cuff, and said, "Oh, yes, I guess you DO need the large one." She went and got it, put it on me, and took the reading. 122/70. Not 140-something over 84. 122/70. Not high. Normal. A-okey-dokey-f'n FINE, thanks.


I also asked the gyno for some names of Primary Care Docs who are Size-Friendly and told her what had happened the last time I tried to establish myself with a Primary Care Doc. She was also stunned by what had happened. She gave me some names, so I guess my next step is making some phone calls and getting an appointment set up.


I'm gonna have to work up to that. But for today....for now....getting what is an ACCURATE measurement of my blood pressure is enough.

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Gone! They're All Gone!


What's up with the disappearing post titles? I spend sooo much time coming up with them. Ah, well.


Today's "now THERE's something to think about" text....


From link removed:






Unlike other anti-diet program leaders, Satter doesn't mention wieght change much; she doesn't even suggest that some people will lose weight. She feels strongly that weight is the wrong thing to focus on, period. It's only possible to overcome compulsive eating if you cannot only trust yourself to decide what to eat but trust the weight that naturally comes out of that process. "I acknowledge the longing my patients have to be thin, and I don't criticize them for that longing, but I don't encourage them to try for thinness," she says. "The minute they do, they get back into that same old struggle and start to ignore their internal regulators, and begin to eat frantically again."




Most importantly, her technique emphasizes pleasure, self-trust, and competence, and doesn't make recovering from compulsive eating take as big a place in your life as compulsive eating did. At some point, she recognizes, compulsive eaters simply need to learn positive skills for healthy eating and get on with their lives. Eating can stop being a huge issue and just be eating. Eating is wonderful while it lasts, but a lot of other things go in life between meals.

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The Ancient Dreaming Dust of God




I've always liked this song. The lyrics as much as the feel of the music. It sounds like someone facing the inevitability of death and grief...but not falling into despair over it...instead finding some larger meaning to it all, difficult as that is at times.


I listened to it last night while I was working on some other things and it just sort of resonated with me again for some reason.


I started a yoga class last night. This place/instructor was recommended by my dietician. I used to take yoga classes a few years ago where I used to live. I started taking yoga in the last 6 months of my relationship with the Old Man, right before I had my neck surgery...then a few months later when I recovered from my neck surgery. I think those classes helped me stay centered during that very turbulent time...in large part because of the type of yoga classes I was taking. Very slow, precise, with more emphasis on getting to the poses properly and staying in the poses for a while. None of this power-yoga-keep-moving-to-keep-burning-calories BS. No, no...this was slow, thoughtful, precise, deliberate, relaxing yoga.


Then the instructor decided to move out of state with her boyfriend. The instructor who took over her classes did the OTHER variety of yoga, so I dropped out. When we moved here, I noticed the gym offered yoga classes. For the longest time, they were at an inconvenient time, so I didn't go because I couldn't. Then, they moved them. So, I went...only to find out it was that super-fast power-yoga BS. Aaarrrggghhh!! What did I expect from a freakin' gym, though?


Anyway, as we were discussing my history with exercise, I mentioned all this to the dietician and she suggested this place where I started last night. So, I started my 4 week introductory/beginner course last night. It was good.


I'm into the last chapter of the Laura Fraser book. I have 2 more lined up to read after that.


It keeps getting clearer and clearer to me that the times in my life that I've gotten really screwed up have been the times when my focus drifted from the inner voice to the outer culture's voice. The journey back inward has always been the journey back to sanity, back to centeredness, back to peace. Maybe it always has been. Maybe that's the big secret to it all.

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You Were Always On My Mind.....


(Ha! Just try to get rid of my post titles NOW, foul software!)


I've had someone on my mind the last few days. I met him in junior high, we went to the same high school, hung out with the same crowd in the year after high school.


He wasn't ever really a boyfriend in the traditional sense of the word. I didn't really have boyfriends in my late teens/early 20's. Too focused on other things to bother with "normal" bf/gf relationships, I guess.


If things had happened differently, he might've been my first boyfriend. As it was, he's the first person I had sex with that actually mattered. I was 19...and long ago I decided that any sexual encounters that happened before that didn't matter. It was in that year after high school...before our lives took very different paths.


He shows up in dreams from time to time. He always looks the same -- like he did in his mid- to late-teens. He hardly ever says anything in the dreams, he's just there...watching me.


Once upon a time, when we were 15, he & another friend had stopped by my house. The three of us were watching TV. My parents weren't home. They came home and my mother had a fit about the boys being in the house. You would've thought she had walked in and found us rolling around on the floor naked, drunk, high and having sex for the way she reacted. In reality we were fully clothed, sitting on separate pieces of furniture in different parts of the room, watching some old movie on TV and talking.


The boys were thrown out and I got yelled at. When the yelling stopped, I went to my room...and the boys were standing at my bedroom window. I opened the window. He wanted to see that I was ok. He said he was sorry he had come over with our other friend. He held his hand up to the window screen. I lied and told them I was fine. I told them they needed to leave before my parents saw them hanging around. I touched his hand through the window screen. I tried not to cry. So did he.


They left, and I bawled my head off.


About a half hour later, the phone rang. It was a girl who lived in the neighborhood who I sometimes hung out with. When she determined my mother had hung up the phone and was out of ear shot, she said the boys had walked to her house and told her what happened. She asked if I could get out of my house and go to her house.


Somehow, I got out and rode my bike to her house. And the boys were there. He was there. And we all tried to pretend things were normal because we were all only 15 and what could we do? When we'd talk about this day later, when we were older, he'd tell me how he wanted to do something to help me, to rescue me, to make it not happen.....


So, the 4 of us went to the playground of the elementary school we'd gone to when we were younger. We sat on the swings and talked about anything but what had just happened at my house.


But, eventually, I had to go home.


He never came over anymore after that. I'd see him at school, but something had changed. I didn't understand it at the time, but I did later. He dropped his interest in me to spare me from the wrath he saw that day my parents came home and found us watching TV.


The year after high school, when we were both 19 and hanging around with the same group of people, all this came to light. What had stopped when we were 15 was resumed 4 years later. That's why that was the first time having sex mattered.


There are times of the year I think of him...the springtime when the violets are in bloom...in August during the Persied meteor shower...around his birthday.... I have heard through mutual friends that his life has been difficult. I have heard he is angry and bitter. I don't think I'd want to know him now...but I remember how he was at 15...at 19....and in my dreams.

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We Decide Which Is Right And Which Is An Illusion


I had one of those all-day headaches Wednesday, and spent that day and yesterday all fuzzy-headed. My brain was in this weird "life doesn't seem real" kind of space. It's hard to describe, but I spent that 48 hours just not feeling real.


I have that problem when I have the headaches. It's worse when I take a Zomig (migraine medicine). The Zomig is wonderful thing. It makes my head stop hurting when I have a really bad migraine, but it also gives me that fuzzy-headed Zomig hangover. If I can sleep through it, that's fine, but sometime I'm not able to...and I have to go around feeling like I'm in a movie or something.


I look around at the things that make up my life now -- this job, my husband, our house -- and I think (to steal from...er..quote...David Byrne), "Well, how did I get here?"


That's a damn good question...and one I don't really have a good answer for. If it was possible to go back and talk to oneself at different ages, I think I've ended up where younger versions of myself wanted to go...but the road to get here wasn't where I expected it to be. (Does that make sense to anyone but me? No? Ok, I can live with that...just more proof that it's hell living in my brain.....but I already knew that).


There are really so few things we can count on over the course of our lives...so little that is really solid and lasting. All of a sudden, it's 25 or 30 years later, very few or none of the same people are in your life, and so much stuff has happened that you've forgotten about as much as you remember anymore.


Things happen now, and people around you get all bent out of shape, but you watch events go by, knowing they WILL go by, they WILL get resolved one way or another, knowing you WILL adapt, and so you just say, "ok. Whatever," with a shrug of the shoulders and go about your business.


And you blog about the weirdness in your head, but you don't really expect anyone to read it let alone understand it. But you type anyway because you are bored at work, or because you can now type faster than you can write long-hand....even though you dropped that typing class in high school because the teacher was a mean old witch who didn't get that your post-high school career goals did NOT include becoming a secretary.


And you write about yourself in the third person, flipping back and forth between the past and present as if it's all happening now. Recalling a conversation you once had with someone about alternate universes and alternate timelines, and how it could all be happening right now...but somewhere else.


Somewhere else, you're still sitting on the picnic table watching the shooting stars with Patrick. Somewhere else, you're getting the phone call from Barb telling you Joanie was killed in a car accident. Somewhere else, you're watching Brad paddle the canoe out to the island. Somewhere else, you're mucking out stalls for Terry or Tony or Bob. Somewhere else, you're sitting on the catwalk above the theatre stage with JT talking about where your lives are going to go....


Somewhere else, it's all still going on....

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I Should Weigh How Much?


More reinforcement on the "I should listen to myself more often" front. From link removed:




That's what I'd been doing, more or less, from my first go-round with ED/body image recovery til my tumble off the wagon. Somehow, all the current cultural BS managed to creep in. I have noticed that nearly ALL the diet/weight loss programs/pills/products have co-opted the language of the anti-diet folks that I trusted. But it's still the same old snake oil and lies....and a product/treatment that has a 90-98% failure rate.


You can take garbage, stuff it in a box, wrap it in shiny paper and ribbons and spritz it with perfume, but it's still GARBAGE....


More from Fat!So? (emphasis (italic & bolded) mine):




And yet, it gets presented as "fact" and "truth" and the vast majority of people buy into it as such. For me, it's like living every damn day slamming my head into a brick wall........

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Just Call Me The Wrong Way Woman


So, I get a phone call this morning. You remember that yoga class I mentioned going to last week? The one I liked? Well, the phone call this morning was from the woman who is supposed to be my yoga instructor. Apparently, I went into the wrong classroom and took a completely different class that happened to be starting at the same time as the one I had signed up for.




I can't just switch classes because the way they've got things set up, each instructor sets his or her own fees/class schedule. Ok.... So, now I wonder what I'm gonna do. I mean, I'll go to the class I signed up for and paid for tonight, but I kinda liked the class I went to last week. The instructor was a plus size gal herself, and I liked the way she taught. Well, I guess we'll see how it goes tonight then. At least I know the plus-size instructor is there.


It was a stupid busy weekend, but I got a lot done...cleaned the bathrooms, did groceries, finished sewing a jumper, went to the gym, drained, cleaned & covered the pond for the winter, thinned out some dead vegetation in the back yard, washed the kitty beds (that was more difficult than it sounds...before the cat beds even went into the washer, I had removed enough hair from them to create a 3rd cat). Yesterday we spent a good chunk of time working on the basement-to-dungeon conversion that's been an on-going project the last month or so.


My arms are sore today...but it's from hauling 50 or so gallons of water from the pond out to the street in a couple of 5 gallon buckets to dump it into the sewer. The pond maintenance job fell by the wayside in the last month, so the water was a little (!) on the green side. I figured the pond needed to be emptied, cleaned & covered before the leaves started coming down. I woulda just dumped the water on the bushes around the fence in the back yard, but it's been raining so much that the ground is saturated and the water would have no place to go....so hauling out to the storm sewer in the street was the other option.


The "water feature" in the back yard was a cool thing when we first bought the house. When we got it set up with a pump, rock border, a few plants around it and mulch, it looked really nice. I liked sitting on the back patio with it out there. But it's more work than I thought it would be. I will forget this by next spring and re-fill and run it all next summer. I can see some point in the future where we'll be pitching the liner and filling in the hole in the ground, though.


Unless, of course, I win the lottery or otherwise come into a very large sum of money. Then, we'll be expanding that thing with a waterfall & stream and hiring people to come out and maintain it.

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I've Mellowed Out




I had written a looooong post earlier today. It was all full of spit and vinegar...about doing laundry, and why can't my husband multi-task, and being sore from yoga, and how I have to stay off the diet & weight loss threads here because what other product/idea do people waste time, energy and money on that has a 90-98% failure rate.....


But I was writing at work (again), and took too long scrawling. By the time I went to post it, I had been automatically logged out...and I had neglected to copy my scrawlin' to the clipboard before attempting to post. So...*poof*...it just disappeared.


In hindsight, it's probably just as well it was vaporized.


Anyway, tonight's distraction while scheduling music was listening to link removed, which is apparently out of print and worth some big bucks now....believe me, I didn't pay $80 for it. Much as I like it, I'm far, far too cheap to spend that kinda money on a CD. Anyway, the above song is on the CD. It just kinda stuck out for me while I was toiling away on link removed


It's another one of those songs that brings to mind some very specific times in the past for me.


"Keep it in mind, if love comes unsatisfied, don't forget me...." What a great line.

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4 Wheels And Runs


Only, it wasn't runnin' so great this morning. In fact, it started sluggishly and kept stalling. I got about 1/4 of the way to work and decided that even if I made it the rest of the way without stalling, there was no guarantee I'd be able to get home. Considering that my husband had the day off and would be able to shuttle me back and forth to work today, I turned around and took it to the repair shop and called my husband to come pick me up. He wouldn't be available to do that tomorrow.


So, now we await word on what's wrong with it. I suspect the battery and/or alternator is starting to go. In any event, this is really more excitement than I need to start off a day.


Is it just me or is waiting to hear about what's wrong with your car one of the more stressful things to wait for? Why do I have visions of hearing, "yeah...your Saturn? It needs an entirely new engine. It'd probably be cheaper for you to just buy a new car, ma'am." Ugh.


Trying to maintain rationality.....

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Just One Of Those Things


Car seems just fine now. Huh?!?! I don't get it. The stupid thing kept stalling every time I stopped yesterday morning and now it's a-okey dokey fine. Whatever. The upside of it is they didn't charge me for the diagnostic work they did, and since they couldn't find anything wrong, there's no repair bill to pay.


Weekend can't get here soon enough. Got a lot of crap I wanna get done over the weekend (again). Sometimes it feels like I'm picking up the brunt of the work involved in owning/living in a house. I guess I expected a little more help/involvement with yard work from my spouse, but he seems content to chase a lawnmower every couple weeks and leave the rest to me. I ask his opinion about something and he just says, "I don't know." Like I know anything about trees or shrubs or any type of plant (outdoor or indoor) or pond maintnenance. I've never owned a house before. I have a black thumb when it comes to plants -- I've killed every houseplant I've ever had. I don't know anything about this stuff either! I gotta break myself of the habit of even asking him. I don't expect him to know...all I'm expecting is the expression of an opinion.


Ugh. Sometimes, I realize being single was just easier.

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The Car's Fine, But You'll Still Kiss $170 Goodbye


And where, you may ask, did the $170 go, exactly?


Got up this morning about 5:30, got online. Sitting here typing a response to a thread when the picture on my monitor got really small...then came the hissing sound...then the funny electrical burning smell....then the monitor screen went dark and it shut off. Fine.


So, about 9:30, I get showered and dressed, have a little breakfast, and head off to the store for a replacement. They have one guy working in the computer department, and he's being run ragged by some idiot woman who just can't make up her mind, but won't let the sales guy even look at another customer while she tries to decide what she wants. Apparently, whatever she wants is far, far more important than anything else.


Meanwhile, I knew exactly what I wanted -- one freakin' monitor, this one right HERE, with the $50 rebate -- and I've already got out my credit card to pay for it. I swear, the clerk could've waited on me, got my payment, and sent me over to customer pick up with my receipt and rebate slip before that idiot woman made up her mind. But, no...I have to wait for Her Highness for 25 minutes while she debates with herself the merits of one computer system over another.


It took far too long, but at least I have a functioning monitor now.


Since then, I have come home and done next to nothing. I hooked up the new monitor (obviously....otherwise how could I be here now? duh.) and scheduled a music log...and that's about it. I have zero motivation today, which is kinda sad considering how much I got done over the course of the day last Saturday.


Is it too much to ask people to have a little awareness of their surroundings when they're out in public? That one store clerk you're jabber-jawing with is the ONLY ONE there to help ANY and ALL customers in that department....and YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO NEEDS TO BUY COMPUTER STUFF TODAY!!!!!


Perhaps now it's clear why I try to do my errands at off-peak times.....

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If I Don't Laugh, I'll Have To Kill Someone


Today's very necessary laugh on the topic is provided by none other than Shel Silverstein. Yes, "Where The Sidewalk Ends" and "The Giving Tree" Shel Silverstein. He also wrote some very adult-oriented (and very funny) poems and songs, too. You can find out more about that link removed, if you're so inclined. But the one I'm going to let do my talking for me today is this one.....

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I'm Fixin' To Get Kicked Out Of Therapy


Again. It's not a bad thing, either. Therapy is not meant to be "forever." The whole point is to get you strong enough that you can stand on your own without it.


So, I had an appointment with the dietician yesterday and she asked the "fixin' to boot you out" question...."Are you still finding these sessions helpful?" We extended the time between visits, but I'm thinking one or two more and I'll be good to go. Stronger and smarter than I was. With a few long-held illusions shattered and replaced with truth.


Yesterday, we talked about how much I have always relished being in the "student" role. How comfortable and comforting it is for me to believe someone knows better than I do. How much I love that totally intoxicating "brain-stretching" feeling, and how I have given puppy-dog-like devotion to those folks who've set the stage for me to have that feeling over the years. And how hard I crashed when some of those teachers/mentors turned out to be so much less than what I expected or what they presented themselves to be.


Whether it be in my personal life, career life, financial life or any specific topic I'm interested in. But the older I get, and the more I learn, the harder and harder it is to find people who can fill the teacher/mentor role for any length of time. That has been one of the great disappointments in my life in the last, say, 5 years.


I made some bad choices in terms of people to put into that teacher/mentor role in the last few years, and I have paid for that mistake. Yet the idea that I'm at the point where I should be taking that role on for myself most of the time is not a comfortable one for me. Let alone that there may be others who are looking to me to fill that role for them....


The more I learn, the more I'm aware of how much more there is that I don't know so I become uncomfortable with the idea that someone's expecting me to know...even if the only "someone" expecting it is me. I guess part of it is not wanting to cause that crashing letdown I've experienced when I realized that my own teachers/mentors weren't perfect beings. Is there any fall greater than falling off a pedestal?





You led me where I had no sight

Till birdsong broke the morning light

And I was weak with strange delight


If there was ever a better description of that "brain-stretching" feeling, I have yet to find it.....

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Sometimes, My Job Is Cooler Than Others


Like last night, when I got to be a "celebrity judge" for a local chef's cooking competition. Think link removed without the English overdubs, and with 7 competing chefs, an entire grocery bag of "mystery ingredients" plus only 30 minutes prep time for the dishes.


Anyway, when I first got asked to do the "celebrity judge" gig, I figured it'd be me, a person from the event's TV sponsor, maybe someone from the newspaper and a local city councilperson or something like that. Nope. Turns out it was me and 3 professional chefs doing the judging. Seein' as how I'm pretty much a Food Network junkie, it was like I died and went to heaven.


I was fascinated watching the 7 competitors open their grocery bags and start working on an entree on the fly. My fellow judges pointed out some things to look for and gave me these words of advice -- take only 1 or 2 bites to get a taste, otherwise you'll be too full to get through the evening. In addition to the 7 competing chefs, there were also various restaurants offering up their wares at the event and they were vying in a separate competition...so we had to sample stuff from all those vendor booths, too.


For the most part it was pretty good. When it came to the vendor booths, there were a few things I tasted that I didn't like...some hummus that were spicy-hot, some pasta with a really bad tomato-basil sauce, a pasta & grilled chicken dish that was utterly average....and some things that I really liked -- hummus and lubee beans from a different Mediterranean restaurant, a filet mignon sandwhich, BBQ brisket, chocolate baklava, an almond cheesecake that was to die for....but all only one or two bites.


The 7 dishes from the competing chefs were all amazing. I would've been quite happy to have gotten any one of those 7 plates for my dinner....even the ones that had fish...and I don't even like fish. So, that oughta tell you how good they were.


The 3 chefs on the judging panel were all way cool. So between talking to them and watching the 7 competing chefs cook, I was just in awe.


And I started thinking that I want to go Culinary School.


I have been thinking about this all day. When I talked about this event afterwards, I talk about the professional chefs in the same way I used to talk about radio people in my teens. The last year or so, I have been fascinated by Food Network and trying out recipes from the shows. I feel a passion for food and cooking that I can remember feeling for radio when I was younger.


But here's the hitch -- I don't want to work in the restaurant business. I don't want to run my own catering company or open my own bakery, gourmet food shop, restaurant, etc. I just want to learn to cook like a pro for use at home and entertaining. So, it's really not worth the cost (not to mention the time commitment) of becoming a full time Culinary Arts student.


But I wonder if this is one of those situations where life is beckoning me to go a different direction than the one I've been headed in. I still like what I do for a living, but after 20+ years, I must admit that some days I am a wee bit bored. At the same time, there is really nothing else that has held my interest and fascination like radio.......until now.


The question is, what do I do about it?

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A Possible Solution


I found a gourmet/cooking shop just a few miles from where we live that offers individual, one-evening cooking classes on various topics. They are hands-on classes.


The only stumbling block: They are $65 a throw (that includes pre-class noshing, sampling whatever is cooked during class, recipes for all items prepared in class, and a discount coupon for any purchase you make at the store). It's still kinda pricey for me to be taking classes too often. They do have a volunteer position that does the class grunt work: setting up and tearing down the room for the class, clearing dishes during class, attending to the snack and beverage station, etc. Basically, you pay for the class with your labor. I wonder if that might be an option....? I'd have to take a few classes to figure that out, though.


They have their class schedule through mid-December posted on their website, but thus far nothing's leaping out at me as, "Ooooh, I have to take THAT one." A couple looked interesting, but the soonest one is toward the end of November, so I've got some time to figure out if I want to do this now or wait until we get into 2007. That way I will be able to clear all the holiday BS and be out of therapy for a little while (money-related issues...the dietician is $80 a throw and not covered by insurance...if I'm managing to afford seeing her about once a month, I can manage $65 a month for a cooking class, right?).


At this point even looking at a full-time Culinary Arts school is highly impractical, since I don't have any sort of desire to actually work as a chef, so I think the classes at the store (which are, by the way, taught by professional chefs) may be just the thing.


Overall, it was a pretty good weekend, though. I had a list of crap I wanted to get done and every item on the list is crossed off, so yay! I got in touch with the other yoga instructor (the one whose class I mistakenly attended a few weeks back) and can join her Monday night class starting in November. The class series I'm taking now ends tonight (it was just a 4 class beginners series), and the options that instructor has for continuing classes don't fit with my schedule. So there was another minor quandary solved.


I suppose there were a few not-so-great things about the weekend, but I'm taking a very Scarlett O'Hara approach to those aspects..."I'll think about it tomorrow."


(Note: if you've never read "Gone With The Wind" 2 things:


1.link removed will give you a little background/overview of that "I'll think about it tomorrow" mindset

2. Screw the movie, read the book. I found the movie way, way too choppy. Had I not read the book first, the movie would've jumped around way too much. Actually, the way the whole thing came about was I happened to catch part of a cheesy made-for-TV movie about Margaret Mitchell's life (Shannen Doherty played MM, so that oughta give you an idea of the cheese factor)...anyway, saw part of that, then got a biography of Margaret Mitchell out of the library...read that, THEN read "Gone With The Wind", THEN saw the movie. All bass-ackwards from the way most people do it...usually it's movie>book>find out about author...but, I never claimed to be normal. This is just further proof of it.)


But I digress.


Anyhoo...The Scarlet O'Hara mindset in regards to some things that happened over the weekend....."I'll think about it tomorrow."

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I have been trying to get one of these stupid things on e-bay for the last few weeks, but kept getting outbid. But not today. Today, I got my link removed at a decent price. ("Decent price" = less than what I'd have to pay through the link removed website)


Damn. Life is good.

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So This Is What It Feels Like To Breathe....


Last night at yoga, we did a variety of poses that worked on the spine & ribs. When we completed one side, we all could feel (& see) a difference in how our ribs moved between the two sides. On the side we had stretched out, my ribs were actually moving as I was breathing. On the other side, they weren't moving nearly as much or as freely. When we finished doing both sides, it just felt like there was more room inside my torso from the waist up.


I am still feeling that today. I like it. I used to take yoga classes before we moved here, but before this series of classes, it had been quite some time since I'd done yoga on a regular basis. I had forgotten all these little things I liked about it. I started taking yoga at what turned out to be a really difficult time in my life (the last 6 months of my relationship with the Old Man, which included having and recovering from spinal surgery on top of a long, messy break-up). Looking back, I think my yoga classes were one of the things that kept me from going bonkers back then. Those classes & practice kept me centered, calm, and relaxed. Better able to rise above the day-to-day drama and keep focused on the larger picture. And it was better than any kind of anti-depressant, anti-anxiety drug or sleeping pills.


It still is better than chemical assistance.


I forgot that...but I am starting to remember.

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Mental Floss


The link removed arrived yesterday. It rocks! I was able to get a nice, even, thin schmear o'buttah on my breakfast matzo without shattering it into pieces.


Yesterday night we went to the gourmet shop that offers the cooking classes. In a bizarro twist, they happen to sell butter bells. I still got mine cheaper on e-bay, though. They have a really nice classroom set up. There was a class going on while we were there. The clerk said it was a basic pasta/pasta sauce making class. It smelled insanely good.


I was responding to a diet/health-related thread here yesterday, and it dawned on me what kind of progress I have made in the last 6 months. Wow. You never notice how far the journey has taken you until you take a moment to pause and see where you were and compare it to where you are. Heck, I might...might...even be ready to try finding a regular doctor at this point.

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"Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life...."


Yesterday, we went to see the traveling production of link removed. I've been a Monty Python fan since about the age of 9 when my parents inadvertently watched an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus on public TV. I didn't get most of the jokes (c'mon...I was only 9 at the time...) but nonetheless, I fell in love with the general silliness and their accents....later I got the jokes and loved the wit and satire. Far and away my favorite Python has always been Eric Idle...who wrote this little tune...




As philosophies of life go, it makes about as much sense as any.

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Menopause Can't Get Here Soon Enough


Cramps. Killer Cramps. Doubled over in pain, there is no comfortble position to be in, just give me some f'n morphine NOW cramps.


Well. At least I'm not pregnant. That's something. I guess. In another 24-36 hours the bloating and crampiness will go away and I'll start feeling normal again. I have an appointment with the massage therapist this afternoon. Right now, I'm just hoping to make it through the next hour or so without passing out.


Wish me luck.

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I ~heart~ My Massage Therapist


She starts off the appointment with the usual question, "Is anything sore or bothering you?" So, I say something about the killer cramps. She says she can do something about that. She starts poking around my lower belly, working on getting my link removed to release. When she's done, I feel a growing warmth in my lower gut. When the massage is over and I stand up, it's all GONE. The cramping, bloating, uncomfortable fullness is all GONE. Massage therapy...it's not just for physical indulgence anymore.


Tiger cat had her annual check-up at the vet today. I wasn't the one who took her, but I heard it went well. It's the gray and white boy (my cat) who is the drama queen about going to the vet. We have to give him kitty tranquilizers first, and he'll still try to bite the vet even though he's all doped up. Fortunately, I don't have to deal with that until December.

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